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

Archive for November, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Be sure to take time today to thank God for everything He has given you, and enjoy the holiday!

CD Review: Triumphant Quartet – Love Came Calling

November 16, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Triumphant Quartet

Rating: 4.5 stars

Producer: Wayne Haun
Label: Mansion Entertainment
Website: www.triumphantquartet.com

Buy Here

Track list: “Saved By Grace,” “Love Came Calling,” “I Can Take You To The Place,” “Mercy, Forgiveness and Grace,” “Movin’ Up To Gloryland,” “The Undertaker,” “Jesus Is Your Ticket To Heaven,” “We Shall Overcome,” “Holy Hands,” “The Cross of Christ,” “You’ll Find Me There”

There are some groups that have established themselves in their time in the Southern Gospel industry as a group whose sound is instantly recognizable, whether it be in the style in which they sing, the vocal components, or both. Triumphant Quartet is definitely part of that class of groups. They also are distinctive in that they are one of those rare groups who have never had a lineup change in their entire existence, which is going on nine years. That’s quite impressive in and of itself, and no less impressive is this group’s ability to find and record material that is of considerable quality. Love Came Calling, the quartet’s first effort on the Mansion Entertainment label, continues that trend.

Out of the eleven songs featured on this project, four are re-imaginings of songs, which is a term that I use for a song that has been done before, but is taken by the group and made different enough that it is not merely a cover version. The first track, “Saved By Grace,” was done originally by The McGruders and is given an upbeat, orchestrated sound that is typical of a Wayne Haun production. The built-in encore seems a little redundant, especially with the fade-out ending, but that does not take away entirely from the quality of the song. Other covers include “Movin’ Up To Gloryland,” which features David Sutton delivering the famous “movin” standouts on the chorus in different ways throughout the song to give some variety, “Jesus Is Your Ticket To Heaven,” a jazzed-up Ronnie Milsap hit that features Clayton Inman, and “We Shall Overcome,” a Nelons classic that is also very well-orchestrated.

The original songs on Love Came Calling are no less stellar. The title track lets baritone Scott Inman deliver the song in a soft, understated way that lets the lyric effectively communicate, making it one his finer features to date. “I Can Take You To The Place,” is a brand-new song done in a straight-ahead convention style that the group does well. Tenor David Sutton takes the lead on “Mercy, Forgiveness, and Grace,” a new ballad that, like Scott Inman’s feature, is one of the best Sutton has done. Bass singer Eric Bennett delivers an eerie lyric about death from the perspective of the undertaker in a song entitled “The Undertaker.” The elder Inman sings a mid-tempo tune about the peace that comes knowing that “Holy Hands” hold us, and then the younger one carries a powerful ballad about the Cross in “The Cross of Christ,” and then turns around immediately following that to take the second verse on an upbeat new offering from the writing team of he and Joseph Habedank. Like the project’s start, this is a strong song that highlights the group’s harmonies, and shows that Inman can deliver a range of styles effectively, and it turns out to be one of the project’s best tracks.

Final thoughts: Like I mentioned earlier, Triumphant’s strength lies in having a very recognizable sound, and part of that is retaining the same lineup in their entire existence. Such consistency allows for a better harmony and sound, which in turn makes for good music. However, you can have great harmony and still have mediocre songs. Fortunately, Triumphant has time and time again avoided that pitfall. This project embodies a collection of both new songs that are high-quality, and old songs that are given new life. The production fits both the songs and the singers to a T, giving a bit of life to the music, but not so much so that it becomes distracting. I came into this review expecting a good product, and I did not leave disappointed.

Bottom line: Fans of Triumphant Quartet will find nothing to complain about here, as the group continues to produce quality material, even after a record label switch.

Jerry Martin Joins Kingdom Heirs

November 09, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Kingdom Heirs, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

As many have already reported, The Kingdom Heirs announced via Facebook that Martin will start with the group on January 20, 2011. I’m glad to see that rumor pan out; Martin has the range and ability to handle the demanding tenor part that the group usually contains in their material. I look forward to hearing this new lineup!

The New Gospel Caravan

November 01, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Brothers, Chuck Wagon Gang, LeFevre Quartet, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music

There has been talk lately of the new version of the Gospel Caravan tour that traveled in the early 1960s, which included groups like The LeFevres, The Prophets Quartet, The Blue Ridge Quartet, and The Johnson Sisters. At the 100th Anniversary Celebration at NQC 2010, the new Caravan troupe debuted, featuring the LeFevre Quartet, The Blackwood Brothers, and the Chuck Wagon Gang. A tour is slated to begin in Spring 2011 and the groups are currently at work on a studio album, but in the meantime, here’s a video press release discussing the Caravan: