Southern Gospel Weekend

MGM

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

DENTON GOSPELFEST

Written by Staff on January 16, 2015 – 1:05 pm -

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By Vivian Belknap

For the 2nd annual Denton Gospelfest, Southern Gospel Music promoter, David Ray, put together a very diverse show this year by bringing to the stage musicians from 13 to 81 years of age. The venue location was at Denton County Cowboy Church in Ponder, Texas. The Cowboy Churches are a growing Jesus-centered fellowship with emphasis on the “cowboy” style of worship. The dress is casual with cowboy hats and boots in evidence. Almost always there is a rodeo arena on the property and Denton County Cowboy Church is no exception. They have a large well-built arena adjacent to their worship center with an area for children to play Church (6)during a rodeo event or during services. The church is situated in a rural area, surrounded on all sides by pastures and woods. They have a horse trough, which serves as a baptistry, and the décor is pure western with horse saddles and hay bales being a part. Most of the Cowboy Churches favor Country Gospel music as well as Southern Gospel and the hymns. The leadership there was very welcoming and concessions were in abundance. Doesn’t get much better: great Southern and Country Gospel music and great Texas food!

Lisa Dye

Lisa Dye

The concert began with Lisa Dye, a local singer from Grand Prairie Texas, the daughter of Glen Dye, who opened with “The Holy Hills of Heaven,” and “This Ship Was Made to Sail.” Then Matt Jones, a member of the King’s River trio from Ft. Worth, Texas, joined her on stage. Not only did they sing a duet, but he also did a fine job on the keyboard.

David Ray kept us entertained between sets by telling stories of his childhood, growing up as a PK, (you know, a preacher’s kid.) I grew up as one, and oh, yes, we have stories!

rutledge (7)Next we were introduced to Reynold Rutledge and his magnificent instrument, a marimba. Are you familiar with a marimba? If not, it looks like a xylophone, but there is a difference between the two instruments. The xylophone has an octave range of 2 ½ to 4, and the marimba has a 3 to 5 octave range, and even higher for newer instruments. The marimba has a more mellow sound and is more suited to a solo rather than an ensemble set as Reynold so masterfully proves in his performances.

Reynold opened with “God On The Mountain,” filling the auditorium with his rich tenor voice. Even though he is 81 years young and has been playing and singing for 75 years, one would never know his age by looking at him or hearing him sing. He then played “Give Them All To Jesus,” with a great Latin feel, and ended it with “cha, cha, cha.” That put a smile on all our faces. rutledge (13)Next he sang “I Know Who Holds My Hand,” with fantastic lungpower; really he doesn’t need a microphone. Next on the marimba was “Gentle Shepherd,” and he gave this song the sound of being in the islands. We heard “Dwelling in Beulah Land,” and “This is Just What Heaven Means to Me,” and he started it with a yodel. That put another smile on our faces. His eclectic music brings much variety to the program.

The HootensThe great family harmony of The Hootens followed Reynold Rutledge. The Hootens are from Waskom, Texas. Where is Waskom, TX? It is on I-20 just a short distance from the Texas/Louisiana border. The trio consists of Ronnie, Donnie and Carli Hooten. In late 2012, Donnie was invited to sing at Open Range Fellowship Church in Greenwood, Louisiana. After some time, he invited his daughter, Carli, to sing with him. They thought it would be fun to put a little group together and since they had sung a few times in the past with Donnie’s Uncle Ronnie, they spoke with him about becoming a group. They agreed to be known as The Hootens and began to sing just about every Thursday night in front of 800 people at the Open Range Fellowship Church. Through this exposure, the group gained popularity in the area and began receiving invitations to sing at other churches. Read more »


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Triumphant Quartet In Concert At Douglasville Georgia

Written by Staff on January 9, 2015 – 10:36 am -

Triumphant Quartet

Triumphant Quartet

On January 7, 2015, we were in New Genesis Church in Douglasville, GA to see the award-winning Triumphant Quartet.  This church has a lot of Southern Gospel Concerts and Triumphant Quartet is one of everyone’s  favorite groups that visit there.

image3Triumphant Quartet has been singing together since 2003 when they started singing at the Louise Mandrell Theater in their home town Pigeon Forge,TN.  Before forming the Quartet, one of the members was at the theater almost every Sunday morning, singing in the worship service there.  Louise decided she needed a full time quartet to appear daily at the theater so she contacted them and what started there is now history.  The four guys: Eric Bennett, David Sutton, Clayton Inman and Scotty Inman, have been singing together ever since.  In 2008, after Ms. Mandrell left the theater, they felt it was God’s will for them to go on the road full-time.
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Mercy’s Call

Eric and David have been on stage singing together for several years. They had been performing in Dollywood together, and when Triumphant was formed, they asked Clayton and Scotty to join them.  Clayton had been singing with Won by One, a group he formed in the mid-’90’s, and Scotty had been with Poet Voices. The four voices then joined together to become one of the most awarded male quartets on the road today.

