Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Ladd Family Nominated for “Fan Favorite Artist of the Year” in 2012 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards

ROCK HILL, S.C. – (January 30, 2012) – Emerging Southern Gospel duo The Ladd Family were surprised this month to see their name among the 10 nominees for “Fan Favorite Artist of the Year” in the highly-respected Absolutely Gospel (SGN) Music Awards.

“To say we were shocked is an understatement,” mentioned Paul Ladd of the Ladd Family. “We are so humbled by this nomination. To think that our fans would place us in the same category as artists like the Gaither Vocal Band, The Perrys, Booth Brothers, and Triumphant Quartet is very inspiring. We appreciate and love everyone that placed a vote for us this year.”

Due to a surge in social networking sites like Facebook.com and Twitter.com – The Ladd Family joined a diverse group of artists in the category.

Chris Unthank, Editor-in-Chief of AbsolutelyGospel.com said, “What we really appreciate about this year’s Fan Favorite category is just how spread out the nominees are. You have fantastic up-and-coming artists like The Ladd Family who did their part and got their fan base involved along long-time favorites. It really shows just how unique our industry is and how impressive the Southern Gospel fans can be.”

The Fan Favorite Artist of the Year category is the only one where the nominees are strictly chosen by the fans. The nominees in the other 23 award categories are chosen by the staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com and select media representatives.

Fans will get a chance to vote for their favorites in several categories beginning on February 1, 2012. The Absolutely Gospel (SGN) Music Awards will be handed out at a live ceremony on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at River of Life Church in Smyrna, TN. The event is tentatively scheduled to be streamed live like in 2010. Performers, hosts, and event sponsors are still being confirmed. More details on the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards will be announced at a later date.

The Ladd Family was recently named as one of 10 new artists to watch this year by the editorial staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com. The article, called “Ones-to-Watch 2012: New Faces. Fresh Sounds.”, was a part of the December 1, 2011 update for the popular e-zine and mentioned new artists that the staff of AGM felt would make the biggest impact in 2012.

For more information about The Ladd Family, visit the group’s website: www.laddfamilyministries.com . You can also keep up with the group on social network sites like Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ladd-Family/127922370615314) and MySpace (www.myspace.com/theladdfamily).

About The Ladd Family
The Ladd Family is an anointed family ministry with strong Christian roots. They began more than 35 years ago when John and Violet Ladd felt the call of God on their lives and began to travel singing and preaching the gospel with their children. Today the family tradition carries on with Paul and his wife Melissa. God has brought this dynamic husband and wife team through the fire and back in order to truly minister from the heart. They have earned three Diamond Award nominations and scored a #1 hit on the SouthernGospelTimes.com Top 40 Fan Chart with their single “Let Go.”

2nd Generation’s Brenda Denney Wins Big On “The Price Is Right”

OAK GROVE, Ark. – (January 30, 2012) – Brenda Denney of the Diamond Award winning trio 2nd Generation was recently a featured contestant on popular daytime game show “The Price Is Right.”

Denney was featured on an airing of the show from last Wednesday, January 25, 2012. After winning a bid earlier in the game, Brenda went on to play “The Master Key” game where host Drew Carey announced that she had won a brand new PT Cruiser.

“I was so shocked to just be called down to play, let alone win something as big as a new car,” responded Brenda. “God’s favor was just all over me that day!”

God’s favor continued when Brenda advanced to the Showcase round. Brenda outbid the other contestant and went on to win the entire Showcase and day’s show. In addition to the PT Cruiser, Denney was awarded a trip to North Carolina, a speed boat, a private tour of “The Young and the Restless” set, and much more.

“I am just so excited that God was able to give me an avenue like this to spread His Gospel,” continued Brenda. “God is opening so many doors for our ministry now because of this. I am both humbled and excited to see where God takes us from here!”

You can view Brenda on “The Price Is Right” by watching the stream on CBS.com.

2nd Generation is planning to record their follow-up to the breakthrough recording I See a City later this year with award-winning producer Roger Talley (Talley Trio, Kingsmen). Until then, 2nd Generation released their latest single, “Dust On the Altar,” to Southern Gospel radio. All radio promotions are being done in-house for the group, so for more information on how to attain the single, email thesecondg@yahoo.com.

For more information on 2nd Generation – visit http://www.2ndgenerationministries.com.

You can also find out more information about the group on their Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/2nd-Generation-Home-Page/164776763569934 .

About 2nd Generation
2nd Generation is based out of the Oak Grove, Arkansas. 2nd Generation has appeared at churches, state fairs, Singing in the Sun, Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Jim Bakker Show, Branson Gospel Music Convention, and many other events. The group’s current project, their sophomore album I See a City, has spawned off four hit singles including the #1 Fan Favorite songs “Feel the Joy” and “The Blood Covered It All.”

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Torchmen Quartet Welcomes New Members

The Torchmen Quartet from Ontario, Canada, recently announced that two new/old members that will be rejoining the group. Rejoining the group are former bass singer Jon Hisey, and former tenor Jeff Tritton.
Jon Hisey replaces Josh Friend who joined the group in 2007. According to The Torchmen, "Hisey was a long standing member of the Torchmen for over 20 years. Jon will bring many years of experience to the group."
Jeff Tritton will be taking on the lead part, replacing long-time member David Randall. Tritton is known for his outstanding voice and close harmony.
The Torchmen welcome back these former alumni and look forward to a new season of music and ministry.
For more information on The Torchmen: http://www.torchqt.com/index.html

Retro SGM Radio: Rusty Golden Comes Full Circle

“John in the Jordan”, the latest hit from Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, represents not only a watermark for the co-writing team of Rusty Golden and Jerry Salley, but a light in the window of ‘home’ for Rusty himself. Rusty Golden, son of William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys, has come full circle, back to the home of Southern Gospel.

“I was raised around the whole Southern Gospel thing. My Dad joined the Oaks when I was five and a half years old, so I really did grow up around it; even found myself playing drums with Buck, Dottie and Reba, “The Rambos”. When I was 12 years old, I was out on the road with them,” begins Rusty. The story of this congenial, laid-back musician is varied and interesting. He shared it with SGM Radio on the day he learned that “John in the Jordan” was a number #1 Southern Gospel hit.

“I started on drums and played with the Rambos. When I was with them, Dottie and all of the Rambos played guitar, so I started to learn guitar by watching them. They would teach me chords and during that summer when I was 13, I learned all of that so I could play along.” Rusty Goodman taught young Rusty Golden how to play the drums, and Rusty continued his musical education by teaching himself keyboards by ear along with Elton John LP’s. During this whole time, Rusty was also crafting the art of songwriting.

“My grandmother was my first influence,” says Rusty. “She was the writer of my family. Every month for years the Singing News would publish “Poetry Corner”, and it was my grandmother’s writing. I took some of her lyrics [and added music] and that was my first song. A lot of people don’t know that… I have a couple of copies of those songs on tape put away that to me are priceless.” At almost 90, Rusty’s grandmother is still his biggest fan and is “tickled” about Rusty’s song moving up the Singing News charts.

Rusty’s famous Dad, William Lee, provided an environment of music that nurtured his son’s growing passion for playing and songwriting. “He definitely had everything to do with the fact that I was into it, but he never pushed it,” Rusty explains. “It was just all around me. It’s no different I’m sure from some kid’s dad being a football player and the kid decides he wants to get into football. That’s all I was around. Every time we’d go see Daddy “work”, there I was at a Gospel sing with all these groups.”

“It was just the normal thing for me. I didn’t know that the other kids’ dads didn’t do what my dad did. I knew that other kids’ parents didn’t have other people coming up to them and asking them to have their picture taken with them, or to have their autographs. So that kind of put fairy dust all over me when I was a kid. What kid doesn’t want to have that! It looked like it was something fun to do. It was just the natural thing for me.”

