Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Archive for August, 2014

Matt Felts to Lesters, Tony Jarman to Depart the Down East Boys

August 26, 2014 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Down East Boys, The Lesters

There were a couple of group changes announced today, the first being the completion of Matt Felts’ transition from the Dixie Melody Boys:

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT……….THE LESTERS WISH TO ANNOUNCE THAT “MATT FELTS” WILL BE JOINING OUR MUSIC MINISTRY! 


Matt and his family reside just outside of Nashville, TN, but he is originally from St. Louis, MO. He was actually raised not too far from where we live in South City St. Louis. His wife’s name is Jennifer, and they are Blessed with a beautiful daughter whose name is Abbey and is 5~years old. Matt is a Graduate of Missouri University in Columbia, MO, with a degree in marketing, and he’ll be the first to tell you his desire is to “Serve the Lord” through singing gospel music and will use everything he has learned to get the message of Jesus Christ out to the world! He has traveled with several different gospel groups in his young life, including just finishing a nearly 5 year stay with the legendary Ed O’Neal & The Dixie Melody Boys. We are grateful to the Lord for sending Matt our way and we’re looking forward to what God has in store for this ministry as we continue our journey for Him. Matt will join us beginning the week of September 8th, so be watching our Tour Schedule and come join The Lesters in concert; get to know Matt, and welcome him to the family.

Message from Matt:

“Growing up in St.Louis, our home was filled with the sounds of great Gospel groups like the Cathedrals and the Happy Goodmans but one group stood out to us above the rest , the Lesters. One of the first songs I ever sang in my local church was “He didn’t throw the clay away”. I never dreamed I would have the honor to sing that song with them on stage. I’m thrilled to be apart of such a rich legacy of ministry and great music. Brian, Jon and all of the Lester family have already made my family feel so welcome. Joining the Lesters is truly like coming home. I look forward to getting to know all of their friends and fans very soon.”

Here’s a video announcement from Matt:

 

The second announcement comes from the Down East Boys, as their tenor for the last several years is also leaving:

Reidsville, NC – Ricky Carden of The Down East Boys has announced that tenor vocalist, Tony Jarman, will be leaving The Down East Boys to pursue other ministry opportunities. Tony has been with the Down East Boys since January 2011. Prior to joining The Down East Boys, Tony sang with Poet Voices, The Old Gospel Hour Quartet, and Legacy Five.

“Tony has been a great asset to The Down East Boys and we will surely miss his presence on stage”, comments Carden. “Daryl, Joe, and I wish Tony nothing but the absolute best in his future endeavors.”

The Down East Boys are currently accepting demos to fill the tenor position. Information on how to submit a demo can be found on the Singing News Jobs Board.

In tribute, here’s a song that became a Tony Jarman signature during his time with the quartet:

Jim Brady To Depart The Booth Brothers

August 24, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Booth Brothers, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It’s not often that you see a “video press release,” but the Booth Brothers announced today that after 12 years, Jim Brady is leaving the group to pursue a new ministry opportunity along with his wife, Melissa. Jim will remain with the group through the end of the year and Jubilee tour. Be sure to watch the whole video:

Matt Felts Steps Down From Dixie Melody Boys

August 22, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Dixie Melody Boys, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In both a Facebook status and press release today, tenor Matt Felts announced his decision to step away from the tenor position at the “Ed O’Neal University” after four years:

In a statement today, Matt Felts, tenor for the Dixie Melody Boys, has announced that he will be leaving the group at the end of August.

“I want to thank the friends and fans of the group for the way they have embraced me. It has been a huge honor to sing with Ed O’Neal and the Dixie Melody Boys for over four years. Being a member of the Ed O’Neal University has been a blessing to not just me, but my family. Ed has taught me so much and gave me such an incredible opportunity. Saying ‘thank you’ will never be enough to repay Ed. The last four years have been a great season for the group, but I am very blessed to be a part of the current lineup. I think it’s been a special lineup for the group. Thanks to Aaron Dishman and Josh Garner for the last year, as well as Rayburn Lane for keeping me safe on the roads. Some may say I am graduating, but I’ve learned that you never truly leave the Dixie Melody Boys. It’s a family that you’re always a part of. I will be announcing future plans soon, but for now, I just wanted to thank Ed for an incredible journey.”

Matt joined the Dixie Melody Boys in 2010 and has been a mainstay for the group, having been a part of many awards, including the 2012 and 2013 Favorite Quartet, and was named the 2013 Favorite Tenor in the Southern Gospel Fan Awards.

There have been very few groups that have seen a turnaround in quality and direction like the Dixie Melody Boys have in the past few years, and that is due in large part to what Felts brought to the table. Yes, he sang the tenor part and sang it well, but his marketing background paid dividends in the quality of the group’s presence in the genre and the presentation of their music. I saw them in concert a couple of weeks ago, and that opinion was confirmed. Losing him is a huge blow, but the work that he has put in to building up the group, combined with the other singers that are present, will make the transition to a new lineup smoother. I look forward to seeing what happens next for both parties.

In tribute to Matt’s time with the group, here’s one of the songs I will always associate with him and his tenure with the group: