CD Review: Moments Like These (The Bowling Family)

  • Posted on February 10, 2016 at 6:26 pm

The Bowling Family is comprised of Mike and Kelly Bowling and their daughter Hope. This is my first time to listen to a full CD of theirs, but what a blessing it is. I give it 5 stars because of the quality of the songs. There is not a “dud” on this recording. Songs of faith, hope, and the resurrection fill this CD, leaving you encouraged and ready to face another day.

Mike sings the uptempo, Praise God, He is Alive.

Hope sings about One Moment of Faith.

I Was There is the Heavenly Father reminding you that He was there during everything you have gone through … and He will continue to be.

Mourning to Dancing is another toe-tapping song of hope.

In the next song, Mike tells us again I Believe He’s Alive.

The tempo slows way down for a song Mike and Kelly Bowling wrote with Marcia Henry Bloodworth: Even When You’re Asking Why. “You will never get to walk this road by sight. Only faith will lead you through the night. But God loves you and He’s with you, even when you’re asking why.”

Some of you will know the old song, I’ve Got My Foot on the Rock. I hadn’t heard this one in quite a while.

God is Always Good reminds us of that truth that many seem to lose sight of. No matter what you are going through, it does not change the fact that God is still good.

If you’re still not convinced, the next song puts it another way: God Likes Working in the Midnight Hour.

Kelly sings Our First Hallelujah There, a song that ushers you into the presence of Heaven as you picture your first moments there.

CD Review: Stay (The Old Paths)

  • Posted on July 9, 2015 at 7:18 pm

It’s with mixed emotions that I write this review. The Old Paths announced that they will disband at year’s end. I can’t say this is my favorite CD of the year but I am grateful to have it and wish Jeremy Peace, Doug Roark, Daniel Ashmore, Tim Rackley, and Josh Townsend well in their future endeavors.

The CD begins with Have You Ever, a song with a bit of an old sound.

My favorite song on this CD is You Never Cease to Amaze Me. That’s how I feel about God’s grace. Jeremy Peace delivers this song well.

The theme of What Did They Call Him has been overdone but it’s an uptempo song that is probably good in concert.

“I Just Can’t Get Over my sins being over since I have been under the blood.” That pretty much sums it up.

Bass Daniel Ashmore sings Washed in the Blood, which concludes with a tenor ending.

How Great the Debt is one of three songs written by Rebecca Peck and Dianne Wilkinson. This is another song I really like.

Ordinary People has a good message and is harmonized well.

Stay is a reminder that Jesus is not gone forever. He will return.

Larry Petree wrote the toe-tapping Oh What a Happy Morning.

Out of the Grave rejoices in Christ’s resurrection.

CD Review: Forever/80th Anniversary Recording (Blackwood Brothers)

  • Posted on March 11, 2015 at 7:37 pm

Billy Blackwood is keeping classic quartet music alive with his current lineup of The Blackwood Brothers.

You Can Find What I Found is a neat-sounding song with the tenor leading and the rest echoing. It changes tempo on the chorus.

Dianne Wilkinson wrote the toe-tapping, I’ll Fly Away Home. A great quartet song.

The tempo slows down as Wayne Little sings Forever Forgiven.

Walkin’ and Talkin’ is an old J.D. Sumner that the Blackwood Brothers brought back for this recording.

Long Gone is a mediocre, uptempo song.

Heaven Will Be Mine Someday has somewhat of a ’50s or ’60s feel.

When I Cross to the Other Side of Jordan is an old song written by Ed O’Neal.

“I will give my all for Him who gave His all for me for I Know in Whom I Have Believed.” Amen!

Butch Owens sings the uptempo Oh, No You Don’t.

The CD ends with the classic Dear Jesus, Abide With Me.

Concert/CD Review: Battle Cry (The Kingsmen)

  • Posted on March 3, 2015 at 9:14 pm

The Kingsmen 2-27-15

Friday night, I had the blessing of seeing the Kingsmen once again. I was surprised at how many of the songs they sang were off of their new CD since I typically expect to hear a fair number of old favorites. I was not disappointed, however. This CD has some great songs as well.

This is the second time I have seen this particular group in concert, and I am impressed with both Bob Sellers and Chris Jenkins. They are doing a great job.  People talk about the Kingsmen’s heyday in the 1980s but I’ve never liked the Kingsmen as much as I have in the last ten or so years. This group is no exception.