Rusty muses about the changes that happened when the Oak Ridge Boys began to sing more country music. “My Dad and The Oak Ridge Boys kind of got off that [Southern Gospel] path for a while, but they never did it in a weird way. Back in those days it was a little harder for them to try to stretch, things were a little stricter, [like] the rules about hair and all that stuff. They were always bending those rules,” Rusty laughs.

“I think it was all meant to be anyway, the Oaks were able to take quartet singing to the masses. People were saying, “Oh are they a country group now?” I thought, “No, they are always going to be a Gospel Quartet, just singing different lyrics!” As long as you have a tenor, lead, baritone and bass, you’re a quartet, there’s nothing else to it. They’ve always been that to me.”

“Now they go to those Homecoming things and I see all of the people coming up, wanting their pictures with them,” says Rusty. “It’s a wonderful thing to know that they [are accepted now]…I mean, there was a time when maybe some were mad or jealous or I won’t even say what, or just indifferent. But time is a healer. I watched all those barriers fall down and everybody just loved each other. They are all on the same page again. It’s just so great.”

Rusty continues to reveal the story of the Oaks, one that he was a part of while sharing the stage with this famous country group. “I’m so proud of all those guys because I know what they went through, to get where they are. There were years where there wasn’t a gospel promoter that would touch them. They thought the Oaks had turned their back on Gospel music. They thought that once you leave the flock you are gone. And there was a lot of people that thought that way. It was hard for [The Oaks] and they were starving, and what the gospel people didn’t know was that the country people and pop people didn’t want to touch them because they thought the Oaks were too gospel. They were in a bad, starving position there for a while.”

Then Johnny Cash took the Oaks under his wing and brought them to Las Vegas to play in his shows. “Johnny Cash was like Elvis back then, he was as huge as he could be, and he would book them when nobody [else] was booking them. Yet they stuck with it through all that. A million bands would have given up or broken up. And the fact that those guys are still together, through not only the worst but the best of times…”to Rusty, speaks volumes about the Oaks’ dedication and perseverance.

“I am proud of those guys. They have hung in there, stood the test of time. They are still winning, they are still out there doing it.” And while the Oaks were being put through some of the biggest tests of their career, Rusty was finishing his education in music on the road. He soon found that having a famous Dad wasn’t necessarily a positive thing in this very competitive industry.

“It’s what’s known in town as the big double-edged sword, to be the ‘son of’ or the ‘daughter of’ any big thing that casts a shadow. Some people will say, ‘well it ruined my life’. Not me. I’ve had people tell me that’s its held me back because of people not really taking me at face value. And I hate to think about it, but there’s nothing I can do about it. But if it has caused problems, it’s sure not worth changing your name or having nothing to do with your family. It’s not worth running from it. That’s not the way to do things, not for me.”

Rusty continues, “Honestly, I don’t have a problem with people seeing my name and the first thing they think about, or see in me, is my Dad. ‘Oh, he’s William’s boy’. I’m just trying to make the best out of it, make him proud.”

After playing with the Oak Ridge Boys, Rusty went on to play with artists such as Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, continued his songwriting, and eventually formed his own bands with his brother Chris. He has played with Dallas County Line and Marty Stuart. Rusty has won awards and gold records in country music and shared the stage with many of today’s best-known stars.

But today, Rusty is celebrating the rise of a Southern Gospel song that he co-wrote, and he is suddenly in the midst of a family welcoming him back home. “This is the first time I’ve ever had a number one song. I do have gold records, but that’s for having songs that were with the Oaks or other artists and they were album cuts. I’ve had singles, but I’ve never had one hit number one. It’s like a brand new thing to me and it’s exceptional. I’m really thrilled.”

“It’s been a great year you know. Ever since Jerry and I wrote the song, and started writing together, it’s just been a wonderful relationship. I’ve known Jerry a long time,” says Rusty. “He was telling me the other day, he wrote a song that was a Dove Song of The Year, probably ten years ago, by Steven Curtis Chapman, called “His Strength is Perfect”. He told me that that song since then has been cut over two hundred times.”

“Jerry and I are on a mission now, an honest mission. Jerry told me, ‘If I could make a living writing just this kind of stuff, I would do it. I love it’. Jerry is pretty successful in mainstream country. I told Jerry, ‘I think, it’s just about getting the right songs’. I’m not saying that everything we write is going to be a hit, but I really believe…I’ve got faith and I believe if you are anointed and you really let the Lord lead, [you will be blessed].”

Rusty continues, “I made a deal with the Lord a while back. I said, ‘I’m putting You in charge. You tell me what to do and let’s do it Your way for awhile.’ And now here’s a #1 record that’s breaking records and I’m giving Him all the credit. I’m tickled! The way it went and got cut and released…it just wasn’t natural. It was a God thing, big time. And I’m respectful for it and of it.”

“Anyway, that’s not all Jerry writes now, but I tell you one thing, I haven’t written any other kind of music since. Honestly, that’s the only thing I have personally written. That’s just kind of the calling I’ve got right now.” Rusty is still in awe about how the song “John in the Jordan” became the latest hit in Southern Gospel. He says it’s a “God thing”.

“I heard from Michael Sykes who was producing some of my Dad’s gospel stuff here in town at his studio, that Bill [Gaither] was coming into town,” Rusty says. “I had said to Michael that next time Bill was in town I’d love to hand him a CD with a few songs on it. Sure enough, I was gigging downtown that night. The office was ten minutes from where I was playing, so I dropped the CD at the office. Thinking back on it, best I can remember, I think it was the Signature Sound guys who were in the studio that night hanging around.”

“So I dropped the CD off on a Monday night, but nobody would listen to it then. But I heard [the CD] was heard by Bill Gaither on Tuesday. Sometime on Tuesday, he had people book time and musicians and everything, and by Wednesday night, that song was recorded. Which was an amazing thing. Especially when I found out after the fact, that the reason Signature Sound was in that studio was that they were doing background vocals on an album that was already finished.”

Rusty still sounds amazed. “They were already finished with their record, Get Away Jordan. So for them to hear something at that late in the game and say, ‘you know what, this ought to be on the record, it sounds like a hit’, and for them to do in and cut it…My Dad’s the one who told me, ‘you know, we’ve only done that a couple of times, when we were already finished and heard something at the last minute that we thought was a winner’. When they did that, Dad said they’d probably single this song.” Rusty laughs. “So that’s what happened, it was a miracle. An honest, Big Lord miracle.”

With his return to Southern Gospel, Rusty has been listening to some of today’s groups and comments on the progressive sounds and solid songwriting. He comments on “Strike Up the Band” by friend and fellow writer, Dianne Wilkinson. “I heard one today called, ‘I Feel a Song Coming On’, it’s really kind of funky, by a group called Three Bridges. Never heard of them, but the song was great and it didn’t sound like a quartet! It sounded like R&B almost, it’s really cool.”

“Honestly, in my opinion, I hope that [Southern Gospel fans] are ready to embrace [growth and change] because it is just going to help the industry. I want friends of mine who maybe aren’t into what I’m into, who are at least cool about listening, saying, ‘man, that’s good stuff’! Whether it changes their life; I’d like to think it could, or would, or whatever, I just want them to dig it instead of saying, ‘aww, that’s something my grandmother would listen to’.”

“And there is a lot of it that this is exactly what it is, and what’s wild is that mine’s kind of like that! When we wrote it, I said, ‘Jerry, this reminds me of something the Oaks could have done back when! But that’s what we went for; I wanted it to sound like one of those songs that you think sounds like a classic. I wanted it to sound like that. We write all kinds and I just wanted that particular one to sound like one of those ‘I’ll Fly Away’ types, kinda familiar.”

