| Author's Website: http://www.puttinggodfirstministry.com
| Category: ArtistsJim Sheldon
Selah - You Amaze Us
Jason Kyle/Todd Smith/Allan Hall/Jordan Mohilowski/Ed CashLabel:
Curb RecordsWebsite: http://www.selahonline.com
Most people within Southern Gospel circles haven’t been privileged to be exposed to the music of Selah. Starting out about 16-17 years ago by singing hymns with their own unique arrangements, the group has been wildly successful by winning five Dove Awards. They have built their success largely because of their emphasis on the church and the lost through singing hymns, anthems and power ballads. The group sings a lot of songs with themes that those who listen to Southern Gospel music hold near and dear to their hearts such as the blood, the cross, salvation, heaven and the hymns that are at the foundation of our beliefs. I have been a huge fan of Selah for several years and love their arrangements as they appeal to the dramatic side of my brain and I love their songs, as they minister to me in so many ways.
Featuring the soaring vocals of Todd Smith and Amy Perry (two of the best vocalists in gospel music today) as well as the piano and vocal artistry of Allan Hall, Selah isn’t the average CCM/Inspirational group. I think many within our industry would truly enjoy their music, especially those who enjoy such groups as the Hoppers, Hoskins Family, Gaither Vocal Band, Brian Free & Assurance, Nelons, Talleys, Crabb Family and so forth. But I digress…back to the review…
The recording starts out with the powerful title song, “YOU AMAZE US” before picking up the tempo with the Praise & Worship, “OH, OUR LORD”, both songs feature the powerful vocals of Todd Smith.
The dramatic, power ballad, “AT THE CROSS” is next and features the amazing vocals of Amy Perry (I love the texture of her voice). Featuring a bridge of the classic hymn “At Calvary”, the song paints a mental picture of what Christ did for us…”At the cross, Your glory bore my shame…You suffered in my place…the Prince of Heaven died…death became alive…You gave everything for us…at the cross!”
Todd steps back up for the worshipful, “MORE AND MORE OF YOU” before moving on to the anthem, “BE (MY HEART, MY HANDS, MY VOICE)”. Featuring all three members of Selah, the song is a challenge to the church to “come, anyone who wants, deny yourself, take up your cross, follow me, no matter the cost, be My heart, My hands, My voice”.
Amy delivers what is quite possibly the most powerful rendition of the hymn, “JUST AS I AM” that I have ever heard. Giving it a fresh musical update, and adding a chorus, the song is the cry of any human being coming before God Himself…“I come to you wretched and blind, in need of healing in my mind, I come to you broken and poor, oh I am empty I have nothing more…O Lamb of God I come!” By the end of this song, you can’t help but find yourself bowed at the feet of Jesus.
The pace picks up with the Andrae Crouch classic, “SOON AND VERY SOON”. Because of Todd’s deep roots as a missionary’s kid from the Congo in Africa, the group always provides a song on each recording that features lyrics translated into the Congolese dialect and these moments are always highlights of each recording.
Amy once again delivers another powerhouse performance on the song, “O THE BLOOD”. Again, reminding us of the ultimate sacrifice paid on the cross, the song conveys the powerful message, “O the blood of Jesus washes me, o the blood of Jesus shed for me, what a sacrifice that saved my life, yes the blood it is my victory!”
After several power ballads and anthems, the group scales things back a bit to basic instrumentation on a couple of songs as Todd steps back up to deliver a very heartfelt performance on the classic, “I’D RATHER HAVE JESUS” before he and Amy delivers a “gospel” rendition of the hymn, “THE OLD RUGGED CROSS”. Both songs are more than ably accompanied by group member Allan Hall on piano and are highlights of the recording.
The group picks things up for a gritty, bluesy, grungy rendition of the hymn, “VICTORY IN JESUS”. Not everyone will like their rendition of this song, but I think it’s a highlight of the recording.
Allan Hall delivers an impassioned performance on “NEARING HOME”, which pays tribute to Evangelist Billy Graham before the group turns in another scaled back rendition of the classic hymn, “IN THE GARDEN”. Each member taking a verse, the song provides a tremendous moment of meditation before the recording closes out with the powerful, “WE MUST NOT”, which features Todd. Written from the perspective of persecuted believer, the song challenges us all, “Brother won’t you bear my burden, I need you to stand with me, there are souls to be won, and I may be a martyr starring at a gun, but we must not keep the Gospel from anyone.”