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Eric Bennett

In Douglasville, Triumphant sang a good mixture of songs: fast, old, and new, and then Eric did a great closing invitation.  A local group, Mercy’s Call, which consists of Jennifer McAllister, Joey Peace and Jelinda Hill, opened the concert.

A great time was had by all! To experience Triumphant in a venue near you, visit their website at http://www.triumphantquartet.com/
Written by Robert York
Pictures courtesy of Robert York

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Home For The Holidays with the Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants

Written by Staff on December 22, 2014 – 2:46 pm -

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The Whisnants and the Mark Trammell Quartet

By Lynn Mills

Though the holiday season is quickly passing, the spirit of Christmas resides in the hearts of those who believe the wondrous story and live to share its joy. Looking back on the weeks leading up to the Christmas season there are numerous concerts each year where your favorite carols are sung by your favorite artists. Though it’s true that many groups reserve the majority of December for Christmas vacation; it is becoming more popular for a few groups to team up with their friends and hit the road at the beginning of the month for a special Christmas tour. For the winter of 2014, another pairing was added to the roster of SGM Christmas tours, hailing by the name of Home For Christmas; featuring the Mark Trammell Quartet and The Whisnants.

Home For Christmas was first introduced to fans in late October when the pre-sale for the Home For Christmas CD was put on the market. This project brought together The Whisnants and The Mark Trammell Quartet (MTQ) in a combination of 12 Christmas songs both old and new that showcased both groups on one recording. At the beginning of November, MTQ and the Whisnants hosted an online Launch Party over the course of 12 hours on Facebook where they shared Christmas memories, traditions and personal thoughts concerning the songs on the new Christmas project via videos, photos and posts from both group’s members. Shortly after Thanksgiving, they hit the road and performed their very first official tour together!

The Branson Belle

The Branson Belle

The inaugural concert occurred on the Showboat Branson Belle as a part of the Carols On The Belle Series. It was a balmy 70 degrees out in Branson, Missouri! But more than that, the folks that came on board filled the Showboat to capacity; the first Home For Christmas concert was sold out! When the Mark Trammell Quartet and Whisnants took the stage everyone gathered around for their opening tunes, “The Faithful Medley,” and “Unspeakable Joy.” After a few words from Susan, Jeff and Mark, the Whisnants sang a few of their contributions to the CD: “Without Christ There’s No Christmas,” and a ballad, “I Call Him Lord.” The Mark Trammell Quartet came up and gave the crowd a little variety in musical taste; they sang their hillbilly tune, “O Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem” and the more refined arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

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Susan Whisnant

The Whisnants, who had been listening to MTQ sing from where they were seated on black stools, returned to the spotlight to sing their new upbeat tune, “Jesus Brought Joy To The World.” Mark Trammell also explained to the audience why they sing.

It is worthy to note the diversity of the crowd on the Showboat – a bus from Michigan brought a good amount of Asian folk, many Indian couples were present and others who came for the classic Branson tour and sightseeing staples. The crowd, therefore, was not made of your typical Southern Gospel fans, so an explanation was due!

Mark also shared about being raised in a pastor’s home and how one would expect his mother’s favorite Christmas song to be a traditional carol…but it wasn’t. It was the classic “Christmas Song. Mark went on to croon the first few lines from this well-known song. While he was doing his best impression of Perry Como, the others were doing their best to steal the spotlight. This came about in the form of Santa hats, which were distributed in a quiet fashion to all the group members seated behind Mark. Susan decided to share and plopped her hat, complete with tiara, on Mark’s head. After a bit of waltzing and other comical antics from those who were obviously bored with Mark singing his solo, Trammell gave up and sang, “I’m gonna’ kill them when this is over…!”

Mark Trammell

Mark Trammell

From those humorous moments, the singers moved to a sincere reading of the Christmas story in Luke. Mark turned the pages of his black leather Bible to the second chapter and told of how the Savior came to be born in this world. “Silent Night,” followed this. Susan, the only lady on stage, sang this carol from the viewpoint of a mother. Afterwards, she asked the audience to sing “Away In A Manger,” with her. A sweet sound echoed through the boat.

As the evening came to a close, Mark Trammell had the crowd on the edge of their seat by a powerful arrangement of “O Holy Night.” An equally powerful message followed as Susan introduced her solo, “If You Could See What I See,” and the thought behind the message.

