The Fosters

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Finding Your Voice: Guide to Rediscovering Your Purpose, Passions, and Priorities

Written by Staff on May 10, 2020 – 2:25 pm -

Finding Your Voice: A 40-day Guide to Rediscovering Your Purpose, Passions, and Priorities

Finding Your Voice writer Csilla Muscan

Finding Your Voice: A 40-day Guide to Rediscovering Your Purpose, Passions, and Priorities

Written by Csilla Muscan

Book review by Suzanne Mason

In today’s fast-paced, social media-driven world, it’s hard to believe our voice matters or that we have a purpose beyond making it through another week and paying the bills. God tells us that we definitely do, but how do we find that purpose? How can we learn to focus on that still, small voice to guide us? Can we ever find a way to establish our God-ordained priorities and live into those? Written specifically for women, Csilla (pronounced Cheela) Muscan’s new book “Finding Your Voice: A 40-day Guide to Rediscovering Your Purpose, Passions, and Priorities” hopes to help answer some of these questions and guide readers to daily lean into the purpose God has given each and every one of us.

Finding Your Voice: A 40-day Guide to Rediscovering Your Purpose, Passions, and PrioritiesA singer, songwriter, podcaster, and women’s inspirational speaker among other things, Muscan has worked with hundreds of women over the years, and she’s continually found that one of the biggest struggles they contend with, regardless of background or walk of life, is identifying their priorities and crafting their lives to live into their purpose.

“I struggled with this myself, with knowing that my voice mattered, knowing that I had a purpose, that I had value to offer to the world,” Muscan explains. “God has really planted in my heart that we, as women, really struggle with our value and wait for people to validate us. We wait for permission to step out, and the only person we need to hear from is God.”

For Muscan, hearing from God meant stepping out of her comfort zone, writing this book, and sharing many personal stories along the way. Throughout this 40-day guide, she shares many of her own struggles and vulnerabilities in the hopes that she can connect more deeply with her readers. In essence, she’s not telling them how to find their purpose but walking the wilderness with them and showing them how it’s done.

“Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days. I think when we give ourselves enough time and go into the wilderness with God, there’s something powerful that happens,” Muscan shares. “We need to give ourselves long enough to process things.”

Reading through the guide day by day also allows readers to create a daily practice of quieting their minds to listen to God’s leading, a daily habit all of us could use.

Now more than ever, Muscan believes in the importance of living life with the purpose God’s laid out for each of us.

“Schedules don’t necessarily reflect our priorities, and it can create a tension, a frustration,” she notes.

In one of my favorite quotes in the book, Muscan highlights, “the more voices we listen to, the more confused we become.”

With her practical daily guide, Muscan illustrates how to eliminate the loudness of the world, others, and even ourselves to lean into God’s plan for us. 

Finding Your Voice: A 40-day Guide to Rediscovering Your Purpose, Passions, and PrioritiesI asked Muscan if she’s been successful in finding and living out her God-given purpose or if it’s still a daily practice.

“Yes!” she exclaimed. “I wake up every day knowing what my bigger purpose in life is, unashamedly and unapologetically. But some days I don’t feel like it, don’t feel like doing the things that are hard. Those are the days my healthy, established routines help me out.” 

And that’s the struggle, isn’t it? Trying to learn, grow, and blossom into the purpose God has for us, even on days when it’s difficult—but we can’t do that if we don’t know what that purpose is. Muscan wants to help you find it, and “Finding Your Voice” serves as a roadmap to discover your unique purpose as determined by God and rediscover the passion for daily life. 


Csilla Muscan is an international singer, speaker, author, and founder of CAPTIVATE Training (https://www.captivate-training.com/). With over 20 years of experience as a performing artist and keynote speaker, she learned a thing or two about what makes for a powerful communicator. She’s performed and presented on over 900 stages to thousands of people all over the world. Today, together with her team, she helps women find the clarity and confidence they need in order to become a dynamic and effective communicator. She is an old soul with a contemporary voice. Born and raised in a third-world country amidst excruciatingly difficult circumstances, Csilla is committed to sharing her story of overcoming and rising from the ashes in order to inspire her audience into brave action. Currently, you can find her bi-weekly on her CAPTIVATE – With Your Words podcast, where Csilla teaches women how to become better communicators and interviews other inspiring thought-leaders. Csilla and her sweet family currently reside just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. “Finding Your Voice” is available now on Amazon.com and at www.fyvbook.net. You can follow her on Instagram at @csillamuscan

Review by Suzanne Mason

Suzanne Mason regularly reviews Christian films and books for SGNScoops.

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CD Review: Beautiful Day by Mark Bishop

Written by Staff on April 9, 2020 – 1:15 pm -

Mark BishopMark Bishop

“Beautiful Day”

Label: Sonlite Records

Producer: Jeff Collins, Mark Bishop

 

Songs: “It’s A Beautiful Day,” “God Needs Ministers,” “Are You Ready For Perfect Love?” “It’s All Good,” “I’ll Just Keep Rowing,” “You Can’t Say He Didn’t Love Us,” “I’m Just Changing Mountains,” “Home Grown Tomatoes,” “The Man On The Other Cross,” “Lost, Lost, Lost”

 

One of Southern gospel’s most beloved singer-songwriters is back with yet another stellar recording. Mark Bishop hopes to lift spirits with his new CD entitled “Beautiful Day.” This recording features 10 songs that encourage people to trust in God and be witnesses to this lost world.

