It’s February and time to grab your coffee, snuggle up by the fire and read all the great stories in this edition of SGNScoops Magazine. We know we have enough captivating features to keep you reading until you are warm and toasty!
Tags: Lari Goss, SGNScoops Magazine, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel News
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VONDA ON THE RUN by Robert York
Vonda Easley is involved in numerous things that go on in Southern Gospel Music. In her early life she was brought up loving Gospel, Bluegrass and Country music. Around 10 years ago she and her daughter Ashley Easley formed a group to share God’s word and message in Southern Gospel music. She named the group “Hope’s Journey” and has been going strong ever since. She works with Morris Music Group and has a promotion company, Hey Y’all Media. You can also find her working as a dental hygienist. Ashley married Josh Franks and left Hope’s Journey to sing with her husband. Tracy Byrd is now singing with Vonda and Chris Clay in Hope’s Journey. Vonda is also deeply involved with SGN Scoops and has developed a relationship with them that is carried all around the world.
Well, that’s just to say a little about Vonda. I when to Heflin, AL to see what she was up to. First off, there was a concert that Josh and Ashley hosted called ‘Battle of the Quartets’. It featured Mark Trammell Quartet and The Perrys along with Josh and Ashley. Well guess who was also there:
Grandma Vonda keeping her grandchildren and spending time with her family. The next morning she was up bright and early for her live radio program at WPIL-FM called Strictly Southern with Vonda Easley. She had Charlie Sexton as a guest on the program talking about a benefit concert that was happening that evening. I then joined her on the program where we chatted about Gospel music and concerts. The final 30 minutes of the program is usually devoted to a phone call with Rob Patz talking about events that are going on and just really having a good fun time. Rob loves to call that portion of the show the Rob and Vonda Show, but Vonda has a different idea about it.
Tags: Ashley Franks, christian country, Christian Music, gospel music, Hope's Journey, rob patz, Robert York, sgn scoops, southern gospel, Strictly Southern with Vonda Easley, Vonda Easley
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Weekend of February 28-March 1
Nashville, TN February 23, 2015 Fast rising Southern Gospel group the Williamsons will be the featured guest on the nationally syndicated radio program “Gospel Greats” with Paul Heil. Listeners will enjoy songs from their CD “Tell Somebody” including their current top ten hit “It was the Word”.
Celebrating its 35th year of broadcasting Southern Gospel Music, “The Gospel Greats” is heard on radio stations across the United States, in Canada and through broadcasters worldwide. The program is also heard on Sirius/XM Satellite and is streamed on the internet.
Tags: Butler music Great, Christian Music, gospel greats, gospel music, southern gospel, The Williamons
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Once again our SGN Scoops’ reporter, Marcie Gray, shares a video from the Singing at Sea cruise. We hope you enjoy the LeFevre Quartet as they perform “Jesus Saves.”
Click on the picture below for the amazing vocal ministry of the LeFevre Quartet.
Tags: Christian Music, gospel music, Jesus Saves, lefevre quartet, Marcie Gray, sgn scoops, SGN Scoops TV, Singing at Sea, southern gospel
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Nashville, Tenn (February 26, 2015) Beckie Simmons is announcing today that talented young Gospel trio, Beyond the Ashes has reached a booking agreement withBSA/Beckie Simmons Agency of Nashville, TN, effective immediately. Beyond The Ashes consists of Anthony Facello, Dustin Doyle, and Tyler Vestal.
Known as a group who is ministry minded, yet having some of the smoothest sounds in Gospel music, Beyond The Ashes fits well in just about any setting from churches to large concert venues.
Concerning this new agreement Anthony Facello commented, “I have been fortunate enough to know Beckie for many years. Like I felt about working with Wayne Haun I feel the same about Beckie Simmons Agency.” Continuing he said, “I always wanted to work side-by-side with such talented and driven people. I am honored to be a part of BSA. We look forward to the future and what God has in store! Thank you Beckie for believing in BTA.”
Beckie Simmons adds, “I have loved Beyond The Ashes music since their inception and have admired their work ethics for quite some time. I have long been a fan and applaud their passion for God and Ministry. All of us at BSA are excited to be a part of their Team.”
