Regarding the Top 10

Finalists in categories for the SN Fan Awards are out and one of Avery’s longtime correspondents passed along this reflection on the Top 10 nominees for Song of the Year:

I’ve heard one of them for sure only because I played it for a guy at church a few weeks back and had to listen to the CD (a somewhat painful experience) in order to learn it.  I might have heard “I Thirst”, but maybe I only think I have because I’ve heard Ernie sing it on the other recording – not sure.

That I live within radio/TV coverage of a medium to large metropolitan area in the Southeastern US, attend 50-60% of the concerts in my area (you can usually find at least one a month), and have absolutely no familiarity with any of these songs; speaks volumes about the state of the bidness.  Or at least a chapter or three.

Granted, I need more musical variety in my life than what would make up a weak set list in Louisville in September; but I really do try to listen to southern gospel music – it’s just not available.

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  1. Diana wrote:

    Sorry - you definitely need to get out more! I’m very familiar with almost all of them.

  2. Hector Luna wrote:

    Diana - It sounded like he did get out, as he referenced it in the 2nd paragraph. Unless someone is absolutely obsessed with these things, then “Best Song” becomes an irrelevant category. Groups do an average of 1 -2 table projects every year or two with a bunch of old songs with various arrangements. That’s what the majority of people want to hear.

    the other problem with people not hearing these songs, purely theory: i wonder if it does have something to do with Enlighten? those people listening must have more patience than me.

    So “Best Song” means nothing. And we have done this to ourselves. But I won’t be too distressed until 1) Gaither is gone and 2) the new generation of fans won’t care about EHSS, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, and MTQ anymore because they have never heard of The Cathedrals. So, in order to preserve the genre for future generations, you cash in on and promote the legacy of “The Cats” as long as you can, until they become this mythical, legendary, and folkloric enterprise in the pattern of Robin Hood, King Arthur, Jim Morrison, and fire-breathing dragons.

    The Cats might just save southern gospel, after all.

  3. CopperHill wrote:

    I may be more representative of the casual fan? I have heard 50% of the nominated songs. May have heard the Boothe Brothers song if it is on their most recent CD which I bought at their concert (4 1/2 hours from home) and listened to a time or two but I don’t recall it.
    1. I downloaded the Perry’s latest CD from iTunes so have heard Celebrate Me Home.
    2. Downloaded EHSS CD from iTunes or their website (don’t recall which) and have also listened to their “I Thirst” performance on YouTube multiple times.
    3. Went to Triumphant Quartet concert about 2 hours from home and bought their CD at their table so am familiar with both of their songs.
    4. I’ve listened to Never Walk Alone on YouTube maybe five times.

    I am totally unfamiliar with the other five nominated songs as I do not listen to SG radio other than Enlighten for short periods–with the lack of selectivity, a little Enlighten goes a long way.

  4. Diana wrote:

    Hector, he said he only thought he had heard a total of 2 of the 10 songs. I know that I get to see and hear more than an average fan, but that just really surprises me. Some of these songs have been being sung by the artists for over a year or 2 in their concerts before being released to radio within the specified period for the awards. I would have thought he would have heard more than that if he got to attend more than a few concerts a year.

  5. Brett wrote:

    It gets really old seeing the same artists with songs in the top 10 every year. The Celebrate Me Home was just released by the Perrys and does Booth Brothers have to be nominated every year. I think the Nelons “Settled At The Cross” is way better than those others. They have had 4 singles in the last year. Where are they out. Seriously its rigged. YAWN.

  6. Hector Luna wrote:

    Brett, don’t know think it’s rigged. I just think our fan base is lame or un-informed. I like the Perry’s, and “Celebrate Me Home” is a good song, but I was not stunned the first time I heard it. And I have a hard time thinking any of these nominated songs could seriously be justified as song of the year.

