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October 8th - November 2nd, 2005


Yesterday I asked, Where are the Southern Gospel bloggers? I noted that of the 45-or-so names on my SG bloglist, few post with much regularity. I should have mentioned SGBlogNews, which does a great job in monitoring SG bloggers, and which posts DAILY. Sorry for the omission.

The latest SGBlogNews posts include a link to young Christian blogger Matt Wallace who shamefacedly confesses: “I like Southern Gospel music.” Another SGBlogNews post notes that four SG blogs, the Crabb Family Blog, Off the Shelf, Mercy’s Mark and The Scene (I don’t know that one), seem to have retired.

November 2nd, 2005


Dottie’s Manager to “Tell All”

Dottie Rambo’s manager Larry Ferguson is writing a book, tentatively titled “Driving Miss Dottie,” in which he tells about life on the road with the star singer. It is to be published by Woodland Gospel Publishing, which is also to publish Dottie’s own autobiography. Woodland also plans to publish a biography of The Hoppers and a history of Singing News magazine.

November 2nd, 2005


Where Are the Southern Gospel Bloggers?

How often should a blog be updated? I’ve no idea. In the secular blogosphere many blogs get updated regularly during the day, like the renowned Instapundit. So surely at least a couple of times a week is not unreasonable. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Anyway, not many Southern Gospel bloggers make it.


My own website’s bloglist offers links to around 45 Southern Gospel blogs. I checked their October output. There are only two prolific bloggers: Adventures of a Starving Artist and Avery Fineline. Both make regular postings, and often quite lengthy ones as well.


Otherwise, new blogger Wes Hampton is doing well, with short regular posts, and I know there are periods when Musicscribe seems to be updated almost daily.


But that’s about it.


I guess not much is happening.

November 1st, 2005


Who’s Up, Down Under?

I paid a quick visit to a nearby Christian bookstore here in Melbourne this morning, and decided to check out their holdings of Southern Gospel artists. They stocked more than I realized.

One shelf was devoted solely to Gaither products, with most of the latest releases available. At first I thought that was about all. When I searched the CD shelves under the names of individual artists all I could find were several copies of “Stand” by Allen Asbury and some CDs by David Phelps.


But then I happened to glance at the “Easy Listening” section (easy listening??), and there I discovered a small selection of Southern Gospel CDs. Karen Peck, Chonda Pierce, Anthony Burger, Gold City, Isaacs, Crabb Family, Greater Vision and Jeff and Sheri Easter – all were represented by at least one recording. (For Jeff and Sheri Easter it was one copy of their 1995 release “By Request.” For the Isaacs it was one copy of “Heroes.”)


It wasn’t a lot, but it was something. And one particular singer was very well represented - Sandi Patty, with lots of copies of four or five of her recordings. And a quick scan of the online catalog of my local public library reveals that Sandi Patty is the only Southern Gospel artist stocked there – one copy of the “O Holy Night” CD.


Sandi Patty – you beaut! Holding high the banner of Southern Gospel down under.

October 29th, 2005


Mark Lowry – Reliving the Past

How many of you would want to watch an amateur video of you singing, made more than 20 years ago? I certainly wouldn’t.

Last week, someone handed Mark Lowry a 1984 video of him singing at a youth convention. He writes about it in his latest newsletter:


I'm not going to throw this video away. I'm keeping this one. I'm going to listen to it until it doesn't make me sick - until I make friends with it. Until it doesn't feel like someone is torturing me. This is who I was 22 years ago. My nose was smaller. But it had potential. Did you know that ears and noses continue to grow as you age? How will I hold my head up in the next 22 years?

October 28th, 2005


The Latest from Emily Sutherland

Gaither employee Emily blogs about some of the recent happenings in the Gaither empire. She shares a photo of the African Children’s Choir singing back-up for the Gaither Vocal Band on “Love Can Turn the World.”

Right before they departed, the children gathered around Benjy [Gaither] in a semi-circle and sang him a beautiful blessing. It could've melted a heart of pure marble! Benjy's wife, Melody, was pretty much a puddle after that. She wasn't the only one.


She also discloses that the Toronto Homecoming video is “scheduled to release on February 7th, 2006. But I thought you might enjoy knowing that it's going to be totally different from anything they've done before.”


What can that mean?

October 24th, 2005


Me and Bonnie Keen

When I discovered Southern Gospel – four-and-a-half years ago, via Gaither Gospel programs on the Australian Christian Channel – one of the singers who most appealed to me was Bonnie Keen. I can’t say why exactly. She appeared in hardly any of the shows. Yet something about her spoke authenticity, and that attracted me. Other women on the shows seemed like real singers. Bonnie didn’t. She came across as a real woman, who sang.

A couple of nights ago I was enjoying one of my favorite Gaither DVDs, “Passin’ the Faith Along.” At the end of it, Bonnie sings one of my favorite songs, “Next Time We Meet.” I assumed she had a website, and decided to check it out.


I didn’t realize that Bonnie has had a heck of a life, including divorce, life as a single mother, the collapse of her singing group and clinical depression. She has bounced back, and has a story to tell. Much of it is apparently in her new book, “A Ladder out of Depression : God's Healing Grace for the Emotionally Overwhelmed.” Best of all, it turns out that she has also started a blog.


