Sing It Again!: How Great The Debt with Dianne Wilkinson & Rebecca Peck

10917263_10152751770471608_5173493950208540515_nIt’s been a while since I’ve done a post in this series, but I wanted to discuss a great song that maybe you haven’t heard but definitely need to check out. On the latest and final recording from The Old Paths, Stay, the group recorded a fantastic song entitled How Great The Debt. Written by Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca Peck and sung masterfully by lead singer Tim Rackley, it’s a powerful song and reminder of just how awesome and great the debt of our sin truly was.

I asked Dianne where the inspiration came for the lyrics of the song, “I remember pondering one day on the enormity of the suffering of Our Lord on the cross, and all during the long night before the awful day. I wondered for just a moment why he couldn’t have had a different kind of death…more merciful. And it seemed that God immediately answered my question…”the cost had to be high, because that’s how great and grievous the sin debt was”. It is also true that His suffering was prophesied in the Bible. I wanted to write about that great debt. I don’t recall exactly how long it took to write the lyrics I sent to Becky. But it was less than 30 minutes. Every time I hear someone mention some deed or sacrament that has to be done by man before he can be saved, my first thought is “then why did Jesus have to suffer as He did to be able to say of the Plan of Salvation, “It is finished? No. Jesus paid it ALL!”

Co-writer Rebecca Peck shared, “I remember we were talking on the phone about the idea and she (Dianne) was saying that we focus on the debt being paid so much, and we should, but we don’t stop enough to think about how much it really cost him and how great our debt really was. She, of course, sent a killer lyric. I wrote the music on New Years Eve 2012. The irony of the song was that we used a snippet of the hymn Jesus Paid It All as the bridge, and that song was also written on New Year’s Eve!

As we approach the Christmas season and celebrate the birth of Christ, I can’t help but think about the very reason he was born. He came here to die, to pay my sin debt and yours as well. May this song cause you to think about the great debt that Jesus paid with his life, and rejoice in that. My thanks to both Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca Peck for their time and being so gracious in sharing their story behind this great song. Take a listen to the song below and share this with a friend!


Album Review: “In That Better Land” by 4 One Quartet

Today’s CD Review features a group that’s been making a name for themselves in recent days.      4 One Quartet hails from Reed City, Michigan. The quartet is comprised of group owner/manager Jim Quales singing lead, Will Funk on bass vocals, Brad Ledbetter supply’s the tenor, with Raymond Ashmore rounding out the group on baritone. Although the group is less than 3 years old, the members are all seasoned veterans. They have a busy schedule that takes them all over the Mid West and throughout the south as well. They have just released a brand new project, In That Better Land, produced by Rob Novell.


IMG_3589 The cd opens with You Are The Only One, a new song written by Dianne Wilkinson, which also features the chorus of How Great Is Our God. Lead singer Quales is featured on the project’s second cut, Based Upon The Word, written by Scotty Inman. Things slow down a bit for Miracle of God, which features Ashmore on the verses. The pace picks up again with a quartet song, I Wanna Be Ready, which features bass vocalist Funk and Quales on the verses. Raymond also gets to play a little saxophone on this one too. The first half of the project comes to a close with the title track, written by and featuring Ledbetter. The song reminds me a bit of Heroes of the Faith by Legacy Five, probably because of the end of the second verse. Nontheless, a good song about Heaven that will connect with listeners.

The second half starts with a familiar song that also features Ledbetter, I Can See The Hand. Things slow down again to feature Funk on another sing you’ll recognize, Thank Him For The Miracle. It was neat to hear a bass singer featured on this one and Will does a good job on the verses. The pace picks up again for a great song Gotta Have Faith, that features the tenor, Ledbetter. Next up is another great quartet song, He Washed My Soul, that features Ashmore on the second verse, and uses I Never Shall Forget The Day. Closing out the project is the praise & worship favorite, Everlasting God/Leaning On The Everlasting Arms, which benefits from a great country arrangement and some solid four part harmony.

When you listen to a group you’ve never heard before, its always more enjoyable when there is a good blend among the vocalists. Well 4 One doesn’t just have a good blend, they have a great blend! Its also great to hear song modern worship songs utilized by the quartet. With excellent song selection and solid vocals, In That Better Land is a wonderful introduction to this group and a project that I recommend. In particular, my favorite tracks were You Are The Only One/How Great Is Our God, Based Upon The Word, Miracle of God, He Washed My Soul/I Never Shall Forget The Day, and Everlasting God. To hear for yourself, you can find In That Better Land on iTunes or order a physical copy from the group here.


Review copy provided, a favorable review was not guaranteed.

It’s Just My Opinion – The $20 CD???

I haven’t written an editorial piece in a while so I decided to fire up the old keyboard and write one. I did not attend this year’s National Quartet Convention (NQC) in Pigeon Forge, TN, but I had several friends who attended. One subject that I wanted to bring up is one that has really puzzled me for some time, the $20 cd.  I had asked a friend if he purchased a certain cd that had been receiving some hype. He replied that he did purchase the cd but mentioned he paid $20 for it. Now, we fans know that the standard cd price is $15, and it’s been $15 since cd’s first came on to the marketplace in the 1980’s.

