The Gaither Music Group is offering a sneak preview of four songs from the upcoming Gaither Vocal Band CD Greatly Blessed. The four songs are “Greatly Blessed” “Better Day” “You Are My All In All” and “Please Forgive Me”. My favorite has to be “You Are My All In All”, though I really like all four, but that one in particular is amazing I love the fact that they put “Canon” in D interwoven throughout the song. David Phelps is also at his absolute best on that one. “Please Forgive Me” me is also very good, the build up to the finish is quite stunning, and Michael English turns in a fantastic performance. You can judge it for yourself here.
There is a listing on ebay for the ultra rare first DVD of Ernie Haase And Signature Sound. It features their original lineup and some great songs! I have seen this DVD and can tell you that it is worth bidding on if you have been looking for this particular DVD. You can see and/or bid on the DVD, here.
I am going to try and do some more of these ebay find posts.
Several others have already mentioned this but I figured I would throw Steve a bone as well… So go here and welcome Steve to the blogging world. If his first couple of posts are any indication of the future of his blog, then I believe we have something to look forward to. Welcome Steve!
When I found out back in May that the Ernie Haase and Signature Sound Cathedrals tribute taping was going to be in Anderson Indiana (about 2 hours from my home) I just had to get my hands on some tickets. I ordered two tickets, and gave Daniel Mount the chance at one of them free of charge, which was an opportunity he of course jumped on… When that day finally arrived, I met with Daniel in Anderson at a local Steak & Shake, and had lunch and good companionship with a great guy. Daniel is one of the most knowledgeable people that I know of about the genre of Southern Gospel music, and it was delightful to get the chance to once again pick his brain.
After lunch Daniel and I made our way to the venue which was located about 5 miles from where we ate lunch. The venue itself was the Anderson University auditorium, where Ernie Haase and Signature Sound have recorded two videos previously. I had never been here so I did not know quite what to expect, lets say I was very impressed by this facility. We made our way to our seats (in the balcony) and sat down. The first thing I noticed was the band, they had 2 trombone players two trumpet players a tenor sax and maybe an alto sax, a keyboard player (Tracy Phillips) and a grand piano player (Wayne Haun), they also had a bass guitarist and Kevin Williams was there as a utility player (meaning he would end up playing about 3 different stringed instruments including a banjo) Their drummer who is very good is Zach Shumate for some reason I was expecting Greg Ritchie I had forgotten that Ernie had hired his own drummer. There was also a xylophone sitting on the stage… At about 6:07 Bill Gaither came out on stage and had us rolling in laughter in no time. He led us in the pre-recorded clapping routines, and then told us to sit tight, that EHSS would be out very soon…
Well the moment we had all been waiting for was almost upon us, we waited about 5 minutes and then with no warning here they came 5 men in a row walking onto the stage like they owned it, and like they knew that they were going take us on a ride that we would never forget. They kicked things off with “Wedding Music” which features mostly Tim and Ernie, Tim nailed down his part, and Ernie did very well on the power tag. “Step Into The Water” was up next and it once again featured Tim, and man he really impressed on this particular song, they have really breathed new life into this old classic and have made it their very own. They went straight into their next song, which started out with some heavy drum beats that had the crowd clapping along very loudly along with the beat. They then started singing maybe the best rendition of “Boundless Love” I have ever heard, Ernie Haase in particular sounded great on this one, he really skied high on the power tag. The crowd went crazy and they encored this one I believe twice.
Ernie slowed things down and talked a little bit after Boundless Love, this gave the guys time to catch their breath before starting into things again. Their next song was “I’m Gonna Live Forever” which featured Ernie on the verses, nice song that featured some nice pretty harmonies from the guys. New lead singer Devin McGlamery got his first feature of the night next on “Yesterday” he did a solid job on a song that is normally thought of as a bass lead. Ernie set up his staple song “Oh What A Savior” with a great story about his very first concert with the Cathedrals. I hope the story makes the video because it is quite touching and funny at the same time. Ernie shows really no sign of his voice letting him down even at his age of 45, he totally nailed this song in the key of F#. Some people might argue that they should not have done this song since they have recorded several times already, well I believe no setting in which Ernie Haase is singing is complete without this particular song. And his fans still love every bit of it.
Ernie then changed things up a bit and had Wayne Haun (who was playing the piano) and Tracey Phillips (who was on the keyboard) switch places so Tracey could offer up her skills in convention style playing as they sang ironically enough “Old Convention Song” her intro was so good that Ernie had her do it over again. The guys did well on the song itself. Wayne Haun who is their producer/piano player/tuba player wunderkind joined them for the next song, to make for some great five part harmony the song (which featured a great arrangement from Wayne) was a terrific acapella version of “Wonderful Grace Of Jesus” that really brought the house down for sure.
