Cody McVey joins First Baptist Atlanta staff

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…”

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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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Joseph Habedank signs recording contract with Daywind

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.

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Friday News Roundup #209

Friday-News

Worth Knowing

  • 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.

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

Are there any other major Southern Gospel news stories from the week that we haven’t discussed yet?

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The Crist Family to Retire

Yesterday afternoon, the Crist Family announced that they will be retiring by the end of the year. They will complete their annual February West Coast Tour, and perform limited farewell concerts for the remainder of the year.

The announcement stated: “With John and Tami Starkel’s recent decision to pursue some new paths at this time in their lives, along with the Crist girls getting married and looking to start families of their own, it is evident that this chapter in The Crist Family is coming to a close.”

Manager and lead singer Rich Crist commented: “One thing is certain—life will have changes. It was a major time of change ten years ago when God called us in to full-time ministry. Now, with this change, we are looking forward to see where He takes us next. It has been a wonderful journey and we will forever be grateful for the friendships we have made along the way.”

The group added: “We thank God, Crossroads, The Harper Agency, our peers and all of the Southern Gospel Music fans. Thank you for the love and support you have shown to us along the way. We will always love you!”

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Tribute Quartet signs with Daywind

Daywind announced yesterday that Tribute Quartet will be joining its roster. Daywind President Ed Leonard said, “Tribute has rapidly ascended to prominence in the Southern Gospel industry, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with such young, enthusiastic men and look forward to having the group as part of our growing roster of artists for a long time to come.”

Tribute Quartet co-founder and lead singer Gary Casto commented, “Tribute Quartet is thrilled to be joining the Daywind family. At this season in our ministry, after just celebrating our seventh year together, we are excited about the opportunity to work with this award-winning team as we continue to make great music for years to come.”

Fellow co-founder and pianist Josh Singletary added, I am tickled to be a part of the Daywind family and anticipate a bright and productive future!”

The group’s first Daywind release will come out later this year.

It has been an especially busy week for Tribute Quartet tenor Riley Harrison Clark; his wife Megan gave birth to their first child, son Colbin Harrison Clark, just before midnight last night.

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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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Paul Ellis returns to Liberty Quartet

paul ellisOn January 17, 2013, Liberty Quartet announced the departure of baritone Jordan Cragun. Various individuals—Tim Parton, Dehner Franks, Obadiah Neasham, and Liberty alumnus Doran Ritchey—have filled in over the last year as they searched for a permanent replacement. Yesterday afternoon, almost exactly a year to the day after Cragun’s departure, they announced that they have found a replacement: Former member Paul Ellis is returning.

Former Liberty Quartet tenor Keith Waggoner, who is now the chairman of Liberty Ministries (the group’s oversight board), commented:

Paul and his lovely wife, Kim, have three children: Emily, who is a junior at Northwest Nazarene University and will be getting married on June 20th; Connor, who is a senior in high school; and Grace, who is in eighth grade. Kim, a gifted vocalist and musician in her own right, is thrilled for Paul to be part of Liberty’s ministry again. We are blessed to have this incredible couple and add them as siblings to the Liberty Quartet family. Make plans now to see Liberty Quartet when they are in your neck of the woods and welcome Paul (back) to the group.

I believe the future is brighter than ever for Liberty and their ministry. Remember, when God says, “wait,” there is always a reason. As we surrender to His timing and His plans, we can truly say, “Good things DO come to those who wait on the Lord.”

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Dust of the transition…

This morning, during the domain transfer from SouthernGospelBlog.com to SouthernGospelJournal.com, the website’s host inadvertently pointed the domain at the wrong website for about 5-10 minutes. During that time, some RSS readers picked up a post from that website that contained content certainly not endorsed by Southern Gospel Journal. We apologize for the error; please ignore that post.

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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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