Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Archive for May, 2013

Dixie Melody Boys Welcome New Baritone/Pianist

May 23, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Dixie Melody Boys, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

AARONOn the heels of yesterday’s announcement that lead singer Mike Rogers had left the group to be the new Brian Free & Assurance baritone, the group closes the door on another transition:

The Dixie Melody Boys have announced the addition of Aaron Dishman to the legendary group as their new baritone and piano player. The group announced last month that Steven Cooper would be stepping down due to vocal issues but will stay on as their bass guitar player. “Aaron had filled with us in a few years ago at piano. We fell in love with his spirit. When this came open, we knew he would be a great fit.” Said Ed O’Neal. Aaron Dishman is 26 and lives in Mississippi with his wife Erica. “We are excited to have Aaron join us. When he came to audition and sat down at the piano to sing us a song, you could feel God’s spirit. He will add so much to our concerts and I know the fans will love him. ” stated Matt Felts. Aaron will join the group in time to appear at the Memphis Quartet Show in June.
     The Dixie Melody Boys were voted favorite Male Quartet for the second year in a row at last month’s Southern Gospel Music Fan Awards. They are currently accepting applications for the lead singer position. They will be back in the studio with Aaron and the soon coming lead singer to finish their sophomore album with Song Garden Music Group.
Leave it to Ed O’Neal to bring new talent to the forefront of Southern Gospel music. I hadn’t heard of Aaron before now, so I took to Youtube in search of a sneak peek of what’s to come. Not only did I find some samples of his singing, but also of him at the piano bench. The first is a cover of “Hello Mama,” and the second is a fun clip of “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” with some family members:
These clips alone make me excited for the future sound of the Dixie Melody Boys once they hire a new lead singer.
Update: Regarding the search for a lead singer for the group, here’s an open letter from tenor and publicist Matt Felts:
 
           As many of you read last week, Mike Rogers resigned as our lead and will join Brian Free and Assurance in June. We will miss Mike. He has been a blessing to us and we know he has a bright future wherever God leads him in the future. We have begun to search for a new member of our team. This is truly an exciting time for our group. Over the last two years, we have been blessed to see the Dixie Melody Boys rise back up to the top of Gospel music. We are currently in the studio working on a new project that is sure to be a milestone recording for us. This album will be finished released shortly after the addition of a new lead singer. Last week, we announced that we have hired Aaron Dishman as our new baritone and piano player. With Steven Cooper moving to bass guitar, we know the fans will love seeing us add live music back to our program.
           Ed O’Neal has set the standard in Gospel music for having the very best talent in his group through the years. We plan to keep that tradition alive for many years to come. Working for a true legend like Ed is a special opportunity. We are currently seeking the very best person available for this position. Our producer and Executive VP of Song Garden Music Group David Staton had this to say. “This is a rare opportunity for a singer. The Dixie Melody Boys are iconic and the next lead singer has a chance to become part of something special. This next album will allow them to make their mark on Gospel music as a great vocalist. The Dixie Melody Boys are set to be the group to watch over the next decade.”
          For the last two years in a row we have been voted Favorite Male Quartet by the fans through the Southern Gospel Fan Awards. “Jesus In My Boat” and The Call Is Still The Same” were voted in the Top 5 for Song Of The Year honors and both climbed high up the national charts. Currently, “I’Ve Got Family There” is quickly becoming a huge hit for us. With all that God has done over the last few years, we know that the future is even brighter. We have numerous things planned and anticipate plugging the right person in as part of our family. We will be accepting applications at dixiemelodyboys@yahoo.com. We look forward to hearing some great singers. We covet your prayers through this process and your support for the group. God bless,
Matt

Mike Rogers Departs Dixie Melody Boys, Joins Brian Free & Assurance

May 22, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Brian Free And Assurance, Dixie Melody Boys, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

971766_10151564029864039_142470391_nThe Dixie Melody Boys announced on their Facebook page tonight that lead singer Mike Rogers had left the group after a ten-month run, and also sent out this press release:

The Dixie Melody Boys have announced that their lead singer Mike Rogers has resigned. Mike has been with the group for the last ten months. “We wish Mike and his family the best.” said Ed O’Neal. The group will begin looking for a replacement shortly. “Change can be hard but also exciting. History has proven that every time a singer has left, God has brought us another great addition to the Dixie Melody Boys. We know God has someone coming that will be the right fit for years to come.” added Matt Felts. The Dixie Melody Boys are taking demos at dixiemelodyboys@yahoo.com.

