The Definitives: “Holy Is Thy Name”

One of the great songs of our genre that combines harmony and power and has been recorded by many artists is “Holy Is Thy Name”.  Originally recorded by the Rex Nelon Singers on their debut LP, The Sun’s Coming Up, the song has been covered by many groups over the years.  The Ruppes, Legacy Five (does anyone else a rehearsal of this that was actually “released” for a short time right after the formation of the group as a preview of the group’s sound?), The Cathedrals, and The Singing Americans include the artists that have recorded this song.  However, the definitive version belongs to a later recording of the song by the group that debuted it.

Recorded in 1995 on their Hallelujah Live project, this Nelons lineup features Charlotte Penhollow (now Ritchie), Kelly Nelon (now Clark), Jerry Thompson, and Rex Nelon, along with Stan Whitmire on piano.  The song begins with Kelly singing the first verse solo with Whitmire’s impeccable accompaniment on piano.  The first chorus features Kelly, Jerry, Stan, and Rex, with Charlotte adding some background harmony on Kelly’s step out lines and the harmony is just fabulous.  The key then goes up a half step and the other instruments kick in for Kelly’s second verse, which is great, and the chorus repeats as before.  The key changes again and Charlotte takes the lead with Stan dropping out vocally and there is an incredibly strong chorus with a choir backing the Nelons through the power tag.

This is just a fantastic performance of a great song.  The arrangement is the progressive/inspirational style that the Nelons do so well, Whitmire’s piano playing is nothing short of spectacular, and all the vocals are in the pocket and dead on.  This song is a perfect example of why this particular lineup of the Nelons is one of my favorites.

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Gaither Homecoming Concert – Augusta, GA

Saturday night I attended the Gaither Homecoming Concert in my hometown of Augusta, GA.  Featured artists were Charlotte Ritchie, Gordon Mote, The Isaacs, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Lynda Randle, and of course the Gaither Vocal Band.  Regrettably I did not make a set list but it was very different than when I saw them a few months ago in Greenville, SC.  The GVB has gelled a good bit more since then and sounded phenomenal.  Bill did a great job of featuring each of the Vocal Band members equally.  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound did several songs from their new Christmas CD “Every Light That Shines at Christmas.”  I picked up a copy and I’ve enjoyed the variety on it, but it’s not the type you would play at a Christmas party for background music like the one released by the Gaither Vocal Band two years ago.  The Isaacs were not at the last concert I went to so it was great to see them.  They did several songs from “Naturally: An Almost A Capella Collection.”  They did some really complicated a capella arrangements and some songs with just a simple guitar accompaniment.   “Does Jesus Care” was a standout to me.

Two highlights (of many) from the second half was Sonya and Becky Isaacs singing with Charlotte Ritchie on “Go Rest High On That Mountain.”  What an incredible trio these ladies made.  Another highlight that got a great response from the sold out crowd was young Logan Smith singing “What A Lovely Name.”  Those of you that have heard twelve year old before will agree that he sounds more like Vestal Goodman than Vestal did.

The only thing I purchased that night was the new EH&SS Christmas CD at their table.  They were running a special for $5 more that included the previous CD, “Christmas With Ernie Haase & Signature Sound” along with a red tote bag and a magnet.  The cover was edited as to not show former pianist Roy Webb.  For those of you that are suckers for alternate covers (like myself) you may want to pick one up.

Your Top 10 SG News Stories of 2008: A Statistical Analysis

Several bloggers have posted their top 10 news stories for the past year, but I thought I’d do something a little different.  Here are the top 10 news stories on this blog, based on the number of views each post received over the past year.

  1. Matt Dibler Leaves The Inspirations
  2. Greg and Charlotte Ritchie Leave Jeff & Sheri Easter
  3. Dottie Rambo Passes Away
  4. Guy Penrod’s Sabbatical from GVB
  5. Jerry Ritchie Passes Away
  6. Bobby All Hospitalized
  7. GVB’s Lovin’ Life Track Listing Released
  8. Monument Quartet Changes
  9. Scott Rogers Departs Crossway
  10. The Segos Controversy

I find this to be quite an interesting list.  There are some surprising inclusions over glaring omissions here.  I would have expected Wilburn to have appeared here, and definitely the GV tenor swap.  However, by a quick count, Kitson’s replacement of Waldroup was down around #18, and I hadn’t even found the GC lead swap yet.  I think this provides an interesting look into what you, the reader, found to be the most interesting news stories.  Also, understand that I didn’t count non-news items (reviews, pure opinion posts, etc.) in this list.  Quite interesting, to say the least.

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