CD Review: Your Walk Talks (Mark Trammell Quartet)

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There are no two ways about it: The Mark Trammell Quartet’s brand-new release Your Walk Talks is a masterpiece.

A great recording starts with great songs. Mark Trammell has proven he knows how to find good songs; it is not a coincidence that his years with the Cathedrals and Gold City were years in which they found and recorded many of our genre’s all-time greatest songs. Just take the Cathedrals: Trammell ran their publishing company during his years in Stow, Ohio, and for part of his time with the group, screened songs to present the best finalists to the group.

This is only the Mark Trammell Quartet’s second recording of new songs since becoming a quartet; their previous one, Testimony, came out over three years ago, in 2010. But Your Walk Talks is worth the wait. Suppose that they had released one recording a year since 2010, and then pulled together all the strongest songs onto one compilation CD. That’s how strong the song selection is here.

“Don’t Stop Running,” written by and featuring Nick Trammell, is a perfect energetic album opener, setting the tone for the rest of the album.

 “God’s Been Faithful” (Dianne Wilkinson, Scott Inman) is one of those simple message songs that are, all too often, easy to skip over when skipping through the album looking for the next hit song. But Mark Trammell’s showstopping vocal solo is probably his strongest vocal performance on the CD.

“When The King Comes To Claim His Throne” (Dianne Wilkinson) is a song about Christ’s millenial reign featuring new tenor Dustin Black carrying the melody in the convention-style choruses. On an album filled with strong songs, it’s one of the strongest.

“Thanks to Calvary” (Bill and Gloria Gaither) is a song that seemingly every group in the industry has recorded, but Pat Barker’s warm, confident solo makes the song worth standing shoulder to shoulder with the new songs.

The next song, “I’ll Go Over Jordan Someday,” is also a cover, but unlike “Thanks to Calvary,” it’s an old Stamps-Baxter song that has been almost completely forgotten since the Happy Goodmans’ rarely-discussed 1974 rendition.

Your Walk Talks isn’t exactly ballad-heavy. “Man of Sorrows,” a powerful Mark Trammell feature written by Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca Peck, is an orchestrated anthem. The strings are there, and nicely done—incidentally, by a relatively new face on the scene, Luke Gambill of mystringsection.com. But the song’s every bit as much a hymn as it is a Southern Gospel ballad; it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine a pipe organ in place of the strings.

“Your Walk Talks” (written by Rodney Griffin and Babbie Mason) has simple message put in a delightfully fun way: “Your walk talks / and your talk talks / but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” Bass singer Pat Barker brings the energy the song needs.

“To Know He Knows Me” (Nick Trammell, Rodney Griffin) is a tongue-twister in the great tradition of a song like “Can He, Could He, Would He.” As the chorus says: “To know He knows me like He knows me and to know that He still loves me / Lets me know that it’s a love that is real / The fact He gave me what He gave me when I asked if He would save me / Tells me He will still a promise fulfill / To know that He did when He didn’t have to do what He did / Shows the heart of His compassion and grace / And since He knows me like He knows me yet He saved me like He saved me / Lets me know His love’s a love that’s here to say.”

“I’ll Take it To The Grave” is co-written by Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca Peck. After nearly four decades writing many of this genre’s greatest songs, Dianne Wilkinson is a songwriting legend in our genre for good reason. Yet this song is one of the five best songs she has ever written—and the single best fast song she has ever written.

 We get to the final song on the project, “I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way” (Dianne Wilkinson), before we have a full-scale feature for new tenor Dustin Black. It’s a reflective song with a deeply doctrinal message; how often do you hear a lyric that begins with “The mirror of God’s Holy Word revealed my lost condition”? The musical setting is the old-school bluesy Gospel style innovated by the Statesmen.

Your Walk Talks is easily the best recording of 2014, so far. But that statement’s a little too easy to make, since it is also the first major-artist recording of the year. So let’s go a little farther: It is one of the three strongest releases so far this decade.

Average song rating: 4.8 stars. Overall album rating: 5 stars.

