Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
Subscribe

Woodsmen Quartet Adds Piano Player

June 19, 2015 By: Aaron Category: SG Music

A quartet’s vocals can be great alone, but there’s nothing like having a live pianist to accompany the group on stage. The Woodsmen Quartet must have agreed with me, because they recently added a piano player:

We have some very exciting news!!!!! We are happy to announce that the Woodsmen Quartet now has a new member!!!!! Please welcome Mr. Royce Laverman from Lansing, IL!!! He is the group’s new piano player!! Royce is no stranger to gospel music and has over 40 years of experience at playing the piano. He has a very big heart for God and wants to spread the love of Jesus and focus on ministry aspect of traveling, everywhere he goes. We are excited to have him along with us and we look forward to what God has in store for the Woodsmen! Welcome Royce to the family!

The Woodsmen includes tenor Daniel Rivera, lead Jim Huston (brother to Bryan Hutson of Soul’d Out Quartet), baritone Tim Woods, and bass Steve Wagonner.

Here are some videos of Royce’s playing, and one of him with the Woodsmen with a fill-in lead singer:

Matt Fouch Interviews Ernie Haase

June 06, 2015 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Music

Matt Fouch, bass singer for Legacy Five, has been doing his “On The Couch With Fouch” video interview series since his days with Soul’d Out Quartet. It has yielded some fascinating interviews over the years, but his latest seemed to delve into a particular level of insight and detail. Maybe it was the submitted questions, maybe it was the guest, but I have a feeling it was a combination of both. Check out this great interview with Ernie Haase:

Rick Walls Departs Omega Quartet

January 22, 2015 By: Aaron Category: Omega, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It’s a new year, and in Southern Gospel music, that almost certainly means changes on the horizon, and the first of these comes from an up-and-coming group that has received attention on this blog before. Bass singer Rick Walls announced his departure from Omega Quartet yesterday:

After 16 months of touring with Omega Quartet as their bass vocalist, Rick Walls has made the decision
to leave the group.  Rick stated, “I just felt like the Lord was telling me it was time for me to step down.
I’m sure Omega will do great in the future and I wish them the best.”  Rick also stated that he was
excited to see what the next door was that the Lord would open up for him to minister in music.
To contact Rick you can call 843.450.2270 or catch him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rick.thebass
In tribute to Rick’s tenure with the group, here he is singing a classic hymn of the church:

Help Declaration Come Up With a New Name

October 28, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Declaration, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Yesterday yielded some unique news from one of Southern Gospel music’s rising trios. The group has gone with the same name since their inception, but trademark issues have arisen and forced them to seek another moniker. They’ve decided to get the fans involved with the process:

Send in your suggestions to names@declarationtrio.com to help out.

Troy Peach Returns To The Perrys

October 27, 2014 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Perrys

After announcing baritone Bryan Walker’s resignation to answer his call to preach, The Perrys are seeing a return of a former member of the group. From the Singing News:

TROY PEACH RETURNS TO THE PERRYS

“Like a son coming home,” is how Libbi Perry Stuffle makes the announcement describing the return of Troy Peach to the Perrys, a position he last held four years ago. Troy replaces the departing Bryan Walker, whose resignation was announced two weeks ago. Troy comes to the group having most recently toured with the Bowling Family.

Troy says, “I’m thrilled to be back with the Perrys! Libbi and Tracy are literally like family. We live five minutes from each other. Jarod is like a little brother. Andrew is among the best talents in our industry. And who sings better songs than the Perrys? After four years, it feels good to be back with Tracy and Libbi. It is my goal to, of course, be that vocal part they need, but also to assist Libbi in all aspects of the group’s ministry. I do believe in timing and seasons for everything, and I beleive that this is the right time to step back on the Perrys bus and do what I can to help the group continue to grow and prosper.”

The transition to the Perrys will take place in the next two weeks. The Perrys thank everyone for their continued prayers and support during this time.

Here’s one of my favorite Troy Peach features from his first tenure with the group. His wife, Katy, is filling in for Libbi in this clip.

Mark Trammell Quartet and The Whisnants To Release Christmas Project

October 10, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Whisnants

promo_web
It’s quickly approaching the time of year when many artists decide to release Christmas-themed projects. This year, it’s a team effort between the Mark Trammell Quartet and The Whisnants:

(Morganton, NC) October 10, 2014 – United Independent Artists (UIA), for the first time releases a Christmas CD combining the family harmony of the Whisnants with the traditional sounds of the Mark Trammell Quartet in a twelve track project titled “Home For Christmas.”  The CD’s official release date is November 3, 2014 and will be available for purchase on both group websites www.whisnants.com and www.marktrammellministries.com.

