This just in from the Booth Brothers. I’m stunned! In this video announcement, Michael shares that Jim has some new ministry opportunities that will keep him from being able to continue working with the group. Although I presume that he will contribute his writing skills to them along with the other groups who’ve recorded his work, his singing will be sorely missed.
This has really been a year of hard losses for southern gospel music. If you thought it couldn’t get worse than Pat Barker leaving the Mark Trammell Quartet, this is about the only thing that could beat it. I’m excited for Jim and his wife Melissa as they step into God’s will, but man oh man. Pray that Michael and Ronnie will find just the right replacement. Fortunately, he will continue touring with them until the end of the year—long enough for me to catch them all in concert for one last time!
(Added note: I love Michael’s approach in explaining why they did this in video form rather than writing. Because people always wonder whether there’s “something between the lines” in a press release, they chose this way to make it clear that “there is NOTHING between the lines!” Thank you Michael!)
It’s come to my knowledge that some criteria have changed since I was first offered the chance to move my blog to Patheos, so that what with one thing and another, the opportunity has been taken off the table for the moment. The new editor has been very friendly and helpful, but after consulting with the content director, he’s advised me to spend more time building my own brand first. So, since the majority of you were at least comfortable with a name change, I’m thinking that this is the most logical choice all things considered. That way I can hopefully begin to grow a wider audience, but on my own turf. I will let you know when this is happening, but your experience should be seamless if my understanding is correct, since simply changing the name of a free wordpress site isn’t supposed to be a big deal. Thank you all once again for giving your opinions. I look forward to continuing to produce great content for you!
Filed under Blog stuff, News
While this isn’t news to people who’ve found Youtube footage of Joseph Habedank giving his testimony in concert, these secular outlets are revealing new details about his struggle with prescription pill addiction. The Blaze just did a write-up the other day, while Billboard ran a story earlier in the month. The Billboard piece actually goes further in depth, as Habedank shares that addiction runs in his immediate family, including a brother who became hooked on narcotics in his teens. He also shares in both pieces that the Perrys had to stage an intervention after he had been taking “10 to 12 hydrocodone or oxycodone a day.” This led to his resignation from the group, after which he checked himself into rehab and began the long journey back.
I have even more respect for the Perrys now that their handling of his resignation has come to light. I also admire Habedank’s forthrightness and humility in sharing this deeply private struggle with his fans and the world, as well as his responsible recognition of the seriousness of his disease. I wish him continued sobriety and many more years of fruitful ministry. This is something he could have chosen to keep to himself, but instead he’s chosen to use it as a way of offering hope to other addicts. Hope for the addict is a hauntingly timely message, especially now in the wake of Robin Williams’s suicide. While I certainly don’t believe Christians are obligated to announce their private demons from the rooftops, people in the pew aren’t immune to addiction, and it’s healthy for the Church to be aware of and prepared for that reality.
On a more wry note, it’s a little sad that one of the few moments when southern gospel gets major mainstream media coverage should involve some kind of failing on the part of one of its stars. I guess we’ll have to wait until Ernie Haase & Signature Sound get invited to open for Susan Boyle.
Terry Franklin and his wife have been hard at work on a brand-new collection of songs entitled Awaken Us. It will be available at the end of September, and pre-ordering at their site just opened up the other day. From the blurb:
With a variety of musical styles people have come to expect from Terry & Barbi, this CD includes orchestral, movie-score style ballads similar to the title song, “Awaken Us”, Hillsong-style worship choruses, intimate modern Celtic ballads, soaring acapella solos and simple heartfelt hymns. All of these will be available with band and orchestra charts as well as piano/vocal sheet music that churches can use with their worship teams and choirs.
You can make a Paypal donation from here and include a note that you’re interested in a copy of the CD, and they’ll reserve it for you. They are also conducting a live-streamed prayer and worship event this evening, which you can sign up for on their home page here.
The StowTown star roster just keeps growing and growing. Taranda Greene is the newest addition. Her debut record with the company, Stronger, is slated for a November 11th release and features a dynamite lineup of guest artists, including the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Christ Church Choir of Nashville, Wess Morgan, Sonya Isaacs-Yeary, Jason Crabb and The Martins. Taranda says, “As a soloist, it’s important to stay connected to a group you believe in and who believes in you. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the StowTown family. And that’s exactly why – it feels like a family. I’m certain only the best is yet to come.” Read the full press release here.
