Concert Review: The Debut of Legacy 5’s New Lineup

Change, they say, is inevitable. Few genres of music experience the turnover in personnel that we see in Southern Gospel. But sometimes, change is a good thing. Sometimes it can bring a new direction, a new energy, and a breath of fresh air. This is what we experienced tonight with the debut of Legacy 5’s new lineup. Lee Black is the new tenor, Scott Fowler remains on lead duties, Bryan Walker is the new baritone, Matt Fouch continues to hold down the bass part, and Josh Townsend on piano rounds out the new lineup of the group.

Set List:

  • Who Is This Man?
  • A Comfort to Know
  • I Found Grace
  • I Stand Redeemed
  • Getting Ready to Leave This World – piano solo
  • Love Pure Love
  • The Book
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness – Bryan Walker solo
  • God’s Been Good
  • Champion of Love


  • Well Done My Child
  • God Bless the USA
  • I Made It To Arlington
  • Hallelujah Chorus
  • In the Hands of a Carpenter
  • When the Saints Go Marching In

First of all, though I REALLY wanted to do it, it was requested that no video be taken. So pictures are all I have. I talked with Scott before the concert, and he told me the record labels are going to try and crack down on videos and especially Facebook Live during concerts due to copyright laws. In this YouTube world, I’m pretty skeptical, but we’ll see how this goes.Legacy 5 took the stage tonight with a lot of energy. The excitement of finally getting on stage with the new guys was palpable. “A Comfort to Know” really set the tone for the night, as they inverted the last vocal chord up from the album cut, which helped the energy of the song immensely. This is as good a spot as any to brag on Lee Black. We already know he’s a fantastic writer, but he’s got a nice clear tenor voice and is likely their highest tenor since Frank Seamans. Just his range and clarity alone being a fresh sound to the group, and he did a masterful job on “I Stand Redeemed” and his own penned “In the Hands of a Carpenter”, which featured him moving to the keyboard and singing it as a duet with Fowler.

Both of the new songs that the group performed on their announcement video were performed, and “Love Pure Love” is especially catchy, while “The Book” is very strong lyrically. Bryan Walker then sang a verse of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” acapella, as he used to do with The Perrys. Bryan had been off the road for a few years now, but his voice is as strong and expressive as ever. His voice is so vastly different than Scott Howard’s, but with the brighter tenor tones of Lee Black, Walker fits like a glove. That combination has a world of potential. If you’ve never heard Josh Townsend’s testimony and heard him sing “God’s Been Good”, you need to do so as soon as possible. What a touching an encouraging message. The first half closed with a good rendition of “Champion of Love”.

After intermission, the group hit the stage with the old convention classic “Well Done My Child”. After a comedy bit, Josh Townsend took over the lead from Scott Fowler, but featured some of the highest harmony I’ve heard out of Legacy 5 in years while Matt Fouch rattled the walls with his bass note on the end and the crowd absolutely loved it! The concert ended with a rousing, New Orleans jazz inspired take on “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

For a debut of a new lineup, with 50% of the vocalists changing, the concert could only have been considered a rousing success. It sounds cliche to be sure, but the really was a renewed sense of energy and an enthusiasm in both the crowd and group that was easily felt. Vocally, these guys have a great blend and it will only get better with time to really gel. I’ve not said much about Matt Fouch yet, but this was my first opportunity to hear him and I came away incredibly impressed. He really kicked in the subs several times last night, but did so seemingly effortlessly and without even a hint of vocal fry. He’s got a really full, resonant bass voice that is very pleasing to the ear. Scott Fowler did a great job as lead singer and emcee. It was very obvious that he was excited to kick off this new era of Legacy 5, and mentioned several times that it was a historic night.

Replacing a founding member, especially after a long tenure, is always a challenge. Bryan Walker is definitely up to the challenge. He is so much opposite of Scott Howard vocally that I think it will work in his favor. There’s really no way to compare them as their voices are so different. Lee Black is a very big change at tenor, and it’s definitely a good change, especially with Bryan Walker’s lighter tones at the baritone spot. Having a songwriter of Black’s caliber in the group is also something to watch for, as I expect their material to take a huge leap as well, even as strong as it already was. The future for Legacy 5 looks extremely bright, and I’m excited to see how their sound evolves in the future. This was a great start.