 

The CD opens with two great uptempo tracks “It’s A Beautiful Day,” and “God Needs Ministers.” The title track encourages listeners to look on the bright side of life. Don’t let the gloomy days get you down. Jeff Chapman, Chris Allman, and Mylon Hayes join him to make this a fun quartet song. 

 

Amber Eppinette of 11th Hour joins him on “God Needs Ministers,” which reminds us to shine God’s light in every situation. Be a soul reacher in everyday life. Eppinette also joins Bishop on the powerful ballad “Are You Ready For Perfect Love?” which praises Christ for his transforming love. 

 

“It’s All Good,” is a fun, groovy tune that reminds us that with God in our lives, happiness is not hard to find. “I’ll Just Keep Rowing,” is a stellar mid-tempo track that simply says: Jesus is the captain of my boat. I will trust him and just keep rowing. 

 

“You Can’t Say He Didn’t Love Us,” is a beautiful ballad that simply reminds us that God loved us so much that He sacrificed himself to save us from our sins. Bishop picks the tempo back up with the fun “I’m Just Changing Mountains.” This clever tune tells of persevering through the trials of life. God has our best interests at heart and will always be with you. 

 

Mark BishopPerhaps the standout track on the album, the cut “Home Grown Tomatoes,” tells the story of Brother Joe, a country preacher serving as a witness to everyone he meets. He visits churchgoer’s homes with a bible in one hand and a bag of home grown tomatoes in the other.

“The Man On The Other Cross,” a well crafted ballad, tells of the other men on the crosses next to Christ. This powerful song proclaims: I want to be like the man on the cross who found forgiveness. 

 

This outstanding album closes with “Lost, Lost, Lost,” a tender ballad that tells the story of being found in Christ. I was lost, but then I found Jesus who gave me purpose and new life.

 

Justin Gilmore

“Beautiful Day” is yet another powerful and well crafted album from Mark Bishop. This recording not only features fantastic vocals from Bishop, but deeply moving and anointed songs. A must buy for fans of Bishop and Southern gospel fans alike. 4.5 out of  5 stars.

 

For more information: www.markbishopmusic.com

 

Guest CD Review by Justin Gilmore of Southern Gospel Spotlight.

 


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Kingdom Heirs and Tim Menzies reviewed by Randall Hamm

Written by Staff on July 22, 2019 – 9:08 am -

Kingdom Heirs Something Good

Kingdom Heirs Something Good

Randall Reviews It: Kingdom Heirs and Tim Menzies

By Randall Hamm

We are more than halfway through the year and the new releases just keep on coming. This month, the Kingdom Heirs release a follow up to a highly popular album in their catalog, and singer/songwriter Tim Menzies releases his best album to date. Read on, dear reader, to find out more.

As always, if you enjoy the reviews, pick up this music, or download it, wherever you get good gospel music.

Please send your latest releases for review to Randall Hamm, c/o Q-100 WFLQ-FM, P.O. Box 100, French Lick, Ind., 47432

Randall


Now…Let the reviews begin!

Kingdom Heirs
“Something Good Volume 2”
Producer: Arthur Rice and Kreis French
Label: Sonlite 2019

Songs: “What A Beautiful Day” (Eddie Crook – Aaron Wilburn BMI); “It’s Gonna Be A Good Day” (Bill Gaither – Suzanne Jennings – Jeff Silvey BMI); “That’s How I Know” (Sonya Isaacs Yeary – Rebecca Isaacs Bowman BMI); “The Lovely Name Of Jesus” (Squire Parsons BMI); “The Love Of God” (V.P. “Vep” Ellis SESAC); “Something To Shout About” (Mosie Lister BMI); “Run On” (Traditional  P.D.); Thus Saith The Lord” (Daryl Williams ASCAP); “When We Sing Around The Throne Eternal” (Albert E. Brumley BMI); “Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho” (Traditional P. D.)

Kingdom HeirsThe Kingdom Heirs follow up one of their best albums, “The Last Big Thing,” with a nod to their previous project, “Something Good,” released in 2017. “Something Good” was a way of bringing back some great gospel songs of the last few years, some great classics out of the redback hymnal, and some great quartet classics of the past. 

In “Volume 2,” they keep the same winning recipe and once again bring us such great songs as “What A Beautiful Day,” and “The Lovely Name Of Jesus,” among other classics that have stood the test of time. The album also includes great songs that sound much older, as though they could have been written in that era as well. 

The CD kicks off in fine fashion with “What A Beautiful Day,” an Aaron Wilburn classic, written with Eddie Crook and brought to us by the Happy Goodmans. It is known for its steel introduction, which on the original was done by Steve “Rabbit” Easter, who was a part of the Happy Goodman Band, as was Eddie Crook. There was such a message in the song, that it was one of the biggest songs of 1975 and 1976, and is considered a classic today. All of the original elements, including the intro, are still here. This song still resonates today, as we draw day by day closer to the Lord’s return on that “Beautiful Day.” 

