Release Oddities – “Between Here and Heaven”

by | Feb 10, 2021 | Commentary & Observations, Oddities, Release Oddities

In late 2016, several folks (myself included) wrote a Mega Review for the Booth Brothers’ Between Here and Heaven album. At the time of the review, the album had just been made available via the trio’s website as a digital download, with plans for a physical release in 2017. Based on the album cover artwork, the assumption was that the album was to be released by Gaither Music Group, as the “Gaither Gospel Series” banner appears on it.

However, 2017 came and went, and the album never seemed to get a proper market release from Gaither Music Group. What Gaither DID release in 2017 was a live DVD/CD combo, Gospel Favorites Live, which did not include any of the songs recorded on Between Here and Heaven.

It wasn’t until last year or so that I happened to notice that Between Here and Heaven was available on iTunes (along with other Booth Brothers catalog albums), listed as an independent album (with a release date of December 11, 2019, although that may just have been when the album was added to the service).

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Uh, dude, artists release independent albums all the time. What’s the big deal?” First of all, nice to meet you, gospel hippie, because I don’t know anyone else in this field that uses the word “dude.” Secondly, the confusion seems to lie in two areas…

One – the album clearly was intended to be released by Gaither Music; the “Gaither Gospel Series” banner isn’t used by any other label (and if memory serves me, the CD insert actually credits the copyright to Gaither Music Group, though I am hoping someone can verify that one way or another). The BB have released plenty of indie albums, none of which have carried the GGS banner.

Two – the album won the Singing News Fan Award for Favorite Album of 2017. According to the eligibility rules, for an album to qualify for this award, the album had to have been released nationally no later than March of 2017. At the time, I don’t know that there were stipulations about physical or digital releases, but releasing an album on one’s website as a digital-only release makes the eligibility dubious at best, and to date, the only hard release date I’ve found for the CD was January 3, 2017, which was on Steve Eaton’s review (wherein he noted that the album only made it to one retail outlet, without mentioning which outlet that was).

I know that a search of sites like Amazon or ChristianBook.com yields no results for the album ever being released. Capitol Christian Distribution’s website (the company that handled Gaither Music Group’s releases) shows no record of the album, either, nor does Daywind’s distribution portal.

So…what happened? Was the album meant to be released by Gaither Music Group, only to be rejected the label? Was the album recorded on spec (paid for the trio), or did they have to buy out the master from GMG before releasing it themselves? Are there versions of the album that DON’T include the GGS banner on it? And how did an album that for all intents and purposes was essentially “leaked” out wind up winning an album of the year award?

Kyle Boreing

Kyle Boreing

Kyle has been writing for MusicScribe since 2008. He is a musician, producer, arranger, and occasional quartet singer, who pays way too much attention to recordings. He is an alumni of Stamps-Baxter School of Music and has shared the stage with many different artists. He also really likes movies that are "so bad they're good." Visit his website at kyleboreing.com, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.

7 Comments

  1. Cody

    This is something I have pondered as well. The oddity seems to have started when BB released “Still” as an independent release in January 2015 and then Gaither released it in July 2015 with different artwork. Then in 2016 the Booth Brothers released “Atlanta Live” and Gaither released it the following year as “Gospel Favorites Live”. Then, “Between Here & Heaven” released with the GGS logo, but it was never wide released at all. The BB latest independent release AND Gaither release have pretty much the same name, but aren’t the same product (studio vs live). Have often wondered why the delay in wide releasing and why Gaither seems to require their own artwork.

    Reply
    • Kyle Boreing

      Gaither has had a history of releasing formerly-independent projects with altered artwork. Mark Lowry’s “But Seriously” album was an indie effort that Gaither later released with entirely new artwork. Wes Hampton’s first solo project had a similar Gaither re-release with new artwork. Guy Penrod’s “Breathe Deep,” however, was released as-is pretty much, with the only difference being that the record label logo was swapped out.

      With the Booth Brothers, however, the best I can come up with is that they are free to record what they want and bring it to Gaither, who would then have the option to release it nationally or not. It seems like this particular album was originally selected for release, then dropped in favor of a live production. I do admit that the “Country Roads” projects are odd, as well…

      Reply
  2. Sanger

    Most of this, especially with “Still” and “Country Road”, has to do with cutting the middle man out of table sales, and then letting said middle man have their portion through every other outlet. You make the album on your own time, with your own input, and you own your master from the beginning. Then if the middle man wishes to release it, great…if not, then you understand that you can be content with clear table profit and handle the marketing of it yourself.

    Reply
    • Kyle Boreing

      I understand the concept of independent releases and cutting out the middle man. That’s not my question. I’m wondering why this album, at first glance, appears to have been a mainline label release (complete with Gaither branding), only to be seemingly dropped and relegated to table status. Specifically – at what point was the change made, and why does it still carry the middle man’s banner?

      Reply
  3. Tad Kirkland

    Another tidbit of info about this album is that although it is a great album and full of radio potential, I don’t believe a radio single was ever released from this album. In fact, I don’t think the Booth Brothers have released anything to radio since Dirt On My Hands from Still. Maybe they don’t see the need.

    Reply
    • Sanger

      I hate to say this, but radio is fast losing its relevance. With streaming and downloading at our fingertips, we don’t have to wait on most of these songs to turn up on our radio station. Radio makes for great press, and works for those who still buy CDs and tapes, but other than that….. ‍♂️

      Reply
  4. Brian Fuson

    The Booths own the rights to all their projects, Gaither leases the recordings and does their distribution. Still and Live In Atlanta were self released first, then Gaither put them out, rebranding Live in Atlanta as Gospel Favorites Live.

    Reply

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