Kingdom Heirs :: True To The Call review

True To The Call

True To The Call is the first original CD release from the Kingdom Heirs since Give Me The Mountain from 2005.? It has certainly been worth the wait.?

Track? Listing:?

  1. Since Jesus Moved In (Dianne Wilkinson)
  2. The Rock’s Between The Hard Place And You (Dianne Wilkinson)
  3. True To The Call (Dianne Wilkinson)
  4. I Am The Way (Ann Downing / Toni Clay)
  5. I Want You To Know (Dianne Wilkinson / Chris Binion)
  6. Jesus Made A Believer Out Of Me (Dianne Wilkinson)
  7. Looking Out For You (Gerald Crabb)
  8. Praying Your Troubles Away (Dianne Wilkinson / Jerry Kelso)
  9. Lord, Your Word Is Still True (Dianne Wilkinson)
  10. What We Needed (Dianne Wilkinson)
  11. I Sing Because (Squire Parsons)?

The project begins with Arthur Rice leading a mellow quartet selection, “Since Jesus Moved In”.? I couldn’t help but tap along to the beat of this one.? This song was an excellent way to begin the album.?

Arthur Rice is also the primary vocalist on the next track, “The Rock’s Between The Hard Place And You”.? This upbeat song will get your feet moving.? I imagine that this will be a song that is released to radio…..and it should do well on the charts.?

The ballad, “True To The Call”, gives Steve French the opportunity to display why he is one of the better baritone singers in Southern Gospel music.?

Jeff Chapman takes the lead vocals on “I Am The Way”.? Although he doesn’t really showcase his range on this song, his vocals are still strong.

“I Want You To Know” is an awesome quartet song and one of my favorites from the CD.? This is a song that will see a lot of play on my computer and iPod.? If you like great quartet singing, then you will love this song.

Probably the most unique song on the project is “Jesus Made A Believer Out Of Me”……and that isn’t a bad thing.? I enjoy songs that are atypical and different from your typical traditional quartet sound.? Arthur Rice takes the lead vocal on this song.?

Billy Hodges sings the next song, “Looking Out For You”.? The vocal on the song are strong, but it’s not a track that holds my attention well.? It’s the only song on the CD that I find myself skipping to get to the next song.?

“Praying Your Troubles Away” has the most unique intro of any other song on the album.? The first time I heard it, I couldn’t help but think of the musical intro to that old ‘50s song, “Mr. Sandman”.? The first verse is kind of slow and methodic.? Then the chorus takes off and the song is amazing.? This is one of the best songs on the project.?

To me, the most powerful song on the project is “Lord, Your Word Is Still True”.? Billy Hodges is excellent on it.?

My favorite song on this CD turned out to be “What We Needed”.? I love the arrangement on this song.? It begins with the trio of Billy, Arthur, & Steve on the first half of Verse 1.? Then Jeff takes a short solo and they finish the verse as a quartet.? Then the chorus takes off with Arthur leading.? The second verse also has a great arrangement with the guys alternating melody and harmony.? I love this song!?

“I Sing Because” was the song I anticipated most on the album.? This classic song by Squire Parsons has been around in my area of NC ever since I can remember.? I was very excited when I saw this on the track list of True To The Call around a month ago when they Kingdom Heirs first started advertising their upcoming CD.? Arthur Rice is, as always, amazing and I wasn’t disappointed.? I can’t wait to hear this song live at one of their concerts.?

You can order this CD directly from the Kingdom Heirs’ website, www.kingdomheirs.com, or you can wait until it is released for retail sale on April 17, 2007.? It is planned to be release on iTunes on this same date.

Live recordings that I wish I could have attended

After listening through one of my all-time favorite recordings yesterday, The Wilburns? : Alabama Lightning, I couldn’t help but wish I could have been in attendance.? This concert was recorded at the same time of The Perrys? : Little Thunder – Live In Alabama project.? Both recordings are excellent and I wonder what it would have been like to have witnessed this concert in person.

After debating on this? yesterday evening, I came up with a small list of? recordings that I would have loved to been in attendance for:

  • The Wilburns – Alabama Lightning (1990)
  • The Wilburns – Sing It! (1988)
  • The Perrys – God’s Little People (1989)
  • The Perrys – Little Thunder (1990)
  • The Perrys – Absolutely, Positively Live (2000)?
  • The Kingdom Heirs – Live At Dollywood (1990)
  • The Kingdom Heirs – Song Of Praise Live (1993)
  • The Bishops – Live In Fayetteville (1988)
  • The Bishops – Chapter X Live (1994)
  • The McGruders – Come Fly With The McGruders (1990)
  • The Kingsmen – Stand Up At Opryland (1986)
  • The Kingsmen – Big & Live (1973)
  • The Cathedrals – Reunion (1995)
  • The Cathedrals – Live In Concert (1974)
  • The Anchormen – Spirit Live (1994)
  • Tony Gore & Majesty – Cool, Clear Water (1995)
  • Gold City – Live (1982)
  • Gold City – Double Take Live In Charleston, SC? (1986)
  • Legacy Five – Live In Music City (2006)

There are many other live recordings that I have and listen to on a regular basis, but those listed above are the projects that I listen to over and over again.? It’s nice to get to enjoy the recordings, but I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to enjoyed these concerts in person.

Roger’s Funeral

The home-going service for Roger Bennett was excellent.? At times, it was very difficult to hold back the tears.? I can’t imagine being on stage and trying to sing for the loss of a best friend.? My hat is off to Legacy Five and especially to Scott Fowler.

You could tell at times the song lyrics were difficult to get out, but Scott did a fine job leading the congregation in “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” & “Victory In Jesus”.? Jeff Stice was amazing at the piano, but of course that is all you would get from Jeff anyway.? Jeff is a class act.?

I know that Roger will be missed, but I really liked what Phil Hoskins said.? “We will be with Roger a? lot longer than we will be without him”.? I’ve never heard more comforting words.?

Funeral Service for Roger Bennett via webcast

In a newsletter from L5 this morning, we learned that the funeral service for Roger would indeed be broadcast via the internet.? Here is the newsletter:

We just got word from the staff at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, TN, that they are able to provide a live video stream of the funeral services for Roger Bennett on Wednesday afternoon, March 21, at 2 pm.

The Bennett family has decided that it would be a nice thing to offer to those who were not able to come… you can watch the funeral services by just clicking thru to the Brentwood Baptist website and then clicking on “live stream”…

Once again, thank you for your prayers and concern at this difficult time.

Please continue to pray for the Bennett family.

Kingdom Heirs :: Off The Record

Kingdom Heirs :: Off The Record

While this recording is comprised of classic Statesmen songs, The Kingdom Heirs have brought new life to these songs of days gone by. While some will relive the past with this new recording, some people will be hearing these selections for the first time. This is a fine tribute to those that paved the way and helped make Southern Gospel what it is today.Before we get into the individual tracks, let’s talk about the musicians for a moment. This album was recorded only with a piano, upright bass, and a snare drum. Kreis French plays the upright, Dennis Murphy plays the snare drum, and Adam Harmon tickles the ivories. Stan Whitmire is the only additional musician used on the recording.

This recording starts with “Move That Mountain”. Of course, the recording starts sounding like an old record, with the hissing, and pops & cracks. The vocals sound like they are going into a single mike but quickly jump into a modern, full studio sound. The Kingdom Heirs stay true to the Statesmen sound with their rendition of this classic song.

The album continues with the ballad, “When My Master Walks With Me”. This is a smooth, mellow song with tight vocal harmonies.

The upbeat “I’ve Got Something To Shout About” is next (yes, the same song from their “Forever Changed” album). The arrangement is a little different from their version on the “Forever Changed” project, but overall, the song is basically the same.

“I Know He Heard My Prayer” is next in the lineup. This is possibly the strongest song on the entire project. The vocals by Billy Hodges (tenor) and Jeff Chapman (bass) are very full. I don’t think I’ve heard them sound any better.

Arthur Rice (lead) and Jeff Chapman belts out the vocals on “Sea Walker”. This song will get those toes tapping.

The ballad “On That Judgment Day” features Jeff Chapman on the low, bass lines throughout the song. In my opinion, this is one of the weaker songs on the project.

“Let The Lower Lights Be Burning” is next and is good, but one that I would probably skip about every time I listen to the CD.

Next up is “I Know It Was Jesus”. The song starts slow with Billy Hodges belting out the tenor vocals, but the tempo speeds up and Arthur Rice quickly grabs your attention with his amazing lead vocals. This is definitely one of the best songs on the project.