  7. Johnny Napier wrote:

    I don’t listen to very much Southern Gospel radio AT ALL and I’ve heard all ten of the songs nominated. Granted, I am a fan of the music, but the Perrys “Celebrate Me Home” is deserving to say the least. It has only been on the charts for 4 months (I think) and is already at number 4, most likely headed for the number 1 spot next month. Not only does this song deserve to be in the top 10, but it may just win and rightly so. It’s a great song. The Perrys DID win the song of the year last year with “If You Knew Him” and I know many of their fans would love to see them go back to back years winning SOTY. They have probably the strongest fan base for a mixed group in Southern Gospel music today, considering they are the only mixed quartet in the top 5 Artist of the year category. Oh and for all you crazy naysayers who say “IT’S RIGGED” - The Singing News Magazine got tired of hearing this from ridiculous artists and fans alike, that’s why all of this years ballots are being sent directly to a CPA to be counted. They are legit, they may have not been in years past, but they are definitely legitimate this year. And trust me, this is coming from an industry insider. It is NOT rumor, it’s FACT so you can go ahead and put that ‘rigged’ excuse away for another awards show. ;)

  8. Andrew S. wrote:

    These SotY nominees are quite interesting, but I’d venture to say the battle will be between “Love Came Calling” and “Celebrate Me Home.” I’m personally divided on Triumphant’s tunes because I love them both. However, my vote will probably go for “Celebrate Me Home”, because the others don’t leave the impact this one does.

  9. observor wrote:

    I have heard all the songs. Mostly I am not impressed - a weak line up of songs. The only exception is Never Walk Alone. Great song coming from a non BFA fan.

  10. Bubba wrote:

    I have not heard most of the songs on the list but I am sure they are all fantastic. I do think it is a snub that Jason Crabbs song Sometimes I Cry wasn’t nominated. It touches so many people and just won song of the year at the Dove awards. I believe his work is always over looked and under appreciated but I do say congrats to everyone who was nominated.

  11. LarryS wrote:

    I wouldn’t say they’re rigged. I WOULD say they’re a joke…

  12. Hector Luna wrote:

    Speaking of “Celebrate Me Home”, I listened to the whole album today, just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. “Blue Skies” is a pretty good album. And I understand I’m probably in the minority, but I seem to think there are at least 5 other songs that are generally better. However, can’t go wrong with the sentimental. And hey, at least we’re not discussing a song about seeing mama in heaven and whether or not it should be in the top 10.

  13. Johnny Napier wrote:

    Larry - Hmm, you are kind of sounding like one of those artists who is just upset because you NEVER win or get nominated for that matter. If you put half as much time into communicating with the FANS and less time reading these blogs, you may just win, but then again, judging by your rotten attitude and blatant disrespect for the greatest printed magazine in Southern Gospel music, you probably never will. Now go greet some fans at the table, make them feel appreciated and then stop whining. If you’re NOT an artist, just keep quiet.

  14. melvin klaudt wrote:

    From a non-biased, listen less to comments, and maybe even less informed, “What is more important, the song or the artist? Do we actually like the song first or the artist?

  15. SteveSmith wrote:

    #13 Why are you allowed to comment, but Larry isn’t? To tell someone to be quiet just because you don’t agree with them makes you look small and petty. The Perrys are not my cup of tea, but I would never think of telling you to be quiet about them. Obviously there have been many complaints about the tallying of the ballots, which is why they FINALLY are having a third party count the ballots. I am not an artist, but I also get tired of the same people winning every year. But I realize that this is a vote of the subscribers to Singing News, not SG listeners in the whole.

  16. Wade wrote:

    Little Johnny…

    Come on ppl can express their opinion with out THE ATTITUDE from YOU!! Talk about ROTTEN!!

    The awards are a joke no doubt, but sadly all the rest of the awards are WORSE JOKES!!

    The audited vote count is a step in the right direction. Ppl who BUY the product should be THE BEST AWARD!! Industry Votes can be a bigger a joke. AND the INDUSTRY does not really put any money in your pocket & buy those 3 for $10 table projects!!! :-)

    What I too find interesting is how they DUMPED the NQC & latched on to Dolly World!!! That is a pretty smart move if you ask me. I would have loved to been a fly on the wall when all that went down!!

    If NQC was smart they would get Bill to buy in some way!!! Bill should thrown them a bone. He could of course start his own convention, but out of respect for the industry that has contributed to helping him become a wealthy man should have a seat in the board room.

    If the only thing that Bill did was show up a night with his act (like he already does) and take over the running the sound for the entire week it would be a serious upgrade!!!

    If Dolly builds a 10,000 seat theater up there maybe the NQC could move there too & with Bill & Dolly’s (2 of the Smartest ppl NOT just in show biz but in biz period) help the genius ppl who are on the board now. Run down that list of board members down. THOSE are the ppl who have taken the NQC from a can’t miss event to, well if I can find a good deal on tickets & stay with my cousin in KY I MIGHT GO a few nights.