This is a massive recording and is quite possibly the best recording they’ve ever done. Filled with classic hymns and great new songs, dramatic arrangements and stellar vocals, Selah is at their best with this recording. I do believe I have found my favorite 2014 release with this recording. I find myself listening to it over and over again, and finding something new to like with each listen. If you’ve never given a second thought about Selah, now is the time and this is the recording!
(stars denote personal favorites)
1 – You Amaze Us**
2 – Oh, Our Lord
3 – At the Cross**
4 – More and More Like You
5 – Be (My Heart, My Hands, My Voice) **
6 – Just As I Am**
7 – Soon and Very Soon
8 – O The Blood**
9 – I’d Rather Have Jesus
10-The Old Rugged Cross**
11-Victory in Jesus**
13-In the Garden
14-We Must Not (Bonus Track from “The Insanity of God”) **
Mark Dubbeld Family
Not Even A Hand-Shake
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 1:20 (NIV)
To be known as a person who “keeps their word” is a treasure indeed! They say that a person’s hand-shake used to be all that was needed – along with their word. That was their contract – if it was “said,” it was as good as “done.” See, although popular opinion seems to declare, “Promises are made to be broken,” the real truth of the matter is, “promises are made to be KEPT!”
All of us have most likely known the joy of someone following through on a promise. Many of us have known the disappointment and heartbreak when someone has not followed through. However, there is One who makes promises He keeps. He is our God! The Almighty! Our Provision and our Provider!
Whatever He promises He does. It might not always be in just the time frame we think He ought to do it – but if we will not get in a hurry, we will SEE His promises fulfilled.
Remember when God promised Abraham a son? Not only Abraham, but his wife Sarah even fell prey to the tempting thought that they needed to “help God out” on making sure He kept His promise. The truth was, God was faithful – whether they humanly saw His faithfulness at that moment or not. He wasn’t “backing up” on keeping His Word. It just wasn’t His appointed time to bring fulfillment to the promise given. Even after their colossal sin – that still brings repercussions to the world to this day – God still kept His promise. He gave them Isaac – who is known as “the son of promise.”
In Numbers 22 & 23, there is another incredible account of God keeping His promise! Israel is God’s chosen people. As they travel to the plains of Moab, the King of Moab, Balak, and his people take a look at what God had enabled them to do to other enemies. Then, they take a look at how many of them there are. They are terrified! Balak is sure He can convince Balaam to bring a curse on these people. No matter what they tried, God would not allow it. God even made a donkey talk to get Balaam’s attention! Still, Balak was determined. Even after Balaam couldn’t do it the first time, Balak takes him to a place where he can see ALL the people. When Balaam consults with God, this is the message he receives to take back to Balak. “God is not a man, that he should lie. He is not a human, that he should change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? I received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!” Numbers 23:19, 20 (NLT) Hallelujah! We serve the same God today! He doesn’t change His mind! He doesn’t promise and not fulfill! He keeps whatever promises He makes – we can STAND on that!
There is a wonderful, gospel song; we used to sing a lot in camp meeting. The chorus goes like this, “Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God my Savior. Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.” Recently, I heard a story of one of the older ladies I know that has served God for years. Whenever she was facing something extremely difficult, she would take a little card of scripture that was her promise from God, and as her reminder, she would place it in her shoe. That way, everywhere she went, she was literally standing on the promises of God!
The real affirmation of God’s promises to us is found in His Son, Jesus Christ. The NLT translation of II Cor.1:19b – 20 put it like this, “. . . and he is the Divine Yes – God’s affirmation. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Him.” Jesus is the Way, The Truth, The Life. He is the One we can count on!
His Resurrection brings our eternal life. We can rely on His Promise. His Word – doesn’t even need a hand-shake!
Written by: Janene A. Dubbeld/FGG
The Mark Dubbeld Family would count it a privilege to sing at your church of venue.
