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

Archive for the ‘Garry Jones’

Garry Jones Announces New Website

April 12, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Garry Jones, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

The news in SG has lain dormant for days, but this is a newsworthy item from SoGospelNews.com:

Grove City, OH (Press Release)- Garry Jones announces today the launching of his official new website, http://www.garryjonesmusic.com. The multi-faceted website provides biographical information on Garry’s tenure in gospel music and production as well as highlighting his upcoming instrumental piano releases. The site includes Garry’s solo touring schedule, information and photos on recently produced independent artists, an online store and a personal blog providing helpful tips about the recording process. “I am particularly excited about the new website, especially the blog” Garry states, “I have been asked so many questions throughout the years about the recording process, what to expect and how it all works and this will give me the opportunity to hopefully provide some insight in this area.”

To contact Garry about a recording package or a solo appearance please visit the new website at http://www.garryjonesmusic.com

It’s a very nicely done website, in my opinion. I’m looking forward to reading Mr. Jones’ blog.

Dual CD Review: Southern Selections Volume One & Two by Mercy’s Mark

March 06, 2008 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Garry Jones, Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG Music

Slow news days here in the SG realm, so I thought I’d post a review of two projects that probably are the two lesser-known Mercy’s Mark projects. These were the only two table projects released by Mercy’s Mark.

The group was (and maybe still is) having a “going out of business” sale, with CDs for only $5. I took advantage of this deal and completed my MM discography with these two projects. These two copies were recorded with the original lineup: Anthony Facello at tenor, Josh Feemster at lead, Garry Jones as baritone, piano player, and producer, and Chris West rounding out the bass.

Southern Selections Volume One
I believe this was released a short time before their first mainline self-titled release, and I think the group was still trying to find its sound. How, you ask? Well….

1. When They Ring Those Golden Bells

The album opens up with a piano solo from Garry Jones. No other instrumentation except the piano is heard, and it showcases Jones’ great ability at the keys.

2. Whosoever Will

This track sounds like the Mercy’s Mark of the mainline release, until they reach the chorus. Anthony Facello’s tenor sounds whiny, which was a major surprise considering his great vocal ability.

3. Sheltered In The Arms Of God
I was greatly disappointed in this Facello feature. His tenor once again sounds whiny, and he tries to over-sing his lines far too much. I found myself hitting the skip button about 30 seconds into the track.

4. I’ll Take The Old Highway
One of the few songs I actually liked on this album. This song reflected how the group’s sound would improve over time.

5. Going Home
Phenomenal bass feature from Chris West on this old Bill & Gloria Gaither song. This song had me wishing that West would find himself another group to sing with; this guy is just too good not to! His ability is absolutely outstanding for his young age.

6. Some Glad Day
Similar to the familiar MM sound, but Facello’s tenor starts to stick out a little too much, but not glaringly as in the aforementioned tracks.

7. Climbing Up The Mountain
The group rolls out an old song, in the four-guys-and-a-piano style. Good up until the end, when they just repeat the same “Up The Mountain” phrase to the point of annoyance.

It Is Well With My Soul
Josh Feemster (another awesome young talent that needs to find another group!) gets the lead on this old hymn. Outstandingly arranged by Jones for a powerful take on this classic.

9. Jesus Is Coming Soon
The group puts forht a very modern take on the Oak Ridge Boys/Inspirations hit. I find myself hitting the repeat button on my iPod for this one.

10. Going Going Gone
The album closes out with one of my favorite tracks. It starts with a bass feature from West, who rocks the subwoofers on the last note of the verse. Feemster takes the lead on the second verse, and this project finishes out strong.

Final Rating:
The group hadn’t quite found its niche, but there’s a couple songs on here that are good.

Southern Selections Volume Two
This album was much better than its latter volume. The group had definitely established itself by this time, and the result is a great table project from a great quartet.

1. Where Is God
Awesome song. Great way to open the album, and they pull it off sounding like pros.

2. Gonna Be Movin’
The guys “modernize” this old Cathedrals classic, giving Chris West the feature. You might remember this one from The Cathedrals’ “Travelin’ Live” project.

3. When I Knelt The Blood Fell

An Anthony Facello feature that proves that he had greatly improved since the first volume. Only a minimal amount of over-singing occurs, and this ballad ends up being a great track.

