Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Archive for March, 2008

Jason Waldroup To Leave Greater Vision

March 31, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Greater Vision, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

From a special Greater Vision newsletter:

Jason Waldroup, Greater Vision’s long-time tenor, has announced his plans to leave the group to pursue a Seminary education, beginning this Fall.

According to Jason…”This is a decision I have been struggling with for more than a year, and the time has come for me to follow what I believe to be God’s will for my life. I have delayed this decision because of my love for what I’ve been privileged to do for the past thirteen years as a part of Greater Vision, and my relationships with Gerald and Rodney. They, along with Chad Baker, our Product Manager, are family to me, and they’re my closest friends. That has made this decision that much more difficult.”

Gerald Wolfe, manager of Greater Vision, states, “Jason is like a son to me, as well as being one of the closest friends I’ve ever had. None of us want to see him leave, but we have encouraged him to follow God’s leading, no matter what, and leave the consequences to Him.”

Rodney Griffin, the group’s baritone, stated, “I will certainly miss standing beside Jason every night, but he has my full support as he moves into his next phase of ministry.”

Jason will be active in the selection of his replacement and will remain with the group to help train the new group member until his schooling begins in the Fall.

Jason Waldroup joined Greater Vision in 1995. He has been the recipient of numerous Singing News Fan Awards, most recently being named Gospel Music’s Favorite Tenor in 2007. He, his wife Missy, and their children, Abbie and Jonathon reside in Morristown, Tennessee.

Further details will be forthcoming in future Email Updates.

This is a shock, to say the least. Greater Vision is one of the few SG groups out there that actually have a stable lineup. I am, however, thrilled to see that Jason will be helping to pick and train his replacement. That’s a great move, and I’m sure Greater Vision will not miss a beat.

I guess that since it said the replacement will be trained by Jason, that rules out a return by former GV tenor Chris Allman. I’ll be eagerly awaiting who they get to take Jason’s place.

Admittedly, I was less and less impressed lately with Jason on recent GV material and concerts; not as a singer in a group setting, but when he was featured on a solo. For lack of a better term, he sounded nasally and flat. However, that is not to say that he is a bad singer. I imagine after 13 years of being on the road, his voice was starting to display some wear and tear. If he does eventually get back into a group, I’m sure this time of being off the road will do wonders for his voice.

I wish Jason well in his future endeavors. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and respect for Gerald Wolfe and Rodney Griffin in encouraging Jason to follow God’s leading. This, to me, shows that their hearts are definitely in the right place. I guarantee that God will bless Greater Vision’s ministry because of their great Christian testimony and faith.

Review Of "Praise The Lord" Last Night

March 29, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Crabb Family, Gold City, Mike and Kelly Bowling, Palmetto State Quartet, SG Artists, SG Music, Three Bridges

I taped the show last night and watched it this morning. The lineup was Gold City, Mike & Kelly Bowling, Three Bridges, Palmetto State Quartet, and The Crabb Family. The event was hosted by Jason Crabb.

1. Jason Crabb

1. Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus

2. Gold City

1. God’s Been Good
2. Mercy Came Running
3. That’s What I’m Talking About
4. Preach The Word

Only one song featured their new lead singer Bruce Taliaferro, but that was all I needed to hear to tell you that Gold City is as good as ever! Bruce has just the right voice to do Jonathan Wilburn’s songs justice, while still making a name for himself. Danny Riley mentioned that they are working on a new project, and I can’t wait to hear it.

3. Mike & Kelly Bowling

1. ??? (song I didn’t get the name of)
2. There Is Power In The Name Of Jesus
3. There’s Just Something About That Name (with Jason Crabb)

Good to see the former baritone for Crystal River, Jeff Snyder, with this group. I don’t care much for the group, but it is nice to see that guy with someone.

4. Three Bridges

1. Step Back On The Rock
2. Medley (Somebody Bigger Than You And I, You’ll Never Walk Alone, The Impossible Dream)
3. I Feel A Little Song Coming On

I wasn’t very familiar with this group, and I wasn’t too impressed with what I heard. Just not my cup of tea.

5. Palmetto State Quartet

1. On Time God
2. Resting Place
3. Open The Eyes Of My Heart

This was my first opportunity to hear the almost-totally new lineup of PSQ, and I liked it. There were some pitch issues from the baritone, Brian Beatty, near the end of the first song, but he caught himself (you could see him shake his head as if to say “Not right!”) and finished strong.
The group’s new keyboardist, Casey Martin, is a very talented guy, which was evident throughout their set. They’ve also added a percussionist, which adds alot to their onstage sound and presence (the guy really gets into it!).
They’re obviously still trying to mesh and find their sound as a group, but nevertheless, they sound pretty good at this point. It’s pretty clear that they are bringing a fresh, new sound that PSQ has not had before. I expect great things from this new incarnation of the Palmetto State Quartet!

6. Mike & Kelly Bowling, Part II

1. Your Cries Have Awoken The Master

This is quite possibly the only song I really like from this group. Very powerful song.

7. Jason Crabb

1. You’re All I Need
2. I’d Rather Have Jesus (joined by The Crabb Family)

8. The Crabb Family

1. Please Come Down To Me
2. He Thought Of Me

Now, what doesn’t make sense to me is that the Crabb Family broke up not too long ago and have seperate ministries all over the place, and yet they have “reunions” all the time. On this show, at this coming NQC, and I saw across the bottom of the screen where they’ll be on another show in a couple of weeks. I wonder when they will truly disband (the brand name, not the family itself)…

SG Groups On Praise The Lord Tonight

March 28, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, Mike and Kelly Bowling, Palmetto State Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Three Bridges

It will be a good night to catch some good Southern Gospel groups tonight on Praise The Lord at 10 PM Eastern and 9 PM Central time on the TBN channel.

The lineup will include Gold City, Three Bridges, Mike & Kelly Bowling, and Palmetto State Quartet. I’m excited about the two quartets; Gold City’s performance will be new lead singer Bruce Taliaferro’s first TV appearance with the group, and it will be my first opportunity to hear how the group sounds since Jonathan Wilburn’s recent departure. It will also be interesting to hear how the new Palmetto State Quartet lineup sounds.

I’ll try to tape the show tonight and post my thoughts tomorrow.

SG News Roundup- Stories I Missed

March 26, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Gaither Vocal Band, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Prophets Quartet, Tim Riley

Seems the SG News world has been a wee bit active in my absence. Here’s a rundown:

1. I’m excited to see that the GVB is having a reunion event:

“…Oh, while I’m thinking about it, I can finally reveal what I’ve been excited about for so long but have been unable to share. Of course now, it’s probably been so hyped up that you’ll think, “is that it??!!” Well, here it goes… the week of July 21st, I will be in Indiana, along with Bill, Guy, and Marsh, for a Gaither Vocal Band Reunion taping. Everyone who has ever been in the GVB will come together for two days to do, well, I’m not really sure at this point. But, all I know is that it will be awesome. I will get to hang around and sing with my vocal idols…wow. I still can’t believe it when I think about it….”

This is exciting! I wonder if “everyone who has ever been in the GVB” includes the group’s first two basses, Lee Young and John Mohr. That’d be cool.

2. Eddie Crook Joins Prophets Quartet

Pretty cool to see the Prophets add another legend to their lineup. I was wondering if these guys were actually going to have a piano player traveling with them. I know they had Johnny Minnick playing for them in the studio, but having a traveling player is a good thing, too.

3. David Bruce Murray is holding a “Guess The Song” Contest, in which 25 people who guess who is singing this soon-to-be-released version of “when God Ran” will receive the entire album as a free mp3 download. All participants get the song free for participating.

I think I have a pretty good idea who it is, so I’ll let you know if I was right!

