By Tina Wakefield
Four young women with a heart and passion for God and music mix together to create a transforming experience for any audience. While listening to the Hall Sisters perform, one could close their eyes and feel as though they had been transported back in time to the days of The Andrew Sisters where harmony was queen. Jessica, Natalie, Lydia, and Valerie Hall possess great talent for singing and playing their way into the very heart of their audiences. The Hall Sisters enjoy a variety of musical styles, and perform music from all genres including Gospel, Bluegrass, Folk songs, and Oldies, as well as fiddle and instrumental tunes. There is even an Annie Moses Band influence that is obvious within the group, coming from the instruction the girls received from this popular band.
Jessica Hall, the oldest of the sisters, plays mandolin, guitar, and piano and is the alto singer for the group. Jessica is also considered the leader of the group and is responsible for arranging the music for The Hall Sisters. Jessica says that in learning to lead, “I had to learn that I was not right all the time. To be a real leader, you need to be humble and willing to accept correction from others.”
Being the one in charge can have its humorous side as well. Jessica was responsible for starting an a cappella song on a specific note. Unfortunately, she forgot the note and started the song too high. The group had to stop and restart the song on the correct note and that’s one moment she’ll never forget! Jessica says that while singing she feels the Lord’s pleasure and as long as she can sing, she is happy. She adds that their parents have been their spiritual leaders and encouragers and the grandparents have been the prayer warriors praying for unity and safety as they travel.
Natalie Hall is a gifted musician as well as singer, possessing the ability to play the violin as well as the mandolin. Natalie’s goal is that others would be drawn to Jesus through the light that shines in her. She is the high voice for the group and Jessica says that her voice is “one of the strongest that she has ever heard.”
Music is Natalie’s ministry to reach others but it does not define her totally. She enjoys being outside with her dad whether cutting grass, trimming bushes, or working in the garden. If she wasn’t singing, Natalie says she would most likely be a Dental Assistant working for her father and also at home learning to be a homemaker.
Natalie truly has a strong tie with her family and loves spending her spare time with either parent. Just as she enjoys time with her dad outside, she equally loves to cook with her mom. Natalie has had her share of kitchen disasters and told us how a recipe went wrong. She was baking cookies with her mom and turned the page for the remainder of the recipe, but the page stuck and she ended up with a totally different recipe to finish the cookies. As it turned out, the cookies were mixed with a granola recipe, which was definitely interesting. The family didn’t eat very much of that recipe, but they do love her homemade bread.
Lydia Hall has the great ability to light up the stage when she begins to minister through song and violin. Her steadfastness is based on the fact that, as she says, “I need Him everyday, and every hour of my life.” Lydia continues, “We live in a dark world but music can definitely penetrate the darkness and I want everything I do to point to Jesus.”
Lydia would love to perform overseas someday, as music speaks every language and she would love to meet others in different regions of the world. She has a tender heart for orphans and children and loves to understand how they see Jesus. A song that The Hall Sisters perform called: “Some Children See Him,” is a favorite of the group because it speaks about children from all nationalities and how they view Jesus.
Lydia’s beautiful voice can soar from alto to soprano for the group and her favorite song to sing is, “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship.” She describes this song as glorious and worshipful and their performance of this song makes this writer smile.
Lydia encourages older singers who may be thinking of retiring and wondering if anyone still wants to hear the old songs to never give up. She feels that people love the old songs for the memories. These songs can recount a time when things were better for most people and the world was not so crazy. Even movies reach back and take songs from The Golden Era because they anchor people and give them a secure hook to the past.
Valerie Hall is the youngest member of The Hall Sisters. Valerie laughs, “It is hard learning to take correction from my older sisters!” She says that learning to pull her share of responsibilities of a singing group has been good for her, but if she could be the leader for just one day it would be fun to be the one correcting the older sisters. Honestly, she said she would not change a thing about The Hall Sisters because she feels the presence of God when performing and loves “feeling” the music when she plays.
Valerie sings soprano and plays the cello for the group. She says that she loves to relate to the audiences, smiling at them and seeing them smile back, and making sure she conveys the message behind the song. For Valerie, it is hard doing the same thing everyday, but she would never want to stop because she loves feeling the Lord’s presence when performing. To other young people interested in music, she says: “Keep going, don’t ever give up, but make sure that you are doing it for the right reason: to glorify God. It is worth all the practicing. It is definitely worth it!”
We are sure to be hearing more from The Hall Sisters in the very near future, as they are one of the up and coming young groups in Gospel music. The ladies have just finished filming several music videos in Nashville, TN. in January to be aired on YouTube. They have plans to return to the studio this spring to work on a full Christmas CD and another album.
Be sure to see The Hall Sisters in concert when they are in your area and you will be blessed by the music, spirit, and energy of these four young women. You may purchase one of their current projects entitled, Snow and True Blue Love on their website www.hallsisters.com .
Written by Tina Wakefiled.
First published by SGN Scoops digital magazine, February 2015. For current SGN Scoops issues, click HERE.
Tags: Annie Moses Band, bluegrass, Christian artists, christian country, Folk music, instrumental, sgn scoops, southern gospel, The Hall Sisters, Tina Wakefield
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NASHVILLE, TN Highly-esteemed bluegrass band Blue Highway and its members are nominated for a total of five awards in two prestigious awards ceremonies this weekend.
Tags: Blue HIghway, bluegrass, Grammy for Best Folk Album, Rob Ickes
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Buddy Melton, an award-winning voice that was nearly silenced
Members of Balsam Range honor the Lord’s saving power with “Stacking Up The Rocks”
Nashville, TN — Five talented friends from the blue-collar county of Haywood in North Carolina, got together one night for a jam session … and it felt good. Soon, the band Balsam Range was born, and now, five albums later, this high energy acoustic band has won awards and garnered fans worldwide. They have been invited to play some of the most iconic stages in the USA including The Grand Ole Opry, MerleFest, Music City Roots, Mountain Stages from The Lincoln Theater, The Zac Brown Band Southern Ground Festivals and coming up in the Spring of 2015, Stagecoach, California’s huge Country Music Festival.
During his recovery, Buddy felt that his strength and muscle tone were diminishing. He pushed himself and started riding his mountain bike, setting a goal for himself that his wife and doctors thought impossible and even foolish. He was determined to compete in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak East of the Mississippi River. The race is 6,684 feet above sea level with 10,357 feet of vertical climbing. He trained rigorously and in 2013, Buddy participated in the race, and despite continuing to struggle with issues from the farm accident, he finished 87th in the Men’s 40-44 age bracket, and 489th overall out of 719 riders.
Balsam Range went on to release its 5th album in 2014 and this year, at the IBMA Awards, Balsam Range was named ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR, VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR. And the determined singer and fiddler? Well, Buddy Melton won the MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Award.
Buddy wrote a very song that is performed a cappella on
the album FIVE. “Stacking Up The Rocks” was inspired by a Biblical passage from Joshua, which Buddy’s mother shared with him in the hospital as he recovered from his injuries. It was written to honor what the Lord has done in Buddy’s life, and as a reminder for everyone of God’s saving power. A line in the song says, “…So that all the people of the earth might remember that the hand of the Lord is mighty.”
Others have noted the talent of Balsam Range and invited the band into more opportunities. The band provided the music for DAYLIGHT, a swampy, original Americana release by John Driskell (“Hop”) Hopkins, founding member of the Zac Brown Band. Balsam Range also provides music and appears in the upcoming motion picture thriller, Careful What You Wish For, directed by Elizabeth Allen and starring Isabel Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Nick Jonas and Paul Sorvino.
The men of Balsam Range actively give back at every opportunity, raising more than half a million dollars for various regional and national charities. For their annual Winter Concert Series, held at the historic Capitol Theater in Canton, NC, the fellas have each chosen a charity that will benefit from each of the 5 concerts in the series.
Balsam Range released its 5th album in 2014. The appropriately titled, FIVE, debuted at #4 on Billboard Bluegrass, where it remained for 6 consecutive weeks. The album is available on the Mountain Home Music Company label, and it contains one song that has a unique meaning to these five friends.
The band is enjoying a career high, however, that nearly didn’t happen.