Concert Review: Greater Vision

Greater Vision was in concert last night at my church, East Memorial Baptist in Prattville, AL. Turnout was pretty good, my guess is about 500 or so in attendance, maybe more. Heaven’s Harmony, a mixed quartet based in our church, opened the concert with two songs before Greater Vision hit the stage.

Set List:

  • Search Me Lord (Heaven’s Harmony)
  • Happy Rhythm (Heaven’s Harmony)
  • You Were Faithful Yesterday
  • Walls Come Down
  • Paid In Full Through Jesus Amen
  • For All He’s Done
  • Why Me Lord
  • He’d Still Been God
  • I Know A Man Who Can
  • God Doesn’t Care
  • My Name Is Lazarus
  • Still


  • Put Out The Fire
  • Rolled Back Stone
  • The Lighthouse
  • I Know He Heard My Prayer
  • God Is So Good
  • God Wants To Hear You Sing

It had been quite a while since I had seen Greater Vision in concert, and this was my first time to see Jon Epley along with Gerald Wolfe, Rodney Griffin, and Chris Allman. They sang for about an hour and a half, and focused on well known songs from the group’s long history. GV has long been one of Southern Gospel’s top trios, and last night’s concert was a prime example. Their vocals are superb, the concert was paced very well, and Gerald had a great rapport with the audience as an emcee. It’s very obvious the influence of George Younce on Gerald’s emcee style, but to his credit Gerald does not attempt to imitate his former boss, but rather has his own style.

Jon Epley was featured on two songs, Why Me Lord and The Lighthouse. He did a great job on both songs, and really brings a fresh sound to the group’s blend. Especially in his mid and lower register, he has a sound reminiscent of Mark Lanier, the former baritone for Perfect Heart. Jon is a true baritone, much like Mark, and adds a fullness and depth to the sound of the group that it had never had before. He really fits in well with the group.

Chris Allman continues to shine in his role as the group’s tenor. He has such a smooth and clear voice, and provided a couple of highlights of the concert on For All He’s Done and I Know A Man. He has continued to bring an added dimension to GV with his songwriting, as his material has a different feel than Rodney’s. I really enjoy Chris being back with Greater Vision.

Speaking of Rodney Griffin, he is a model of consistency, both with his songwriting and his vocal abilities. Vocally he sounds the same now as he did 20 years ago. While he is frequently the target of Gerald’s jokes and plays the role of goof very well, he also shared a very touching testimony about his father in law and God’s faithfulness.

Gerald played piano and served as the emcee for the evening. He only sang on one song, a great arrangement of I Know He Heard My Prayer that is more of a traditional power ballad as opposed to the oft imitated Statesmen arrangement. I Know was definitely the biggest highlight of the night. I definitely miss hearing Gerald sing, especially on the big ballads like There Is A River or Till The Storm Passes By.

Greater Vision has really been a consistent group since Griffin joined 25 years ago, and even with Wolfe stepping away from vocal duties and Epley coming on board to handle the baritone spot that consistency is still present. Their blend is very smooth, and has seemingly gotten more so with Epley. Their material is top notch, though I will say I was a bit surprised at how much the set list was weighted toward their older material. Epley really seems to have found a nice niche and home with GV, and as he continues to grow into his role, I’ll be interested to see how their sound and arrangements evolve. If they are in your area, do yourself a favor and go see them. Tonight was a great night of worship and singing with a top tier group. Thanks guys for a very enjoyable night!

Concert Review: Triumphant Quartet

My church recently hosted a concert by Triumphant Quartet.  Attendance was fairly strong, especially for the Thursday night after Thanksgiving.  I would place the crowd somewhere between 250-300.  With the timing of the concert being the beginning of the Christmas season, the guys took the opportunity to “practice” quite a bit of their Christmas material on us with several exclusively Christmas concerts coming up.  The entire first half, save the last song before intermission was Christmas themed music.