4. For everybody wondering what Tim Riley is up to these days, check out these clips.

The man’s still got it! I can’t help but notice a trend among Gold City bass singers these days; they’re sporting beards nowadays! Tim’s got one, and I saw a recent Gold City concert video where Aaron McCune has one too.

College Trip

March 22, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Vacation/Going Away Notice

I’m going to be leaving tomorrow to go visit a college for a couple days. It’s a Christian college, so their Internet filter may not allow me to access my blogging program. If I’m unable to post, then see you all when I get back.

Sig Sound Back In The Day

March 20, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, SG Artists, SG Music

Youtube user OaksWarrior posted this video of “Heavenly Parade” from Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s very first live video. The lineup was tenor Ernie Haase, lead Shane Dunlap, baritone Doug Anderson, bass Tim Duncan, and pianist Garry Jones. It was filmed in the same location as their first Gaither video, and is apparently not made or sold anymore and is a rare find. Enjoy.

SN Top Ten Finalists Announced

March 17, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Well, the results are in, and the top 10 in each category have been announced. Here are my picks:

Favorite Artist of the Year

Booth Brothers
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Gold City
Greater Vision
Inspirations
Legacy Five
Parker, Ivan
Perrys
Triumphant Qt
Wolfe, Gerald

Trust me, with these guys on the road full-time, and given their nominations in 10(!) categories, these guys could very well be the next SG supergroup. Keep an eye on ’em.

Mixed Group

Browns
Collingsworth Family
Diplomats
Freemans
Hayes Family
Hoppers
Isaacs
Lesters
McKameys
Perrys

Male Quartet

Brian Free & Assurance
Dove Brothers
Down East Boys
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Gaither Vocal Band
Gold City
Inspirations
Kingdom Heirs
Legacy Five
Triumphant Quartet

This categories a tie; The Dove Brothers have really done a great job for themselves this year, with a number of Top 40 songs, but Triumphant’s on the rise as well.

Trio

Booth Brothers
Greater Vision
Greenes
Jeff & Sheri Easter
Karen Peck & New River
Mark Trammell Trio
Pfeifers
Poet Voices
Talley Trio
Whisnants

Soloist

Bishop, Mark
Combs, Michael
Crabb, Jason
Ford, Larry
Lee, Cricket
Lowry, Mark
Mote, Gordon
Parker, Ivan
Parsons, Squire
Paschal, Janet

Male Singer

Bishop, Mark Soloist
Booth, Michael Booth Brothers
Booth, Ronnie Booth Brothers
Dibler, Matt Inspirations
Fowler, Scott Legacy Five
Free, Brian Brian Free & Assurance
Holcomb, Mike Inspirations
Parker, Ivan Soloist
Rice, Arthur Kingdom Heirs
Wolfe, Gerald Greater Vision

I have a feeling that Gerald getting nominated for a Dove Award will also push him to a win in the SN Awards.

Female Singer

Bean, Peg McKamey McKameys
Easter, Sheri Jeff & Sheri Easter
Gooch, Karen Peck Karen Peck & New River
Hopper, Kim Hoppers
Paschal, Janet Soloist
Stuffle, Libbi Perrys
Talley, Debra Talley Trio
Whisnant, Susan Whisnants
Woodard, Carol McKameys

Horizon Individual

Barker, Pat Dixie Echoes
Browder, Matthew Browders
Crist, Breana Crist Family
Crist, Jackie Crist Family
King, Sharron Kay Soloist
Kitson, Jacob Tribute Qt
LeFevre, Jordan LeFevre Qt
Lile, Jeremy Brian Free & Assurance
Paschal, Daryl Down East Boys
Rivers, Justin Austins Bridge

If anybody deserves this award, its this young bass. He’s really come into the spotlight with him joining Brian Free & Assurance, and I expect we’ll hear great things from him in years to come.