_DSC1923“People come up to me all the time,” Susan began, “They say, ‘I love Christmas, but it’s a lonely time for me; I lost my husband, I lost my wife, I lost my kid, I lost my mom…it’s lonely’.” She went on to say that in 2013 on December the 23rd her father-in-law went home to heaven. “A lot of people felt sorry for us,” she went on, “But we had a friend who wrote this song and sent it to us on Christmas Eve. If God gave us one glimpse into heaven, we would never wish them back.” Susan sang that comforting message and prayed. As the Showboat came back into dock MTQ and the Whisnants left everyone with this tune: “Christmas Time’s A Comin’!”

MTQ-Whisnants-LaunchThe next night, the Home For Christmas Tour went to Arkansas where they sang a full concert at Beryl Baptist Church. Though this wasn’t the last stop on the tour, this is where my ability to follow ended. The difference between the Showboat and this concert was that they had more time at the church and material was added. One of those additions was a fun performance of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Susan and Mark beckoned 12 volunteers from the audience (the pastor, who is an accomplished bass vocalist, being one of them) and soon a line formed at the foot of the stage. Aaron Hise and Nick Trammell distributed cards with each part written on them and the fun began! It would be impossible to re-tell everything that made us laugh – but we had a great time! Another highlight of the evening was Austin Whisnant singing a song Susan originally recorded, called “Even Then,” and Ethan’s solo of “Strange Way To Save The World.”

“Home For Christmas” is a must see for fans who love Christmas music. It is impossible to miss the sincerity of those ministering on stage. Nothing is scripted – it’s all from the heart. Whether the moment is funny, reflective or serious, the heart behind it shines through. This is Christmas. This is the way we think of the holiday when we close our eyes and picture a homey, old-fashioned Christmas tree set in the midst of children at play and Christ where He ought to be: in the center of it all. Home For Christmas offers songs you want to hear, the new ones you’ll be humming after you hear them the first time, the singers you love and the sincerity of the Christmas story, all creating memories you won’t easily forget!

If you are interested in bringing the Home For Christmas Tour to your area in 2015, contact The Harper Agency for more info at: http://www.harperagency.com/ or call 615-851-4500.

 

For more artist features and concert reviews by Lynn Mills and others, view the latest SGN Scoops magazine at www.sgnscoops.com


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SINGING ECHOES RETURN TO ACWORTH

Written by Staff on December 15, 2014 – 12:38 pm -

SINGING ECHOES - 1

Singing Echoes

By Robert York

The Singing Echoes returned to Glade Road Baptist Church in Acworth, GA for their fifth time, where Rev. Chuck Smith is the Pastor. A lot of folks that attend Bill Bailey’s events would recognize Rev. Smith as he is pretty active in Bill’s concerts. Chuck’s wife Wilma Smith also is involved as she often sings at these events.
The Smith’s son Chad has a group called Copperhead Highway that are members of Glade Road Church and they opened the concert last Saturday. They are a very popular group in the Acworth area and have numerous fans as they sing in several venues around that area.
Copperhead Highway

Copperhead Highway

The Singing Echoes are based out of Cleveland, Tennessee where they have an annual singing at Blue Springs Park. Next year’s dates for the Blue Springs Valley Singing are July 15 – 18, 2015 . For more information, check the weblink below. They presented their usual exciting, uplifting music for all who gathered at Glade Road Baptist.

For those not acquainted with the Singing Echoes, they were established in 1969 with the original members consisting of Max, Lela, Lynn, Gary and Debbie Epperson.  They have introduced many songs in their long history of singing Gospel music. Currently they are working on project number 50 to celebrate their 45th Anniversary of singing.  Some of their most popular songs have been: “It’s Enough,” ‘Think I’m Excited,” “Somebody’s Here,” and “Wake Up To Sleep No More.”  “Wake Up” granted the Singing Echoes a Grammy nomination for their arrangement of the song, the same arrangement performed by almost all Southern Gospel Quartets at one time or another.
SINGING ECHOES 2

Singing Echoes

The tradition continues today with Gary, Debbie and Lynn, as well as all their children traveling on the road with them:  Adam, Joshua, Matthew and Jonah.  Jonah is the fourth generation and the youngest member of the group. He is only twelve years old and plays several instruments.  The oldest member, I think, came over on the Mayflower (just fooling Lynn).

When you attend a Singing Echoes Concert, you can expect to experience a live band with some of the most talented musicians traveling on the road today and hear Spirit-filled singing, peppered with heart filled testimonies from each member.  They have been tagged as “The Most Exciting Group in Gospel Music”.  If they are in your area, you need to experience The Singing Echoes.
http://www.singingechoes.com/

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It’s a Jubilee Christmas!

Written by Staff on December 11, 2014 – 11:22 am -

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Jubilee Christmas gang

By Lorraine Walker

 Jubilee means ‘celebration’ and that’s exactly what we had when the Jubilee singers came to Hamilton, Ontario on December 5, 2014. IMC brought the Jubilee Christmas with Greater Vision, Legacy Five and the Booth Brothers all the way to Canada and the audience couldn’t have been any more grateful. Over a thousand people filled Bethel Gospel Tabernacle, where they were delighted to see a platform full of lit Christmas trees, ready to host this special musical celebration.

