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, 2014

MTQ Blog Tour Stop #4: Pat Barker

January 15, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Music

ywtblogtour_fbcoverpatThe Mark Trammell Quartet has quickly become one of the finer quartets in this genre of music, with a journey that began before they added a bass singer. I started paying attention when they released the Once Upon A Cross as a trio, and I have continued to appreciate their strong song choices and their ability to hold that standard even through personnel changes.

I got the chance to catch up with the bass singer for the quartet, Pat Barker, and ask him about the group’s latest effort:

Aaron Swain: What is your favorite song from “Your Walk Talks,” and why?

Pat Barker: My favorite song is “Your Walk Talks.” I was on the Alaska cruise when Rodney (Griffin) and Babbie (Mason) went into the piano bar and wrote that song. They came out to the table and immediately pitched it to Mark. I loved the hook from the beginning and the arrangement is perfect. Mark does a perfect job on the solo, even throwing in a little Jake Hess just for fun.

AS: “Thanks To Calvary” was a signature song for George Younce, and your admiration for him is no secret. What went into the decision to include that song?

PB: “Thanks to Calvary” is a “George” song, no doubt. He is the greatest, and will always be the greatest.

I have had the honor of doing Remember the Music concerts along with Glenn Dustin and Matt Fouch the last few years. It has been a dream come true. More recently, I got to be a part of the Cathedral Family Reunion. At a RTM concert, someone in the audience requested “Thanks to Calvary.” I had never sung it, but I knew the song. Something special happened, and we literally didn’t know what to do next. It became a permanent fixture at the RTM concerts, and was added to the CFR concert as well. Gerald Wolfe was the one who suggested that we put it on the album. My testimony is the story in that song, so it is an easy one to sing. I love that song.

AS: Other than Mark Trammell, you are the only member that has been with the group from the beginning of their “quartet” days. With the other two parts changing over this time period, how do you think the sound has evolved, and do you feel that the change is reflected with this project?

PB: Lots of things have changed. Losing (Dustin) Sweatman was a tough loss. He brought a lot to the table with his piano skills and his ability to win the crowd over. He was also a big help in the studio and picking songs. I still miss having a piano on stage, but Nick (Trammell) has taken over beautifully on lead. He is also a great songwriter, which shows up on this new album.

With the loss of Eric (Phillips), we not only lost an incredible tenor, but I lost my buddy. We bonded very quickly, and that relationship continues, but not as much as I would like. When Dustin (Black) came on board, I knew it would be a challenge for him. I could not be prouder of someone musically than I am of him. There is no other tenor that he sounds like, and I, for one, welcome the change. His solo at the end of the project is one of my favorite cuts.

Thanks, Pat, for a great interview!

I’ll echo Pat’s sentiment about “Your Walk Talks.” At first listen, it just sounds like a bouncy little ditty, but there are very true and applicable lyrics in such a fun song. Another that has taken up residence on my “most played” list is “I’ll Take It To The Grave.” The team of Rebecca J. Peck and Dianne Wilkinson penned a great song with that one, and I’m glad to see it get a fine quartet treatment.

Head over to Musicscribe for the next stop on the MTQ blog tour as Diana Brantley interviews Dustin Black!

Legacy Five Stays With Daywind Records

January 15, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

With the recent Kickstarter campaign to fund the group’s upcoming release, speculation began as to whether Legacy Five would remain a Daywind artist much longer. Those questions were answered today in an announcement from Daywind:

Multi-award-winning artist Legacy Five recently signed a long-term recording contract with Daywind Records. Daywind has been Legacy Five’s home for the past decade, beginning with the group’s “London” project. The group is putting the finishing touches on their latest recording, entitled “Great Day.” The upcoming release is produced by Lari Goss, and it will release on March 25.

Legacy Five manager Scott Fowler stated, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Daywind. Daywind has an incredible roster of artists, and we consider it an honor to be a part of their family. We are very excited about the direction they are going. We feel like our fans are part of our team, too. Daywind is inviting our fans to choose the cover photo for our new CD, ‘Great Day.’ Fans can vote athttp://legacyfive.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/choose-l5s-new-cd-cover/#comment-3168.

“Legacy Five is one of the premiere groups in Gospel music. This agreement will continue Daywind’s successful partnership with Legacy Five for the foreseeable future,” stated Daywind Vice President Scott Godsey.

In 2014, Legacy Five will celebrate its 14-year anniversary in Southern Gospel Music, having been formed by Roger Bennett and Scott Fowler, two of the members of the legendary Cathedral Quartet. The male quartet has been nominated for two Dove Awards and more than 75 Singing News Fan Awards. “Great Day” comes to Legacy Five fans following its latest release, a “A Wonderful Life.” “A Wonderful Life” included the successful singles “Ask Me Why,” “Living In the Palace,” and “I’m Still Amazed.”

Daywind Records is home to a great roster of artists such as Brian Free and Assurance, Adam Crabb and Greater Vision. Daywind is distributed to retail through New Day Christian Distributors, Select O Hits, and all major digital outlets including iTunes. For more information, visit www.daywindrecords.com  or contact Amanda Martin at publicity@daywind.com.

For more information on Legacy Five, please visit www.legacyfive.com.

It is worth noting that Great Day will be distributed by Daywind as well.