My favorite cut on the album is “The Love of God,” by Vep Ellis, harkening back to the Blackwood and Statesmen Quartet days. The Kingdom Heirs could have competed back in the day with their version, complete with just piano, organ, bass and drum. Nothing fancy, just simply singing the song and letting the beauty of their voices shine through. Jerry Martin and Loren Harris shine as the group brings us what quartets sounded like grouped around one microphone. Just so, so good. 

The released single brings us a taste of the Kingsmen, circa 1977. “The Lovely Name Of Jesus” sparkles as Arthur Rice takes the lead. A great nod to Squire as he has now retired from the road, due to health issues. Other classics such as “Run On” and “Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho” shine, and their version of “That’s How I Know,” first brought to us by Tribute Quartet, is a fitting tribute to sounds of days gone by. 

Overall, if you were to recommend an album to spotlight, with sounds of gospel music of days gone by, I would recommend this album and the original “Something Good.” 

Visit the Kingdom Heirs at facebook.com/kingdomheirs and get a copy for yourself and for a friend.

Strongest Songs:  “The Lovely Name of Jesus,” “What A Beautiful Day,” “The Love of God”

 

Kingdom Heirs and Tim Menzies reviewed by Randall HammTim Menzies
“His Name Is Jesus”
Producer: Ben Isaacs
Label: New Day 2019

Songs: “His Name Is” (Tim Menzies BMI); “That Little Crowded Room” (Tim Menzies – Casey Beathard BMI); “Don’t Wait” (Tim Menzies – Monty Criswell BMI);  There’s Something About That Name/Nothing But The Blood” (Bill Gaither – Gloria Gaither – Robert Lowry BM); “Thirty Year Suicide” (Tim Menzies – Jennifer Layne); “Hanging Out With Old Folks” (Tim Menzies – Monty Criswell BMI); “He Didn’t Come That Night” (Tim Menzies – Belinda Smith); “Six Feet” (Tim Menzies – Monty Criswell BMI); “I Know That Was You” (Tim Menzies – Monty Criswell); “I Hope You See Jesus” (Tim Menzies – Sonya Isaacs Yeary – Becky Isaacs Bowman BMI); “Thank God For Cowboys” (Tim Menzies – Monty Criswell ASCAP); “Kentucky Coal” (Tim Menzies – Monty Criswell – Sidney Cox ASCAP); “Walking In Jerusalem” (Bill Monroe); “Little Is Much” (Kittie L. Suffield P.D.)

“Tim Menzies, Volume 2,” is what I’m unofficially calling this, although the official title is, “His Name Is Jesus.” Tim has been around for a number of years as a songwriter, captivating us with his songs through such artists as Shenandoah, John Conlee, and Mark Chesnutt, among others. He had albums out as well under the name Tim Mensy, scoring a number of top 60 songs on the Country charts in the 1990s. But a few years ago, he turned his writing towards the gospel field.

Menzies’ songs always had a gospel feel and message, but now Tim has turned his music more to the gospel field and positive Christian genre. In 2014, he released his first gospel CD “His Way Of Loving Me.” From that CD, Tim released the single, “I Was There,” and had a minor hit. Mike Bowling of the Bowling family also recorded that on their “Moments Like These” project, having a top five single with it a few years ago. Tim had not heard them perform it, and I was there with Tim at the Food Court at NQC in 2015, when on the pre-show, Mike and the Bowling Family came on and sang “I Was There.” It was one of those special moments; you just had to be there, to see a songwriter see his song come to life. 

This latest CD contains 14 songs and 12 are from the pen of Tim. The first single, “Six feet Under,” has just been released to radio and is a sparkling song of hope, harkening back to Claude Elys’ “Ain’t No Grave.” I’m coming up six feet, ain’t no grave gonna hold me. 

My favorite cut and the one I hope Tim pulls as a single is, “That Little Crowded Room.” A man is close to death and he starts introducing family and friends, although there is only Tim and the gentleman in that “Little Crowded Room.” I hope it is a hit for Tim, but if not, someone will have a gigantic hit with this song of positive faith. 

What can you say, how do you follow up “I Was There?” With “I Know It Was You.” With a feel of “I Was There,” Tim crafts another song that lets us know that he is always there, and nothing takes him by surprise. 

Other great songs such as “Hanging Out With Old Folks,” “Don’t Wait ” and the rest of this project, Tim brings us into his living room and sings just for us. I would not be surprised if this album gets a Grammy nod, like his “His Way Of Loving Me” did a few years back. 

There are a number of hits on this album, and someone will release them, Tim or another soloist or group. This album is a must for anyone who loves to hear their songs raw and from the songwriter’s heart, as he imagined them. 

