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

Archive for May, 2009

Cross 4 Crowns Hires New Tenor

May 28, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

With the recent news that Cross 4 Crowns was in the studio working on their upcoming project, some of us wondered if they had hired another tenor since Matt Felts left.

To answer our wonderment, I came across this video of the group with their new tenor, Marcus Faulknor, singing “Hide Thou Me.”

This was the debut concert with Marcus, but I can already see he will blend in nicely. It will be interesting to hear how he will round out the harmony on the group’s next project.

Legacy Five Has "Special Guest" At Memorial Day Celebration

May 26, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Legacy Five, Mike Huckabee, Politics, SG Artists, SG Music

For Immediate release

Mike Huckabee performs with Legacy Five

Mike Huckabee was the surprise guest speaker last weekend at Legacy Five’s Celebration event in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. At the conclusion of his speech, Governor Huckabee played bass guitar for Legacy Five as they sang the classic gospel song, “I’ll Fly Away.”

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is the host of the number one rated weekend hit “HUCKABEE” on the Fox News Channel, and is heard three times daily across the nation on the “Huckabee Report” on the ABC Radio Network, the fast growing new program on the ABC Radio Network in years.
For information on future Celebration events, please visit www.legacyfive.com

Good News And Bad News

May 24, 2009 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Kingsmen, The Lewis Family

The Good News:
After quite a long wait (and quite a bit of a trial period), The Kingsmen have hired a piano player. Bryan Hutson signed onto SouthernGospelForums.com and posted this about the piano player and the reconstruction of the Mighty Kingsmen Band:

“…Yes, we hired a piano player. Cody McVey from Alderson, WV. The band? I think once the economy gets back on it’s feet, we will look into bringing back the band….”

And what better way to introduce Cody to the SG blogging world than a video of his playing?

An interesting tidbit about Cody: he studied under former Kingsmen pianist Anthony Burger.

The Bad News:

On September 5, the SG and Gospel Bluegrass world will say goodbye to one of its oldest and finest groups: The Lewis Family. From a news article on SoGospelNews.com:

The Lewis Family has reached the difficult decision of announcing their retirement. They want to thank all their friends and fans who have supported them during these past 60 years. Continuing health issues and age have caused them to examine their traveling schedule, and they have set their last date as September 5, 2009.


60 years is quite an impressive tenure to have been a group. I’m sad to see that time come to an end, but I commend the Lewis Family on such a longstanding career.

N’Harmony Is Back!

May 19, 2009 By: Aaron Category: N'Harmony, SG Artists, SG Music

For those who wonder if the new lineup can tote the mail on the old N’Harmony stuff, here’s a clip from a recent concert of the guys singing what is probably N’Harmony’s best known song, “Out Of The Blue.”

Here’s another of them singing “I’m Glad I Know The Lord.”

My Picks For The Singing News Fan Awards

May 19, 2009 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Singing News Fan Awards

It’s that time of year again; the Final Five for the Singing News Fan Award categories have been announced. Here’s my picks for the winners, with occasional commentary:

Favorite Artist of the Year – Booth Brothers

Male Quartet – Triumphant Qt

Mixed Group – Perrys

Trio – Mark Trammell Trio: They put out one of the finest projects of the year. It’s high time this trio got this award!

Soloist – Parker, Ivan

Male Singer – Fowler, Scott – Legacy Five

Female Singer – Greene, TaRanda – Greenes

Horizon Individual – Kitson, Jacob – Greater Vision

Horizon Group – Soul’d Out Qt

Young Artist – Habedank, Joseph – Perrys

Tenor – Booth, Michael – Booth Brothers

Lead – Wolfe, Gerald – Greater Vision

Baritone – Trammell, Mark – Mark Trammell Trio

Bass – Bennett, Eric – Triumphant Qt

Soprano – Greene, TaRanda – Greenes

Alto – Stuffle, Libbi – Perrys

Musician – Mote, Gordon

Songwriter – Brady, Jim

Album – When God Ran – Kingsmen: This album can be considered a comeback album for the Kingsmen. They’re sounding better than they have in years, and they deserve an award for this outstanding project.

Song – Hello After Goodbye – Legacy Five

Tribute To Eva Mae LeFevre

May 18, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Eva Mae LeFevre, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Legends, SG Music, The LeFevres

Via Tweet from @sogospelnews, I learned that Mrs. LeFevre passed away at about 7:25 this morning at the age of 92. Southern Gospel Music has lost another legend.

I can think of no better tribute than to post this video of Mrs. LeFevre singing in 2008, and then another of her piano playing long ago with the LeFevres.

Update: Vistation: Wednesday, May 20, 2009
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
H.M. Patterson & Son-Arlington Chapel
173 Allen Road Ne
Sandy Springs, GA 30328 USA
Phone No: (404) 851-9900

Funeral: Thursday, May 21, 2009
12 p.m. (noon)
Mt. Paran Church of God Central
2055 Mt. Paran Rd
Atlanta, GA 30327 USA

Updates On New GVB Projects

May 16, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Gaither Vocal Band, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music

I think I might have called one! Haha

Looking around at Gaither Community (which I really should do more often), I came across a thread where you could put together an imaginary 15-track CD of songs for the new GVB lineup to re-record. Naturally, this turned into a thread of songs we hoped would be on one of the new projects that the GVB is in the process of recording.

