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

Archive for February, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

February 22, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Gospel Quartet, Blackwood Quartet, Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

With the busy schedule I’ve seemed to keep for the past few days, I haven’t had much time to blog! Here’s some items I missed:

1. Blackwood Shake-Up Groups experience change in SG quite often, but few experience changes this drastic. Ron Blackwood, owner of the Blackwood Quartet, announced his retirement for health reasons on the advice of his physician, and announced that he was turning leadership of the group over to Mark Blackwood, baritone and owner of the Blackwood Gospel Quartet. On the heels of this announcement came the one that stated, effective March 1, tenor John Rulapaugh and lead Josh Garner were resigning their positions in the Blackwood Quartet and forming a quartet of their own. Thus, Mark Blackwood is merging the BGQ with Ron Blackwood’s group. The lineup is: tenor Dale Evans, lead Mark Blackwood, baritone David Mann, and bass Chris West.

I am very excited about this announcement, because, for one, the vocal lineup for the Blackwood Quartet is shaping up to be quite the powerhouse. David Mann and Mark Blackwood are great vocalists, and Dale Evans is one of the best young tenors I have ever heard. Throwing a young bass like Chris West in the mix is sure to make a great quartet.

Greater still, the fact that John Rulapaugh and Josh Garner are forming a group opens up exciting possibilities for a lineup. I wouldn’t mind seeing them pick up baritone Rick Fair and bass Brad Smith. An announcement should be coming sometime soon as to the lineup of this new quartet.

2. Videos of the Mark Tramell Quartet are now up. Check out Pat Barker singing what has becoming something of a signature song for him, “How Big Is God,” and a favorite song by the Mark Trammell Trio getting a quartet treatment on “Loving The Lamb.”

Be looking, probably sometime next week, for the first interview I’ve ever done on this blog. It was a great interview that I was privileged to be able to conduct, and I can’t wait to have it posted!

Update: For now, the videos of the Mark Trammell Quartet have been removed at the artist’s request. I’ll repost if they are put back up!

Clip of Karen Peck & New River’s New Lineup

February 11, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Karen Peck and New River, SG Artists, SG Music

For those wondering what the new male vocalist for New River, Jeff Hawes, sounds like, here’s a video of him playing piano and singing “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” Karen Peck Gooch made an excellent hire in Hawes; he not only has a voice that has the Contemporary stylings that fit their sound, but he’s a capable musician as well.

NQC Staying In Louisville

February 10, 2010 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Industry News, SG Music

Hat tip goes to Daniel Mount for this one, but it seems the NQC Board of Directors has signed a contract keeping the National Quartet Convention in Louisville through 2014. Having seen the outcry against moving, this is a smart move on the part of the Convention. Count me in the camp of those happy with this decision.

Roundup From The Weekend

February 09, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Gold City, Jason Crabb, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Cathedrals

1. Jason Crabb will apparently appear on an upcoming episode of The Price Is Right. After winning the Grammy Award for Best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Gospel Album, he was spotted in the audience and recognized by host Drew Carey. Although he didn’t play, he will still show up on the March 12 airing of the show.

2. The newest lineup of Gold City has continued to gel and improve, and DinanaSN’s latest Youtube videos can attest to this. Check out the group singing “Where Is God,” “It’s Still The Cross,” and “When He Blessed My Soul.”

3. Speaking of new lineups, there are more videos out there now of Devin McGlamery stepping into his role as lead singer of Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. Check out this one of his first night with the group singing “Then Came The Morning,” and this more recent one of him singing “It’s My Desire.”

4. To wrap things up, here’s a video from Kurt Young’s brief tenure as tenor for The Cathedrals singing “He Left It All.”

NQC 2010 Breakdown

February 08, 2010 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Artists, SG Music

I was going to do this earlier, but I decided to wait till the schedule was more settled, as it usually is not as complete when it is first posted. A couple thoughts:

1. With the absence of the Singing News Fan Awards this year, Saturday night has been opened up to allow more slots for groups. Count me among those pleased with the move to some extent; as much as I enjoy seeing who won, the Fan Awards last year really dragged. Many of the people around me just got up and left after a while. I wonder, with Saturday night giving more slots, if some of the groups that only got about eight minutes last year (Soul’d Out, LeFevre Quartet, etc.) will get a fuller set.

2. Speaking of the groups that got eight minutes, I wonder if they will still be doing the “three group system” they used last year. Three groups would come sing together, each group did their own set, and then they would come back together again. For most groups, their sets were still the same amount of time they would have had usually, but for groups like those I mentioned earlier, the sets were very abbreviated.

