In a departure from normal “change” announcements, the Dixie Melody Boys have announced that Steven Cooper has stepped down from the Dixie Melody Boys as baritone singer… but not as a member:
“We are sad to announce that Steven Cooper will be stepping down from the baritone position with the Dixie Melody Boys. As some know, he has been experiencing vocal issues for the last several years. He has been to numerous vocal specialists and they have advised him to go on an extended vocal rest. Steven recently celebrated his fifth anniversary with the group. He has been a valuable asset to us and will continue to be so.” said Ed O’Neal. Steven will remain a member of the Dixie Melody Boys. He will help the group off stage and will also begin playing bass guitar for the group in the near future.
“I want to thank everyone for their concern and understanding over the last year. It has been difficult time having to go through this as a singer. I hope that someday my voice will return and I will be able to sing again. I ask that you will keep me in your prayers as I trust God for a healing. I also want to thank Ed, Matt and Mike for their support in this change and for allowing me to remain a member of the group.” said Steven Cooper.
I have enjoyed Steven’s vocal contributions to the group since the beginning of his tenure. My listening to the music they were putting out when he first joined was admittedly spotty, but I appreciated the fact that was a solid “blending” baritone that could sing a strong feature when needed. I trust that God will heal his voice, and am glad that he is remaining a part of the Dixie Melody Boys.
Now we come to the part that makes this change announcement different from the norm. You may have noticed that it said Steven would soon begin playing bass guitar for the group. It seems that the Dixie Melody Boys have been bitten by the “live band bug” that’s been going around recently, because the plans are in place to bring back live music to the DMB concerts:
The opening has brought an exciting change for the group. “We are currently looking for a new baritone that can also play piano. The Dixie Melody Boys have a rich legacy that included a live band for years. Our lead singer Mike Rogers is one of the best guitar players in Gospel music. With Mike, Steven on bass and the new member on piano, we are excited to add the live band back to our performances. Sometimes through tough situations God can bring new seasons of blessings.” said Matt Felts.
The Dixie Melody Boys will be excepting demos for the baritone/ piano position. Interested people can send them to email@example.com.
While I hate that it took a tough circumstance to bring this change about, I am excited that it’s being turned around this way. The Dixie Melody Boys have been on an upward climb over the past couple of years, with a sound and new material that is making them a viable group again. A move that brings back live musicians for them will continue that trend. Their live band set at NQC last year was among the most exciting of the week, and I’m looking forward to hearing that sound in some capacity on a regular basis again.
In tribute to Steven’s contributions to the group thus far, here are a couple of videos. The first is from a couple of years ago and features him prominently. The second, while not a baritone solo, highlights his enthusiastic stage presence. Be sure to watch the whole thing!