Video Of the Week: #IWillStand by Allegiance

11403035_831008113619500_7783072386403801145_nMy pick for “Video of The Week” is a perfect choice for the upcoming July 4th holiday . “I Will Stand” is a brand new song from Allegiance, and was written by the group’s baritone Jake Sammons. Produced & arranged by Wayne Haun, “I Will Stand” is easily one of the most powerful patriotic songs I’ve heard in a number of years, both musically and lyrically.

I Will Stand” is also a part of something special that Allegiance is doing on social media. The group, Sammons, Kasey Kemp (lead), and TJ Evans (tenor), is asking folks to post pictures of the American flag or a loved one that has served or is currently serving in the military and use the hashtag #IWillStand.

The song has been sent to Christian radio stations across the country, as well as Americana and Country stations. The song is now available for download on iTunes and from the group’s Online Store. I’ve included the lyric video for “I Will Stand” below as well as a video explaining more about the #IWillStand campaign. Take a moment and listen to this great song!

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July and may God Bless America!

Album Review: “He’s The Rock” by The Sharps

Many times, I am sent recordings by groups I have never heard of and asked if I would review them here on the site. To be honest with you, a good majority of the material that gets sent to me is not very good and I strive to feature only quality artists here on Fuson’s Findings. However, I received a cd from a quartet that was a pleasant surprise, and it’s the subject of today’s Album Review.

image1The Sharps are a male quartet, hailing from Alabama that I have never heard before. Although the quartet was formed 30 years ago, the current lineup has been together three years. The group’s personnel has a mixture of youth and experience. The quartet is comprised of father and son Andy & Ben Sharp, who sing the tenor and baritone respectively. They are joined by lead singer Mike Leath and bass vocalist Logan Miller. He’s The Rock is the group’s latest recording, an independent project produced by Danny Crawford and recorded at Crossroads Studios.

The cd kicks off with the title cut, “He’s The Rock’, which was co-written by Andy and features lead singer Leath. Next up is a great quartet number written by the late Conrad Cook which is one of my favorites, “Endless Day”. It features Ben on the verses and bass singer Logan on some chorus step out lines. Another song I enjoyed is the next cut, “Then I’ll See Jesus” a medium tempo song that features Leath. There’s some nice harmony on the chorus as well that’s a testimony to a good group blend. “Every Hour and Every Day’ is a song that will be familiar to many Gospel Music fans.  I’ve always heard this song done at a quicker pace. However, the group elected to slow the tempo down on the song, which gives it a great feel. Ben is featured on the verses you can tell there’s some feeling in his voice. The first half of the project comes to a close with another good quartet song, “Upon This Solid Rock”.

The second half starts off with another toe-tapper, “I Am Has Called You”, that Ben features on the first verse. The second verse is the lone feature for bass singer Logan. Next up is another up tempo song that features Ben, “Change Of Address”. The next track, “My Grace Is For Thee”, was also written by and features Andy. “Heaven Can’t Be Far Away” is the project’s final up-tempo number and features both Mike and Andy on the verses respectively. Andy also takes the feature on the final song of the project, “God’s Not Finished With Me”.

 

CONCLUSION

He’s The Rock” Is a solid, quartet project. There’s a lot of variety on the project musically with some slow songs, but mostly uptempo. It was refreshing to me to listen to a project where there’s no big orchestrated ballads, and no vocal gymnastics; just good songs done with good four part harmony. I personally enjoyed the song selection and performances, my favorite cuts being the title track, “Endless Day, “Then I’ll See Jesus, “Every Hour and Every Day”, “I Am Has Called You” and “God’s Not Finished With Me”. My only real critique would be that I would like to have heard another song or two that featured the bass singer.

I have found that normaly most Southern Gospel fans, myself included, are often unsure of checking out group’s they’ve never heard of before. But I can assure you, especially if you like good quartet singing, The Sharps are right up your alley. There’s definitely some potential with the current lineup to do something special and I look forward to hearing more from these guys in the future. To find out more about The Sharps or to order a copy of “He’s The Rock”, visit their website here.