To schedule the Mark Dubbeld Family contact:
Michael Davis – Mountain Top Talent: 828-454-5900
| Category: ArtistsMark Dubbeld Family
And Now For Something Different
Never Too Late For The Real Party
I'm psychologically late to this party called The National Quartet Convention and Southern Gospel Music Industry. I go each year to Louisville kicking and screaming with my husband (this year it's in Pigeon Forge). I go mainly to see the people; to chuckle about hair styles, towering banners, buses they can't afford, and circus-like booths on the midway of trinkets. I LOVE these people though. I adore them, even in their quirkiness. (I probably wrote the book on quirky, but whatever).
I'm less of a fan of the whole stereo-typed music industry thingy. Yet, Jeff and I grow more each day in creating engaging friendships with the people we love so much. And now living in Nashville, not a day goes by that we aren't stirred by their influence, their human discourse, their ache for bookings, their financial turmoil, their strive to live, write and dream. I watch. I observe their huge hearts for survival in this fickle-demanding "entertain me" church world.
Jeff and I look like latecomers, or maybe we're actually retro newcomers to this party. Not sure. We were way too early to that crazy party back in the 70s. Our music was probably a bit too hip for the room. Singing with Sammy Hall and then later turning down offers to play and sing for other musicians' dreams, we decide to write and create our own space. From the inside world of this progressive gospel inspirational music bandwagon, Jeff is an influence. Me? Maybe not so much. But my prayer is: "God, help me to inspire others. Help me to encourage, build up and edify other musicians." That's what I love to do.
Holy Spirit-filled musicians and songwriters need to think and dream bigger, beyond their expected audience criteria or cultural demands. I ask God to "open doors", and He does. I ask God to open my ears, and He does. I even ask God to blow my socks off and knock me off my feet. And He does. And He did. Last night. Set your musical preferences aside for six minutes.
Meet new friends, The Wilbanks. This is another level. This is anointed Holy Spirit infused music, in my own opinion. It transcends genre, gets beyond the brick wall barren land and brings together the vast separation between the stage and seats. Musicianship. They've been around for years. I hadn't heard them until last night in Pigeon Forge at Patterson Productions Homecoming. I love when I'm speechless, moved to tears and forced to experience worship music that not only feeds my soul, but feeds my insatiable palette as a musician starved for musical worship experience.
And the best part of this particular Wilbanks video? Besides the fact that they aren't "young", it's the shock, awe and utter hush of the NQC center stage audience that are blown away. Pockets of praise and adoration went on for several minutes, even after the video is over. How incredible, that the very venue, which has had its preferences, its buy-out, its struggling narrow ways - now becomes a sanctuary. Music, filled with God's anointing does this.
See more at: http://www.sueduffield.com/sues_blog/never_too_late_for_the_real_party/#sthash.I0jDhaMa.dpuf .
Author: Sue Duffield
| Author's Website: http://www.sueduffield.com
| Category: Monthly ArticlesAnd Now For Something Different
Joseph Habedank - Welcome Home
Daywind RecordsWebsite: http://www.josephhabedank.com
Highly favored is the adjective that I would use to describe Joseph Habedank and the ministry that he shares week in and week out. I can remember his first few years with the Perrys and how mature his vocal abilities improved over time while with the group. During that time, I remember his songwriting collaborations with Matthew Holt like ALMOST MORNING. I also remember when Joseph announced is departure from the Perrys to embark on a solo career. Up until this point, God used this young man in a tremendous way through his ability to communicate the Gospel through music as well as through his pen as he wrote songs that glorified the King! I’m excited to tell you that the story for Joseph Habedank doesn’t conclude there! His tenure with the Perrys and his God given ability to write songs prepared him for arguably one of the most important seasons of his ministry. WELCOME HOME is the debut recording from Daywind Records that features former
drummer of Brian Free & Assurance, Ricky Free as the arranger and producer.