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The concert began with Beautiful City, an uptempo song about Heaven.

Then they sang one of their old songs, Meet Me at the Table.

Come and Dine is taken from the story where Jesus cooked fish for the disciples and fed them when they had been fishing all day but caught nothing. The second verse talks about arriving Heaven and being invited to come and dine at the Banquet Table.

Scripture says that God orders the steps of the righteous. I’ve Never Seen the Righteous Forsaken reminds us that God is in control no matter what you are going through. God will supply your every need.

Randy Crawford introduced the group and then they sang I Know, which talks about the joy of knowing you’re saved. It is possible to know.

A Kingsmen concert would not be complete without including their classic, Glory Road.

They included a summary of their old hit Excuses and then Randy Crawford sang a song he wrote, Here I Stand Amazed.

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Oh Yes I Am is the current #1 song across America. This was the first I’d heard it but I love it. Uptempo, this song is an encouraging message about going Home. Chris Jenkins puts energy into this song.

After a brief intermission, they came back to sing the title track from their new CD, Battle Cry. This is a great song. There is a time to rest but there is a time to answer the battle cry.

Faith is self-explanatory. Great harmony to some encouraging lyrics.

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Ray Reese sang Healing Stream and then they sang another old song, When My Feet Touch the Streets of Gold.

Cross of Grace is a powerful song about the cross.

They did a great a cappella arrangement of There is a Fountain Filled With Blood and ended with the chorus of their very popular song from the 1980s, Stand Up.


Songs not sung in concert:

Daryl Williams and Scott Inman wrote the toe-tapping quartet song, He Took Away My Burden.

It Should Have Rained is an interesting song about the Crucifixion.

CD Review: The Best of Jonathan Wilburn: Years of Gold

  • Posted on October 13, 2014 at 9:39 pm

jw-l.170x170-75In some ways, it’s probably not fair to review collection CDs since one would expect them to be great projects but I think there is still validity to letting you know which CDs are being released and which songs were included, as well as a bit about the songs for people who are new to the genre. I will say that this collection CD, featuring many of Jonathan Wilburn’s most popular songs when he was with Gold City, is one of my favorites that I’ve received this year.

He Said is one of my favorite songs on this project. I heard the studio version years ago but this live version, recorded when Jonathan was with Gold City, brings the whole song to life in my opinion.

My least favorite arrangement on this project is I’m Not Giving Up. After hearing the original version, the background singers don’t do it justice.

There Rose a Lamb is a song originally sung by Ivan Parker when he was with Gold City. It has stood the test of time, however, and Jonathan pours his heart into it as well.

He Lives needs no explanation.

The late Doug Riley wrote He Lifted My Burdens Away. This was a new song to me but it’s uptempo and encouraging.

Tim Riley introduces When He Touched Me. This is another song I hadn’t heard before but it is a great song of testimony.

“We can’t have church until the Holy Ghost shows up … When the Holy Ghost Shows Up (We’ll Have Church).” Can I hear an Amen?

Keep Me on the Wheel is a great song about surrender.

The Lamb Upon the Throne is a song of worship.

It’s Been Worth it All is a song all Christians can sing along with.

I’ve liked I Believe since it first came out. I’m really glad Jonathan included it on this project.

No “Best of Gold City” recording would be complete without the timeless classic, Midnight Cry.

The CD concludes with a live version of When He Calls (I’ll Fly Away).

Concert/CD Review: Journey of Hope (Tribute)

  • Posted on September 15, 2014 at 9:21 pm

I had the blessing of seeing Tribute back in July. They had concert copies of their latest release, Journey of Hope, but since it wasn’t yet available outside of concerts, I held off on reviewing it. I am happy to let readers know that the CD is now available for purchase.

The concert began with the familiar song, Stepping on the Clouds.

Then they went into a song from their new CD: I Could Sing About Heaven. This is a pretty typical song but I can still enjoy a simple, toe-tapping Southern Gospel song. “I could sing about Heaven for a million years. Still I could never tell it all.”

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Riley Harrison Clark sings the encouraging I Will Rise. “Trials never last forever. I will rise.”

I like their song, I Want to Thank the Lord. Most people don’t thank Him nearly enough for everything He has done for them.

After that, they introduced the group.

I was glad to see them bring back an old Perrys song, I Remember the Day. They could have put a bit more energy into it but I still like the song. I am so thankful that God saved me when he did over 20 years ago!

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Josh Singletary then played I’ll Fly Away on the piano.

I first heard God Wants to Hear You Sing in concert by Jason Waldroup. This was my first time to hear Tribute’s version but they did a good job.

They sang Safe Thus Far and then Riley led the congregation in singing Farther Along.

Good News from Jerusalem is still a fan favorite.

They took a break to collect the offering, then Tribute came back out singing, He’s Leading the Way. I will never get tired of hearing them sing this song. This was the first song I ever saw them sing on stage, and it made me stop to listen. I’m so glad He’s still leading the way in my life.

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After that, they sang He’s Been Faithful, and Anthony Davis sang, Leaving on My Mind.

Kyla Rowland wrote, I Am a Soldier. “I am a soldier reporting for duty. I got my sword and shield. I am ready to fight.” Can you proclaim that today?

Many groups no longer give altar calls but they gave an altar call that night and then closed with another chorus of I Remember the Day.

imgSongs on the CD which the group did not sing in concert include:

The encouraging song, He Can Do It Again.

Josh Singletary sings All Made it Ashore, a song that tells about the shipwreck on which the apostle Paul prophesied that not one life would be lost, and there wasn’t. No matter what you are going through, you also can make it. Keep holding on and don’t give up.

Those Who Know Me Know has a bit of a Jamaican feel.

Everything I Need is another uptempo song of encouragement. No matter what I go through, my Heavenly Father is everything I need.

Everybody Needs Jesus needs no explanation. A simple, true fact.

In the Valley, I Can Hear His Voice: When things are going well, we don’t always take the time we need to be still and hear but, in the valley, that is sometimes a different story.

Another song I really like is God of All My Days. It ends the CD leaving me worshiping the God of all my days.

Everything I Need is another uptempo, encouraging song. No matter what I face in life, God is everything I need.

CD Review: Great Day (Legacy Five)

  • Posted on June 30, 2014 at 7:41 pm

The latest CD by Legacy Five begins with the uptempo title track, Great Day. I love the tight harmonies that we have come to expect from this group.

Gus Gaches sings Christ is Still the King. A powerful song written by Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca J. Peck. “Rejoice! The tomb’s still empty, and Christ is still the King!”

More great quartet harmony on That’s a Hallelujah. “Every time the Lord has been good to ya, that’s a Hallelujah!”

Scott Howard sings So Many Things which tells of many of the things he’s thankful for in spite of the difficulties life brings.

What a Happy Day is a medley of old songs: “O What a Happy Day,” “Everybody Will Be Happy Over There,” “I’ll Live in Glory,” “When We All Get to Heaven,” “I’ll Have a New Life,” “Heaven’s Jubilee,” and “A Wonderful Time Up There.” So many old favorites, yet they fit portions of each song into just a little over four minutes.

Only the Living is a beautiful song. It talks about how sad it is for those living when a loved one goes on to Heaven. The one who left, however, is experiencing joy on the other side.

In my view, the message of Who is This Man has been overdone but the delivery is well done.

He Heals is a slow song of hope hope for the hurting.

He is to Me has a similar feel to “He Is” which Triumphant Quartet sings.

Great Medley features, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” “How Big is God,” and “How Great Thou Art.” Hallelujah!

I read some other reviews of this project and apparently not everyone hears it the same way I do. In my book, featuring great arrangements by Lari Goss and great lyrics from a variety of songwriters, as well as great harmony, this is another great Legacy Five CD.

CD Review: “Statements of My Faith: Hymns” (Ann Downing)

  • Posted on February 27, 2014 at 2:27 am

152199It wasn’t that long ago that I did not like “Hymns” recordings. Maybe I’m getting old but I think there are better “Hymns” projects being recorded these days. Years ago, every recording seemed to feature the same hymns, just different vocals. Today there seems to be more variety and creativity to remind us there are more than just 8 or 10 hymns to inspire and minister to you. Ann Downing has chosen 11 such hymns which she sings very traditionally, yet in her own way. One thing I particular like about this CD is that each song sounds different: different instruments, arrangements, etc. Jeff Duffield did the orchestrations on this recording, and he did a great job.