Review copy provided. A positive review was not required.

 

Concert Alert: The Sammons Family & Justified Quartet

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I usually don’t use the blog for my own promotions, but I wanted to let all of you know in the Detroit area about an upcoming concert. I sing with my wife and her parents, The Sammons Family. I have been promoting concerts in the metropolitan Detroit area for over 16 years. This year, we have been having many of our own talented groups from right here in Michigan join us for a concert. On Saturday June 6th, we will be joined by the Justified Quartet. I’ve written about the guys here on Fuson’s Findings and I truly believe they are one of the finest quartets around today.

The concert will take place at the First Baptist Church of Garden City, Michigan at 6:00 PM, with doors opening to the public one hour prior. Admission to the concert is FREE, but a Love Offering will be received to help pay the expenses for the evening. I would love for you attend and if you do so, let me know that you read about it here on the blog. Here’s a couple videos for to check out both of Justified and our group. God Bless You and Thank You for your support of Southern Gospel Music!

 

What’s New At The Table? – “Tapestry” by The Anchormen

Many times in the Southern Gospel genre, fans are so focused on the new recordings that our favorite artists are releasing that we miss out on some great projects that are not mainline releases on labels (such as Crossroads, Gaither, Daywind, StowTown and others). So I’ve decided to start a brand new segment called “What’s New At The Table”? Our first featured artists on this segment are The Anchormen.

The Goldsboro, NC based quartet is well known in the industry for the many talented alumni that have sang with the group. Great singers such as Jeff Chapman, Steve Ladd, David Sutton, Aaron McCune and Phillip Hughes are just a few names that spent time with this great group. Back in December, one bass singing alumnus returned to the group and created a buzz in the industry. Will Lane ended a search that lasted almost 2 years for the group, and gave their sound a huge boost. Lane is joined on this group by some longtime veterans of Gospel Music, Derrick Boyd (tenor), Jamie Caldwell (lead), and baritone extraordinaire, Terry Carter.

TapestryTapestry covers some standard quartet songs while also bringing back some of The Anchormen’s older tunes. The project kicks off with an Anchormen classic, “Come To The Fountain”, which features Carter. Terry sounds just as good, maybe even better as when he originally recorded this song.  Lead singer Jamie Caldwell turns in a stellar vocal on the classic, “Redemption Draweth Nigh”. Derrick Boyd does a great job on a song he sang back during his days with the Dixie Melody Boys, entitled “He Is Worthy”. Then Will Lane tears it up on a great song that features him, “You Ain’t Seen The Last Of Jesus”.

I was also pleased to hear the group bring back another great Anchormen classic, “I’ve Been Touched”. The guys also do a great job on some other quartet standards, such as “Without Him” and “Antioch Church House Choir”.  All in all, Tapestry is a great introduction to The Anchormen and just a small taste of the great things that lie ahead for these guys. You can order your copy here, from The Anchormen’s Online Store.

Make sure you keep an eye out for What’s New On The Table!

Review copy provided.

The Old Paths Announce Future Plans

46091_10151529035691608_249788921_nTim Rackley and Douglas Roark of The Old Paths announced today that the group will cease touring at the of 2015. The group will honor all dates currently on their calendar as, with their final service will December 6th. According to a statement released by the group this afternoon, “For more than twelve years, The Old Paths have traveled not only across the United States, but also the world. It has been their privilege to share the good news of Jesus through Southern Gospel music. While the blessings that the quartet has received have been numerous, this group has faced many challenges in the last year—primarily family obligations and health issues. Many are aware of the sudden, life-threatening condition that was discovered with Tim Rackley’s daughter which required an immediate kidney transplant. Group owners Tim Rackley and Douglas Roark have decided that it is in the best interest of their families for their focus to be on home.