The title track, WELCOME HOME, introduces the recording with an upbeat light hearted feel that perfectly describes freedom in Christ. There’s nothing like the feeling of being welcomed home! BEGGING FOR CHANGE is a guitar driven melody that keeps this country flavored song up tempo. These songs are fresh, encouraging, and different than anything that you’ve probably heard Joseph sing. BIG ENOUGH is a ballad that reminds me of a song that Rascal Flatts may record. The song is a story of regardless of the storm or the mountain, God is BIG ENOUGH to move in the situation. NEVER NO NEVER has a Gospel feel to it with the message that God’s people won’t be forsaken. EMPTY is another unique song with an unusual melody featuring Russ Taff. THE BEAUTY OF THE BLOOD, WONDERS WITH WATER, NOW I KNOW HIM and others are on this recording that can be downloaded on itunes as well as purchased from http://www.josephhabedank.com.
I am truly encouraged with a fresh recording by a young artist with substance! His heritage is thematic throughout the recording. No recording is perfect but with that being said, it’s the most well produced, well written, and well recorded project I have heard in a long time. I am going to give this recording 4.5 stars!
• Welcome Home
• Begging For Change
• Big Enough
• Never No Never
• Empty (Featuring Russ Taff)
• The Beauty Of The Blood
• Wonders With Water
• Now I Know Him
• A Little Bit Of Thunder
• When The Lights Go Down
The Hoppers - In Conversation
Deon sits down with the First Family of Gospel Music, The Hoppers, this month!
The Hoppers - In Conversation from Absolutely Gospel on Vimeo.
The Butler Did It
One of the earliest cliches I remember learning as a child, was "The Butler Did It". It became a well known phrase because so many murder mystery stories ended with the revelation that the Butler was indeed the killer.
A few weeks ago, I was listening to a mix of 1970's Pop and Country Songs. And because I was a teenager in the '70's, I knew most of these songs pretty well and sang along in the car as loud as I could. The people in the other cars around me didn't bother me at all. I was having a good time.
But after I had listened to a few Love Songs, and some old Disco numbers, I got to some "story" songs. Three of the songs were about someone being murdered. In one of the Country songs, the singer's Father has murdered the Mother, and the Man he found with her. I thought that was a pretty strong stand to take in a lyric, especially if you were wanting to get a professional recording artist to sing it. Who wants to sing about their Father killing their Mother? But what I heard next, really got me thinking. The next two songs were murder mysteries, and by the end of the song, we find out that the person singing the song is the one who committed the murder! Wow! I began to wonder how hard a sell it must have been to get these songs recorded. Who wants to take on the role of a murderer?
I heard one time that Tony Orlando originally turned down his signature song, Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree" because the first line has the singer returning home from prison. Thankfully, he saw past that and sang the song anyway.
I began to think about other popular songs through the years that painted the singer in a bad light, but became big hits anyway. Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" contains the line "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die." And most of Merle Haggard's early hits had the singer still in prison or adjusting to life outside the jailhouse.
Then I began to think about the lyrics we write for so many of our Gospel songs. When we talk about sin, certainly we can all relate to that. Even the great Hymns of the church refer to the singer as a "wretch", a "worm" and "undone". But the good news is, that in Gospel music, we don't have to remain in that condition. Those vivid pictures should only be used to portray how far God had to go to make us "Redeemed".
Sometimes I've seen and heard writers of Gospel music take the idea of painting the "sin" picture too far, by writing about specific "sins". Addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, pornography, are all certainly things that can be put under the blood of Christ, but not every professional singer is going to relate to that particular sin. And even if they do, that may be a part of their testimony that they are not willing to share in detail. Also "lying", "cursing" and "cheating on your taxes, or your spouse" can also be put under the Blood of Christ. But again, do you really think you're going to get someone else to sing those details if you put them in your Gospel Lyric?
If you write about "sin", then you've covered it all, and any singer can relate to it, as well as anyone listening. The listener will fill in the details based on their own experiences. Gospel music has the greatest "Story" ever told. And it's a True Story. When you write "sin" into your lyric, remember that you are most often asking the recording artist to admit - THE SINGER DID IT!
Until next time, keep on writing . . .
