CD Review: Undivided (Master’s Voice)

Master’s Voice is a southern gospel group based in Bristow, OK. In listening to their sound, I’ve been trying to think of who they remind me of. Maybe the old Journeymen Quartet or Old Paths.

I won’t go into detail on each song but will make special mention of the songs I especially like on this project:

How Long a Lifetime Is was written by Joseph Habedank and Rachel McCutcheon. “Never take today for granted. … Hold each loved one tightly and treat each moment as a gift. You never know how long a lifetime is.”

Here I Am Again: I’m so thankful I can go back to God each time I fail and, in His mercy, He extends forgiveness yet again.

Somebody is Me is an upbeat song that will bring a smile to your face and cause you to praise the Lord wherever you are.

Other songs include I Can Hardly Wait to Fly, Goodbye to Goodbye, Lord of Mercy, I Know What He Did for Me, This Same Jesus, Things God Doesn’t Know, Send Somebody, Ain’t it Good, and Everything the Blood Touches Lives.

Never Forsaken

My devotional journal quoted the following verses:

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?   ~Psalm 22:1

I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  ~Hebrews 13:5

The writer pointed out that, although Jesus was forsaken by the Father on our behalf, we would never be forsaken like that. I tend to wonder if Jesus was truly forsaken or if He was just so low that he felt like everyone had left Him, including His Father.

I am sure that just about everyone on earth has had a time in life where they wondered if God cared or if He had left them. Maybe you’re at that place now. I can tell you without hesitation that, no matter how dark it seems, God is still there. He may be allowing you to go through a time of testing, but He has not abandoned you. Whether you realize it or not, He is probably holding your hand and giving you whatever grace you need to get through your trial if you will but accept that grace.

David tells us in Psalm 37:25:

I was young and now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread.

Psalm 94:14 tells us:

The LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.

In spite of how you feel right now, God will no more neglect you and shove you out into the cold than you would one of your children. He loves you so much, and He wants you to come through this trial stronger than ever before. Don’t give up.

Be Holy

My brother posted the following on Facebook:

The world says, “Nobody is perfect!” God says: “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

It jumped out at me because it goes along with what has been on my mind recently: that of following Christ wholeheartedly so that others can follow us.

I am so tired of excuses about how “nobody is perfect” and “they should be looking to God anyway.” You’re right. They should. But the fact is that we are called to be examples. God placed us where we’re at so that we can touch others’ lives and show them how to live for Him.

I am the oldest in my family, having 5 younger siblings. I also have nieces and nephews. Because of them and at least one or two other people who look up to me, I pray daily for God to keep drawing me closer to Him and help me not to be a stumbling block. Unfortunately, I do fail. I grow weary. I can fall into having an attitude. But the worst thing I can do is say, “That’s just me.” God tells me to love others as I love myself (Matthew 19:19), to take up my cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23), to be an example of the Believers (1 Timothy 4:12). This letter may have originally been written to Timothy, but I believe that is God’s call to every Christian today.

Although God understands that we are dust, He never gives us license to use that as an excuse to walk in the flesh. In fact, He says to “walk in the Spirit and you WILL NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Wow! Is that possible? Apparently it is or Paul wouldn’t have commanded the Galatians to do so.

The fact is no one is perfect. We all sin and, if we say we haven’t sinned, we are liars. When Christ saves us, however, we should no longer live in sin. We should daily be laying aside “the sin that besets us and … run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). Ouch! I’ve been failing at the “with patience” part lately. But I’m not giving up and I hope you won’t either. The more we draw away from the lusts of the world and draw near our Heavenly Father, the more He will change us and make us more like Him.

I know what it’s like to be tired, to not feel well, to have a demanding schedule, etc. But I also know what it’s like when those things begin to control your life and leave you no time to bask in God’s presence. Don’t let this happen to you. If you are out of the practice of spending time with God, start slow. Read a few verses and pray for a couple minutes if that’s all you can do starting out. But work to carve out more and more time until His Spirit fills your life, your home, your workplace, and everywhere else you go. It’s not impossible. It just takes making Him priority. Isn’t He worth it?

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 7

Saturday was another full day at the National Quartet Convention.