This singer/songwriter/musician who has walked a musical path from Gospel to Country and beyond, now finds himself on the familiar trails of the old homestead. Writing music that his grandmother loves, participating in Gaither homecoming tapings surrounded by a great “choir” of old friends, sharing music and faith with some of the most talented people of his generation and the next. The circle of faith has brought this gentleman home.

“It’s a complete 360. Everybody talks about doing a 180, but it’s been a 360 for me. My Dad joined the Oaks when I was 5, and that’s all I knew from the age of 5. Ever since I was born, really, because my Dad was a member of a little tiny gospel group before he joined the Oaks. All I heard was church and gospel music. I never heard anything else. Then I joined the Rambos when I was 12 and I did gospel stuff till I was 17, so that was all my early stuff [influence]. It was not only the music, but also the people and the business of gospel music. That’s what I’m right back into now. I have come back to the business and the songs of gospel. Going to the Gaither taping and seeing people was like going to a big old family reunion. Yeah, I’ve come home big time. I’ve come home to the music of my youth, in every respect.”

Rusty says he has come home ‘in a deeper level as well’. “I’ve joined a church again, for the first time in my life as an adult. And here’s what’s wild: It’s the church I went to when I was six years old.” Rusty continues, “My grandmother is so proud of me! I read the Word all the time. I’m praying, but you know what? My prayers are now “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!” I don’t really pray for much. I feel kind of guilty because I know that He knows what I need. He knows! I don’t want to say, “Lord, gimmee gimmee gimmee”…Or “I wish I had…” He knows that. I just like to say thanks for what I do have.”

“That’s where I’m at right now. And that’s exactly what I said the first thing today, the first thing I did when somebody told me that we hit #1. I didn’t say ‘yippee’, I said, ‘Thank You, Lord!’ I know about the verses that say, “Ask and you shall receive”. But surely that’s not all you do is just ask, ask, ask. I want to praise, and I want to say thank you.”

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound have found a song that will be requested by fans for a long time, and “John in the Jordan” may well be recorded as a classic as the years pass. But for songwriter Rusty Golden, this song is the result of a long journey and evidence that the Lord makes every path straight. Rusty has come home to Southern Gospel and to the source of the faith instilled in him many years ago. His thankful heart testifies to the grace of the God that led him back home.

For more information on Rusty Golden, log on to his website at http://www.rustygolden.com/ .

First Published April 2007 on SGM Radio at http://www.sgmradio.com/
By Lorraine Walker

For current artist features, click on http://www.sgmradio.com/

Retro Reality Check: The "L" Word

What’s Love Got To Do With It: A Conversation with God

God, I just don’t get it. Since the beginning of January, all I have seen are pink hearts and naked angels with arrows. Everyone uses the “L” word as if it’s a common commodity and as lasting as red sugar candies. I’ve never been able to say that word easily, yet others don’t seem to have a problem with it. People sing about it, quote poems about it and tell me that it’s all we need.

Since You ARE love, Lord, I thought I’d just ask You about Your thoughts on the subject. I guess what I’m saying is, “I want to know what love is. I want You to show me…”

“My Child, it’s all there, in black and white. Love is…” What, Lord? Please tell me, I really do want to know. Don’t keep me in suspense.

“Love is patient.” Oh. Really? You know I’ve always had a problem with the whole waiting thing. I guess that means that when You have made me a promise that I haven’t received, it’s because in Your love, You want me to learn to wait. That’s really not one of my strengths! And I suppose You are saying I need to apply this in my relationships. You know it’s not easy for me. But please, go on…tell me more.

“Love is kind.” I guess often patience and kindness go together, don’t they? If I picture someone taking care of a hurting child, you definitely need both of these qualities to minister to that child. It does seem that there are many people who find it easier than I do to demonstrate their love, their kindness, and their patience in everyday life. When I compare myself to them, I find myself getting jealous of others and their abilities.

“Love does not envy.” Ok, so I guess if I’m not to be envious of others, I need to stop comparing myself with them, is that what You’re saying? If love does not envy, then love keeps me from judging others and myself, and finding myself lacking in something. You have given me every good and perfect gift. I guess if I’d look through the eyes of love, I’d see that this was true.

“Love does not boast and it is not proud.” Well, that makes sense. If You have given me everything, and I am not to compare what I don’t have with others who seem to have it all, then the opposite must also hold true. I shouldn’t take pride in what I have and boast about it. Because whatever it is, whether it’s material or talents, it all comes from You. And I guess that does away with the whole pride issue too. Ok, tell me more…

“Love is not rude and it is not self-seeking.” This seems like a no-brainer to me, of course love is not rude! Of course, there are always those who are rude without seeming to notice… The other half of that comment is not quite so simple. I have to admit that sometimes in my relationships I have certain expectations. It’s almost an unconscious comparison of what I put into the relationship compared to what I get out of it. I guess what this means to me is that I need to stop putting that kind of a price tag on my love for others. Wow, now that’s starting to hit a nerve.

“Love is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs”. There are times when certain relationships have put me on edge and it’s largely a result of what You and I just talked about. When I feel I’ve put more into something than I’m getting out of it, my feelings become raw and my ego is on the line. I guess I am easily angered at that point. I don’t think I keep a record of wrongs and then my buttons are pushed and I explode. Suddenly I find myself spewing out how I felt I was wronged for the last twenty years! Lord, this discussion is becoming painfully honest, but I know You have more for me to learn. Please go on…

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Even when the truth hurts? I guess that it is still preferable to evil. I find it hard to believe that someone would delight in evil but I know there are those around us that do. We can even see evil in people who proclaim to love You. Help me to be one of those who seek truth and rejoice in it.

“Love always protects and always trusts.” I admit I have learned to be protective of what is placed in my care by those I have a relationship with. I have learned the hard way to protect the love, trust and confidences that are shared with me because it hurts so much when that protection is not offered in return. However, there are many times I have found it hard to trust others. I guess that’s one reason I have difficulty with the “L” word. When trust is broken, it’s hard to get it back.

“Love always hopes.” Lord, I want to be hopeful and share Your hope with others. I see that You want Your love to renew my trust and hope in those around me. I know this will strengthen my relationship with others. I guess I’m just saying that I really need Your hope because things don’t always look that promising in my world. But what happens when my trust and hope in relationships gets blown out of the water again?

“Love always perseveres.” Always? ‘Always perseveres’, Lord? That’s a tall order. I need to love and keep on loving regardless of what happens, regardless of broken faith and promises? I know I can’t do that on my own. This has to be supernatural love. It certainly isn’t the fluffy stuff mirrored in the pop culture of our world. Thank You that Your love persevered, Lord. I know it was love that took You to the Cross. Help me remember that when I feel like throwing in the towel.
“Love never fails.” There is that “never” word again. It has to be a spiritual power to be able to use a word that is so absolute. Thank You that Your love never fails. Help me to draw on that power when I feel like giving up. Help me remember that every time I fail at living out this type of Godly love.

“Does this answer your questions about love?” Well, yes, but it seems like such a tall order. Your love enables me to love You back, in my own fallible way. Is it even possible for me as a human being to demonstrate this love to others?

“It is possible. Others will know that you follow Me by the love you show them. Do you love Me? Feed my sheep”. It does seem that Your love is more of an action than a feeling, Lord. Help me to be Your hands and feet to a world that needs You.

“Has this answered your question? Do you know now what love has to do with it?” I think I’ve figured it out, God. If I can paraphrase the words of your beloved disciple John, You ask us to love another, for love comes from You. Everyone who loves has been born of You, knows You, and is obedient to You. Whoever does not love does not know You, because You are love.”

“And how do you know this? What makes you convinced in your heart that I am love?” Because, my Father, You loved me so much that You gave to me the greatest gift possible. You gave me Your heart and Your life, in Your darling Son, Jesus. You gave Him to live and die for me, so that when I believed in Him, I could have communion with You as my Father. Now I will not suffer eternal separation from You, but live in Your love and experience the glory of it for the rest of my eternal life.”