Gaither Vocal Band Welcomes Adam Crabb; Still Seeking Fifth Member

January 10, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Adam Crabb, Gaither Vocal Band, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In an email today, Bill Gaither confirmed what many had already speculated:

We are thrilled to welcome Adam Crabb aboard as the newest member of The Gaither Vocal Band!  Adam comes to us with years of musical expertise, including on-stage and studio work as a member of award-winning Crabb Family, and as a solo artist and worship leader.

Bill Gaither is grateful and excited about the future! He says, “For decades now, we have reinvented the Gaither Vocal Band again and again, and in the process we have found some of the most incredible male singers and wonderful human beings on the planet. Adam is a very exciting addition to this 30-year legacy of excellence.”

As for whether or not the GVB will maintain a five-man lineup, Gaither had this to say:

“We are taking our time and trying out some wonderful individuals during the next few weeks. You will see some very gifted guest artists out on the tour with us as we seek the perfect fit.  Trust me. You do not want to miss the chance to see what is about to happen as we enter this new season.”

Let the speculation continue! For now, here’s a look at how Adam fits with the group. This is a compilation of clips, and the whole thing is worth watching, but for the songs that directly feature Adam, skip to 1:07, 2:55, and 4:41:

Dove Brothers Band Hires Mark McPherson

January 06, 2014 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dove Brothers, The Dove Brothers Band

McCray Dove announced last night on Facebook that the group has decided on a tenor singer following the departure of Jonathan Price:

Excited to announce that Mark McPherson will be McCray Dove and the Dove Brothers Band’s new TENOR! This was Mark’s first weekend with the Band. Mark brings a fresh but true Quartet Tenor sound to the band! So come out and hear the new line up!

Mark has been a member of groups such as Holy City and the Vintage Quartet.

Here are a couple of samples from over the weekend:

First News Roundup of 2014

January 03, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Declaration, Omega, Promise, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

1. Promise disbands, TJ Evans joins Declaration

One constant in Southern Gospel music is change, but 2014 brought an announcement of transition on Day 1. Since the departure of group founder and baritone David Mann, Promise had been seeking a new singer. As of January 1, the trio has closed the book on their history:

Promise would like to thank all of you for your support and friendship over the last two years. The Lord has done some amazing things, and His impeccable timing has brought on a new chapter for us recently. As of today, Promise will no longer be traveling. Matt has decided that it is best for his family for him to cut back a little on the amount of traveling that he does. We have always said that family comes first! At the same time, another group was in need of a tenor vocalist. TJ has accepted that position, and will begin officially singing with them this weekend. We will post more information about that later today.

Matt said, “This last year has been such a wonderful experience in my life. I’ve grown more in my faith than ever before, and I watched God do some extraordinary things in our group in 2013. I am forever grateful to TJ and Dave for the opportunity to follow my calling, and I couldn’t be happier with his next step in his ministry. To all those who booked Promise at their church, those who came to see us, and those who offered a helping hand along the way, I personally want to thank you for your investment into our ministry.” Matt will continue traveling as a soloist. He plays piano, which makes him quite versatile, and his heart’s desire is to share the Gospel every time he sings. If you, or someone you know would like to book Matt for a special service, you can email him at: mattabaker425@yahoo.com

Later, TJ Evans announced his future plans on Facebook:

You may have heard of a fantastic trio called Declaration. I will be joining them as their new tenor, and my first official concert with them will be Thursday, January 2nd, in Bourbonnais, IL. I’m positive that this is where God wants me.

Please be sure to head over to the Declaration page and like it to keep up with our ministry. I would love for you all to get to know Kasey Kempand Jake Sammons, who will be traveling with me.

These developments come on the heels of a transition for Declaration, as tenor Josh Horrell has joined the Anchormen in that position.

Promise made a strong impression right off the bat with their debut project, which I gave a 5-star rating. While I hate that a group with such a bright future is ceasing to exist, I am glad that everyone has ended up in a place where they feel they should be, and I look forward to seeing the new Declaration lineup in action.

2. Omega signs with Morris Music Group

This group has had one thing after another happening for them. They have appeared as NQC showcase winners as a trio for a few years, but recently became a quartet with the addition of Rick Walls. They recently signed with Morris Music Group, which will hopefully continue adding to their growing presence in Southern Gospel music:

Morris Music Group is proud to announce the newest addition to their family of artists, Omega Quartet. Based out of Dahlonega Georgia, Omega Quartet is the first all male quartet signed to the Delta Sky division of Morris Music Group. Omega Quartet was formed in 2008 and has quickly garnered many honors in a relatively short time. “Omega Quartet is a great addition to MMG,” stated Kelly Morris, owner of Morris Music Group. “Producer Darren Morton and I are looking forward to working with this talented young group. Their dedication to ministry and perfecting their craft will win them new fans in southern gospel music.” Omega is set to begin their new project with producer Darren Morton of Gat 3 Midsouth in the upcoming weeks. Omega members include: tenor – Doug Pittman from Dahlonega, GA; baritone – Cody McCreary from Hartwell, GA; bass – Rick Walls from Myrtle Beach, SC; and lead – Kevin Harry from Dallas, GA. Visit www.morrismusicgroup.com or www.omegaquartet.com for more information about Omega Quartet.