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

Archive for January, 2010

Legacy Five With Gus Gaches

January 30, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Music

There have been several videos of the new L5 lineup posted on Youtube, but this is one of the best quality ones as of now. Here is the group singing a song that is a true indicator of how an L5 tenor will fit: I Found Grace.

New Gaither Vocal Band CD

January 29, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Gaither Vocal Band, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

According to a Wes Hampton facebook post, the Gaither Vocal Band has completed vocals on 9 songs for a new CD. The untitled CD should have a total of 14 songs and is due out probably early summer. I am personally looking forward to some new material becuase I thought there would be more on the 2 CD / DVD combo that was just released.

Priority Changes Name Back To LeFevre Quartet

January 22, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

And just when I’d gotten used to calling them Priority! From a press release at the Singing News:

There is much to be said about the heritage of a name. When thinking of Southern Gospel Music, some of the first family names that come to mind are The Speer Family, The Goodmans, The Nelons and The LeFevres, all legendary in our Industry.
Mike LeFevre, nephew of Eva Mae LeFevre, has been involved in Southern Gospel Music since his days with the legendary Gold City. In 2005, Mike LeFevre, along with five other incredibly talented young men, brought forth a new quartet sound called The LeFevre Quaret. Just one year after forming The LeFevre Quartet, fans voted them the 2006 Horizon Group of the Year at the Singing News Fan Awards. In 2007, they were voted “Breakthrough Artist Of The Year” at the SGN Awards. Their hit song, “Big Mighty God” was nominated for Southern Gospel Song of The Year at the 2009 Dove Awards.
The question has been asked, “So why would a group who has had such an impact on the Gospel Music scene with such wide acceptance change their name?” The answer: With the passing of Eva Mae LeFevre, members of the LeFevre family expressed their desire to retire their legendary name in Gospel Music, so The LeFevre Quartet quietly became Priority.
Since signing with BSA, Beckie Simmons, along with encouragement from their peers, began the process of reconsidering going back to their original family name. Maurice LeFevre addresses the issue with his statement, “I didn’t realize until Mom’s passing last May how quickly new generations forget, as some of my own children came to me and said they had no idea that their grandparents had accomplished so much in life. Mylon and I are absolutely and completely supportive of Mike and his group and the work they are doing for our Lord and Saviour. Our initial reservations concerned quality; however, after hearing the group we could not be more in tune. What a great sound!” Thus, the decision was confirmed to continue the legacy of the LeFevre name. Priority is now being retired and The LeFevre Quartet reborn.
BSA/Beckie Simmons Agency has entered into an exclusive booking agreement with The LeFevre Quartet. Beckie Simmons adds, “We are excited about adding The LeFevre Quartet to the BSA family! The sound of this group is superb plus having a live band represents some of the best in Southern Gospel Music. I am so happy to be part of their future and keeping the LeFevre heritage alive.”
For further information please visit www.bsaworld.com.

Glad to see that the group can have their original name again. More people associate Mike LeFevre with the LeFevre Quartet name rather than the Priority name, which will give the group better recognition.

Christian Davis Joins Dailey & Vincent

January 22, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Christian Davis, Dailey and Vincent, SG And Other Genres, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Dailey & Vincent are proud to welcome the multi-talented Christian Davis on bass vocals and guitar. Davis will perform his first shows with the band this weekend: January 22 at the Shepherdsville Music Palace in Shepherdsville, KY; January 23 at Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, VA; and January 24 at Appomattox High School in Appomattox, VA.

“Christian has such an incredibly warm and resonant voice,” says Darrin Vincent. “We’re thrilled that he’s decided to join us and excited about what he’ll add to our sound.”