“Did you notice what you just did?” No, Father, what did I do?
“You said the “L” word”.

Photo courtesy of http://appetitesforlife.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/february-calls-attention-to-the-heart/

Reality Check By Lorraine Walker
First Published February 2007 on http://www.sgmradio.com
For current Reality Check blogs, please click on http://www.sgmradio.com


Soundtrack Features New Music Performed by Dolly Parton, Queen Latifah, Kirk Franklin, Keke Palmer, Karen Peck and Others

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 18, 2012) –– WaterTower Music’s soundtrack to Alcon Entertainment’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ Joyful Noise debuts this week at #1 on Billboard’s Soundtrack Chart, #1 on the Billboard Gospel chart, #2 on Billboard’s Christian chart, #2 on the Billboard Independent Current Albums chart, and landed a Top 20 debut on Billboard’s Top Current Albums chart.

The soundtrack features performances by Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and Oscar® nominee Dolly Parton; Oscar® nominee, Grammy® and Golden Globe Award winner Queen Latifah; BET and NAACP Award winner Keke Palmer; 11-time Singing News® female vocalist of the year, three-time Grammy® nominee and three-time Dove nominee Karen Peck; and seven-time Grammy®, 35-time Stellar, 12-time Dove, five-time NAACP, and two-time BET Music Award winner Kirk Franklin. Five-time Grammy®, six-time Dove, two-time Stellar Award winner Mervyn Warren produced and arranged the Joyful Noise soundtrack.

Parton, who penned three new songs for the collection, recently performed two of those songs on national TV: “From Here to the Moon and Back” on the Late Show with David Letterman, and “Not Enough,” a duet with co-star Queen Latifah, on NBC’s Today Show.

The third song Parton wrote, “He’s Everything,” is also on the soundtrack, which includes the film’s stars performing renditions of memorable songs originally recorded by a wide range of artists: Chris Brown, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Sly & the Family Stone, Usher, and Stevie Wonder.

The collection also includes tracks by some of the finest acts in gospel and R&B. Grammy winner Kirk Franklin wrote and takes the vocal reins on his jubilant new song “In Love,” and award-winning gospel vocalist Karen Peck creates harmonic gold on “Mighty High.”

Dolly Parton and Mervyn Warren will be featured on Sirius XM’s “The Bob Edwards Show” on Friday, January 20, 2012.

Oscar® nominees Queen Latifah (“Chicago,” “Hairspray”) and Dolly Parton (“Steel Magnolias,” “Nine to Five”) star in Alcon Entertainment’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Joyful Noise,” a funny and inspirational story of music, hope, love and renewal.

The small town of Pacashau, Georgia, has fallen on hard times, but the people are counting on the Divinity Church Choir to lift their spirits by winning the National Joyful Noise Competition. The choir has always known how to sing in harmony, but the discord between its two leading ladies now threatens to tear them apart. Their newly appointed director, Vi Rose Hill (Latifah), stubbornly wants to stick with their tried-and-true traditional style, while the fiery G.G. Sparrow (Parton) thinks tried-and-true translates to tired-and-old. Shaking things up even more is the arrival of G.G.’s rebellious grandson, Randy (Jeremy Jordan). Randy has an ear for music, but he also has an eye for Vi Rose’s beautiful and talented daughter, Olivia (Keke Palmer), and the sparks between the two teenagers are causing even more friction between G.G. and Vi Rose. If these two strong-willed women can put aside their differences for the good of the people in their town, they—and their choir—may make the most joyful noise of all.

Starring with Latifah and Parton are Keke Palmer (“Akeelah and the Bee”), Courtney B. Vance (“Extraordinary Measures”), Jeremy Jordan (Broadway’s “Bonnie and Clyde”), and Kris Kristofferson (“Dolphin Tale”). Rounding out the main cast are Dexter Darden, Angela Grovey, Paul Woolfolk and Jesse L. Martin.

Alcon Entertainment presents a Farrell Paura Productions/O.N.C. Entertainment Production, “Joyful Noise,” being distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. The film opened nationwide on January 13, 2012. www.joyfulnoisethemovie.com

C and C Music Group Reaches Booking and Management Agreement with Lynda Randle

Nashville, Tenn. (January 20, 2012) - C&C Music Group is proud to announce the signing of DOVE Award winning artist Lynda Randle to their talent roster.

Lynda says, "I’m excited to work with C&C Music Group. I’ve always been very careful about who I align myself with because I feel like we have something that is so sacred and special that God has entrusted to us. I am confident that this is a God thing and I am looking forward to all the great things God has in store!"

Jonathan Goodwin of C&C Music Group states, "We are thrilled to be working with the one and only Lynda Randle. Her heart for God, love for people and of course, her talent, is what people have fallen in love with all over the world! This year, Lynda will be touring internationally, all over the US and parts of Canada and you can also still find Lynda on special Gaither Events! We’re getting invites literally from all over the world and we are excited about what God has planned."

For the past 13 years Lynda Randle has reached the world with her music and testimony through her appearances as part of the Gaither Homecoming Tours and Videos while also performing her own concerts and events including her women's conferences "Woman After God's Own Heart." Lynda's most popular song, "God On The Mountain," has become an anthem reminding us that "God is the God of the mountain and the God of the valley."
To book Lynda Randle at your church or your upcoming event, contact Jonathan Goodwin at 1.859.398.5994 or jon@candcmusicgroup.com.

About Lynda Randle
Fulfilling her calling as an artist with non-stop energy, Lynda’s music and message have proven cross-cultural and cross-generational. She co-authored a book of testimonies with her Husband Michael entitled "God on the Mountain"that reveals the many lives that have been moved by the song.
In addition to her calling to minister through music, as a wife to her to Michael Randle who serves as Senior Pastor of Mosaic Bible Fellowship in Kansas City, MO and mom to 2 precious daughters, Patience and Joy, stating simply, “I am so blessed.”

“For years now, my sister Lynda has truly been the inspiration for my occupation. The first song I ever sang in public was at one of her concerts. I can honestly say that I would have never dawned the stage if it had not been for her example. I love her very much and highly recommend that you check out the vocals that this lady packs! She is truly a landmark singer of our time.”
Michael Tait, DC Talk - Newsboys

“Lynda Randle is one of the most talented and committed servants of Christ that I know. Her testimony and lifestyle coupled with the melodious voice that God has given her combines to provide solid Christian encouragement and ministry to those who are privileged to hear her. It is with the highest degree of confidence that I commend the music ministry of Lynda. She is one of God’s choicest servants. She does more than sing, she inspires.”
Dr. Tony Evans

Beyond The Ashes Receives Nominations For Absolutely Gospel Music Awards


Nashville, TN (Jan. 24, 2012) –Powerful vocal trio, Beyond The Ashes, is, once again, feeling the embrace of the Christian music world as they celebrate four nominations in this year’s Absolutely Gospel Music Awards. Group members Anthony Facello, Casey Rivers, and Kellan Monroe are truly humbled and thankful for all God is doing in their ministry.

The news of the nominations follows so many other incredible areas of growth for this talented group of guys, including their recent and first top 10 song, “The Coming Of The King.” Their new single, “Whenever We Pray,” is looking like another chart busting hit. Both songs can be found on the album Treasure Unseen, which is one of this year’s nominees for Album Of The Year in the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards.

In addition to the Album Of The Year nod, Beyond The Ashes is also nominated for Male Group Of The Year, Fan Favorite Artist Of The Year, and, the album, Whenever We Pray, was also nominated in the category of Progressive Southern Album Of The Year.