Also a plus, Tim invites a number of guest artists to appear with him, including The Isaacs, Gaither Vocal Band, Vince Gill, Rhonda Vincent, and Karen Peck; making this the album must-have of the year. The album is now out and you can get a copy when you visit Tim at facebook.com/TimMenziesOfficial/

June 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

June 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

Strongest Songs: “I Know It Was You,” ”That Little Crowded Room,” “Six Feet”

 

By Randall Hamm

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in June 2019

Read the July SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE

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Randall Hamm Reviews It: The Inspirations and Justified Quartet

Written by Staff on July 11, 2019 – 7:20 pm -

The Inspirations tell stories of God’s presence on Right Where He Is

The Inspirations tell stories of God’s presence on Right Where He Is

This month, those inspiring Inspirations are back from the mountains with a new release and an up-and-coming regional group will soon be known nationally with their latest release. Justified Quartet from Akron, Michigan wants you to “Take A Stand” and request it at your local gospel station.

As always, if you enjoy the reviews, pick up this music, or download it, wherever you get good gospel music.

Please send your latest releases for review to Randall Hamm, c/o Q-100 WFLQ-FM, P.O. Box 100, French Lick, Ind., 47432

Randall Hamm


Now…Let the Reviews begin

 

I

The Inspirations have extended their relationship with Horizon Records and are in the studio working on a new album, to be released in 2019.

The Inspirations have extended their relationship with Horizon Records

nspirations
“Right Where He Is”
Producer: Jeff Collins
2019 Horizon records

Songs: “He’s Coming Again” (Matthew Browder BMI); “There’ll Never Be A Giant” (Roland Kesterson BMI); “Lord I Want To Be A Blessing” (Squire Parsons BMI); “Wouldn’t Change The End” (Dixie Phillips-Mark Mathes BMI); “She Gets Another Prayer Through Again” (Steve Moss BMI); “His Hand Reached Further Down” (Don Johnson BMI); “Obey The Spirit of The Lord” (Joyce Croft-Colbert Croft BMI); “That’s Right Where He’ll Be” (Rebecca J Peck-Megan Sorelle Mulnix BMI); “The End of Time Is Near” (William Carter BMI); “Judas Kissed The Door” (Sandy Knight BMI)

This is now the second album with Archie Watkins at the helm of ownership of the group. As you know, Martin Cook retired and sold all interest and ownership of the group to Archie, to lead the Inspirations and continue their brand of gospel music. This album brings Roland Kesterson to the front as their new lead singer, as Matt Dibler retired, and Wyatt Austin, former bass with the Chuckwagon Gang, was brought on as utility musician and occasional bass singer. 

This album is a marked improvement, over “The One In the Water,” the blend is tighter and the musical selection is a better choice as well. From top to bottom, this lineup of the Inspirations has struck pay dirt with this project. “He’s Coming Again” leads off the project with the traditional Inspiration sound we’ve all come to know and love, featuring Roland on lead. Eddie Dietz gets the lead on a Squire Parsons tune “Lord I Want To Be A Blessing” and shines as always. One of my favorites that I hope will be pulled as a single, “His Hand Reached Further Down,” features Archie. In his earlier days, he could not have sung this as he sings here. Archie’s voice has aged like a fine wine and with a little age, he sings this to perfection, and I’m thankful he reached further down for me. 

The current single climbing the charts is “That’s Right Where He’ll Be.” From the pen of Rebecca J Peck, no matter where we are that’s “Where He’ll Be.” You’ll instantly recognize the single, as it has one of the catchiest intros on radio today. But my true favorite is a re-recording of “The End Of Time Is Near.” This classic Inspirations’ song, first recorded in 1969, sparkles as two of the current Inspirations were on this particular cut, Archie and Eddie. In 50 years the message of this song is even clearer and truer today. This is worthy as well of being a single.

 Overall, the Inspirations and all those involved have crafted a CD that has not left my player for a while. Great songs, the classic Inspiration sound, and some great studio musicians make for an album that is a pure delight. Visit the Inspirations at https://www.facebook.com/theinspirations/ and get a copy of “Right Where He Is” wherever and however you get good gospel music.

Strongest Songs: “Right Where He’ll Be,” “His Hand Reached Further Down,” “The End of Time Is Near,” “Obey the Spirit Of The Lord”

 

Justified Quartet

Justified Quartet

Justified Quartet
“Take A Stand”
Producer: Bob Caldwell
2019 Independent

Songs: “Take A Stand” (Scott Inman-Daryl Williams); “Come, Lord Jesus” (Dianne Wilkinson); “Don’t Be Caught Dead Without Jesus” (Mike Payne-Vic Clay); “We’ve Got Our Ways” (Rebecca Peck-David Jenkins); “It Should Have Rained” (Dianne Wilkinson-Rusty Golden); “We’re In The Same Boat” (Rebecca Peck-Kenna Turner West); “Heaven Is The Place Where Dreams Come True” (Dianne Wilkinson-Janice Crow); “Can’t Wait To Hear The Sound” (Carl Ledford); “It Took A Lamb” (Geron Davis); “I Still Cling To The Old Rugged Cross” (Marty Funderburk-Buddy Mullins)


For the past six years, this group has been Michigan’s pride and joy. Based out of Akron, Mich., Justified is about to no longer be Michigan’s secret. Lead, Carl Ledford; baritone, Mark Jacoby; tenor, Dave Potts and bass, Tim Caldwell, have crafted a album that is pure joy and straight ahead Southern gospel. The album produced by Bob Caldwell, who you may remember as the bass singer with Won By One, Brian Free and Assurance, and Kingdom Heirs, has brought the best out of Justified. By the way, Tim Caldwell is Bob’s brother. “Take A Stand” leads off this project, and in this day and age we must “Take A Stand.” This is their current single and could be the group’s first national Top 20. 

