If You Want To Express An Opinion On enLighten

Granted, this is the third straight post on the situation, but I consider it to be extremely important.  It has been stated that the folks at Sirius/XM are basically ignoring emails to the customercare address and most definitely ignoring Facebook.  The only thing they are paying attention to are letters primarily, followed by phone calls.  However, I think emails sent directly to the powers that be, instead of the easily ignored generic email address, would probably carry more weight.  So here are the pertinent addresses/phone numbers/email addresses.  Please take the time to address this situation.  Only a massive response has a chance of causing Sirius/XM to reconsider.  Like the old saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Mr. Mel Karmazin, CEO
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 36th Floor; New York, NY 10020
mkarmazin@siriusradio.com

Mr. Scott A. Greenstein, President of Programming
1221 Avenue of the Americas, 36th Floor; New York, NY 10020
sgreenstein@siriusradio.com

Phone (Corporate): (212) 584-5100 (ask for Programming, h/t Norm)

Phone (Sirius): 1-888-539-7474

Phone (XM): 1-800-XM-RADIO or 1-877-291-5304

Other contacts can be found on this comment on my original post.  Again, please take the time to contact them directly.

Update On The Status Of Enlighten

Sirius/XM has confirmed that enLighten is moving to an online only format.  It will be removed from both their over the air formats (car radios) and from the Dish Network service.  This is quite a blow to SG as a genre.  From Daniel Mount’s blog, and also in the comments on my previous post, here is the pertinent contact information for the company to voice your displeasure.  I highly recommend doing just that.  I will be emailing them as well.

  • Phone (Sirius): 1-888-539-7474
  • Phone (XM): 1-800-XM-RADIO or 1-877-291-5304
  • Email: customercare@siriusxm.com
  • Mail: Mr. Scott A. Greenstein; President, Programming; Sirius XM Radio; 1221 Avenue of the Americas, 36th Floor; New York, NY 10020
  • Mail: Mr. Mel Karmazin; CEO; Sirius XM Radio; 1221 Avenue of the Americas, 36th Floor; New York, NY 10020

Is enLighten enDangered?

DBM broke the story last night that enLighten is rumored to be removed from the Sirius/XM over the air lineup on May 4.  The station would be available as an online-only station.  I hope that this isn’t the case, as I quite frequently listen to the station via Dish Network, especially while getting ready for church on Sunday mornings.  There is no official word from the folks at enLighten as of yet, only a “watch this space” type message promising further details later.  For what it is worth, there is a Facebook group that has been started to try and save the station’s broadcast status.

SG’s Big Night At The Doves

Southern Gospel had a pretty big night at the Dove Awards Wednesday night.  You can see all the winners in the SG related categories here, but in the biggest surprise, Jason Crabb took home the overall Song of the Year for “Sometimes I Cry.”  This the first time since the Blackwood Brothers took home the award in 1977 for “Learning to Lean” that a Southern Gospel song has won the award.  While there have been several since with SG connections (The Imperials  “Praise the Lord” in 1981, Michael English “In Christ Alone” in 1994, for example) this is a pretty big win for SG.  Congratulations to Jason and writer Gerald Crabb!  Hopefully this is the start of a trend.

Prayer Requested For Randy Perry

Randy Perry (brother of Libbi Perry Stuffle and former member of The Perrys) will be facing open heart surgery possibly as early as today.  Please keep the Perry family in your prayers.

SG News and Notes

A couple of things have come down the pipe over the past couple days…

  • The Absolutely Gospel Awards were presented a couple nights ago.  You can find a list of the winners here.  I saw on Twitter that there was a particularly moving tribute paid to Susan Unthank, which was very much deserved.  On a lighter note, by all accounts Madison “The Awkward” Easter and Devin “Socks” McGlamery did a fine job hosting the ceremony!
  • Liberty Quartet, in a video post on Daniel Mount’s blog, announced the departure of long time lead vocalist Dan Gilbert.

Anything else caught your attention this week?

Brian Free’s Mom Passes Away

Brian Free posted the following on the BFA Facebook page.  Please be in prayer for the Free family as this follows so closely on the heels of his Dad’s passing back in the fall.

At 9:45 pm est. time tonight, my precious Mom went home to be with Jesus.  She’s up in heaven with my Dad.  She took her last breath with a smile on her face.  She must have seen the face of Jesus as he welcomed her home.  Thank you all for your prayers and posts.  Keep my family in your prayers.  Brian

The Album That Almost Was, But Wasn’t, But Still Might Be

Of course I’m talking about Gold City’s still unreleased Somebody’s Coming which saw two of the tracks recorded by the Josh Cobb/Bruce Taliaferro lineup leaked via YouTube last week.  The two songs are “I Stand Redeemed”, featuring Cobb, and a new Jim Brady-penned tune called “Lord Of Life” featuring Taliaferro.  If these two songs are an indication of the CD’s strength, this was (is?) going to be a great one!  I’m anxious to hear Craig West tear into “Lord Of Life.”