The highlights of the morning showcase were Abby Paskvan and The Hoskins Family.

The Song of a Lifetime Showcase featured:

The Jim Brady Trio – “Stepping Out in Faith”
Mark Trammell Quartet – “I’ll take it to the Grave”Triumphant Quartet – I Belong to Jesus
Joseph Habedank – I’ve Never Seen the Righteous Forsaken
Tim Lovelace – Bend in the River of Life
David Sapp – There is a River
Phil Cross – When I Get Carried Away
Triumphant Quartet – Saved by Grace

This last song was in honor of Carroll McGruder who passed away last year.

The Blackwood Brothers took the stage on Saturday, and I was surprised to see Mike Helwig in a wheelchair. Billy Blackwood said that Mike has been diagnosed with ALS. This made his rendition of “The Love of God” even more powerful. People often struggle to accept God’s love during difficult circumstances but Mike made the song come alive. I’m sure there were a lot of tears as he sang.

The Sneed Family sang “Hallelujah Square.”

The Erwins were very good. This was their second year at NQC. The best song from their set was called “I Choose to be a Christian.”

Ed O’Neal honored Les Beasley with Josh Garner singing “When He Was on the Cross (I Was on His Mind).”

My brother is not a southern gospel music fan but, when Hope Bowling sang, “How Can it Be?,” he was impressed. That’s saying something. Kathy Crabb Hannah played piano for the Bowling Sisters as they sang, “At the Cross.”

Gordon Mote co-hosted the evening but he also got his own set. He played and sang, “Power in the Blood,” “Just a Closer Walk,” “Only Jesus Can Heal This Hurting World,” and “America the Beautiful” (backed up by the Voices of Lee).

The Perrys sang “The Holy Shore” and “I Wish I Could Have Been There,” two of my favorites!

The Mark Trammell Quartet sang requests they’d received. These included “The King is Coming” and “My Faith Still Holds.”

Marla Henry joined the Jim Brady Trio to sing Consider the Lilies.

Tribute sang some songs off of their new CD. My favorite was “When the Prodigal Comes Home,” featuring Riley Harrison Clark.

Triumphant Quartet’s pianist sang “Hello Mama.” I love that song more now than ever. Scotty Inman sang, “Somebody Died for Me.”

Lauren Talley sang a song she gets a lot of requests for, “Broken Ones.” “If everybody loved like He does, there’d be a lot less broken ones.”

Gerald Wolfe felt like his voice wasn’t up to par so he brought Mark Trammell on stage to sing with them. They sang, “When They Ring the Bells of Heaven,” “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” and “My Name is Lazarus,” with Mark singing Gerald’s verse. That was cool! (Sorry Gerald.)

For the finale, the Jim Brady Trio sang, “Stepping Out in Faith” and Triumphant sang, “We’re Almost Home.”

That concludes my NQC coverage. I hope to get some of my thoughts down on a variety of subjects next week. I’ll see how it goes. Have a blessed Sunday!


NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 6

A day without prayer is a wasted day.

Don’t tell me you love Jesus if you never talk to Him.

Two great quotes by Dr. Steven Gaines during his devotion last Friday morning.

Quarteto Gileade is a quartet from Brazil. I think the highlight was when they sang “The Hallelujah Chorus.” As you probably know, “hallelujah” is said the same in every language so, although they sang in their native language, even if you had never heard this song before, you would know that they were praising the Lord.

I’m not real familiar with The Hyssongs but they started their set with a trumpet duet of the song of worship, “Majesty.” Very good

Friday afternoon, there was a Vintage Quartet Showcase. It included:

The Dixie Echoes (with Josh Singletary on piano)–“Bye and Bye,” “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”
Legacy Five–“Grand and Glorious Feeling,” “Life Will Be Sweeter Some Day.”
Mark Trammell Quartet (with Gerald Wolfe on piano)–“Echoes from the Burning Bush,” “Leave Your Sorrows and Come Along.”
Second Half Quartet–“Going Up,” “Wonderful Grace of Jesus.”

Each group imitated the old days where there were only 2 microphones on stage.

After that, Dr. Jeremiah talked about the history of revival. It was quite interesting. I will probably go back and listen to that again on the archives.