Doug Anderson whom I feel may be the most underrated singer in the business, stepped out front on their next song “Sinner Saved By Grace”. Doug really nailed his verse, I was expecting more of Doug on the second but they handed the lead off to Devin who was a little shaky to begin with but smoothed it out for a nice finish. Even though I would have preferred Doug on that second verse, Devin really did do a nice job. The group ensemble of this particular song was strong but not quite as strong as the most recent Gaither Vocal Band Version. I would however put it on par with the Cathedrals version from the Farewell Celebration project, which is what I believe they were shooting for.
Ernie set up the next three songs by saying that it was these types of songs that influenced George and Glen to do what they did. They started with “My Heart Is A Chapel” and then went into “Swinging On The Golden Gate” which I have never been a big fan of. They closed this part of the program by bringing out what Ernie called the “Big Dog”… Bill Gaither…To tell some George and Glen stories which were quite funny and touching for the most part. Bill then told Wayne to move aside and let a master take over on the keys. He accompanied them on their next song “Walk With Me”. The Crowd totally ate it up with Bill on the piano, and Ernie displaying some very nice control in his upper registers,Bill was instructing him to hold out his high notes extra long on this song..The Crowd wanted a encore at the end.
The brass section who had sat out the last segment came back on stage, Wayne Haun came out with a sousaphone and Tracey Phillips joined in with a clarinet for the next song, which was “Can He, Could He, Would He” They had quite a bit of fun with this particular song, at one point they surrounded Wayne in circle and were singing and dancing around him. I have to say it was quite amusing. Even some kids got involved in the dancing down close to the stage… They sang “Life Will Be Sweeter Someday” next and I have to say they did a nice job with this one… Another Cathedral heritage group Legacy Five have been staging this song lately as well, I have to say on this particular song that I actually prefer L5′s version. Mainly due to Tim Partons superb accompaniment. Wayne Haun is great at what he does but I have to give Tim the edge on this particular song. There is room however for both versions at the Southern Gospel table. I also found it interesting that on the part of this song where the piano player would normally play a solo, they had Kevin Williams do it on the electric guitar, he was quite awesome on that part it was a pleasant surprise for sure.
On the next song Wayne Haun once again showed his versatility and moved over and played the xylophone though it could have been a marimba, I could not really tell from the balcony. The song was “Mexico” I really enjoy this song and I think the guys did too… Some stage hands came out in the middle of the song and put sombreros on the singers heads… Ernie’s was pink, everyone was rolling with laughter… After the clapping a laughter died down they brought out a special surprise visitor to join them for their next song. Ernie introduced him as the man who truly helped him get to where he is today. That man was Squire Parsons, who received a standing ovation as he took the stage to sing his classic “Beulah Land” with the guys, I have to say that this was a highlight moment of the night for sure.
Tim stepped up and sang “God Delivers Again” next and he really did a great job with this one. They then went straight into “He Made A Change” which Doug of course knocked out of the park… Next up was “Moving Up To Gloryland” which the guys (particular Ernie) had probably way to much fun with… Towards the end of the song Ernie ran around with his mic and had several of the band members attempt his little “moo-oo-oo-oovin’” part he then had the crowd do it… I have to say it was very funny, I enjoyed their singing of this song as well…
Ernie then took the time time recognize each of the songwriters that were in the audience. Including Joel Lindsey and Dianne Wilkinson, he also took the time to recognize family of the Payne and Younce families. I thought this was very tactful and nice of Ernie, it just shows how classy this man is. Their next song was the “Laughing Song” which was made famous by George Younce, his son actually sang the first and only verse of this song last night and really did a nice job, after which they played a video of George doing the laughing part. I have to say it was a touching and funny moment all at the same time.
One of my favorite Cathedral songs from the nineties came next “I Thirst” which featured Doug and Ernie was very well sung and was definitely a more unnoticed highlight of the night … Their laid back arrangement of this song went over very well with the crowd. This set up what I feel may have been THE highlight of the night. And that was their arrangement of “Champion Of Love” featuring Wayne Haun on the vocal part… While I grew up listening to the Fowler version and that has always been the one I prefer along with Gerald Wolfe’s version… I have to say Wayne went a long way to changing my mind on that last night… While he does not have the vocal power of Wolfe or maybe even Scott Fowler, he does however have a very smooth lead voice that communicates a lyric very well, and he really sold that song as his own last night!