If you would like to interview Beyond The Ashes contact
To learn more about Beyond The Ashes go to http://www.
To book Beyond The Ashes contact Beckie Simmons Agency at http://www.bsaworld.com or call 615-595-7500 .
About Beyond The Ashes
Beyond our plans, beyond our own abilities, beyond our failures, beyond our own God-given talents, above and beyond anything we could ask or even imagine. God has a plan for each of us, to rise above the ashes and to live powerfully for Him.
When three different people come from three completely different parts of the United States and share the same strong desire and sincere call to worship and minister, then those plans, which are beyond our own, begin to come to fruition.
Tags: Anthony Facello, Beckie Simmons, Beyond the Ashes, BSA, Christian Music, Dustin Doyle, gospel music, southern gospel, Tyler Vestal
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Dottie Rambo was a much-loved and awarded singer/songwriter of Christian music who was killed in a bus accident in May 2008. She is said to have written over 2500 songs, many of which are sung regularly in churches, recorded often by artists and loved by millions. Dottie wrote such songs as “He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Needs,” “In the Valley He Restoreth My Soul,” and “We Shall Behold Him.”
We are traveling the Road to the 2015 Diamond Awards during this nomination period, by highlighting the definition of each award category. The Dottie Rambo Songwriter of the Year is a nationally-charting songwriter in Southern, Country or Bluegrass Christian music whose songs are recorded by Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel artists.
On November 4th, 2014, the Diamond Awards were held at the 2014 Creekside Gospel Music Convention in Pigeon Forge. The winner of the 2014 Diamond Award Dottie Rambo Songwriter of the Year was Jeff Steele. Jeff has written many songs that have touched hearts and his family group, The Steeles, have often charted his songs. These songs include, “But God,” “We Want America Back,” and “On The Road to Emmaus.” He is also an author, speaker and pastor. Jeff has had songs recorded by almost every group in Southern Gospel and is much loved by the fans who voted for him for the 2014 Diamond Award winner.
The 2015 Diamond Award Nominations are now open on the SGN Scoops website until March 31. Everyone is invited to the website to enter the Nominations area and list their top ten favorite picks for each Diamond Award category. You can vote today from the link below!
Who will you decide to nominate this year?
Be sure to vote for your favorite nominees today.
The list of nominees will be posted on the site and fans will then nominate their favorites from this list, with a maximum of five names nominated per award. In
this way, the field of nominees will be narrowed to ten, voted on by fans once more and then narrowed to five. This final list of five will then be voted on by fans to find the one winner for each award.
Make plans now to join us for the 2015 Diamond Awards during the Creekside Gospel Music Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee from November 2nd through 5th, 2015. For more information visit www.creeksidegospelmusicconvention.com
2015 Diamond Awards Nominations can be found at http://www.sgnscoops.com/2015-diamond-awards/
The Diamond Awards are hosted by SGN Scoops digital magazine and Coastal Media Group.
Tags: 2015 Creekside, 2015 Creekside Gospel Music Convention, 2015 Diamond Awards, Bluegrass Gospel, christian country, Christian Music, Dottie Rambo, gospel music, Jeff Steele, southern gospel
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Marcie Gray, SGN Scoops intrepid roving reporter recently returned from the Singing at Sea Cruise where she was able to catch a few artists on the big boat.
Today, Marcie talks to popular young group, The Erwins. Click on the picture to watch! For more artist features, visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/
Tags: gospel music, Marcie Gray, sgn scoops, Singing at Sea, southern gospel, The Erwins
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Fort Payne, AL (February 25, 2015) LGMA multi-nominated quartet, The Sharps are proud to release their second single “His Love and Grace” from their latest project Someday I Will. This single is a follow up to the group’s last single “He Built a Bridge” that was released in August 2014. The single “His Love and Grace” reminds us that God’s love is faithful and everlasting. The single is set to be released this week with Adam Knight, owner of AOK Promotions.