Michael English was nice enough to drop in and confirm two of the songs for us: one was “Sweeter As The Days Go By.” The other was a song that I and my friend Jeremy Bell at VASG had suggested for the new group: “House Of Gold.”

As you can tell, this excites me all the more for this new stuff.

Oh my…

May 15, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, Youtube

You know those “looks like a man, sounds like a woman” jokes we hear so often from groups introducing their tenor singer? Well, here’s a clip that puts a whole new spin on it:

Gold City, here’s your next tenor! (Just kidding!)

Concert Review: Gaither Homecoming – Lovin’ Life Tour 2009, Charlottesville, VA

May 12, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Bill Gaither, Concert Reviews, Gaither Vocal Band, SG Artists, SG Music

I had the privilege of attending this April 26 concert. I call it a privilege simply because it was an awesome night.

The concert opened up with Bill Gaither singing “Old Friends” and interacting with the audience. He then introduced Sue Dodge, a native of Northern VA and has been featured on many of the Homecoming videos. She was followed by a three-song set by Gordon Mote consisting of “All That Noise,” “Mercy Walked In,” and “Don’t Let Me Miss The Glory.” The videos that went with Mote’s songs really added to the performances.

Ben Speer was featured on one song. It is good to see a legend like that still chugging along at such an advanced age. Janet Paschal did a two-song set to follow.

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound charged the crowd up with their energetic song list. They brought David Griffith with them to play bass guitar, giving them a complete live band with Kevin Williams on guitar, Grit on bass, Greg Ritchie on drums, and Wayne Haun at piano. The crowd ate it up, warranting several completely live encores of “Get Away Jordan,” in one particular instance. Judging by the response, it is a pretty safe bet that EH&SS will carry out what they mentioned a while ago about adding a live band to their solo concerts. (Side note: Since the time of this writing, they’ve announced that they are adding a three-piece band for their 2009 Summer Tour, at least.)

Another thing I have noticed with EH&SS lately (and this concert further confirmed it) is that their stage presence has definitely matured over time. It’s not all about the choreography and dancing around anymore; rather, that’s become a small part of their set, and they are now more of a throwback to the old quartets. Most of their set was done around two mics, even throwing in an impressively tight-harmony a capella rendition of “Wonderful Grace Of Jesus.” Sure, the energy is very much still there, but they’re giving the naysayers a whole lot less to complain about.

Lynda Randle followed up with two songs, the latter in tribute to a couple that happened to be in the arena that helped her into a Christian school. Bill Gaither encored it a couple times, and then the lights went completely out. If you’ve read recent concert reviews and kept an eye on Youtube, you can guess what happened next; the new GVB started into “Alpha & Omega,” with the lights progressing up as the song went on.

I came to the concert not knowing what to expect from the new GVB. I’d heard they were incredible, and I’d seen the Youtube clips, but unless you hear something like that for yourself, it’s all talk.

All those who are unsure about the new lineup, go catch a concert soon. I have heard every lineup the GVB has ever had, and I can honestly say that this one is the best. The blend is superb, and each singer is impressive in his own right. David Phelps and Wes Hampton alternating on tenor makes for a great high range. Michael English is sounding more and more like his old self again, and is clearly having the time of his life. Mark Lowry has matured in both voice and stage presence. Sure, he’s still the clown, but his serious side has developed a whole lot since he went off on his own. Even Bill, at the ripe old age of 73, is still sounding good. I was particularly impressed at his bass slide on the end of “He Touched Me.” Tim Duncan was nowhere to be seen, so I was surprised that something that low could come out of Bill Gaither.

The second half was a typical Homecoming gathering, with different singers singing old songs. The concert closed with a powerful version of “Because He Lives,” followed by “Holy Highway.” All in all, it was a fantastic night, and one that showed a bright future for the GVB. I am eagerly awaiting the two projects that they are currently at work on.

My friend Jeremy Bell over at VA Southern Gospel was in attendance and took many pictures, which can be viewed here, here, and here.

I’m back!

May 11, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Uncategorized

As most of you might know from reading some of the other blogs, I’ve had a rough time of it lately with a ruptured appendix. I had to have two operations; one to remove my appendix, and another about four days later to remove some intestinal blockage. Needless to say, I’ve been out of it for quite a while.

Thankfully, I was released from the hospital today, so my recovery is making progress. Thanks to all who wrote or blogged to wish me well. It was encouraging reading all the messages!

Luckily, it seems not much has happened in the SG world lately, so I don’t have anything to catch up on. Be looking for a Gaither Homecoming concert review in the next few days that was in the works when I fell ill. Thanks for reading!