(Ed. note:  The following paragraphs are written with tongue planted firmly in cheek!)

Most of you know that I am a huge fan of the Beach Boys.  In 1966/1967, the Beach Boys began working on an album that was to be called Smile.  This album was going to be their response to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, and was going to turn the world of rock music upside down.  A ton of hype built up around the album.  Tracks were recorded and re-recorded.  More tracks were added and some deleted.  It never happened.  Brian Wilson, the mastermind behind the album, finally re-recorded and released a version of Smile in 2004 to much critical acclaim, and even won a Grammy.  37 years later.  A CD box set of the Beach Boys original recordings called The Smile Sessions has been promised this year by Capitol Records.  44 years later.  Better late than never, I guess…

Am I the only one starting to see similarities to Gold City’s Somebody’s Coming?  Tracks have been recorded.  Tracks have been re-recorded.  Songs have been cut (“I Stand Redeemed”).  Songs (yet unknown) have been/will be added.  Hype has built up (the report of M. English saying it would be better than the last GVB album, the leak of the aforementioned tracks).  I really hope Somebody’s Coming doesn’t become Southern Gospel’s version of Smile.

Getting back to more serious business, a quick Google search for the album displays some interesting results.  A Yahoo Music result promises to be able to hear the album.  There are multiple outlets that are showing the CD available for order, with multiple release dates.  Most are late last year, but christianbook.com shows a realistic date of 08/09/11.  Then there is books-a-million.com, that has a release date of January 1, 2037!  I sincerely hope Danny and the rest of Gold City are able to get it released before then….though I guess that would fit with the whole Smile comparison.  :-)

 

Forgotten Albums: Imperials – Gospel’s Alive And Well

These days, if you ask most people about the Imperials, they will immediately think of either the Terry Blackwood/Sherman Andrus lineup or the Russ Taff-Paul Smith/David Will era of the group.  However, I’ve always considered the lineup that preceded Terry and Sherman by a couple years as their best.  That group featured Jim Murray on tenor, Terry Blackwood on lead, Roger Wiles on baritone, Armond Morales on bass, and Joe Moscheo at the piano and serving as the group’s MC.

This album is a live album featuring the aforementioned iteration of the Imperials from 1970.  The very first song on the album, the quartet classic “First Day In Heaven”, showcases what an incredibly smooth blend the group possessed and how well the four voices fit with each other.  It’s amazingly difficult to distinguish between Terry Blackwood and Roger Wiles, they nearly sound like the same voice overdubbed.  It’s interesting to hear “The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference” being introduced as “a new song”, and their version, while minus the vocal acrobatics of the Gaither Vocal Band’s later take, is incredible.  Harmony drenched in more harmony can be found in “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, “If That Isn’t Love” (with an arrangement like you’ve never heard before), “Sheltered In The Arms Of God”, and the album closing “Sweet Sweet Spirit.”  The group covers one of their recent hits, “God Speaking To You”, which was actually pulled from a Broadway play, if I’m not mistaken.  That’s not the only cut with a secular source, which is interesting since at this time the Imperials were still riding the Southern Gospel circuit.  If you’ve never heard Jim Murray tackle “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, you’ve missed out.  He gives a great performance on this album.

Making its first appearance on this album is the Joe Moscheo led “Oh Happy Day”, but in this incarnation it is the second song of a 2-song medley, and is immediately preceded by a stunning performance of “When We All Get Together With The Lord.”  This song is Exhibit A in my case that these four voices had the single most impressive blend that we’ve ever seen in Southern Gospel music, and the harmonies are impeccable.

When the question makes its rounds every once in a while about the all time greatest live albums, I always make sure to posit this album as belonging near the top of the list.  There isn’t even an average song on the album, the singing is without fault, the arrangements, while dated 41 years after the fact, were incredibly progressive for the time, the blend flawless, and Joe Moscheo is easily the most underrated and forgotten MC in SG history.  His self-deprecating, witty humor, and yet his ability to exude sincerity and humbleness when the concert turns more serious is amazing to behold.  If you’ve got a copy of this album, pull it out and spin it up.  If you don’t, this is one worth scouring flea markets, antique stores, and eBay to find.

Prayer Requested For Brian Free’s Mother

According to Brian Free and Assurance’s Facebook page, Brian’s mother suffered a massive stroke over the weekend.  At last report she was not conscious and her brain was still experiencing some swelling.  As you may remember, Brian lost his dad back in the fall.  Please be in prayer for Brian’s mom and the entire Free family.

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