Home For Christmas features twelve songs recorded by the Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants.  Selections on the project include the groups singing together and individually as well as featuring new songs and traditional carols.  “We decided to do this CD together,” Mark Trammell explains, “when Jeff Whisnant was looking to record a new Christmas project around the same time I was.  When folks heard we were doing this, they asked if we could put together a Christmas program as well.”  Jeff Whisnant adds, “I haven’t been this excited about anything in a long time as I am about the Home For Christmas project.  We are so pleased to collaborate with our friends the Mark Trammell Quartet; we love and appreciate what these men stand for.”

Pre-sales for this project will begin on October 10th, and can be found on both artists websites (links found above).  In addition to the pre-release, The Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants are hosting a special online event in celebration of their first recording together.  This event will take place on the official release date, November 3rd, and will feature exclusive information and unique interaction for fans from both artists.  The event is open to the public – anyone who can access the internet via computer, smart phone or tablet can join for free.  To receive updates and join this online event, visit www.homeforchristmaslaunchparty.com.  Though the event does not begin until November 3st, those wishing to join are encouraged to do so now.

United Independent Artists (UIA) began in 1997 with Jeff and Susan Whisnant at the helm and consists of artists who record independently from recording labels.  Artists such as Greater Vision, The Mark Trammell Quartet, Booth Brothers, Taylors and others use UIA in radio promotions.  UIA is behind #1 songs such as Greater Vision’s “Preacher Tell Me Like It Is,” Booth Brothers “Look For Me At Jesus Feet,” Mark Trammell Quartet’s “I Want To Know” and other successful songs in the industry.     www.uiamusic.com

It is worth noting that this will be the first MTQ release to feature Randy Byrd on bass vocals.

Dixie Melody Boys Hire Doug Pittman

October 06, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Dixie Melody Boys, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

After the departure of Matt Felts to the Lesters, the Dixie Melody Boys began searching for a new tenor. That search came to a close when the group debuted their new singer at NQC. Here’s the press release from their email newsletter discussing the move:

Greetings friends! Fall is upon us and just as the autumn winds bring about changing leaves, so too have the winds of change swept through the Dixie Melody Boys. Following an extensive national search, Ed O’ Neal is pleased to introduce Doug Pittman as the new tenor vocalist for the Dixie Melody Boys. Doug made his debut with the group at the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, TN and wowed the audience with a rendition of the classic, “Little Is Much.” Following a thunderous standing ovation, Doug and the “Boys” brought the house down with “When I Cross To The Other Side Of Jordan.” If you missed the NQC, you can catch these performances on our Facebook page courtesy of some dear friends in the audience.

Doug Pittman is 28 years old and originally from the small town of Eastman, GA. He garnered several awards in the classical world during his high school and college years, including First Prize in the 2008 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Vocal Competition. Doug has performed both nationally and internationally, including a United Kingdom tour in 2007 and his Carnegie Hall debut in 2010. He only began singing Southern Gospel in recent years, however his roots are deeply tied to it. Doug grew up hearing Southern Gospel every weekend following his father, a drummer for several regional groups, in the early ’90s. While pursuing a degree in music at Brewton-Parker College, Doug formed a Gospel group with a few of his friends. He has sung with that group, Omega Quartet, since it’s inception in 2008 and was the remaining original member.

Ed O’ Neal states, “We auditioned several tremendous singers over the last few weeks, even took a few out on the road with us. I had never met Doug, but the first song he sang during sound check gave me chill bumps all up and down my arms. When we sang that night, it was as if we had all been performing together for twenty years. He’s a fine young man, loves the Lord, and can SING! I knew by the end of the trip I had found my man. Josh Garner is a pro and Aaron Dishman just thrills me with how he has matured as a singer and a performer in such a short time. Add Doug to that mix and I believe this is one of the strongest line-ups I’ve ever had with the Dixie Melody Boys.”

Be sure to keep a watch on our schedule at www.dixiemelodyboys.com or catch us on Facebook so you can come out and meet Doug and all the Dixie Melody Boys at a concert near you.

