Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Archive for January 17th, 2011

Gold City with Chris West

January 17, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, SG Artists, SG History, SG Music

When I went to Youtube this morning to search for something, I got a pleasant surprise in my subscription bar; a video entitled “GOLD CITY’S NEW BASS SINGER 1-16-2011” (caps not mine.)

I had heard rumors that Chris West, former Mercy’s Mark bass singer and current sound man for Gold City, was being called up to sing several songs every night with the group, but this video was the first true evidence I had seen of it. It starts off with Tim Riley (who sounds like he’s channeling JD Sumner in this clip!) talking about Chris and their friendship, and then bringing him on stage as “After A While” begins playing. He then steps off to one of the wings and West proceeds to nail the song with a bass voice that has all the depth and power to it that Riley has now.

This video, I think, is solid proof that Riley is prepping West to take his place after his eventual second retirement. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on this blog or not, but I have a feeling that is the most prudent method. With Bill Lawrence, and even Aaron McCune, it was almost a case of Tim up and retired, hired another bass singer, and rode off into the sunset. The problem with that is this: fans of Gold City immediately think of Riley and his singing when Gold City is mentioned. All of a sudden, they’re left with a new bass to get used to. That didn’t go over too well, and neither Lawrence nor McCune, unfortunately, were ever really accepted as “Gold City’s bass” by many of its fans.

Now, before I go any further, let me say that none of that was meant as an offense to either of those singers. They are both fine basses and I enjoyed both of them with Gold City, but I just observed over those time periods what the general response was from the fan base.

The beauty of this method of transition is this: it is already known that Tim is coming off the road again eventually. Bringing Chris up on stage every night and introducing him saying that he has been working with him gives fans a concrete image of Tim giving this young man the thumbs-up as his replacement, which is something that did not happen with the other two. If fans can physically see the passing of the torch, they will more readily accept him. It also helps that West sounds like a young Riley, anyway.

And so, dear readers, here’s a preview of the next generation of Gold City: