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

Archive for November, 2007

Big Jim Hamill Memorial Concert

November 30, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Big Jim Hamill, Special Announcements

This is a special announcement from some “forum friends” at the Singing News forums.

It was suggested that we start a separate thread dedicated to news about the Big Jim Hamill Memorial Concert scheduled for Friday, January 25, 2008 at The Open Bible Tabernacle in Marietta, GA. So, for those who aren’t familiar with what’s going on, here’s the scoop.

The day before our beloved friend, Hamill passed away, it was brought to my attention that he and his family were having financial difficulties, and that “someone” needed to do something. I felt led to organize a benefit concert. In a very short time, I had the backing of several top groups, and a few friends who have always been inspired by Hamill. When I got the news of Hamill’s passing, I decided that we could still help the family, but that we’d call it a “Memorial” concert.

Although several groups agreed to participate, if we could get a venue and settle on a common date, I must now confirm the date with them, now that a date and venue have been secured.

This would be a great blessing to the Hamill family. It would be an honor if you could attend and/or help out with this event. For any questions, go to the Singing News forums and look for the thread with the same title as this post.

Thank you and God bless.

Big Jim Hamill Passes Away

November 29, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Big Jim Hamill, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Kingsmen

From the Singing News Website:

Singing News has learned that legendary Kingsmen lead
vocalist Jim Hamill passed away at approximately 5:30 a.m.
today. He was 73 years old.

Mr. Hamill was born August 10, 1934, in Big Stone Gap,
Virginia. In addition to singing with the Kingsmen, he
performed with the Weatherfords, Blue Ridge Quartet, the
Rebels Quartet, the Oak Ridge Quartet and the Senators.
Subscribers of Singing News Magazine had voted Mr. Hamill
“Favorite Lead Singer” five times, as well “Mr. Gospel
Music” twice during the magazine’s Fan Awards.

Though he was often regarded as one of the best frontmen in
Southern Gospel music, his singing ability was also ranked
among the best. Many Southern Gospel fans will long remember
his performances of “Love Lifted Me” and “The Apple Tree
Song” among many others.

Mr. Hamill’s legacy also includes his efforts to continually
put the younger members of the groups he sang with into the
spotlight. Though he was confident in his own stage
abilities, Mr. Hamill thought it was more important to
encourgage the young performers and give them the
opportunity to showcase their talents.

Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.

Visit www.singingnews.com for updates as they are made

This does come as sort of a shock to me. From the forum discussions I’ve been in, I was under the impression that he was improving nicely…

Another legend has passed on. He will be greatly missed.

My respects to the Hamill family at this time.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 23, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Holiday Wishes

Just wanted to wish all of you out there a Happy Thanksgiving. Keep safe, give thanks, and God bless.

Another Mercy’s Mark Update

November 20, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Garry Jones, Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Looks like some new developments are opening up in this news story, with yet another update from the ever-popular Singing News Forums. Quoted from a post:

“As far as Christian, Brent and Scott are concerned, they have worked
out with Garry to fill most of the December dates. (I think the dates will
probably be posted at Dominion soon.) They did 5 dates in Florida this past
weekend and saw 6 people get saved! And that’s what it’s all about!! Please keep
everyone in your prayers.”

And in a later update:

“The dates that Christian, Brent and Scott are filling are not as
Mercy’s Mark but they are doing them together on their own. None of these men
are part of Mercy’s Mark now.”

Hmm… looks like the worst turnover in Mercy’s Mark’s career has happened. That is, if Mercy’s Mark is even existing at this point. I would like to see the first three MM members return, but I suppose that is rather wishful thinking…

Or maybe, Garry can draft some of the off-the-road talent out there and put together another great incarnation of the Mercy’s Mark Quartet. Thin about how they’d sound with Jeremy Peace on tenor, Josh Garner at lead, Garry at baritone, and Gene McDonald on bass. Eh… on second thought, MM’s Progressive style may not be the tenor, lead, and bass singer’s cup of tea, but a guy can dream…

On the other hand, I’m really excited to hear that these three singers are traveling together. Maybe they’ll pick up a baritone and another great quartet will be born! Or, Christian Davis will move to the baritone slot. He sings all four parts on his solo CDs, so it’s possible.

More updates coming as I get ’em.

Singing News Fan Awards Moved To Saturday Night

November 19, 2007 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Industry News, SG Music

Read all about it here.

Good decision, IMHO. This might keep those artists that leave right after the Fan Awards there the whole week. That’d be a welcome change.

Not Another Hair Battle!