Horizon Group

Aaron & Amanda Crabb
Austins Bridge
Browders
Crabb Revival
Crist Family
Old Paths
Shiloh
Soul’d Out Qt
Spoken 4 Qt
Tribute Qt

Stellar lineup for this young group.

Young Artist

Fortner, Eli McKameys
Free, Ricky Brian Free & Assurance
Habedank, Joseph Perrys
Holt, Matthew Perrys
McGlamery, Devin Karen Peck & New River
Penhollow, Terah Crabb Crabb Revival
Simpson, Josh Gold City
Sweatman, Dustin Mark Trammell Trio
Thompson, Amber Nelons

This guy’s a good lead in a great trio. Can’t say enough about him!

Tenor

Booth, Michael Booth Brothers
Free, Brian Brian Free & Assurance
Haase, Ernie Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Hodges, Billy Kingdom Heirs
Ladd, Steve Gold City
Martin, Jerry Dove Brothers
Seamans, Frank Legacy Five
Sutton, David Triumphant Quartet
Waldroup, Jason Greater Vision
Watkins, Archie Inspirations

Steve Ladd: Even while he was having throat problems, he trooped right on and still sounded great. Very deserving of the award.

Lead

Booth, Ronnie Booth Brothers
Dibler, Matt Inspirations
Dove, McCray Dove Brothers
Fowler, Scott Legacy Five
Habedank, Joseph Perrys
Inman, Clayton Triumphant Quartet
Rice, Arthur Kingdom Heirs
Shivers, Bill Brian Free & Assurance
Wilburn, Jonathan Gold City
Wolfe, Gerald Greater Vision

I have a feeling that with Jonathan Wilburn’s departure from Gold City that he ain’t gonna win it this year. Arthur’s a great lead, and I see no reason why the award shouldn’t go to him.

Baritone

Anderson, Doug Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Brady, Jim Booth Brothers
Campbell, Melton Inspirations
Dove, Eric Dove Brothers
French, Steve Kingdom Heirs
Griffin, Rodney Greater Vision
Howard, Scott Legacy Five
Inman, Scott Triumphant Quartet
Selph, Derrick Brian Free & Assurance
Trammell, Mark Mark Trammell Trio

Derrick does a great job on his feature on Brian Free & Assurance’s new single, “I Believe God”, which is currently on the rise on radio charts. Very good chance he’ll take it. Of course, with Signature Sound being back this year at NQC, who knows.

Bass

Bennett, Eric Triumphant Quartet
Chapman, Jeff Kingdom Heirs
Duncan, Tim Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Dustin, Glenn Legacy Five
Hester, David Dove Brothers
Holcomb, Mike Inspirations
Lile, Jeremy Brian Free & Assurance
McCune, Aaron Gold City
Reese, Ray Dean Kingsmen
Stuffle, Tracy Perrys

Ray Dean Reese’s recent induction into the SGM Hall Of Fame may very well push him to a win, but Aaron McCune has been a very popular young bass of late.

Soprano

Brown, Jessica Browns
Crabb, Amanda Aaron & Amanda Crabb
Fortner, Connie McKameys
Gooch, Karen Peck Karen Peck & New River
Greene, TaRanda Greenes
Hopper, Kim Hoppers
Isaacs, Sonya Isaacs
Ritchie, Charlotte Jeff & Sheri Easter
Starkel, Tami Crist Crist Family
Talley, Lauren Talley Trio

Alto

Bean, Peg McKamey McKameys
Brown, Michaela Browns
Easter, Sheri Jeff & Sheri Easter
Hopper, Connie Hoppers
Jackson, Susan Peck Karen Peck & New River
Penhollow, Terah Crabb Crabb Revival
Stuffle, Libbi Perrys
Talley, Debra Talley Trio
Whisnant, Susan Whisnants
Woodard, Carol McKameys