Christmas Product Table

Christmas Product Table

Having traveled many hours through the night to reach their destination, Landon Beene of IMC said, “It’s been a wonderful trip. We’ve had great weather and great ticket sales. A lot of people are excited about this tour. It was a breeze through the border last night, so as the Road Manager, that makes me really happy! We’ll see how it goes tonight on our way back through.” He added, “This is the first time that we’ve ever presented one of the Christmas Jubilee programs in Canada. We are sold out tonight, so I think the people are excited about the guys being here.”

The crowd certainly was eager as the ticket holders burst through the doors to find their seats. The decorated foyer was filled with the colors of the season and the merchandise of the artists. Preparing for the evening, Scott Fowler of Legacy Five remarked: “It’s good to be back in Canada. We always look forward to coming here and the Canadian folks are fun to sing to, so we are glad to be back. This is our last tour of the year and we are doing 12 Christmas shows in 12 days, so we call it the 12 days of Christmas. The Christmas Tour is the highlight of our year.”

IMG_2041The artists were as energized as the audience as they filed on stage for the opening number. What a delight to hear 10 voices in four-part harmony fill the sanctuary with the opening notes of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” along with a huge quartet-ending. Following this, Chris Allman of Greater Vision entertained the crowd with “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” Allman later remarked, “My favorite thing about the Jubilee is hanging out with the guys, of course. We love the shows and we love to see the people enjoy themselves. Tonight was a great crowd. If we can see them having fun, it’s a lot of fun for us. We have fun on the stage, just hanging out with the guys. It’s a really special experience.”

IMG_2039Everyone certainly did have fun during the course of the evening, with emcee Gerald Wolfe of Greater Vision often playing the straight man to jokesters Scott Howard, Michael Booth and Rodney Griffin. One example was the “Twelve Days of A Gospel Singers’ Christmas,” where even Trey Ivey joined in the hijinks. Howard remarked, “It’s always fun when we get together with all our buddies from Greater Vision and Booth Brothers, our best friends out on the road. We always have a good time. I tell people that we are going to have fun and we just hope you do too! The Christmas stuff is fun to do and I think everyone enjoys Christmas music. We only do it one month a year but I think people would like it year-round. So we may extend this tour next year.” There were several hints of a tour extension and a return to Canada during the evening, but as we know, a lot can change in a year!

Matt Fouch covered in 'snow'

Matt Fouch covered in ‘snow’

One group who is dealing with change is the Booth Brothers, who sang the Evie Karrlson classic, “Come On, Ring Those Bells!” Jim Brady, who is leaving the Brothers to form his own group, the Jim Brady Trio, in the New Year, blessed the crowd with leading the Booths in “It Came To Pass,” written by Gerald Wolfe. Ronnie Booth showed his ‘crooner’ side by smoothly singing about “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.” The addition of Rodney on saxophone was a surprise to the crowd and one of the many laugh-out-loud moments of the evening.

Legacy Five sang such Christmas favorites as, “I’d Sure Like To Go To Grandma’s House For Christmas,” and “Christmas With A Capital C.” Their pianist, Trey Ivey showed his prowess on “Here Comes Santa Clause,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and this writer’s personal favorite, “O Holy Night,” on which Legacy Five lent their vocals to bring the carol to a powerful, worshipful end. Bass singer Matt Fouch had his work cut out, as he was the only bass on the platform. His rendition of “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas” turned dreams into reality with more comedy from his fellow singers.

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Hunting For Christmas

Several times during the evening, different members of the groups would join together to bring different songs, carols and comedy. Rodney Griffin stated later, “My favorite part is how the three groups kind of forget their identities as individual groups. As Ronnie Booth explains it, when we get on this tour, the three groups become one. So there is no Greater Vision, Legacy Five and Booth Brothers. It’s just a team of 11 of us working toward the same goal. Right now we are hauling everything out together. A few moments ago we were greeting the people together and now we are hauling out Christmas trees together. We do as much as we can to make it a success together.”

IMG_2040From the big ballads to the acapella numbers to newer songs like, “It Will Always Be Christmas To Me,” as well as fun songs like “Hunting For Christmas,” the men kept the audience on the edge of their seats. Wolfe led the crowd in the favorite carol, “Silent Night.” Later in the evening, Wolfe commented, “The best thing about the Jubilee is hearing the audience sing. They are better than we are! You heard it tonight: “Silent Night”…that’s my favorite part of the whole evening.” He added, “I would do it all year. I just love this kind of music, I love the guys and it’s a lot of fun. It’s different every night because our memories [of how it was done the night before] aren’t that good!”

