Original Cathedral Quartet tenor Bobby Clark suffered two strokes on January 27th and 28th. He spent about two weeks in intensive care. A family member posted to his Facebook page this evening that he is beginning therapy, adding, “We will not know the true damage just yet, but I covet your prayers for him.”Read More
The Ball Brothers announced today that their pianist, Cody McVey, is leaving the group. McVey has accepted the position of Associate Arranger / Pianist at First Baptist Atlanta. McVey commented:
I really want to thank the Ball Brothers for allowing me to travel with them for the past three years . . . and for letting me marry their sister. I’ve traveled full-time since I was 17, and I feel like it’s time for me to take the next step in God’s plan for my life. Anyone who knows me knows that my true passion is arranging and orchestrating. I couldn’t be more excited to join the ministry team of Dr. Stanley, and Pastors Anthony George, Rodney Brooks, and Matthew Slemp.
Ball Brothers manager Daniel Ball adds:
Cody has been a great blessing to our ministry. He will continue to be a part of arranging and producing for the Ball Brothers, and has already begun work on our new project that will be released this summer. Cody has incredible talent and is being mentored by legendary producer, Lari Goss. We will miss having him at the piano, but are excited for the opportunity he has to be involved in the ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley and First Baptist Atlanta.
The funniest press releases in Southern Gospel are consistently any personnel change releases from The Ball Brothers. This one was no exception; it concludes: “The Ball Brothers are not looking to add another pianist at this time, but they do have a sister that is single and if she happens to marry a pianist…”Read More
Each week, we will go through the books of the Bible, looking at a song that illustrates a passage from each book.
Moses spent forty years of his life leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. But because he disobeyed God by striking a rock when God said to speak to it, God did not permit him to enter the Promised Land. But right before Moses died, God let him look into the Promised Land. This George Younce song tells the rest of the story:Read More
- Congratulations to Nick and Jessica Trammell, who announced this week that they are expecting their second child.
- Joseph Habedank and Ricky Free announced this week that Free will produce Habedank’s solo mainline debut project for his new Daywind contract.
Insights from this week’s Letters To The Editor. From John Situmbeko, in response to “Songs From Numbers: High And Lifted Up“:
There was a time I used to wonder why God instructed Moses to lift high a bronze serpent to symbolise Jesus. Why not lift a bronze lamb to represent the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? Further study of the word revealed to me such texts as 1 Cor. 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Then I understood that when Jesus, “the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world,” was lifted up, in the likeness of sinful flesh, He was made to be sin for us as every sin on Him was laid. The bronze serpent was therefore a sound representation of Him at the cross. This also serves to show just how dreadful the load He bore was; so dreadful that a serpent was fit for His representation. No wonder He felt the heavy weight of separation and bitterly cried out to His Father. And how sad that it was our sins that put Him there, but how amazing that grace will always be greater than sin.
No wonder such songs as High and Lifted Up never fail to command praise from my heart each time I listen to them.
From Greg Bentley, in response to “Southern Gospel’s Most Successful Soloists“:
Coming from the side of traveling with Squire for 10 years, one of the benefits I see as a soloist who writes their own music is the interaction that it gives them with the audience. Let’s face it, one person standing and singing with soundtracks can be, well, not very entertaining. But when that person can say, “I wrote this song after I …” helps to pull the audience into the life of the writer and gives them a more personal concert experience. I’ve seen this happen with Mark and Kirk as well. Writer / artist don’t have to search for songs that speak to them that they can try to convey to the audience, they have the advantage of being able to write their story and then sing it. I know Joseph will be very successful with what his track record of writing has been to this point!
Also worth watching: Southern Gospel Journal’s youngest contributor, Caleb Garms, is a fine singer in his own right, as he shows on “He Pilots My Ship.”
Were there any other Southern Gospel news stories of significance this week?Read More
On Monday, Daywind announced that it had signed Joseph Habedank to a solo recording contract. Ever since, I have been pondering the question of what, if anything, Southern Gospel’s most popular soloists have in common.
It’s not too hard to identify Southern Gospel’s most popular soloists over the last quarter-century or so. Ever since Singing News added a Favorite Soloist award in 1997, only three soloists have won: Kirk Talley, Mark Bishop, and Ivan Parker. If the award had been launched five years earlier—when Kirk was still with The Talleys, Ivan was still with Gold City, and Mark was still with The Bishops—it is quite probable that Squire Parsons would have picked up the first few awards, given his popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.
There are, of course, any number of common threads here, including that these are all male singers who came to prominence singing lead or tenor for the genre’s leading vocal groups. But one common thread stands above the rest: With one exception (Ivan Parker), these singers were all songwriters writing most of their material, as acclaimed for their pen as for their voice. All three had written #1 hits; in fact, Kirk and Squire both wrote #1 hits for groups they weren’t traveling with at the time (“Wedding Music” and “I’m Not Giving Up,” respectively).
It’s not hard to see the similarities in Joseph Habedank’s career. He was a longtime lead singer for one of the genre’s most popular vocal groups, but by the time he left, he was as acclaimed for his writing as for his voice. He had written a #1 hit for his own group (“If You Knew Him”) and a #1 hit for another group (“That’s All I Need / He’s Everything I Need,” The Kingsmen).
