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May 11th - July 10th, 2006

First Impressions

A couple of weeks ago my local Word bookstore announced a 20%-off-everything-in-the-shop sale. It brought the price of Gaither Homecoming DVDs down to the equivalent of US$24, which isn't much more than I'd pay at Amazon.com when you add in overseas postage. So I drove down and picked up "Live from Toronto" and "Canadian Homecoming."

My enthusiasm for World Cup soccer means I haven't been able spend a lot of time watching the DVDs, but I've certainly watched a little.

First impressions? I love them. They seem to be full of great hits like Ivan Parker singing "When I Get Carried Away" and Ben Speer with "When Morning Sweeps the Eastern Sky." I don't know if many of the songs are new, but to me that doesn't matter. I love the old songs (which are all pretty new to me, down here in Australia, as it's only a few years since I discovered SG), and there's an infectious enthusiasm that I love.

I've just finished watching the World Cup final, so Canada, here I come.
July 10th, 2006

 

Carolina Quartet

Early last year, I decided it was time to introduce SG quartet singing to Australia, and I signed up for singing lessons with a professional teacher, who was formerly music pastor at my church. One of my models was Ivan Parker, whom I particularly admire. So I bought the Homecoming Souvenir Songbook, Volume VI, and with my teacher practised one of my favorite Gaither Homecoming songs, "When I Get Carried Away."

Well, the lessons lasted for about six months, until I realised that I just couldn't really sing in tune, and I stopped. Maybe I'll join a choir one day, but quartet singing is certainly beyond me.

So it was with envy that I read a press release of the launch of the Carolina Quartet. Making occasional appearances with them will be another blogger, David Bruce Murray. You can read about the group here.
July 4th, 2006

 

Too Much Time on His Hands?
Bill Gaither is set to become a disc jockey on Sirius Satellite Radio (best known as home to shock-jock Howard Stern). The weekly three-hour radio program, "Bill Gaither's Homecoming Radio," starts on July 9th.
July 2nd, 2006

 

Christian Song Writing Seminar
If you live in Ohio you may be interested in what sounds like quite a special Christian song writing seminar on July 1st.
June 24th, 2006

 

New Southern Gospel Septet

Jerry Falwell reveals that a special new Southern Gospel septet will be performing at the 50th anniversary celebration of his Thomas Road Baptist Church:

We will welcome several special guests to help us celebrate our Golden Anniversary. Charles Billingsley and Guy Penrod (of the Gaither Vocal Band) will be our special music guests. They will electrify the audience as they sing praises to our Lord. Guy, a Liberty alumnus, is also bringing his seven sons, who will also be singing.
June 19th, 2006
 

Hair to Stay
"Just call me Buzz," says Mark Lowry as he reveals his new look, at the latest edition of his reMarks newsletter and on his Polls page. Vote here on "Should Mark continue to cut his own hair?" and "Should Mark let the goatee stay?" (As of this writing, 75% of respondents are voting Yes to the first question, while 51% say Yes to the second.)
June 6th, 2006

 

More Southern Gospel History
I made mention (below) of the new SGM History website. Thank you to BKH for notifying me of Southern Gospel History, a website performing a similar role. At present it is divided into three sections - biographies, discographies and group member lists. The site is looking for contributions, and offers a list of groups for which information is requested.
June 3rd, 2006

 

Southern Gospel History - New Website
When I started this website last year, full of enthusiasm, I intended a section on Southern Gospel history. I quickly found (a) that I was being far too ambitious for the site, and (b) the internet (my only SG resource, down here in Australia) didn't have a lot of information on the subject. So welcome SGM History, a new website from Deon and Susan Unthank, owners and editors of SouthernGospelNews.com.

In a press release they say:

SGMHistory.com is a new website designed to be an all-compassing listing of the history of groups, singers, organizations, etc. that have had a vital effect on the Southern Gospel industry. The site is designed to allow registered users of SGMHistory.com to submit new entries and edit current entries based on their own knowledge of Southern Gospel history.

“We’ve had SGMHistory.com in the planning stages for a couple of years now, and we have been working on getting the software down just right for the last couple months,” mentioned Deon Unthank, owner of SGMHistory.com and SouthernGospelNews.com. “We really feel like this will be a good tool in teaching individuals about the history of our genre and at the same time, it will allow people to get involved with the cataloguing of the history of the music.”