Anthony Facello, the ministry’s founder and tenor singer, expresses; “I don’t know where to begin to say thank you to fans and to those in the industry who are willing to get behind this ministry. I can’t tell you the times I have felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of keeping this group on the road fulltime. Last year’s bus fire (and yes, I know, what an incident for a group named Beyond The Ashes) was a pinnacle moment for me. I had to decide if I was going to trust God and press on with the calling on our lives, or give in to the circumstances and give up on the road. God spoke strongly that He has never left me so we shouldn’t leave His call on our lives. Since then, we have seen so many blessing as we minister in song across the country. Most of all, we see God moving in the lives of the people he brings into our path. To know this music is reaching people is quite a reward in and of itself, but to add these nominations as confirmation of this call is such a gracious gesture toward our group. We are beyond thankful.”

Beyond The Ashes travels all over the country sharing the love of Christ everywhere God opens a door. Besides sharing music ministry and hope with people here in the US, they consider it an honor to represent Compassion International, and they celebrate many newly connected sponsors and children every week. They have appeared on the Grand Ole Opry Stage, NQC stage, and many other wonderful venues. Most of all, their prayer is to stand in front of as many people as God can bring to them and tell those people about the goodness of God.

Starting February 1, 2012 you can show your support for Beyond The Ashes and any of your other favorite Christian music artists by going to absolutelygospel.com and casting your vote in the awards.
The 2012 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards Celebration will take place on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at River of Life Church in Smyrna, Tennessee. The event is free to the public.

To learn more about Beyond the Ashes or to schedule them for your music event, visit beyondtheashesonline.com. You can find them on Facebook at facebook.com/beyondtheashes and on Twitter @beyondtheashes1. You can also see them on YouTube at youtube.com/user/BeyondTheAshesTV and purchase their music on their website and on iTunes.

The Freemans Land Two Absolutely Gospel Music Award Nominations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (January 24, 2012) – Southern Gospel favorites The Freemans have received two nominations in the 2012 Absolutely Gospel (SGN) Music Awards.

The Freemans were honored to be nominated in the popular Fan Favorite Artist of the Year category for the first time this year due to a strong surge and support from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. In addition, group patriarch Darrell Freeman landed his fourth career nomination for Producer of the Year (Artist). Darrell was previously nominated from 2008-2010.

“We are so honored by these nominations,” mentioned Darrell Freeman of The Freemans. “The Unthanks have been very good to our family over the last several years, and we are honored that they and their staff would think to nominate me this year. Also a big thanks goes out to all our friends, family, and fans who placed a vote for us for Fan Favorite! It means the world to us!”

With these nominations, The Freemans have been nominated for an impressive 19 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards throughout the 10-year history of the awards program. The group won a Absolutely Gospel Music Award in 2008 for their #1 hit “He Chose Me” – which was named Country Song of the Year that year.

The nominations for the Absolutely Gospel (SGN) Music Awards were chosen by the staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com (formerly SoGospelNews.com) and other select members of the media. Fans will get a chance to vote for their favorites in several categories beginning on February 1, 2012.

The Absolutely Gospel (SGN) Music Awards will be handed out at a live ceremony on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at River of Life Church in Smyrna, TN. The event is tentatively scheduled to be streamed live like in 2010. Performers, hosts, and event sponsors are still being confirmed. More details on the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards will be announced at a later date.

To visit the The Freemans’ home on the web, visit http://www.the-freemans.com. You can also visit the group’s MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/thefreemans07. The group’s Fan Facebook is located at http://www.facebook.com/thefreemans .

About The Freemans
The Freemans are one of Southern Gospel’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed groups. History, experience and spiritual wisdom are three attributes that can be used to describe the foundation of the Freeman ministry. Deeply rooted with family, the Freemans’ experience spans 30+ years. Now after over 20 years of ministry, the Freemans still perform at approximately 250 dates a year, and continue to experience tremendous success.

Sharron Kay King Sends “Look Up” to Radio!

BYRON, Ga. – (January 24, 2012) – Fresh off the heals of her Top 20 hit “A Little Hope,” Singing News Fan Award nominee Sharron Kay King just released her latest single to radio.

The new song, titled “Look Up,” is the fifth single released from King’s latest project Don’t Stop Believing. “Look Up” was written by Eric Horner and was just released to Southern Gospel radio through Eddie King & Crown Communications.

“Radio has been so kind to me over the last few years,” mentioned Sharron. “I’m extremely grateful for the support DJs and program directors have shown my ministry. I hope they like ‘Look Up’ as much as they have my previous singles.”

The new song can be found on Crown Communications’ Crown Music Compilations Vol. 9, cut #2. You can also hear a streaming version of “Look Up” on Sharron’s website at www.sharronkayking.com. Also, starting on February 1, 2012, “Look Up” will be streaming on AbsolutelyGospel.com for the entire month of February.

“I just want as many people to hear the message of this song as possible,” remarked King. “This song really is my heart, and I hope everyone gets that when they hear this song.”

All four of Sharron’s previous singles from Don’t Stop Believing landed in the Top 20 on the AbsolutelyGospel.com Top 40 Weeky Chart – the industry’s most watched weekly radio report in Southern Gospel music.

More information as well as booking information on Sharron Kay King can be found at http://sharronkayking.com. Fans can visit Sharron on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharron-Kay-King-Official-Fan-Page/102290253148210 .

About Sharron Kay King
Sharron Kay King is a talented singer/songwriter based out of Byron, Georgia. Sharron’s last release, Don’t Stop Believing, spawned off the #1 fan favorite “God’s Been Good.” King was a 2008 Top 5 finalist in the Singing News Fan Awards for Favorite Horizon Individual and a 2009 Top 10 finalist for Favorite Soloist.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


In 1991, Gospel Music songwriter, Phil Cross formed Poet Voices. Gospel Music fans quickly fell in love with the music and message presented by this unique new artist.  Over the years the group became a staple in Gospel Music and garnered many of the top honors in the field. Most importantly, they were recognized by both fans and peers as one of the most respected ministry teams in Gospel Music.

We are excited to announce that starting immediately, Poet Voices is resuming it's tour schedule. PV will be presenting a brand new solo tour throughout 2012 and beyond and their new recording is in post production and will be available early 2012. 

PV concert events will feature many of the group's top 10 songs as well as some new compositions from group members Phil Cross, Donny Henderson, and Dan Callahan. Selections that will be featured include: Jesus Built A Bridge, The Key, One Holy Lamb, I Am Redeemed, and Grace & Glory.

For the last few years PV founder and Gospel Music songwriter, Phil Cross, has been quite busy promoting and extending the reach of Gospel Music into the Church. He formed a choral company to assist Worship Leaders and Music Pastors in the quest for relevant, quality choir music, and provided additional support by conducting weekend long choir clinics.  Additionally, Cross created and produced the much acclaimed event and video series called "Song Of A Lifetime" that introduces audiences with the writers and the stories behind many of Gospel Music's most popular songs. The series currently contains several full length DVDs, and the event continues to be one of the most loved and highest attended showcases each year at the National Quartet Convention. 

"The last 10 years have been amazing and I have been blessed to see God work in my life and in the lives of so many." Says Cross. "I feel like I have reached a place in my journey that can allow me to return to something that has always been a real
passion of mine... touring with Poet Voices."

PV events will also be supported with all of the necessary promotional tools including posters, radio spots, customized videos, flyers, and other printed materials, along with a our 12 week promotional plan to ensure a successful event.  Event planners will have more tools than ever before.  With ten acclaimed recordings to their credit, as well as numerous popular releases, including five Number One hits, Poet Voices has firmly established a place at the forefront of Christian Music. 

Since its formation in 1991, this popular group has gained the respect of its peers and Gospel Music supporters alike and continues to be one of Gospel Music's most beloved and influential groups.
Phil adds, "I am excited to share this timeless message of Grace & Glory with our friends and fans and I really believe that the best days are ahead for The Church, for Gospel Music, and for Poet Voices."  The booking process has already begun for 2012.  Contact Brian Burchfield 423-754-4350 for scheduling information. 