    Yep Little Johnny those are the ppl YOUR ATTITUDE’S defending!! It is sad that the…”greatest printed magazine in Southern Gospel music” has become what it is… you do not even have to subscribe any more to keep up with what is REALLY Important. You might want to thank Dr. DH for that one, while you get on HIS blog & disrespect it like you just did!!! Bless Your Heart!!!

  17. LarryS wrote:

    Johnny, if we met face-to-face, I don’t seriously you would be able to see me, given that you would be trying to look down your pompous nose at me…

    One comment doesn’t give you sufficient insight into my attitude to call it “rotten”.

    Since we’re sharing opinions (you know what they say about those) - mine is simply that it’s a shame that some of the brightest talents in the industry don’t get the recognition they (in MY opinion, again) deserve. SG will continue to slide quality-wise as long as we continue to award the mediocre.

    If you can tell me to keep quiet, I guess I can tell you to stop being such an arrogant buffoon. But judging by your attitude and obvious disdain for anyone with an opinion other than your own, it wouldn’t do any good. Rock on, brotha.

  18. LarryS wrote:

    Sorry for the typo in the first line… Should read: “I doubt seriously…”

  19. Ode wrote:

    13, I dont speak BS fluently, but you seem to be saying, if translated into plain English “Larry,schmooze the public and kiss the rear of magazine publisher if you want to win the awards” Nothing about the music matters? The rules of religious music award giving are identical to those of the secular world ? hm.Ok, i thought so. Show biz is show biz.

    yeah, ” SN is the greatest magazine” of many? One?;)

  20. cynical one wrote:

    #19 - Ode

    Yes, SN is the only one now, but they’ve survived, where a few others have not. I’m not saying it’s any better or worse that the others that have gone away, but I can’t help but wonder why.

  21. quartet-man wrote:

    I really liked Gospel Voice, it was similar to Music City News and I think put out by the same company.

  22. Johnny Napier wrote:

    Who are some of the artists who do not win that you think should? Be honest. I’m genuinely interested

  23. LS wrote:

    #22…Well, for one, I believe that Taranda Greene should have won the Soprano award at least as often as Kim Hopper! But every year, I repeat to myself, “The award says favorite, not best…and SN subscribers are creatures of habit.” (I know…I’m one, too!)

  24. Ode wrote:

    agreed.It’s just tough market for all printed media. News become old before they get send off to print. Bloggers monitor events basically “live”, so I guess SN mag sells mainly the commentary and as a nice memorabilia with good pics.

    Maybe more correct word here ‘d be “longest lasting”- interchangeable with “greatest” only in sports, military conflicts,and arguably,sex and relationships. When it comes to goods and services, esp. in entertainment industry, its often not so: McDonald’s outlasts other restaurants in recession-hit areas, cheesy pop outsells other music genres, and hardcore porn mags will prosperously remain around long after buying public for SG as we know it will turn into dust.

  25. Bubba wrote:

    LS I agree with you about Taranda. She is one talented lady and is always over looked for most SG awards. I also think Jason Crabb is as well. These two singers are in my humble opinion the future of Southern Gospel Music. Young people today don’t want to hear quartets they want to hear talented soloists and Taranda and Jason are as talented as anyone in most any genre of music. I am not dissing quartets as I enjoy some of them but they are not the future of SG.

  26. Me wrote:

    I disagree that young people don’t want to hear quartets. In fact, I’m young, hip, and I don’t want to hear soloists! Nothing more boring, in my opinion, than a soloist.

    The only reason this perception exists that soloists are for young people is because “soloists” in secular music are really a lead vocalist, 2 or 3 additional vocalists, and a 6+ piece band.

    If THAT is a soloist then maybe I would agree. One man or woman with a karaoke is not my idea of a concert superior to a group like the Dove Brothers Band, Kingdom Heirs Band, etc.

    Even groups with 3 guys (Booth Brothers) or 4 guys (BF&A) are superior to one person singing. That’s a no-brainer.