Christian began to sing at age three, and throughout his childhood he learned to play various instruments. He began singing professionally in 1998 while attending Liberty University, as bass vocalist with The Sounds of Liberty, traveling to many churches and venues around the country. Later that year Dr. Jerry Falwell, with Christian’s persuasion, formed the Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet, which Christian began as the original bass singer. He has since sung with other quartets such as the Old Friends Quartet (while George Younce was ill), Christian Brothers Quartet and Mercy’s Mark. In addition to his music career, Christian served as the Assistant Director of Recruiting for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas in 2006. Christian and his wife, Sophia, are the proud parents of Shelby, Richard and Anneliese.

Rounding out Dailey & Vincent’s lineup are Jeff Parker on mandolin and vocals; Joe Dean, Jr. on banjo, guitar and vocals; and Jesse Stockman on fiddle.

For more information visit http://www.daileyvincent.com.

I never expected to see Christian Davis singing with a bluegrass group, so this is quite an interesting move! Davis will bring the group a unique dynamic; not many bluegrass groups have a bass that’s quite as deep or powerful as his voice is. Come to think of it, I can’t think of any bluegrass groups with a bass singer like that! bravesfan513 over at the SouthernGospelForums puts it best:

Christian will be playing “second guitar”, which I interpret to mean he’s just playing rhythm. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just interesting to see D&V hire someone really exclusively for bass vocals. They do a lot of gospel, as well as Statler Brothers stuff, so having a strong bass part is logical. Bluegrass doesn’t have a strong history with bass vocals…they’ve always been kind of secondary in the genre. In fact, Christian Davis might be the best bass singer in the history of bluegrass music.

If you don’t usually listen to bluegrass, this may be the group to listen to. They had a good sound before, but with these additions, they’ll be great.

Changes For Cross 4 Crowns

January 20, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It seems that the lineup change bug is continuing to bite. This just in from Cross 4 Crowns:

Cross 4 Crowns manager David Hoskins is announcing that lead singer Davis McCammon is departing the group. Davis is headed back to school to finish his teaching degree and will also be assisting his home church’s music program. Group owner and baritone Allen Leath states, “Davis is one of my best friends in the whole world, and I’m so excited for him to be able to complete what he started some years back. He leaves us with some mighty big shoes to fill, but we have seen time and again how God provides for His ministries. We will miss Davis immeasurably, but we are so excited to find out who God is going to place in Cross 4 Crowns.” Davis McCammon says, “My time with C4C has been nothing short of life-changing. I have gained life-long friends and learned so much about ministry. This group of guys has an integrity that guides their ministry that is seldom found. I will cherish the memories and I wish them the richest of God’s blessings.”

Davis will continue to travel with the group until a replacement is named. Anyone wanting more info about singing with Cross 4 Crowns should send bio/demo to: cross4crowns@yahoo.com or call 865-679-5021.

As the press release states, McCammon indeed leaves big shoes to fill. I was quite impressed with him as a lead singer; he was good on their major label debut, Turning Point, but he continued to improve and sounded fantastic on their latest release, It Just Started For Me. I had the opportunity to see the group in a short showcase at NQC last year, and he impressed me then as well.

I wish Davis well in his future endeavors, and hopefully we’ll see him again with a group in the future! Here’s hoping that Cross 4 Crowns picks up a lead singer of his caliber as well. Every hire the group has made after a change has improved the group, and I’m sure this will be no exception.

CD Review: The Rick Webb Family – Faithful

January 18, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Rick Webb Family

Rating: 4 stars

Producers: David Staton, Gus Gaches, Jason Webb & Rick and Phyllis Webb
Label: Song Garden Music Group
Website: www.thewebbsmusicministry.com

The Rick Webb Family was a group that I was not familiar with prior to hearing this project. As such, I went into this review not really knowing what to expect. I’m glad to say that I liked what I heard!

