The Essential Songwriter Collection: Kyla Rowland

The Essential Songwriter Collection series lists ten songs each from legendary songwriters that every Southern Gospel fan should add to their collections.

  • God Handled It All: Gold City, Walk the Talk, 2003. This song was Jay Parrack’s final big solo during his years on the Gold City bus, a fitting capstone to an era of indisputable greatness for the group. 
  • He Will Roll You Over the Tide: Inspirations, Something to Sing About, 1979. Honorable mention goes to the Florida Boys’ 1978 version featuring Buddy Liles and to the Cathedrals’ 1979 version featuring Glen Payne and George Younce, but the Inspirations’ Archie Watkins feature is the strongest by a hair.
  • Holy Shore: The Perrys, Look No Further, 2007. 
  • I Made it By Grace: The McKameys, Joy in the Journey, 2011. Even though the CD version is the one listed here (for consistency), it’s doesn’t quite capture what the group does with the song live. This song is a highlight of current McKameys sets.
  • I Rest My Case at the Cross: The Perrys, Changed Forever, 2001. This rendition of this song didn’t only become one of the Perrys’ signature songs—it also played a major role in redefining their sound as they shifted from soprano/alto/tenor/bass to alto/lead/baritone/bass, the configuration which took them to the top of the genre.
  • Loving The Lamb: Mark Trammell Trio, Always Have a Song, 2008. Perhaps a mediocre rendition of this song would not have made a top-ten definitives list, but the passion with which Trammell delivers this lyric has made it a live concert staple for the group ever since.
  • One Scarred Hand: Gold City, Windows of Home, 1990. If there was ever an obvious choice that requires no deep reflection, it is this one!
  • Something’s Happening: Mercy’s Mark, Something’s Happening, 2006. Though the Hoppers would also do a strong version four years later, the pathos Josh Feemster brought to his solo here both makes that version the definitive and earns the song a place on this list. 
  • There Rose a Lamb: Gold City, Pillars of Faith, 1992.
  • Until I Start Looking Ahead: The Perrys, This is The Day, 2003. Though perhaps the most overlooked song/rendition on this top ten list, it fully deserves to stand with its counterparts in this list. The Perrys capture and convey the sweeping drama of their lyric and melody with their trademark aplomb.

What do you consider to be the definitive versions of Kyla Rowland’s songs?

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13 Letters to the Editor

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  1. One of the all-time greats! I could say a lot, but I’ll just link to where I already said it. 🙂

    • If I were going with personal favorites, three of the ones in your top ten list of personal favorites would also be on this list. 🙂

  2. Had the Perrys left “He Will Hide Me” without the subtle use of the hymn, “He Hideth My Soul,” the creative symbolism would have stood even higher. Overshadowing “He Will Hide Me” with the hymn chorus + the boisterous orchestrations seems to lower the song’s initial impact.

    Another Kyla Rowland favorite is “The Past Is a Promise” by the Whisnants. Although, like “He Will Hide Me,” the song uses a hymn in the tag, the song stands sufficiently in its own rights that a person can overlook the reference.

    • I’m actually with you on both. Without the hymn bridges, both would have been more likely to make my list.

  3. God Handled it All is my all time favorite song. Wish they sung this in current concerts

  4. This Old Sinner Testifies has gotta be up there somewhere.

  5. One of my favorite Kyla Rowland songs is “A Wedding Invitation” recorded by The Inspirations on their Something to Sing About recording from around 1980. Later versions of the group have often included this song in their concerts.

    • I love both of the last two songs mentioned. The problem, of course, is which song to bump to include them! Miss Kyla has written so many top-tier songs that a top 25 list would have been easy!

  6. On the subject of “Something’s Happening” have you heard the third verse that Mrs. Kyla added to the song for the choral anthem by Russel Mauldin? It adds such depth!!!

    “Something’s happening oh hear the sound
    There’s a cross being driven in the cold hard ground
    And the King of Israel He is dying now
    Something’s happening oh hear the sound”

    • She sings that third verse on her brand new “Song of a Lifetime” dvd… powerful lyrics!
      …And a great dvd too! She sings and tells the story behind at least six of the songs Daniel mentioned in his list above. 🙂

    • Never heard it! What a verse!

    • Thanks for sharing the video! Just posted that to youtube yesterday morning (with her permission).
      I’m not just saying this, but it really is an awesome DVD! 🙂