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

Gene McDonald To Be On New Ricky Atkinson & Compassion Project

December 31, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Gene McDonald, Ricky Atkinson and Compassion, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

According to a blog post by my friend Jeremy Bell (who got this from SGReporter, hat tip to both), Gene will be featured on two songs on an upcoming RC&A project. The songs are “Get On Board” and “Good News.”
No word yet on whether McDonald will be joining the group, but this is a promising sign. Be looking for the new project sometime in February.

Perfect Heart Resurrected

December 28, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Perfect Heart, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

According to this post at the Singing News forums, Mike Presnell is bringing the Perfect Heart name back to Southern Gospel Music. Joining him are tenor Wesley Anders, lead Jimmy Dunn, and baritone Tommy Smith. I’m not familar with any of the three. Of course, Mike is singing the bass part.
The group has a good sound for just starting out, judging by the sound clips on the group’s website. I hope to catch a concert with this quartet soon.

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Holiday Wishes

Here’s wishing you and yours a Christ-filled Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Ron Blackwood Announces New Quartet

December 22, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Quartet, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music


I know, this is my third post today. I’m just full of things to say, I guess!

This wire from The Singing News says that The Blackwood Quartet will be on the on the road in 2009. The title of “The Super Group” that the article gives isn’t far wrong. Check out this lineup:

Tenor: John Rulapaugh – Won’t Roy Pauley be thrilled? All kidding aside, John is a great tenor, and will blend in great with the rest of the vocalists.

Lead: Josh Garner – Wow! It’s about time that Josh got back in a group. After he left The Florida Boys, he seemed to fall off the map. It’s great to see such an awesome lead singing with a group again.

Baritone: Tracy Trent – Honestly, I’m not too familiar with this guy. Perhaps some of you readers could tell me how he sounds.

Bass: Trent Adams – This barely 18 bass singer joined the Old Paths about three months ago. I had heard rumblings that he had left the group, but it’s nice to see him still remain singing. He’s a very good bass for his age; be on the lookout for him.

Piano: Joe Cox – Another Old Paths member, this pianist is a very underrated one. It’s a shame that he left The Old Paths, but he will fit right in with this group.

The article says Ron Blackwood will be the group’s emcee. Too bad this is not the Blackwood group that will be on NQC Mainstage on Monday night in 2009. I really hope this lineup can keep together; this will be a great quartet!

NQC Adds 2009 Showcase Schedule

December 22, 2008 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

A few days after they added the mainstage schedule, they have added the lineup for showcases. A couple that caught my interest:

1. Gaither Featured Showcase – In lieu of a Togther showcase with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, the NQC has added this to Thursday. I wonder if it will be a Homecoming-style showcase with groups that are usually on the Homecoming circuit, or if Gaither will feature groups that aren’t on there as much. Further details are coming, so I will keep an eye out.

2. Cathedrals Reunion – This showcase will have a Friday slot in Freedom Hall. I hope it will be a larger-scale thing than the Cathedrals Remembered concerts, calling together many more of the alumni of the group. Of course, they will have Glenn Dustin singing bass with them and the people that are usually in the aforementioned concerts, but wouldn’t it be neat to see guys like Steve Lee, Bobby Clark, Mack Taunton, George Amon Webster, and the many others that were with The Cathedrals? We shall see…

I saw another new one, but I don’t really have anything nice to say about it, so I’ll keep my mouth shut! =O)

CD Review: The Old Paths – Christmas Classics

December 22, 2008 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Old Paths

Rating: 4 stars

Producer: Jeremy Peace
Label: Independent
Website: www.theoldpathsonline.com

1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – The project begins with an acappella rendition that fits the group’s vocalists well. Nothing really showy about this track; just solid harmonies.

2. Angels We Have Heard On High – An orchestra with bells backs the group on this hymn. The orchestration really adds to the beauty of the song, calling to mind a Christmas cantata in a large church.

3. O Little Town Of Bethlehem – Piano and violins carry up this slow, pretty song. Baritone singer Douglas Roark is featured on the verses, with the rest of the group coming on the chorus. This rendition is pretty straight-forward in delivery.

4. Go Tell It On The Mountain – This version of the song, while keeping the orchestra, opts for a an almost “swing” feel. It’s different from others that I have heard, to be sure. The xylophone is too loud in the mix, with an almost ear-splitting volume that really distracts the listener from the song’s message.

5. Mary Did You Know – Bass vocalist Brandon Berry (now singing with The Stamps) is featured on this classic by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. This is in the same key as Triumphant Quartet’s version. Barry’s powerful voice fits the song well, and the beautiful violins backing him really add to the power. One of my favorite tracks of the project.

6. Joy To The World – The mix is off in this track, making the singers sound muffled behind the orchestration. At about the :38 mark, the track seems to restart itself, and does the first verse all over again before going to the second verse. These problems are disappointing and could have easily been corrected.

7. The First Noel – Tenor Jeremy Peace gets a solo here. His voice is built for slow songs like this, and he carries the song well. The high “Noel” near the end sounds great as well. This is one of my favorite versions of this song.

8. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – The baritone is featured again on this secular Christmas tune. This is an OK version, but it’s way too short.

9. Oh Holy Night – Lead singer Tim Rackley gets the feature here. I’m of the opinion that Rackley is one of the best vocalists in the business today, and this song reinforces that opinion. Awesome version of this song.

10. Silent Night – The ear-piercing xylophone is back on this track. The group, once again, provides a rendition that is almost like you would find in the average hymnal.

11. The Christmas Song – The project closes with a piano solo by the group’s former pianist, Matt Clark, who was later replaced by Joe Cox. Clark displays his very capable musicianship throught the project, but it is nice to get to hear him out front.