4. Plan Of Salvation
Another Cathedrals classic gets covered, with piano as the only instrument. Chris West does George Younce justice on his solo lines, as he did in the aforementioned Cats cover.

5. The Prodigal Son
Nothing really wowed me about this Feemster feature. Not bad, but not really great either. It rather comes across as a “filler” track.

6. Life Will Be Sweeter

Yet another Cathedrals tune is covered, and the guys modernize this one too, for a great result.

7. Lord, Feed Your Children

Garry Jones turns in a great feature on this slow song. One of my favorite songs on the album.

8. I’m Gonna Walk Everyday With My Lord
Great quartet song that has West rockin’ the low end on the chorus, and doing none too shabby on his solo line either. I love this track!

9. I’m Free
A slow song featuring Feemster on the first verse and Facello on the second. Pretty good.

10. I’m Too Near Home
The album closes out with a good ol’ foot-stomper. As the last notes fade out, I realized that that was the very last anyone heard of this lineup. A nice close-out to a good debut lineup.

Final Rating: ****
This was a much better album than the latter. Definitely recommend it for all quartet fans.

EDIT: Updated some information posted in error. Thanks to Kyle Boreing for pointing those out.

Mercy’s Mark Update

February 06, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Garry Jones, Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

From an e-mail newsletter I received today:

Hello everyone,
I hope you are having a great year so far. I have not written for a couple of months
as I have been absorbed in the holidays and reconnecting with my family. I have
also been exploring future interests for myself and Mercy’s Mark.

As most of you are aware, Mercy’s Mark discontinued touring in November of 2007.
I vowed at that time that no drastic decisions would be made until all options could
be explored and I had the time needed to pray about the future. After careful consideration
and prayer, Mercy’s Mark will not resume touring to the degree we were. There have
been promoters who have expressed interest in booking MM in the future for selected
dates. Because of this we are not officially disbanding but will consider a few
selected dates on a limited basis.

Returning to the quartet world as an artist was a significant decision and a desire
I had but only as it was practical from a Christian business perspective. At the
present time I have determined that it is just not financially practical for Mercy’s
Mark to immediately resume touring. However, it is my desire that God’s will
and purpose for MM be fulfilled. I will continue to keep you updated on any changes
for the group and any concert dates that we may perform.

As for my immediate plans I have scheduled a few select concert piano solo appearances
and I am actively returning to the production world to arrange and produce recording
projects for other artists. Being in the studio already this year has definitely
rekindled my passion and excitement for assisting in the development of artist’s
and their musical vision. I look forward to what projects I am privileged to be
a part of in 2008.

You have prayerfully supported Mercy’s Mark since its inception and for that I
want to personally offer my sincere thanks and appreciation. We have made so many
wonderful friends along the way and have not forgotten your gracious acceptance.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I look forward to seeing you again somewhere
and pray God’s blessings for you throughout this year.

Garry Jones

I honestly don’t know what to make of it. The fact that Garry is getting more involved with producing albums excites me, though.

Update: I admit this post was made in haste yesterday; I was low on time, and this news rather shocked me.

With Garry going back to focusing on producing, I wonder if he will produce future Gold City albums. They’re good in their own right, but with Garry’s production once again, it’d be just like old times. Hit after hit after hit.

Hmm… I would like to see that quartet put together of Brent Mitchell, Josh Feemster, Craig West, and Chris West (see the post I made earlier featuring those videos) go to a full-time group, with maybe a different piano player. Garry would join them on those “select dates”, maybe.

A Future Quartet In The Making?

January 07, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Garry Jones, Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG Music

Just wanted to share these videos on Youtube of a recent concert, which Garry Jones was a part of. Garry is the baritone/piano player/manager of Mercy’s Mark, whose future is being prayerfully considered at this point. He joined with former Mercy’s Mark bass singer Chris West, former lead singer Josh Feemster, former tenor Brent Mitchell, and sang some songs with them. Then, he accompanied a quartet made of West, West’s brother Craig, Feemster, and Mitchell, on the piano for a couple songs.

Let me just say that I hope the Mitchell-Feemster-Jones-West lineup will be Mercy’s Mark’s next lineup, or that the Mitchell-Feemster-West-West-Jones lineup will. Craig West’s performance of “I Bowed On My Knees” in one of the videos reminds me of the performance of the same song I saw at an NQC showcase in 2007, with young, dynamic lead Scott Allen taking the solo.

Very excited for the MM future now!