Justified sings the fire out of “Come Lord Jesus,” the first of three Dianne Wilkinson songs on the album.  “It Should Have Rained,” penned by Dianne, is an absolute gem that deserves a possible single release. Featuring their tenor, this was formerly recorded by the Kingsmen, but changing the lead to tenor, markedly changes the song and makes it more powerful. Closing out the CD is another lead vocal for tenor Dave Potts on “I Still Cling To The Old Rugged Cross”, a powerful song of where our belief lies. In between “Take A Stand” and “I Still Cling,” is one of the best new projects of the year. You may not have heard of Justified, but in a few more single releases, you will remember their name. Take a stand and get a copy of this CD. Visit Justified at https://www.facebook.com/JustifiedqtMI/ and get a copy of “Take A Stand” wherever and however you get good gospel music.

 

The Freemans grace the cover of the May 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

The Freemans grace the cover of the May 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

Strongest Songs: “Take A Stand,” “I Still Cling To The Old Rugged Cross,” “It Should Have Rained,” “Don’t be Caught Dead”

 

 Reviews by Randall Hamm

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in May 2019

Read the July SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE

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Listen To Todays Gospel Music HERE
Justified Qt at GMW MIWe are excited to have Justified Quartet oining us in Ann Arbor next June 4-6 for Gospel Music Weekend Michigan! Make your plans now to join us for a weekend of great gospel music featuring over 30 artists.
For more nformation, send us an email to events@sgnscoops.com #GMWM2020 #AnnArbor #DestinationAnnArbor



   


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Suzanne Mason reviews “The Riot and the Dance” film

Written by Staff on April 18, 2018 – 5:42 pm -

THE RIOT AND THE DANCE

THE RIOT AND THE DANCE

There’s a good chance you’ve seen a nature documentary or two in your life. Whether exploring the desert, tundra, forest, or ocean, these films give their viewers an up close and personal look at the handiwork of God. However, narrators make scant mention of our Creator and His part in the creation. Not so with “THE RIOT AND THE DANCE.”

Once told he would never succeed as a scientist if he continued talking about the Creator/created relationship, Dr. Gordon Wilson, a biology professor and regular contributor at Answers in Genesis, quite happily guides viewers in “THE RIOT AND THE DANCE” (the title comes from his biology textbook of the same name). “Life is both a riot and a dance—we see riot because of the fall… and we watch it in morbid fascination,” Wilson explains. “The dance part is that we still see the glory of God in creation in spite of the fall—we see the beauty, the choreography, the balances” God has established throughout nature.

Presented as such, this film stands apart from others in its genre in other ways. Dr. Wilson’s narration urges us to consider how we should view nature, both as fallen and as created, and to see God’s fingerprint in the world. Additionally, his narration is not merely a voiceover: he appears throughout the documentary interacting with the animals, even picking up amphibians and reptiles, and yes, even getting bitten. “We have a different worldview—God created, and we were given dominion” over the Earth, and he wanted to be more interactive with the creatures than the traditional nature documentary.  

THE RIOT AND THE DANCEAnd Dr. Wilson is. From elephants and leopards to snakes and frogs, he takes viewers on a journey from Arizona to Sri Lanka, highlighting the creativity of our God and the wonder of His creation and our world. It’s a film unlike any other. “I really want people to see creation from another perspective, one that gives God the glory. It’s not just to be entertained—I want people to reflect on” the world and creatures God has created.  So much so, a second documentary, this time exploring sea life, is in the works for 2019.

“THE RIOT AND THE DANCE” released on March 19th and is still being shown at theatres nationwide. For more information, please visit http://riotandthedance.com/.

THE RIOT AND THE DANCEReview by Suzanne Mason

 

Suzanne Mason regularly reviews the latest Christian films in SGNScoops Magazine and on SGNScoops website.

 

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The Torchmen Quartet prove “Faithful” after almost 50 years

Written by Staff on March 30, 2018 – 8:40 am -

Canada's premiere quartet, the Torchmen

Canada’s premiere quartet, the Torchmen

 

The Torchmen Quartet: Faithful

Recorded at Crossroads Recording Studio, Grant Ave Studios

Producers: Chris Allman, Amy King, Jon Hisey

Label: Independent

Review by: Lorraine Walker

 

It was a pleasure to receive the latest album from the Torchmen Quartet, entitled “Faithful.” Appropriately named, this recording talks about being faithful to the Lord Jesus every day, through every difficulty, and in every circumstance. I have known the TQ’s members, Mike Moran, Jon Hisey, Sandy MacGregor and Jeff Tritton for a long time and can attest to the fact that these gentlemen have been faithful to their call and to the Lord.