Southern Gospel fans appreciate soloists from a variety of backgrounds and specialties. But it seems there is a special place in a Southern Gospel fan’s heart for soloists who are both one of the genre’s finest vocalists and one of the genre’s finest songwriters.Read More
This list aims to be inclusive of Daywind, Crossroads, Horizon, Sonlite, Gaither Music Group, Stow Town, New Haven, Difference Media, Song Garden, Mansion, and major independent group releases where known.
- 2/4: Oh What a Savior, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (CD/DVD) (Gaither Music Group / Capitol)
- 2/18: Turn Your Radio On, Watts Rowsey and Bean (Daywind / New Day)
- 2/18: The Test of Time, The Talleys (Horizon/Crossroads)
- 2/18: I’d Do It All Over Again, Easter Brothers (Pisgah Ridge/Crossroads)
- 3/4: Hymns, Gaither Vocal Band (Gaither Music Group / Capitol)
- 3/18: A New Season, Matthew Hagee (Difference Media / Capitol)
- 3/25: Great Day, Legacy Five (Daywind / New Day)
- 4/1: Because He Lives: Favorite Easter Songs, Gaither Homecoming Friends (Gaither Music Group / Capitol)
- 4/8: Into His Presence, The Perrys (Stow Town / Provident)
- 4/25: Unashamed, Brian Free & Assurance (Daywind/New Day)
Is this list missing anything significant, especially among major independent releases? Let us know!Read More
This evening, Daywind announced that they have signed Joseph Habedank to a solo recording contract. Habedank is, of course, no stranger to Daywind, having spent his entire professional Southern Gospel career to date as part of an artist who was (at the time he was with them) part of the Daywind roster, The Perrys. Habedank commented: “I am excited to begin this new season in my life and share the story of God’s grace, forgiveness, faithfulness and love. My wife Lindsay and I want to thank everyone who has reached out to us and prayed for us. We love you and can’t wait to see you soon!”
About three weeks ago, he also signed with a booking agency, Michael Davis’s Dominion Agency.Read More
Each week, we go through the books of the Bible, looking at a song that illustrates a passage from each book.
Numbers 21 tells the story of how the Israelites rebelled against Moses and against God, asking: “Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread” (Numbers 21:5, KJV).
God replied by sending fiery serpents among the people; many of the Israelites died from bites from these snakes. This brought the Israelites to repentance; they confessed their sin, and asked Moses to pray that God would take the serpents away from them.
God told Moses: “Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live” (verse 8, KJV). Moses did.
Dianne Wilkinson used this passage as a starting point for one of the all-time greatest Cathedrals anthems, “High and Lifted Up”:Read More
Two weeks ago, this site became Southern Gospel Journal. In the announcement, I noted that it is a change in perspective, not merely a name change. The re-branding included several new or re-launched columns, and an expanded “about” section for readers new to Southern Gospel (or to Christianity altogether).
One change remains: It is time to upgrade the comments section.
Ever since blogging became popular, many blog’s comment sections have been free-for-alls where anything goes. I have never been comfortable with this notion. Conversations about this genre are valuable, if they are quality conversations: Insights, respectfully expressed.
The new name for our discussion section, “Letters To The Editor,” is more consistent with the new branding and with this vision. As before, we will still welcome quality discussion. On every post, we will publish the submissions that are most thoughtful and insightful and within the basic comment guidelines. Also, every week, we will highlight a few of the week’s most worthy letters to the editor in our Friday News Roundup column.
Around 95% of the people who visit this website never post a comment. For some visitors, this website is their first exposure to current Southern Gospel culture. Let’s set them a good example. But, more importantly, this site has a fair number of international visitors; for a few, this website may be their first introduction to how Christians treat one another. We must be mindful of the example we set for them through our words and deeds.Read More
- Mercy’s Well has hired pianist Josh Simpson. He has played for The Hoppers, Gold City, and Brian Free & Assurance.
- In the latest issue of Gospel Music Quarterly, posted here, IMC Concerts announced that there will be additional Cathedrals Family Reunion concerts in 2014.
- The Hoskins Family signed a booking agreement with Michael Davis’s Dominion Agency.
- The Akins announced that they are going to leave their booking agency and bring their booking in-house so that they can have more direct contact with churches before each concert and better understand that church’s needs and focus.
- Liberty Quartet lead singer Doug Wiley is entering the studio to record a solo album. The CD will be produced by Gordon Mote. Wiley commented to Southern Gospel Journal that he is not leaving Liberty Quartet; he is “just adding some solo dates.”
- Daywind has announced that they will be offering lead sheets for sale with some of their soundtracks.
- The Perrys are in concert at Lake Gibson Church of the Nazarene tomorrow night, February 1; the concert will be live-streamed for free here. Lake Gibson has a full calendar of Southern Gospel’s leading groups scheduled over the next two months; this is worthy of special mention thanks to interest in Tracy Stuffle’s ongoing stroke recovery, and in his son J.K.’s vocals filling in at the bass part.
- Somewhat off topic: Two worthwhile reads this this week, on completely unrelated topics, are a post on the value of Sunday evening services and an analysis of proposed revisions to copyright law.
Are there any other major Southern Gospel news stories from the week that we haven’t discussed yet?Read More