  27. Bubba wrote:

    Me I respect your opinion but we will have to agree to disagree. I have heard the Dove Brothers Band Kingdom Heirs and the Booth Brothers. They mix well but no one in any of these groups are powerhouse vocalists. They blend well and produce a good sound collectively but none of them in my opinion are extraordinary. I have seen Mr. Crabb on the Opry a couple times. He not only sang songs about our Lord and Saviour he did it better than anyone else on the stage on both nights. He brought the house down both times I have seen him on the Opry. I also read a quote from the producer of his new self titled album. His name is Norro Wilson and he stated in his 40 years of music that Jason Crabb is the greates singer he has heard in 40 years. Now that is a compliment especially coming from Mr. Wilson who has produced most everyone in country music in his 40 years of music. I do like all the groups today but I believe the future of SG is solo artists with big voices.

  28. Bubba wrote:

    Me I also want to say that you say a soloist singing Karaoke. Well then you obviously haven’t seen Jason and his band perform. His band is fantastic. Lorie Blane and Michael could play in any genre of music they are all fantastic. If you went to a concert I really think you would agree. Now as for Taranda I only saw her when she was with her husband and their group. I don’t know what she is doing now. I will tell you this though the night I saw her with her family group she literally stole the show.

  29. cynical one wrote:

    Bubba — Maybe an exception to the group thing you describe might be the Gaither Vocal Band. Three power house soloists, who can blend with each other (and with the other 2). I have seen them blow away the Opry crowd, as well. I was there one night when they received the only standing ovations of the evening. Did my heart good to see the audience, in between the usual cheatin’ & drinkin’ songs, acknowlege that “The Old Rugged Cross (really can make) The Difference”.

  30. Bubba wrote:

    I totally agree with you cynical one but GVB is one of the only exceptions and maybe EHSS. The GVB members could all do well as solo artists.

  31. Me wrote:

    Bubba, Jason Crabb (I’m a fan) used to sing with the Crabb Family. What makes him better now than he was with them?

    I have heard Jason as a soloist and I completely agree that he is the best one out there in my opinion. He is the exception, not the norm. 95% of SG soloists do not have his voice or a full band. He’s not winging it with tracks.

    My point is that people with big voices can sing in groups too. Just because some big voices have gone solo does not mean no soloists have small voices, and no group members have big voices. :)

  32. ode wrote:

    yeah,bubba,being days away from turning 25 and loving professional choirs.. I am with ME on this. That lady taranda is enormously talented,and that Grabb fellow,is a mediocre guitarist, but has the greatest voice. But their material is identical or even the same as contemporary christian music. Is that what you think the future is, aren’t quartets the unique identity of sg genre? Then what’s the difference between those beautiful blond SG songbirds and Cont.Chr. singers (please don’t say 50 pounds, I am asking seriously)?

    I love harmony and great voices, thats the strongest point of sg, or black gospel for that matter. To move to soloists would be like saying soloists is the future of Barbershop music.
    Elaborate on this if you can.

  33. Bubba wrote:

    I loved all the Crabb Family and believe they are all talented musicians and singers but when they went their separate ways I knew Jason would bring his music to a whole new level. I guess my main thing against quartets is I have seen to many bad singers trying to be a quartet. I respect their message and for getting on stage and singing for the Lord but when you mix four bad singers they don’t sound any better. I am not trying to be disrespectful to these groups but when I pay to go and see someone sing I expect someone with alot more singing talent than myself. LOL I also believe that if SG is to survive the genre must change. All genres have had to change Country Cotemporary Christian and I believe SG must as well to bring in new fans. I know SG is supposed to be about the message but you have to get young people their to hear the message. I remember the first time I ever heard the Crabb family. I thought they were all talented and loved their message but I could tell that first night that Jason was one talented guy with a bright future in any genre of music. I am so glad he has stayed true to gospel music.

  34. cynical one wrote:

    Bubba, the individual members of GVB HAVE had (and continue to have) successful solo careers, except BG himself. His solo cd didn’t sell well.

    Maybe that’s one thing he shouldn’t have listened to his mama about.

  35. cynical one wrote:

    Oh, and Bubba, if you think Jason doesn’t use tracks, watch and listen closer in his concerts and TV performances. The band plays on top of tracks most of the time. And the family did that for years, too.

  36. Bubba wrote:

    I have heard Jason and Taranda with and without tracks and both are spectacular either way. They are two of the only singers in any genre of music that I have heard that sound better live than on CD. I have seen literally hundreds of artists live from country rock sg and many others. most of the singers sound nothing like they do on Cd most are much worse. Jason Taranda and Guy Penrod are better live and that is a rarity in music today.

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