1. The Inspirations lineup has finally settled. The group has had a series of fill-ins lately, but it was announced this week that the new lineup sees the return of Dallas Rogers at tenor, Matt Dibler at lead, and Melton Campbell at baritone, with Jon Epley moving down to the bass part. The band remains the same.
Here’s a clip of the new Inspirations in action:
2. Legacy Five bass Matt Fouch’s “On The Couch With Fouch” has become a favorite series for Southern Gospel fans. Here’s the latest installment with guest Scott Inman of Triumphant Quartet:
Next week, I plan to have two CDs reviewed: The Hoggle Family’s self-titled release, and You Are My Song by Gold Harbor.
This clip was just too good not to post. Borrowing from the uploader’s title for the video (h/t, psalmofpraise), this comes from the Southwest Gospel Music Festival in Phoenix, AZ. Kim and Connie Hopper were snowed in and unable to make it to Phoenix for the Hoppers’ set that night, so Dean, Claude, and Mike put together a group of “honorary Hoppers” in the meantime. They were joined by Doug Anderson on Connie’s part, Chris Allman carrying Kim’s part, and Tim Lovelace sitting in on the piano.
If you’re going to put a group of singers together in a pinch, this is the way to do it!
Last weekend found me attending the Winter Hearts Benefit Concert, an annual event held in my home area of Lynchburg, VA. Each year, this organization brings in a Southern Gospel group (or multiple artists) to put on a concert to benefit a local family in need. This time, the lineup featured Howie McKinney (a soloist from Salem, VA), the Skyline Boys, and the Rick Webb Family. Space constraints and battery life prevented me from capturing the Rick Webb Family’s set, but I will say that I came away impressed from my first time hearing them. It was mentioned by the promoter that they are return favorites for the event, but I had never had the opportunity to hear them.
I did manage to take a few clips of the Skyline Boys. They were traveling with a fill-in lead singer after Brian Alvey’s departure, but it was not mentioned from the stage that he was filling in, and you wouldn’t have known the difference if you weren’t aware that they are searching. I hadn’t seen the group outside of NQC before, so it was nice hearing a fuller set from them. They did two songs from their new project, Love Came Through, and I was able to capture one: “Sing It, Brother, Sing It.” The new songs went over very well.
The lineup for this concert was tenor Jodi Hosterman, fill-in lead Chris Williams, baritone Chris Little, and bass Dennis Powers.
We all know about the big announcement this week with the Gaither Vocal Band. That’s been covered well, so I won’t rehash it. Instead, I’ll spotlight another group that has reconfigured.
You may have seen the Woodsmen Quartet in their brief appearances on main stage at NQC, or maybe you’ve heard of them because of some of their past members (Derrick Boyd of the Dixie Melody Boys, Carolina Boys, and others, or Jim Huston, brother to Bryan Hutson of the Kingsmen and Soul’d Out Quartet). They’ve recently had a shift in membership, with two faces that some might recognize coming on board:
The Woodsmen Quartet would like to announce the new additions to the group!
As you may have already heard, Josh Arnett, our lead singer has announced his departure and has decided to pursue other things. Josh is one of the best lead singers in the business and we will definitely miss him a lot as he was a huge part of the Woodsmen and always will be! We are thankful for Josh’s time with us and wish him the best! Coming back to sing lead for the Woodsmen is our own Jim Hutson, as you may have heard. We’re very excited to have Jim back with us and look forward to see what will happen in 2014!
Some of you may have heard but our tenor, Scott Joss has also announced his departure from the Woodsmen. Scotty has been a great asset and we will miss him and wish him the best! Coming in to fill in the tenor shoes is 22 year old Daniel Rivera from Merrillville, IN. Daniel is no stranger to Southern g=Gospel music. Having sung with The Toney Brothers, Blackwood Legacy, Promise, and The Hallmark Quartet, Daniel brings to the stage a sound of a seasoned southern gospel veteran. We look forward to this brand new lineup and can’t wait to see what God has in store! They will start together in March!
This has the makings of a quartet with a great sound. I’m not all that familar with Jim Hutson’s singing (just enough to know he’s good), but I actually got to hear Daniel Rivera when he filled in with Promise back in 2012. Here are a couple of clips from that concert:
It’s safe to say that these two men will be an asset to the Woodsmen Quartet.
