Happy Easter!

I hope the sun is shining brightly wherever you may be celebrating your Easter Morning. Sadly, for us it is a cloudy drizzle, (but we trust that the Easter bunny is equipped with a raincoat so that he can still deliver his wares).

Rejoice and be glad! Christ is risen!

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Greater Vision Offers Clearance Deal On Soon to Be OOP Records

I got this somewhat shocking bit of news in my inbox from Greater Vision the other day:

Our Record Company recently announced they would be discontinuing some of our most popular CD Titles from their inventory So… we went to Nashville and picked up all they had, and we’re making them available to you! Once these are gone, they’re gone!

This Clearance Special includes these CDs…”Faces”, “Quartets”, and “Live At First Baptist Atlanta”. These CDs include some of our most-popular songs, like “He’d Still Been God”, “Faces”, “With All The Many Miracles”, “It Is Well With My Soul”, “He Is To Me”, “A Pile Of Crowns”, “Just Ask”, “Soon We Will See”, and MORE! 37 Songs in all! A $45 Value.

This is very puzzling to me. Why on earth would the record company discontinue the albums containing Greater Vision’s most popular songs? Quite frankly, this is disgraceful. Our best southern gospel artists deserve better than to have their best-loved music pulled off the shelf.

As a bonus, GV is throwing in the Live at Oak Tree DVD/CD combo. All CDs and the DVD are being packaged together for only $20. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Get it here while supplies last. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Is anyone else ticked off about this? Because I’m pretty ticked off. It’s one thing to pull an old album with songs nobody knows. This is another thing altogether. [Update: Brian has pointed out that these albums are probably still available digitally, and in fact Amazon mp3 is still offering them. This does mitigate my ticked-offedness, because I had assumed they were not available digitally.]

Southern Gospel vs. The Rest of the World: Terry Franklin and Peter Hollens

[Note: Several people have pointed out that I was comparing apples and oranges to some extent by initially choosing a live performance by Franklin and a studio recording by Hollens. I’ve now additionally provided something from the studio by Franklin and something live by Hollens to make it optimally fair.]

I don’t know how many ideas I’ll come up with for this series, but I’ve collected enough that I think it’ll work for a little while at least. Here’s the concept: I choose two artists, one officially under the “southern gospel” umbrella (although the music they perform might resemble another genre like pop or country) and one from a different genre like CCM or a secular field. These two artists share some resemblances—their styles may be similar, and in some cases they might even look alike! Your task is to render a verdict on which you prefer judging by the clips I provide. Continue reading “Southern Gospel vs. The Rest of the World: Terry Franklin and Peter Hollens”

Play It, Piano Kid!

This story has been exploding all over the news for the past week or so, and I think it’ll warm the cockles of the hearts of any pianists among my readership.

First, the background: One of the nicer things about legendary rock musician Billy Joel is his passion for music education. For decades, he’s held seminars, master classes and Q & A sessions where he shares his personal knowledge and experience in a relaxed audience setting.

Recently, he visited Vanderbilt University, and one lucky college kid in the audience was itching for a chance to fulfill a life-long dream. Continue reading “Play It, Piano Kid!”

(Partial) Concert LiveBlog: Tracy Stuffle Benefit

After a rocky start, the server is finally stabilizing a bit for me, but it’s still not entirely reliable.

“We Need Each Other” — entire group. Step-outs from Jim Brady, Ernie Hase, Doug Anderson, Joseph Habedank and the Isaacs.

Joseph’s pastor Dan Scott — bluegrass acapella. I don’t know this song, but I love it! It’s got an “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” feel to it. Here are some of the lyrics: “Jesus tells me not to fear. For he can see beyond the grave. And whosoever will may come. Jesus Christ refuses none.” Then it went into a piano-based number called, “Something’s Got Ahold of Me.”

The Bowlings — “I’ve Touched Calvary”. There’s another male singer with the Bowlings whom I don’t recognize. [Update: This is Troy Peach! I had a funny feeling I recognized him. It’s great to see him back on the road again.] They sound great!

Now they’re singing “Your Cries Have Awoken the Master.”

Unfortunately my stream is getting stuck at frequent intervals, so I don’t know how much more I’ll be able to report on. We’ll see if it gets unstuck.

Okay, I finally got the stream back and it’s Gold City singing “Cast My Bread On the Water.”

This is so sad… I can’t get a reliable stream going. Missed a big chunk and am back now, still with Gold City singing “I’m Not Giving Up.” Gold City is using a fill-in tenor. We’re trying to figure out who it was. Daniel Mount just said he hoped it was a fill-in giving the ending. Ouch.

I love it — Jason Crabb let out a whoop, and Joseph said, “He’s a Pentecostal, I’m a Baptist.” Now he’s recognizing all the Perrys alumni on stage with him. Classy.

Karen Peck and New River up now. Singing “Four Days Late.” Now a ballad called “My God Will Always Be Enough.” I’m remembering how pure and controlled Karen Peck’s singing is.

(Realizing that I’m not the only one having feed problems. Makes me feel better.)

Now the Hoppers are up, and Joseph just said that Kim is laid up with sinus issues! Oh no! But thankfully, we have Taranda Greene filling in for her.

“If I Can Help Somebody”

Okay, so it looks like I just missed a lot of awesome stuff, because I’m juggling this with my evening job. Whatever the Hoppers just finished, it was amazing. It caused Joseph to say, “I’m startin’ to feel Pentecostal!”