Rackley goes on to state, “Those that truly know us know our hearts. When we started The Old Paths, we never dreamed that our desire to simply sing in small churches would evolve in to what our ministry has become. We sincerely hope that we have blessed others as much as we have been blessed. We will miss traveling and singing but we feel like it is time for our families to take priority.”

Roark went on to add, “Decisions like these are probably the hardest for a group owner(s), and it is not a decision to taken lightly, “but once we stepped back and looked at the big picture, the decision was obvious.”

I am truly saddened by this announcement. Without reservation, I can say that I am a huge fan of this group. As I have stated previously, I believe the recordings they have released in the last 5 years, starting with 2012’s Right Now all the way through their current release, 2015’s Stay, the group’s sound has progressed, but has not veered away from the formula that made them successful. Songs like, “Battle Stand”, “God’s Great”, “Long Live The King” and “Love Them To Jesus” have topped the radio charts and helped endear The Old Paths to many Gospel Music lovers. The group has made a wonderful impression on the industry, it’s just a shame that it is coming to an end so soon.

I sincerely hope to see bass vocalist Daniel Ashmore continue in the future. He is one of the finest young bass singers on the road today, and his growth as a vocalist has been on display with every project. It is also a shame that tenor Jeremy Peace’s departure took place before the group could formally disband. Peace was a huge part of the group’s sound, it’s hard to think of another tenor singer filling that spot. I wish nothing but the best for Tim Rackley, Douglas Roark, and Daniel Ashmore. Make sure you check the group’s schedule and go see them soon.

 

 

 

Jeremy Peace Departs The Old Paths

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The Old Paths L-R Jeremy Peace, Tim Rackley, Daniel Ashmore, Douglas Roark

In an announcement that I never expected to write, Jeremy Peace, tenor vocalist for The Old Paths, has announced that he is leaving the group to form a new ministry with his family. The group has not posted a Press Release yet, Jeremy made the announcement on his personal Facebook page. Peace shared, “Over the past several years, after accepting the calling on my life to preach the Gospel, I’ve wrestled within myself to step out on my own, following the Lord in the direction he would have me go. Through that period of time, I’ve said no, I’ve tried to reject the notion that the Holy Spirit was leading me into evangelistic ministry, and all but ran from any open doors the Lord would open for me. I’ve lived in my “comfort zone” for so long that I was content where I was at. But within the last few months, the Lord has revealed Himself in such mighty ways; answering prayers for our family and opening doors that we had no choice but to walk through. As we sat back and watched the Lord worked within our family, it became apparent that He was waiting on me to take the first step of faith, in obedience to his Word, so that He could use me and my family in ministry together. We live in a world of chaos and despair. Everyone searching to fill the empty void inside them that only the Holy Spirit can fill. While we as Christians send a majority of our missionaries overseas to other nations, our country is crumbling to ruins. Jennifer and I feel its time to follow the Lord, step out on faith and become missionaries to our great nation! Our heart is to lead the lost to a loving Savior, and disciple them in truth and biblical teachings. To go into churches; preaching, and singing to hurting people who need the message of hope that Jesus will never leave them nor forsake them.

Peace went on to state, “So, as I transition from being a quartet man, spending the last 8 years on the road with one of the top quartets in the nation, it is with a humbled heart that I announce a new ministry: Peace Ministries; preaching, singing, missionary and evangelistic work throughout the United States. We will also be putting together couple’s, men, women and teen retreats, sharing our testimonies; individually and together, of how the Lord has delivered us and worked through us, and how he can do the same for others!”

Peace has been a favorite of Gospel Music lovers since joining The Kingsmen back in 2004. In 2007, Jeremy left the group to join The Old Paths and for the last 8 years has been a part of this great group’s rise to the top of the industry. Their last 4 projects (Right Now, These Truths, Decade, Stay) are the finest string of recordings any group in the history of our music have ever released. Although I hate to see Jeremy leave my favorite group, I wish him and his family all the best. Please keep the Peace Family & The Old Paths in your prayers during this time of transition.

