Singing News – January 2007 Issue

The January 2007 Singing News arrived this week.

Cover: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound made the cover for the second time in the group’s history. The formal pose–which was evidently the one that won the poll Singing News posted on its website–is, in my opinion, a good pick for this audience. The average Singing News reader doesn’t need to be convinced that Signature Sound is exciting; he or she already knows that. The average reader needs to be convinced that Signature Sound is…well, that Signature Sound is what the cover design implies, whatever that is. A classic Southern Gospel quartet with a contemporary look?

Gold City’s ad on page 3 marks the one-year anniversary of Doug Riley’s passing with a small box with Doug Riley’s picture and a caption reading “Remembering Doug Riley October 1970-January 2006.) For some reason, my eyes skipped over it until I was writing the review, on
the third or fourth time through the magazine.

Singing News published their top 40 year end chart on page 20. The Gaither Vocal Band’s “I Will Go On” sits atop the list at #1. The fan-voted song of the year, “He Saw it All” by the Booth Brothers, sits at #13. For whatever it’s worth, songs by male quartets hold only five of the top 20 slots:

  • #1 – I Will Go On (Gaither Vocal Band)
  • #9 – If it Takes a Valley (Brian Free & Assurance)
  • #10 – Do You Want to Be Forgiven (Signature Sound)
  • #15 – Don’t Let the Sandals Fool Ya (Triumphant Quartet)
  • #20 – I Don’t Wanna Go Back (Kingdom Heirs)

The top three songs were somewhat progressive, which makes the highest-placed traditional quartet song the Triumphant Quartets’ Don’t Let the Sandals Fool Ya.

Stewart Varnado took over the Where are They Now? column this month, and did a good job with an article on former Dixie Echoes tenor Gerry Stroup.

The cover story on Signature Sound starts on page 40. It’s well-written. Especially toward the end of the article, where Ernie says he’d love to see “new groups come along and knock my socks off,” the article covers some of the same ground covered in this blog in the interview posted last month.

The news page mentions Ishee’s departure from the Palmetto State Quartet. It does contain one detail I didn’t see in any of the Internet articles–that Ishee handpicked his successor, Bryan Elliott of the Anchormen. In the days of nearly instantaneous Internet news reporting, the strength of a magazine is putting that little spin on the story or adding that little fact that isn’t covered in the immediate press release.

One of the highlights is D. Ann Bailey’s At Home with Ricky & Kelly Free. Since many people who surf the Internet looking for Southern Gospel news have read her contributions to various websites and message boards, we were looking forward to her first article published in Singing News. Let’s just say that it lived up to the expectations.

The story behind the Inspirations’ current single, “I Have Not Forgotten,” is found on page 80.

In “Conversations with Tim Lovelace” on pages 80 and 81, Lovelace announces that he will be starting a monthly column for Singing News that will be printed upside down.

Various Southern Gospel artists list their New Years’ resolutions on page 98. Stewart Varnado, who has commented in several articles that he doesn’t read sheet music, is making a New Years’ resolution to practice his skills in that area. If he succeeds, one of Southern Gospel’s best pianists will get even better.

Among the highlights on the Singing News Top 80 chart are Signature Sound’s “John in the Jordan,” debuting at #13, and the Inspirations’ “I Have Not Forgotten,” at #21. While the cat is already out of the bag that Jeff & Sheri Easter’s “Over and Over” will take the #1 spot in the February chart, here’s hoping that Signature Sound will be at #1 in March and the Inspirations’ song in April.

The refrigerator door feature on page 134 features various interesting tidbits, one of which was that Perrys pianist Matthew Holt began playing piano for his church at the ripe old age of four.

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7 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Yes, I saw that. In fact, that was what prompted me to remember to write a review. Only problem is, I wrote the review and forgot to mention it.

  2. Did anyone besides me notice that the crossword clues didn’t match the puzzle this month? I don’t normally give the crossword a second glance, but for some reason I looked at it this time.

    For example, the clue to 7 across is: “Cream of the crop from the Statesmen and Blackwood Brothers joined to form ______ ________” and the answer given in the back is Arthur Rice…no wonder that guy can sing so great!

    There’s a two word clue for 8 across…”_____ ______ once was a funeral director.” The problem is there is no 8 across…only an 8 down with just three letters, the answer being “May.”

  3. Am I missing something or is this actually the January, 2007 issue of SN?

  4. Chuck, good catch. It’s January 2007, and I’ll fix it to say that.

  5. Good point; that did not occur to me.

  6. You pointed out that the Booth Brothers won a Fan Award for “He Saw It All” vs. ending up at #13 on the year end airplay chart.

    “He Saw It All” first appeared on the chart at position 23 in October 2005, moving to 16 in November, 6 in December, 3 in January 2006, and finally hitting number one position in February. Those three months from 2005 didn’t count for the overall 2006 chart, of course. If the year had been measured from July 2005 to June 2006, “He Saw It All” would probably have been in the top five.

  7. I skimmed through the January edition of SN at my parents house the other day and couldn’t find Jerry Kirksey’s “Perspective” column. We just got home from vacation today and our mail hasn’t been delivered yet, so I can’t confirm it. So, help me out: Is Kirksey’s article in the January issue? Since he had started Part 1 of a series in December I assumed it should be…