A short time later, Brian Free & Assurance made this announcement on their Facebook page:

Brian Free & Assurance Announce New Baritone

Douglasville, GA – May 22, 2013 Brian Free announced today a decision has been made in filling the baritone position. Joining the BFA family will be Mike Rogers of Kinston, NC who fans will recognize from his recent position as lead singer for the Dixie Melody Boys. Mike will join the group on June 20th at the Memphis Quartet Show.

Twenty-four year old Mike shares, “The warmth and humility from Brian and the guys when I auditioned made me feel this was truly a God-thing, and confirmed for me that I wanted to be a part of their ministry. BFA is very family-oriented, which means a lot to me. Ministry is important, but after God, family is top priority. Quartet music doesn’t get any better than BFA. They are top notch, and I am honored to join them.”

Brian states, “When I received the audition info for Mike I was very impressed with his vocal ability and the gift to deliver a song. After spending some time with him, his wife Bekki and daughter Coraline at my home, I knew he was the one God had sent to be a member of our family. I love his heart and the love he has for people. He will be a wonderful addition to BFA.

Having over 300 people apply for the job, it was a hard decision due to all the talent I heard. I want to thank each person who took their time and effort to apply for the position. I am truly honored that so many wanted to be a part of our ministry. I know God has a place and time for you to use your talent for him.”

Brian Free & Assurance’s first single I Want To Be That Man off their current project, Nothing But Love, went to number one the month of February on the Singing News Charts. Their follow up single, Calvary’s Cry has quickly climbed the charts and currently holds number six for the month of May.

To keep up to date with Brian Free & Assurance visit their website at: http://www.brianfreeandassurance.com/

While BFA got a singer that certainly fits their style and sound, I hate to see it come at such a blow to the Dixie Melody Boys, as he really added a lot to their sound and stage presence. However, I am sure that the DMB’s upward trajectory will continue with the hire of a new singer.

Joseph Habedank Departs The Perrys

May 21, 2013 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Perrys

In a move that is among the most unexpected this year, the lead singer for the group has made this announcement on their Facebook page:

Dear Friends,

After 10 years of having the great privilege to serve with the Perrys, I have decided to step down as Lead Singer at this time. Libbi and I talked earlier this week, and while I would never want to abandon her in such a great time of need, sometimes The Lord has other plans. There aren’t enough words for me to express how truly grateful I am for both Tracy and Libbi giving me the opportunity that they have. They are like parents to me and I love them dearly. I will miss them.

To the Gospel Music community, thank you all for loving and accepting me over the years. I never dreamed that The Lord would allow me to feel so loved by the fans of Gospel Music. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

As for my future, only The Lord knows what He has in store. I am confident of this one thing tho; I am absolutely nothing without Him and I only want His perfect will for my life. My wife, Lindsay, and I both covet your prayers in this time of transition. We love you all.

With a grateful heart,
Joseph Habedank

Libbi Perry Stuffle also had this to say:

A personal note from Libbi,

While it saddens me that Joseph is leaving, we definitely respect his and Lindsay’s need to reevaluate their lives and future. He has been like a son to me and Tracy. Although he is leaving our group, we will always consider him part of our family.

As for the Perry’s, we will continue on. It is my plan to be back on the road as soon and as much as possible. I don’t have all the answers right now, but God is in control. Thank you for your love and prayers for me, Tracy, Jared, Bryan, and Leah; and your continued support of the group.