Author: Daryl Williams
| Author's Website: http://darylwilliams.net
| Category: Monthly ArticlesThe Songwriter
The McKameys - 50
Jeff Collins, Roger FortnerLabel:
Horizon RecordsWebsite: http://www.mckameysonline.com
The McKameys reached a monumental milestone with the release of 50 as this is their 50th recording. Appropriately, the first cut from this project was also the first cut on the very first album the McKameys ever recorded, "Don’t Forget The Family." Probably, in my opinion, one of the best songs on this CD is one penned by McKameys alto, Sheryl Farris, "Undeserved." Also written by Sheryl is "There Is Jesus," which is the first radio single from the project. The verses split up between Peg, Sheryl and Connie. I predict this will be a huge concert song for the McKameys. After garnering a #1 song with "Unspoken Request" from their CD Precious Seed, Roger has since provided vocals on one song each album following. Roger brings an excellent performance on another song written by Sheryl, "Pure Satisfaction. " Roger’s son, Eli, is also featured on" I Want To Be That Man," a song originally recorded by Ruben on a previous McKameys album, and Eli does a bang up job on this version. "The Coming Of The Lord" is a convention style song that the McKameys should be proud of.
For me, I would have to say the strongest songs from this project are: "The Coming Of The Lord," "I’m Gonna Die On The Battlefield," "I Want To Be That Man," "Undeserved," "There Is Jesus," and "Pure Satisfaction." The weakest songs were "If Salvation Had Not Been Free" and "It Sure Looks Like Home."
Very few artists get to see the release of their 50th recording, and the songs that the McKameys selected for this project are exactly why they are still one of the strongest driving groups in Southern Gospel Music today. This is one of the best projects that the McKameys have release in a while. I highly recommend this to any current McKameys fan, or to anyone that wants a taste of good, “mountain gospel” music.
(* denotes personal favorite)
• Don’t Forget The Family (performed by ensemble) *
• I Want To Be That Man (performed by Eli) *
• Undeserved (performed by Sheryl) *
• If Salvation Had Not Been Free (performed by Peg)
• When I Thank Him For What He Has Done (performed by Ruben)
• It Sure Looks Like Home (performed by ensemble) *
• There Is Jesus (performed by Peg)
• I’ve Had An Introduction (performed by ensemble)
• Pure Satisfaction (performed by Roger)
• The Coming Of The Lord (performed by ensemble) *
• I’m Gonna Die On The Battlefield (performed by Sheryl) *
Joseph Habedank - Welcome Home
No one can argue that this has been a big year for powerhouse vocalist Joseph Habedank. His sudden and abrupt departure from award winning mixed group The Perrys last year left a lot of fans wondering where he was and what his future plans were. After months of silence, Joseph is back. And he is back with a message and a story to tell. His new record, Welcome Home, is full of some amazing songs of God’s redemption, love and grace. His testimony is transparent, real and will hopefully impact those who are struggling with addiction. Joseph is very honest and upfront about his addiction to prescription drugs, but he is very quick to tell that God is bigger and that there is deliverance and freedom! I had a chance to chat with him, so take a minute and read more about this talented guy and the ministry he has.
Jennifer Wilkerson: Tell our readers how you got started in Gospel Music.
Joseph Habedank: I started singing at the age of 4 with my family, The Sandlins. I sang with them until I was about 16 and then joined the Perrys in 2003 when I was 17 years old. It’s been a great journey!
JW: What was it like to go from being the lead singer of one of the top SG groups of all time to being a soloist? What's been the hardest adjustment?
JH: It’s been an interesting and challenging ride, but not one I would change. The hardest adjustment was getting used to carrying the program by myself, but I absolutely love what I am doing now and I have such a peace in my life.
JW: Your wife, Lindsay, is a teacher in Nashville, correct? Is she traveling and singing with you? I know she is a great singer!
JH: Lindsay actually doesn’t teach anymore. The Lord has blessed our ministry, and she was able to quit her job back in May to come on the road with me on a full time basis. She sings almost every night that we are on the road and I love getting to watch the Lord work in our lives and marriage. We are having a blast!
JW: What is your favorite song you've written and why?
JH: Tony Wood once told me that choosing a favorite song you have written is like trying to pick your favorite child. I have so many that are special to me, but I am really enjoying “The Beauty of the Blood” at this point in my life.
JW: Tell us about your new project. Who produced? Favorite Songs off of it? Did you write or co-write all of the songs?