To slow things a little bit they sang “Plan Of Salvation” which went over very well especially Tim’s solos. This was a choice as a song to set up their next song… When I first heard that they were going to be doing “We Shall See Jesus” I was excited and reserved about it at the same time… Devin gets the lead on this song and he definitely sung his heart out in tribute to his hero Glen Payne… They actually for the third verse played a video of Glen Payne singing it… While this went over very well and everyone was on their feet by the time the verse was over, If I were Ernie I would have let Devin carry the lead through to the end Which I feel would have really cemented his place in the hearts of EHSS fans. But I can’t argue with the success it brought, even if the nostalgia of it all may have been a bit much, but I digress…
Once again they slowed things down and sang a very nice medley of Gaither songs including (Gentle Shepherd, Something About That Name, and I Will Serve Thee) all of which the Cathedrals had of course recorded. After this they played a touching video of George and Glen from the Farewell video singing “Search Me O God” I have to say that it was a very emotional time for everyone… Glen Paynes wife was there and I can only imagine the emotions she was feeling.
The group closed with “This Ole House” as their final full song. The arrangement was not much different from the original Cats version.Tim in particular did a great job in Georges place… Then they encored Boundless Love to finish things off. It was a very fitting finish to a great night of music, laughter and raw emotion… I will relive that night for days and weeks to come.
Ernie and his guys really outdid themselves, and I have to say that I think George and Glen would be very proud of him. They kept to the core sound of the Cathedrals music, while at the same time putting their own take on some beloved songs.When I first heard that Ernie Haase and Signature Sound was doing this tribute taping I was a little unsure about the whole thing… But as the night went on I found myself thinking “wow I am so glad I got the tickets to this.” I am really looking forward to the DVD/CD set that is to be released on October 26th. So when that is released go get yourself a copy, and never get rid of it because I believe it will be a piece of Southern Gospel History that will be cherished for a lifetime.
I am just about to leave for the Ernie Haase and Signature Sound Cathedrals tribute taping… I will be twittering throughout as much as I can… I can’t guarantee how much coverage I will be able to provide, but I will have some. I hope to have a full review up by Monday. Here is the link to my twitter account
This will be a short edition of News and Notes. I have been meaning to get another album review posted (Dove Brothers) but alas time always seems to slip away from me!
- Ernie Hasse and Signature Sound will be doing their Cat’s tribute video taping tomorrow, I will be attending and will try to do a full report by Monday. Daniel Mount will be attending as well sitting with me, so we may have similar reports…
- Check out this video of the Freedom singers. They are a fairly new group from Canada and they have a great story of Gods amazing grace and mercy. Averyfineline has some thought provoking posts up about this particular subject...
- There will be a benefit concert held for the Bowling Family on August 3rd… It will feature a who’s who of groups including the Gaither Vocal Band, The Perrys, The Booth Brothers, Jason Crabb, Legacy Five, Ernie Haase and Signature sound and many more! Here is a link to the details.
This offer ends on Monday July 26 so act quickly… Trust me it is worth checking out!
You can download the song and video here at Laurens website.
Saturday night I went to see the Dove Brothers in concert for the first time outside of NQC. The concert was held in Indianapolis. I was very curious to see them with a live band, as I really wish more groups would go that route. I came away very impressed by the class and overall stellar performance of the Dove Brothers.
Below I will list all of the songs they sang, with thoughts about the standout moments.
- I Recall- This song which makes for a great opener really set the tone for the rest of the night. The song itself is off of their newest studio project Unshakable which I will be releasing a review of this week sometime. Thoughts on the actual song will be on that review.
- Little David- I grew up singing this song at my church. So getting to hear it sung live by the Dove Brothers was a treat for sure. David Hester does a great job with this one.
- He’s Gonna Smile On Me- This song features Eric Dove who in my opinion is one of the most underrated baritones in the business. He does a great job on this song.
- If I Knew Then- This is another song off of their new project. Mcray Dove really does a great job with this one, it is in a slower style that I feel suits his voice a little better than the faster songs.
- I Can Pray- This has been Jerry Martins signature song now for three years. His voice is one you would think would burn out over time but it seems that it gets stronger and stronger with time. The song itself is one of my favorites from the last decade.
- You Don’t Know Gods Love- Mcray is featured on this great song. The song has great message that just reaches out a grabs you.
- I Know He Heard My Prayer- This old classic is one that I am glad to the see the Doves bring back. They recorded it on their 2001 project Every time I Feel The Spirit. Their arrangement of this song is very nice, with a high power ending that Jerry Martin nails.