To learn more about PV you can visit the official website at PoetVoices.com. You can also connect with them on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. To hear and see PV, check out the Grace & Glory music video at YouTube.com/poetvoicestv.

Ken Turner & Valor III Release A Gospel Classic To Radio

Statesville, NC- Ken Turner & Valor III are excited to release their first radio single as a quartet. The song
released to radio on January 17, 2012 is the Stuart Hamblen classic, HOW BIG IS GOD? Ronnie Moore
of the group says, “Ken brought us some material that he had sung with previous quartets. We looked at
several to release but this song kept coming back to the top.” Ken joined Valor III in November of 2011
and Jeff Rowland of the group says it was truly God’s timing.
The quartet is currently working on their first recording with Ken that will be available in the next few
months. Mark Moore of the group says, “It’s a dream come true for us that Ken decided to join Valor III.
He has introduced songs to us that we enjoyed while growing up and we are falling in love with that type
of quartet music all over again.” Ken is just as excited as the rest of Valor III about joining the group and
releasing this single. “As many know, I have had the opportunity to travel and sing with true legends in
Gospel Music but in recent days, I have been doing various solo dates so I am honored that God would
allow me to sing with a quartet again and I’m grateful that these guys asked me to join this exciting trio
and make it a quartet. I believe that Gospel music fans will love this song as much as we do!”
Be listening for HOW BIG IS GOD by Ken Turner and Valor III and don’t forget to request this song at
your favorite radio station.
For additional information, interviews, photos, etc., contact: James Vaughan, James Vaughan Media Relations,
www.valoriii.com , and www.facebook.com/valoriii

Sunday, January 8, 2012

O’Neal Clark has accepted the position as Minister of Music for the Hope of Sparta Church

Sparta, MO ------- Pastors Michael and Kayte Hamilton are excited to announce that Sue Ann
O’Neal Clark has accepted the position as Minister of Music for the Hope of Sparta Church in
Sparta, MO. Sue Ann’s qualification as Minister of Music is a task that she has prepared for her
entire life. Beginning in the Children’s Choir at the age of three at Seminole Baptist Temple in
Springfield, MO, her musical gifts have been heard by thousands.

Following a long run in the Music Capital of the World in Branson, Sue Ann has been
traveling as a music evangelist across the nation. Recording a radio favorite written by John
Stallings, “Touching Jesus” reached the top ten of the Christian Country Charts sustaining on
that chart for nearly a year. And what has become a fan favorite written by Sue Ann as a tribute
to her Dad, “The American Farmer” was soon to follow.

Sue Ann hosted a tourist outreach in Branson every Sunday for a number of years located at the
IMAX theatre called “Celebrate Sunday”. Celebrate Sunday became the name of her ministry
and thereafter she was ordained by the Sanctuary of Hope Church in Branson by Pastors Sam
Kaunley and Dr. Berl Best. Keeping this ordination, Sue Ann joins Pastors Michael and Kayte
Hamilton as they become a ministry team in this new “Missions” church, Hope of Sparta.

Hope of Sparta Church, a non-denominational church, began January 2011 and has recently
moved to the century old location on the corner of North and Scott Street in Sparta. Besides
special events and Sunday Services, Hope of Sparta will present a good old fashioned Sunday
sing monthly. The once a month events called “Hope Sings” will highlight local talents as well
as familiar names to Gospel Music.

For information regarding the “Hope Sings” upcoming events or about Hope of Sparta Church,
contact Pastor Hamilton at 417-551-2597.



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Orange and Upward Sports Working Together to Accomplish More

CUMMING, Ga. Orange believes in the power of teamwork to maximize influence in the lives of children, and for that reason recently worked with Upward Sports. Orange, an organization that creates curriculum and resources for churches, is very excited to work with Upward Sports by providing three pieces of their program: the weekly practice devotions for kids, weekly halftime activities for parents, and end-of-the-season celebration DVD for families to take home. These components have been a key part of the Upward Sports experience, but have been rewritten and reproduced to contain the innovative Orange philosophy of using virtues to teach biblical lessons to children. Now, churches that already use the 252 Basics children's curriculum from Orange can connect with kids through sports, and similarly, churches that already conduct Upward Sports programs have an opportunity to continue the lessons inside the walls of the church building.

The purpose behind Upward Sports is to connect the local church with the community through the universal language of sports. Upward Sports develops, equips and resources local churches to create the type of positive sports experience that helps to tear down walls and enables people to see the church in a new light. Rallying around the idea of creating environments and events for kids, Upward Sports and Orange are looking to bridge a gap between community members participating in a 12-week sports program, and those same community members participating in the local church.

By using materials based on Orange curriculum, non-church members experience what the church is like on the common ground of sports. The relationships formed on the court or field between church members and the community is what Upward Sports hopes will motivate community members to attend church, experience the gospel and become a part of its body.

Upward Sports and Orange hope this collaboration will provide a connection point for the community with local churches, fostering further involvement, and growing young lives toward understanding virtues, values and the importance of a personal faith in Jesus Christ. When churches unite the Upward Sports program with what they are already doing in 252 Basics, they are bridging a gap and providing a track to run on for families in the community.

About Upward Sports:
Founded in 1995 by Caz McCaslin, Upward Sports is the world's largest Christian sports league for kids. The first-class sports programming -- which includes basketball, flag football, soccer and cheerleading -- provides a fun sports experience based on healthy competition for kids, teaching skills for the sports arena and values for life. Today, more than 550,000 children in 47 U.S. states and Canada participate in Upward Sports Leagues hosted by 2,400 churches. To learn how to start a league, visit www.Upward.org/connect.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Retro Reality Check: At War - January 2007

His Majesty’s Service

War. Every day it is on our newscasts and in our papers. Pictures flash in front of us of guns and destruction. The war across the ocean is a subject often debated but made more real every time one of our own is brought home to rest under a draped flag. The person donning a military uniform knows their commitment will be life-altering.

As a Christian, I am a part of an army taking orders from an Almighty God. It is true that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of Satan. This may mean that we are lead into areas that are out of our comfort zone, and active combat for some does indeed include physical danger. But there is so much of our day-to-day living that is still ‘active service’.

There are those that consider service to our Ultimate Commander to be up to those who do it ‘professionally’. They have the idea that only those who are pastors or ministry leaders should be on the front lines and the rest of us can sit in our pews. Unfortunately, that distinction is not made in the Word of God, when the disciple Peter tells us not to consider it ‘strange’ when we are faced with the ‘fiery trial’. There are struggles we all have to face, and therefore we are all on active duty.

Just as military duty entails much more than firing a weapon, service in God’s Army is more than a preacher delivering a sermon. We often see news photos of soldiers handing out food to the hungry or using their training to help out in times of natural disasters. In the same way, we are expected to reach out with God’s saving hand in every day, ordinary ways, using the talents entrusted to us.

Every day service is exhibited in the lives of those who genuinely want to share the love of Christ with others. It is the man who gives his day off every week, in order to bring food and the Word to downtown children. It is the lady who shows hospitality to those who may be new into the country and invites relative strangers to her home. It is the one who gives generously and anonymously to someone the Lord placed on his or her heart.

A soldier on duty is aware that all of his or her activities while in uniform reflect their regiment and their officer-in-charge. As a Christian, even the little things we do reflect on the One whose Name we bear. Were we polite to the cashier at the checkout or did we hold the door for the stranger leaving the store after us? Did we allow another person to take the parking space we found?

Service for you may mean giving of your vacation time and bank account in order to travel to another country to help on a short-term mission. Or you may only have enough left in your budget to bring one can of soup to your local food bank. Whether it’s a kind word to the stranger on the street or a hug to a friend who is being unfriendly, whatever exhibits the love of Christ is an act of service.

