Here’s a little round-up of what’s been going on in the southern gospel world lately:
*Everything old is new again with the Inspirations as they bring back former members Dallas Rogers and Melton Campbell. Press release here.
*Congrats to Bill Shivers on his new baby, William Brent Shivers III! Bill has changed his twitter profile accordingly.
*Voting rounds have begun on Musicscribe’s search for the greatest southern gospel album of all time. Readers have submitted a plethora of nominations for each decade starting with the 50s, so head on over to cast your vote for that decade. Right now, the Weatherfords’ In the Garden and The Statesmen Quartet Sings With Hovie Lister seem to be duking it out for top honors.
Thanks to Matt Fouch for sending me his latest “On the Couch” entry with Scotty Inman. I enjoyed hearing Scotty talk about his background and his musical tastes. I hadn’t known he wanted to be a baseball player before suddenly being offered the chance to pursue singing instead.
Several concert videos caught my eye from this past week. Special thanks to Daniel Mount and others for bringing them to my attention.
First, Swain featured an unusual Hoppers lineup. Chris Allman and Doug Anderson had to fill in for Kim and Connie Hopper because they were snowed out of the concert! Tim Lovelace filled in on piano. A must-see:
Second, Ronnie Booth sharing his father’s testimony to introduce “The Secret Place” was immensely touching. I’ve never seen Ronnie give a word like this from the stage. It was honest and heartfelt. Also, I notice he broke out the guitar. Does this mean the Booths are incorporating more stripped-down moments in their live set? Please let it be so! Continue reading
In keeping with Ernie’s way of following current trends in popular music, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound have opened a Vevo channel. They’ve just uploaded a number of full-length performances from their latest DVD, Oh What a Savior, which consists mostly of material from their latest album Glorious Day and a couple from Here We Are Again. Looking over the track-list, one notably missing song is “Any Other Man.” As far as I know, EHSS has never recorded this song on a DVD. It’s always been a dynamic live number. But their other choices are excellent, and the out-sourced live band is a great bonus, though I can’t seem to identify most of the players, beyond Wayne of course on keys and Ricky Free on drums. Wayne gets my vote for best wardrobe. And, well, the less said about Ernie’s pink flowered jacket the better.
One nice added touch they’ve been incorporating on “Sometimes I Wonder” is a chorus of “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be.”
Also notable is an appearance from music theater veteran J. Mark McVey on the number “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” Continue reading
Folks have been asking for a solo album from Wayne Haun for some time, and last year he quietly put out an album of mostly old “crooner” standards. While I might have been more interested to hear him offer up fresh interpretations of some of his own material, the production quality is still top-notch. This professionally shot live video shows him getting his Sinatra on with a song called “Blue Again.” I think this may be an original song, because I can’t find it anywhere else. It has a great classic sound:
I’d never run across this recording before, but I love the song, the sound and the harmonies. It’s all the more poignant since Phelps’s sister Sherri passed away. One more piece of evidence that Phelps is not only a monster vocalist, but a writer worth paying attention to.
I thought my readers would enjoy some fresh piano talent from the next generation doing a tribute to Anthony Burger. I ran into the guy on the left providing guest music in church the other night. A very talented and funny guy. His name is Scott Griffin, and his partner on the keys is Alan Tripp. They call themselves “Captivating Keyboards.”
Here is a look at one of their classical arrangements:
While perusing Youtube last night, I hit upon a little goldmine of old Gaither Vocal Band music. Special thanks to user Diego James Christian for uploading quite a bit of stuff that’s out of print, much of it in near-mp3 quality (though some is obviously taken from a cassette). I have no idea how he got the high quality ones sounding this good, but it’s fantastic. I put together two playlists for their debut and sophomore efforts. Click here for The New Gaither Vocal Band and here for Passin’ the Faith Along. Both of these albums hold up pretty well, for late 70s/early 80s type music. Sure, “Don’t Play With the Devil” and “Into the Word” are suspiciously reminiscent of the BeeGees, “Not By Might” is a shameless rip-off of Billy Joel’s “My Life,” etc., etc. But blah-blah-blah. Who cares? Enjoy the music. I’d also like to give a hat tip to Dustin Allman, Chris’s son, for reviewing the debut. I never would have discovered it otherwise.
Below the fold are some favorite selections from each album. Continue reading
For those of you who aren’t familiar with “Wretched,” it’s a Christian talk show that looks at faith, culture and everything else through a humorous, but very theologically conservative lens. Todd Friel, the host, is a former stand-up comedian who brings his unique, sarcastic style to each fresh issue. They are die-hard Calvinists, but we can forgive them. For all things Wretched, go here. To browse Wretched TV clips in a handy Youtube playlist, go here. Be warned: I’ve found it rather addictive.
I did not know this, but apparently Todd became a fan of the Ball Brothers about a year ago. They’ve been featured twice on the show. In this older clip you can see him raving about their theologically substantial lyrics, as compared with typical CCM radio fare. (Although, funnily enough, Todd doesn’t seem aware that the song they performed here was originally a CCM song by GoFish! Though I guess the Ball Brothers did make the second verse a bit more theological.)
This is a recent appearance with their two new members:
Courtesy of Diana Brantley, our tireless videographer, we have some hand-held videos from the Memphis Quartet Show featuring all of your favorite groups! These include the Kingsmen, Triumphant Quartet, Signature Sound and many more. Here they are all gathered in a playlist for your enjoyment.
In addition, here are some videos Diana did not catch but someone else did of the Booth Brothers with Gene McDonald. In a word, mensch! The Brothers also announced that they are releasing a new quartet album with Gene. Gene has guested on a number or two before, but this will be the first full-length album they’ve all done together! They treated to the audience to a preview of coming attractions with these selections. The video could be better, but audio is great!
“I Am the Man”
“Sweetest Song I Know”
“When That Lovely Name I Hear”
“His Name is Wonderful”
Well, as many of you know from other reports, Joseph Habedank decided it was God’s will for him to leave the Perrys. Many of us were sorry to see him go, as his lead vocals have long been a defining part of what made the group’s sound so memorable. However, after some consideration, the Perrys have hired an excellent replacement in David Ragan, formerly with the Inspirations. They’re also introducing a previously unknown young alto vocalist to the world in Leah Page. As Bryan Walker says in this video, she’s only nineteen years old! Yet she already has a strong, clear tone, obviously very much influenced by Libbi Stuffle. This is a good thing!
Here is Leah’s performance of “Through the Night”:
And here are more recent performances by the new Perrys:
Finally, if you wanted to hear Bryan sing “If You Knew Him,” here you go. (HT: A reader on Daniel Mount’s blog):
I just discovered this multi-artist, live collab on Chris Tomlin’s re-working of “Amazing Grace.” A very classy arrangement. Does anyone know if it’s on a CD?