“His Love and Grace” was written by one of the group’s longtime family friend, Dewayne Taylor, who suddenly passed away in 2011. This tragic event inspired The Sharps to take the song and shape it into what is heard today.
Ben Sharp stated “His Love and Grace is a song that we hold close to our hearts. It’s a blessing each time we are able to sing this song because of the great picture that the song paints. Dewayne really must have had God’s touch when writing this great upbeat song. We believe God allows special people like Dewayne to be apart of your life for very special reasons, even if the effects are not seen until farther down the road. We are eager to see what God has planned for The Sharps and this song, we pray sincerely that it becomes as much as a blessing to those who hear it, as it is for us to sing it.”
The song “His Love and Grace” simply states that God’s love still amazes us each day. Encouraging others to find his grace that will last throughout eternity.
If you would like to interview The Sharps contact Adam Knight, AOK Promotions 1(423) 388-5459
Tags: Christian Music, gospel music, southern gospel, The Sharps
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|1||Kingdom Heirs||Joys Of Heaven|
|2||Williamsons||It Was The Word|
|3||Browders||He Took The Nails|
|4||Legacy Five||Christ Is Still The King|
|6||Brian Free and Assurance||Unashamed|
|7||Bowling Family||That’s What I Miss The Most|
|8||Hoskins Family||Land Of Endless Tomorrows|
|9||Tim Livingston||I Just Miss You|
|10||Dunaways||Church In The Kitchen|
|11||Shellem Cline||Dinner With Jesus|
|12||Greater Vision||The Blood Hasn’t Ever Changed|
|13||Ernie Haase and Signature Sound||Water Walking God|
|14||Debra Perry and Jaidyn’s Call||Bottom Of The Hill|
|15||Karen Peck and New River||Everybody’s Going Through Something|
|16||Mark Bishop||Pray On The Little Days|
|17||Lore Family||It Shall Be Well|
|18||Kingsmen||Oh Yes I Am|
|20||Tribute Quartet||Everything I Need|
|21||Joseph Habedank||Never No Never|
|22||Isaacs||I Wanna Be There|
|23||Jones||Come On, Come On|
|24||Mylon Hayes Family||There’s Still A Refuge|
|25||Zane and Donna King||No One Like God|
|26||Mark Dubbeld Family||Face Of The Captain|
|27||Shellem Cline||That Saving Song|
|28||Tammy Jones Robinette||I Like Life|
|30||Porter Family||It Won’t Be Today|
|31||Clyde Felton Jr.||Lord Forgive Me|
|32||Kevin and Jennifer||He’s Still Doing Miracles Today|
|33||Triumphant Quartet||This Blood|
|34||Taylors||Measure Of Grace|
|35||Beyond The Ashes||Over For Good|
|36||Dennis Cook||One Pair Of Hands|
|37||East Ridge Boys||Pray Pray Pray|
|38||Poet Voices||He Saw Me|
|39||Troy Burns Family||By The Blood Of The Lamb|
|40||Gold City||Part The Waters|
|42||Josh and Ashley Franks||He Promised Me|
|43||Caleb’s Crossing||Isn’t The Love Of Jesus Something Wonderful|
|44||Mercy’s Well||I Wanna Hear The Gospel|
|45||Guardians||He’ll Welcome Me|
|46||Gaither Vocal Band||Sometimes It Takes A Mountain|
|47||Keith Barkley and Family Tradition||It Will Pass By|
|48||Wards||Coming Out Of Bondage|
|49||Perrys||I Can Trust Him|
|50||Primitive Quartet||Empty Me|
|51||Mercy’s Reflection||Oh What A Difference|
|52||Jason Crabb||Love Is Stronger|
|53||Heavenly Sunrise||He Died A Savior|
|54||Pauline Patterson||One Prayer Away|
|55||Watts, Rowsey and Bean||Don’t Give A Rock A Chance|
|57||Partons||No More Chains|
|58||Mark Trammell Quartet||Don’t Stop Running|
|59||Scotts||I Won’t Let Go Of My Faith|
|60||James and Jeff Easter||Jesus Is Living In Me|
|61||Martins||If We Ever Needed The Lord Before|
|62||Clay Jacobs||Tough As Nails|
|62||Greater Vision||Don’t Try To Tell Me|
|64||11th Hour||How Will You Plead|
|65||Brian and Angela Monehan||I Talk To Him|
|66||LeFevre Quartet||Put It Right There|
|67||TaRanda Greene||That’s Where Amazing Happens|
|68||Barry Rowland and Deliverance||Somebody Go Get God|
|69||Rick Webb Family||Send Me|