Set List:

  • Hallelujah
  • Medley: Hark The Herald Angels Sing/O Little Town of Bethlehem/Children Go Where I Send Thee/Do You Hear What I Hear/Go Tell It On The Mountain/Joy To The World
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (acappella)
  • Jesus, Oh What A Wonderful Child
  • Jesus Is Lord For All Time
  • Jesus Is Born Today
  • Angels We Have Heard On High ( piano instrumental)
  • Deck The Halls ( piano instrumental)
  • Tennessee Christmas (piano and harmonica)
  • It Is Well


  • Saved By Grace
  • Love Came Calling
  • Mary Did You Know?
  • The Old White Flag
  • The Great I Am Still Is
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Almost Home

Triumphant is currently celebrating their 10th anniversary as a group, and they are a bit of a rarity in SG in that they have had no personnel changes in the 10 years of the group’s existence.  Their opening song, “Hallelujah”, was a great choice to start the concert as it got things started off with a great intensity.  The medley that followed was fantastic, and the crowd really seemed to enjoy the fast, energetic arrangement of “Children Go Where I Send Thee”, and the ending of “Joy To The World” was great.  The group’s rendition of the Cathedrals’ classic acappella arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was absolutely note perfect and highlighted the incredible blend of the four voices.  David Sutton can really carry a tenor ballad, and he did an outstanding job on one called “Jesus Is Lord For All Time.”  He has one of the most expressive tenor voices in the genre, and I enjoy the fullness of his tones.  I’ve always liked the song “Jesus Is Born Today”, which was originally recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys on their 1982 album, Christmas, and Triumphant did a great job bringing it back.  As with their recent cover of the Oaks’ “Everyday”, Triumphant really does well bringing back classic songs from the Oak Ridge Boys, that style really is the strength of Triumphant.  Jeff Stice played his fantastic arrangement of “Angels We Have Heard On High” that he recorded with Perfect Heart on their CD Live At The Forum.  He then shared that he had a request from his mom to record a piano Christmas CD that had no other instrumental backing, just Jeff and his piano.  He played a thrilling arrangement of “Deck The Halls” from that CD before David Sutton joined him on stage for a piano/harmonica duet on “Tennessee Christmas.”  The one non-Christmas song of the first half, “It Is Well”, left the crowd on their feet as they left for intermission.

Let me just say that it is quite a daunting task to play a piano solo offertory after hearing 3 instrumentals featuring Jeff Stice, one of the best piano players we’ve ever had in SG.  After the intermission, the group absolutely wowed the audience with their two recent #1 songs, “Saved By Grace” and “Love Came Calling.”  Both songs are most deserving of their chart topping positions.  Triumphant’s version of “Saved By Grace” exceeds the original Florida Boys rendition, in this blogger’s opinion.  Eric Bennett may be the best bass singer in Southern Gospel at communicating a lyric and carrying a bass solo, and I’ve long enjoyed his rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?”.  Clayton had easily 2/3 of the audience waving white handkerchiefs on “The Old White Flag.”  That song has been part of their stage show for a long time now, and it’s amazing to see how the crowd enthusiasm has kept up over the years, and doesn’t seem to show any signs of waning at all.  Scotty Inman shared a very moving testimony about the medical challenges that surrounded the birth of his daughter, with a poignant challenge by a friend that he’d spent all this time practicing his faith, and that this trial was a challenge for him to “use it.”  That lead into a very powerful performance of “The Great I Am Still Is.”  This is still likely the strongest lyric the group has recorded in their 10 years, and it is completely obvious why this song has staying power in their repertoire.  Ending with “Almost Home” had them leaving the stage with the crowd once again on their feet.

