Friday News Roundup #213

Friday-News

Worth Knowing

  • Brian Free & Assurance lead singer Bill Shivers and his wife Michelle had a son, William Brent Shivers III, on Wednesday.
  • Daywind and Greater Vision held a preacher appreciation contest to accompany the Greater Vision single “Preacher, Tell It Like It Is.” They have announced the winner.
  • On Wednesday, Mansion Entertainment announced a name change to Mansion Entertainment & Marketing. They also announced that they have moved into a new facility that includes label offices (they’re still the label home of Triumphant Quartet and Three Bridges), an audio studio, and a new High-Definition TV studio. They posted a two-minute video tour of the new facility here.

Worth Reading

This week’s most thought-provoking Letter to the Editor comes courtesy of my siblings:

Dear Editor,
Groups often do Christmas CDs, but have any groups ever done Resurrection/ Passion Week CDs? It would seem so ideal, because there are many songs about the cross, blood being shed, the resurrection, etc. Groups could do songs in any order or they could proceed chronologically through the week with songs about the various Passion Week events.
Unlike Christmas albums which are usually only played between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a Resurrection CD would have year-round appeal to Christians.
It would be nice to see Southern Gospel groups come out with some Resurrection albums!
Sincerely,
Daniel’s Siblings

The Paul Heil interview featured a number of tributes to the impact he has made on the genre. This one, from the Garms Family, was especially thoughtful:

On behalf of the family, I want to share a few words about the impact that Paul Heil and “The Gospel Greats” have had in our lives, particularly my own.

Our discovery of “The Gospel Greats” came after we discovered Southern Gospel music in 2005. One summer day, I was tuning the radio to a Contemporary Christian station that we occasionally listened to, and something surprising caught my ear. Yes- it was Southern Gospel music! I couldn’t believe it. A man’s voice came on after the song and proceeded to give the latest news in Southern Gospel. Another shock! This radio station gave Southern Gospel news instead of world news at the top of the hour! I was ecstatic, to say the least. 🙂 As we continued to listen to the radio station, we realized my naive mistake, but fell in love with the show “The Gospel Greats”.

Saturday afternoon at 4:00 PM found me (and any other siblings who wanted to join me) in front of the radio for those precious two hours of Southern Gospel music. We listened faithfully week after week, getting to know artists and becoming familiar with the current music. Sometimes we’d occupy ourselves with drawing or writing in tablets as we listened; other times we would be busy cleaning with every radio in the house blaring so we wouldn’t miss a single note! 🙂

When we subscribed to Singing News later on, we would refer to the latest issue whenever Paul had a new feature artist. (“Oh, so that’s who the Booth Brothers are!”) Springside catalogs were also my favorite items to receive in the mail, as I’d pore over them and study CD covers and song titles. (I still have nearly every one I ever received.)

I will never forget listening to Paul interview Dianne Wilkinson and Barbara Huffman. Hearing these two sweet ladies talk about songwriting inspired me greatly to write songs that would encourage, uplift, and teach people. I wanted to be just like them! 🙂

Many times Paul would play songs that blessed us at just the right time. For example, one time after Ben had learned of a fatal accident which claimed the life of a young church member, he turned on “The Gospel Greats”, and right at that moment The Talleys’ song “Life Goes On” was playing…exactly what he needed to hear.

Oh, the stories could go on of how “The Gospel Greats” were such an integral part of our lives, and how much they impacted and inspired us. Regrettably, we don’t get to hear Paul’s familiar voice each Saturday anymore. Both Minnesota stations that played “The Gospel Greats” ceased to feature them (to our huge disappointment), and besides that, we are often too occupied with our own singing ministry each weekend. But the memories we have of sitting glued to the radio, listening intently to every song, are irreplaceable and so special.

Thank you Paul (and Shelia!) for your ministry through “The Gospel Greats”! We appreciate it so much (and have friends that do as well). May God continue to bless your work and faithfulness. Also, thanks for the great interview, Daniel!

