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

Archive for July, 2011

Talley Trio Adding A Fourth Member

July 25, 2011 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Talley Trio

David Murray has the scoop (which he got from Dana Russell): The Talley Trio is becoming the Talley Quartet (though I’d imagine if they change the name, it would go back to their original group name, The Talleys.) Update: Daniel Mount confirmed that the name will indeed change to The Talleys.

Brian Alvey, new husband of Lauren Talley and former Tribute Quartet tenor, is joining the group on stage within the month, according to the announcement from Roger Talley made from the stage at the Steve Hurst School of Music last night. It is unclear whether he will sing the baritone or whether Roger will drop down and give Brian the lead part, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that Brian sang baritone for another group at one time or another. (EDIT: He filled in for Southern Sound on baritone, and when Anthony Facello started Beyond The Ashes [Anthony Facello & Crossroad], he sang baritone there.)

Before I go any further, I’ll say that my hat’s off to my friend Mike Cook for calling this move months ago!

In all seriousness, he has brought up this possibility in discussions ever since Brian & Lauren got engaged. And really, it makes sense. The daughter in the group marries a singer who is a great talent in his own right, and he’s right there on the bus anyway. Why not let him sing?

Time will tell whether David Murray’s prediction that Roger will slowly phase to the piano man role will pan out, but in the meantime, I’m very interested to hear how the sound changes with four voices instead of three.

Youtube Mega-Roundup 7/22/11

July 23, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Promise, Ryan Seaton, SG Artists, SG Music, Youtube

In my absence last week, several news items cropped up in the Southern Gospel world, the better part of those being personnel changes. I don’t have much more to say on these developments that hasn’t already been said by the other bloggers, so I’ll encourage you to check out their posts on those. However, what I will post about is a plethora of recent video finds that piqued my interest:

First up is this collection of videos from a recent Gold City appearance:


Since the hire of Dan Keeton to the tenor slot, Gold City has brought back several songs they haven’t sung in years, this one being probably the most notable revival. I believe I posted another video of this a while back, but Keeton’s confidence and delivery has really developed on this song. Those that have pined for the Parrack-Trammell era of Gold City won’t find much to complain about with this lineup. I sure hope this group can keep together and produce original material soon.


Another Dan Keeton feature that has only gotten better with time. I read someone compare Keeton’s style of singing this song with that of the great Rosie Rozell. What a fine compliment for any tenor.


This one’s just a mashup of different songs from the concert. Thanks to Diana Brantley of SGConcerts.com for capturing some of this concert!

Next up, after the dissolution of the Statement of Faith trio, Promise was born, and David Mann has posted some videos of the new trio:


CD Review: The Kingsmen – Grace Says

July 08, 2011 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Kingsmen

Rating: 5 stars

Producer: Jeff Collins
Label: Horizon Records
Website: www.kingsmenquartet.com

Buy Here

Song titles: Back To Grace; Oh What A Hallelujah Day; I Knew It Was Him; That’s All I Need; Grace Says; Ordinary Man; I Can Hardly Wait; If Not For the Love of Christ; After the Sunrise; Loving Shepherd Gracious God

The Kingsmen have opened up an interesting chapter in their history during the past few years. After several lineup changes that ended up dissolving the Kingsmen Band and left the group with a new tenor (Harold Reed), and baritone (Bryan Hutson), the group released When God Ran, a project that was arguably the best that they had released in years, according to several critics. Not long after, the group hired young pianist Cody McVey, and the next mainline release, Missing People, was a good project, but in this blogger’s humble opinion, didn’t quite reach the same level as it’s predecessor.

Since that time, another lineup change has happened with the departure of lead singer Phillip Hughes, which moved Bryan Hutson to the lead position and brought in former Kingsmen/Carolina Boys lead Randy Crawford in to fill the baritone spot. The obvious question is this: what can this version of The Kingsmen bring to the table?

The group wastes no time in welcoming Crawford back into the lineup, as the first track of the project features him. An upbeat Joseph Habedank/Matthew Holt collaboration first heard on Statement of Faith’s debut project, “Back To Grace” sounds made for Crawford’s voice. Likewise, the other Statement of Faith cover, “I Knew It Was Him,” (written by the same team, coincidentally), fits Harold Reed like a glove. The other covers include an Oak Ridge Boys/Triumphant Quartet tune (“If Not For The Love Of Christ”) and a convention song (“After The Sunrise”). The nice thing about the majority of these covers is that they don’t sound like they were taken from another group. Rather, the group does a fine job of making them their own, particularly the Habedank/Holt tunes.

Other highlights of the project include the title track, which once again features Crawford and could easily become a career song for both he and the Kingsmen, and “Ordinary Man,” which is a progressive tune that puts Bryan Hutson out front. The final track, “Loving Shepherd Gracious God,” has gotten a lot of attention from several bloggers, and features what probably the smoothest sound collectively from the group in quite a while.

To sum it all up, the rehiring of Randy Crawford has created a sound for The Kingsmen that is thick, powerful, and smooth, all rolled into one, and this project does exactly what it’s supposed to do in the way of taking hold of that sound and showcasing it. While some of the other reviews I’ve read have criticized the project for being “musically schizophrenic,” it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The styles on the CD do tend to jump around from track to track, but I’m of the school of thought that, as long as it doesn’t go out in left field at every turn, it makes for a fun listening experience; the listener can be continually surprised.

With a group dynamic and song selection that is arguably one of the best the group has had to date, there’s not one thing I would throw out of this project if given the chance. Grace Says receives 5 stars.

Dixie Echoes Seeking Tenor & Bass

July 07, 2011 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dixie Echoes

A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that Dixie Echoes bass singer Trent Adams had turned in his notice, and the group was taking auditions for a new bass. Now, the group is seeking to fill the tenor position after Wesley Smith has left the group. To quell any rumors before they start, here is the announcement from the group’s Facebook page last night:

“The Dixie Echoes are now seeking a Tenor & Bass 🙂 Just to answer any questions, nothing is going on here. Nobody has been fired, nobody is on bad terms, just unfortunately Wesley has turned in his notice, leaving us with two open positions. Interested singers can email demos to stewart@dixieechoes.com. We appreciate your prayers through this transition.”

Update: Right after I hit the publish button, I noticed that Daniel Mount had posted an update to his post about this, in which Stewart Varnado commented on the current plans of the group. To sum it up, the group is traveling as a trio this weekend, and former Dixie Echoes tenors will be filling in until a new tenor is found. There should be a bass announced within the month. Wesley Smith has joined a group much closer to his home, and an announcement is forthcoming.

New Blogger

July 07, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Blogging Community, SG Artists, SG Music

This week, an anonymous Southern Gospel artist threw their hat into the ring to give a perspective that comes from the stage rather than out here in fandom. Check them out here!