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

Stephen Hill Passes Away

August 05, 2012 By: Aaron Category: Gaither, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Stephen Hill

Early reports are coming in that Gaither Homecoming featured artist Stephen Hill has passed away of a heart attack. More details will be posted as I get them. Please keep the family in your prayers.

Update: Here is a press release about Stephen:

It is with sadness that we have learned that Gaither Artist Stephen Hill, 55, suffered a heart attack this evening while preparing to sing at a church in Lumberton, NC. He was a talented singer, and songwriter frequently seen on many of the Gaither Homecoming videos, He was a gifted teacher at the Stamps-Baxter School of Music whose carefree and Christian spirit will be dearly missed. Please keep his family in your prayer.

In tribute, here are a few of the many songs that he was featured on in the Gaither Homecoming series:

Gaither Send-Off For Gordon Mote

June 02, 2012 By: Aaron Category: Gaither, Gordon Mote, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

I’ve seen few send-offs that have been more classy or from the heart than the one that Bill Gaither did for Gordon Mote at the Family Fest when the announcement was made that Gordon is leaving the tour. Here’s the entire video, including Gordon being featured on the piano:

Gordon Mote Leaves Gaither Tour

May 28, 2012 By: Aaron Category: Gaither, Gaither Vocal Band, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It may or may not be the “big news” that Gerald Wolfe hinted at on Facebook last week, but a surprising bit of information dropped today in the form of a SocialCam video from Mark Lowry: Gordon Mote will no longer be with the Gaither Homecoming tour. Lowry quickly points out that Gordon will still be at Gaither events like Family Fest, just not on the regular tour. Mote will still be on the road; presumably, that means he is embarking on a solo venture, in addition to his studio work. You can keep up with him at his website.

This marks the second major change in the piano position for the Homecoming Tour, the first being Mote’s hire after the passing of Anthony Burger. Let the speculation begin as to who will fill the piano bench now. Will they go with a relative unknown, or hire someone more established?  Two players come to mind, the first being Tim Parton. He has already done quite a bit of work on various Gaither Videos, and if he was willing to take the job, he’d be a fine accompanist and arranger for the tour.

Another would be Christopher Phillips, who has showed up on a couple of Gaither productions himself. Here he is doing a duet with Gordon Mote:

If I’m not mistaken, didn’t he also play on Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s Dream On DVD? In any case, he would be a strong choice if Gaither were to look for someone that is basically a newcomer to the scene.

Pondering On Gaither Homecoming

November 29, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Gaither, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music

Author’s Note: Yes, folks, I’m still here! As usual when there’s long periods of bloggerly silence on here, that “real world” stuff just got in the way! To be honest, I had hoped to get something up while on break from college last week, but in the midst of moving to a new house and having the Internet inaccessible until the latter part of the week, that didn’t happen. I hope to get back into the routine of commentary and project reviews soon.

While perusing Youtube yesterday for something totally unrelated to Southern Gospel, I happened to notice a new post from the official Gaither channel in my subscription feed. The description started with, “Look what Bill Gaither found in his Homecoming video vault!” That’s all it took to pique my interest; I had thought it would be a short clip of a special moment from older tapings that was previously unreleased, but as it turns out, it’s a full-fledged trailer for an upcoming video:

I can honestly say that I have not had this level of excitement for a Gaither Homecoming video in quite a while, and from observing the chatter around the SG corners of the web, many others are sharing this fresh anticipation. It got me to thinking; why is that? Why has there been a relative lack of excitement for recent Homecoming releases? The entire Homecoming franchise is certainly successful, and the concert tour is arguably the highest quality SG concert experience out there. The quality of recent videos is far from bad, as well.

Perhaps it’s because the original Homecoming releases featured the legends mixing with the “up-and-comings,” and now that most of the legends are no longer with us, the videos have become an “NQC lite” of sorts, gathering a lineup of artists not unlike what you would see on main stage. Count me in the number that got chills when Howard and Vestal came up in that trailer singing “I Wouldn’t Take Nothin’ For My Journey Now,” and was thrilled to hear Jake Hess sing again (I’d forgotten just how…. GOOD he was!).

My prediction is that sales for this video will surpass the recent ones, and that’s because they have that “spark” that made the franchise as big as it is today. Gaither will start to find more and more of these treasures from the vault and release them. I believe I read somewhere that they have hours of material that was never released from the tapings, so it is possible. In the meantime, I think I know a good use for an extra $15-$20 I may have laying around come January 24.