3. The Melody Boys Quartet are back on mainstage this year, getting a Friday night slot. There are new additions to the schedule as well, such as Jason Crabb, Liberty Quartet, The Ball Brothers, and Dailey & Vincent, all of whom deserve spots. The Anchormen have also been invited back on after last year’s absence, and as DBM noted, they have made great strides in their sound. Maybe now that these groups are back on, The Nelons can make a return as well, at least for one night. The current group has a good sound, from what I have heard of them, and a group with a history like The Nelons deserves at least one night.

CD Review: Paid In Full – No Trace of Rain

February 03, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Paid In Full, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4 stars

Producers: Woody Wright, David Staton, and Gus Gaches
Label: Song Garden Music Group
Website: www.paidinfull.net

Song List: “Truth Be Told,” “I Go To Jesus,” “This Is The Day,” “Praise Makes The Walls Come Down,” “Lead On,” “My Soul Is Firmly Anchored,” “Waiting For The Morning,” “Light Doesn’t Make A Sound,” “It Takes Faith,” “Faith Moves A Mountain,” and “The Other Side”

Paid In Full is a trio that is steadily making a name for themselves in Southern Gospel music. They won the Horizon Group award in 2007, and this latest effort from them has been two years in the making. After thoroughly listening to the project, it’s safe to say that those two years paid off.

As my co-blogger Jeremy Bell put it, this project starts off like a Phillips, Craig & Dean CD, and is Ponder, Sykes, & Wright the rest of the way. The opening track, “Let The Truth Be Told,” does sound like it came from the PC&D songbook, and is one of the better songs on the CD. Other highlights include “My Soul Is Firmly Anchored,” a song featured on Legacy Five’s latest project that gets a driving country treatment and Gene McDonald on guest bass vocals, “Faith Moved A Mountain,” a touching country ballad, and “The Other Side,” the powerful closing track that has an understated sound that highlights Lance Moore’s smooth vocals. Each member contributes strong solos to the album as well, with Brock White featured on “Faith Moved A Mountain,” and Bradley Littlejohn on “Light Doesn’t Make A Sound.” Several of the tracks come from the pens of the group members.

Bottom line: While the project doesn’t completely bowl me over, it features strong performances and harmonies throughout. On the technical side, it is also very well produced. Paid In Full can be very proud of No Trace of Rain

Introducing The Virginia Gospel Music Association

February 01, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Industry News, Virginia Gospel Music Association

February 1, 2010

For More Information Contact: Mike Cook


LYNCHBURG, VA, February 1, 2010 – The VA Gospel Music Association has been established to promote Southern Gospel, Country Gospel, and Bluegrass Gospel music in VA.

“We started a web site in 2007 to promote Southern gospel concerts and reach a younger fan base.” said Jeremy Bell, co-founder and webmaster.  The web site, www.vasoutherngospel.com, has concert dates, photos from recent shows, and links to artist web sites and industry information.  In November 2008, a blog was added in partnership with Aaron Swain of http://swainsmusings.blogspot.com/, one of the top bloggers in the Southern Gospel industry.

“When we began receiving Emails and calls from promoters and artists on a regular basis, we knew it was time to create an association to bring everyone together” adds co-founder Mike Cook who serves as afternoon host for Joy FM WTTX in Central VA.

The VGMA will be the hub for fans, artists, promoters, gospel radio stations and other media professionals that support the gospel music industry in VA.  The association will begin by using the current web site and adding links to promoters throughout VA and a place where fans can join free by entering their Email address.  A new web site will be created by fourth quarter 2010.  

For More information visit www.vasoutherngospel.com

Dixie Echoes Hire New Bass Singer

February 01, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dixie Echoes

The Dixie Echoes have a bass singer once again, and they’ve hired nineteen year old Trent Adams. (h/t, Daniel Mount) Here’s the press release from the Singing News:

Pensacola, FL – The Dixie Echoes are pleased to announce their new bass vocalist, Trent Adams. Trent, 19, hails from Ashland, Alabama. His first concert will be on February 11, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We believe that Trent is one of the best young bass singers and we are excited that he has accepted the offer to become part of the Dixie Echoes. Trent is an exceptional young bass singer, and we feel that our fans will love his smooth bass voice and friendly personality.
Since the announcement of the departure of Pat Barker, we have been overwhelmed with the response we have received. While we auditioned several fantastic bass singers for the position, we truly feel the addition of Trent to the Dixie Echoes is the right choice. We would like to thank everyone for their interest.
Joining the Dixie Echoes family along with Trent will be his wife, Jessica, and their daughter, Anzlee. Please join us in welcoming this young family. We are excited to see what the Lord has in store for the Dixie Echoes in our 50th year of ministry. Please remember to keep us in your prayers.

Adams is one of the best up-and-coming basses in the business, and the Dixie Echoes have made an excellent hire here. He has a good amount of experience as well, singing stints with groups such as Hope’s Journey, The Old Paths, and Ron Blackwood & The Blackwood Quartet. Looking forward to hearing his sound with the Dixie Echoes.