IMG_2044At the end of the second half, Ronnie Booth opened up the Bible to Luke 2 and reverently began the Christmas story. Scott Fowler followed this with “Welcome To Our World,” beautifully sung as only he can do. The men then sang the energizing, “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” and the lovely, “Christmas Benediction.” Ronnie said later, “My favorite part is the Benediction and the arrangement of that particular one by Larry Goss. That is my favorite of all the songs we do. The other one is the one we sing called, “The Right Time,” written by Mosie Lister. It says so much in such a little space. Obviously there is a lot of fun and people need that, but we are not here just to have fun, we also get very serious at the end, presenting Christ and the Gospel.”

IMG_2042Matt Fouch agreed with Ronnie. “I enjoy the laughter, the fun stuff; but one of my favorite spots is coming to the very end when Gerald brings it all together and shares with everyone, ‘You know, we’ve talked about how the story began with Jesus, and that’s the season that we celebrate. But let me tell you the rest of the story…’ That’s the part I look forward to every night, because that is where we see the hope with His resurrection.”

Michael Booth, one of those who certainly kept up his part in the comedy routines said, “Selfishly, my favorite part is that it is an easy night for me because in our programs I do all the emceeing, for the most part and I’m singing on every song. So it is a very easy program for all of us because we share the load. I also just like being with the guys. We are all pretty good friends. People ask us if we are having as much fun or getting along as well as it looks we are, and we do. We will get up on each other’s buses tonight and ride across the border, then when it gets around 2:00 or 3:00am we will get in our own buses to sleep.”

jubilee ChristmasMany thanks to IMC and Greater Vision, Legacy Five and The Booth Brothers for presenting a beautiful, professional program, suitable for all those who enjoy Christmas music. If they come near your area, be sure you attend and bring an unsaved friend. The music will thrill them, the comedy engage them, and the presentation of the Gospel will bring them closer to the Christ of Christmas. Special thanks as well to Landon Beene, Brian Hutson, the Jubilee crew and the staff and ushers of Bethel Gospel Tabernacle, Hamilton, Ontario. We certainly had a Celebration of Christmas!

For more information, visit http://www.imcconcerts.com/tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Ball Brothers Christmas Concert In Georgia

Written by Staff on December 9, 2014 – 12:29 pm -

ball brothers christmas 2014By Robert York

On December 6th, 2014, the Ball Brothers brought their Christmas Tour to Kennesaw, Georgia. This is their seventh year of doing the Christmas Tour. They were returning from Canada where they were in minus 16 degree weather and glad to be in the south where it was a little warmer. They carry lights, Christmas trees and a set with them on tour which also includes two snow machines.

The Ball Brothers arrived at Shiloh Hills Baptist Church around 2:30pm. We had just picked up a big sack of Arby’s sandwiches for them and Daniel gobbled two of them down before they started unloading. Each of them had a specific task to do. Trees were set up, then the lighting stands and lights were put up. They had two bars of led lights with four lights on each as well as 12 revolving lights on top of the stands. Sound check was next. They finished all this in about two and half hours for a 6:30 concert time.

BALL BROTHERS SETThe Brothers opened the concert with Joy To The World, sang numerous Christmas songs and included a few of their other hits mixed in the program. They used the snow machines on a few songs that were snow related and it was so much snow that Daniel made a snow ball and threw at Andrew. Daniel and Andrew mixed up a lot of comedy scattered through out the program. After the first set they took an intermission and came back afterwards to conclude the program.
I have done concerts for the past 12 years, including two years at Shiloh Hills Church in Kennesaw, GA. There were about 50% of the folks there that had not been to one of the concerts I’ve promoted. Most were from the Metro area but had some from TN, SC and one from Broken Arrow, OK.
The Ball Brothers spent the night at the Church after taking down their set and sang for the Sunday morning worship service before heading to North Georgia for a concert that evening. They will be hitting the road again on Thursday Dec 11 for another northern state tour including IL, OH, IN, MI and TN. You can check their website www.theballbrothers.com for their schedule. If they are within driving distance you need to catch the concert.


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Candi’s Catch-Ups: TaRanda Greene at Thomas Road Baptist Church

Written by Staff on September 22, 2014 – 2:49 pm -

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By Candace Combs

Members of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, the home of Liberty University, have been challenged. Pastor Jonathon Falwell, son of the church’s founder, Jerry Falwell, has asked to multiple campus congregations to think: ‘What If…?’

There was no better choice to kick off the series than TaRanda Greene. TaRanda traveled to Virginia to join worship leader Charles Billingsley along with the TRBC choir and orchestra for a morning full of praise and worship.

2014-09-21 11.19.35Each music selection revolved around the central theme of declaring God as Holy and culminated with focus on the Cross. TaRanda joined the praise team in leading the congregation with “You are Holy” and “For You are Holy”.