Song titles: Don’t Stop Running; God’s Been Faithful; When the King Comes To Claim His Throne; Thanks to Calvary; I’ll Go Over Jordan Someday; Man of Sorrows; Your Walk Talks; To Know He Knows Me; I’ll Take It To The Grave; I Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way
The Mark Trammell Quartet has had quite a time since their last release of new songs (Testimony in 2010. They’ve released three projects of mostly older material since). The lineup on Testimony included tenor Joel Wood, lead Dustin Sweatman, baritone Mark Trammell, and bass Pat Barker. During the span from then to now, Wood left and original tenor Eric Phillips rejoined the group. Sweatman came off the road and Mark’s son, Nick, stepped into the role. Phillips then left the road again, and the group was left looking for a tenor. After a trial run, Dustin Black was eventually named as the new guy.
Despite these transitions, the group has not rested on its laurels. This project serves as a debut for two things: a new sound/lineup for the group, and the birth of a new record company in Crimson River Productions. With stakes as high as these, one would be forgiven for wondering if this project collapses under the weight of its own promise. It does not.
The wait for truly new music from the Mark Trammell Quartet has been long (four years), but worth it. While the better-known projects in the group’s discograpy have been pretty ballad centric, this one only has one such track in “Man of Sorrows.” That is certainly a strong track, but one will probably think of the upbeat songs when recalling this CD. “When The King Comes To Claim His Throne” and “I’ll Take It To The Grave” are two major standouts, one telling of the milennial reign and the other celebrating the joy and peace that we have forever in Christ. On the other end of the tempo scale, “God’s Been Faithful” and “Thanks to Calvary” are worth mentioning. The latter is the George Younce signature, and while it doesn’t stray too far from the original, it is a fitting tribute in the context of the recent Cathedral Family Reunion.
I have alluded to the “new sound” that debuts with this project, and that’s one of the reasons I appreciate this release. The difference is most evident with the tenor part. Though no one could truly duplicate the sound the group had with Eric Phillips, Joel Wood was a hire that had a similar tone, so the group’s sound never really wavered from what it used to be. Dustin Black, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. Phillips made the MTT/MTQ unique because of his through-the-roof notes and consistently high harmonies; Black makes them unique by having a different sound from any tenor on the road, and while he is not as stratospherical as Phillips, his blend with the group is smoother. His feature at the end of the project, “I Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way,” is a perfect showcase of this, though ”I’ll Take It To The Grave” sounds like one they would have done with Phillips.
MTQ continues their line of strong song choices and a recognizable sound with Your Walk Talks, and this will undoubtedly be seen as one of the best quartet releases in 2014. It receives 4 stars.
The Mark Trammell Quartet has quickly become one of the finer quartets in this genre of music, with a journey that began before they added a bass singer. I started paying attention when they released the Once Upon A Cross as a trio, and I have continued to appreciate their strong song choices and their ability to hold that standard even through personnel changes.
I got the chance to catch up with the bass singer for the quartet, Pat Barker, and ask him about the group’s latest effort:
Aaron Swain: What is your favorite song from “Your Walk Talks,” and why?
Pat Barker: My favorite song is “Your Walk Talks.” I was on the Alaska cruise when Rodney (Griffin) and Babbie (Mason) went into the piano bar and wrote that song. They came out to the table and immediately pitched it to Mark. I loved the hook from the beginning and the arrangement is perfect. Mark does a perfect job on the solo, even throwing in a little Jake Hess just for fun.
AS: “Thanks To Calvary” was a signature song for George Younce, and your admiration for him is no secret. What went into the decision to include that song?
PB: “Thanks to Calvary” is a “George” song, no doubt. He is the greatest, and will always be the greatest.
I have had the honor of doing Remember the Music concerts along with Glenn Dustin and Matt Fouch the last few years. It has been a dream come true. More recently, I got to be a part of the Cathedral Family Reunion. At a RTM concert, someone in the audience requested “Thanks to Calvary.” I had never sung it, but I knew the song. Something special happened, and we literally didn’t know what to do next. It became a permanent fixture at the RTM concerts, and was added to the CFR concert as well. Gerald Wolfe was the one who suggested that we put it on the album. My testimony is the story in that song, so it is an easy one to sing. I love that song.
