Welcome to AbsolutelyGospel.com’s annual feature: Ones-To-Watch: Artists Poised to Take Over Your Music Player. Every time about this year, those in the music industry are inundated with “buzz” artists – those artists that look to take the music world by storm with their new (and sometimes no-so-new) approach to faith-based music. Here are 6 artists that we feel are going to win over the hearts of music fans in 2017 in one way or another. At this point – these are the artists that we feel are the “ones to watch” for next year.
From: Houston, TX
The Wilbanks are in their 15th year of full-time touring, ministering through their music in churches, at conferences, and at special events. They have been privileged to sing on the Main Stage at the National Quartet Convention
in 2013 and 2014, and are a regular Featured Artist at the convention. The Wilbanks endeavor to reach all cultures through a wide variety of music styles, while exalting our Creator and sovereign God through every song.
From: Erwin, Tennessee
Beginning with deep roots in their local church and trying their best to put God first, the Lord has helped shape this group for their journey ahead. They are proving to be one of the most exciting groups in Gospel Music today. With influences ranging from Michael English to the Singing Cookes, they try to offer something for everyone while staying true to their unique style and Southern Gospel sound. God given talents allow them to write and play much of their own music with Vince on acoustic, Dustin on bass and harmonica, and Kaila on keyboard and bass.
From: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Former Poet Voices members Phil Cross, Howard Stewart and Philip Hare along with Jump Keys announce they have reunited to begin a new musical journey as Highland Park. Newly formed Highland Park is no stranger to Christian music. Their debut single, “Gonna Get Baptized,” has already been released to radio and is making its way up the charts. It is quickly becoming a fan favorite and was chosen as a hit pick by several DJs. Highland Park’s official tour schedule kicks off in January 2017, although they are playing a few dates through the end of 2016.
From: Nashville, Tennessee
If you’re a fan of Southern Gospel and go to the major Southern Gospel events, then you are more than familiar with this trio of young ladies. The daughers of award-winning vocalists Mike & Kelly Bowling are making their mark on the industry already at such a young age. The girls are preparing for the release of their first ever recording which should prove to be a huge hit of the already existing fans of the Bowling Family and Crabb Family.
From: Watha, North Carolina
Dean Newkirk has been making the rounds in the Southern Gospel world for years and wearing as many hats as he possibly can. Part industry-insider, part talented vocalist, part strong songwriter, and even more parts fan, Dean’s music is now hitting the Southern Gospel radio airwaves after a strong Kickstarter campaign. Newkirk’s debut solo album features some of the last production and arranging work from producer extraordinaire Lari Goss as well. Check Dean out. You won’t be disappointed.
Second Half Quartet
From: Nashville, Tennessee
In 2014, Greater Vision and The Mark Trammell Quartet appeared the same night at an event in Marion, Illinois. What followed was an experience like no other. Since then, promoters have been asking – not just for Greater Vision and Mark Trammell Quartet to appear together – but to replicate what took place on stage in Marion, Illinois. The Second Half Quartet combines the people’s favorite singers in a style of quartet music that is rare in its field featuring Gerald Wolfe, Mark Trammell, Pat Barker, Rodney Griffin and Chris Allman. Individually, they are fan favorites, but together, they create an atmosphere that excites the crowd and takes all who listen on a journey of live music, quartet favorites, classic Gospel songs and hymns of the church that you know and love.