Ramping up the music with the stage lighting turning red, TaRanda sang “The Wonderful Cross” with Billingsley and the entire TRBC Worship Team. The biggest treat came when TaRanda began “This Blood”.   Her exquisite vocal ranges made every listener feel the power of Jesus blood. At the bridge, the full choir joined while everyone in the room was standing. TaRanda clearly shared her heart in the words, “I’ve come to tell you He’s alive! And, He’s coming back again”!

2014-09-21 11.51.33TaRanda Greene, a young girl from Tennessee met and fell in love with a Gospel singer, and together they became The Greenes. Just four years ago this week, Tony Greene was called to glory. What if God took this young woman and brought her to many stages beside her husband, and then left her alone to raise two young daughters? Surrounded by loving family and countless fans, TaRanda has faced every challenge with the strength she gets from the Lord.

Recently, TaRanda made her first pilgrimage to Israel with In Touch Ministries. “I never imagined a piece of land could change my life,” stated Greene. “I knew that Jesus changed my life years ago, but the experience of walking in His steps…wow!” Greene is still continuing to process all the feelings from the experience.

2014-09-21 12.04.04Watch for new music coming from TaRanda Greene and Stow Town Records. This new solo project encompasses several music genres. It is entirely possible that songs will appear on various charts. “I’m very excited to see where God will open new doors”, Greene commented. This project is set to release November 10.

Like everyone who was in attendance at Thomas Road Baptist Church, TaRanda Greene left Virginia asking, “What if….”

Stand by; if this lady keeps singing like this, there is no limit! For more on TaRanda visit http://tarandamusic.com/


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Candi’s Catch Up: The Nelons In Concert

Written by Staff on September 18, 2014 – 12:05 pm -

2014-09-13 18.27.11            The Blue Ridge Mountains were recently filled with the melodious sounds of one of Southern Gospel’s most talented families! The Nelons were guests of Crossroads Baptist Church in Fishersville, Virginia. After an introduction from Melody Vaughn of Joy FM’s Morning Joy Ride, The Nelons took the stage with Jason, Kelly, Amber and Autumn.

Getting the crowd engaged right from the start, The Nelons opened with a Gaither classic, “I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted” and then went right into “We Shall Wear A Crown”. The classics continued with “And I Know, Yes I Know”.

2014-09-13 19.56.44   The Nelon’s most requested song was performed next, bringing everyone into a spirit of worship. Kelly Nelon has sung, “O For a Thousand Tongues To Sing” for many years, yet it always moves the heart.

Kelly Nelon is the daughter of the quintessential Gospel icon, the late Rex Nelon. Rex brought Southern Gospel into the hearts of thousands. As Kelly shared her heart regarding the legacy that Rex brought, his granddaughter, Autumn, stepped to the microphone to sing a song dedicated to his memory, “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ole Days.” Autumn has become quite an accomplished mandolin player which she played while Jason Clark backed her on an acoustic guitar. The music world needs to take notice; this young lady is the real deal. Her vocal range is wide and strong. It is refreshing to watch her as she is standing on the threshold of breaking wide open.

Fresh out of the studio is the Nelons’ latest project, “Hymns, The A Capella Sessions”. The Nelons’ tight family harmony was best demonstrated in Jason’s arrangement of “The Hallelujah Chorus”. With precise vocal artistry, they raised the roof to this precious song for the ages.

2014-09-13 18.24.25  The award winning music video featuring Jason, “Excuse Me, Are you Jesus?” was performed while telling the story of a man hurrying through an airport when he disrupts an apple cart vendor operated by a visually impaired woman. The anxious passenger misses his gate call in order to restore the cart. There is great imagery in the video of how God restores our dismantled lives.

The next set began with “He’s More Than Wonderful” which featured the Nelons’ special four-part harmony. Joining the Nelons on stage was Crossroads’ Pastor who joined in with, “We’re Going Home To Jesus”. The entire house was standing and clapping to this crowd favorite.

2014-09-13 18.25.50 The group also sang, “Keep On the Firing Line,” performed to Jason’s arrangement using only vocals and including a chorus of “Onward Christian Soldier”.   With a twist on vocals and the powerful voices of each Nelon, this song featured multiple key changes, which they performed with amazing accuracy.

Several years ago, Jason penned an arrangement especially for a very young Autumn. Even as a senior in high school, Autumn delivered “I Choose To Live” with complete confidence. This young Nelon is rising with a style unique to her own talents.

2014-09-13 18.26.00The program varied in a way that kept the audience entertained. Jason, Autumn and Amber began bringing the evening to a focus on salvation with “Blessed Assurance”. Kelly took over with “Settled At the Cross”. Amber, with perhaps the purest vocals in music today, then took center stage with “I Stand Amazed In the Presence”. Jason contributed on the acoustic guitar as Amber joined in with her mandolin. The group concluded their concert with an emphasis on prayer.