“Keep looking up!” 🙂

Blessings and Joy in the Journey,
Taylor for TGF

Worth Watching

Also worth watching: Matt Fouch interviews Scott Inman.

Worth Discussing

Are there any other significant Southern Gospel news stories from the past week?

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Friday News Roundup #212

Friday-News

Worth Knowing

  • A fundraising campaign has been launched on Indiegogo (a site similar to Kickstarter) to fund a CD celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Company. The CD should contain forgotten gems from the Stamps-Baxter catalog.
  • The Woodsmen Quartet announced that lead singer Jim Hutson will be rejoining the group, and Daniel Rivera (who has sung with Blackwood Legacy, Promise, and The Toney Brothers) will be coming on board as tenor.

Worth Reading

When discussing the possibility that the Gaither Vocal Band could be working on an album of classic songs with new vocals, reader Joseph submitted this Letter to the Editor:

That seems to be a pattern for Gaither. He introduces new groups singing the cornerstone GVB songs to let the fans compare the new to an established standard. Then, he pursues the new stuff and explores different direction that highlight the talent.

I for one love that approach. My wife doesn’t understand why I have so many GVB albums. “They’re all the same songs” she says. But I say that even though they may be the same songs, they are unique in that each iteration of the group has offered it’s own special sound to the songs.

Bottom line, Bill Gaither is a genius!!

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

Are there any other significant Southern Gospel news stories from the week that we have yet to cover?

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Friday News Roundup #211

Worth Knowing

  • Rich Crist of the (retiring) Crist Family will be joining the staff of the Crist Family’s record company, Crossroads, in March.
  • Gaither Music is up for a small business award in its hometown; their small business profile contains a number of fascinating details about the company.

Worth Reading

From this week’s Letters to the Editor, here are reader Dustin’s reflections on Southern Gospel’s Most Successful Soloists:

I’m late to a good conversation, but there is a lot of merit about writing your own songs as a soloist. There have not been many successful solo artists in gospel music. Only a few. And I’d say while many of the successful soloists remained successful and have their core, reliable fans, it’s easy for the “momentum” to stale up a bit among premier quartet fans. Southern gospel is a quartet world. When somebody leaves a big named group, fans anticipate the new vocalist, compare a group’s current personnel with combinations of past personnel. When you get a CD by a quartet or trio, you’re hearing different voices. And each new vocalist can bring a different dynamic to the group’s overall sound. Not so with a soloist. Also, emcee work must be good…keeping the audience engaged for an hour or more all by yourself can be tasking enough for a preacher. So it really helps to have a dynamic personality, as well as being extremely ministry minded.

Everyone needs a few heroes. Squire Parsons is one of mine. It was a highlight of my week when he commented on the site for the first time, sharing thoughts and prayers on the post about Bobby Clark’s stroke:

I just found out about my dear friend Bobby. Bobby Clark is in a class all by himself in my book. I love him personally and admire him professionally. i have been singing his song “I Know” continuously for more than a month in my preparation for concerts; I even have my wife, Linda singing it. Please convey our love and prayers to him and his family. Squire and Linda Parsons

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

Were there any other Southern Gospel news stories of significance this week?

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Friday News Roundup #210

Worth Knowing

  • 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.

Worth Reading

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!

Worth Watching

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.”

Worth Discussing

Were there any other Southern Gospel news stories of significance this week?

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Friday News Roundup #208

Friday-News

Worth Knowing

  • Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Tracy Stuffle’s stroke. The Perrys posted a note of thanks here.
  • We learned earlier in the month that Jared Stuffle would be singing bass for the Perrys until his father was able to return full-time. A press release with a few more details has now been posted.
  • AbsolutelyGospel has announced the nominees for their annual awards.
  • The Mark Trammell Quartet held a blog tour to promote their new release, featuring four simultaneously posted interviews with group members here, here, here and here. There’s also a contest open to win a copy of the new CD here.

