Beyond The Ashes, Channing Eleton, The Crist Family (Acworth, GA)

A few months ago, I attended a great concert that I never finished writing up for a couple of reasons.  Anyway, I wanted to finish it up now.  This concert offered such variety, from a solo pianist/vocalist to a trio whose style is what I’m calling contemporary southern gospel to a pretty traditional southern gospel family group.  I’ve seen all of these artists on multiple occasions so I knew I would enjoy the concert very much!

To open up for us was Beyond the Ashes.   Their members at the time of the concert were Anthony Facello (tenor), Casey Rivers (lead), and Kellan Monroe (baritone).   Here’s what they sang:

  •  Worthy Lord – This was a praise & worship style but was a good opener for the concert.
  • I Can’t Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand – I’ve always lked this song and BTA put a soulful spin on it.
  • I’ll Win The War  – This was from one of their older albums.  It featured each of the singers during the song.
  •  Tough As Nails – This was also one of their older songs.  Here’s a video from an earlier concert.
  • We’ll Soon Be Done with Troubles and Trials – This was one of their newer songs and they definitely put their own lively, modern spin on it.  Here’s a video from a previous concert.
  • He Looked Beyond My Faults – They really changed the pace with this wonderful Dottie Rambo song.  Here’s a video from a previous concert.

Channing Eleton was up next.  I’ve heard him play the piano on quite a number of occasions, both as an accompanist and as a soloist, but until last year, I had not heard him as a vocalist.   Although I still prefer him as an awesome pianist, Channing has a very pleasant singing voice and is also doing a lot of songwriting.   On his latest album, *Summer Rains Have Gone, he wrote five of the nine songs.  On that CD,  Just This Song is performed as both a long piano introduction and then it is sung with more instrumental accompaniment.

  • Put On a Happy Face –  This was a very light-hearted way to start his set!!  Channing seemed so comfortable talking to the audience from his seat on the piano bench throughout his set.
  • Leaning on the Everlasting Arms – This hymn got his jazzy piano treatment.   He didn’t sing on this one but he did shed his jacket during the double bass solo portion of the track!
  • Lookin’ to Jesus – He had fun with the audience trying to get us to hum along  in a black gospel style – but he gave up on us!    Channing was very comfortable doing a very wide range of styles – including these next two . . . .
  • He played something  “classical”  that sounded like Bach but I can’t quite remember the name of it, and then he played Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee, which is also classical since it was written by Ludwig Beethoven!   Here’s a previous performance of Joyful, Joyful.
  • *Days – Channing wrote this song about how important our families are.
  • *The Harvest – One of the good things about having a songwriter sing his own songs is that he can explain what motivation was behind the song.   He saw a field of grain and then thought about the workers needed to harvest it and then compared that to people are called to preach and their harvest of souls.
  • *Up On This Ridge – Channing left the piano to play the accordian and sing this one for us.  He produced a professional video of this song which was played during the Song of a Lifetime showcase at NQC 2011.   Here’s the wonderful video he produced.

And then the Crist Family took the stage.   I’ve loved this family and their sound since I saw them in Pigeon Forge right after they moved to Tennessee from Washington state.  They have great sound. style and stage presence and it’s been fun watching Breana and Jackie become the lovely young women that they are!   The group members are Rich & Lisa Crist and their daughters Breana Crist Henderson and Jackie Crist, and Rich’s sister and her hubby, Tami and John Starkel,

  • When I Get Carried Away – Love this Gold City classic!
  • There Is No Other Name – This arrangement was such an effective presentation of the message.  With so many group members, they used different combinations of singers on the different verses and choruses, building until the whole family sang the last choruses and ended with the whole family in full, rich harmony.
  • Joy’s Gonna Come in the Morning – This has been a signature song for the Crist Family as long as I can remember and it’s such a perky little song!
  • I Love Lovin’ Jesus – Jackie did a wonderful job on this song which really shows off some of her lower range.
  • His Strength Is Perfect – Tami gave a testimony about several family situations before she sang this beautiful song.
  • Jackie – My Heart Knows – Ditto what I said about I Love Lovin’ Jesus, except this was a slower, more meditative song.  I enjoyed the harmony between Jackie and Breana on the second verse when Breana (an alto) actually had the higher harmony line.  Here’s a video from a concert at my church, Macland Baptist in Powder Springs, Georgia.
  • The Rock – Rich came off of the stage for his lead on the first verse of this song and then re-joined the family.  This is such a strong song that talks about the resurrection.  Here’s a video from a previous concert.   (This was from my church, too!)
  • Canaan Land Is Just In Sight and The Great Beyond – This was their first song of the second part of the program and they were pumped up and having such a lot of fun!!
  • Until He Comes – What a sweet song!  We don’t often get to hear Lisa featured and I love her pretty, low alto voice!
  • They ended with a reprise of The Great Beyond and the whole family came off the stage and greeted people in the audience!!

– – – – – – –

This past Sunday night (Sept. 23rd), I got to watch a webcast of a service featuring Beyond the Ashes in their performance at Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, California.  It was what I thought was going to be my first view of new lead singer, Dustin Doyle.  After the introduction, I realized that Dustin was previously the lead singer for Renaissance Quartet, the group directed by Matt Holt at Bethel University, and I’ve seen him in concert several times!  My two favorite videos of Dustin with Renaissance were both when the group performed at the Steve Hurst School of MusicI Bowed On My Knees and, the following year, Real Faith.  Dustin is a great fit for BTA and I hope to be able to see this lineup soon in a concert close to home!


Diana Brantley

Diana is from the Atlanta, Georgia area and is a relatively recent southern gospel fan, having started listening avidly about 15 years ago. With easy access to eastern Alabama, southeastern Tennessee and north and central Georgia, Diana attends as many concerts as her schedule allows to see a wide variety of artists.

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