Sometimes we like to think that we are ‘on furlough’ and we can slack off, but in His Majesty’s service, there is no down time. Whether the Christian is doing spiritual battle on their knees, or comforting a battered soul, their service is always important to their Commander-in-Chief.

Written by Lorraine Walker. First published January 2007 on http://www.sgmradio.com
For current Reality Check postings, features and columns, click on to http://www.sgmradio.com

Image courtesy of IMAGE SOURCE PAGE: http://drpinna.com/dying-in-afghanistan-7427

Retro SGM Radio: Clarke Beasley and the NQC, June 2006

Clarke Beasley: At the Helm of the National Quartet Convention

The National Quartet Convention has long been one of the biggest and most prestigious Southern Gospel institutions. From its humble beginnings in 1957 in Memphis, Tennessee, this weeklong event sees fans and performers from all over the world descending on Louisville Kentucky for six days and nights of Southern Gospel Music. Sgmradio recently caught up with NQC Executive Director, Clarke Beasley, to find out about the man behind the helm of what JD Sumner called, “The Grand Daddy of them all”.

Clarke Beasley, son of a man who is also a Southern Gospel institution, Les Beasley, took on the role of Executive Director of the National Quartet Convention in 1993.“It was a big challenge, but it was also very exciting”, Clarke says. “ I had been working at the GMA for two years and had received quite a bit of event planning experience there helping to produce GMA Week. That really prepared me for the job at NQC… I was hired [initially] to bring all of the convention services in house, i.e. ticketing, advertising promotion, event management, etc., and move our headquarters to Louisville in preparation for the event’s move to Louisville in 1994.”

When JD Sumner first conceived the idea of a three-day event, he wanted to bring together artists and industry personnel, which was a unique idea at the time. However, Clarke also pays tribute to another Southern Gospel legend for making the NQC come to life. “[JD] was singing for the Blackwood Brothers at the time and convinced James Blackwood that it was something the Blackwood Brothers should sponsor. Much credit should be given to James Blackwood for being willing to take the initial risk.”

The National Quartet Convention is now a major production; a yearlong project directed by a board that oversees all of the activities, exhibits, concerts and showcases. What might appear enormously daunting to outside observers, Clarke as Executive Director finds exciting. “It is a multi-faceted event with many moving parts. The challenge is to keep all of the balls in the air without dropping any of them. That aspect of the job makes it a continuous challenge.”

“I love the event itself, and I always have. Even though I have enormous responsibilities now, I still love the event as much as I did when I attended the event as a kid. The actual event itself always charges my batteries for the planning process that takes place throughout the year.”

There are always special occurrences at NQC that are not experienced anywhere else, and as both industry insider and Southern Gospel fan, Clarke has his favourite memories. “The moments that stand out were the Speer Family retirement celebration, the Singing Senators performance (Trent Lott, Larry Craig, John Ashcroft and Jim Jeffords) and of course the Cathedrals Retirement and Glen Payne’s [call-in] performance of “I Won’t Have to Cross Jordan Alone.” That was probably the most special moment of them all.”

The 49th year of the National Quartet Convention promises to provide many memorable moments of its own. The Celebrity Baseball game is returning, as well as the Pianorama with famed pianist Dino. Friday afternoon will provide concertgoers the special treat of a presentation of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers along with Jim and Carol Cymbala. This will be of special interest to those who sing in their own church choir, and many who enjoy the ministry of the Cymbalas and Brooklyn Tabernacle. Clarke talks about this event directed to Church.

“I firmly believe that much of the future of our music will be determined by to what extent we can become a regular component of Sunday morning music in America’s mainstream churches. Bringing in the Cymbalas helps us appeal to a range of church leadership that might not otherwise be interested in what we are doing. Brian Hudson, who is handling many of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers dates, mentioned the idea to me, and I thought it was a great idea. With Dr. Jeremiah leading the morning Bible study, the Cymbalas and Brooklyn Tab performing that afternoon along with Mike Speck’s choral extravaganza, the Friday package has a stronger church appeal than we have ever offered. You can expect more of this in the future.”

This choir presentation, along with the webcast of NQC Radio, and the soon to be released NQC TV, are just some of the new initiatives being developed to keep NQC relevant to its audience, and to help it to retain it’s notoriety as the premiere SGM event of the year. Clarke explains that it’s these one-of-a-kind events that will help the NQC retain its competitive edge. To those who think that this event has had it’s day, he responds, “Some say that about our music in general. I believe that as the music goes, so goes the NQC. That is why I work really hard to expand the economic base of the entire industry through my work with the Southern Gospel Music Guild. I currently serve as President of the Guild, and I really enjoy working on behalf of the industry at large.”

“SGM is musically charming and unique…however, the most important component of our music is the overt, straight-forward presentation of Biblical truth within its lyric. We must guard with all vigilance that component of our music to insure that never changes.”

Clarke has seen the industry from both a performer and a promoter outlook. He traveled for several years with the Florida Boys, and knows what it’s like to get on the road, week after week. “What many do not realize is how truly arduous the lifestyle is. Traveling over 200 days a year is enormously taxing both physically and psychologically. Those who do it are truly called and gifted.”

Having this insight into the life of a Southern Gospel Artist has given Clarke great regard for many of the industry’s performers who have been traveling for decades. This includes his father, Les Beasley. He is grateful to have grown up as the son of one of SGM’s legends. “It was quite a privilege, not just because of his status in Gospel Music, but because of who he is. I cannot imagine a greater example to emulate.” Clarke continues, “My favorite quote of his is, ‘There is no limit to what someone can do as long as he does not care who receives the credit.’ That is a belief he has lived by.”

Meanwhile, Clarke’s own children are not quite ready for the SGM mantel to be passed down to them. They do enjoy Southern Gospel, but haven’t yet shown interest in becoming involved in the family business. “My children are 10 and 7, so their primary interests right now are in baseball, their friends, and how they can blame each other for their bathrooms being messy.”

The next generation will tell the tale of the future of Southern Gospel. What does Clarke see as the future of SGM? “I see a future where we are a regular component of Sunday morning worship in most churches. I also see a future where high standards will be set and artists will be required to meet them. These high standards will be set not only in musical excellence but in ministry readiness and in personal conduct.”

“I believe that the next five years will be of critical importance to the next 20 years of the future of our music, and as I said before, as the music goes, so goes the NQC.” Clarke continues, “I am very optimistic on what we can achieve within the next five years and in the future beyond that. I am convinced our music will be used as a powerful tool of evangelism to reach the lost and encourage the believers.”

Clarke Beasley and his team are working hard to pull together an event that will, as always, surpass the year before it. That requires a day-to-day determination to keep to the vision and mission of the event, as they work toward September and the beginning of the 49th NQC. Even Clarke however, is aware that SGM and the NQC are rooted in an experience in the daily lives of the singers, songwriters, and all who are involved in this type of musical evangelism. He was reminded of this lesson again recently.

“With one of my close friends and neighbors losing his wife this week, I am reminded that life is precious and short, and I should strive every day to enjoy the God-given blessing of life and make each day contribute something to the Kingdom of God.”

For more information on the National Quartet Convention, click on www.natqc.com

First published June 2006 on www.sgmradio.com
Written by Lorraine Walker

For current features and columns, click on http://www.sgmradio.com

Common English Bible is a Bestselling Translation in Record Time

NASHVILLE, The new Common English Bible is #10 on the CBA Bible Translation Best Seller list for the month of December. Since the list is based on actual unit sales in Christian retail stores in the United States through Oct. 29, 2011, the Common English Bible (Twitter @CommonEngBible) achieved this status after being in stores less than three months.

