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May 21

Songwriter Series #4: Kyla Rowland

In this songwriter series, we’ve covered two, Squire Parsons and Dianne Wilkinson, who would be on my personal “Mount Rushmore” of gospel songwriters.  There is no doubt that a third would be Kyla Rowland.  She has been a major source of great songs for southern gospel’s top groups for over 30 years now.  Many of her finest songs were recorded first by her family groups, including the Rowlands and Deliverance.  In the early to mid-90s, Gold City made monster hits out of quite a number of them, while in the last decade or so, Rowland has found a reliable “customer” in the Perrys.

Perhaps more than any other songwriter, I can pick out a Kyla Rowland song, musically, almost immediately with relatively good accuracy.  If you hear a mid-tempo, 3/4 meter song with harmonies ideal for a mixed group, there’s a pretty good chance you’re listening to one of hers.  I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but they tend to have a certain steadiness about them..there’s not a lot of crescendo and build-up.  Power harmonies are present throughout.  She doesn’t step outside of the box too much musically, relying heavily on familiar chord progressions.  I love this about her songs, because they are easily learned, played, and sung, making them ideal for folks looking for a song to sing in church.

Speaking of singing in church, it isn’t just the music that makes them ideal for this purpose.  We all know there are plenty of songs out there that are great gospel songs and are a ton of fun to listen to, but that aren’t necessarily songs you would sing in a worship service setting, for any number of reasons.  There’s a certain style of music and worship associated with the kind of old-fashioned Baptist church I attend, and for that setting, I don’t know anyone who writes more great “church” songs than Kyla Rowland.  The lyrics, as well as those power harmonies, lend themselves so well to old-fashioned worship.  Lyrically, many Kyla Rowland songs are built around personal experience.  There are a lot of “I”s and “me”s.  But that is definitely not to say that her songs are egotistical in any way.  On the contrary, they are songs that use those personal experiences to magnify the power of God, especially as it compares to our frailty and our need.  “When I can’t stand, I have to lean…” ; “Did I mention he’s been faithful…”; “I just go back to every prayer He’s answered for me…”; “Now I have someone to champion my cause…”  This sounds like a lady who has been through the fire, and knows Who brought her through.  Her songs are testimony of that, and they can be so for all of us.

 

Here are the stats on Kyla Rowland songs in my music collection:

 

Unique songs in my collection: 204

Total songs (including duplicates): 357

Most common artists:

  • Rowlands – 104
  • Kyla Rowland & Deliverance – 84
  • Barry Rowland & Deliverance – 34
  • Perrys – 31
  • Gold City – 12
  • McKameys – 8
  • Mark Trammell Trio/Quartet – 6
  • Inspirations – 6

Songs with 4 or more versions:

  • He Will Roll You Over the Tide – 8
  • One Scarred Hand – 8
  • But I Met a Nazarene – 5
  • I Made It by Grace – 5
  • Between Me and the Storm – 4
  • Did I Mention – 4
  • God Handled It All – 4
  • Heavenly Honey – 4
  • I’ll Take the Old Highway – 4
  • Royal Descendant – 4
  • Still Blessed – 4
  • There Rose a Lamb – 4
  • Thinking of a Mansion – 4
  • This Old Sinner Testifies – 4

Oldest recording: “He Will Roll You Over the Tide,” Florida Boys, Sing About a New Day (1978)

Newest recording: 10 songs on Make Mine the Real Thing, Barry Rowland & Deliverance (2012)

Personal favorites:

  1. God Handled It All, Gold City, Walk the Talk
  2. I Rest My Case at the Cross, Perrys, Changed Forever
  3. Between Me and the Storm, Gold City, What a Great Lifestyle
  4. Loving the Lamb, Mark Trammell Trio, Always Have a Song
  5. There Rose a Lamb, Gold City, Pillars of Faith
  6. One Scarred Hand, Gold City, Windows of Home
  7. Called In, Called Up, Called Out, Mark Trammell Trio, Always Have a Song
  8. Coming Out and Moving In, Mark Trammell Trio, Always Have a Song
  9. He’s Still on the Throne, Gold City, Preparing the Way
  10. Waiting Triumphantly, Perrys, Changed Forever
  11. Guilty of Loving Me, Gold City, Standing in the Gap
  12. Royal Descendant, Perrys, Hits & Hymns Volume 1
  13. Did I Mention, Perrys, Almost Morning
  14. A Wedding Invitation, Inspirations, The Inspirations Have Something to Sing About
  15. I Think I’ll Just Go with God, Edwards Family, Just Passing Thru
  16. Out of Harm’s Way, Perrys, This Is the Day
  17. He Will Hide Me, Perrys, Come Thirsty
  18. His Name Was John, Perrys, Life of Love
  19. Still Blessed, Perrys, Changed Forever
  20. This Old Sinner Testifies, Gold City, What a Great Lifestyle
  21. God Saves Old Sinners, McKameys, Waiting
  22. The Past Is a Promise, Rowlands, The Past Is a Promise
  23. I’ll Take the Old Highway, Mercy’s Mark, Southern Selections: Volume One
  24. Where Is God?, Gold City, Pillars of Faith
  25. But I Met a Nazarene, Perrys, Life of Love

 

Let’s hear from you.  What are some of your favorite songs by this gospel songwriting master?

11 comments

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  1. Daniel J. Mount

    I’d have to put months of thought into a top 10. But I’ll just mention two new favorites: “All our Hope” and “But He Did,” both on her son’s new CD, are Incredible.

    1. Brian Crout

      I like those, but I tend to gravitate to the ones that are a little quicker. I love “What’s That for a Healer,” “He Took My Case,” and “The Blood and Its Power”.

    2. Brian Crout

      By the way, I hope to work up a review of that one in the next couple of days. It’s my personal favorite CD of 2012 so far. One reason I posted this today is that listening to it over the weekend got my appetite whetted for Kyla songs.

      1. Daniel J. Mount

        Very neat!

        People will be amazed at how strong this album is, if they’d just give it a chance.

        1. Jessie

          I agree!

  2. Adam Edwards

    Kyla’s writing is simply fantastic….fits our ministry to a T, as well. Her lyrics just seem so ‘real’ and ‘personal’. Not sure that those descriptions adequately portray her writing, but it’s how we feel about them.

    (On a side note….was surprised to see one of our tunes in your top 25….Way cool! :))

  3. Andrew S.

    Kyla’s songs have truly enjoyable lyrics. I love “Look No Further” and “Prior to a Prayer” by the Perrys. I also enjoy her tune “Moving the Hand of God” from the Mark Trammell Trio’s Once upon a Cross cd.

    1. Brian Crout

      Good ones! A couple of those just missed my cut in that list of 25.

  4. Brian Crout

    By my count, 14 of the 25 songs on my favorites list are 3/4 or 6/8 time.

    1. Brian Crout

      By comparison, only 2 of my top 20 Dianne Wilkinson songs are 3/4 or 6/8.

      (By the way, I thought I did 25 for her too. Sorry about that, Mrs. Dianne, if you’re reading. :))

  5. Donna Allred

    Does ANYONE have the CD of Kyla Rowland and Deliverance entitled….Waiting Triumphantly. I REALLY need that CD… HELP

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