As I mentioned earlier, Triumphant is celebrating 10 years as a group, and with a stable lineup over that entire time, you can easily understand why the group displays such an incredible sense of unity.  From a perfection of their vocal blend, to an uncanny ability to pick material that fits each member like a glove, to the ability to anticipate each other’s stage presence and vocal embellishments in a live performance, Triumphant operates like a well-oiled machine.  Eric Bennett is a very capable and comfortable MC who reads the spirit of an audience very well, and is one of the best bass singers in the genre, hands down.  Scotty Inman has basically grown up in the group, and not only possesses infallible tones as a baritone vocalist, but he has become a fantastic writer as well.  He is easily one of the top young vocalists in Southern Gospel.  Clayton Inman has been one of SG’s best lead vocalists for years now, and he completely commands a stage.  Young, aspiring lead singers need to spend some time observing Clayton Inman, as there is no better example of what a Southern Gospel lead singer should be.  David Sutton has an unmistakeable tenor voice that draws you in immediately.  His ability to carry a tenor ballad puts him in the top tier of tenor vocalists in SG, and he has a full, rich tone that is a rare find.  I’ve long enjoyed listening to David sing.

Triumphant is riding high in SG right now, having won quartet of the year for several years running now.  It’s no surprise with the stability in their lineup that they’ve hit such a stride.  Quite simply, they are one of the best we have to offer.  If you can catch them during the Christmas season, please go see them, their Christmas material is a great blend of traditional songs with some nice originals as well.  If not, catch them the next time they are in your area, you’d look long and hard to find a quartet that puts on a better concert or service.

Photos (courtesy of our church’s Ministry Assistant, Donna Harris):

Concert Review: Crist Family

Thursday night, March 15, my church hosted the Crist Family in concert.  It had been two years since we’d had them, so this was the first chance I’ve had to hear the material from their Oasis CD live and my first time to see them since the departure of Tom Joyce.  The crowd was incredibly disappointing.  I’d estimate at 100, maybe 125 if I were to be generous.  Not sure what caused such a low turnout, we did nothing different than normal in promoting the concert.  That being said, the Crist Family was very professional and sang just as hard for the 100 as they would have for 1000.

Here is their set list from the night:

  • When I Get Carried Away
  • I Believe He’s Coming Back
  • My Oasis
  • Joy’s Gonna Come
  • He Is Amazing
  • I Love Lovin’ Jesus
  • His Strength Is Perfect
  • I’ll Sing A New Song
  • My Heart Knows
  • The Rock


  • Jesus Hold My Hand
  • I Must Tell Jesus
  • It’s Been A Journey
  • Great Beyond

The concert started with a couple of well known SG classics, and though the crowd was sparse, it was readily apparent that those who were there were in good spirits and quickly became attuned to the group.  One positive of the smaller crowd was that it led to a much more intimate feel that carried on throughout the evening.  Breana Crist did a fine job on “My Oasis.”  It’s a very soothing, smooth song that seems to be made for Bre’s voice.  It has always been one of my favorite cuts on Oasis.  Tami Starkel has a big, powerful lead voice, and “Joy’s Gonna Come” really gives her a chance to showcase some powerhouse vocals.  It really gets the energy going in the crowd.

Highlight number one followed though, with the mellow, big band harmonies of “He Is Amazing.”  The group did something unusual with this song, however, they started the song acappella.  The first line is all the ladies unison, then the guys join for the second line, still in unison, then on the third line of the first verse the parts all split into some tight big band jazz harmonies.  They muted the track until they hit the chorus.  So we got the entire first verse, including the harmonic split and beyond acappella before kicking in the track for the chorus.  When all those voices split into the 5 and 6 part harmonies with no accompaniment, it will send chills down your spine.  Wow.

Another highlight followed right on the heels of “He Is Amazing”, and that was the next song “I Love Lovin’ Jesus.”  To date, this is the highest charting single for the Crist Family, as it climbed all the way to #3.  It’s a simple lyric, with a fairly simple (for the Crist Family, anyways) arrangement, but it’s a catchy tune, a memorable message, and a marketable sound.  Jackie Crist really shines on it.  Tami Starkel shared a powerful testimony of her struggle with epilepsy before singing their cover of Steven Curtis Chapman’s “His Strength Is Perfect.”    It’s a moving performance that coincides with a touching testimony.  Jackie Crist’s performance of “My Heart Knows” alongside of her dad and sister is also a highlight of their set.