|70||Doug Hudson||Help Me Find My Way Home|
|71||Inmans||Here Comes The Bride|
|72||Horn Family||Rise Above The Fall|
|72||Wilbanks||I’ll Be Praisin’ You|
|74||Crowe Lawson and Williams||Insured Beyond The Grave|
|75||Down East Boys||Holy All Over Again|
|76||Campbell and Rowley||It’s Not About You|
|77||Tony Burchette||Better Hurry Up|
|78||Conners||I Need To Hear From Heaven|
|79||Amber Nelon Thompson||What Do You Say|
|80||Rita Broyles||Looking Through The Bars|
|81||Bradys||My New Home|
|82||Rod Truman||I’m Gonna Make It|
|83||Booth Brothers||I Played In The Band|
|84||Hagees||That’s What Love Looks Like|
|85||Page Trio||I Wanna Go There|
|86||Gospel Truth Trio||I’ve Been Born Again|
|87||Southern Raised||Good News From The Graveyard|
|88||Charlie May||One Last Stand|
|89||Akins||Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee|
|90||Gordon Mote||Ain’t It Just Like The Lord|
|91||Rochesters||My Savior’s Love|
|92||Sounds Of Victory||How Good God’s Been To Me|
|93||Bledsoes||I’m Glad I’m Saved|
|93||Chuck Day||Back Page News|
|95||Undivided||For Another Day|
|96||Greater Vision||For All He’s Done|
|97||Exodus||Tell Me Oh Tell Me Again|
|98||Heaven’s Mountain Band||A Cross And Three Nails|
|99||John Penney||Jesus Is Coming|
|100||Valor 3||Hallelujah He Has Risen|
Tags: Christian Music, gospel music, SGN Scoops digital magazine, SGN Scoops Top 100, southern gospel
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Birmingham, AL- Over the past few years I have had the privilege of traveling the U.S. and meeting many gospel music fans in my two tenures with Mark209. The support, love and encouragement I have encountered has been overwhelming during this period of time.
After a very successful Christmas tour with the group, I returned home to find some health issues with my daughter that required us to focus on her and her health. As my wife and I have dealt with these issues, we have earnestly sought through prayer the best decision for our family and the direction of my calling in fulltime music ministry.
As of February 2015, my wife, Christa and I have prayerfully reached the decision that I will retire from fulltime travel on the road. We have been seeking God and wise counsel about this decision and feel that this is the best option for our family moving forward.
I want to thank all of the gospel music fans who have embraced my family and lifted us up in prayer during this trying time. We ask for your continued support and prayers for my family and for Mark209 as they move forward. My wife and I look forward to the new doors the Lord opens for us and our family and we look forward to continuing sharing the gospel through those avenues.
Tags: christian country, gospel music, Jimmy Reno, Mark209
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By Dixie Phillips
Little Willie Wynn is commonly known in gospel music as the man with a million friends. After interviewing him on the telephone I can see why. His gentle warmth and down home personality makes you feel like you’ve known him your whole life.
Recording artist, Woody Wright, traveled and sang with Willie for several years. He had these kind words to say, “Willie is my mentor. My dad passed away in 1979. Willie broke the news to me while we were on the road. I consider him my ‘stand-in’ father. He is my absolute best friend. There is not a more influential figure in my life. I owe my career to him. I often tell him, if he had not given me my first road job in the music field, I would have probably gone to college and become a doctor or a lawyer.”
Southern gospel historians consider Willie a legend in gospel music. His story of humble beginnings and then achieving the pinnacle of success so few artists ever experience is the stuff movies are made of. It’s sheer inspiration and should encourage every child who has a dream of singing for the Lord.
