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

Archive for the ‘Cross 4 Crowns’

CD Review: Justin Terry – Inspired

March 02, 2012 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Cross 4 Crowns, Justin Terry, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4 stars

Producers: Justin Terry, Zack Knudsen, Andy Stringfield
Label: Unsigned (Self-released)
Website: www.justinterry.net

Song titles: There Is A Fountain, Two Winning Hands; He Has Taken His Children Home; Love Song; I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before; Knowing What I Know About Heaven; I Must Tell Jesus; I Go To The Rock; When He Reached Down His Hand For Me; God’s Gonna Do The Same For Me And You; In The Garden

A couple of years ago, there was a quartet whose label debut with Crossroads made a splash in the blogosphere, and part of the reason was the vocal prowess of their bass singer. Cross 4 Crowns boasted a young guy by the name of Justin Terry singing the bass part that drew comparisons to Jeff Chapman, a considerable feat considering his age. Now aged 28, Justin left the quartet after six years and has launched a solo ministry with this CD.

Those who have heard Cross 4 Crowns will likely know Justin Terry for the low notes he hits. On this project, he wisely breaks that mold, and instead opts for a country bass-baritone sound akin to Josh Turner or Trace Adkins. Terry covers material here that you would not expect out a bass singer’s solo project; for instance, The Hinsons’ “Two Winning Hands” gets an updated treatment that does a good job of showcasing Justin’s upper range. Other songs in that vein include “Knowing What I Know About Heaven” (yes, the one that Guy Penrod sings), and “God’s Gonna Do The Same For You And Me.”

This is not to say that the project is devoid of the lower singing that usually comes with things like this. The CD starts and ends with hymns, “There Is A Fountain” and “In The Garden,” which settle more into “bass lead” territory. Also done in a similar style is “When He Reached Down His Hand For Me,” which fits Terry’s voice well; he doesn’t try to be the next Tim Riley with it, and that works in his favor. The original song written by Justin’s dad, “He Has Taken His Children Home,” fits equally as well.

The only song that seems to interrupt the flow of the music is the fourth track, “Love Song.” Stylistically, it is different from anything else found here. While not necessarily a bad thing, and certainly not a bad song, it seems out of place here, and would perhaps have been better saved for another project of similar styles, or tacked on towards the end. Other than that, this CD is a strong collection of songs and a good display of Justin Terry’s talents. Inspired receives 4 stars.

Changes For Cross 4 Crowns

January 20, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It seems that the lineup change bug is continuing to bite. This just in from Cross 4 Crowns:

Cross 4 Crowns manager David Hoskins is announcing that lead singer Davis McCammon is departing the group. Davis is headed back to school to finish his teaching degree and will also be assisting his home church’s music program. Group owner and baritone Allen Leath states, “Davis is one of my best friends in the whole world, and I’m so excited for him to be able to complete what he started some years back. He leaves us with some mighty big shoes to fill, but we have seen time and again how God provides for His ministries. We will miss Davis immeasurably, but we are so excited to find out who God is going to place in Cross 4 Crowns.” Davis McCammon says, “My time with C4C has been nothing short of life-changing. I have gained life-long friends and learned so much about ministry. This group of guys has an integrity that guides their ministry that is seldom found. I will cherish the memories and I wish them the richest of God’s blessings.”

Davis will continue to travel with the group until a replacement is named. Anyone wanting more info about singing with Cross 4 Crowns should send bio/demo to: cross4crowns@yahoo.com or call 865-679-5021.

As the press release states, McCammon indeed leaves big shoes to fill. I was quite impressed with him as a lead singer; he was good on their major label debut, Turning Point, but he continued to improve and sounded fantastic on their latest release, It Just Started For Me. I had the opportunity to see the group in a short showcase at NQC last year, and he impressed me then as well.

I wish Davis well in his future endeavors, and hopefully we’ll see him again with a group in the future! Here’s hoping that Cross 4 Crowns picks up a lead singer of his caliber as well. Every hire the group has made after a change has improved the group, and I’m sure this will be no exception.

CD Review: Cross 4 Crowns – It Just Started For Me

September 25, 2009 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4.5 stars

Producers: Jeff Collins, Arthur Rice, Allen Leath
Label: Crossroads Music
Website: www.cross4crowns.com

Buy This Project

1. What A Wonderful Time – The album opens up with a country-flavored tune that reflects the traditional sound the group had on their previous project, Turning Point. Judging from that project and this track, the group’s strength seems to lie in the traditional quartet numbers such as this.