During the intermission, the group introduced Tami and John Starkel’s son, Luke.  Luke took his guitar to the front of the stage, sat on a stool and proceeded to sing a couple of songs that he had written.  Luke’s style is much more contemporary oriented, but he is VERY talented.  I thoroughly enjoyed both of the songs he performed, and his performance added even more variety in style to the Crist’s concert experience.  GREAT job, Luke, and be watching out for this young man.  He absolutely has a bright future ahead of him in Christian music.

After Luke’s mini-set, the group returned to the stage with “Jesus Hold My Hand.”  The next major highlight of the evening came next.  The group put their mics down, walked to the center of the auditorium, and sang their arrangement of “I Must Tell Jesus” acappella, and without any amplification.  One thing I can brag about my church on is that the acoustics in our sanctuary are great, and this performance was an evidence of that fact.  Wow.  No stacks, no tracks, not even microphones, just pure, sweet harmony on a timeless hymn.  My brother took a video of it.  You will have to excuse my son climbing around to get a better look, he was captivated, and I hope mine and my wife’s heads aren’t too in the way.  🙂

The mood became quite reflective at this point, and after a testimony of the things that Rich and the group have been through, he pulled out one of their earlier songs, “It’s Been A Journey”, that they hadn’t performed in quite a while.  It really fit the atmosphere at that point of the concert, and led wonderfully to an invitation.  After the invitation, they closed with the upbeat “Great Beyond.”

It had been a couple of years since we’d had the Crist Family, they’d released two CDs and had the departure of Tom Joyce, but this group continues to grow and develop their niche in the Southern Gospel industry.  Their harmony is terrific, their testimonies moving, and their concerts are always enjoyable.  The Crist Family is one of the true rising stars in this genre, and for good reason.  I hope they continue to push themselves musically, and through many discussions with Rich Crist, I’m confident that they will.  He’s the only person I know with a more eclectic collection of music on his iPod than mine!  Seriously, don’t miss the Crist Family if they are in your area, they are a great group with a great sound and a powerful message.  You will be glad you went.  Thanks guys for a terrific concert!


Concert Review: The Kingsmen

Last Friday night, my church hosted the Kingsmen in concert.  The crowd size was a little disappointing, but with a big high school football game that night, I wasn’t too surprised.  I would guess the crowd to have been around 200 strong.  Despite the crowd being a bit down, the Kingsmen showed no lack of energy when they hit the stage.

Set List:

  • Inside The Gate
  • Loving Shepherd, Gracious God
  • After The Sunrise
  • When I Wake Up To Sleep No More
  • Missing People
  • What A Day That Will Be
  • He’s Everything I Need
  • That’s When I Knew It Was Him


  • Instrumental (a piano solo by a young man named Andrew Flower, who was in attendance)
  • Traveling Home
  • I Owe It All To Him
  • I Can Hardly Wait
  • Healin’ Stream
  • Getcha To The Other Side
  • Glory Road
  • When God Ran
  • Invitation (I Surrender All)

First let me say that Randy Crawford was very sick, and could barely talk, much less sing.  Other than a couple of pickup lines on “Glory Road”, about all he was good for was adding in the baritone notes on the end of songs and a little bit in the trio section of “Loving Shepherd”.  Big time kudos to Randy for giving literally everything he had.  He couldn’t talk very loudly before the concert, and afterwards he could barely whisper, but he did his best, the sign of a true professional.  Hope you recover quickly, Randy!  Reviews of the newest Kingsmen album, Grace Says (including the one upcoming on this site), have all pointed to “Loving Shepherd, Gracious God” as a highlight due to Ray Reese’s touching vocal solo on the second verse.  As good as it is on disc, it’s even better live.  Ray has always been a great communicator at the bass spot.  He may not have the smoothest or lowest voice, but few singers connect with the message of a song or the crowd at a concert better than Ray Dean Reese.

“After The Sunrise” is also a cut from the new album, and it’s a great one in concert.  It’s classic Kingsmen “three chords and a cloud of dust” that goes over extremely well.  It was also neat to hear “Missing People” live, during the break towards the end where the studio version has different voices speaking, those recitations are not on the track and Bryan Hutson speaks live.  I had wondered how they would pull that off in concert.  “He’s Everything I Need” is a Joseph Habedank penned tune and is there latest single.  See “After The Sunrise” commentary.  The first half closed out with Harold Reed singing “That’s When I Knew It Was Him.”  If you liked “God Saw A Cross” on their last album, you’ll like this one as well.  Harold did a fine job on it.