Here’s a video from Doug’s debut performance:

I’ve been impressed with Doug’s voice since the first time I heard it back when Omega was a college group. They sang a song called “You Are Holy,” and though Doug was using a completely different style and tone to his voice back then, I knew there was potential. A few years passed and I had basically forgotten about Omega until a trio by the same name got on the main stage at NQC 2011 as a featured artist from the showcases. That intrigued me, and then I was blown away by the tenor’s performance on a song called “I’m Coming Again.” As it turned out, it was the same group, and that was the same tenor. Doug’s sound fits the musical direction that the group has taken in their recent work, and just by watching him interact with the guys at the booth, I can tell he fits on a personal level, as well.

As a bonus, here’s the 2011 performance I mentioned:

And the new Booth Brother is….

September 19, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Booth Brothers, Jim Brady Trio, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

… announced in this video, along with the third member of the Jim Brady Trio:

Both of these announcements carry some star power within Southern Gospel. Tim Parton is known from his years with several groups, including Gold City and, most recently, Legacy Five. Paul Lancaster has been a part of the Martins, the Greenes, and Palmetto State, among others. Both groups are getting quality vocalists, and I’m very excited to see both of them on the road again. Parton will add to the Jim Brady Trio as a pianist and arranger, in addition to his vocal duties. With the Booth Brothers, the vocal transition will be a smooth one, as Lancaster is a great blending vocalist that won’t sharply redefine the sound that the trio has cultivated over the years.

Now, hopefully we’ll get a better glimpse of the sound after the helium wears off. :)

Aaron McCune sings with the Oak Ridge Boys

September 08, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Oak Ridge Boys, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It’s always cool to see a singer from our genre in the national spotlight, and that happened again this past weekend. Richard Sterban, longtime bass singer for the Oak Ridge Boys, took the weekend off as his family mourns the passing of his mother. The group had the choice to go as a trio or call on a bass singer, so they tapped Palmetto State Quartet/Gold City alum Aaron McCune. Here he is singing one of my favorite Oak Ridge Boys hits:

Many have asked how the group even knew about McCune. Here’s a probable answer:

CD Review: Adoration Quartet – What A Change

September 01, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Adoration Quartet, CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4 starswhatachangecd

Producer: Wesley Pritchard
Label: 
Independent Release
Website: www.adorationquartet.com

Song titles: Drink From Him; His Tomb Is Empty Now; Just One Hope; I Enter In; Coming Out of the Tomb; Jesus Really Cares; What Ever You Need; I’ve Been Revived; Stepping Out; Peace Through The Blood

Adoration Quartet is a “new yet not new” group that has just re-emerged on the Southern Gospel scene. The group was around a few years ago with current bass Chris Serlick, but their claim to attention seemed to stem from the fact that the group had two alumni from one of the Anchormen’s best eras: tenor Brian Routh and baritone Terry Carter. The group disbanded a few years ago, but recently with Serlick in the bass slot, Declaration’s former tenor Joshua Horrell and pianist Dustin Leming in the tenor and baritone positons, respectively, and Anchormen alum Corey Wilson singing the lead. The quartet wasted no time in putting out new music, which is important for any group looking to get a running start.

While listening to this project, my mind kept recalling the days when Brian Routh or Steve Ladd and Jeff Chapman were part of the Anchormen. The voices and tracks possess the same dynamics found with that era of the group: soaring tenor, rumbling bass, solid voices in the middle, uptempo songs that made good use of those vocals, and powerful slower songs as well. Normally, such a strong comparison would not necessarily be a good thing, especially when trying to make a unique name for yourself with a first release, but since time has seen a shift from that style (the recent Anchormen releases, while great, have progressed from that), there is a niche to be filled, and this group does it well. This is evident on the first radio single,”Coming Out of the Tomb (Stepping Into The Light),” which does a fine job of defining the group’s sound and should do well on radio. “Peace Through The Blood” covers the ballad part of the equation with a strong performance from tenor Horrell. Other highlights include “I Enter In” (which was first recorded with the original iteration of Adoration) and “His Tomb Is Empty Now.” You can hear clips of all of these and more on the group’s website.

As introductory releases ago, Adoration has put a lot of work into making this a quality project, and it shows. The voices fit together well already (though it probably helps that three of the four sang together previously). Horrell shows that he has the potential to be of the genre’s best upcoming tenors. Corey Wilson hasn’t lost a thing in the lead department since he left the road. Serlick lends a solid, smooth low part, and Dustin Leming has a solid, blending baritone voice. Sure, I would have liked to hear brass and strings that weren’t “canned,” but that’s a minor nitpick since they don’t distract much from the rest of the music, and that problem can be remedied with the right budget. Given the right touring schedule and promotion, I look for Adoration Quartet to be around for a good while, as this introduction is a solid representation of what they can do. What A Change receives 4 stars.