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Dominion Agency to book Joseph Habedank

Joseph Habedank recently launched a solo career. Michael Davis, owner of the Dominion Booking Agency, announced on Facebook this evening that the Dominion Agency will be booking Habedank’s solo dates. Churches and other venues interested in booking Habedank can contact him at 828-454-5900 or at Michael@michaeldavisandassociates.com.

Habedank, as most readers here would know, came to prominence in Southern Gospel while singing for a decade with The Perrys, co-writing and singing lead on their their Song of the Year “If You Knew Him.”

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2013 in Review: Southern Gospel’s Biggest News Stories

Site Statistics

In 2013, SouthernGospelBlog.com reached a significant milestone: It was our first year with more than 1 million unique visits (1,070,730). We’ve come close several previous years, but this was our first to actually pass that mark. Thank you for reading! For anyone interested, here a report with other interesting site statistics.

Top Posts of 2013

The top posts of 2013 included several from previous years, and several that were not news stories.

  1. Michael English and Mark Lowry to Leave the Gaither Vocal Band (October 29, 2013; 13,509 views)
  2. Updates on Tracy Stuffle [Update 5] (May 21, 2013; 8,982 views)
  3. Tim Duncan Joins Canton Junction (October 7, 2011; 5,886 views during 2013)
  4. Joseph Habedank Leaves The Perrys (May 22, 2013; 4,619 views)
  5. Tim Duncan leaves Ernie Haase & Signature Sound; Ian Owens Joins (January 19, 2011; 4,609 views during 2013)
  6. Where is Glenn Dustin Now? (April 25, 2013; 4,461 views)
  7. National Quartet Convention posts 2013 Schedule (January 18, 2013; 4,380 views)
  8. An Interview with Tim Duncan (October 27, 2011; 4,302 views during 2013)
  9. Tracy Stuffle Suffers Stroke [Update 1] (January 22, 2013; 4,004 views)
  10. Gaither Vocal Band to perform 2014 tour with Phelps/Hampton/English/Gaither Lineup (October 24, 2013; 3,606 views)

Due to the mixture of posts and topics, this list doesn’t really answer the question of what were the year’s top stories.

Top News Stories of 2013

The two biggest stories of 2013 unfolded over multiple days and were covered in multiple posts. To determine the top stories, we combined the view counts on all posts in the unfolding story.

  1. Tracy Stuffle’s stroke (1 2 3 4 5) (18,653 total views)
  2. Michael English and Mark Lowry leave the Gaither Vocal Band (1 2) (17,115 total views)
  3. Joseph Habedank leaves The Perrys (4,619 views)
  4. Where is Glenn Dustin Now? (4,461 views)
  5. National Quartet Convention posts 2013 Schedule (4,380 views)
  6. Mike Holcomb Leaves The Inspirations (2,407 views)
  7. Dan Keeton Leaves Gold City (2,189 views)
  8. Shane McConnell Joins Canton Junction (2,157 views)
  9. David Ragan leaves The Inspirations (1,959 views)
  10. Debra Talley injured in fall (1,825 views)

Incidentally, these view counts do not count readers reading the post on the home page, via RSS, or via email. So they don’t measure a story’s full reach; however, home page, RSS, and email views stay steady enough that the numbers provide a valid apples-to-apples comparison, even if the numbers are similarly incomplete for each post.

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Songs from Exodus: In The Basket

Books-songs

Each week, we will go through the books of the Bible, looking at a song that illustrates a passage from each book.

Exodus 1 recounts how Pharaoh tried to wipe out the Israelites by killing all their male children. Exodus 2 is the story of how God spared Moses’ life by inspiring his parents to hide him in the bulrushes, and by leading Pharaoh’s daughter to find him and take pity on him. Poet Voices reflects on this in their song, “In The Basket.”

A little baby placed in a basket
Was put in a river to save his soul
A Hebrew son; his name was Moses
He was found by the house of Pharaoh

(Chorus)
They didn’t know what they had in the basket
Didn’t know what he’d become
Didn’t know, from the cradle to the casket
He would be the chosen one

Verse two pivots to a powerful pro-life message:

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