Singer/fiddler, Buddy Melton sustained serious head injuries in an accident on his farm in 2012. For the first few days, it was uncertain whether he would survive. Family, band mates, friends, and the extended family music lovers all hit their knees and prayed for Buddy’s recovery.
Later, Buddy was told by docs that, due to the severity of his head injuries and especially the damage to his sinuses, Buddy was not likely sing again, or ever sound the same. The band was already in the studio working on PAPERTOWN and as he recovered, Melton “just had to know.” He called up guitar player/singer Caleb Smith and asked Caleb to take him to the studio, although doctors and Melton’s wife, Carla, were against the idea. Although he was incredibly weak, Melton stepped up the microphone and delivered the poignant “Wide River To Cross” and his voice was still there … a voice that had helped to define the Balsam Range sound and now would take a 4th album to an ALBUM OF THE YEAR win at IBMA 2013.
Tags: Balsam Range, bluegrass, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel News
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Nashville, TN Butler Music Group’s Les Butler and Roger Johnson of Heaven’s Mountain Band recently announced an exclusive management agreement between Butler and the fast rising Bluegrass Gospel group. Butler Music Group will be working extensively with Heaven’s Mountain Band in management and every aspect of their professional careers.
Regarding working with Les Butler and Butler Music Group, Heaven’s Mountain Band’s Roger Johnson said “We love to work with Brother Les. We have a really great relationship as friends as well as professionally”. Johnson added, “When it comes to traditional Bluegrass Gospel we feel that Bro. Les has kept our kind of songs and music from going away’.
Les Butler added “Over the past couple of years, I have gotten to know Roger Johnson, his family and all the fine folks who make up Heaven’s Mountain Band. Our business relationship quickly segued into a friendship”. Butler continued “We’ve prayed, worshiped, preached, and sung together all across the country during the past few months. If I had to explain Heaven’s Mountain Band in a word, that word would be ‘real’. The wonderful singing and great musicianship of the band is a given. But what sets them apart is the songwriting of group member and leader, Roger Johnson, who just happens to be one of the best songwriters in gospel music.”
Tags: bluegrass, Heaven's Mountain Band, Southern Gospel News
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We asked Sherri George .. What is your favorite Christmas Memory?
I love Christmas! As I was putting air in my tires yesterday, I remembered the Christmas after I drove home from New York .. and asking for something my parents couldn’t believe I wanted! As I was getting ready to drive home, the dad in the family I was renting an apartment from asked if he could check my tires. Turns out, the tires only had 14 pounds of air in them! In the 15-hour drive home, I could have blown a tire if he hadn’t taken that little tire gauge and checked them for me .. and I didn’t have a cell phone or AAA back then. So when my parents asked me that year what I wanted for Christmas, I immediately said, “A tire gauge!” They laughed, thought I was kidding, and asked again, “Really, what do you want?” I kept telling them, and finally they stopped asking, and looked at each other like their child had lost her mind lol .. When we opened gifts on Christmas Eve, there in a little box under the tree was a noisy little present when you shook it, and I knew it was my tire gauge! Mother and Daddy watched especially close as I opened it, and I really did beam and jump up to hug them. They finally believed that’s what I wanted! lol .. I’ve never driven anywhere since that day without a tire gauge in my glove compartment, or started a trip without checking the air in my tires. I still appreciate Bob and Adele Pastore in Mamaroneck, NY .. appreciate their kindness in letting a kid from Kentucky stay in their home in a wonderful area while I worked for the NBA .. and for keeping me safe by caring enough to check my tires. Guess that’s one of my very favorite Christmas memories! Everyone stay safe and happy this holiday season, and please glance down at your tires before you travel, too!
Tags: bluegrass, Christmas 2014, Sherri George, Southern Gospel News
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1 What was your favorite dish yesterday?
Sweet potato casserole
2 Did you watch any sports?
Watched the cowboys get smoked
3 Did you watch the Macy’s Day Parade?
A little of the parade.
4 Does your family have a tradition on thanksgiving that is special to your family?
Thanksgiving has never been a big traditional holiday. We eat with in-laws, watch football and that’s about it. It is one of my favorite weekends .