This family group has a harmony similar to that of The Hoppers, especially on songs like “Step A Little Higher,” and “Spirit And The Bride.” However, they do bring a style of their own to the table. The styles range from the upbeat “barn-burners” (“I’ve Enjoyed The Journey”) to country-flavored tracks (“Press On,” “Heavenly Sunrise,”Holding Hands.”) The group also takes on several ballads, including “Every Knee Shall Bow,” which features guest vocals from the song’s writer and one of the project’s producers, David Staton. The other two feature the group’s own spin on two well-known songs: the hymn “Praise To The Lord” and the CCM hit “In Christ Alone.” The only song I don’t particularly care for on the project is the opening track, “I Call You Faithful,” but that’s only because it seems so repetitive.

Bottom line: If you’ve never heard The Rick Webb Family before, this project is a good place to start.

This & That

January 16, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dixie Echoes, The Toney Brothers

Here are a couple of news items from the week:

1. Devin McGlamery’s first concert with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound was last night, and here’s the first video clip from the night. The song is “Climbing Higher & Higher.”

2. In case you’ve been under a rock, the Dixie Echoes are seeking a new bass singer after Pat Barker’s departure to join the Mark Trammell Quartet. Here is the official press release from the Dixie Echoes at the Singing News:

Pensacola, FL – This year marks a milestone in the Dixie Echoes career. We are celebrating our 50th Anniversary in Gospel music. Through the years, many great quartet men have carried a suitcase on the Dixie Echoes bus. It is with a heavy heart that we announce the departure of our bass singer, Pat Barker. Pat joined the Dixie Echoes in September 2007 and has been a vital part of the groups’ sound.
Pat shares, “My years with the Dixie Echoes have been some of the greatest years I’ve known in ministry. I have met some of the most wonderful people on the Planet. No one has shown me more kindness than Randy, Scoot, Stewart, Wesley, and the Gospel Music family as a whole. I am very sad to be leaving, but excited about the new ministry opportunities that await me. My prayer is that God will bless the Dixie Echoes more this coming year than He has in all 50 years combined. I never imagined my time with the Dixie Echoes would have been so short, but I also never imagined almost 3 years ago that I would get back on the road, leave my hometown, and start a new life in Pensacola, Florida. The Lord moves in mysterious ways. I love you all. Continue to lift up the Dixie Echoes in your prayers. And please say a prayer for me and my family as we continue to follow God wherever He leads.”
“Members come and go in every group. This was an unexpected change for us, but I know Pat’s heart, and if there’s one thing that I can tell anyone about him, it is that he lives what he sings about,” shares Stewart. “We will miss Pat, his wife Kesha, son Andy, and daughter Breelyn. They have become our extended family, and I wish him the best. Mark Trammell and I have been friends for many years and I know that Pat will be working with a great guy.”
We appreciate your prayers for both the Dixie Echoes and Pat Barker. We invite serious parties to send their information to auditions@dixieechoes.com or mail to: Dixie Echoes, 481 Ronda Street, Pensacola, FL 32534.

3. This may be old news to some, but speaking of open singing positions, the Toney Brothers are currently seeking a new vocalist as well, following the departure of lead singer Joe Kitson. All serious applicants can send submissions to toneybrothersbooking@gmail.com. The position is open to either lead singers or tenors, because their current tenor, Daniel Childs, can sing either part, and it is a full-time position.

Pat Barker Announced As Bass Singer For The Mark Trammell Quartet

January 13, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dixie Echoes

In a long-awaited announcement at the Singing News, Mark Trammell announced that he is adding Pat Barker as bass singer to round out his quartet:

Gadsden, AL – George Younce said it best: Mark Trammell is a “quartet man” period. And after two years of soul searching and watching the craft of the traditional gospel quartet become scarce, Mark has decided to move from trio status to realizing his life long dream of having his own traditional style all male gospel quartet.
“This is not a decision that was made flippantly,” Mark states, “and all I’m really doing is simply returning to my roots. I was trained by some of the greatest men to ever take a quartet to the stage and I’m very excited about MTQ endeavoring to raise the bar when it comes our music and being able to minister to, as well as entertain our friends and fans.”
Mark has always been about singing and not gimmicks. He reminds us that Glen Payne and George Younce taught him that at the end of the day if you want to be successful in stirring the hearts of the people, you MUST eventually sing TO their hearts, and not just their heads.
Mark admits that there was a motive behind his decision to announce the change before knowing who the bass singer was going to be. While he openly states that this was not necessarily a religious awakening, he does want the right man for the position. In making the announcement the way he did, the prospects came to him, instead of him going on a search to find the right man.
The Mark Trammell Quartet is happy to announce the arrival of Patrick Barker to the Gadsden, Ala., based group, and they are looking forward to great days ahead. Pat will be joining the group somewhere around Feburary 1.