"We're delighted the Common English Bible is receiving such early overwhelming support and acceptance," says Paul Franklin, PhD, associate publisher. "We see this as confirming our decision to create an academically rigorous yet naturally understandable translation for 21st century English readers; a translation from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that's built on common ground."

The best seller achievement comes at the same time the completion of the Common English Bible after four years of translation work was named one of the top 10 religion stories of 2011 as decided by leading religion journalists in the 30th annual Religion Newswriters Association survey.

The Common English Bible is a collaboration of 120 Bible scholars and editors, 77 reading group leaders, and more than 500 average readers from around the world. The translators -- from 24 denominations in American, African, Asian, European, and Latino communities -- represent such academic institutions as Asbury Theological Seminary, Azusa Pacific University, Bethel Seminary, Denver Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Seattle Pacific University, Wheaton College, Yale University, and many others.
The Common English Bible is written in contemporary idiom at the same reading level as the newspaper USA TODAY -- using language that's comfortable and accessible for today's English readers. More than half-a-million copies of the Bible are already in print, including an edition with the Apocrypha. The Common English Bible is available online and in 20 digital formats. A Reference Bible edition and a Daily Companion devotional edition are now also available. Additionally, in 2012, Church/Pew Bibles, Gift and Award Bibles, Large Print Bibles, and Children's Bible editions will be in stores, joining the existing Thinline Bibles, Compact Thin Bibles, and Pocket-Size Bibles, bringing the total variety of Common English Bible stock-keeping units (SKUs) to more than 40.

More than 140 international bloggers are currently participating in the three-month long "Thank You-Come Again-I Promise" blog tour (from November 2011 through January 2012). The tour's Twitter hashtag is #CEBtour. The complete tour schedule, and information about joining the tour, is available at CommonEnglishBible.com/CEB/blogtour.

Visit CommonEnglishBible.com to see comparison translations, learn about the translators, get free downloads, and more.

Crossroads signs Soul’d Out Quartet

Crossroads has just signed Soul’d Out Quartet to our Crossroads Records label. Their Crossroads debut, What the World Doesn’t Know, comes out on February 21, 2012.

Check out Soul’d Out today:

Shannon and Kayla Shelby would like to announce the birth of their daughter

Knoxville, TN-  Shannon and Kayla Shelby would like to announce the birth of their daughter Annabelle Rose. Annabelle was born December 27, 2011 at 7:38 PM, she weighed 7lbs. 14 oz. and was 21 inches long. Shannon sings with Sanctuary recording artist Eternal Vision.


The guests on the current edition of Gospel Music Today are the members of Brian Free and Assurance. The Feature Group is The Concords, and Ken and Jean Grady host southern gospel news and concert updates. Ken and Jean visit The Owasso Gospel Opry, in Owasso, OK, to hear Gold City sing. Jean reviews a new CD by The Links, and the show features singing by The The Daae Family and The Cavaliers Quartet. The latest show is online now at the Gospel Music Today website, www.gospelmusictoday.com.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Popular author to begin “Seek and Find” Fast for 2012

(Nashville, TN) --Author and nutrition expert Kristen Feola is launching a “Seek and Find” fast this month, inviting her over 30,000 monthly website visitors to participate with her in the Daniel Fast on which her book, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast (Zondervan), is based. In addition to utilizing recipes from her book, Feola will be introducing new recipes along with multimedia tools such as cooking videos to assist others in the fasting process.

“We chose the theme ‘Seek and Find’ because the word Seek means ‘to go in search or quest of,’” says Feola. “We want to persuade people to go forward and commit to a Daniel Fast for the upcoming year so that they can know the Lord in a deeper way.”

The Daniel Fast, which is typically a 21-day fast, is based upon accounts of Daniel’s fasting experiences as recorded in the Bible. The book of Daniel records that after receiving a disturbing vision from God, Daniel entered into a state of mourning, or fasting. The Bible says that he ate no choice food and had no meat or wine for three weeks (chapter 10:2-3). Most commentaries agree that such desirable foods probably included bread and sweets. The English Standard Version of Daniel 10:3 says, “I ate no delicacies,” and another translation puts it this way: “I did not eat any tasty food (10:3 NASB).” It is believed that Daniel ate simple foods, taking in only what was necessary for physical sustenance.

“The goal on the Daniel Fast is not to duplicate Daniel’s menu, but to imitate the spirit in which he sought the Lord,” Feola says. “His passion for God caused him to long for spiritual food more than physical food, which should be the ultimate desire of anyone choosing to participate in a fast.”

Foods that are allowed on the Daniel Fast are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils. Foods to be avoided include dairy, meat, sugar, all forms of sweeteners, yeast, refined and processed foods, deep-fried foods, and solid fats. Since the Daniel Fast includes solid food, it is much less intimidating than a liquid-only fast, resulting in a greater success for people.  Additionally, Feola cites several health benefits of fasting. 
Fasting gives your body much-needed rest as it cleanses your body of chemicals and harmful ingredients,” says Feola. “It also gives your body a chance to repair itself. Studies have shown that fasting decreases the risk of a variety of conditions including cancer and autoimmune diseases. And lastly, fasting enables a person to break destructive eating habits and retrain the body to resist certain destructive cravi ngs.”

Zondervan released the Spanish version of Feola’s book last month, coinciding with the recent commitment by the Spanish Evangelical Products Association to begin the New Year with fasting and prayer. When it was originally released, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast became a top 50 best-seller on the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) list.  Today, it remains in the top 50 best-selling books on Amazon under "Christian Living" and a top 15 best-seller on their "Cooking, Food & Wine" list.

Feola has worked as a personal trainer, nutritional consultant, First Place 4 Health leader, Moms in Touch leader, and fitness instructor. Kristen lives in Springfield, Missouri with her husband, Justin, and her two daughters. Her website address is


Bessemer City, NC (Son Sound Studios, Inc.) — Son Sound West Records is excited to announce the release of the first ever solo release by Kevin Street, of the Dove award Nominees, The Far City Boys. The recording, which is now available for digital download and direct from Son Sound, combines Country and Southern Gospel influences to produce a top-quality project that features the soon to be released single, "God Has Been Good."

"God's Still Been Good", produced by Street and Holly Robinson-Blanton, features songs penned by such wonderful writers as,Mike Upright, Greg Day, Sue Smith and many others.

“This project has been a long-time in coming, and I am thrilled to finally let folks hear it,” shares Holly. “It really has a lot of Kevin's heart in it – I am sold out to what the songs speak to, and believe that we all need to hear these messages. Now we’ll see what God’s planning to do with it.”

"God's Still Been Good" is available digitally at iTunes, cdbaby and other popular outlets as well as on www.sonsoundstudios.com. You may also call Son Sound direct at (704)868-4807. For more information on Son Sound Studios, visit sonsoundstudios.com. For more information on Kevin Street and The Far City Boys visit farcityboysonline.com.

Matt Felts Of The Dixie Melody Boys Honored In St. Louis

Matt Felts, tenor for the Dixie Melody Boys was recently honored by his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Mayor Francis Slay declared December 27th as "Matt Felts Day" in the city of St. Louis and presented Felts with a proclamation. Matt Felts grew up in St. Louis and began his career in Gospel music there. "We are honored to have Matt Felts as an ambassador for the city of St. Louis. We wanted to honor him and the Dixie Melody Boys for their contributions to the music world." stated Mayor Slay. Felts now lives in Nashville, TN but still considers St. Louis home. "No matter where I have lived, my heart is always in Missouri. I go back several times a year to see friends, catch a Cardinals game or just take in the great city of St. Louis. I am deeply honored and humbled." said Felts. The Dixie Melody Boys are currently celebrating their 50th Anniversary year and are on tour with their hit album, The Call Is Still The Same. For more information, go to www.dixiemelodyboys.com