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

Archive for May, 2010

This & That

May 30, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Gaither Vocal Band, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dove Brothers, Uncategorized

Here’s a couple interesting tidbits from the weekend you may have missed:

First, check out this video that David Bruce Murray blogged about last week and recorded at a recent Dove Brothers concert. The song is “I’ll Fly Away”:

A couple thoughts:
1. The low G that bass singer David Hester hits actually vibrates two Bose speakers right off the stage. Wow.
2. The Dove Brothers are a good quartet to begin with, but throwing a live band into the mix takes them to a whole new level. Look to see how that affects the arrangements on their recordings from now on.
3. Speaking of which, the group has a full preview of their upcoming release, Unstoppable, available on their website’s music player. It’s well worth the listen.

In other news, Daniel Mount has posted both the song list and cover art for the upcoming Gaither Vocal Band project, Greatly Blessed, on his site. The songs are as follows:

1. Better Day
2. When He Blest My Soul
3. Love Like I’m Leavin’
4. You Are My All In All – this is possibly the popular Praise & Worship song, and if so, it will be interesting to see how the group can present it to an SG audience without being too polarizing. Then again, the GVB has never been strictly SG. I can see this as a David Phelps or Wes Hampton feature.
5. Please Forgive Me – An interview I was fortunate enough to do with Michael English indicated that he would be out front on this Crabb Family classic.
6. Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored
7. He’s Alive – There is a song of the same title about Jesus’ resurrection that has been featured on a Homecoming video, and was also recorded by David Phelps on his very first solo project, Journey to Grace, that came before his time with the Vocal Band. A solo by Phelps with the whole group kicking in on the final choruses would be a powerhouse sound for sure.
8. Ain’t Nobody – if this is the same song by Soul’d Out Quartet, it would be one of the most unique sounds the GVB has ever adopted. Keep an eye on this one.
9. Clean
10. Muddy Water – The group has adopted a country flavor to several of their songs recently (Jesus & John Wayne, anyone?), so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the tune made famous by Trace Adkins. A Michael English lead could possibly come from this, especially since the lyric is essentially the story of the prodigal son.
11. That Sounds Like Home To Me – This Happy Goodmans classic was mentioned in the interview. It will be interesting to see how the group arranges this song.
12. I Know How To Say Thank You
13. He Is Here – Michael English stated that this would be a big song for Wes Hampton, and I’m sure that Wes will do great on this Kirk Talley staple.

Upcoming Mega-Review

May 29, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blogging Community, Booth Brothers, CD Reviews, Lari Goss, Mega Reviews, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It has been quite a while since one of these has been done, but there is a new project being released that has turned the heads of several bloggers at the same time; so much, in fact, that we felt like a mega-review would be prudent, since the majority of us would have reviewed it at some point anyway. So I, along with bloggers Daniel Mount, Wes Burke, Brandon Coomer, Nate Stainbrook, and Phil Boles, have collaborated on reviewing the new Booth Brothers project, Declaration. It is worth noting that we were able to wrap up the review to have it posted on the same day of the project’s release date (by pure coincidence!)

Fans of both the Booth Brothers and Lari Goss will find plenty to love on this project, so look for the review posted on this and the other blogs on Tuesday.

CD Review: TaRanda Greene – In The Sanctuary

May 29, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, TaRanda Greene

Rating: 4 stars

Producer: Brad Hudson
Label: Independent release
Website: http://www.thegreenesgospel.com/

Song list: “Sing,” “Highway To Heaven,” “I Know Too Much About Him,” “You Were There,” “Wait On The Lord,” “I Am Redeemed,” “I Have Come By The Way Of The Cross,” “Got Me Some Joy/I Didn’t Think It Could Be,” “Hosanna,” “Come To Me,” and “Oh Holy Night.”

When most Southern Gospel fans hear the name “The Greenes,” there’s usually one of two faces and voices that instantly come to mind: Tony Greene, or his wife, TaRanda. Although TaRanda has not been in the group for it’s entire history, she has made quite a name for herself with her vocal range and ability. Her latest solo project, In The Sanctuary, really showcases that voice.

The first two tracks, “Sing” and “Highway To Heaven,” lean toward to the jazzy, upbeat side of the musical spectrum. TaRanda’s soulful vocals help to drive the songs, and get this project off to a great start. Things then slow down for the third track, “I Know Too Much About Him.” Color me peculiar, but this song hasn’t grown on me yet. It is indeed a pretty song, and the message is made very clear, but the melody seems disjointed and crammed, as if there were too many lyrics written for the song.

An acoustic guitar opens the next ballad, “You Were There,” which I felt was a better musical choice than the previous track. Greene’s vocals are soft and understated for most of the song, until the powerful ending in which she kicks it up a notch. The tempo picks back up for “Wait On The Lord,” and with it returns the soulful sound that the first two tracks featured. The first single from the recording, “I Am Redeemed,” has a black gospel feel to it, complete with a choir. Tony Greene takes the spot as guest vocalist here. The next three tracks alternate from slow, to upbeat, to low tempo again, the highlight being the cover of the Praise & Worship song “Hosanna.” “Come To Me” features a duet between TaRanda and her young daughter, Isabella, at the end. The project closes with Greene’s iconic arrangement of “Oh Holy Night.”

