Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Archive for July, 2010

CD Review: Kingdom Bound Quartet – Call Jesus

July 30, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Kingdom Bound Quartet, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4.5 stars

Producer: Ben Stewart
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.kingdomboundquartet.com
Samples can be heard here.

Track list: “The News Is Out,” “A Love That Wouldn’t Die,” “Call Jesus,” “That Wonderful Day,” “What On Earth For,” “One Of These Days,” “I Love Living In Grace,” “The Night That Love Was Born,” “Seek and Save,” “That Sounds Like Forgiveness To Me,” ‘Save In The Cross Of Jesus,” “What A Precious Friend Is He”

Often, many Southern Gospel fans don’t pay attention to lesser-known groups. Most of the time,  it’s simply because we have a preconceived notion that the quality will not be on par with the more widely known artists, and therefore won’t be worth our time or money to listen to. And sometimes, that may be the case. I’ll admit, I have that attitude sometimes as well, and even as I was in talks with a group member to do this review and was putting the disc in the player, I still had a little bit of reservation.

The Kingdom Bound Quartet pleasantly surprised me. They have a sound similar to that of the Dove Brothers or the Kingdom Heirs, which is no surprise, since the music tracks were produced at Crossroads Studios by Danny Crawford (who produced the Dove Brothers’ latest outing, Unshakeable.) Though the comparison is very tangible on the project’s more upbeat tracks, the group still has a sound all its own.

The project opens with the driving country sounds of “The News Is Out,” which features lead singer Ross Carter and displays some very smooth harmonies between he and tenor Ben Stewart on the second verse. The project then segues into another heavily country flavored song called “A Love That Wouldn’t Die,” a Dianne Wilkinson tune that has been done by both Triumphant Quartet and Steve Ladd. Bass singer Chad James displays his Jeff Chapman-like bass throughout the song.

The project’s title track, “Call Jesus,” is a slower, lightly orchestrated song that features the lead singer, and is probably one of my favorites on the disc. The group covers an old Soul’d Out tune, “That Wonderful Day,” and the two groups have renditions that are fairly equal in quality. Another cover found later on in the project is “I Love Living In Grace,” which has recently been recorded by both Tribute Quartet and Liberty Quartet. Other than some minor differences in instrumentation and vocals, not much separates this version from the other two, but that can be forgiven since the groups were working on it at relatively the same time, and therefore didn’t know what the others would do with it.

The group’s current radio single, “One Of These Days,” was a good choice for the first single, because it has the sound to hang with other quartets like the Dove Brothers, but is unique enough in sound to give the group some identity. “What On Earth For” is a smooth baritone feature for David Sherrill on the first verse. “The Night That Love Was Born” an acoustically driven Christmas song that is beautifully delivered. “Seek and Save” is another upbeat song that is one of my personal favorites. Of the last three songs, “Save In The Cross Of Jesus,” a powerful ballad featuring the tenor, is probably the most attention-grabbing.

Final Thoughts: I was impressed with my first listen to the Kingdom Bound Quartet. They are a part-time group, and when I heard that, I was surprised. They have a sound better than some of the full-timers out there. This project was two years in the making, and is the first to feature lead singer Ross Carter, whom the group heavily credits in the album insert for making the project the best it could be. The hard work by the group certainly shows; the sound is professionally done, and the song selection is great, and each vocalist does not stray out their range. Other than a couple songs that don’t particularly grab my attention, I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this project.

Bottom line: The only way this group could be better is if a label picked them up, although I can’t imagine that the change would be all that drastic, as the Kingdom Bound Quartet is already a great sounding group. Call Jesus gets 4.5 stars.

Video Find of the Day: I’ve Just Started Living – The Cathedrals w/ Ernie Haase

July 29, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Music, The Cathedrals

Props to Clarence Grigsby for this upload. Although Ernie Haase apparently sung this Danny Funderburk signature many times during his tenure with The Cathedrals, it has not hit the Internet yet. Although it was originally uploaded to Facebook only, it is now available on Youtube:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ndyNxZKmrs

What I like about Haase’s take on it is that he did not merely scream out high notes trying to match Funderburk’s power tenor. Rather, he takes the song and makes it his own, while staying within his range. Some of the points at which Funderburk would hit higher notes (“I’d be covered in trouble, There’d be no place to go..”), Haase wisely opted to go lower, rather than straining to match those notes. Going that route probably did two things to make it possible for the group to still effectively stage the song: it saved Ernie’s voice quite a bit, and putting his own spin on it made it unique to him and still delivered, rather than sounding like a cover group tenor trying to replicate Danny’s every note.

Although Ernie Haase & Signature Sound did not do this song in their Cathedrals tribute, this video gives a fair glimpse into what Ernie’s take would sound like.

Blogger Welcome: Steve Eaton

July 28, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blogging Community, SG Music

Anyone who frequents the various Southern Gospel forums around the Internet (Southern Gospel Forums, Singing News forums, etc.) most likely would recognize the screen name Seaton. The guy behind that handle, Steve Eaton, has just recently thrown his hat into the Southern Gospel blogger ring with his new blog, Southern Gospel Views From The Back Row. It appears he is getting started the right way; his first post states exactly what he’s bringing to the table and how he will make it so his blog is something truly new. He’s already been known to make positive contributions to discussions on message boards throughout the SG world for quite a while now, so readers will know that his posts will be of the same caliber.