I also know, as someone who has made several recordings in the studio, that there is a great cost involved in recording a cd. Everything from paying for studio musicians/leasing sound tracks, studio time, songwriter royalties, duplication, photography, graphic design and endless other things that come with recording and releasing a project, can amount thousands of dollars being spent. However, I consider $20 a steep price for a cd that is in a cardboard sleeve that probably cost $2.00 or less to manufacture.

When everyone else at an event like NQC is selling cd’s at the standard $15 and you’re charging $20, it tells me that you’re desperate to make as much money as possible. It’s the equivalent of price gouging, trying to get the maximum amount of money out of people while you have them in front of you. Maybe that works with a majority of our crowd who don’t know any better or don’t care, but there is a segment of fans that will not spend their $20 on a cd when they know they could buy it through at digital music service, like iTunes, or at their Christian bookstore for less.

Do we want to support groups by purchasing their product through them? Yes, but nobody wants to feel like they’ve been ripped off when they see the exact same cd for 5-10 dollars less elsewhere. As bad as I would like to have the liner notes to see who wrote the songs, who played on the tracks and other pertinent information, I would also not like to be wasteful with my money. You don’t have to agree, It’s Just My Opinion.

What’s New On The Table? : Another Glorious Day by Justified

For this edition of What’s New On The Table, I wanted to tell you about a cd that I’ve been listening to lately. A little while ago, I wrote about some friends of mine here in the state of Michigan, a great quartet called Justified. The group, composed of tenor David Potts, lead singer Carl Ledford, baritone vocalist Mark Jacoby, and Tim Caldwell singing the bass with his brother Dave Caldwell on keyboards, are one of the finest quartets, not just in our state, but anywhere. Their latest cd, Another Glorious Day, was just released a few weeks ago. Produced by Tim and Dave’s brother and a name familiar to Southern Gospel fans, Bob Caldwell, this is another excellent project filled with songs every listener will enjoy.

aNOTHER GLORIOUS DAYWith quartet classics like “When I Wake Up (To Sleep No More)“. “Sing Your Blues Away“, “Telling The World About His Love“, and “Somebody Touched The Lord“, to newer favorites such as “Every Question Will Be Answered“, “That Little Baby“, “Just Preach It” and more.

Some of my favorite songs on the project include “It’s Still The Cross“, which Mark does a fantastic job on. David also turns in a great performance on one of my all time favorite songs, “Jesus Cares For You“. Carl also shines on a song that is a classic, “Welcome To Heaven“. The project comes to a close with the very energetic, “Oh Glorious Day“.

As a fan of great quartets, I’d like to think that I know a good one when I hear them. Folks, these guys are the real deal. When you listen to a recording from Justified, you will hear excellent song selection, fresh arrangements and fantastic vocals.  I had the privilege of hearing them sing last weekend, performing nearly all of this project to a capacity crowd at the Lloyd Severance Thumb Gospel Music Convention in Sebewaing, MI. The crowd was encouraged, entertained, and the Lord was exalted by the music of this great quartet.  I thoroughly enjoyed Another Glorious Day, and I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this project. You’ll be glad you did!

To order this cd and other recordings by Justified, visit their website here. You can also find them on Facebook.

Check out these videos of a couple songs from Another Glorious Day.

I’m Telling The World About His Love

Oh Glorious Day

Gold City Announces New Bass Vocalist

Chris West
Chris West

The headline may be a little misleading, but a statement was released by Gold City this weekend, officially naming Chris West as the group’s bass vocalist. Chris has been with the group since July of last year, when began filling in for Tim Riley, who had suffered a stroke. The press release states, “When Tim (on the advice of his physician and with the support of his family and the group) recently made it official that he will be cutting back on the number of tour dates and performances he’s going to do, Chris, who has studied under Tim for the past eight years, was the obvious choice to permanently assume the bass role. So while Tim will be attending special events, some reunion concerts, and will from time to time even hop on the bus and show up at a concert unannounced, the touring bass vocalist fans will see at every concert will be Chris.”

Daniel Riley, the group’s owner/baritone vocalist went on to say, “We’re thrilled to have a bass singer of Chris’ caliber to step up and handle the bass part. We’re not using the term ‘retirement’ for dad. When you are called to do something for the Lord, there is no such thing as retiring. He’s still going to be out there from time to time, thrilling fans as only he can. Obviously, touring at the level we travel does demand more than he can give especially since the stroke. So while we’re so thankful for his healing, we do understand he cannot go at it like he used to, and we want consistency for our fans who have faithfully supported us down through the years. Chris has provided that stability the past year and we are excited to have him permanently filling the bass role.”

Although Chris is the newest member of the group, he is certainly no stranger to long time Gospel Music fans. He got his start in the industry with Danny Funderburk & Silent Power. From there, West also sang with N’Harmony & Mercy’s Mark Quartet, which was owned & managed by former GC pianist/arranger, Garry Jones. There is no doubt that Chris is the right guy for the group, and he’s endeared himself to Gospel Music fans around the country already. If you haven’t heard Chris with the group, here’s a sample of him from a recent concert singing “Farther Along”.

If you get a chance, go out and see Gold City when they’re near you and welcome Chris to the group!


The Underrateds Part 1; Mike Presnell

I’ve been wanting to start a new series of articles and feature some singers that I call The Underrated’s. By underrated, I mean that these artists are some of the finest to have ever graced a stage, yet for some reason have not received the praise and adulation that many of their contemporaries have. I know that some may disagree with my opinions in this series and thats what this is all based on, my opinion.  My first subject is a fine bass singer that has always been a personal favorite, Mike Presnell.

A native of Elizabethton, TN that came to national prominence in the 1990’s, during his tenure with Perfect Heart, Mike was a key component of the group’s sound and along with Jeff Stice remained hqdefaultwith the group from their formation to their disbandment. Prior to joining PH, Mike sang with regional groups including the Brotherhood, with future Blackwood Brothers tenor Wayne Little. Mike first got some recognition during his time with The Sound from Houston, TX, along with a young Scott Fowler. Mike recorded two fine projects with The Sound, Back By Popular Demand & Take A Little Time, that are worth finding.

Presnell possessed one of the finest bass voices of his era. His range was incredible, he could sing low with the best of them, but he could also sing up in a high baritone/lead range. One of the best performances that showcased Mike’s range was a song entitled “Glory Waves”, from their 1992 project “Looking For The Wounded”. When I think of bass singers in the industry today, and I’m hard pressed to think of any who could pull this song off. The only names I could really think of would be Burman Porter and Eric Bennett. This performance was taken from the “Command Performance” live video.

Another one of Mike’s most familiar features was a signature song for Perfect Heart, “I Wish It Would Rain“. Set with a 50’s vibe, Mike’s recitation was one of the best parts of the song. Mike was also a favorite among fans not just for his singing, but his humor as well. His stories of growing up in the mountains were often hilarious, but heart warming and a huge staple of Perfect Heart’s concerts. Although this video is with Garry Sheppard, it captures Mike’s humor and more of the group dynamic that took place with the song.

Mike stayed active after the group’s demise, singing with Safe Harbor and a re-formed Perfect Heart. He’s also released a few solo recordings. Though Mike was an incredible singer and a frequent finalist for the Singing News Favorite Bass Fan Award,  Mike was active in the industry at the same time as other incredible bass singers, such as JD Sumner, George Younce, Tim Riley, Rex Nelon, and Mike Holcomb.  But those who remember his tenure will never forget his great voice and warm personality. If you’re a fan of great quartet singing, and bass singing in particular, do yourself a favor and discover Mike’s work. He truly was one of the best and is still one of the finest bass singers our industry has ever known.

Please share your thoughts below and join in the conversation. Be looking for my next post celebrating more of The Underrateds!



Jeremy Peace Joins The Lefevre Quartet

IMG_3059Former Kingsmen, Old Paths tenor vocalist Jeremy Peace is the newest member of The Lefevre Quartet. Although no official statement has been issued by the group, the group shared the above photo from an appearance on The Jim Bakker Show.

Jeremy did post on his Facebook page the following. “Sometimes in life we seem to get the cart before the horse. Often times we attempt to make things happen on our own because we feel it would please the Lord and we jump ahead of Him, trying to open doors and force our way through them. In doing this, we often fail to see the door we were supposed to walk through is right in front of us, but because we are so focused on our own dreams, ambitions and desires to please the Lord, we completely miss the opportunity He has for us to serve Him, how and where He wants us. I must admit I have fallen into this very situation, going on my feelings and own desires to have my own ministry, being at home with my family and serving the Lord in the way that I wanted to. I have no doubts about my calling to evangelize and sing, but it was the vehicle I chose to do so in that was not in the Lord’s plan for my family and I. After almost a month of struggling daily and wrestling within myself, I began to see the direction I was to take. This new direction wasn’t exactly what “I” had envisioned for myself and my family, or for one of my very best friends in the whole world, my little brother, Josh Townsend, but once my wife and I surrendered to the only open door and walked through, we were given peace and resolve. Through this door, I will still be able to preach and give testimony each night as the Lord leads, and my wife and I will still be able to work with others through counseling and retreats. We are excited about these new opportunities for our family, and we look forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for Josh, as our families are still very close. I personally want to thank everyone who prayed and supported our family, Josh, and the ministry, as our only desire was to serve the Lord.

Peace had left The Old Paths and announced the formation of an evangelistic/music ministry with his wife and former Old Paths pianist Josh Townsend supplying vocals and piano. Jeremy is the second former member of TOP to join the LeFevres, bass vocalist Brandon Berry was with the group as well.

Jeremy is without a doubt a fine singer, and a tremendous addition to the Lefevre lineup. The group has known their share of personnel changes over the years, but had found stability recently with both Thomas Nalley and Barry at tenor and bass. Theres a lot of potential with this lineup, definitely something for fans to keep their eyes on. As for Nalley, sources say that a press release is forthcoming. Keep both Peace, Nalley and the group in your prayers.