Jason Crabb just compared the Booth Brothers’ blend to milk chocolate. I couldn’t agree more! They’re up now singing “I Will Serve Thee.” No tracks, just a piano! Now “Every Cry is Heard.” Michael leading the audience in singalong.

Okay folks, big moment! Jason Crabb is welcoming LIBBI STUFFLE on stage! Standing-O! She is singing “Praise You Through the Night.” What a powerful, emotion-drenched performance.

That was the best moment of the night, and I don’t think anything that follows it is even going to come close! She just shared a beautiful update about Tracy—earlier today she asked him if he could kiss her after she kissed him, and he did!

I’m afraid I missed a lot because the stream got stuck. Now I’m back with “If You Knew Him,” and… I have to take the garbage out. BRB.

Libbi is now testifying about her declaration of war on the devil, and her experience fasting and praying for Tracy. I could listen to Libbi testify all day. She’s a little firecracker of Holy Ghost power. What a tough lady of God. Right now, she’s asking for prayer that Tracy will not need a permanent shunt in his brain. The procedure will be very risky if needed.

Phil Hoskins is down at the front with Libbi, and the congregation is stretching their hands toward her while they pray for Tracy. I encourage those of you watching via livestream to pray with them. Matthew Holt is playing “Be Still and Know That He is God” in the background—a great choice.

Now they are all singing “Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” and I seem to have something in my eye… everybody acapella, audience too, this is gorgeous.

Phil Hoskins prayed and gave an invitation. Nine or ten people stood up in a first profession of faith! Now everyone is singing “Amazing Grace.”

Jason Crabb is taking an offering now. Here is a link for fans who’d like to donate. Make checks payable to College Heights Baptist Church and write “Team Tracy” in the memo line. Matthew Holt is now playing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” while they roll a pictorial  tribute to Tracy.

Joseph is now announcing the Isaacs. Hey, I see Zak Shumate on the box! They opened with “Walk On,” and Becky shared a good word about the story of Bartimaeus to set up “Waiting in the Water.” Now a little classic acapella with “I Will Praise Him.” Standing ovation.

The Collingsworth Family is up now. Olivia is taller than both her older sisters now! The ladies are all singing “Fear Not Tomorrow,” including Olivia. Now “Just a Rainy Day.” Now they’re singing a song called “The Healer is Here.” I’m not sure if this new or from an old album of theirs, but I like it.

Joe is up now talking about how much he loves the Collingsworth kids. He then recognized Tracy’s parents and son.

Oh my gosh—it’s Dailey and Vincent AND Ricky Skaggs! Surprise! They’re singing “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord.” I believe that’s Christian Davis on bass. There’s a gentleman with bushy beard and glasses singing tenor, and I don’t know who he is but he killed it! Now “I Believe He Gave His Life For Me.” I just love their sound, it’s so pure and simple.

Dailey and Vincent shared about Skaggs’s influence and impact on them, and now Skaggs is sharing a good word. Now he’s playing and singing “Work of Love.”

Last song, “The Fourth Man.” I read that Jeff Parker is normally their baritone, but tonight he’s the one hitting the high notes! I never would have guessed. He’s doing great.

Aaaaand… now Mark Lowry is up! With a cane. He’s joking now about his “bionic leg.”

Mark’s still on a roll, but I was kinda hoping they could bring back the music so I could go to bed… let’s hope he wraps it up soon. Ah, good, he’s singing “Mary Did You Know?” Nice performance from Mark! Except I don’t agree with Joseph’s saying he’s one of the “deepest thinkers” — still, he is entertaining and a good singer.

It’s getting very late, but Clarke Beasley is up saying a few words together with the president of the GMA (didn’t catch her name). It looks like EHSS is next group up. I’ll probably have to sign off here after their set, because it’s about 11:00 where I am!

EHSS is moving briskly through their set. I was hoping for a little new stuff, but they opened with “Someday,” now it’s “Glory to God in the Highest.” I expect they’ll probably close with “Scars in the Hands of Jesus.” We’ll see if I’m right. Memo to Ernie: I LIKE YOUR SUITS! Now if I can just persuade you to get rid of that flowered pink jacket…

Ah, I’m wrong, they’re closing with “Get Away Jordan.” They left it all on the stage with a burst of high energy, no small feat at this time of night.

Les Butler got up briefly and shared that several special guitars are going to be auctioned off by the Singing News on Thursday—signed by every artist at this concert, including Ricky Skaggs!

The Oak Ridge Boys are up now. Singing “Where the Soul of Man Never Dies.” Confession: I’m really just hanging around at this point to see if Jason Crabb is going to sing anything at the end. 😀 Now it’s “Farther Along.” Joe Bonsall shared a word, and now they’re leading the audience in an encore.

Oh no… we’re singing “Elvira” in church! Joe Habedank started it, and then it couldn’t be stopped. They were joined by EHSS. Now that was worth staying up for.

Joseph introduced Jason Crabb. He says, “When I grow up, I want to be like Jason Crabb!” Crabb is singing his latest single, called “That’s What the Blood is For.” Strong finish. Now Jason is sharing a testimony I’ve never heard before about his wife’s struggles with rheumatoid arthritis. He used it to set up the title track from his new album, “Love is Stronger.”

He is closing (?) with a stripped-down, piano only rendition of “Through the Fire.” I think I prefer it this way! Okay, now they’re kicking things up and everyone is coming down to join him. Awesome. Libbi came up too.

And that’s a wrap. I will definitely be looking for some of these performances on Youtube later this week. Now Libbi is sharing about the song “Through the Fire” comforted her in the hotel room while Tracy was ill. Jason closed with prayer. Goodnight folks!