After loading the bus following the concert, the Nelons shared a meal at a nearby restaurant. Somehow Jason got word that the woman taking payment for the meal was disappointed that she was unable to attend the concert due to her work schedule. Always ready to minister, the Nelons sang a song of encouragement for her benefit and to the thrill of the entire crowd gathered around.

2014-09-13 18.34.02Always prepared to share their faith anytime, and anywhere, the Nelons touched many on this night in Virginia! Check out their itinerary and enjoy a live concert by visiting http://kellynelon.com/ .

 

 

 


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Concert Review: Charles Billingsley – Only Jesus

Written by Staff on August 29, 2014 – 7:23 am -

Charles Billingsley

Charles Billingsley

By Candace Combs

Christian people everywhere, in every culture, need to worship the Creator. Worship comes in many forms, music perhaps being one of the greatest. Charles Billingsley, Worship leader at Thomas Road Church and Artist-in-residence at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, presented to a full house the release of his new project, Only Jesus.

Billingsley, formerly the lead singer with NewSong, has continuously dedicated his ministry and teaching to the art of worship.   This latest edition is completely engrossed in leading listeners to forget about the stage, forget the instruments and completely focus on worship of Jesus. Thus the title: Only Jesus.

The title track is completely titled, “Jesus, Only Jesus” and features the familiar voices of Travis Cottrell, Michael O’Brien, and Southern Gospel favorite, Guy Penrod. This collaboration with these voices features the best of each genre of Christian music today. Hopefully, this won’t be the last!

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Children Of The World

Thomas Road Church dedicated the evening to the ministry of an international humanitarian relief organization named World Help (worldhelp.net). The evening opened with a bouncy children’s choir representing every corner of the world. The group performs nationally as Children of the World. They were a special treat with their culturally inspired clothing representing the nations of their origin.

When Billingsley took the stage, he had a full compliment of stage band and the worship choir from Thomas Road Church.   The program opened with traditional worship songs that was joined with the over 5,000 in attendance.   Billingsley communicated that he would be leading us from early traditional songs of the faith, leading from the great sacrifice of the Cross, to the glorious Resurrection.

“Great is Thy Faithfulness” was performed with a contemporary yet traditional arrangement. Billingsley sang the familiar, “It is Well,” with a full force of power. While the arrangement is the same sung for years in churches, Billingsley’s rendition exudes great power from his smooth voice, into an offering of faith.

2014-08-24 19.13.28Once the audience was assured that worship was the focus of the event, Billingsley and the worship team broke into “Jesus, Only Jesus.” This song was followed by dialogue that “Jesus is the only way, the only hope.” Billingsley continued to invite any non-believers to a relationship with Jesus.

A crowd favorite at the Virginia church, “Only Boast” was performed next. Having brought a history of worship, the program moved into a section of songs of the Cross. “Mercy Tree” is a song that portrays the great cost of salvation. The song was accompanied with a video presentation pronouncing the truth that worship is about a relationship. The Christian deserves nothing, yet on that tree God revealed just how holy He is!

2014-08-24 19.53.45-1Worship was brought full circle as the entire room was filled with the melody of “Gloria” in a modern arrangement. A sign language interpretation of the lyrics was presented during the performance. Billingsley held nothing back as he brought the evening of worship to a full crescendo.

choir editPrayer, in addition to music, is another of the Christian’s arsenal of worship. Billingsley next took the opportunity to lead in prayer asking “God to help us worship you, to give you all we have.” He further asked God for help in capturing scripture in music. This request was natural segue into “Ten Thousand Reasons.”

2014-08-24 18.49.00Quietly and joyfully, in closing, the congregation joined in a chorus of “Bless His Holy Name.” Concluding in such a simple way was Billingsley’s way of keeping the nights focus on Jesus, only Jesus!

For an inside look at the production, go to Charles Billingsley YouTube, Behind the Scenes recording: “Jesus, Only Jesus.” The CD is now available. This music should be just what you need to get your worship on! For more information, visit http://charlesbillingsley.com/

For more concert reviews in the latest SGN Scoops visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/

 


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Music and Madness Review: Jason Crabb, Mark Lowry, The Martins and Stan Whitmire

Written by Staff on August 15, 2014 – 8:34 am -

cover for madnesscover for madness cover for madnessBy Candace Combs

Music and Madness, Fall 2014 edition is a ball! Dozens of balls! Autographed beach balls flying around the room while the Martins are driving the “Gospel Train”.

In the fabulous Tivoli Theater in downtown Chattanooga, the reinvented tour was launched with fun from start to finish. The tour features Mark Lowry, The Martins, Stan Whitmire and this latest edition brings Jason Crabb.   Along with Crabb comes one of music’s most talented bands rounding out the stage.