2. The First And Last – The group turns the Rodney Griffin-penned song off of Greater Vision’s Everyday People CD into a solid quartet number. The arrangement is a bit different in this version, giving bass singer Justin Terry a solo on the second verse, and the tempo is a bit slower than Greater Vision’s cut. The group does a good job of taking this trio song and making it their own.

3. The Blood Remains – New tenor vocalist Marcus Faulknor is featured on the project’s first ballad. Fans may remember Faulknor from his work with Jericho and Master Peace. He turns in a solid performance on this track, and the song fits his voice well.

4. Keep Living For Jesus – This cut is to be the first radio single off the project and it is the song you may remember that I previewed a few weeks back here on the blog. It exhibits the group sounding similar to the era of the Gaither Vocal Band with Jonathan Pierce. Lead singer Davis McCammon Jr. gets the solo here, with bass Justin Terry getting the standout lines on the choruses.

5. It Just Started For Me – The title track features the jazzy side of the group, a side not really shown heretofore. Baritone Allen Leath and lead McCammon trade off the features here on the verses. It’s a good pick for a title song, but it doesn’t really kick up until the last chorus.

6. Under Control – The Gold City classic that featured Tim Riley is covered here, featuring the group’s bass singer, of course. At 25 years old, one wouldn’t think he would do the song justice. His voice is mature beyond his years, and he does a great job singing the song without sounding like a Riley impersonator. The arrangement doesn’t really stray from Gold City’s, but it is a solid effort.

7. Thinking More Of Heaven – A country track about going to heaven, this song sounds like something from a recent Dove Brothers project. Nothing that really stands out here, but it is a good song.

8. Come To The River – This song is pretty different from anything else I’ve heard the group do. The slow, shuffling tempo gives it kind of a “beach” sound, and the group’s smooth harmonies shine here.

9. We Are Almost Home – It’s a jump back to straight-up quartet music for this tune. This is the style that was dominant on Cross 4 Crowns’ previous work, and Justin Terry sounds very much like Jeff Chapman on these types of songs.

10. He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels – Baritone Allen Leath gets the finest feature I’ve ever heard him do here. It starts with him singing much of the song solo, then the group comes on and the song gets a powerful finish. This ballad is a highlight for this project, and the group would do well to single it to radio. It could be the breakout hit they are waiting for!

11. There’s Only One Well – This peppy, horn-driven tune closes this CD out. Faulknor displays that he’s a tenor that can sing a slow, pretty ballad like “The Blood Remains,” and then turn around and do a faster number just as well.

Final Thoughts: When Turning Point came out last year, Cross 4 Crowns had just signed with Crossroads Music, and the project was considered their label debut, although they had just completed doing it without the label backing them. It turned quite a few heads, including that of this blogger, as it was one of most impressive debuts in recent memory. That project showed what the group could do with a limited budget; this project shows what they can do with a record label behind them.

The group branches out a bit more stylistically than their last outing, and somewhat develop their own sound instead of sounding so much like the Kingdom Heirs. Justin Terry, for instance, doesn’t sound so much like Jeff Chapman here although the maturity and depth are still there. Each vocalist in the group gets their chance to shine here, and to good effect.

A lot may wonder what the group sounds like with the new tenor. Since Turning Point, Dallas Rogers departed the group, Matt Felts joined and left, and they picked up Marcus Faulknor. The group hasn’t missed a beat through all the changes, and Faulknor actually seems like a better fit and the harmonies are smoother. Not a knock to Rogers at all; he just fits better in The Inspirations.

Bottom line: Cross 4 Crowns has turned in another great effort, and they can only go up from here.

Sneak Peek Of Upcoming Cross 4 Crowns CD

August 31, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Music

Crossroads Records is getting ready to release Cross 4 Crowns’ sophomore project with the label, It Just Started For Me, in October. However, you can get a sneak peek at the project with this clip of the song “Keep Living For Jesus.”

Keep Living For Jesus – Cross 4 Crowns

This song is a good glimpse into what we can expect with this latest effort from the group. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable track, with a sound that reminds me of something that would have been produced by the Jonathan Pierce era of the Gaither Vocal band (think “When Jesus Says It’s Enough). It’s very radio-friendly, and the group would do well to send it out as a single.

Feel free to leave comments about the song here on the blog.

Cross 4 Crowns Hires New Tenor

May 28, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

With the recent news that Cross 4 Crowns was in the studio working on their upcoming project, some of us wondered if they had hired another tenor since Matt Felts left.