The site is currently up and running and features editorial work by some of Southern Gospel’s most respected historians and writers including John Scheideman, John Crenshaw, David Bruce Murray, James Hales, and site owner Deon Unthank.

May 23rd, 2006

 

New Bass for Gold City
A media release announces that Aaron McCune is to join the group, filling the bass vocalist position in the group left vacant by Bill Lawrence earlier this year.

At the age of 25, Aaron McCune already has a strong resume within Southern Gospel music. McCune has been singing and recording with Palmetto State Quartet since September of 2003, and he was a long time member of the Anchormen previous to joining Palmetto State Quartet. McCune started singing bass at the age of 14 and has also previously sang with the Journeymen and the Nobelmen Quartet.

“We are very excited about Aaron joining Gold City,” mentioned Daniel Riley, baritone and manager for Gold City. “We see large amounts of potential in Aaron and firmly believe that he will go down in history as one of Southern Gospel’s strongest bass singers.”

(Thanks to Sharon,)
May 16th, 2006

 

Sandi Patty - Controlling the Chaos
Sandi Patty talks about life with eight children:

“We’re a blended family,” she says. “The ages range from 22 down to 10. ... We have a wedding, three high school graduations and one college graduation that we’re all doing within three weeks of each other, so life is very full right now. But that’s all right, we love it …” But she’s trying to control the chaos, or at least embrace it.
“My latest project,” she says, “is a book called ‘My Life in the Blender.”’

May 16th, 2006

 

Crabb Family - Flagbearers of World Religious Harmony

Check out this fascinating article in National Review Online about dramatic initiatives by a Moroccan Muslim leader, Dr. Ahmed Abaddi, and his colleagues, to build ties between Islam, Judaism and Christianity. One quote:

They launched an initiative to build a “bridge of friendship” to evangelical Christians in the U.S., including on-going dialogues with Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals, Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council, and Josh McDowell of Campus Crusade for Christ, among others. Abaddi and his colleagues have also invited pastors and evangelical business leaders to Morocco for conferences and high-level inter-faith talks, and have even helped organize a series of concerts in Marrakesh where Christian and Muslim rock bands perform together for thousands of Moroccan young people.

Wasn't that where the Crabb Family performed?
May 11th, 2006

 

WebStats

Avery Fineline asks SG bloggers for some visitor numbers and the search terms that bring visitors to the site.

As best as I can tell from my web host's near-incomprehensible stats service, the top 10 search terms in April were as follows (though there's little difference in visitor numbers for the bottom half):

1. Anthony Burger
2. Gaither
3. Booth Brothers
4. Janet Paschal
5. Mark Lowry
6. Talley
7. David Phelps
8. Crabb Family
9. Signature Sound
10. Lynda Randle

My Site Meter tells me that February was my peak month, with 25,000+ page views and 7,500+ visits, falling to about 14,000 and 4,700 in April. My current daily average is 190 visits and 558 page views.
May 11th, 2006

 

Gordon Mote Blogs

New Gaither tour pianist Gordon Mote has started blogging. His initial entry: "Well, this is my first attempt at blogging. I would love to meet the person who came up with the word BLOG!"

Wouldn't we all!
May 11th, 2006


 

**ARTISTS**

Allen Asbury
Mark Bishop
Booth Brothers
Mike Bowling
Anthony Burger
Cathedrals
Cynthia Clawson
Crabb Family
CrossWay
Jessy Dixon
Dove Brothers
Ann Downing
Jeff & Sheri Easter
Gaither Homecoming
Gaither Vocal Band
Gatlin Brothers
Gold City Quartet
Greater Vision
Buddy Greene
Hoppers
Isaacs
Katinas
Legacy Five
LordSong
Mark Lowry
Martins
Babbie Mason
McKameys
McRaes
Mercy's Mark
Oak Ridge Boys
Palmetto State
     Quartet
Ivan Parker
Janet Paschal
Sandi Patty
Karen Peck
David Phelps
Chonda Pierce
Dottie Rambo
Lynda Randle
Signature Sound
Russ Taff
Talley Trio
Randy Travis