Behind The Music with Shane Dunlap

Today’s installment of Behind The Music is one that I’m really excited about. One of my favorite groups was N’Harmony, I had a copy of their Out Of The Blue project that I absolutely wore out. That was where I discovered the voice of their lead singer, Shane Dunlap. Shane has one of the most identifiable voices of any singer in Gospel Music: when you hear his voice, you know its Shane.

1477868_931375520239837_5838845141749792776_nShane left N’Harmony in 2002 to become the lead singer of a new quartet that was forming at the time, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. Many will also remember Shane from his time in The Trio with Kirk Talley & Anthony Burger.  Shane has recently recorded a brand new solo project, entitled Love So Amazing. Recently, Shane took a few moments to discuss his new project with me.

Brian Fuson (BF): So for many people who may have been wondering what you’ve been up to, tell us what you’ve been doing since you stopped traveling?

Shane Dunlap (SD): I came off the road about 10 years ago in order to spend more time with my family. Though I stepped away from a prominent career, I am so glad that I made that decision. Being able to be “a dad” was so important to me and the development of my young family. Since then, God has blessed me to become an ordained worship Pastor. I now lead worship at one of the fastest growing churches in the nation, Lee Park Church in Monroe, NC.

BF: What made you want to return to the studio?

SD: The truth is, I really never left the studio. I have been doing studio work and recording on and off for the past 10 years. However, I really felt it was time to get back out there on a national level. The model was for me to represent the church as an “artist in residence” of sorts. That allows me to have the best of both worlds, a home church base, and the opportunity to travel and do dates.

BF: You’ve worked with some great producers, such as Lari Goss, Garry Jones and others. What inspired you to work with Ricky Free and what was something you enjoyed most about working Ricky that stands out from other producers.

SD: I have known Ricky for a long time. I have always admired him as a musician, and have continued to follow him and stay in contact through the years. I love his passion for excellence. Ricky will eventually go down as one of the best of all time. Mark that down!

BF: How long did it take you to select the songs for this project, and did you notice a recurring theme in the songs you selected?

SD: I am a songwriter myself, but as I was selecting songs I wanted “the best” songs. Not just a song that I wrote. I probably listened to 150 songs from some great writers. I reached out to some of my songwriter friends and asked them for their help. Their support for me was humbling. I just wanted to cut songs that ministered to me. I know if it touches me, then I can easily portray the message to people.

BF: N’Harmony was always so versatile musically, and you’ve continued with that versatility on this project. How would you describe this project compared to your previous work?

SD: I wanted to continue that trend with this recording. We were always on the edge a little. I have a philosophy… Good music is good music, and people don’t care what style it is, as long as it is done with class and excellence. It’s always been my motto. Yes, some may not like a certain style and that is understandable, but if it’s done well, most of the time, most people can appreciate it.

BF: The first single from this project “Heaven In Your Heart” is a great song, that also features Sonya Issacs Yeary. How did that collaboration come about?

SD: I Heard the demo and loved the song. It was actually my favorite before we cut the tracks. After we cut the track to it, I felt that she would be perfect for the song. Having known her for many years, I asked if she would want to do it with me and she didn’t hesitate. Needless to say, she killed it… I told her ” ” I can really feel the heart in that song”… She is just one example of a true friend. I have had many of them give me so much encouragement through this process. Some who I haven’t spoken to in years, but they have still been there when I needed them. I am thankful for Sonya and people like her.

BF: What is the impression that you want people to have when they hear this project?
SD: No impression really. At least not an impression of me. I just want the message of Jesus to shine through. He has been so good to me, and I just want people to know how much he loves us.

I want to thank Shane and his assistant, Ashea Griffin, for their time. Love So Amazing  is now available on iTunes, you can also order your copy today by visit Shane’s website here.  Be on the lookout for a CD Review of the project that will be posting later this week. I hope you enjoyed this edition of Behind The Music.