November 17, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Christian Community, SG Artists

Well, in yet another one of the famous Singing News forum threads, we somehow got on the subject of hairstyles in SG after I posted this video of Brian Free & Assurance at a recent concert.

Someone, who shall remain unnamed (you can over to the SN site and see for yourself), made the comment that he couldn’t tell whether that was Ricky Free behind the drums or if BFA had gotten a girl to fill-in.

Well, naturally, someone thought he was attacking Ricky, and not merely making an observation about his, shall we say, rather long, feminine-like hairstyle. So begins a debate on hairstyles in the SG realm.

All of the usual subjects of debate came up, EHSSQ (*gasp* spikes!), Guy Penrod, etc. Now, I had long hair up until yesterday, when my parents made me get it cut, so I guess my view on hair is pretty moderate.

My view: if your hair is too long for people to tell what gender you are, it’s time to either get it cut or get some shape to it so people know if you’re male or female.

Take Guy Penrod, for instance. Anyone who has heard of Guy or seen him instantly thinks of that long mane of hair. Now, if I had long hair, I’d want it like his, because as Daniel Mount pointed out, his hair is “distinctly masculine.” His has some shape to it. Now, if he just let it go without doing anything whatsoever to it in the way of shaping it up, he’d probably end up looking like, well, a girl with a goatee. My hat’s off to Mr. Penrod for showing us all that long hair can have some class!

Feel free to agree or disagree with my views; I’d love to hear all the different opinions on this topic.

Mercy’s Mark Update

November 14, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In an open letter from Garry Jones to the Singing News, Mercy’s Mark may or may not have disbanded. See for yourself:

“First of all I would like to thank all the friends and supporters of Mercy’s Mark and those who have contacted me. There has been a lot of speculation about the future of Mercy’s Mark and honestly, due to circumstances beyond my control the group has been temporarily unable to fulfill our scheduled commitments for the remainder of 2007.

“In the last few days I have been presented with many exciting possibilities for the future of Mercy’s Mark and am prayerfully weighing each one. I ask that you would please continue to pray for the future of this group and I will keep you informed as things develop.”God bless you and thank you again.”
Garry Jones
Mercy’s Mark

Hmm… it’s the part about the “many exciting opportunities” that intrigues me. I certainly hope this means that God ain’t finished with Garry and the boys yet, so for now, I will say that they are off the road. I’m sure, whatever direction God leads them, that they will either continue in this ministry or be guided into others.

I will post updates as I get ’em.

Scott McDowell Update

November 13, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Brian Free And Assurance, Keith Plott, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dixie Echoes

Looks like it’s official. According to Keith Plott, comment #22 on Averyfineline’s blog post about it, Pepper’s officially off the road. He is going to college, and I wish him the best. May he either find his way back into BFA or another gospel group, because he’s an absolutely great pianist.

Hmm… maybe Roy Webb could fill in the vacant spot, or, should Mercy’s Mark disband (Heaven forbid!), Garry Jones could? Think of how far his musical genius and production skills would take Brian Free & Assurance!

On another note, Dallas Rogers has left the Dixie Echoes. God help them as they find a replacement…

What A Day…

November 08, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Brian Free And Assurance, Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Well, looks like some more revolving doors are opening up.

Or rather, just this one seems to be a revolving one, with SoGospelNews reporting that Christian Davis is no longer the bass vocalist for Mercy’s Mark. Poor Garry Jones just can’t seem to get a break. His group has probably seen more turnovers in their short time of existance than other groups see in years. Hmm… could this mean the return of my favorite “why did they leave the road?” bass, Chris West?

And another sad note, Brian Free & Assurance’s piano player, Scott McDowell, has left the group, according to a commenter on Averyfineline (which in turn has gotten his own blog post). That’s a rather surprising turn of events as well; I’ve always enjoyed watching ol’ Pepper play. He got into it, let me tell ya! The commenter says that BFA is currently scouting other groups, but I’d sorta like to see Andrew Ishee hit the road with these guys. He’d fit in rather well….

Be looking for updates on these stories. I’ll post as I get ’em.

Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet Disbands

November 07, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Singing News has the story here.

I must admit, I did see this coming, especially when there was no mention of an audition process for the tenor position for the group, which is usually announced along with the departure. It’s a shame, really; this was a great group, and their latest bass singer, Jerry Pilgrim, is one of the best kept secrets in SG right now. I really hope he can find a well-known group to go around with.

I will definitely be getting a copy of their “farewell project”, The Word Is Out.

Goodbye, OTGHQ. We’ll sorely miss ye…