Willie was born the seventh child of Cyrus Wynn and Allie Belle Lunsford Wynn in Moultrie, Georgia. He was raised by a single mother on 173-acre farm with his six brothers and one sister. Willie said, “When my father left, my dear mother poured her life into us kids. She loved us and we loved her. All of us helped with chores around the farm.”
Willie learned a tremendous work ethic in the cotton fields of south Georgia with his close-knit family, but he also learned he loved music. “My brothers and I would work in the fields and we always had a dinner break. While we ate I listened to the beautiful music of the Statesmen, Blackwood Brothers, and the LeFevres. Nobody ever taught me parts, but I could hear them all. They came easy to me. It was a gift from God.”
God had His hand on Willie and when he was 14 at Hopewell Baptist Church, he gave his heart to the Lord and was baptized. The young man also knew he was supposed to sing gospel music. “From as far back as I can remember, I felt a call from God to sing for Him. I can’t really explain it. I just knew I was to sing tenor in a gospel male quartet.”
Willie joined a quartet when he was still a teenager and sang with the Happy Four regularly on a local radio station. The group was well received and their fan base kept growing around Georgia. When he got in high school, he sang with the FFA quartet. “I just knew I had to continue pursuing my dream. In my heart I believed I would one day sing with the Statesmen.”
While Willie was honing his musical talent, a man moved to Moultrie from Atlanta. He shared Willie’s dream and wanted to start a gospel quartet of his own. “We tried to round up a few singers, but then the guy moved back to Atlanta. I wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve my goal, but then the same fellow kept calling me and inviting me to move to Atlanta. When the time was right, I moved there and got a job in a bookbindery. After working for about a year Denver Crumpler, the Statesmen’s tenor singer, passed away. They were looking for someone to fill his position. I went to the Briarcliff Hotel in Atlanta to audition. I knew all their songs and had a great time singing for them. There was one more fellow after me to try out—Rosie Rozell. Even though they hired him, I still felt in my heart I would one day sing with the Statesmen.”
Even though Willie didn’t get the tenor position, Jake Hess recognized the young man’s talent. When some of the members of Wally Fowler’s backup quartet for his All Night Singing asked if anyone knew of a good tenor singer, Jake Hess suggested they contact Willie. The group didn’t waste a minute. They drove to Willie’s house around 11:00 p.m. and convinced him to come down to Atlanta’s Municipal Auditorium. “Even though I wasn’t feeling the best, I threw on my coat and went with them. I sang all the songs and was hired on the spot. Eventually the group was named The Oak Ridge Quartet.”
Warner Brothers was the Quartet’s record label. They suggested the group change their name to the Oak Ridge Boys. The guys all agreed. At this time the group consisted of Willie Wynn, tenor singer; Smitty Gatlin, lead singer; Ron Page, baritone singer; Herman Harper, bass singer; and Tommy Fairchild, pianist. They were noted for being on the cutting edge of gospel music with a progressive country sound.
It was during this time the fans fell in love with the skinny Georgia boy with his smooth tenor voice. At every concert the Oaks introduced him, “Make welcome Little Willie Wynn!” The crowd went wild and the nickname stuck. All 116 pounds of “Little Willie Wynn” sang his way into the hearts of his fans with songs like: “Jesus is Coming Soon,” “Mama’s Last Amen,” “King Jesus,” “After All,” “My God Is Real,” “Mama’s Teaching Angels How to Sing,” “The Grass Is Greener on the Other Side,” “After Calvary,” and “Little Is Much.”
The Oaks’ popularity skyrocketed. Invitations came for them to sing on the Porter Wagoner Show, the Johnny Carson Show, the Merv Griffin Show, and they regularly appeared on the Johnny Cash Show. They were invited to make a guest appearance in the movie ‘Sing a Song for Heaven’s Sake’. The Oaks received international invitations and performed two tours in Sweden. During this time they gained even broader audience appeal and recognition. They received several Dove Awards and even a Grammy Award. They were in more demand for television appearances than ever before. Willie and the Oaks were rated as one of the top gospel groups in the business.