 

From the very first play of the first cut on the project, this CD feels like the TQ you know and enjoy, but upscaled to an even better version of themselves. “It’s An Everyday Thing,” has the type of instrumentation and vocals that listeners of Torchmen projects are used to, with violin and steel guitar, and the melody line seems perfect for MacGregor, who handles the song with ease. Special note that the drums on this track were played by Michael Booth, who has an excellent touch on the toms. This tune was written by Rebecca J. Peck, who also wrote two more cuts on this album.

 

The Torchmen Quartet's latest release, Faithful

The Torchmen Quartet’s latest release, Faithful

“Faithful Father” is an easy-listening quartet song, written by Rodney Griffith and Chris Binion. It’s a good reminder that no matter what, our Heavenly Father is faithful; much more so than we can possibly be. I enjoy Tritton’s vocals regardless of what he sings, and he adds his smooth tones to this song which is polished and so comforting to the ear and the heart.

 

“Crown Him King,” a quartet favorite by Luther G. Presley and Wally Varner, is handled effortlessly by this seasoned group. So well, I’m almost positive they have recorded it before. The quartet has recorded over 30 projects and I don’t claim to have every project, so it could well be that they have. Regardless, it is an excellent track.

 

“What If Someone” is another smooth Tritton song, written by Lanny Wolfe. It will make you wonder what if you had never been told about Jesus…and who you should be telling about Him today that may not hear about the Lord in any other way.

 

“I Want to Live Like Jesus,” written by Ernie Haase and Dianne Wilkinson, has the flair and instrumentation of a Cathedral Quartet cut. I so enjoyed the precision and thought behind this tune.

 

The Torchmen Quartet's latest release, Faithful. Back Liner

The Torchmen Quartet’s latest release, Faithful. Back Liner

Torchmen listeners may not be overly surprised at some song choices by MacGregor, but I have to admit, when I heard the opening strains of this song and realized what it was, I couldn’t believe my ears. But what a treat! If you listened to Christian music in the ‘80s, you couldn’t help but hear Twila Paris sing, “The Warrior is a Child.” MacGregor takes this song to new places and it truly becomes a quartet song. Great job, gentlemen. Kudos to your producer, Chris Allman.

 

“Good Things” is another Rebecca Peck song, this time with David Jenkins. Another finger-snapping tune shows the men’s crisp timing and more great vocals by Tritton.

 

“Reunion with You” begins with a melancholy tone in both lyric and notes, but sadness changes to hope with the chorus which reminds us that there will be an eternal reunion with our loved ones someday. This song by Tim Lanier immediately reminded me of my mom who passed away almost 8 years ago; however, the pang of separation never seems to diminish. Mike Moran tells this story with finesse and the ability to communicate emotion, thought and lyric, that has made him a favorite with Canadian audiences.

 

“Wonder Working God” lists among its writers the husband/wife team of Zane and Donna King. I prefer to listen to a new project without reading the liner first, so I knew this was a special cut even before reading that Donna was a part of it. She is one of the most talented people in Christian music and it seems that anything she is a part of becomes touched with a special sparkle that is all her own. One of my favorite cuts.

 

“I’m Gonna Keep Praying,” another Rodney Griffith song, reminds us what a privilege it is to be able to talk to God any time, anywhere. Another easy-listening song that has powerful, understated lyrics. That may sound like an oxymoron but when you listen to the song, you will agree.

 

Torchmen

Torchmen

“What Kind of Man,” another Dianne Wilkinson song, helps us look at the humanity of Jesus, which is not a subject often addressed by preachers, let alone Christian music. Well done, Dianne and Janice Crow. Well sung as well, as the harmonies are lovely.

 

“When the Preacher Gets to Preaching,” written by Rebecca Peck and Christine Degazio, is a fun song that reminds me of the old-time pastors you hear about, the kind who preaches it so straight that the listeners’ hair is parted. Those of us who have been privileged to sit under that kind of sermon totally get this song. Jon Hisey, great vocals! Totally enjoyed this song.

 

“Oh, What a Price,” the last Peck/Jenkins song, is a beautiful ballad that should be picked up by those churches who present an Easter choir performance. Lyrically and melodically, this song catches the enormity and solemnity of the cost of salvation.

 

Chris Allman’s comments on the liner indicate that he understands this quartet and his work on this project confirms it. Amy King and Jon Hisey, your talents are also greatly appreciated. For the rest of the album information, the reader is encouraged to buy a copy for themselves.

 

If you are a fan of Southern gospel music, or just like well done music of any kind, please pick up this album. Thanks so much, Torchmen Quartet, for continuing to raise the bar on your recorded music. Here’s to another 50 years!

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Michael English: Love Is The Golden Rule

Written by Staff on January 20, 2018 – 6:22 am -

Michael English

Michael English

CD Review – Michael English: Love Is The Golden Rule by Jimmy Reno

 

Michael English is one of the rare vocalists in Christian music who has a following in both the Southern gospel industry and in the Contemporary Christian market. Including stops with the Happy Goodmans, the Singing Americans and the Gaither Vocal Band, English has firmly established his roots in Southern gospel.