JH: Welcome Home is the name of the new record, and Ricky Free did a brilliant job producing the album. We have been friends since we were teenagers, but had never worked together until now. I just love his vision when it comes to music. I co-wrote all ten songs, but I had such amazing help from Sue Smith, Tony Wood, Joel Lindsey, Michael Farren, Kenna West, Lee Black, Benji Cowart, Matthew Holt, Chris Binion, and Keith Hill. My favorite songs would have to be "When the Lights Go Down" and "The Beauty of the Blood."
JW: What has God been teaching you lately?
JH: Humility and patience, which just so happen to be two of the hardest things to pray for. However, I’m grateful for the lessons that the Lord is teaching me, and I am learning to trust His sovereignty.
JW: What message do you want folks to leave away with from a Joseph Habedank concert?
JH: I want them to leave with hope. When I started this solo ministry, one of the main focuses was just simply to help people. Whether it be with a song I’ve written, something said during a concert, or maybe even some sort of encouragement while talking to people at the product table, because there was a time in my life when I needed help and I just didn’t know who to turn to, humanly speaking. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know The One who does and if I can point them to Him, then all the miles traveled will be worth it.
JW: How can fans reach you or pastors reach you to schedule you for a concert or service?
JH: My booking agent just so happens to be one of the Godliest men I know. I love Michael Davis, and I’m so grateful for everyone at the Dominion Agency. You can contact them by visiting http://www.JosephHabedank.com and clicking on the CONTACT page.
JW: What is a typical Joseph Habedank concert like? What can fans expect?
JH: People will get to hear new songs that I have written, old songs that I grew up singing and I still sing several of the songs that I wrote/sang while I was with the Perrys. More importantly, I want our concerts to be more like a worship service and less like a show or even a concert for that matter. People seeing Jesus in our presentation is what matters most to me.
JW: Before we go, do you have a funny road story or most embarrassing moment you could share with our readers?
JH: Being late to stage at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, KY in front of thousands of people. (Whoops)
It’s clear Joseph has come home. God is up to something and using Joseph to impact many who are struggling. Check his solo release out and go see him in a concert. Welcome Home, Joseph! We’re glad you’re here.
Tribute Quartet - Journey of Hope
Daywind RecordsWebsite: http://www.tributeqt.com
It's hard to believe it's been 8 years or so that I was first introduced to the music and ministry of the then, newly formed Gary Castro's TRIBUTE QUARTET. I was so privileged to review that first project and I fondly remember stating that this was a group that would be around for many years, as well as a group that would help keep Southern Gospel music alive with class, dignity and strong songs that definitely show Christ and His hope to the many out there needing assurance and peace.
So now I've been listening to the newest recording by Tribute. Beautifully titled JOURNEY OF HOPE, and once again the group has called on the legendary Roger Talley to produce this project. The group consists of Gary Castro, Josh Singletary, Riley Harrison Clark and Anthony Davis. It truly is their finest recording that I have heard, and I'm fairly certain I've heard all of their CDs. Yup, I'm a fan. JOURNEY OF HOPE is a tremendous follow up to their last project, which was also a top notch recording as well, and had great success at radio.
I could say something great about every song from beginning to end and detail out everything I feel about the songs, performances, etc but I won't bore you. Starting off with a wonderful "barn burner", He Can Do It Again, Incredibly talented Riley gets things going and proves once again why he is one of the greatest tenors and dynamic performers to come along in years. My favorite songs on the project are, He Can Do It Again, All Made It Ashore, I Am A Soldier, I Remember The Day, Those Who Know Me, I Will Rise, Everything I Need, In The Valley He Can Hear My Voice, I Could Sing About Heaven & God of All My Days. Oh wait, that is the entire project. It just is a GREAT project that is a must have for all of those loyal southern gospel music lovers.
One thing that I absolutely love, applaud and admire about Gary, Josh, Riley and Anthony is watching them with other artists cheering them on and watching them with their fans and friends interacting and keeping up with them not only at concerts, but with social media and all.
A wise dearly loved mentor of mine Dottie Rambo, constantly told me while traveling and working alongside of her for countless years, "always take time to love on the fans and friends and then love them some more, after all they are the ones who will be helping you buy your clothes, your bus, your house and bills...be there for them".
I highly recommend this project and I am proud to give it a 5 star rating! I will be getting it for a few of my friends!