In case you missed it, Libby Stuffle began experiencing chest pain this past weekend, and the Perrys’ date was canceled so she could be taken to the hospital. After some tests, doctors have confirmed that she suffered a heart attack. Yesterday afternoon, they inserted a stent and announced that she won’t require open heart surgery. She’s awake and feisty as ever, but she’s very weak from loss of blood. Keep her and her family in your prayers as they consider the next step in her treatment, and follow further updates on the Perrys’ Facebook page.
Take a listen to the first single from Joseph Habedank’s upcoming solo album! It’s called “Never, No Never.” I’m very tough on new songs, but I can say confidently that if this is representative of the rest of Joseph’s record, I need to get me a copy!
Mark Trammell has just announced the hire of their new bass singer: Randy Byrd of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet. Randy brings quite a back-story of God’s grace to share that some folks may not be familiar with. He touches on it in the official press release, but if you want more detail, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to check out this archived interview he did with Daniel J. Mount. It’s an amazing story of youthful pain and rebellion culminating in a beautiful display of God’s grace.
I also admire Byrd’s humble honesty in this press release, saying outright “I am not and cannot be Pat Barker.” This is particularly gracious considering that Barker is a good bit younger than Byrd, and it reflects the legacy Barker left behind him in his comparatively short tenure on the southern gospel stage.
Here is the full announcement:
After three months and 36 candidates for the position, Mark Trammell has announced today that Randy Byrd will be the new bass vocalist for the Mark Trammell Quartet. Mark shares, “We are thrilled with the overwhelming inquiry about this position. And after much prayer and consideration, the group collectively feels that Randy is the man for this season of our ministry.”
Many of you will remember Randy from his recent years with the prestigious Blackwood Brothers Quartet. He also logged some miles with our friends the Mike Lefevre Quartet and the Songfellows. Randy relates the following upon receiving confirmation from Mark.
“At 12 years of age, I heard The Cathedrals sing There is a Fountain and I was hooked!! I told my mother that night after hearing George Younce, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a bass singer.’ God has blessed me and allowed me to sing with some of the best in the business. Three years ago my dream started to fall apart. Between my flesh and Satan’s attacks it seemed my life was over. I am thankful today that in spite of my faults and failures, God never took His hand off of me. Everything that Satan robbed from me, God has restored! I am beyond excited to join The Mark Trammell Quartet! I am living proof that God IS faithful!! Pat Barker is a dear friend. I am not and cannot be Pat Barker. But I can work at being the best version of me that God can use and I gladly accept that challenge.”
Please join us in welcoming this wonderful man to the Mark Trammell Quartet!!!
Work and study commitments are leaving me with less free time, so I have enlisted the capable aid of fellow young bloggers Brian Fuson (Fuson’s Findings) and Lauren of Southern Gospel Views From the Pew to fill in the gaps here for the next two weeks. I’m sure you will appreciate their passion for and knowledge of this music as much as I do! There will still be a light video on Mondays (look for a vintage songwriting spoof next week), and then Brian and Lauren will each contribute one guest post per week, reviewing some music and offering concert reports. Lauren plans to catch both Brian Free & Assurance and the Whisnants. I will continue to moderate comments, so please feel free to leave your thoughts under their posts. I know they’ll appreciate it. Check out their own sites too while you’re at it!
Thanks for your continued readership. See you at the end of July!
Filed under Blog stuff, News
Crossroads has just sent out this press release. Congrats to the Old Paths! This must be a nice encouragement as they’re still struggling to recoup their recent financial losses.
With two BMI® awards and three #1 hits, the Old Paths have exploded on the scene as a leading presence in Christian radio.
At the 2014 BMI® Christian Music Awards this month, two Old Paths singles, “Battle Stand” (written by Rodney Birch) and “The I Of the Storm” (written by Kenny Kuykendall), received Citations of Achievement for being among the most-played songs on U.S. Christian radio.
In the last two years, three of their singles have reached the #1 position on the Singing News Radio Airplay Chart: “Battle Stand” (December 2012), “God’s Great” (June 2013), and “Long Live the King” (July 2014).
Their success is poised to continue with their new single, “Love Them To Jesus,” already the #1 top add on the August 2014 Singing News New Releases chart. The song was inspired by Old Paths baritone/manager Doug Roark’s testimony. “Over 20 years ago,” he shares, “I was a drug dealer/addict outside of Atlanta Georgia when an old preacher man loved me to Jesus. He didn’t condemn me or judge me; he just took me in and showed me the love of Christ. The songwriter Rodney Birch came to hear us one night, and after hearing my testimony, came back to us with this great song.”