5 Tell us a few of the things that you are thankful for in 2014?
Thankful for our new band members, thankful for my wife and son. Mom is in bad health in a nursing home. Thankful we could celebrate her 80th birthday this week.
Tags: bluegrass, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel News Magazine, Tim Maze
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Nashville, TN – Brother/sister duo THE ROYS won the Bluegrass Artist of the Year award for the fourth consecutive year at last night’s 20th Annual ICM Faith, Family & Country™ Awards show. “Truly humbled once again,” noted Elaine of the honor. “We thank the Lord Jesus and Mom and Dad,” added Lee. Following their acceptance of the award, THE ROYS delivered a stellar version of the poignant “Mended Wings” from THE VIEW, their fourth Rural Rhythm Records’ release. The disc hit stores in September, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 10 Bluegrass Albums chart, and generated a #1 single with “No More Lonely” on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart.
The popular Bluegrassers were previously honored with the following ICM Awards: 2013, 2012 & 2011 Bluegrass Artist of the Year; 2012 #1 Inspirational Country Single (“I Wonder What God’s Thinking”), and the 2010 & 2009 Duo of the Year.
The star-studded 2014 Awards show was hosted by legendary entertainer Ray Stevens and Megan Alexander of Inside Edition, and was taped for future broadcast across multiple outlets. Performances by Rhonda Vincent; American Idol finalist and BMG recording artist Danny Gokey; Grand Ole Opry member John Conlee; CMA award-winner John Berry, and Curb recording artists Sweetwater Rain and Rachel Holder made for an outstanding evening of music.
Stay social with THE ROYS
Tags: bluegrass, christian country, Family & country, ICM Faith, Mended Wings
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Blue Highway presents Bluegrass Gospel Artist of the Year Award to Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver at 23rd Annual Diamond AwardsWritten by Staff on November 11, 2014 – 2:20 pm -
PIGEON FORGE, TN (November 6, 2014) — Powerhouse bluegrass band Blue Highway appeared as special guests at Tuesday evening’s 23rd Annual Diamond Awards held at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, TN.
In addition to presenting the Bluegrass Gospel Artist of the Year Award, they also performed two songs: the a cappella fan-favorite Some Day, and Wicked Path of Sin (I Can Hear the Angels Singing) from their Dove and IBMA-winning and Grammy nominated all-gospel release,Wondrous Love.
It marked Blue Highway’s first appearance on the Awards Show, and they were honored to present the Bluegrass Gospel Artist of the Year Award to Eli Johnston representing Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, who took home their second consecutive Bluegrass Gospel Artist of the Year honor at the fan-voted Diamond Awards.
The Diamond Awards were presented as part of the Creekside Gospel Music Convention, andsponsored by SGN Scoops Magazine, the vibrant all-digital source of Southern Gospel news and current #1-visited Southern Gospel website.
For more information on Blue Highway, please go to: www.BlueHighwayBand.com orwww.Facebook.com/BlueHighway
For more information on Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, please go to: www.DoyleLawson.com or www.Facebook.com/
For more information on SGN Scoops Magazine and the Diamond Awards, please go to www.sgnscoops.com.
Photo by Sherri George
Blue Highway presenting the Bluegrass Gospel Artist of the Year Award to Eli Johnston who accepted in behalf of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.
L to R: Wayne Taylor, Jason Burleson, Eli Johnston, Shawn Lane, and Tim Stafford. (Rob Ickes was unable to attend due to prior commitments.)
Tags: Blue HIghway, bluegrass, Creekside Gospel Music Convention, diamond awards, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, sgn scoops
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“Our winter concert series is a kind of gift to our community. It’s an opportunity to share the talents of some really amazing artists that we admire and don’t usually get to perform with,” says Balsam Range’s Tim Surrett.
Guests for each of the five concerts include fan favorites and award winners. The 2014-15 series will include The Jeff Little Trio with Steve Lewis and Josh Scott; The Molly Tuttle Trio; North Carolina’s own, The Harris Brothers; The Snyder Family Band; and The Studio Dream Team, comprised of musicians Jeff Collins, David Johnson and Tony Creasman. Concerts are held at the Colonial Theater in Canton on the first Saturday of each month, December 2014 through April 2015. Balsam Range, winner of the 2014 IBMA Entertainer of the Year, also performs at each show.
