Southern Gospel Journal to retire in June

This has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. But “to every thing there is a season,” and this season is coming to an end: I have decided to retire Southern Gospel Journal in early June.

For my entire adult life, writing a post every morning has been the only routine I have known. So this decision was certainly influenced by a number of factors.

Perhaps most significant is how the world has changed over the last eight years. In 2006, we needed news websites. Now, we follow our favorite artists directly on Facebook or Twitter. That has decreased the need for this site. But I truly don’t regret it, because it is better for the genre.

Something similar happened with CD reviews. Thanks to Spotify, we don’t need a reviewer to tell us if a CD is any good when we can hear it for ourselves.

When it comes to commentary, I have said my piece. After writing over 3,100 posts here, I find that most of my post ideas are ones I’ve had before.

There are also a few personal reasons. I need to lose weight, which means that I need to spend more time away from the computer, exercising. And I am ready to pick back up several book and songwriting projects that had been on the back burner.

I’m making this announcement a month early, for several reasons. First, there are several posts already promised or scheduled for the next few weeks. Second, this will allow time for anyone who wants to pick up the mantle of daily news and commentary to get up and running. Finally, it lets me get this post out of the way and save the final post for a more fitting subject.

I have been very active in this genre behind the scenes. That won’t change; I still love this music deeply.

With this season in my life drawing to a close, I’m tempted to complicate the transition by refusing to let go of the past. Instead, I’ll focus on the future, looking forward to seeing what the road ahead may hold both for me and for this genre of music that has touched all of us so deeply.

Thank you to all of you who have made this project one of the greatest blessings I have ever experienced.

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Upcoming Southern Gospel Releases: May 2014

This list aims to be inclusive of Daywind, Crossroads, Horizon, Sonlite, Gaither Music Group, Stow Town, New Haven, Difference Media, Song Garden, Mansion, and major independent group releases where known.

May 2014

  • 5/20: This Is What It’s All About, Mark Bishop (Sonlite / Crossroads)
  • 5/20: Decade, The Old Paths (Sonlite / Crossroads)
  • 5/20: Years of Gold: The Best of Jonathan Wilburn: A Collection of Hits (Daywind / New Day)
  • 5/27: A Cappella, The Martins (Gaither Music Group / Capitol)
  • 5/27: Worship, Guy Penrod
  • 5/27: Captured: Live In The Studio, Devin McGlamery

June 2014

  • 6/1: Isaiah 12:2, Booth Brothers
  • 6/10: Measure of Grace, The Taylors (Stow Town / Provident)
  • 6/10: Love, The Hagees (Difference Media / Capitol)
  • 6/24: Awesome God, Triumphant Quartet (Mansion / Provident)

Is this list missing anything significant, especially among major independent releases? Let us know!

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Sharleanae Dotson (Collingsworth) to begin performing with The Collingsworth Family

On June 10th, Phil Collingsworth Jr. will marry his fianceé Sharlenae Dotson. In a post on their Facebook page yesterday, the Collingsworth Family posted a picture of Phil and Sharlenae singing together. The caption noted that it was “a new si[ght] that will be added to all Collingsworth Family performances shortly.”

The announcement did not specify whether Sharlenae would become an official group member, or whether Phil and Sharlenae’s performances together would be a separate duet portion of the program.

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The Inspirations at 50, Part 2

This year, the Inspirations celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. We’re going to commemorate this landmark milestone with a series looking at ten of their all-time greatest albums. Also see: Part 1 (7-10).

#6: Wake Up In Glory (1972)

inspirations1972glorymaxThe Inspirations’ first album with Canaan, Our Inspiration (1971), was a nice first step. This, their second, seems to have been a breakout album. Granted, I don’t have Canaan’s internal sales numbers from the era to back this up, but it’s not hard to make an educated guess based on the relative rarity of Our Inspiration today, compared to the plentiful copies of this album still in circulation.

This album may not have had a single signature song—the closest is “Rocked On The Deep,” a popular feature for Mike Holcomb for years—but it was a solid all-around performance. It was probably the first Inspirations record in many households. Fans decided they liked what they heard. They came back for more, and they’re still coming today.

Song list: I’ll Wake Up In Glory; Oh, What A Day; Bring Your Burdens To Him; I’ll Never Die; Where The Shades Of Love Lie Deep; We’ll Be At Home Again; I’m Going Up; Rocked On The Deep; A Place Called Heaven; Everybody Will Be Happy Over There; Obey The Spirit; One By One.


#5: The Son Came Down (2009)

inspirations2009thesoncamedownmaxWhile we didn’t know it at the time, this ended up being a transitional lineup; baritone Melton Campbell and bass Mike Holcomb were long-running fan favorites, while Dallas Rogers and David Ragan were debuting. But what we did know at the time was that this was a really, really good project. I reviewed it here, giving it five stars, and if it were possible, my respect for its strength has only increased as the years have gone by.

In the five years since this came out, there have been a number of personnel changes. But within the last few months, two of the vocalists featured on this project (Rogers and Campbell) have returned to the Inspirations lineup, bringing with them an infusion of energy and excitement—not to mention spectacular live renditions of “Dealing With Gold.”

Song list: I Know Where He Lives; Dealing With Gold; Stone’s Throw Away; The Son Came Down; Crown Him King; Heaven Knows Where I’ve Been; Thinking More Of Heaven; The Potter; Thank God I’ve Made It; Walkin’ By Faith.


 

#4: Golden Street Parade (1975)

inspirations1975goldenstreetparademaxThis album comes squarely in the middle of a 1972-78 run where the Inspirations were named Favorite Group in the Singing News Fan Awards for six out of seven years. Perhaps it is no surprise that fully half of the top ten albums we’re commemorating in this series come out of that era. With songs like “Golden Street Parade,” “I Love To Tell Of His Love,” “On The Sea of Life,” and “When God Dips His Love,” the Inspirations produced one of the most exceptional studio albums of the decade.

Song list: Golden Street Parade; Tears Will Never Stain; I Love To Tell Of His Love; I Found A Treasure; Will Someone Be Waiting; Glorybound; When God Dips His Love; I’m Going To Meet You In Heaven Someday; When The Saints Gather Home; Haven Of Rest; On The Sea Of Life; God Still Cares.


 

A Video Highlight

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