After the intermission, Bryan and Ray gave a product pitch then asked a young man in attendance, named Andrew Flower, to come on stage and play a piano solo.  He’s a student at Bethel University (where Matthew Holt teaches), and can flat out play piano.  He’s a friend of a friend of the group, and he did a great job playing.  The second half was primarily made up of Kingsmen classics.  “Traveling Home” started off with some great energy.  Bryan then dedicated “I Owe It All To Him” to the memory of Jim Hamill.  While this was one of Big Jim’s signature songs, Bryan Hutson absolutely drilled the song.  It’s a bit of an obscure tune these days, but it’s a great song that Bryan really does justice.  Ray Reese does a great job on “Healin’ Stream,” and apparently my 7 month old loves that song, because once it started she began bouncing up and down on her mommy’s lap, which nearly caused Harold Reed to bust out laughing.  Funny moment.  “Getcha To The Other Side” was a pleasant surprise, as I’d not heard reports of it being on their set list.  Also, Harold told me after the concert that it was the first time they had performed “I Can Hardly Wait” live.  If that’s the case, they need to keep it on the set list.  It’s another great uptempo song.

Let me say also a few words about Harold Reed.  When he joined the Kingsmen, there was a lot of debate about whether he could be a “Kingsmen tenor” or not.  I’d been fairly impressed with his performances on CD, but he did a great job live as well.  In listening to their recordings I’d wondered about his power in his upper range, but those concerns were put to rest Friday night.  While Reed was a solid tenor with the DMB, in the middle of the concert I leaned over to my dad and mentioned how much he’d improved since then, and he wholeheartedly agreed with me.  Harold Reed IS a Kingsmen tenor.

Members of the Kingsmen typically have a certain song they become known for.  With Jim Hamill it was “Love Lifted Me”, Wayne Maynard had “Child Child”, Tim Surrett had “Wish You Were Here”, Jerry Martin had “Look For Me At Jesus’ Feet”, Squire Parsons had “The Lovely Name Of Jesus.”  For Bryan Hutson, that song is undoubtedly “When God Ran.”  That song was just written for Bryan’s voice.  He sings it with such conviction, feeling, and power that if it doesn’t stir you, you need to check yourself out.  I was glad to see it still on their set list, and I personally hope it stays there indefinitely.

Lastly, let me talk about a thrill of a lifetime.  After I finished playing the offertory, and as Ray was getting ready to start his product pitch, Bryan came and sat beside me and leaned over and asked me if I knew how to play “Glory Road.”  I told him I did, and he said he’d bring me on stage to play it for them.  So right before “When God Ran”, Bryan did just that.  You’ll see a couple of pictures of it below that were taken by our church’s Ministry Assistant.  (Thanks Donna!)  It was an absolute thrill, and I’m going to hold Bryan to getting to play a couple for them the next time they are at Faith!  Seriously, thanks for the opportunity guys, you don’t know how much that meant.

The Kingsmen have been flying a bit under the radar lately, at least since “When God Ran” was released, but they are definitely alive and well.  I’ve always considered the lineup with Jerry Martin, Bryan Hutson, and Parker Jonathan to be the most vocally talented lineup the group has seen, but their current lineup absolutely rivals that late 90s group.  Coupled with the release of a very strong CD (review coming soon, I promise!), the Kingsmen are poised to return to the top of the quartet world.  If you have a chance to go see them, please do!  I can guarantee you a night of great singing, high energy, and moving lyrics.  Thanks for stopping by to sing guys!