Worth Watching

Here’s a personal testimony song that Joseph Habedank wrote and has been singing in his solo concerts:

Worth Discussing

Were there any other significant Southern Gospel news stories this week?

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Friday News Roundup #207

Worth Knowing

  • Legacy Five has signed a long-term recording contract with Daywind Records. Daywind will release their Kickstarter-funded project, Great Day, on March 25. Legacy Five is holding a contest, asking fans to pick the cover photo for the CD, here.
  • Rebels Quartet bass singer Rick Fair will be leaving the group due to demands of his day job. The group is seeking a replacement, asking interested bass singers to contact them at group@therebelsquartet.com.

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

Are there any other significant Southern Gospel news stories from the past week?

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Friday News Roundup #206

Worth Knowing

  • 11th Hour has hired Courtney Parker as their new soprano.
  • The Dove Brothers have hired Marc McPherson as their new tenor.
  • Aaron and Amanda Crabb are leaving John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in Texas to start a church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
  • The Booth Brothers group members are down with Type A Flu, leading them to cancel this weekend’s concert dates to avoid passing it along to their audiences.
  • The Pelfreys, Jerry Pelfrey’s family group, have sent their first single to radio. It’s the song “Glorious,” previously recorded by the LeFevre Quartet.
  • The Spin-In-Motion Southern Gospel radio promotion company, which had been run for the last fifteen years by Tony & Kim Hudgins, will now be run by Jimmy & Jennifer Layne of the group Back Home.

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

Are there any other significant Southern Gospel news stories from the past week?

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Friday News Roundup #205

Worth Knowing

  • Last weekend, Jared Stuffle sang bass with The Perrys for the first time. He will be the Perrys’ regular bass vocalist as his father, Tracy Stuffle, continues to recover from a stroke. Tracy sings selected features on programs where he is healthy enough to make the trip.
  • Congratulations to Rodney Griffin, who just passed the twenty-year mark with Greater Vision.
  • Tim Lovelace’s mother Louise has passed away.
  • Songwriter Marty Millikin has passed away.
  • Colbert Croft has passed away. He had been married to Joyce Croft for 49 years. They wrote songs like “I Can’t Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand),” “I Believe When He Died He Died For Me,” and “Is That Footsteps That I Hear?”

Worth Watching

Here’s a video of The Old Paths’ debut performance of their new radio single, “Long Live The King”:

Greater Vision sings the Booth Brothers’ signature song:

Probably the best part is the reaction from the Booth Brothers. Michael: “Never sounded better!” Ronnie: “We’re doing ‘Lazarus’!”

Worth Discussing

Are there any other significant Southern Gospel stories from the past week?

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Friday News Roundup #204

A note: For the time being, I’m planning to move to posting five days per week, taking Saturdays and Sundays off. So the Saturday News Roundup will become a Friday News Roundup. As always, if something especially newsworthy happens on a weekend, or after a weekday’s main post is up, I’ll post it.

Worth Knowing

  • Last week’s roundup mentioned that Jeff Whisnant’s father, John Whisnant Sr., sustained serious injuries in a car accident. Sadly, he has passed away as a result of those injuries. Jeff Whisnant offered some thoughts here.
  • In case you missed it amidst the Christmas Eve festivities, the big story of the week was that the Mark Trammell Quartet is leaving Daywind to start their own label.

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Friday—you decide!

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Saturday News Roundup #203

Worth Knowing

  • Please keep noted Southern Gospel concert promoter Robert York in your prayers this week; his wife of fifty-one years, Carol York, passed away on Monday after an extended illness.
  • Worth Reading: Brian Crout offers the story behind the Kingdom Heirs’ “I’ll Know I’m Home.”
  • Jeff Whisnant’s father, Paw Paw Joe Whisnant, sustained serious injuries in a car accident on Saturday.
  • When I write about non-Southern Gospel topics, I generally post them somewhere besides this site, to keep this site’s content as focused as possible. But from time to time I’ll mention something here. I’ve been pondering why Christian nations throughout history rise and fall, and posted some thoughts on the topic here.

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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