Bottom line: Fans of TaRanda’s voice will find plenty to love with this project, as it is a great showcase of what she can do vocally.


May 27, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blogging Community

Welcome to the new and improved Swain’s Musings! After much urging from my fellow bloggers (Daniel Mount in particular!), I finally took the plunge and switched to WordPress after a little over three years of working with Blogger. It’s been quite a ride these past few years, and hopefully the quality of this blog will only improve in this new environment.

Thank you all for reading Swain’s Musings thus far, and for your continued readership!

CD Review: Roy Webb – Timeless

May 22, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Roy Webb, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 5 stars

Producer: Lari Goss
Label: Song Garden Music Group
Website: www.roywebbmusic.com

Roy Webb has made quite a name for himself in Southern Gospel Music already. He first became well-known when he traveled with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound for several years before leaving the group in May 2007 and embarking on a solo career. Last December 31, he joined Gold City as their pianist. Although he released another solo project while still with EH&SS, You Raise Me Up, this project is his major-label debut.

On Timeless, the sounds Webb incorporates run the gamut, from the jazzy/swing flavor (“Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee,” “Amazing Grace,” “He Keeps Me Singing,” “Blessed Assurance”) to the powerful, orchestrated style (“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God/I Sing The Mighty Power of God,” “Come Thou Fount/There Is A Fountain,” “It Is Well With My Soul). A couple of the songs feature no orchestration or background whatsoever, and feature solely the piano (“Old Rugged Cross,” “Just As I Am”). A tribute to piano great Anthony Burger is found here as well, with an arrangement of “Old Time Religion/William Tell Overture” that Lari Goss originally arranged for Burger, but Webb puts his own spin on it, and does an excellent job.

Bottom line: While I enjoy watching and listening to a player perform songs on the piano live, just sitting back and listening to a CD of it doesn’t do much for me. However, I can honestly say I enjoyed this project. The arrangements are unique and exciting, and the album is quality all the way around. Fans of Roy Webb, or piano music in general, will find plenty to love on Timeless.

Dean Haskins Returning To The Blackwood Quartet

May 22, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In the second quick return to the Blackwood Quartet in the space of about a week, the group announced the return of pianist and road manager Dean Haskins:

(Free-Press-Release.com) May 20, 2010 —
Mark Blackwood and The Blackwood Quartet are very pleased to announce the return of Dean Haskins
as our Pianist and Road Manager. After a very brief personal sabbatical, Dean will once again be
assuming his multifaceted role in our group. For more than ten years, Dean has been an integral part of
our group; sometimes touring with us, and at other times, working behind the scenes. From singing
bass or baritone, playing piano, and arranging our vocals, to scheduling concerts, working as our road manager, and engineering in the studio, Dean has been both an important part of our group and a
faithful friend of the entire Blackwood family.

When asked about his return to the road, Haskins said, “I’ve only been off the road for a couple months,
but I’ve really missed working with Mark Blackwood, because he’s been such a loyal friend for so
many years, and it’s just great working with someone who is wholly committed to his group and his
fans. I’m also looking forward to performing again with David Mann and Dale Evans—both of whom I
consider to be among the best in our industry.” Of new bass singer, Chris West, Dean added, “I just had the privilege of working with Chris in a Nashville studio, and I don’t think there’s a better bass
singer out there. I believe this is truly a singular lineup—one that will always leave audiences wanting
more, and I am truly blessed to be a part of it.”

Mark Blackwood added to Dean’s sentiments by saying, “I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys who
are so dedicated to furthering my family’s legacy, and who are also so committed to each other. We are
all such good friends, and over the years, I’ve learned that’s so important to our being able to get out
there and share the joy of Gospel Music and the love of Christ.”

The Blackwood Quartet doesn’t take it’s legacy for granted, and will continue to offer its best in
furthering the Gospel through the medium of music. We believe we now have the best possible roster
of musicians to be able to accomplish that. When Dean Haskins starts back with us later in May, all the
pieces will be in place for a group that lives up to what’s expected of the Blackwood name. We will
soon be releasing two new albums and we have renewed our partnership with The Singing News. God
is certainly blessing The Blackwood Quartet!

To stay abreast of everything that is happening with the Blackwood Quartet, please visit our website at

http://www.bgqmusic.com, or, better yet, become a fan on our Facebook page by visiting us at
http://www.facebook.com/blackwoodgospelquartet and clicking on the “Become a Fan” button.

For more information:

Mark Blackwood
P.O. Box 22128
Knoxville, TN 37933


The current vocal lineup of the Blackwood Quartet has great potential by itself, but adding Dean Haskins will take that potential even further. Haskins is quite the arranger and player, so it will be interesting to hear the effect of those qualities on their music.