The classic “Hide Thou Me” is next featuring Billy Hodges. This song honestly sounds like every other version of the song that has been recorded.

“Nicodemus” is a fun song to listen to. That’s about it for this song…a fun, quartet song.
The album continues with another ballad, “Beyond The Gates”. Arthur Rice takes command in this classic song.

The last song on the “Off The Record” recording is “Oh What A Time”. While this is a good version of the song, it will probably be compared to the Gaither Vocal Band’s rendition of the song. After hearing David Phelps and Guy Penrod master this song, the Kingdom Heirs version of “Oh What A Time” is just average.

Overall, I would say that the Kingdom Heirs have released another great album. I was disappointed that Steve French wasn’t featured once on the album (aside from a short solo on “I Know He Heard My Prayer”), but his baritone vocals were excellent as usual. Arthur Rice’s lead vocal were top-notch, as always. As stated earlier, I don’t believe that I’ve heard Jeff Chapman or Billy Hodges sound any better. Jeff’s voice has matured into one of the best bass voices in SG today and Billy Hodges is on his way to becoming one of the better tenors in the industry.

Kingdom Heirs :: Concert in Asheville, NC (3/11/07)

I would personally like to say “Thank You” to Associate Pastor Scott Shields and the church staff for a wonderful evening with the Kingdom Heirs at the North Asheville Baptist Church. For more information about this wonderful church, here is a link to their website:

http://www.northashevillebaptist.org.

Please pray for this church as they are getting ready to expand to a second campus for church services. They already do 2 services on Sunday mornings and they have a need to add another location to accommodate all of those attending. Our God is truly amazing!

Alright, back to the concert.

The concert started at 6 PM. After group introductions by Pastor Scott, The Kingdom Heirs took the stage. Here is a song list from the evening:

1) I’ll Be A Friend (from their Series 1 project)
2) Let’s Go To That Land (from their Gonna Keep Telling & Series 1 projects)
3) Mighty Deep Well (from their Going On With The Song project)
4) The Day Before He Saved Me (from their Give Me The Mountain project)
5) We’ll Soon Be Done (from their Series 1 project)
6) God’s Word (from their Give Me The Mountain project)
7) Sea Walker (from their Off The Record project)
8) My Anchor Of Hope (from their Give Me The Mountain project)
9) Goodbye World, Goodbye (Band Instrumental)
10) I’ve Got That Old-Time Religion (Piano Solo)
11) I Don’t Wanna Go Back (from their Give Me The Mountain project)
12) Pray For Me (from their Give Me The Mountain project)

– Intermission –

13) Move That Mountain (from their Off The Record project)
14) Nicodemus (from their Off The Record project)
15) I Know He Heard My Prayer (from their Off The Record project)
16) Forever Changed (from their Forever Changed project)
17) Invitational by Steve French
18) How Great Thou Art (from their Feelin’ At Home & Series 1 projects)

I knew it was going to be a good evening when the crowd response on the very first song prompted a turn-around on “I’ll Be A Friend.” The crowd was very response for the entire concert.

Jeff Chapman kept the crowd going with “Let’s Go To That Land.” His voice keeps getting deeper and stronger every year that I hear him. I just listened to a recording of Jeff when he was with the Anchormen in 1994 (Spirit Live – 1994 VHS) and it is amazing the difference in the quality of his voice between then and now. He was also very impressive on the Kingdom Heirs hit song, “Mighty Deep Well”. In fact, vocally, it was one of Jeff’s better song performances of the evening.

While I’m on that song, let me say that IMO, Billy Hodges was far better on the tenor than anytime I heard Jodi Hosterman sing that song. Not that I didn’t like Jodi’s voice, but Billy has a higher range and therefore fits the song better.

Jeff continued singing with the Rodney Griffin song, “The Day Before He Saved Me”. Again, Jeff was top notch the entire evening. What a powerful song!

The classic song, “We’ll Soon Be Done”, from the red Church Hymnal was next. This song drew more response from the crowd than any other song from the first half of the concert than any of the other 11 songs.

“God’s Word” was the next song. I’ve never been a big fan of this song. To be honest, I’m still not after hearing another live performance. Vocally, it was good. I’ve just never liked the feel of the song.

The Statesmen classic, “Sea Walker”, was next. Good performance, but it wasn’t one of the highlights of the evening. It seemed like more a filler song for the concert. But then, they go from kind of “Blah” with “Sea Walker” to the most powerful song of the first half of the concert, “My Anchor Of Hope”.

Billy Hodges was spectacular on this song and the crowd was eating this song up. It was great to see hands uplifted to Heaven during this song and people getting a blessing from the lyrics. Although this song was great, the most powerful song was yet to come. More about that later.

The next two songs were instrumentals, “Goodbye World, Goodbye” (featuring the three band members) and “I’ve Got That Old-Time Religion” by Joseph Cox. The Kingdom Heirs have the reigning “Band Of The Year” in Southern Gospel and they did not disappoint with their musicianship. Joseph seemed to be a great fit, but that is now a moot point with his departure from the group the day following the concert. I guess he didn’t fit as well as it seemed.

Two more songs completed the first half of the concert. “I Don’t Wanna Go Back” was next and it was another one of those “Blah” songs to me. But then, Arthur Rice unloaded on “Pray For Me”. Being in his hometown, Arthur was feeling at home…….and that was apparent in his vocals for the evening……then again, I’ve never heard Arthur sing when he wasn’t at the top of his game.

After a thirty minute intermission, the Kingdom Heirs were welcomed to the stage once again and they began with three consecutive songs from their “Off The Record” album:

? “Move That Mountain”
? “Nicodemus”
? “I Know He Heard My Prayer”

The first two were good vocally but didn’t pull much response from the crowd. That all changed when the Kingdom Heirs sang “I Know He Heard My Prayer”. The crowd really got excited with this song and that Spirit of excitement grew exponentially when Arthur sang “Forever Changed”. This is one of the most powerful songs that I’ve ever had the privilege of hearing the Kingdom Heirs perform.

Steve French gave a good invitational with several people coming forward to the altar for prayer. This was probably the sweetest service that I’ve ever been in with the Kingdom Heirs. Steve really did well during this time of prayer.

Arthur Rice finished the evening with “How Great Thou Art”. Arthur showed us with his vocals on this song why he is one of the best lead singers in Southern Gospel music today. This is becoming one of his signature songs, mostly due to the amount of time that he holds a note in the second verse of the song. He held the note (and stayed on pitch) for around 30 seconds. It’s pretty amusing to see how many shades of red he turns while he holds the note. What a way to end the concert!

Overall, it was a great evening with the Kingdom Heirs.

My Tribute to Roger Bennett

To be honest, I had all intentions of making my first blog post (with the exception of the welcome post) about my favorite quartet of all time, The Kingdom Heirs.? But due to the passing of one of the most beloved piano players in the history of Southern Gospel music last Saturday, I feel that Roger Bennett is more deserving.? Not because of his passing, but because of the memories that Roger has forever etched in my heart.

My first memory of Roger Bennett came about 20 years ago when a friend of mine loaned me a cassette by The Cathedrals.? The title of the recording was “Travelin’ Live” and I remember being? in awe of each person that sang on the project.? It was many years later that my interest in Southern Gospel would really take flight and wouldn’t you know it, that same cassette found it’s way back into my collection.? My friend had told me to keep it and it had been forgotten in storage for 15 years or more.? One day I remembered that I still had it and I was surprised that I could still remember most of the words to the songs as I played it back over and over again.?

One song in particular that really stuck out to me on the project was entitled, “Homeland”.? It featured Roger Bennett, along with Mark Trammell & Danny Funderburk.? George Younce sang bass on one of the choruses, but it was primarily recorded as a trio.? I remembered George calling on Roger to say something before they did a turnaround on the song.? It’s kind of eerie listening to these words from Roger as we mourn his passing:

You beckoned to my loved ones and how my tears did flow
And though I tried, I could not hide, how it hurt to see them go
But now I know that they left this world and moved to a better place
And someday soon you will call me too and I will see them face to face

Since this project is so hard to find, many people probably have never heard it, I feel lead to share a clip with you that are reading this (Please do not ask me to share the song file with you).? Listen closely to the lyrics of this song……I hope you can find the same comfort in them as I have!

Roger, I know you are in a better place, but your “Legacy” will forever remain to those of us that you’ve touched with your music and your ministry.? I can’t help but imagine that you, Glen, & George are already singing around the throne of the Almighty.