To answer our wonderment, I came across this video of the group with their new tenor, Marcus Faulknor, singing “Hide Thou Me.”

This was the debut concert with Marcus, but I can already see he will blend in nicely. It will be interesting to hear how he will round out the harmony on the group’s next project.

As The Revolving Door Turns…

January 25, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It was announced yesterday that Matt Felts, the tenor who replaced Dallas Rogers in Cross 4 Crowns, has resigned from the group after only three months:

Matt Felts announced today that he has resigned from the Cross 4 Crowns quartet. Matt has been with the Knoxville based group for the last three months.

“I want to thank Cross 4 Crowns for the opurtunity to work with them. I pray God blesses them in the direction they are headed.” stated Felts. He added “I look forward to the doors God will open in my ministry.”

This was a shock to me. I hadn’t expected Felts’ tenure with the group to be so short. No word on any auditions or replacements yet, but I sincerely hope the group doesn’t just decide to call it quits. They have too much promise to do that, especially with the attention they’ve garnered with their Crossroads debut.

CD Review: Cross 4 Crowns – Turning Point

December 09, 2008 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4 stars

Producer: Arthur Rice
Label: Crossroads Music
Website: www.cross4crowns.com/

1. I Will Trade The Old Cross For A Crown – Right off the bat, the project features a classic SG song. The arrangement is pretty standard fare, but it showcases the group’s good harmony.

2. Things That I’m Seeing – The group definitely seems to be comfortable with the more traditional SG song. This is an old Kingsmen song from back in the 1970s. The quartet does the song justice, and bass singer Justin Terry’s standout bass lines on the chorus bring to mind a Jeff Chapman performance.

3. Greater Miracle – This ballad from the pen of Rodney features the group’s baritone, Allen Leath. For some reason, his feature here reminds me of a young Mark Trammell. This song would do well on radio.

4. I’m Going There – This is probably my favorite song on the project. It’s another “convention” style song. Justin Terry shines on the chorus, hitting a low G-flat multiple times after the final key change. I love a good bass, and he doesn’t disappoint here.

5. He’ll Never Forsake – Lead singer Davis McCammon, Jr. steps up on this slow song written by Ricky Atkinson. Nice harmony, but not a song that has me hitting the repeat button.

6. I’ll See You Home – (Former) Tenor Dallas Rogers is featured on this country-style song. Fans of his Dixie Echoes or the Archie Watkins style of singing will enjoy this song.

7. Tell Me Who – The bass singer gets his first true solo feature of the album. He does well in the bluesy style that the song is put in. I compared him earlier to Jeff Chapman, and he sounds even more so on this track.

8. Whenever, Wherever, Whatever – This is another slower song. Once again, nice, but nothing that caught my attention.

9. Take A Little Look – This track continues the traditional vibe of the project, with the bass once again getting standout lines. I like the bluegrass flavor of the tune.

10. Celebrating Resurrection Morning – This song is featured on the music player on the group’s website. A lot of people on different sites have commented on the “fake” string instruments used, but honestly, they’re really not all that distracting.

11. Hallelujah For The Cross – The album closes with another ballad. This is a nice way to end the project, showcasing the group’s ability to carry this type of song as well as they can a convention-style tune.

Final Thoughts – For a major label debut, this project is very, very well-done. This a great lineup of vocalists (although Dallas Rogers left the group recently, his replacement will fit right in.) Keep an eye on the bass singer, Justin Terry; at only 24 years old, he has a bass voice that has the ability to get into Tim Riley territory.

I expect to see these guys on the ballot for Horizon Group Of The Year 2009. Great project.

Cross 4 Crowns Announces New Tenor

November 27, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, Monument Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Knoxville, TN (Press Release)

David Hoskins, manager of Crossroads Entertainment artist Cross 4 Crowns, is pleased to announce the addition of Matt Felts to the tenor position with the group. Matt, for the last two years, has sung with Monument Quartet. Allen Leath, owner of Cross 4 Crowns, states “Matt is truly a once in a lifetime find for our ministry. Matt’s singing is incredible, but his heart for ministry and people is beyond words. All of the guys knew, after just talking to Matt, he was the one for us.”

Matt continues, “I am excited to be a part of this incredibly talented group. It is wonderful to see the hand of God working in these men and it’s an honor to be a part of that. I want to thank Monument, most especially Marshall, for the last two years. It was truly a blessing to go and spread God’s love to countless thousands at fairs across America. Thank you to all the friends and fans who supported us night after night. I will miss Marshall, Jerry, Daryl and the band greatly but I am excited to begin this new chapter in my ministry.”