- Group Intros
- The Band-Getting Ready To Leave This World- Adam Harmom was the star of this one though… Devin Dove (Drummer) and Marc Peele (Bassist) provided some excellent accompaniment to Harmons stellar piano stylings.
- How About You- This old Blackwood Brothers song is sung very well by David Hester. It was just accompanied by the piano. This song can also be found on their latest album.
- A Little Good News- Jerry Martin does a great job on this country sounding number. I like the message in this song.
- Hold On- This was probably the highlight of the night. Mcray Dove really goes to town with this one, his voice is perfect fit for this particular song and he has really mastered it… The crowd ate it up, and really got into this one after they had been pretty stoic most of the night. They encored this number 3 times. This song is also the new number one song (on the Singing News Chart) for next month.
- You Would Think He Would Learn- This song came after a brief intermission… They had to catch their breath from “Hold On” I really like this song and Mcray once again turns in a great performance.
- Did’nt It Rain- They always crank up the energy on this one. Jerry Martin really sounds great on this one… And Mcrays rain dance was not as drawn out as normal… They did not encore this one they segued straight into their next song when they reached the final note.
- Get Away Jordan- They closed with probably their greatest hit that they have ever had and the song they are most known for currently. They encored it twice and then had the crowd stand and sing “God Bless America” with them. It was a fitting close to a great night of music and entertainment…
Final Thoughts: I was not let down a bit by my first Dove Brothers concert. I would go to another without a doubt. The Dove Brothers Band also did not disappoint. The Drummer is Devin Dove (Eric’s Son) He is only 15 and he plays the fire out of those drums. Marc Peele is the bass player, and he really played well I was impressed by his abilities. Adam Harmon is quite the pianist and is a perfect fit for the Dove Brothers. Jerry Kelso is a tough act to follow and Adam makes it seem as if there was not a change on the bench at all…
Vocally the Doves are top notch from the tenor to the bass… Jerry Martin is one of the best tenors out there. Likewise for Mcray at the lead spot and his brother Eric at the Baritone. And David Hester is one of the smoothest bass singers you will hear on the road today, he can also rattle the floorboards when he wants to.
If the Dove Brothers are in your area anytime soon go and see for yourself about the quality and class of this terrific quartet, and band.
I remember hearing the Nelons sing years ago when I was just a kid. I had always loved their tight harmony and soaring vocals. So when I heard that they were coming out with a new CD I got curious. I then started hearing that this could be their best album in about twenty years, that pushed me to check into it. And well I have to say that this album could very well be their best since Get Ready. Kelly Nelon Clark with her smooth as butter alto voice, and her daughter Amber Thompson, who happens to be one of the best young sopranos in the business really make this album quite the treat to listen to. Jason Clark helps to anchor the sound… He was also a big contributor in the songwriting and producing of this album.
1. The Love Of God- The album kicks off with a great song featuring the soaring vocals of Amber Thompson. She has really developed as a singer since she was first introduced several years ago. This song helps to show her range and power as a soprano… She definitely has her mother’s vocal power, but with a younger more modern influence. This song is great upbeat number that really features Amber’s soaring soprano voice.5/5
2 . Beside Still Waters- While the title song (originally recorded by the Mark Trammel Trio) it is not a big standout number. It does however feature some great harmonies from this trio. 3.5/5
3. Goodbye Valley, Hello Mountaintop- This song gives Jason Clark a chance at a solo. His voice while not a powerhouse voice does have a nice cut to it that can be pleasing to listen…. This song has a very nice message that is quite encouraging. Once again the group has some very nice stacked harmonies on this number. Nice song. 3/5
4. There Is A Way- The first big ballad of the project features Amber Thompson. She really does a great job with this one. The Lyrics on this song are very strong. I could not get enough of this song, when I first started listening to this album. Wayne Haun did the orchestrations and they are breathtaking the Bridge features a very nice modulation up that sends this song skyward. Without a doubt this is favorite of mine on this project. 5/5
5. He Found Me- In an almost direct opposite style from the last song, this track features a medium-tempo kind of bluesy feel. Jason Clark takes the first verse, and Amber has the second. This is another highlight song that would have been even better had they let Amber take the lead on the entire song… This song is also their first single from the project. 4/5
6. Settled At The Cross- This is a beautiful song that features Kelly. Her performance on this particular song is reminiscent of some of her features from years gone by… Her voice is one of the smoothest and most beautiful alto voices in the business… She really sings this song with feeling and passion like she knows what the lyrics are all about. The Lyrics themselves, are very stirring and encouraging for any believer that has been or is going through a tough time. 5/5