Concert Review: The Booth Brothers

Saturday night, my wife and I were privileged to attend a concert by the Booth Brothers at Second Baptist Church in Union City, TN.  The venue was an absolutely beautiful facility that had plenty of seating.  I would estimate the crowd at somewhere in the 350-400 range.  After the church’s music minister led the congregation in a medley of some familiar hymns, they wasted no time in bringing out the Booth Brothers.  Here is their set list for the night:

  • He’s So Good To Me
  • I See Grace
  • Masterpiece of Mercy
  • I’ve Never Been Out of His Care
  • Welcome To The Family
  • In Christ Alone
  • Hymn Medley: Wonderful Peace/Old Rugged Cross/How Great Thou Art
  • Bread Upon The Water
  • Don’t Hang Your Head and Cry
  • I’m The Lamb
  • All Over The World
  • She Still Remembers Jesus’ Name
  • When You Bow At Jesus’ Feet
  • See What A Morning


  • Look For Me At Jesus’ Feet
  • He Saw It All
  • Since Jesus Came
  • I’m Feelin’ Fine
  • What About Now?
  • We Believe
  • Truth Is Marching On

“He’s So Good To Me” is a great upbeat concert starter, and following it up with the tremendous “I See Grace” makes for a great 1-2 punch.  When we did our mega-review of Declaration, we all pointed to that song as a highlight, and it continues to be so in concert.  Jim Brady really delivers the song’s powerful message well.  Michael Booth does an incredible job singing “I’ve Never Been Out Of His Care”, which is an old Stamps Quartet song featuring Bill Baize from 1973’s Leaning On The Arms Of Jesus.  A funny thing about this song though, is that until my wife looked at my set list on my iPad, she thought they were singing “I’ve never been out of His hair…”  Talk about misheard lyrics!

The group paces the concert well, with Michael handling the large majority of the emcee work.  After the upbeat “Welcome To The Family”, they slowed things down with an acappella hymn medley.  Of course, the minute they finish the last note of “How Great Thou Art”, the brass and guitars kick in on their new version of the classic by the Imperials, “Bread Upon The Water.”  I’ll say more about this song when I do the review coming up soon, but only the Booths can pull off such a wide transition between styles.  Michael Booth has referred to their recordings, especially the new one as schizophrenic with all the different styles, but it’s a testament to them that they pull all the disparate styles off expertly.  Adding to the psychosis, shall we say, is their popular Southern Gospel Samba (I’m taking credit for this one, I coined this phrase on the mega-review of Declaration.  You’re welcome, Michael!), “All Over The World.”  This one exudes high energy, and the crowd was on its feet by the end.

“She Still Remembers Jesus’ Name” is a sweet, tender song, and it comes across even more so in concert when Michael shares about his and Ronnie’s grandmother who suffered from dementia and the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s before she passed away.  The point is made that they typically try to choose songs that are universal in application, but this song makes such a strong statement about the issue of dementia, and hit so close to home for them, that they made an exception with this song.  Ronnie really has the voice to convey a powerful message, and he does a great job with this song.  “See What A Morning” concluded the first half with the crowd again on their feet.

After a short intermission, the group (eventually) made their way back on stage.  Michael proceeded to wow the audience with “Look For Me”, Ronnie got them standing again with “He Saw It All”, and then the group did a bit of a tribute to the Mills Brothers with their new song “Since Jesus Came.”  They performed the song with two mics, the way the Mills Brothers used to perform.  It all added up to a great concert highlight, and then ratcheted the intensity way up with the classic “I’m Feelin’ Fine.”

“What About Now” is a ballad on their new release, and there will be plenty to say about it in the review.  I’m sure I will say it again then, but this song has some of the most in your face, challenging lyrics that may have ever been recorded in Southern Gospel.  After this song, with the mood turned quietly introspective, Michael shares a 10 minute or so “sermonette” that clearly presents a complete synopsis of the Gospel and salvation.  To counter the crowd that says they didn’t pay to hear preaching, Michael glibly replies “This part is FREE!”  At this point, Ronnie and Jim left the stage.

When Michael finished, the track kicked off to “We Believe”, and the order of solos that we discussed in the mega review began to make more sense.  Michael sang the first verse.  Jim then entered the stage singing his verse, and Ronnie did the same for the third.  After this song, they tried to dismiss the concert, but the promoter asked that they sing “Truth Is Marching On.”  Even though they didn’t record the song, they perform it extremely well and really ended the concert strongly.