There was then a break before the evening concerts.

Freedom Quartet got Gerald Wolfe to play piano with them on “The Love of God” and “He’ll Pilot Me.” They ended again with their latest single, “I Am a Christian.” I really like their sound. Tight harmony.

The Kingsmen sang “Stand Up,” featuring their tenor, Josh Horrell.

It would have been Jackie Wilburn’s 79th birthday on Friday so it was fitting that Wilburn and Wilburn were performing that evening. They sang, “The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference,” “Shoulders” (in honor of Jackie), “You Asked Him to Leave,” and “I’m Rich.”

The Webbs sang, “Days of Elijah.”

This was Joseph Habedank’s first time on stage as a solo artist. He sang The Perry’s song, “If You Knew Him.”

The Hoppers were one of my favorites last week. Every time they took the stage, I paid attention. Their new CD has some great songs on it. I will definitely be looking to get a copy for review.

Karen Peck and New River ended the evening.

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 5

I realize that NQC is over but I thought I would go ahead and finish posting the highlights according to Sony Elise. :)

Mark Trammell led devotions on Thursday and talked on the subject of peace. I especially liked his statement: “We live outside of peace because of our own decisions and choices. It’s not the world’s fault; it’s ours.” In context, he was talking about how we refuse to give our burdens to Jesus and insist on carrying them ourselves. We will never find peace if we do that.

Jason Crabb sang some old Crabb Family favorites: “Please Forgive Me,” “Come Down to Me,” and “Through the Fire.” He also did a medley of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” “Meeting in the Air,” and “I’ll Fly Away.”

Rodney Griffin sang the Cathedral’s song, “The Prodigal Son” with the Second Half Quartet. If I hadn’t been paying attention, I would have probably thought it was Glen Payne singing.

The Booth Brothers sang one of my favorites, “Still Feeling Fine.” They were joined on the last chorus by The Collingsworth Family and Jim Brady.

Ronny Hinson was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. He said that they only thing he would change in his life were the times that Ronny got in the way of God.

The Perrys sang “Keep On.” I am blessed by Troy Peach every time he preaches in between songs. His message is always right on and just what I need to hear.

Gerald Wolfe talked about the impression we leave on the lives of others. In his life was a man named Merle Hahn. (Not sure about the spelling of the last name.) He said, “You are a Merle Hahn to someone and, if you’re not, you oughtta be.” Wow. Then they sang “Faces.” “No matter how small the task, you did just as I asked.” That is all God asks of us: to be faithful in whatever He calls us to, no matter how small.”

Mark Trammell Quartet ended their set that night with “My Faith Still Holds.” “And though the end of things I cannot see, I choose to place my trust in Calvary.”

The Primitive Quartet sang, “Walking in the Highway,” one of my favorites that they do. I love watching Randy’s enthusiasm, which doesn’t wane regardless of how many times he sings that song.

The Nelons sang, “Then Came the Morning.”

In the Kingdom Heirs’ set, Arthur Rice said, “It’s not about us; it’s about Him. It’s not about what we can bear but what He can bear.” God can use people who realize that.

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 4

Wednesday was another great day at the National Quartet Convention.

Eric Bennett did the devotional, reminding us that “we are nothing more than a good looking pile of dust without Christ.” He talked about how much money we spend on ourselves, making sure we look good and are taken well care of when, in reality, we are worth very little. The only good in us is the good that God instills in us. A very good message.

I was pleased to see Greg Cook singing with Ricky Atkinson. I’ve not heard anything from him in years. He sang, “When He Was on the Cross.”

McCray Dove joined Ed O’Neill and the Dixie Melody Boys on stage to promote their “Together Again” tour. Josh Garner sang lead on “The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow.” Then Ed let the New Dove Brothers sing a song. The group consists of McCray Dove, Tony Peace, and Wesley Smith. They ended the set with both groups singing a song that hit the charts in the 1980s: “Ride That Glory Cloud.” Eric Ollis joined them on stage to play the piano on that song.

Goodman Revival was not on the schedule but they took the stage to sing “I Hold a Clear Title” and “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.”