7. I’m Going Home With Jesus- This classic that was originally covered by the McGruders, has been been given a modern feel by The Nelons. and they really make it their own. The song has a built-in encore that Amber totally blows out of the water, she really soars.it I love listening to this song and play it almost every day. Great number without a doubt. 5/5
8. My Tribute- This Andrae Crouch classic is taken and given the big ballad orchestrated treatment on this version. Jason Clark does a great job on his solo. They do great with this number. 4/5
9. Weep- I love this song which features Kelly Nelon Clark. After what I have been through these last three months this song really speaks to me. I play this song for anyone that tells me they don’t know what to say or do about my grief about the loss of my Mother. This song also features some of the best harmonies you will ever hear from a mixed trio. 5/5
10. Consider Me- This jazzy mid-tempo song features Jason Clark… I am not actually a big fan of this particular song… It has some decent lyrics (Though I am not a big fan of the line “Consider Me A Jesus Fan” just seems a little out of place or campy in this particular song) though it might have been a little better emphasized if Amber had carried the lead through most of it… 3/5
11. Jesus What A Wonderful Name- This song with it’s sweeping orchestration and great vocals. Is a definite highlight of the album. This may be Wayne Haun Orchestration at its best. The lyrics of this song penned by Gerald Crabb are very powerful. It finds itself a home here but would also do well in mainstream P&W. The song is just a great great song also with a nice solo from Kelly. 5/5
12. I Choose To Live- The closing song serves as a vocal debut for Kelly Nelon Clarks younger daughter, Autumn. She does a great job here on this number; her voice fits right in with the other members of the group, and she seems to mean what she is singing. The song has a nice message that is good for young and old people alike. 3.5/5
Overall Rating- 4/5 stars
Final Thoughts: Up until this point, for the past ten years I really hadn’t kept up with The Nelons. I know a lot of their older stuff, from back when they were the Rex Nelon Singers, and they had some great songs over the years, but nothing they had done recently had really caught my ear… Until this album came out. This album caught my attention from the first song until the last.Wayne Haun the head producer for this album really did a great job along with Jason Clark who had a big hand in the production process.
So with that said I would encourage you whether you are a Nelons fan or not to go out get this album or download it from Itunes.
I am back… I had a great vacation last week, and then I have been extremely busy this week. Below I will list some highlights from the past week or so from the Southern Gospel world and the blogging world.
- Greatly Blessed can now be pre-ordered from various outlets. However if you order it from gaither.com you will get a free or advance song. The song is “I Know How To Say Thank You” which features Mark Lowry. I have it and I will say that Mark sounds better on this song than he ever has. The song is very nicely written as well. Some highlights according to sound clips are the title track along with “You Are My All In All” I can’t wait to hear Wes cover “He Is Here” I also am looking forward to David Phelps nailing “He’s Alive” the biggest highlight is talked about below… You can listen to clips here, here and here. The last one is Christian Book distributors. They have a six song promo video featuring six clips of the new songs. The highlight in this particular set of sound-clips is “Please Forgive Me” You have to listen to understand what I am saying. They took that song and really kicked it up a notch and it absolutely blows me away. I hate to say it for I love Jason Crabb and the Crabb Family, but the GVB version at least from what I heard from that particular sound-clip, will soon own that song… I have to say I am getting more and more anxious for that CD to arrive in my mailbox!
- The Hoppers re-sign with Spring Hill. They also will be releasing a new project of new material on August 24th. This will be their first label release in 4 years. I have to say I am looking forward to this one for sure. The title song “Somethings Happening” is going to be huge for them. Here is a Youtube video of them singing it in concert. You can hear clips from the rest of the album here.
- This has been covered extensively but here is a reminder to pray for the Bowling Family, who were involved in a terrible bus accident last week. They have a long road to recovery, and they covet your prayers as they face this trying and difficult time. I am reminded by this to pray for all the artists out there who travel thousands of miles a month. I encourage you to do the same.
I will be posting some album reviews soon. Be looking for the following reviews.
Dove Brothers- Unshakable
The Nelons- Beside Still Waters
The Gaither Vocal Band- Greatly Blessed
Also in two weeks I will be attending a Triumphant Quartet concert the day after their live DVD taping… And two days after that I will be attending the Signature Sound Cats tribute video taping with my blogging colleague Daniel Mount.
Be on the lookout for a joint article with some fellow “young” southern gospel bloggers about what it is like and why I am a Southern Gospel fan at a young age. (In relative comparison to other SG fans)