Here she writes about discovering her book on sale at the airport bookstore.


OK, I know pride is unattractive to God and man. But go with me here. Walking nonchalantly through my Nashville airport bookstore, Concourse rocks (home away from home), I stopped cold in front of the INSPO display of books where I saw my little book, 'A Ladder Out of Depression' staring back at me from the top shelf. WOW! No one with me...I just started muttering. "Thank you cool... It's next to Stormie Omartian's books...just for a moment...WOW..." Finally I took out my cell phone camera and took a hazy picture to send to my daughter, Courtney. Whispering into the phone, "'s my book in the fun!' A man nearby gave me a strange look. Who cares? My book was out and available for ANYONE suffering with depression to find it. So many people never darken the doors of a Christian bookstore. Probably because of Christian television. Scary. But now I had a chance to see my 'pamphlet of hope' in all markets. For now anyway. Next month it will most likely be replaced by another title note-worthy, speaking grace to a graceless world. "A Ladder Out of Depression" is in its humble second printing. This was the hardest work I've ever attempted. Too private and personal and an ongoing thorn in my side. But maybe, just maybe it will make a difference to someone wandering through the airport who needs a little nudge toward mercy.

October 22nd, 2005


Randy Travis in the News

The Salt Lake Tribune gives a rave review to a Randy Travis concert:

After he stopped hitting the top of mainstream country charts more than a decade ago, some of us absentmindedly let Randy Travis slip off our music radar. Big mistake. After a spirited 90-minute performance Tuesday at Kingsbury Hall, Travis had me digging up albums (a couple of them old cassette tapes) and acknowledging that his traditional country ballads - and attractive baritone sound - had been "too gone, too long" from my personal playlist.


And in San Antonio, previews his new gospel CD “Glory Train”.


By gradually mixing in some gospel songs into traditional country sets during the last several years of touring, Randy realized the power of these songs to really change people's lives for the better. After hearing story after story from people who were affected in a positive way, Randy began to better understand the term, "music ministry." While still balancing his role as a traditional country music star, he has found the response to be as rewarding as any accomplishment in his impressive career.

October 21st, 2005


David Phelps in the News

The Herald-Mail in Maryland previews a concert this Saturday with David Phelps:


Sunday's concert is sponsored by the Aarsand Family Foundation, a public charity foundation based in Hunt Valley, Md. The organization seeks to "help young people, especially young people who want to improve their lives by taking classes or learning a skill," says Torben Aarsand, foundation executive director. Phelps says one of the most enjoyable aspects of touring is when concert proceeds are donated to local charities or charitable organizations. "That is one of the greatest accomplishments I will have to take with me," he says.


Public Opinion in Chambersburg, PA, also writes about David:


The performer was born into a singing family and music was a big part of their lives, said Phelps. He grew up in Tomball, Texas, where his parents helped start a little Baptist church, Graceview Baptist Church, in the 1980s. "I sang there as a child and through high school," said Phelps, 35, who is married. "My goal is to give people hope — at any given night someone is out there in a desperate situation." Phelps said he finds joy in Christian music because he can entertain as well as talk about some things that really matter in life, such as eternity and God. Most of the songs he sings and writes are about hope and how everyday life fits into Christianity, said the singer.

October 21st, 2005


Peace in the Midst of the Storm

A lovely story from, the lively online Christian magazine from San Antonio. It seems that Kim Hopper’s new single, “Peace in the Midst of the Storm,” is giving great comfort to hurricane victims.

According to the article:


The inspiring lyrics speak of God's strengthening love in the midst of the trials of life:

"Even though the winds aren’t still
And the waves continue tossing me
From the storm I call His name
For relief from things distressing me
Now so quietly it comes
Strength to find my course again
Though He does so much for me
His sweetest gift will always be

Peace in the midst of the storm
Peace in the midst of the storm
I cry to Him for mercy
His great love takes the form
Of peace in the midst of the storm."

Area radio Southern Gospel stations have been inundated with requests for the song in the last month; country stations have followed suit, picking up the song as well. The song has sparked a burst of radio airplay throughout
Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. "We have been overwhelmed with the response from our area," said Music Director Carmen Beatriz. "Louisiana was a hard hit area, and this song just brings peace to their hearts. It’s just great.”

October 20th, 2005


Salem to Buy Singing News

For some reason, I’ve just received an email telling me that Salem Communications is to acquire Singing News magazine. It sounds significant, and I’m sure other bloggers will have plenty to say. But for me, down here in Australia, I have no comment at all, other than to suggest to Salem Communications that they might like to lower the Singing News subscription rate ($80 a year, unless you live in North America) so that people like me might one day actually be able to afford a copy.