Willie sang with the Oaks for 15 years and came off the road in 1973, to pursue a business venture and be closer to home. “I was offered a deal too good to refuse—an airplane business. What I didn’t see on the horizon was the severe fuel crunch. It didn’t go as I had hoped.”
The next year, Hovie Lister called and invited him to sing with the Statesmen. “I knew God had put that dream in my heart. I saw the prayers of that little boy from the cotton fields of Georgia come true that day.”
After recording a few albums and singing with the Statesmen, Willie formed another group—Willie Wynn and the Tennesseans. Group members included Elmer Cole, Dave Maddox, Woody Wright, and Michael Sykes. Willie said, “Even though we had great talent and recorded several records, we were never quite able to get the group off the ground.”
The Georgia farm boy wasn’t afraid of hard work. He decided to start another group—Sweetwater. Once again the roster was jam-packed with some talented singers: Darrell Holt, J.T. Hicks, Gary Clark, and later with Woody Wright and Michael Sykes. “Once again, we were blessed with great songs, arrangements, and talent, but we just couldn’t make it to the level we hoped to.”
Willie married the love of his life on Valentine’s Day 1991. He said, “My wife, Sandi, is a beautiful person and singer. She is the highlight of my life.”
Sandi and Willie received a phone call from Bill Gaither, inviting them to come to Alexandria, Indiana, and be part of a videotaping. Willie stated, “I cannot say enough good about Bill and Gloria. They have done more for the gospel music field than anyone I know. They have resurrected careers that have been dead longer than Hitler.”
Another important phone call came to the Wynn house in 2013. “Woody Wright called and insisted I record a new project—Willie Wynn & Friends. He actually wrote a song “The Oak Ridge Boys and Me,” especially for this project. If that wasn’t enough of a blessing, then the Oaks came to the studio and sang backup on that song with me.”
Not only did the Oaks come out to support Willie, but Bill Gaither and Ben Speer also sang backup. It’s plain to see Willie loves people and they love him back. His new project is proof of just how much folks treasure “the big heart of little Willie Wynn.”
Willie Wynn & Friends also includes 11 new recordings of popular songs from Willie’s days with the Oak Ridge Boys and new versions of great hymns and classics. Ponder Sykes & Wright (who first sang together as members of Willie’s group, The Tennesseans) are featured on several songs, along with other former Tennesseans Elmer Cole and Dave Maddox. Bill Gaither, Ben Speer and Gene McDonald provide support vocals, as well as Willie’s great friends Darrell Holt, J.T. Hicks, and Gary Clark from the group Sweetwater. The musician crew is a ‘who’s who’ of some of Nashville finest players.
Woody Wright is quick to honor the man who helped him get his start in gospel music. “The November 3rd 2014, “Willie Wynn and Friends Bash” will be our fourth annual event. The first was the evening that Willie was inducted as an individual to the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. So every year since, we have assembled the former members of Willie’s groups (The Tennesseans and Sweetwater) to keep honoring Willie, who made it possible for dozens of wannabe Gospel singers get started. Among those names are myself, Michael Sykes, David Ponder, Elmer Cole, and many other players and singers.”
Fans will love hearing Willie’s signature voice again. His huge heart shines through every song and his music guarantees to inspire his million friends and fans.
Willie also participated in a DVD/CD made in 2012 and 2013 with Scott Kramer and Woody Wright, Good News Music Radio. Willie said, “We are getting incredible number of inquiries about these projects. We are all very excited about them. Fans can purchase them at www.williewynn.com.”
Editor’s note: The November 3rd 2014 “Willie Wynn and Friends Bash” was part of the annual Creekside Gospel Music Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. For more information, visit http://www.creeksidegospelmusicconvention.com/
Written by Dixie Phillips
Published by SGN Scoops digital magazine in October 2014
For current issues of SGN Scoops digital magazine visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/
Tags: christian country, Christian Music, Creekside Gospel Music Convention, Dixie Phillips, oak ridge boys, sgn scoops, Willie Wynn
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