I love the Hoppers song: “Life is good ’cause God is. Life is good ’cause I’m His.” They also sang “I’ve Come Too Far,” “Yes I Am,” “Jerusalem,” and a reprise of “Life is Good.”

Lari Goss was inducted into the SGMA Hall of Fame. His wife Carolyn and brother Ronnie accepted the award.

Daywind had a special segment with several of their artists. They played videos of each group imitating another group. Very funny. After Legacy Five, Tribute, and Wilburn & Wilburn sang their sets, five groups each sang an extra song. They are as follows:

Second Half Quartet: Boundless Love
The Hoppers: Jesus, the One
Tribute Quartet: Good News from Jerusalem
Wilburn & Wilburn: You Asked Him to Leave
Legacy Five: Christ is Still the King

The Browns closed the evening, including in their set “Place in the Choir” and “Didn’t it Rain.”

47th Annual Singing News Fan Award Winners

  • September 30, 2016 at 11:24 am in

The Singing News Fan Awards program occurred Wednesday afternoon. For those who haven’t heard who the winners were, I’ll list them below.

Soloist: Ivan Parker

New Artist: Goodman Revival
They sang the Happy Goodman’s hit song, “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.”

Band: Kingdom Heirs
Dennis Murphy thanked everyone for their prayers. He mentioned that they’ve had a rough few years and commented on how God underestimates how much they can handle. The fact that they are still going, though, is proof that God is giving them strength in spite of the storms. It was a reminder to me to keep them in my prayers.

Mixed Group: The Collingsworth Family

Soprano: Kim Hopper

Tenor: Michael Booth

Radio Station: WJBX (Knoxville)

Pianist: Kim Collingsworth

Songwriter: Rodney Griffin

Alto: Connie Hopper

Lead: Ronnie Booth

Trio: The Booth Brothers

Young Artist: Riley Harrison Clark
Tribute sang “Nothing Stops the Savior’s Love,” which features Riley.

Bass: Eric Bennett

Baritone: Mark Trammell
Mark quoted Psalm 1:1 in his acceptance speech. He also commented about his ministry: “While it’s the joy of my life, it’s also the greatest responsibility other than providing for my family.”

Quartet: Triumphant
They then sang their popular song, “Saved By Grace.”

Song: Amazing God (Triumphant)

Album: Living in Harmony (Triumphant)

Artist: Booth Brothers

Gerald Wolfe and Jason Crabb hosted the evening. They began and ended the awards show with the song, “Bye and Bye.” At one point, Gerald talked about how, whether you like it or not, people are watching you. He told the audience, “I know you’re human so you’re not perfect but do your best not to disappoint those who look up to you.” This applies to all Christians.

Each group that had a song nominated for song of the year sang those songs. They are as follows:

Greater Vision: “Put Out the Fire”
Triumphant: “Amazing God”
Karen Peck and New River: “Pray Now”
Wilburn & Wilburn: “You Asked Him to Leave”The Whisnants: “Worry Ends Where Faith Begins”

NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 3

Tuesday was a great day at the National Quartet Convention. Rick and Phyllis Webb shared in the chapel service, with Karen Peck and New River doing the music.

Scotty Searan, a faithful reader to my blog, asked me to share songs from each group that were especially encouraging. I hadn’t planned to do as much of that this year but there were a lot of great songs sung the other night that I do plan to mention quite a few.

Freedom Quartet kicked off the evening and could not have done a better job. The group consists of John Rulapaugh, Burman Porter, Dale Shipley, and Preston Garner. They started with “God Rides on Wings of Love” then went on to sing “I’m Free Again” and “I Am a Christian.” This last song resulted in a standing ovation.

I am pretty sure The Littles were on the main stage last year, but I didn’t remember what they sounded like. They did an excellent job on a medley of “Shout to the Lord” and “How Great Thou Art.” Then they sang an a cappella medley of “Down by the Riverside” and “I Am Bound for the Promised Land.”

My favorite Primitive Quartet songs were an instrumental of “He Looked Beyond My Fault” and an a cappella version of “My Hope is in the Blood.” This made me really miss Norman Wilson.

Mark Bishop sang a song I’d not heard before: “Pray on the Little Days.” It really spoke to me. If you’ve not heard it, I encourage you to check it out. “Let God be God in the best of times and He’ll be God in the worst of times.”