 

His subsequent solo career launched English into becoming a household name in the Contemporary market.

 

Michael English

Michael English

The latest album for English, “Love Is the Golden Rule,” was produced by his long-time friend and fellow artist, Jason Clark of the Nelons.

 

Clark points out that the intent of “Love Is the Golden Rule” was a return to the vintage English style of his past solo albums, like “Hope,” which was released on Curb Records in 1993.

 

“What an honor to produce and arrange this project for one of the world’s most legendary singers and performers,” Clark said. “As a lifelong fan, I suggested to Michael that we make this recording the one his fan base has long been waiting for. It is undoubtedly and unashamedly, vintage English. Production took over eight months as we assembled a cast of the world’s greatest musicians, writers, singers, engineers, from various genres of music. Michael worked extremely hard, and what he delivered on this recording, I believe, is some of his best work in his entire career.”

 

Michael EnglishEnglish’s foray back into the adult contemporary field has produced one of his best efforts to date. The project kicks things off with “My Love.” This mid-tempo number reassures us of His love for us and that the sun will rise despite hardships we endure.

 

“Little Is Much” is up next, and while it’s not the Kittie L. Suffield song of a similar title in 1924, it’s message is very similar. This is a tender ballad that English sings with a lot of passion. Little definitely is much when our God is in it, a simple, powerful truth.

 

In 1988, Mike + the Mechanics released their second album, titled “The Living Years.” English has remade the title song from that album. English identifies with this specific number as he laments his relationship with his father. The song’s theme, about saying what you need to say to your loved ones while they are still here, is a very thought-provoking truth. English excels vocally on this ballad.

 

“Finally Coming Home,” is another highlight of the album. This ballad, which English sings with conviction, is the classic prodigal son story.

 

“Hello Happiness,” is a fun, light, upbeat tune that is easy to tap your toes on.

 

Vintage can be defined as an exceptionally fine wine from the crop of a good year. English and Clark paired up with the goal of producing a project that meets this definition, and they have delivered.  

 

This project harkens back stylistically to English’s early solo career. He sings with passion and conviction throughout the album. Listeners will welcome English’s signature vocal stylings as well as the excellent instrumentation.

 

“Love Is the Golden Rule,” is sure to be a favorite of English fans very quickly. This is a must-have project for fans of adult Contemporary Christian music.

By Jimmy Reno

First published November 2017 by SGNScoops Magazine

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The Stray captures the heart in a big way

Written by Staff on January 16, 2018 – 11:10 am -

The Stray

The Stray

Sometimes God answers prayer in the most unusual way. Sometimes hardships and family crises become just the catalyst needed to make a change. And sometimes help comes from the most unlikely place. In “THE STRAY,” help for the Davis’, a family on the brink of falling apart, arrives in the form of Pluto, a stray dog who saves their lives—literally.

 

When one of the Davis kids prays for a dog, Pluto, a stray, shows up and makes himself at home with the struggling family. Mitch Davis, a workaholic father, seems unsure about taking on a pet, but when Pluto—“the Wonderdog,” they lovingly call him—manages to save one child and bring companionship to another, he can’t help but agree to keep him. But Pluto is not only a guard dog, he’s a guardian angel. While on a camping trip, Pluto the Wonderdog saves Mitch’s life during a freak lightning storm, and the act changes the Davis family forever. “He was the answer to problems we didn’t know we had,” someone explains in the film.

 

The StrayBased on the incredible true story of Hollywood producer Mitch Davis (The Other Side of Heaven) and starring Michael Cassidy (Argo, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) and Sarah Lancaster (Everwood, The Judge), “THE STRAY” is a film for all audiences and illustrates how the unconditional love of a pet can change your life and how important the love of and making time for family are. The film also received the Dove Family Approved seal for its portrayal of positive values. “Although The Stray reflects my personal story, I know there are countless families across America who could say the same thing about a pet that greatly impacted them with its unconditional love—which is why I hope families will see this film together,” Davis explained, adamant that audiences understand that God can work through the most unlikely circumstances.

 

Though it took a shock from God for Davis to learn, he hopes families who see the film together will come away knowing that “Families are what life’s all about. Families are hard, but they’re by far the most important thing,” in life. For the Davis’, Pluto helped them learn this lesson. “Pluto was a dog, but in our family he was an angel. He showed up in answer to prayer at a time when our family needed something, and we didn’t quite know what we needed,” Davis described. “Pluto gave us our lives back. We saved the dog, and then the dog saved us.” In the film, Davis ruminates to Pluto while staring at the stars in the sky, “We’re awfully small, aren’t we boy? Or maybe we’re just a part of something awfully big.” For the Davis family, Pluto was both.

THE STRAY released October 6, 2017 via Pure Flix. Visit THE STRAY movie website at www.TheStrayResources.com and follow THE STRAY movie on Facebook and Twitter and follow the conversation at #TheStray.

Reviewed by Suzanne Mason. Special to SGNScoops.