In His Grip,
Libbi

Prayers are going out to both parties. This transition is especially tough given all the group is going through right now with Tracy, and I have no doubt it was a decision that was not made lightly.

Joseph has become a definitive voice in Southern Gospel music over his tenure with the group, and his songwriting skills have also made a big impact for both The Perrys and other groups. I trust we’ll continue seeing his name in songwriter credits even if he is not on the road.

Youtube Spotlight: Dove Brothers Band (5/11/13)

May 18, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Concert Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Dove Brothers, The Dove Brothers Band, Youtube

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go hear the Dove Brothers Band for the first time (other than several NQC appearances). This time around was especially unique, because it was a graduation celebration for a friend to both the group and myself, Lynn Pollard, who you will hear referenced from the stage several times in the videos. Congratulations again, Lynn!

I say it was unique because the event was held in the small fellowship hall of a church in Roanoke, VA. The group set up in the corner, and with a small crowd of family and friends in the mix, it made for a very intimate setting, as you’ll see in the clips. I was impressed that the sound was as balanced as it was in that kind of setting.

As always, I’ll let the music speak for itself:

Traveling with a live band obviously has several perks, one of them being that the artist can let the music keep going if he wants to say something during a song. I enjoyed the little bit of background that McCray gave during “Hold On.”

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Mark Trammell Quartet Names New Tenor

May 16, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

From a press release on Singing News:

Gadsden, AL – GREAT NEWS!!!!! On his 26th birthday, Dustin David Black has accepted the position as the new tenor vocalist for Mark Trammell Quartet! Dustin is from Saginaw, Michigan, and will soon become a “southern boy.”

Mark shares the following…”We are SO excited about Dustin coming on board and we look forward to what is in store for both Dustin and MTQ. I am still convinced that God knows exactly what we need and when we need it.” Dustin has been traveling with the group on a 90 day trial basis. He is a brand new face to gospel music and has already made many new friends across the country with his winning smile and warm personality. He has proven to be a true Christian Gentleman in every way. Mark continues, “I was immediately impressed with this young man and his ability to just be one of the boys. Dustin had only been to one gospel concert prior to walking on our bus. It was a Gaither event in California a few years back while he was finishing his Masters degree in music at West Coast Baptist College.”

When Mark was asked about having a “yankee” on his bus, he smiled and replied, “Its certainly a first for me, but we will eventually get accustomed to the smell!”

When you see MTQ in concert in the coming days, make it a point to stop by their table and welcome this fine young man to the world of gospel music.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DUSTIN and WELCOME TO Mark Trammell Quartet!!!

The group came to my area during Dustin’s first weekend of filling in. At the time, he was still learning the material and was understandably nervous, and was also recuperating from a bout with laryngitis on top of it all. Despite all of these factors, he did an admirable job, and it was enough to make me look forward to hearing him when he was in better health and more comfortable with the group. After hearing him on JOY FM’s broadcast of Singing In The Sun a couple of weeks ago, I was impressed.

Black is not the next Eric Phillips (few tenors are cut from that same cloth), but his is a solid tenor that is a departure from what the Mark Trammell Quartet is used to having; more of a blending tenor with an open sound. The blend for this lineup is already tight, and it bodes well that Black has brought a unique style to the table that has already been given positive feedback.

Happy birthday to Dustin, and congratulations to both he and Mark Trammell Quartet as they move forward!

Youtube Spotlight: Promise 2013

May 01, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Promise, SG Artists, SG Music, Youtube

It seems that Youtube is becoming ripe with videos to feature this week. Today’s feature comes to us from Promise, a relatively new trio that started back in 2011. Their debut release got a 5-star rating from this site. Since that time, the group has had several changes, and the lineup stands today at tenor TJ Evans, lead/baritone David Mann, and lead/baritone Matt Baker. Baker also plays piano on select songs. The videos are from Mann’s Youtube channel, and are taken from a recent concert that was broadcast on the Internet.

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