Special guest artists are selected by the members of Balsam Range. Tim Surrett, Buddy Melton, Caleb Smith, Darren Nicholson and Marc Pruett often use their many hours on the road to talk about and share with each other the music of artists they admire.
“We love to get our own musical heroes on these shows,” says mandolin player extraordinaire, Darren Nicholson. “Musicians are inspired by other artists. It’s just as much fun for us to share an evening with these folks as it is for our fans and friends to hear them.”
Balsam Range tries also to bring artists to the series who don’t regularly play in the area. Past concerts, which have all been sell-outs, have boasted guests from among the top names in the business as well as fast-rising stars of acoustic music. Guests have included Tony Rice, Bobby Hicks, John Wiggins, Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley, Larry Cordle, Jim Hurst, Shawn Camp, The Sweet Lowdown, John Driskell Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band and more.
BALSAM RANGE WINTER CONCERT SERIES 2014-15
12/6/14 – The Molly Tuttle Trio: LINK
01/3/15 – The Jeff Little Trio: LINK
02/7/15 – The Harris Brothers: LINK
03/7/15 – The Snyder Family Band: LINK
04/4/15 – The Studio Dream Team: Jeff Collins, David Johnson, Tony Creasman: LINK
Each of the five concerts will support a different area charitable organization, as chosen by the members of the band.
The band gratefully acknowledges its sponsors for the 2014-15 series: Amy Spivey of ERA Sunburst Realty, The Waynesville Inn Golf Resort and Spa, and Smoky Mountain Roasters Coffee Shop.
In addition to IBMA Entertainer of the Year, Balsam Range was also honored with Vocal Group of the Year, and single awards were given to Buddy Melton (Male Vocalist of the Year) and Tim Surrett (Mentor Award – one of a series of special honors called Momentum Awards – for his inspired work with young and developing artists).
For more information, visit www.balsamrange.com
Tags: Balsam Range, bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, Winter Concert Series
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The Isaacs brand new CHRISTMAS DVD is releasing in two weeks. You can pre-order it now.
$18.00 plus $3.00 shipping and handling for the DVD only.
Or, get a DVD and our Christmas CD for only $25.00 plus $3.00 shipping. $28.00 for both items.
This is a Limited time offer.
This would make a Great CHRISTMAS present for that someone special on your list.
We can also autograph and send to your loved ones in time for Christmas
Order the DVD only – $18.00 plus $3.00 S&H
Order the DVD & CD – $25.00 plus $3.00 S&H
This special features songs from their latest Christmas CD The Isaacs Christmas as well as impromptu performances by the Isaacs and their families. You’ll get to know each of their personalities as they tell stories, read scriptures, go shopping, cook Christmas dinner and share their annual traditions for both Christmas and Hanukkah.
About The Isaacs
The Isaacs, a multi-award winning family group who began singing 30 years ago, are based out of Nashville, TN . The vocalists are Lily Isaacs, Ben Isaacs, Sonya Isaacs Yeary and Rebecca Isaacs Bowman. Playing their own acoustic instruments and joined by other band members, The Isaacs have a unique style that blends tight, family harmony with contemporary acoustic instrumentation that appeals to a variety of audiences. Their musical influences emerge from all genres of music including bluegrass, rhythm and blues, folk, and country, contemporary acoustic and southern gospel. They perform frequently at the Grand Ole Opry, are active members on the Gaither Homecoming Videos and Concert Series and travel throughout the year performing internationally. Concert venues include civic centers, auditoriums, arenas, fair grounds, parks, churches and other locations. They have performed the National Anthem for many sporting events, including a Cincinnati Bengal’s football game, several Nashville Predators Hockey games, an Astros/ Braves pre-season baseball game as well as various political gatherings. They also received a standing ovation for their patriotic performance at Carnegie Hall.
Tags: bluegrass, Christian Music, christmas, christmas music, gospel music, the isaacs
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