Former tenor Dallas Rogers came to the group a few weeks ago and said the doctor had put him on complete vocal rest, and he felt it would be best to come off the road for now. We wish Dallas the best of everything and truly thank him for being a part of our group. We will miss him very much.

Cross 4 Crowns will be going into the studio shortly after the new year to begin work on their sophomore project with Crossroads Entertainment, so keep listening.

Until I got this press release this morning, I was unaware that Dallas Rogers had come off the road. I am familiar with Matt Felts’ work with Monument, and he is a very underrated tenor. This lineup of Cross 4 Crowns should be fantastic.

This does make me wonder, however, if the rumors about Monument disbanding are true… Nevertheless, I am anticipating hearing the new project from Cross 4 Crowns.

For those unfamiliar with Matt, Daniel Mount conducted an interview with him last year.

My NQC 2009 Top Five

November 21, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, Liberty Quartet, Mike and Kelly Bowling, N'Harmony, NQC, SG Artists, SG Music, The Collingsworth Family, The Imperials, The Old Paths

Daniel Mount’s latest post lists the top (ten) groups he’d like to see on mainstage at NQC 2009, and it’s a good list. I’ve narrowed mine down to five very deserving groups (in no particular order):

1. The Old Paths – One of the best young groups out there today (and with a live band, too!), these guys remind me of an early Kingsmen lineup. They should have a spot for sure.

2. Liberty Quartet – They were a hit at showcases last year, and I was impressed with the song they did when they were invited to mainstage for a song on Saturday night. I’ve heard their new project, and it’s one of the best this year. One of the classiest and best sounding groups on the road.

3. The Collingsworth Family – Anyone familiar with their music and talent knows that this group has had a mainstage spot coming for several years. Give it to ’em already!

4. N’Harmony – The revived version of this group has a tight blend that few “starting” groups have. Daniel Mount mentioned a “one-year-rule,” meaning that a group has to be in existence for one year before they are invited to mainstage. Technically, the group has been around for much more than a year, just not this particular lineup. These guys could be the next Mercy’s Mark (although I hope they can keep together longer!) and they certainly have the talent level to be on mainstage.

5. Mike & Kelly Bowling – They have several great songs in their repretoire, and it’s about time they get a slot on mainstage. There’s no excuse not to have them.

Honorable mentions: Cross 4 Crowns – The only reason they didn’t make my list is because I don’t think many people have heard them yet. They are a shoo-in for my 2010 list, though, and I’ll have a review of their newest release in a few weeks.

The Imperials – I can hear the naysayers now: “Hey! They’re not really SG!” Really? To my ears, they sound like Southern Gospel with a kick. After the SGN Awards a few months ago, one guy even said they were “Southern Rock-spel” Sure, they’re Progressive at any rate, but the “new” group of The Imps has a couple good albums under their belt already. Group name history notwithstanding, they’ve got a great sound.

Dallas Rogers Confirmed As New Cross 4 Crowns Tenor

April 02, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Cross 4 Crowns, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It wasn’t official a few weeks ago, but it is now:

Dallas Rogers Joins Cross 4 Crowns
By David Hoskins

KNOXVILLE, TN (Press Release) – Cross 4 Crowns manager, David Hoskins, is pleased to announce the addition of Dallas Rogers as tenor for the group. Dallas is no stranger to gospel music fans having spent the past number of years with The Dixie Echoes.

Allen Leath, owner of Cross 4 Crowns, states “We are incredibly blessed to have Dallas as part of the Cross 4 Crowns family. We were already brothers in Christ, but to be able to stand and sing His praises together is truly a privilege. Aside from being one of southern gospel’s finest tenors, the only thing we’ve found, that supercedes his talent, is his love for The Lord. We look forward to many years of serving God together.”

Dallas states “I’m truly excited to be a part of Cross 4 Crowns. First of all, I want to thank my wife Shelly and my little girl Rebecca for allowing me to do what God has called me to do and that’s to sing and minister through song, I love you both. Each one of the guys in the group is phenomenally talented. The main focus for what we do is to minister and win lost souls for the Kingdom of Heaven. That’s our purpose and goal in life. If we can reach one soul, it will make every mile that we travel worth it. God has already opened up several doors for the group, and I’m excited to see what He has in store for us.”

Cross 4 Crowns just released the first single “I’m Going There” from their soon to be released project “Turning Point”. It is already getting very heavy airplay across the country. You can visit their web site at www.cross4crowns.com