The Booth Brothers have been riding atop the SG industry for several years now, and I learned why with this concert.  Michael does a great job as the emcee, balancing his zany sense of humor with an unexpected depth when the time calls for it.  I’ve been a big fan of Jim Brady’s writing and singing for a while now, and had that reinforced Saturday night.  His songwriting is top notch, and he’s a fine singer as well.  Oh, and thanks for the anniversary gift, Jim!  We did enjoy it!  Ronnie Booth has an incredibly smooth, pleasing lead voice that just simply oozes pathos and raw emotion.  He also plays the straight man to his brother’s comedy very well.  You’d think they’d been doing it all their lives or something!  I really enjoyed getting a chance to talk with both Michael and Jim for a while after the concert, and along those lines be looking for a surprise in the near future.

The bottom line is this: the Booth Brothers are the cream of the crop in Southern Gospel today, and their concert experience just simply provides more evidence to that fact.  They’ve been named Artist of the Year the last two years, I believe, in the Singing News Fan Awards, and it’s an honor that is well deserved.  I fully expect them to win it again this year, and for good reason.  Do not miss them if they are in your area, you just won’t find a concert experience any greater than the Booth Brothers!


Concert Review: The Dills

First of all let me apologize for my absence lately.  Between real life commitments and a house full of sick people, including an ambulance ride with my 3 month old daughter (she’s fine now!), my blogging time has been really hampered lately.  However, last Sunday morning my church hosted The Dills during our morning service.  This was a bit unusual for us, I can only remember us bringing someone in on Sunday morning one other time.


  • He Promised Me
  • Lord I Lift Your Name
  • Days Of Elijah
  • Holy of Holies
  • These Hands
  • God Is In Control
  • It Is Well
  • Oh I Want To See Him
  • Tired Of Running
  • Rise Again
  • Oh What A Beautiful City
  • Shout To The Lord
  • Uncommon
  • Jesus Never Fails
  • Jesus Loves Me

While our church is not used to Sunday morning concerts, it was plainly obvious that the group was right at home in a Sunday morning worship setting.  Tim Dill continues to grow and impress as an emcee.  He uses the right amount of self deprecating humor along with serious spiritual testimonies.  He also keeps the concert moving along, as they did about 15 songs in a little over an hour.  Tim has learned how to efficiently manage and maximize their time.  Since most of our Sunday morning crowd have not heard them, even though we’ve had them several times, they did a pretty standard set of material, only doing 3 songs or so from their new CD.  Those 3, however, seemed to go over really well with the audience.  Especially powerful is the title track, “God Is In Control”, which they sing along with the video that they placed on YouTube.  The song is very timely, their performance excellent, and the message poignant.  I’ve always liked their versions of the worship songs “Lord I Lift Your Name On High” and “Days Of Elijah” as well.  When the group sang their current single, “Rise Again”, they did something very special for me, as a proud daddy.  I had mentioned to Tim and LeeAnn when they were setting up the night before that “Rise Again” had become my 4 year old daughter’s favorite song.  When they were doing soundcheck, they let Erica come up and sing it with them.   When they came to this song during the service, Tim asked Erica if she’d like to come sing it with them, so she made a mad dash to the stage.  Needless to say, I was about to bust, and thanks guys for giving her an absolute thrill.

The next four songs of the set are four of the strongest songs that the group sings.  Marcy Kelcey’s classic “Oh, What A Beautiful City” is obviously a fan favorite of the group, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen them not sing it, and it never fails to elicit a great audience response.  Bridget took the lead on “Shout To The Lord” with Shawn providing the only accompaniment on piano.  I’ve always said that “Uncommon” and “Jesus Never Fails” back to back make the best lead in to an altar call I’ve seen, and I still maintain that position.  The group sang “Jesus Loves Me” while giving an invitation at the end of the service.

It’s clear that the Dills are very comfortable in both a true concert and worship service setting.  They are very good at reading the mood of the service/concert, and gearing their song selection to that mood.  Their performances are very solid, their song selection is good, and their attitude and spirits are warm and genuine.  If you have a chance to catch them, either in a concert or in a worship service, do yourself a favor and go.  You will come away entertained, refreshed, recharged, and incredibly blessed!


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