AS: Other than Mark Trammell, you are the only member that has been with the group from the beginning of their “quartet” days. With the other two parts changing over this time period, how do you think the sound has evolved, and do you feel that the change is reflected with this project?
PB: Lots of things have changed. Losing (Dustin) Sweatman was a tough loss. He brought a lot to the table with his piano skills and his ability to win the crowd over. He was also a big help in the studio and picking songs. I still miss having a piano on stage, but Nick (Trammell) has taken over beautifully on lead. He is also a great songwriter, which shows up on this new album.
With the loss of Eric (Phillips), we not only lost an incredible tenor, but I lost my buddy. We bonded very quickly, and that relationship continues, but not as much as I would like. When Dustin (Black) came on board, I knew it would be a challenge for him. I could not be prouder of someone musically than I am of him. There is no other tenor that he sounds like, and I, for one, welcome the change. His solo at the end of the project is one of my favorite cuts.
Thanks, Pat, for a great interview!
I’ll echo Pat’s sentiment about “Your Walk Talks.” At first listen, it just sounds like a bouncy little ditty, but there are very true and applicable lyrics in such a fun song. Another that has taken up residence on my “most played” list is “I’ll Take It To The Grave.” The team of Rebecca J. Peck and Dianne Wilkinson penned a great song with that one, and I’m glad to see it get a fine quartet treatment.
Head over to Musicscribe for the next stop on the MTQ blog tour as Diana Brantley interviews Dustin Black!
With the recent Kickstarter campaign to fund the group’s upcoming release, speculation began as to whether Legacy Five would remain a Daywind artist much longer. Those questions were answered today in an announcement from Daywind:
Multi-award-winning artist Legacy Five recently signed a long-term recording contract with Daywind Records. Daywind has been Legacy Five’s home for the past decade, beginning with the group’s “London” project. The group is putting the finishing touches on their latest recording, entitled “Great Day.” The upcoming release is produced by Lari Goss, and it will release on March 25.
Legacy Five manager Scott Fowler stated, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Daywind. Daywind has an incredible roster of artists, and we consider it an honor to be a part of their family. We are very excited about the direction they are going. We feel like our fans are part of our team, too. Daywind is inviting our fans to choose the cover photo for our new CD, ‘Great Day.’ Fans can vote athttp://legacyfive.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/choose-l5s-new-cd-cover/#comment-3168.”
“Legacy Five is one of the premiere groups in Gospel music. This agreement will continue Daywind’s successful partnership with Legacy Five for the foreseeable future,” stated Daywind Vice President Scott Godsey.
In 2014, Legacy Five will celebrate its 14-year anniversary in Southern Gospel Music, having been formed by Roger Bennett and Scott Fowler, two of the members of the legendary Cathedral Quartet. The male quartet has been nominated for two Dove Awards and more than 75 Singing News Fan Awards. “Great Day” comes to Legacy Five fans following its latest release, a “A Wonderful Life.” “A Wonderful Life” included the successful singles “Ask Me Why,” “Living In the Palace,” and “I’m Still Amazed.”
Daywind Records is home to a great roster of artists such as Brian Free and Assurance, Adam Crabb and Greater Vision. Daywind is distributed to retail through New Day Christian Distributors, Select O Hits, and all major digital outlets including iTunes. For more information, visit www.daywindrecords.com or contact Amanda Martin at email@example.com.
In an email today, Bill Gaither confirmed what many had already speculated:
We are thrilled to welcome Adam Crabb aboard as the newest member of The Gaither Vocal Band! Adam comes to us with years of musical expertise, including on-stage and studio work as a member of award-winning Crabb Family, and as a solo artist and worship leader.
Bill Gaither is grateful and excited about the future! He says, “For decades now, we have reinvented the Gaither Vocal Band again and again, and in the process we have found some of the most incredible male singers and wonderful human beings on the planet. Adam is a very exciting addition to this 30-year legacy of excellence.”