Jim Brady sang “Every Cry,” a song he wrote for his sister who was dying of cancer. “He lovingly cares for His children. Let His love be the strength that you need.”

The Kingdom Heirs sang “Four Days,” with Loren Harris on lead. By request, Jerry Martin sang, “I Can Pray.” Arthur Rice said people keep telling them how good they are. Wait another couple weeks, and they’ll be really good. Loren Harris has only been with them about five days.

Carroll McGruder was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Since Carroll has gone on to be with the Lord, the award was accepted by his son Eric, daughter Shawnee, and widow Sharon. Eric said his dad always talked about pulling up on those behind you and pushing on those ahead of you. He encouraged the audience to do just that.

Libbi Perry Stuffle sang LaBreeska Hemphill’s song, “Let the Blood of Calvary Speak for Me.” The Perrys ended their set with “Calvary Answers for Me.”

Triumphant Quartet did a great job on “This Blood.” They ended their set with Eric leading the congregation in singing “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.”

The Booth Brothers and Collingsworth Family did a set together. I was very touched when Michael Booth said to Jim Brady from the stage: “I know you’re not perfect but I know that, if I follow you, I’ll be following Christ.” Wow. There is no greater honor than for someone to say that to another. That is why we’re here: to point others to the Lord.

The Booth Brothers got a standing ovation for “Then I Met the Master.” Then they sang “Life’s Railway to Heaven” with the Collingsworth Family. The Collingsworth Family brought their 22-month-old granddaughter on stage to join them for “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness.”

I know people complain about too much talking during concerts but I find that the greatest blessings for me come when someone shares something that God has laid on their heart. Often it’s Michael Booth, and he said some things Tuesday that spoke to me, but Kim Collingsworth shared a bit too. She was talking about how music has rests and then turned it around to apply to life. “In times of rest, we think God has brought us to the end of our song. God doesn’t write the music without a plan. Our job is to keep going and not give up.” I’ve had several times in life where I’ve felt my song was done, and I tend to get depressed during those times. It’s encouraging to know that what seems like the end to us is not the end to God. The fact that we are still alive is proof that God is still writing the music of our lives. Sometimes we need to rest so that we can refuel, draw close to Him, and allow Him to use us more than ever before.

Kim Collingsworth played “My Tribute” as well as I have ever seen her play. The Booth Brothers and Collingsworth Family then sang “Jesus Saves” with Jim Brady.

Sheri Easter shared some things I’ve been pondering as well: “If we knew how loved we are, we would treat each other kindly.”

The evening ended with Jeremy Peace and the LeFevre Quartet singing, “O What a Savior.”

I have a lot to write about yesterday, but it’s almost time for today’s showcase so I’ll have to write it later. Thank you for taking the time to read my reports.


NQC 2016 Highlights: Day 2

Yesterday was my sister’s last day here so I missed the beginning of the program but it was hosted by Jim Brady and Karen Peck Gooch.

Every time the Hoppers take the stage, I think about what a blessing it is that Claude and Connie Hopper are still able to travel and sing. This has been a rough year for them with Claude’s stroke and Connie’s battle with cancer but they continue to give God all the glory. The most touching moment of the evening was Claude singing the last verse of “Never Grow Old” to Connie. So fitting for two people who have spent the majority of their lives serving the Lord together.

Peg McKamey Bean was inducted into the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame. She didn’t have much to say except to thank everyone.

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound were not my favorite group on the platform last night, but Ernie did sing “O What a Savior” and nailed it once again.

I am always glad to see Squire Parsons on the stage. NQC is the only time I get to hear him but he can still sing, as can his son, Samuel. They did a great job!

I was really looking forward to seeing The Kingdom Heirs with Loren Harris. I am very happy to see him back on the NQC stage and hope to catch every one of their sets this week.

The Second Half Quartet sang again last night, and I enjoyed them even more than I did Sunday night. It was even more fun watching Gerald Wolfe getting blessed listening to them and playing the piano.

Gold City ended the evening with some of their old standbys. I’ve not kept up with them since Tim Riley retired but theirs is a group I want to start watching once again.