In his previous tenure with the group, the group did most (if not the entirety) of each of their concerts with piano as the only instrumentation. Time will tell whether this trend will continue or not, but I would think that at least a portion of Blackwood Quartet concerts would be done in that style.

Jodi Hosterman With The Inspirations

May 19, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Music, The Inspirations

For those curious to hear how Hosterman’s sound affects that of The Inspirations, check out these clips from a recent concert (thanks, iamredeemed1!) Jodi’s tenor is very different from what the group has had; whereas Archie Watkins and Dallas Rogers were very Applalachian-style tenors, Hosterman’s is a more traditional high tenor sound. With him, The Inspirations have a revamped sound that, quite frankly, I’m really enjoying! Take a look:

Side note: There are more after the post break.

Is That Footsteps That I Hear?

Rose Among The Thorns

It’s Still The Blood

Jesus Is Coming Soon


Dale Evans Returning To Blackwood Quartet

May 17, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In another case of former members making a quick return after leaving the group (a la Derrick Selph to BF&A), former Blackwood Gospel Quartet tenor Dale Evans is making his return to the group after the departure of Dan Keeton. Other changes for the group that are forthcoming include two new recordings and a new website:

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: The Blackwood Quartet would happily like to announce the return of tenor singer, Dale Evans. Dale came off the road back in February for some much needed time spent with family, but the quartet is thrilled about his return. We would like to thank Dan Keeton for lending us his incredible talent during Dale’s absence. Dan is one of a kind.

However, Dale Evans’ return is not the only big news happening with the quartet. Two brand new projects are on the way, along with the group’s return to the Singing News Magazine and some very big events coming up. Stay tuned for a more detailed press release coming momentarily.

For those wondering how Dale sounds, here’s a couple videos of his first tenure with the group:

Workin’ On A Building

Learning To Lean

Various songs

Side note: Yes, I do know about the claims Dan Keeton is making, but Averyfineline has a thread for that. I won’t be talking about it here.

Ryan Seaton Concert with The Hoppers

May 16, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Uncategorized

Lynchburg, VA had the privilege of hosting one of Ryan Seaton’s first solo appearances. The church was the Lynchburg First Church of the Nazarene. The Hoppers were the main group on the tickets and Ryan showed up as a surprise. The Hoppers sang the first half with a mixture of old standards as well as some new songs. About half time Dean’s brother came out and did some comedy stuff. During the first half it was mentioned that there was going to be a special surprise for the people that hung around for the second half. After half time Ryan was introduced and he came out and did a few songs from his upcoming project that is big band oriented. If you like Michael Buble or Denver and the Mile High Orchestra you are going to love Ryan’s new project. I have to say that I was impressed over previous times I have seen Ryan. More of his vocal ability came through when he was by himself.

Ryan sat down for one song and came back up and joined the Hoppers on Shoutin Time. If you would like to see pics of the show you can go to http://www.vasoutherngospel.com or go to the Virginia Gospel Music Association – VGMA facebook page.

Jacob Kitson Launches Statement of Faith

May 13, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Statement of Faith

The former Greater Vision tenor announced his plans yesterday in this press release:

Wednesday May, 12 2010
Jefferson City, TN–

When Jacob Kitson’s departure from Greater Vision was announced last month, many folks wondered what this young award-winning tenor was going to do next in his work for the Lord. The wait is over with the announcement of a new male trio called Statement of Faith. The new group is working on their first release and will officially begin touring on July 4, 2010.

Jacob says of this new ministry endeavor, “I am excited to share the news of this new group. The name Statement of Faith speaks for itself. We want to make a statement, not for us but for the Lord. We live in a time when many avenues of ministry are becoming more and more vague, and Statement of Faith desires to take a clear and firm stand on who and what we sing about.”

Statement of Faith will include Jacob Kitson as the tenor. Jacob has recently been a part of two award-winining groups– fan favorite Greater Vision and the Horizon group for 2008, Tribute Quartet. He brings energy and enthusiasm to the stage along with his great tenor voice and heart for souls. He is joined by younger brother Joe Kitson, who has traveled with the legendary Dixie Melody Boys. Joe’s smooth lead voice and great personality make him a perfect fit to compliment Jacob each night. Rounding out the trio is Jonathan Epley, new to the national gospel music scene but no stranger to gospel music itself. He has traveled with his family and several groups and most recently has been a minister of music for the past year and a half. He brings to the group not only a great baritone vocal, but also is quite a pianist as well. People will fall in love with his heartfelt singing and positive spirit wherever Statement of Faith travels, and collectively this trio is excited and ready to share their music and preaching with the world.

It is the hope of Statement Of Faith to continue carrying the torch of Gospel music to the next generation. This trio’s greatest hope is that they encourage your soul, strengthen your faith, and find a place in your heart for many years to come.

For more information, visit www.statementoffaithtrio.com

For booking: Call Bridget Caplinger 615-585-4952
or email: booking@statementoffaithministries.com

Looking forward to hearing this new trio. This adds to a now-growing list of new trios that will be worth keeping an eye on, along with Josh Garner and John Rulapaugh’s new trio, Freedom.