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Rusty Golden: Sober

Written by Staff on August 25, 2015 – 7:29 am -

Rusty Golden. Sober1Review by Lorraine Walker

Have you ever been driving in the dark when you look up and see a house with all of its drapes open and blinds drawn up? The inside lights reveal the life of the occupant and you are drawn in by the intimacy and honesty of that stranger’s world. Sober opens up all of the windows and doors of Rusty Golden’s heart and draws you into his world of addiction recovery, faith, relationships and all the stuff that is life.

 

Golden has shared with me in the past about his battle to reach recovery, and though I could write word upon word about the darkness that addicts experience and what it means to reach the Light, nothing I write could help you understand this journey as much as Sober. From “Out of My Hands” through to becoming “Stoned on Love,” the emotion and the expression of Golden’s gravelly vocals will speak to your heart. If you can listen to this CD all the way through without tears falling, you are made of stronger stuff than I am. You can hear a sampler of the album here.

 

Golden has always reminded me of Elton John with the way he interprets music, and I can hear this influence throughout. I love the piano riffs, the incredible saxophone and the driving guitar beat. Just like Sir Elton’s music, you will not get bored or have that déjà vu feeling that every song sounds the same. Golden is gifted and musically articulate.

 

Rusty Golden 2Each time I have listened to this album, I have been grabbed by the message in a different song. Beginning with “Out Of My Hands,” Golden shows us what it takes to maintain recovery from addiction. However, each track speaks to events that all of us experience. From lines such as “the fine line separating right from wrong that oughta be obvious is all but gone” from “Things I Lean On,” to “…sinning faster than Momma was praying,” the “God-shaped hole” of “Hollow Man,” and the enthusiastic “Stoned on Love,” we can relate to times when we felt ‘hollow’ to times when we were so filled with the love of Jesus, we had a natural high.

 

Rusty Golden has written many songs for Southern Gospel artists, but fans of “John In The Jordan” should be alerted that this CD is not filled with quartet-style songs. In my opinion, perhaps only a couple of the tunes are playable on Southern Gospel Radio: “The Reason Why I’m Here,” “Thank You Lord For This Day,” and perhaps “Living Right Now.” However, if you enjoy variety and gutsy vocals, this CD is for you. If you feel the relief in “I found Heaven in the hell I raised, in the not-so-good-old, ‘good old days…'”; pain in “though I love you I have to give you up;” and the dependence in “show me how to walk on feet of clay,” then this is an album you want to add to your collection immediately.Rusty Golden studio. T3 Photography. Sound Kitchen

 

From an Inspirational Country and regular Country music radio point of view, most of these songs will appeal to a wide demographic. “Things I Lean On” has an easy feel, perhaps this is one that should introduce listeners to the world of Rusty Golden. This world is intense, provocative and edgy, but not one to be ignored. Sometimes we think we should present a picture with all the right pieces in place. Golden is not afraid to let you know that, like most of us, some of the puzzle pieces are still in the box.

 

This album is for those who are sober and those who want to be, for those with family who are addicted and those who have ever prayed for someone to find freedom. For the small minority of people whose lives have never touched those in need of recovery, you will find your own lyric on this album that will speak to whatever you are going through.

 

Sober by Rusty Golden can be purchased here on his website, or on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and other outlets. Find out more about Golden on Facebook or online. Follow on Twitter.

 

For monthly reviews of Gospel CDs, see the latest version of the SGN Scoops digital magazine, found on the SGN Scoops mainpage. 

 

 


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Stronger An Intense Autobiography Of Kathy Crabb Hannah

Written by Staff on January 29, 2015 – 2:10 pm -

strongerWith steadfast determination, Kathy Hannah has penned her autobiography that has been appropriately entitled, Stronger. The book is a sometimes very raw look at the woman who was the matriarch of the famed Crabb Family.

The book details Hannah’s life from a near fatal stabbing in her youth, through the challenges of managing a blended family with incredible talent, through a heart wrenching divorce. The story is one of many peaks and low valleys that needed to be told in God’s timing.

As quoted by Hannah, “The first week of November 2014, the Lord instructed me in specifics. He said, “Go to a mountain, I will meet you there.” I know this sounds a bit super spiritual. However, this is exactly what happened. I went to the mountain. I poured my heart out to Him for days upon days. I talked. He listened. I cried a river of tears during those days on that mountain with God, and I wrote 90,000 words, some of which were gut wrenching chapters, but together, WE did it.”

Hannah is hopeful that by telling her poignant story in a transparent way through her own words, that others will be encouraged. Hannah states through her website that, “I pray as you walk through my life, my journey, you will be encouraged and realize that YOU TOO are going to make it.”

Known to thousands of fans, Hannah shares her particular brand of thoughts and insights almost daily using several forms of social media.

Today, Hannah resides in a suburban community near Nashville, TN with her incredibly supportive new husband, Steve Hannah. Their home is always accommodating to the many lives that find inspiration in her unwavering Christian worldview.

Through all the fires in her life, Hannah has become Stronger.

The book is available for purchase now at kathycrabbhannah.com and soon to be released to media outlets nationwide.

Review by Candi Combs

 

 

 

(Include photo of book cover)


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