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

Clips from NQC 2013

September 16, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Freedom, Mark209, NQC, Omega, SG Artists, SG Music, The Skyline Boys

As promised, here are a few videos of some performances at NQC 2013. We’ll start with the “debut” of Freedom Quartet:

Next up is the Skyline Boys, with completely new top parts with the return of Jodi Hosterman at tenor and the newly hired Brian Alvey at lead:

Here’s a trio called Omega from GA. They have been on main stage as showcase winners in the past couple of years. New lead singer Kevin Harry filled in for the Dixie Melody Boys before Josh Garner joined. From what I can gather, this was the lineup’s first time on stage.

Finally, up-and-coming group Mark209 sang a Christmas song a regional showcase:

NQC 2013

September 09, 2013 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Artists, SG Music

It’s that time of year again; the National Quartet Convention, which seems to be unofficially considered the “kickoff” of each Southern Gospel music year. Here’s just a few things I’m looking forward to this time around:

  • The Old Paths’ debut on mainstage. They’ve had it coming for quite a while!
  • The revamped Skyline Boys and Freedom as a quartet.
  • The Dixie Melody Boys. Their lineup right now is one to watch.
  • For that matter, I’m looking forward to hearing several groups that have changed members since last year, like Gold City and the Dixie Echoes.
  • The fellowship in the exhibit hall, which is the best part of events like this.

I’ll be headed to Louisville on Wednesday and staying through Friday.

As far as “live coverage,” I’ve decided to take it easy in that department. It’s the NQC’s last year in Louisville, so I’m going to kick back (as much as you can “kick back” at NQC, anyway!) and take it all in. Who knows; I may have a video or two from different things after it’s all said and done, but as far as regular coverage, I encourage you to check out some of the other SG blogs; I’m sure discussions will be taking place there. Of course, the comments section is open here as well!

As always, I’m looking forward to the biggest event in Southern Gospel music, and here’s to a great final year in Louisville!

Freedom Trio Becomes Freedom Quartet

September 05, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Freedom, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Freedom QuartetIt seems that the NQC season of changes has recently kicked off, with several changes taking place over the past couple of weeks. This one in particular is the one that many were keeping an eye on; since the departure of group co-founder and lead singer Josh Garner for the Dixie Melody Boys, many were wondering where John Rulapaugh would take the group next. I think it’s safe to say that the group bounced back from the shakeup:

Nashville, TN (September 5, 2013) – John Rulapaugh, founder of a group known for its dynamic energy and prowess, Freedom, raises the bar even higher, as he introduces Freedom Quartet.

The quartet’s new line up is the “creme dela creme” of Gospel music.

The new lead singer has an array of accolades and accomplishments and is best known for his days with the group, Perfect Heart.  He is Dale Shipley.  Read more about him at daleshipley.com.

Filling the baritone position for the group is Preston Garner.  Garner is not only a notable vocalist with a vast array of experience. He is also a music minister and worship pastor and has a very clear understanding of leading an audience to the throne of God.

Taking the bass position is one of the most talented bass singers to grace a Gospel music stage.  He is none other than Burman Porter.

Along with the solid and seamless tenor singing of Rulapaugh, this combination is poised to be one of the most cutting edge and impacting Gospel music ministries of the decade.

“The departure of my friend Josh Garner from Freedom’s lineup left a great void, one that could not easily be filled,” shares Rulapaugh.  He continues, “Since the inception of Freedom, it was always our desire to have a great quartet. There have been several opportunities to make that move, but the timing was never right. Over the past few weeks the Lord has really made His plans evident in our lives and we are thrilled with the new starting place He has set for us. I couldn’t be more happy than with the addition of my old friend, Burman Porter, to the lineup of Freedom. Many will remember that Burman and I worked together on two previous occasions; First with The Dove Brothers Quartet and, then, with Palmetto State Quartet. There’s so much to tell about how this decision and direction unfolded…and not nearly enough space here to tell it all. Over the coming days and weeks I will share the details of how this all came to be. If you’re interested in the “back story,” visit and join our website.  You can sign up for free and receive all the latest news from the group.”

The group is partnered with a premiere booking agency, Mountain Top Talent (one entity of the multi-faceted Michael Davis & Associates).  Mountain Top will be heading up their scheduling.

Michael Davis expresses, “John Rulapaugh has done it again by assembling one of the strongest personnel lineups to come along in quite sometime.  The move from trio to quartet will be well received by John’s fan base.  I am very excited about the future of the Freedom Quartet.”

The quartet is looking forward to getting into the studio soon for their first full recording together.

To meet and follow the exciting happenings of this outstanding quartet, visit their brand new website, coming soon, at www.freedomquartet.com.

You can find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/freedomquartet and follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/freedomquartet.

To learn more about all of the artists who call the Dominion Agency home, visit mountaintoptalent.com and michaeldavisandassociates.com. To schedule the Freedom Quartet and other wonderful artists with Michael Davis And Associates, call 828-454-5900 or email michael@michaeldavisandassociates.com.

Each iteration of the group Freedom has been a stellar assembly of talent, and this is no exception. What SG quartet fan hasn’t wanted to hear Dale Shipley in that setting again, or Burman Porter and John Rulapaugh filling the “bookends” of a group again? As far as Preston Garner, here are a couple of clips of him singing baritone with The Supernals in 1997, a group which included SG songwriter Ray Scarborough (“He’s My Song”). Garner is the featured singer on both songs.

safe to assume that this lineup of Freedom will be appearing at NQC. With this lineup overhaul, Harold Reed joining the Diplomats, and the Skyline Boys seeing tenor Jodi Hosterman’s return and Brian Alvey’s debut at the lead position, NQC 2013 is shaping up to have several groups to watch with particular interest. As a matter of fact, Freedom and the Skyline Boys will be appearing on the same side showcase on Friday afternoon. It’s during the NQC Music Awards, but I think this has convinced me to leave that early.