As for whether or not the GVB will maintain a five-man lineup, Gaither had this to say:
“We are taking our time and trying out some wonderful individuals during the next few weeks. You will see some very gifted guest artists out on the tour with us as we seek the perfect fit. Trust me. You do not want to miss the chance to see what is about to happen as we enter this new season.”
Let the speculation continue! For now, here’s a look at how Adam fits with the group. This is a compilation of clips, and the whole thing is worth watching, but for the songs that directly feature Adam, skip to 1:07, 2:55, and 4:41:
McCray Dove announced last night on Facebook that the group has decided on a tenor singer following the departure of Jonathan Price:
Excited to announce that Mark McPherson will be McCray Dove and the Dove Brothers Band’s new TENOR! This was Mark’s first weekend with the Band. Mark brings a fresh but true Quartet Tenor sound to the band! So come out and hear the new line up!
Mark has been a member of groups such as Holy City and the Vintage Quartet.
Here are a couple of samples from over the weekend:
One constant in Southern Gospel music is change, but 2014 brought an announcement of transition on Day 1. Since the departure of group founder and baritone David Mann, Promise had been seeking a new singer. As of January 1, the trio has closed the book on their history:
Promise would like to thank all of you for your support and friendship over the last two years. The Lord has done some amazing things, and His impeccable timing has brought on a new chapter for us recently. As of today, Promise will no longer be traveling. Matt has decided that it is best for his family for him to cut back a little on the amount of traveling that he does. We have always said that family comes first! At the same time, another group was in need of a tenor vocalist. TJ has accepted that position, and will begin officially singing with them this weekend. We will post more information about that later today.
Matt said, “This last year has been such a wonderful experience in my life. I’ve grown more in my faith than ever before, and I watched God do some extraordinary things in our group in 2013. I am forever grateful to TJ and Dave for the opportunity to follow my calling, and I couldn’t be happier with his next step in his ministry. To all those who booked Promise at their church, those who came to see us, and those who offered a helping hand along the way, I personally want to thank you for your investment into our ministry.” Matt will continue traveling as a soloist. He plays piano, which makes him quite versatile, and his heart’s desire is to share the Gospel every time he sings. If you, or someone you know would like to book Matt for a special service, you can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Later, TJ Evans announced his future plans on Facebook:
You may have heard of a fantastic trio called Declaration. I will be joining them as their new tenor, and my first official concert with them will be Thursday, January 2nd, in Bourbonnais, IL. I’m positive that this is where God wants me.
Please be sure to head over to the Declaration page and like it to keep up with our ministry. I would love for you all to get to know Kasey Kempand Jake Sammons, who will be traveling with me.
These developments come on the heels of a transition for Declaration, as tenor Josh Horrell has joined the Anchormen in that position.
Promise made a strong impression right off the bat with their debut project, which I gave a 5-star rating. While I hate that a group with such a bright future is ceasing to exist, I am glad that everyone has ended up in a place where they feel they should be, and I look forward to seeing the new Declaration lineup in action.
2. Omega signs with Morris Music Group
This group has had one thing after another happening for them. They have appeared as NQC showcase winners as a trio for a few years, but recently became a quartet with the addition of Rick Walls. They recently signed with Morris Music Group, which will hopefully continue adding to their growing presence in Southern Gospel music:
Morris Music Group is proud to announce the newest addition to their family of artists, Omega Quartet. Based out of Dahlonega Georgia, Omega Quartet is the first all male quartet signed to the Delta Sky division of Morris Music Group. Omega Quartet was formed in 2008 and has quickly garnered many honors in a relatively short time. “Omega Quartet is a great addition to MMG,” stated Kelly Morris, owner of Morris Music Group. “Producer Darren Morton and I are looking forward to working with this talented young group. Their dedication to ministry and perfecting their craft will win them new fans in southern gospel music.” Omega is set to begin their new project with producer Darren Morton of Gat 3 Midsouth in the upcoming weeks. Omega members include: tenor – Doug Pittman from Dahlonega, GA; baritone – Cody McCreary from Hartwell, GA; bass – Rick Walls from Myrtle Beach, SC; and lead – Kevin Harry from Dallas, GA. Visit www.morrismusicgroup.com or www.omegaquartet.com for more information about Omega Quartet.
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