All of that, and his layout is pretty darn impressive as well!

Make sure to head over and welcome him to the blogosphere. (David Bruce Murray just cringed!)

Internet Troubles Roundup

July 26, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Doug Oldham, Perfect Heart, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

There were several things that took place in the SG world last week that I was unable to cover because my Internet was down. An old pine tree in my neighbor’s yard split down its trunk and caused some problems when it hit the lines around the house. Here’s some of the items I missed:

1. Doug Oldham Passes Away at age 79 Growing up in Bedford, VA, which is a small town outside of Lynchburg, I was very familiar with Oldham’s work at Thomas Road Baptist Church and in other areas as well. Last week, he was awaiting surgery for a broken spine sustained in a serious fall, and passed away peacefully early on the morning of July 21. The funeral is today; a final dose of the reality that another legend has gone home. Here’s one of my favorite clips of Doug from the Gaither Homecoming series:

2. Matt Felts Joins Perfect Heart In a press release from the group:

One of Southern Gospel’s most beloved groups, Perfect Heart, is delighted to announce that Matt Felts has joined the group as their new tenor. “Matt has proven himself to be a premier talent in Southern Gospel but more importantly his deep desire to see God’s kingdom grow line up perfectly with our group’s main goal. Matt is a wonderful addition to our family and we look forward to all that he brings to us.” stated Mike Presnell, Legendary bass for Perfect Heart.

Matt is well known to the fans of Southern Gospel, singing for groups such as Monument Quartet and the Skyline Boys. As a member of Monument, Matt gained fans both in the Gospel and country music world through their numerous live and television appearances.

“It is an incredible honor to join a legendary group like Perfect Heart. They were the very first live concert I ever attended and I’ve always been a fan of Mike’s. Though they have a rich tradition, I am more excited about all that God has in store for us. There are so many great things coming and I can’t wait to see the fans of this group as I hit the road with them.” said matt Felts. Matt has already began touring with Perfect Heart.

Perfect Heart currently can be heard on the radio with their chart hit “Glory Waves”. Fans can see this incredible new lineup at the Showcase Spectacular on Monday at the National Quartet Convention. To learn more about Perfect Heart, fans can go to their official website at www.perfectheartqt.com

I’m interested to hear how Matt will affect their sound. The new Perfect Heart is a good quartet already, and adding a tenor like Felts will only improve them. For those unfamiliar with him, here is a clip of him with Monument Quartet singing the tenor standard, “Hide Thou Me.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqSB5REVlls

Crabb Quartet?

July 18, 2010 By: Jeremy Bell Category: Uncategorized

The following videos popped up on my facebook feed earlier tonight that were shot by Wendy.  They are of Jason Crabb, Adam Crabb, Gerald Crabb, and David Sikes singing w Blaine Johnson playing piano.  These were shot at a camp meeting.  According to the caption most everyone had left and they were just messing around,  The second one was shot before the meeting.  They are not perfect but enjoyable.

Just a Little Talk with Jesus


Going Home (before the service)


Going Home (during the service)

Concert Review: Greater Love & The Perrys

July 12, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Concert Reviews, Greater Love, SG Artists, SG Music, The Perrys

This past Saturday night, I made the hour-long trip to Buena Vista, VA for the last night of the VA Southern Gospel Jubilee, an outdoor three-day event held every July. I had been out of town all week and had just gotten back home that day, but since I’d never seen The Perrys outside of NQC and they don’t come to the area that often, I decided it was too good to pass up.

The concert started at 5:00, with close to an hour of musical groups affiliated with the local church that puts on the event. I took this opportunity to chat with some of the singers, and enjoyed talking with Troy Peach, Joseph Habedank, and Tracy and Libbi Stuffle.

At about 5:30, the first headliner group, Greater Love, took the stage. Subscribers to the Singing News may remember this Orange, VA based group getting a feature article in the May 2010 edition. I couldn’t name any of the songs they did, as this was my first time ever hearing them, but I was told that most of their songs were from their newest release. The group has a good sound and blend. One particular interesting note is that their bass singer, Don Leake, had open-heart surgery months ago, and it had not looked like he would be able to make the event. However, he was in good health, and did very well in the group’s set.

After an offering being taken up, The Perrys launched into their set. They started off with “I Love To Tell Of His Love,” “I Know It Was The Blood,” and “Still Blessed,” one right after the other. Other songs of the night included “Prior To A Prayer,” “This Old Sinner Testifies,” “Did I Mention?” “I Wish I Could Have Been There,” and “If You Knew Him.” Bryan Elliot did a remarkably fast piano solo, and Tracy Stuffle also did his chainsaw impersonation.

This particular lineup has really gelled well. The voices play really well off of each other, and an A Capella encore of “Did I Mention” really highlighted that fact. Tracy Stuffle’s style of MC work connects with the audience really well. He injects a good dose of humor throughout the program, but also builds up to songs very well, as he did with the closer, “If You Knew Him.” That particular song led into an altar call that had many going forward, and was twice encored with just piano.