2014-07-31 20.30.49The crowd settled in with Stan Whitmire bringing attention to center stage as he serenaded on a full sized grand piano. The Martins took the stage reminding everyone to “Count Your Blessings” with their radio hit of the same title. The Martins then broke into an a cappella medley of hymns from their latest project.

As the Martins had directed the audience toward a spirit of worship, Mark Lowry entered the stage with “Our Lord Is Laughing” as the Martins moved to provide background vocals. When Lowry finished, he informed the audience that he was the “Bill Gaither of this program”. With his unique style of moving everyone to chuckle, Lowry then broke into a series of songs from his Love Songs project with cuts featuring the sounds of Nat King Cole. Many of those in attendance remembered fondly the songs Lowry sang, “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Our Love is Here to Stay”.

Mark Lowry

Mark Lowry

This type of program lends itself to getting to know the artists. The stage was set with chairs which gave the feeling that everyone in attendance was engaged in an evening of getting to know one another better as well. Lowry led Judy Martin to tell of the first time the Martins had an opportunity to sing for Bill Gaither. This first meeting was in Indiana at a Gaither Music Group video taping. As the video of the younger Martins rolled, the present day Martins took over with the live rendition of the much loved hymn, “He Leadeth Me”.

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The Martins

Lowry continued to share his gospel music memories with stories of Vestal Goodman. The crowd was led to remember things like Goodman’s beautiful gowns and tall coiffures. Whitmire began an introduction to one of Goodmans’ most beloved presentations of “What a Lovely Name”. Lowry and Jonathan Martin sang the first verse in duet, then were joined with Joyce and Judy Martin who carried the parts that the Goodmans sang many years ago.

The Martins continued the program with scripture from Philippians 4:6 which

Jason Crabb

Jason Crabb

reminds us that Christians should make their requests known to God. These words were the introduction to their song entitled, “The Promise”. In 2004, this song was the Southern Gospel Song of the Year as awarded by the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards.

Taking the stage to roaring applause, Jason Crabb entered to perform “I’d Rather Have Jesus” with his band in full accompaniment. Crabb continued his presentation with a hymn medley from the project The Song Lives On. There was full audience

Stan Whitmire

Stan Whitmire

participation as Crabb directed the house to ‘lean’ on cue to “The Everlasting Arms”. From the familiar music, Crabb moved to the title cut of his latest project, Love is Stronger.

The second portion of the Music and Madness show opened with the Martins singing with the full band, including Crabb on guitar. The Martins brought the house to their feet with “Love is Gonna Drive this Train” while the autographed beach balls went flying! The balls were batted around the entire Tivoli Theater bringing the energy to fever pitch.

2014-07-31 21.44.12Just then, Crabb took center stage while the standing crowd listened to a Crabb classic, “Through the Fire”. Crabb and Lowry in casual conversation reminded that God takes Christians, through the fire…not around, not over, but through the trials in life.

This part of the program was the right time to request songs from the audience; tunes which Whitmire played and Lowry led. The congregational sing along comprised a medley of the classics, “Blessed Assurance”, three verses of, “Amazing Grace,” “Victory in Jesus” and concluded appropriately with the chorus of, “How Great Thou Art.”

Bringing the program full circle, the Martins went a capella, (not to Acapulco as Lowry quipped) with a tightly harmonized, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.   Listening to the nearly perfect harmony of the three Martins, the music conveyed a sense of confidence and peace to all.

Crabb continued to minister when he quietly came forward to sing, “Sometimes Alone I Cry.” This award winning song is just one in Crabb’s repertoire that was composed by Gerald Crabb, who is Jason’s father. Crabb filled the room with emotion once again as he delivered this poignant song.

2014-07-31 23.44.34Joyce Martin continued the worship-filled moment with a transparent conversation about the goodness of God. Martin passionately shared that tears of God’s people are precious to Him. Jonathan and Judy joined beside their sister to sing, “Except for Grace.”

Lowry took the opportunity to follow up with sharing, “God is crazy about you! God only uses broken people. Be thankful for your brokenness and remember the Bible points out that it came to pass…it didn’t come to stay! Find a reason to be thankful.”

At this point, Lowry began to tell of how he came to pen his classic song of Mary.   With the Martins singing background vocals, Crabb joining on guitar and with the full band, “Mary Did You Know” brought a climax to the program.

With a diverse lineup and attraction to a broad base of fans, the current Music and Madness program is a well-balanced opportunity for each artist to bring forth their best. The performance order offers something for everyone in a fast paced way to bring encouragement as well as a clear message of the Gospel of Jesus.

The Music and Madness Tour is scheduled to continue well into 2015 over a wide geographical area. Watch for an opportunity to catch this show for an evening that is pure fun for all.   And, take anyone of any age along, the fun of Music and Madness is contagious! For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/events/614905468576510

Written by and all pictures by Candace Combs


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