October 19th, 2005

Top Ten

This morning’s Top Ten sellers at Springside Marketing’s Southern Gospel music store:

1) Spread the Word 2005 (CD)
2) Booth Brothers - The Blind Man Saw it All (CD)
3) Gold City - Heaven (CD)
4) Mark Trammell Trio - This Time (CD)
5) Mark Lowry - Goes to Hollywood (DVD)
6) Kirk Talley - Live at the River - My Story, My Song (CD)
7) Kirk Talley - Live at the River - My Story, My Song (DVD)
8) Legacy Five - A Little Taste of Heaven (CD)
9) Perrys - Remembering the Happy Goodmans (CD)
10) Great Inspirational Songs (Songbook)

October 18th, 2005



David Bruce Murray previews Bill Gaither’s new self-titled CD

October 17th, 2005

At Last, Officially, Good News from Janet

We’ve heard from and from Lynda Randle, that Janet Paschal has completed her chemo. Now word from Janet herself:

Well, I'm happy to report to you that I am finished with chemotherapy, and I've come through it, for the most part, unscathed. I had only the very slightest neuropathy and even that is almost gone completely. My skin color and texture have returned to normal and my heart is sound (they'll continue to check this until July when I finish the drug Herceptin). I begin radiation on Monday.

I packed up all of wonderful cards and gifts I've received and stored them in the attic, de-cancerizing my house. It has been like a member of the family since January 3rd and I'm ready to return to life without it.

October 16th, 2005

An Easter Baby

Jeff and Sheri Easter have welcomed the newest member to their family, Maura Grace Easter, born early Tuesday morning at 1:23am. Maura weighs 7lbs 11oz and is 20 inches long. A photo is already at the Easter home page. According to radio, “the entire Easter family, including Maura’s older brother and sister, Madison and Morgan, were in the delivery room to welcome her arrival. Following a lengthy labor, which lasted more than 30 hours, both mom and baby are doing great!”

October 12th, 2005

Worst Blogger Award

“We are still here!” say members of the CrossWay Quartet, resuming blogging activities after a hiatus of nearly seven weeks. (Their last previous posting was August 24th.) They write:

Greetings to all. I believe that we can now be classified as the worst bloggers in the has been over a month since our last attempt to communicate via "blogging," and for that we apologize. I am sure that if Crossway could be nominated for an would be the "Worst Blogger Award." Anyways, we appreciate your patience, and faithfulness to inquire about our group.


Worst Blogger Award? Hmmm. Let’s see when some other SG blogger artists last posted.


John Rulapaugh – October 9th

Ann Downing – October 7th

Kevin Pauls – October 7th

David Phelps – October 5th

Wes Hampton – October 4th

Dunaways – October 2nd

Roger Bennett – October 1st

Sounds of Victory – September 23rd

Gold City Quartet – September 13th

Channing Eleton – September 11th

Dove Brothers Quartet – August 10th


And the Worst Blogger Award, to the group that doesn’t need more awards:

Crabb Family – last posted August 1st

October 11th, 2005


Janet, Sheri Updates

Lynda Randle has distributed an email she received from Janet Paschal:

The news is good.  I had my last chemotherapy treatment on Thursday so, as far as I'm concerned, the worst is over!  Everything else is do-able! I'm feeling great and still beating John at tennis!  My dad says the Lord intercepted the side effects on this chemo and I think he's right. It was a piece of cake - in fact, this regimen was as easy as the first was difficult. We're gearing up to begin radiation (probably next month) so that will be one more thing to check off my list.  We're confronting one enemy at a time.


Still no official update from Janet to her fans, though. Meanwhile, Sheri Easter reports some difficulties with her pregnancy:


Yesterday didn't go quite as Jeff & I had hoped. According to the test results, our doctor decided to hold off the induction until next week to give our little girl a few more days to mature. I no longer feel like a time bomb, at least they have deadlines! Now I feel more like a grenade! Jeff and Morgan flew to Spokane, WA early this morning for the Gaither concerts this weekend. Morgan will be my replacement for the west coast tour and I've never felt in more capable hands. She's definitely the best representation I could find! If you're in the area, make certain you attend and enjoy her--she's doing a terrific job! In the meantime, our prayer is that now our baby will wait on Daddy and Morgan until they arrive home on Sunday evening. Help us pray! I'm doing fine, but still contracting around the clock and taking terbutaline to postpone her arrival until I get the doctor's okay. She's a big baby, but not quite mature enough. Madison is at home with me taking good care of my needs, but you can also pray for my boredom. This would be time-off for some people, but for me it feels more like time-out!

October 10th, 2005


Bill Gaither’s Sex Joke

An enjoyable report of a Gaither Homecoming concert appears in the Daily Herald of Everett, Washington. It includes the following:

Gaither kept the evening moving along, trolling out artist after artist for the first two and a half hours of the show before a short intermission that led into a "homecoming," with all the artists crowding the stage to sing classic gospel tunes. There was time for comic relief, though, with Gaither allowing his band to occasionally poke fun at his age and inability to remember the names of all the artists he was calling to the stage. Gaither even left a little room for a sex joke when….


Read the report to discover Bill Gaither’s “sex joke.” And be prepared for disappointment.

October 8th, 2005 

Affiliated websites: The Personal Health Monitor Blog, Bird Flu Update, Bollywood Down Under, Martin Roth Christian Commentary.


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