If you have the chance to see either of these groups, this blogger highly recommends them. Although the sets were not as long as a regular event might be, I was still impressed with both.

Riley Clark / Tribute Quartet Video

July 05, 2010 By: Jeremy Bell Category: Uncategorized

A few days ago Aaron posted that Brian Alvey was leaving Tribute Quartet and Riley Clark was replacing him.  It is always exciting to see what a new group member is going to offer to a group when he comes in.  This is the first video I have seen of Riley with the Quartet.  I think he is going to be a good one.  Thanks to Diana Brantley for shooting the video.

CD Review: The Dove Brothers – Unshakeable

July 03, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Dove Brothers

Rating: 4 stars

Producer: Danny Crawford
Label: Sonlite Records
Website: www.dovebrothersquartet.com

The end of 2009/beginning of 2010 saw several big changes for the Dove Brothers, with piano player Jerry Kelso leaving the group and Adam Harman being brought in, and then adding  drummer Devin Dove and bassist Marc Peele for a three-piece live band. Changes this major will affect a group’s sound for sure, but the question here is this: how did the addition of the band change their sound for this new project?

The group has stayed in the Country Gospel direction they started in with 2006’s Never The Same, and continued with 2008’s Life and 2009’s Hold On. Fans who didn’t like the sound to begin with will really dislike this album; the group has jumped into the Country sound with both feet this time around.

With the band, the group’s song choices for this project feature arrangements that a three-piece band can easily replicate. Interestingly, many of the project’s songs come from the 1970s, an era when live bands were popular in Southern Gospel. The covers run the gamut, with songs such as The Imperials’ “Ole Buddha,” and The Dixie Echoes’ “Good Ole Gospel Song,” both of which feature lead singer McCray Dove and do a great job of maintaining the original feel of the songs while updating them to a more modern sound. Tenor singer Jerry Martin takes a feature on “My Soul Has Been Set Free,” an old Lesters Tennesseans tune (thanks, DM!). As if the group knew that this effort would draw parallels to the Oak Ridge Boys, they also recorded the Oaks classic “King Jesus,” totally updating the arrangement and turning it into a bass feature for David Hester. Hester is also featured on a Blackwood Brothers song that Bill Lyles originally sang, “How About You.”

There are plenty of newer songs to go around as well. “Hey Lazarus” has a callback arrangement on the chorus, with Hester echoing the group on each line. Baritone Eric Dove gets a solo on a verse of the Poet Voices song “Preachin’ In Prison.” “I Recall” is an upbeat quartet song, and “If I Knew Then” is a ponderous McCray Dove feature that has the lonesome sound you would find on any country ballad on the radio today. The last track, “Unstoppable,” is a song originally cut by Rascal Flatts that allows Jerry Martin to cut loose.

Bottom line: While the group has definitely adopted the heavy country sound, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Although there’s a couple tracks that aren’t my cup of tea, the Dove Brothers have released a project that makes a bold statement about who they are and what they believe in, while very clearly defining their sound.

Update on the Bowling Family

July 02, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Mike and Kelly Bowling, Prayer Requests, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Bowling Family

Jason Crabb stated that Mike & Kelly are being released from the hospital to go home tomorrow. Kelly will not have surgery, but will be in a body cast for three months. Mike is improving, but it will be a long road, and everyone else is banged up but OK.

The situation could have been a whole lot worse, so all things considered, this is great news. Please keep them in your prayers.

Bowling Family Involved In Bus Wreck

July 01, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Mike and Kelly Bowling, Prayer Requests, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Bowling Family

This news story states that the group was involved in a serious wreck this afternoon near Charlotte, NC. Mike Bowling and one other person have been airlifted to the local hospital, and it’s been reported that Mike is in critical condition. Terah Crabb Penhollow sustained a broken arm. There is no word on the others as of yet.

Please keep the group in your prayers. I will send updates as I receive them.

Update: Reports have come in that Mike Bowling is alert and talking. PTL!

Further update: From SGReporter:

The latest report from family members says Mike Bowling and six year old daughter, Katelanne.. appear to have sustained the most serious injuries as a result of a bus crash earlier today near Charlotte, NC. Reports say they were on the side of the bus that took the brunt of the impact,.. and were thrown forward. Family member Brian Lawing told our reporter: “Mike has a skull fracture, broken wrist, and lacerations. Kelly has a broken or crushed vertebrae and possible broken ankle. Katelanne’s collar bone is broken in two places and she has a deep laceration on her face. The piano player has a broken ankle. The rest of the family/band/crew are all okay. Shaken up and bruised but praise God they are okay.” Mike and Katelanne were airlifted to a nearby medical facility,.. the others were transported by ambulance to the same hospital. All involved are expected to make a complete recovery.

Police officers working the accident scene released a statement tonight saying: “A tractor trailer was stopped in traffic in the northbound lane of I-85 when the tour bus — also traveling north — hit the tractor trailer in the rear. The tractor trailer then hit a box truck in front of it.” The Bowling Family was enroute to a concert appearance in Indian Land, South Carolina.