As soon as she begins singing I Stand Amazed in the Presence, my heart wells up with praise as I truly think of how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me! This feeling continues to the last note of All That Thrills My Soul.

And Can It Be? deserves a special mention. Very nice musical arrangement and sung in a way that brings the words to life. “My chains fell off. My heart was free. I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.” I’m so glad I did!

There is a Fountain is sung with piano only.

Sue Duffield joined Ann in a beautiful arrangement of Lead Me to Calvary.

Other songs included are: God Leads Us Along, How Firm a Foundation, Footsteps of Jesus, He Giveth More Grace, Blessed Assurance, and He Hideth My Soul.

CD Review: Looking Toward Home (Herb Henry Family)

  • Posted on January 3, 2014 at 1:55 am

Pro-TowardHomeWhen I first heard southern gospel music, I fell in love with the harmony of some of the mixed groups of the time. The last little while, we seem to have returned to more of a quartet/male group genre; however, I still love good family harmony when I hear it. That said, I am so glad I finally got to hear The Herb Henry Family last year.

Several groups have recorded Ronnie Hinson’s song, He is Leading the Way, in the last couple years. I’m glad to see that song hasn’t died. I first heard it 25-30 years ago but the message is still relevant.

Healer of Broken Hearts has a great message and great harmony.

Chris Henry wrote Looking Toward Home. “I’ll not grow weary though the journey be rough wherever I roam. I’m looking ahead and I’m looking toward Home.” Amen!

Tougher Than Nails is a song about the cross but Jesus was tougher than nails. He is still ready and willing to forgive you if you reach out to Him.

I love the toe-tapping On the Sea of Life.

Arise is about Christ’s Resurrection.

I remember my mom singing Song Holy Angels Cannot Sing when I was a little girl. The Herb Henry Family does a great job on this Gordon Jensen classic.

Next is an acapella rendition of Golden Bells.

Wish You Could See Me Now is a bit more progressive but I love it.

Another song I absolutely love is Unto the Hills.

The Second Time Around, Jesus won’t be coming as a baby and He won’t be dying on a cross. “He’ll step on a big white cloud when the trumpet sounds to take us Home when He comes the second time around.”

Bless the Lord has a Hawaiian feel to it. It’s straight out of Psalm 103.

Chris Henry wrote about the Perfect Gift which is the one that God gave when He sent His Son to earth.

The children sing Go & Tell. Very cute and a good message.

Dear Friends:

I work for Family Renewal and handle the itinerary for Israel Wayne, a national speaker, founder of Family Renewal, LLC and author of Homeschooling from a Biblical Worldview, Full-Time Parenting, and Questions God Asks. Would you be interested in helping to organize a seminar with Israel as the speaker? His most popular seminar right now is Revival in the Home which is not homeschool specific but talks about the importance of spending time with your children and discipling them so that they are not among those who leave the faith when they are older. He can also speak on worldview/apologetics, homeschooling, etc. If you have an event coming up where you would like a speaker, that would be great but I could also schedule a seminar when we are going to be going through your area anyway.

Let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sony Elise

Family Renewal

P.O. Box 227
Berrien Springs, MI 49103
(269) 282-6058

CD Review: Christmas in Kentucky (The Sneed Family)

  • Posted on December 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm

cd_book_2_panel_mediumThe Sneed Family recorded a Christmas CD of some new songs and some old.

The CD begins with the rousing Christ is Born, written by Tim Greene.

Follow That Star is a beautiful song. “Just keep the faith when the road gets dark. Don’t be afraid. Love lights the way. Follow that star.”

Daryl Williams wrote Fear Not, after which they sing The Christmas Song.

Folks from Kentucky will like the title song, Christmas in Kentucky.

I love Winter’s Not a Wonderland (Without You). It’s more of a sweet love song. “The snow no longer glistens. Sleigh bells ring but I don’t listen. Winter’s not a wonderland without you.”

Do You Hear the Cry is an uptempo song written by Rodney Griffin.

The tempo slows down with Still Remember When, a song of reminiscence.

A southern gospel Christmas recording doesn’t seem complete without Beautiful Star of Bethlehem.

My favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night, and The Sneed Family does a good job on that beautiful song.

Other songs include Once Upon a Christmas, Unspeakable Joy, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and The Old Story.


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