I’m On The Battlefield

Midnight Cry

I Bowed On My Knees

Another Mercy’s Mark Update

November 20, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Garry Jones, Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Looks like some new developments are opening up in this news story, with yet another update from the ever-popular Singing News Forums. Quoted from a post:

“As far as Christian, Brent and Scott are concerned, they have worked
out with Garry to fill most of the December dates. (I think the dates will
probably be posted at Dominion soon.) They did 5 dates in Florida this past
weekend and saw 6 people get saved! And that’s what it’s all about!! Please keep
everyone in your prayers.”

And in a later update:

“The dates that Christian, Brent and Scott are filling are not as
Mercy’s Mark but they are doing them together on their own. None of these men
are part of Mercy’s Mark now.”

Hmm… looks like the worst turnover in Mercy’s Mark’s career has happened. That is, if Mercy’s Mark is even existing at this point. I would like to see the first three MM members return, but I suppose that is rather wishful thinking…

Or maybe, Garry can draft some of the off-the-road talent out there and put together another great incarnation of the Mercy’s Mark Quartet. Thin about how they’d sound with Jeremy Peace on tenor, Josh Garner at lead, Garry at baritone, and Gene McDonald on bass. Eh… on second thought, MM’s Progressive style may not be the tenor, lead, and bass singer’s cup of tea, but a guy can dream…

On the other hand, I’m really excited to hear that these three singers are traveling together. Maybe they’ll pick up a baritone and another great quartet will be born! Or, Christian Davis will move to the baritone slot. He sings all four parts on his solo CDs, so it’s possible.

More updates coming as I get ’em.

Scott Allen Joins Mercy’s Mark

October 08, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Garry Jones, Mercy's Mark, NQC, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Today is a good day for Mercy’s Mark and SG.

It was announced that Garry Jones has hired Scott Allen to take the lead position for Mercy’s Mark. I must say that I’m very happy with this decision. His first week with them as a fill-in was at NQC this year, and I was in the front row to witness the now-famed moment when he absolutely blew the top off of “I Bowed On My Knees And Cried Holy”. Right then and there, I said to myself, “Lord, give Garry the good judgement to hire this guy.” Looks like the Lord answered that request!

Looking forward to seeing and hearing great things from the group in the future!

Yet Another Mercy’s Mark Update

July 24, 2007 By: Aaron Category: Garry Jones, Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

From an email newsletter from Mercy’s Mark:

Hi Everyone –

Wow! There are so many things happening with Mercy’s Mark right now that I am not sure where to start. First I apologize for not touching base last week but it has been such a busy time for us.

As many of you may have already heard, Josh Feemster is no longer with the group.This past Sunday night was his last performance with us. Josh shared with me that when he recently moved to Jasper, Alabama to start his pallet business on the side he never anticipated it taking off so quickly but it is doing so well that it is demanding more time from him than he had expected and he feels he needs to be home to tend to it. As much as we hated to see him go, it seemed like such a wonderful business opportunity for his family that we wholeheartedly supported his decision to come off the road to pursue it. We wish he and his family all the best.

So the big question we are getting is “who is going to sing lead for Mercy’s Mark right now?”

We are thrilled to let everyone know that Shane Dunlap has agreed to step into the position while we are in the audition process. You may recognize Shane’s name from his many years in Southern Gospel. He became a favorite while traveling with his group N’Harmony. He later joined me in the original line-up of Signature Sound. He is a dynamic lead singer and a wonderful Christian man. It has been several years since Shane and I have traveled together and we are all excited that he will be joining us. Shane’s first date with Mercy’s Mark will be this Thursday, July 26th at SoGospelNews Fan Festival in Smyrna, Tennessee. If you live around Nashville we would love to see you. If not, check out the website, we will be posting pictures of the concert.

We will continue accepting resumes with demo cd’s and photo for the lead position.They can be submitted through our website or to the following address:

P.O. Box 275

Grove City, Ohio 43123

After I am able to review the resumes I will begin the audition process. So if you have sent something in don’t be discouraged I have not made it home yet this week.

Please continue to keep MM in your prayers throughout this process. We only want to pursue His will in our lives and ministry.

We hope you continue to have a Blessed week and hope to see you on the road soon.

Garry Jones


Hmm… nice to see Shane Dunlap back with a group… I wonder if he’ll stick with it for the long haul? Like Josh Garner, he’d be a great fit for MM. We shall see….