Final Thoughts: The Old Paths have put out a Christmas project that opts for a sound like four guys singing with a pianist and a church orchestra. This makes for some awesome and powerful arrangements of great Christmas songs. All four vocalists do an outstanding job on each song on which they are featured.

However, the project is not without its faults. Sound issues pop up several times, and many of the songs are all too short, clocking in at well under two minutes. The project is short overall, but it is very enjoyable and would be great to play over the speakers at church at Christmastime as a postlude.

NQC 2009 Lineup Announced

December 19, 2008 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Several of my fellow bloggers pointed out today that the NQC 2009 schedule is posted on the website. It’s worth mentioning that the site has gotten a facelift as well. Several items I’d like to comment on:

1. Quartet Night is back for Monday night – I’m particularly excited about this one. It’s never really made much of a difference the past two years I’ve went, since I’ve attended Thursday thru Saturday, but I’ve ordered tickets for all week in 2009. I love a good quartet, and it looks like all my favorites are on that night.

2. GVB and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound are back again – The two groups get Friday night slots again this year. No big surprise that they’re returning; their warm reception last year pretty much guaranteed a slot anyway. I wonder if they’ll do another “Together” showcase..

3. Blackwood Brothers and Ricky Atkinson & Compassion – It’s nice to see both these groups on mainstage. Jimmy Blackwood’s group truly deserves to be on mainstage, and this will resonate well with the traditional fans. Daniel Mount wonders if RC&A will have Gene McDonald with them by NQC 2009. I hope so. It should be noted that Chuck Wagon Gang is back on mainstage this year as well.

The Kingsmen Hit #1

December 15, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Music, The Kingsmen

Just saw this on a Facebook status of one of the members; The Kingsmen’s latest single, “When God Ran,” is #1 for February. Either way, congratulations to The Kingsmen, and may you have many more of these!

CD Review: Cross 4 Crowns – Turning Point

December 09, 2008 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4 stars

Producer: Arthur Rice
Label: Crossroads Music
Website: www.cross4crowns.com/

1. I Will Trade The Old Cross For A Crown – Right off the bat, the project features a classic SG song. The arrangement is pretty standard fare, but it showcases the group’s good harmony.

2. Things That I’m Seeing – The group definitely seems to be comfortable with the more traditional SG song. This is an old Kingsmen song from back in the 1970s. The quartet does the song justice, and bass singer Justin Terry’s standout bass lines on the chorus bring to mind a Jeff Chapman performance.

3. Greater Miracle – This ballad from the pen of Rodney features the group’s baritone, Allen Leath. For some reason, his feature here reminds me of a young Mark Trammell. This song would do well on radio.

4. I’m Going There – This is probably my favorite song on the project. It’s another “convention” style song. Justin Terry shines on the chorus, hitting a low G-flat multiple times after the final key change. I love a good bass, and he doesn’t disappoint here.

5. He’ll Never Forsake – Lead singer Davis McCammon, Jr. steps up on this slow song written by Ricky Atkinson. Nice harmony, but not a song that has me hitting the repeat button.

6. I’ll See You Home – (Former) Tenor Dallas Rogers is featured on this country-style song. Fans of his Dixie Echoes or the Archie Watkins style of singing will enjoy this song.

7. Tell Me Who – The bass singer gets his first true solo feature of the album. He does well in the bluesy style that the song is put in. I compared him earlier to Jeff Chapman, and he sounds even more so on this track.

8. Whenever, Wherever, Whatever – This is another slower song. Once again, nice, but nothing that caught my attention.

9. Take A Little Look – This track continues the traditional vibe of the project, with the bass once again getting standout lines. I like the bluegrass flavor of the tune.

10. Celebrating Resurrection Morning – This song is featured on the music player on the group’s website. A lot of people on different sites have commented on the “fake” string instruments used, but honestly, they’re really not all that distracting.

11. Hallelujah For The Cross – The album closes with another ballad. This is a nice way to end the project, showcasing the group’s ability to carry this type of song as well as they can a convention-style tune.

Final Thoughts – For a major label debut, this project is very, very well-done. This a great lineup of vocalists (although Dallas Rogers left the group recently, his replacement will fit right in.) Keep an eye on the bass singer, Justin Terry; at only 24 years old, he has a bass voice that has the ability to get into Tim Riley territory.

I expect to see these guys on the ballot for Horizon Group Of The Year 2009. Great project.

N’Harmony Home From Northern Ireland

December 04, 2008 By: Aaron Category: N'Harmony, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music


And they seem to have had a warm reception. Shane Dunlap sent out this press release today:

N’Harmony Completes Successful Northern Ireland Tour

NASHVILLE, TN (Press Release) – N’Harmony recently appeared in Northern Ireland
as part of their first tour in over six years. While in the UK, N’Harmony enjoyed
3 great nights of concerts and were even given a personal tour of the Northern Irish
Parliament in Belfast. Also appearing on the concerts was Rev. William McCrea,
who was debuting his latest release “In Christ Alone” produced by Shane
Dunlap.

Shane stated, “The Emerald Isle has always been near and dear to my heart.”
He continued, “The people there are very warm and truly enjoy southern gospel
music.” All of the members of N’Harmony left feeling the same way. Plans
are already underway for a return trip in May of 2009.

N’Harmony is booked exclusively by the Dominion Agency. Call 910-484-6996 to
schedule a concert in your area. For more information, please visit www.dominionagency.com
or www.nharmonymusic.com.

Can’t wait to catch these guys in a concert soon. I’d also encourage you to check out their new website; it’s one of the best-done websites in SG right now.