This is a surprise to me, as Barker’s name never came up in any discussions I saw, but it is a good hire on Mark’s part. Barker’s voice will fit well with the group’s sound; he impressed me with the Dixie Echoes, and while I hate to see that lineup get a change, Barker is one of the finest bass singers out there, and Mark Trammell made a great choice.

The question now is, who is to move to the bass position for the Dixie Echoes? It will be interesting to see who they get now; Brad Smith, formerly of the Blackwood Gospel Quartet, would be a fine addition, or perhaps they’ll hire an undiscovered talent.

News From The Weekend

January 11, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Quartet, Brian Free And Assurance, Guy Penrod, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

1. Ron Blackwood Quartet Lineup Changes – There have been a few rumblings on various forums and blogs about changes for this group, but it’s official now: Chris West has joined the group as bass singer and Steve Warren will pull double duty as baritone and pianist. Both of these men have quite a resume in the world of Southern Gospel music, and Ron Blackwood has quite a lineup assembled now. The group’s first lineup had a good sound and great potential, but didn’t keep together before they signed with a record company. Hopefully, this lineup will fare better.

2. Brian Free & Assurance At Work On New Project – Via Burke’s Brainwork, Brian Free & Assurance is going to work on a new A Capella project, due out sometime in March or April. The latest example of a song in this style that the group has done is the opening track of their Worth It project, “There Is A Kingdom Coming.”

The group has often been criticized for sounding too artificial or digital on their more recent recordings, and that complaint has carried over more so when they did the aforementioned song on their project. However, Brian Free’s son, Ricky, will be producing the project and all projects from here on out for the group. Ricky produced the group’s Christmas CD a few years ago, and he produced and arranged their Timeless Hymns & Classics Volume II project as well; on those projects, the group sounds much more real and less digitized, and their future efforts will be better for it.

3. Guy Penrod Signs With Gaither Music Group – If nothing else puts to rest the rumors of bad blood between Gaither & Penrod since his departure, this press release will. Gaither Music Group will be re-releasing his Breathe Deep solo debut in the coming months.

Catch-up For The Week

January 08, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Gospel Quartet, Priority, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In my busy first week back at school, here’s two lineup changes I missed this week:

1. Brad Smith Resigns From The Blackwood Gospel Quartet This move, I admit, shocked me a little. Smith seemed like the perfect fit for that group and they had a great sound in each position. I’ll say this for him: he’s an incredible bass singer (6 octaves!) and he’s one honest guy. His reason for leaving? “Because I wanted to.” Straightforward enough?

Here’s hoping the group can find another bass with the caliber Smith possessed, and that Smith will wind up with a top-tier group somewhere. Mark Trammell is looking these days…

2. Nathaniel Justice Joins Priority As Tenor This change is less surprising, as I understand Justice has been filling in with them for quite some time. Reading his bio, his entertainment background is quite interesting. I haven’t had the privilege of hearing him yet, but I do know that Mike LeFevre and David Staton think highly of him; they talked him up quite a bit when Legacy Five was looking for a tenor. Like Keith Inman’s transition into bass in late 2009, this change will be seamless, as Justice used to fill-in for Gus Gaches when he was unable to be with the group. I am looking forward to hearing this new lineup!

Be looking for my review of the Rick Webb Family’s latest project in the next few days!