Randy Travis did it. Alan Jackson did it. And now Alabama's doing it, too. Making some gospel music, that is.
Actually, in Alabama's case they're doing it again. Their follow-up to last year's "Songs of Inspiration" releases March 27 on RCA Records/Provident Music Group and promises "more traditional, inspirational songs that I grew up listening to as a little kid and that have been handed down," shares Alabama front-man, Randy Owen.
Classics to be found in the collection include "Will the Circle Be Unbroken", "Down by the Riverside", "Lonesome Valley" and "The Star Spangled Banner." Also, be on the lookout for Randy on USA's current season of "Nashville Star" on which he's a celebrity guest judge. Hope he's nicer than his "'American Idol' kissin' cousin" Simon Cowell.
Over on TBN, the winner of the "Gifted" Christian talent series was recently announced. Da'Quela Payne, a 25-year-old singer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, took the top award and won a major recording contract with EMI Christian Music Group. Her debut drops on April 24 from EMI Gospel, but before then you can hear Da'Quela singing the AC format radio single, "Amazing Love (You Are the King)," along with the eight "Gifted" finalists. The single impacts radio today.
Another song that's making an impact is Matt and Sherry McPherson's "The Salvation Poem," found on their January 16 project, "Slow Down" (Autumn Records). Matt came up with the idea when seeking to write a song with an-easy-to-memorize salvation prayer. "The concept came to me from what I know of kids' poems and songs," he says. "I could offer you a million dollars to forget 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' and you couldn't do it! I thought, 'What if we could teach the world a poem that was the salvation prayer?'
The song has been embraced by evangelist Franklin Graham who is now distributing pens imprinted with the poem as an outreach at his events. Cook International is also planning to publish the poem on 30 million pieces of missionary literature to be distributed worldwide. And, last but not least, Dove Award-winning musician Steven V. Taylor is currently developing an evangelistic youth musical based on the song. Click here to hear a snippet of "The Salvation Poem."
You're last opportunity to hear from industry vets Audio Adrenaline didn't end in 2006. Au contraire. Turns out, their farewell outing as special guests on MercyMe's "Coming Up to Breathe Tour" is being extended into the spring. Two band members (Ben Cissell and Tyler Burkhum), had already found other gigs, so they won't be with the band for the final tour dates. But thankfully, Brian McSweeney (he previously performed on stage with AA and played guitar on "Some Kind of Zombie" ) and Jared Byers (formerly of Bleach) are stepping in to help a band of brothers out. Click here for the winter/spring 2007 tour dates.