Thursday, March 13, 2008

Faves

I really like the Smart Playlist feature in iTunes. It allows you to quickly compile songs from your main music library according to a particular category, for instance genre or year. So, I decided to see what my favorite albums were from specific years. **Disclaimer: I'm sure there were other great albums recorded during these particular years, but this is the Top Ten from my playlist. If you wish to purchase those albums for me, I will accept them with joy.** Here's what I found from the last few years:

2007
Casting Crowns The Altar and the Door
-one of the best albums, lyrically, that I've ever purchased
The Hoppers The Ride
-the best album they've produced for more than a decade
Legacy Five Know So Salvation
-in spite of the fact that this is a cover project, this album is second only to their "Live in Music City" in my opinion; the best table album of the year
Crossway A Beautiful Thing
-the guys took a jump to a whole new level with this recording; their pop-country approach works
Brian Free & Assurance Real Faith
-not quite as good as last year's "It's So Good", but still a great recording lyrically and vocally
tobyMac Portable Sounds
-one of the few Christian rock artists that consistently produces top-tier recordings; I can't stop singing "Made to Love"
The Isaacs Big Sky
-The Isaacs have one of the best bands in the biz; it's nice to see them branch out a little bit musically; after seeing them live, they're one of my favorites right now
The Perrys Look No Further
-I don't think the Perrys are capable of putting out a mediocre album; they have an uncanny knack for adroitly picking the right song for the right voice that few SG groups seem to possess
Rascal Flatts Still Feels Good
-I'm a fan
Kingdom Heirs True to the Call
-Straight-ahead Southern Gospel done the right way

2006
The Perrys Come Thirsty
-My favorite project of 2006; I like every song on this album, especially "He Will Hide Me" and "Come Thirsty"
Legacy Five Live in Music City
-My favorite Legacy Five album; "Strike Up the Band", "Peace", and "My, My, My" are favorites; they were on top of their game that night; of course, this was Roger's last album so there is a sentimental attachment
Brian Free & Assurance It's So God
-I've been a fan of BFA from the beginning and I can honestly say that they've never done anything in the realm of this recording; Lori is going to tell me that I should have put this at the top; it was the only CD we listened to in the car for about 5 months; unreleased songs "It's All About the Blood" and "When the Lord Says Go" are a couple of my faves
Gold City Revival
-on a normal year, this album would top my list, but 2006 was the year for incredible albums (reminds me of 1986; go back and look how many great recording were released that year); anyway, Revival is my favorite Gold City album since "Preparing the Way"; Daniel Riley tears up"Aint' That What It's All About" and "Truth Is Marching On"; then you throw in the great lyrics of "Preach the Word" along with the classic "I'm Rich" and you have yourself a great project; Aaron McCune has a stellar debut as the GC bass
Audio Adrenaline Adios: The Greatest Hits
-I wish that I had listened to these guys early on; they don't fit the profile of most bands I enjoy, so I pretty much ignored their music; their music is, well, it's just fun; while they don't have the deepest lyrics I found them to be very entertaining
Gaither Vocal Band Give It Away
-Wes Hampton's debut recording took awhile, but eventually became one of my favorites (Abby, you win); the more I listen to Wes, the more I like his smooth voice, especially on "I Will Go On"; the slow ballads are all winners on yet another great GVB release
Phillips, Craig, and Dean Top of My Lungs
-These guys will always be in my Top Ten groups. I know that when I buy their CD I'm getting my money's worth; this album was a little bit edgier, heavier guitars and more driving beats; "Your Name", "Saved the Day", and "Amazed" are all incredible worship songs; God has used PCD more than any other group across the years to speak to my heart through their passionate, authentic songs of praise and testimony
Booth Brothers Harmony
-the best table project from anyone up to this point; I like this better than any label album; Jim Brady's version of "Home" is worth the price of the album
David Crowder Band B Collision
-This was the first album I picked up by these guys and I was immediately hooked; they have this eclectic bluegrass-fused-with-rock vibe, sort of like Little Roy Lewis meets Sonic Flood; I like David's odd-sounding crooning; I've never enjoyed banjo so much
Josh Turner Your Man
-I finally jumped on the bandwagon; actually, it's his songs that I like so well; he definitely has his own niche in the country market

2005
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir I'm Amazed...Live
-this CD features some incredible songs of testimony and praise; Jason Crabb's version of "I'm Amazed" is a standout; my favorite recording from 2005; this is the CD to listen to during your devotional time
Collingsworth Family God Is Faithful
-arguably the Collingsworth's best recording to date; not a bad song on the album; "God Is Faithful" would be on my list of all-time favorite songs, what a message; Kim's interpretation of "How Great Thou Art" is another highlight
Bart Millard Hymned No. 1
-MercyMe's front man goes for an earthy, country feel on this recording; it definitely works; I'm hoping No. 2 comes out shortly
Booth Brothers The Blind Man Saw It All
-while the Booth Brothers had several solid releases, this project took them to the front of the class; I'm not an emotional type of guy, but when I heard "Yesterday's Battles" for the first time I couldn't stop the tears; I listened to this CD about 30 times or more before I finally moved on to something else; I kept coming back, too
FFH Voice from Home
-another classic release from one of my favorite CCM groups; I like the album's theme, God speaking to his child
Il Divo Il Divo
-Wow! That's all I have to say...wow!
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
-"If This Is What God Wants" and "Forgiven Again" are my faves off this solid project
Sugarland Twice the Speed of Life
-I really like this group; the lead vocals are distinctive and sung with country attitude
Third Day Wherever You Are
-one of my favorite Christian rock bands brings it on another classic release
Tree63 The Answer to the Question
-I heard the title song on the radio and drove straight to the bookstore and bought the album; their version of "Blessed Be Your Name" is the best I've heard so far; "I Stand for You" is another great song of testimony

Me and My Girl

I'm trying to figure out if my left eye is always that large or if it's the distortion from my lens. You'll notice Kassady is in her dress-up clothes again. I do believe she wears her princess garb more than her real clothes. We definitely saved money last year. She is destined to be in one of those cheesy outdoor pavilion shows at Disneyworld. As you can see, I set the bar high for my kids.

Asleep

They get along so well while sleeping...

Kassady Kandids

Yeah, I now know what that phrase "2 going on 16" is all about. Miss Hot Stuff.

Cheesin'

All of a sudden, Kass has taken an interest in puzzles. She has done all of Trey's 24 piece puzzles, with no help I might add, and is begging for a bigger one. She wanted to make sure that I took a picture of her and all her handiwork.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Idol Chat

Amidst all the wannabe American Idol judge blathering that abounds in the blogosphere, let me add my two cents worth:
  • The winner of this year's competition will come from the guys. They consistently bring it every night.
  • I'm glad they pulled out the Beatle's songbook last night. I forgot how many great songs Paul and John have written.
  • I want to offer my thanks to America for finally getting Danny Noriega off the stage. He had a great voice, but I couldn't stand his constant posturing.
  • Last night Chikezie rocked the house. Who knew? That was a great rendition of "She's a Woman". It was a little schizophrenic, but what else do you expect when a Nigerian tries his hand at bluegrass. My favorite of the night.
  • I'm finding myself liking Jason Castro, in spite of his dreads. I enjoyed his performance last night.
  • David Cook is a great rocker. He hasn't had a bad song yet. He's my runner-up at this point.
  • Carly and Brooke both did a good job last night. Carly kind of reminded me of Bonnie Raitt in her take on "Come Together". Brooke sang one of my favorite McCartney songs, "Let It Be". A little bit pitchy, but nice. I predict that they will be the last women standing.
  • Amanda Overmyer may be the only woman who can beat up Chuck Norris. She's a little scary. From Mulberry, IN. Who would have thought it?
  • I, like half of America, can't help rooting for David Archuleta. While up to this point he's been the most consistent, last night was awful. He's only going to survive this week's cut based on his performances up till now.
Everything else was awful or forgettable at best. This is a pretty good season, though. Definitely entertaining.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Pro

Last night's closing ceremonies at Karcher Nazarene capped Trey's first basketball season. Lori, Kassady, and I cheered him on as he enjoyed the evening's festivities. Since this was his first time to play basketball, we enrolled him in the Upward basketball league. He loved it! I had tried to teach Trey the basics, but we don't have a goal at home and the basketball goal at the church is 10 feet. So, though he could occasionally heave in a shot, it wasn't the easiest goal to practice on. He started practicing with his team in January and he gave it all he had. I'm so proud of that boy! He finished up being one of the best players on his team. Last night, his coach told me that out of all the kids on his team, Trey improved the most. He now has a good shot, plays great defense, and has learned how to move without the ball. Not bad for a 6-year-old. A parent from the opposing team congratulated me on his defensive prowess and aggressive (in a good way) play. He said that he and his wife were impressed with how Trey had improved.

I was able to get to only two of his games. Unfortunately, they were on Saturday mornings, so I didn't get to all of them. I did make it to most of his practices, though, and watched Trey work to improve his game. He doesn't let failure get him down. He just works harder. For those of you who don't know Trey's personality that well, he's obsessed with the mental and statistical part of the game. He watched game after game on TV (pro and college) trying to figure out how the guys played defense, how they rebounded, and how they moved without the ball. We were watching a pro game last week between the Suns and the Lakers (I think it was the Lakers) and someone made a great defensive play to strip Amare Stoudamire of the ball. Trey turned to me and said, "that's what I'm going to do on Saturday." Lori said he got over 12 steals, all without fouling. He's begging me to get a basketball goal at our house. We'll see what happens.

Trey with a couple of his buds (Noah and Tyler) from church who played in the same league.

Trey and Coach Kevin

Trey waits for some action on the court.

Announcement of the starting lineups prior to the game.

Another picture out of the archives


And, I found an even earlier photo of Royce preparing for his future in Southern Gospel music.

Open up the archives

I came across some album artwork for 1980's ├╝ber-group, New Creation. Come to find out Liberty's very own Royce Mitchell was the frontman for this iconic CCM sensation. I think Royce still has those jeans.


An apology, kind of

OK, so it's been a while since I've posted anything original. I'll try to make up for it.

Natural Survival



I'm not one to get all excited about wildlife, but this video is amazing. Lion vs. buffalo vs. crocodile. It's definitely worth watching. You'll be cheering by the time it's over. Thanks for the recommendation, Ellen.