Musician

Collingsworth, Kim Collingsworth Family
Cook, Martin Inspirations
Fortner, Roger McKameys
Free, Ricky Brian Free & Assurance
Holt, Matthew Perrys
Murphy, Dennis Kingdom Heirs
Ollis, Eric Whisnants
Parton, Tim Legacy Five
Stice, Jeff Triumphant Qt
Varnado, Stewart Dixie Echoes

After Roger Bennett’s posthumous winning of this award last year, it’s anybody’s bet who’ll get it now. Jeff Stice seems to be the most likely contestant, but Tim Parton has really come out of his shell, and anybody attending a Legacy Five concert has no doubt been wowed by his playing and amazed by his song, “God’s Been Good.” This is one award I’m anxiously awaiting to see who wins.

Songwriter

Atkinson, Ricky
Bishop, Mark
Brady, Jim
Crabb, Gerald
Cross, Phil
Griffin, Rodney
Hinson, Ronny
Inman, Scott
Rowland, Kyla
Wilkinson, Dianne

Album

Carry On Booth Brothers
Everyday People Greater Vision
Know So Salvation Legacy Five
Look No Further Perrys
Never The Same Dove Brothers
Once Upon A Cross Mark Trammell Trio
Real Faith Brian Free & Assurance
Things Are Different Now Inspirations
True To The Call Kingdom Heirs
You Gotta Love It Triumphant Qt

True To The Call was chock full of great songs, but Real Faith did a good job of pushing the boundaries of SG music. Hmm…

Song

Holy Shore Perrys
I Choose Ivan Parker
I’ve Been Changed Legacy Five
If You Only Knew Inspirations
It Means Just What It Says Greater Vision
Look For Me Booth Brothers
Prayin’ Man Brian Free & Assurance
The Great I Am Still Is Triumphant Qt
What We Needed Kingdom Heirs
You Are With Me McKameys

Another category I can’t wait to see.

Dallas Rogers Joins Cross 4 Crowns Quartet

March 14, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Word is that former Dixie Echoes tenor Dallas Rogers, after an apparently short-lived bus driving stint, has joined a regional quartet called Cross 4 Crowns. Although the group’s website hasn’t been updated yet, he is being introduced at their concerts as their newest member.

Now, if you go to their website and listen to their song clips on their Products page, you might agree with me that these guys are really good. And, as Daniel Mount points out, they might get some good breaks and become a nationally-known group with the addition of a well known tenor.

Hopefully, these guys will be at NQC this year in a showcase or something so I can catch one of their sets.

LeFevre Quartet At Work On First Canaan Release

March 13, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

The press release can be found here.

Now, I do have a couple beefs with the release. For example:

“…Mike (LeFevre), David (Staton), Stacy (Bragg) and Gus (Gaches) are fairly new to the Southern Gospel circuit…”

(Members listed are baritone, lead, bass, and tenor, respectively.)

Huh? Any SG fan knows that LeFevre has been around the block a couple of times, and I’m pretty sure Staton is no stranger, either. The group itself is fairly new, yes, but I wouldn’t lump all of the members into that category, especially the founding member and namesake of the group.

Another statement made in error:

“Canaan Records and Word Entertainment will release The LeFevre Quartet’s debut album July 1, 2008 worldwide.”

It is their debut release with the record label, but not their debut release as in their first release ever. They have released “Legacy” and “Total Praise” prior to signing with Canaan, the latter being a more CCM/P&W album. I gotta wonder if this upcoming release will, indeed, be marketed as their debut anyway.

The error I mentioned before makes even less sense once you get to the second-to-last paragraph in the press release. It talks about LeFevre’s history with Gold City, him taking time off, and coming back to SG. A real change of tune from “being fairly new to Southern Gospel Music”, if you ask me.

Be looking for a new single sometime in May.

Wesley Smith Joins Dixie Echoes

March 10, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dixie Echoes

According to Daniel Mount’s blog, the guy who’s been filling in for the Echoes on tenor has officially joined.

Good move. I’ve heard he fits in quite well, and I can’t wait to catch a concert of the guys soon.