Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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NQC 2011: Thursday Observations

September 15, 2011 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Artists, SG Music

Some thoughts on the day’s events:

1. I caught the Gaither Vocal Band reunion on the webcast this afternoon. I largely enjoyed it, Penrod’s absolutely unmentioned/unacknowledged absence aside. Buddy Mullins and Marshall Hall split most of the duties for his parts; I’d forgotten how darn talented Mullins is as a singer. Larnelle Harris has got to be nearing or past 60 years old, and the dude can still bring it! Unfortunately, sound issues plagued the set. It took at least four songs for Lee Young’s mic to be properly turned up. Head over to Southern Gospel Back Row for a song list.

2. Set of the night, from a musical standpoint, probably could go to the Dixie Echoes. The newly revamped lineup with new tenor Michael Helwig and new bass Mike Jennings brought their A-game tonight, along with an expanded band with guitars, drums, and a harmonica in addition to the usual piano and bass guitar. Best song of the set came in the form of “Walk With Me,” highlighting a tenor sound that is fuller and more robust than previous tenors for the group have been. Truly a powerhouse sound. Though the baritone/bass mic seemed to not be mixed in correctly for the ensemble singing, the group still showed that they have come through these changes with a fine sound.

3. From an emotional standpoint, the award has to go to The Isaacs. They sang a new song, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” which the kids wrote in honor of their mother’s fight with breast cancer (which she has survived for a number of years.) Halfway through, different artists came on stage with large signs: Dean Hopper held one up with the number of years Connie Hopper has been cancer-free, and others held signs of their own to signify their cancer struggles: Scoot Shelnut, Jeff & Sheri Easter, etc. The one that got me? Ray Dean Reese’s sign: “Diagnosed in 2011. Would appreciate your prayers,” or something to that effect. He was, understandably, looking very emotional, and I had to wipe away a few tears myself. What a moment…

Heading out tomorrow to see the NQC for myself tomorrow and Saturday. Looking forward to a great weekend!

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