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

Archive for the ‘Mark Trammell Trio’

Big Changes For The Mark Trammell Trio

January 04, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Quartet, Mark Trammell Trio, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In a short press release at SoGospelNews.com and the Singing News, the Mark Trammell Trio breaks the first big story of 2010 and announced that they are soon to become the Mark Trammell Quartet. I’ve always felt that they were the best “quartet-without-a-bass” in the business; their Always Have A Song project featured arrangements that a bass singer would seamlessly fit into. Be looking for the announcement on who the bass singer is.

Mark Trammell Trio Names New Tenor

July 01, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Daybreak Quartet, Mark Trammell Trio, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

I had heard rumblings of a new MTT tenor (but no name), and now it’s been confirmed. Via Daniel Mount (h/t), they’ve hired Joel Wood of the Daybreak Quartet.

I haven’t heard Joel yet, so I can’t meaningfully comment on how he will sound. However, I was just recently asked to review Daybreak’s new Hymns project, which features Joel on tenor. Expect that review, and my further thoughts on this news, sometime next week.

Update: Here is the official press release from MTT:

We are excited to announce that our new tenor is twenty nine year old Joel Wood from Phenix City, AL. Joel formerly sang with the Daybreak Quartet from the Atlanta, Ga area. We welcome Joel, his wife Melissa and their four boys….yes FOUR boys. Tyler, 10. Brayden, 7. Jaxon, 3, and Cameron, 9 months. What a joy to have this wonderful addition to the Mark Trammell Trio . Please join us as we welcome Joel and his beautiful family! Joel’s first official date will be July 10 in Sikes, La. We believe that this is God’s man for the next chapter in the ministry of the Mark Trammell Trio.

Joel, we are glad you’re here!

Mark Trammell

Eric Phillips Leaves Mark Trammell Trio

June 04, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Trio, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

From the Mark Trammell Trio website:

It is with bittersweet emotion that we announce the soon departure of our award winning tenor Eric Phillips. Eric has served this ministry with integrity and honor since our very beginning seven years ago. Bitter, because I view him as a second son and cherish the bond and relationship God has allow us to have for these years. Sweet, because we firmly believe that God has a plan for all of us as we move forward to the next phase of our lives.

Eric has been praying with careful consideration about this move for a number of months and feels confident that his return to Law Enforcement is what is best for he and his family. Please join us in praying for God’s perfect will for both Eric and this ministry. His departure will take place sometime mid to late summer depending on our finding a suitable replacement and his reinstatement to active duty as a police officer. As Eric stated to me, “I have two passions. One is singing, and the other is Law Enforcement. I have enjoyed my days with MTT and have enjoyed the love of gospel music fans around the world. But I am convinced this is the right timing for this change.”

Anyone interested in auditioning for the tenor position should send a brief resume along with a sample tape or CD to Mark Trammell Trio/audition/PO Box 588/Gadsden, AL/35902. We will in turn listen and then contact those we feel to be the individuals most likely to fit our style, etc. Auditions will begin just after Father’s Day as the group will be on an eight day tour and then vacation immediately following.

If you wish to send cards of encouragement to Eric, Lauren, Carley, and Blake, send them to Eric Phillips / c/o Mark Trammell Trio/PO Box 588/Gadsden, AL 35902.

I smile when reminded that the only thing that doesn’t change is Jesus. In order for us to grow as Christians, change must take place. We wish Eric and his family God’s speed in the days ahead.

In HIS service,
Mark Trammell

It was great to hear Eric grow and improve during his time with the group, and I know that the next tenor they hire will continue the great sound. Prayers and good luck to both Eric and the group.

CD Review: Mark Trammell Trio – Always Have A Song

September 20, 2008 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Mark Trammell Trio, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4 stars

Label: Daywind Records
Producers: Dottie Leonard Miller & Wayne Haun
Website: www.marktrammellministries.com

1. I Know That I Know – The album opens up a very standard SG-sounding song that, while probably not meaning to be, is an affirmative answer to the opening track of Greater Vision’s new project (a song called “I Want To Know That You Know”.) The track does a great job of displaying MTT’s great three-part harmony.

2. Loving The Lamb – Soft piano and orchestration open up this ballad, a song style that the group showed they are really good at on their last project, Once Upon A Cross. Mark Trammell gets the first solo of the project on the second verse. This track is a long one, clocking in at 5:10, but it does not drag at all; rather, the song builds to a majestic finish. I understand that this is the first single off of the album; this could very well be the next “Once Upon A Cross” for the guys.

3. Called In, Called Up, Called Out – This track’s chorus reminds me of “Moving The Hand Of God” on the group’s previous album, but the tempo is a bit faster. The second verse once again features Trammell.

4. What Good Would A Crown Be – Dustin Sweatman is featured on this song from the pen of Rodney Griffin. I like the perspective of the song; many times, an SG tune speaks of us getting to heaven and wearing a robe and crown, etc. Griffin gives us a different, thought-provoking point, asking the question, “What good would a crown be in the presence of royalty?” Dustin does a great job on the delivery.

5. Safe On The Glory Side – Tenor Eric Phillips sings this song that is one of my favorites of the project (and a hit at concerts nowadays.) A country-style instrumentation drives this toe-tapper, and Eric gets let loose near the end with some high notes. Very catchy, a different sound for the group, and would probably do well on radio.

6. If God Said It, I Believe It – This jazzy tune features the group in unison on the verses, with Dustin Sweatman’s solo lines interspersed. Nice little song, but nothing that sticks out immediately.

7. At The Whisper Of His Name – Eric Phillips steps out front for this slow song. I found myself hitting the skip button halfway through; the tempo dragged just a bit.

8. I Always Have A Song To Sing – The album’s title track is a fast track with some cool piano work at the beginning. Mark Trammell displays some of his higher range on the second verse, and the track sounds like something from Greater Vision’s songbook.

9. If Only Just A Few – This is my absolute favorite song on the album. Mark Trammell delivers one of his finest performances ever on this powerful slow song. I thought that he was displaying his higher range on the previous track, but I was blown away in the final moments of the track. Trammell hits some awesome notes that most other baritones only dream of hitting, getting into the low tenor range! He proves why he’s one of SG History’s best baritone singers.

10. Coming Out And Moving In – The project closes out with another standard SG sounding track. Once again, great harmony. Good choice to close the album.

Final Thoughts: The Mark Trammell Trio hit their stride in 2006 with Once Upon A Cross, and this project continues that trend. Sure, there’s one or two songs I didn’t care for, but that was the opinion I had of the last album as well. Every position in this group is filled with stellar vocalists, and Mark Trammell is only getting better with age! I was very pleased with this effort.

Next Review: The Mike LeFevre Quartet – Nothin’ But Good

I’m Back! And Upcoming Reviews

September 14, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Brian Free And Assurance, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, Mark Trammell Trio, NQC, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Soul'd Out Quartet, The Mike LeFevre Quartet, Tribute Quartet

Just got back yesterday from this year’s NQC, and it was a blast! I could never adequately give a rundown of all the events, but be sure to check out Averyfineline.com, Daniel Mount’s blog, and David Bruce Murray’s blog for some reports.

Also, I took advantage of some great deals, so be looking for these upcoming reviews (in order):
1. Greater Vision – Not Alone
2. Mark Trammell Trio – Always Have A Song
3. Mike LeFevre Quartet – Nothin’ But Good
4. Soul’d Out Quartet – Ain’t Nobody
5. Legacy Five – God’s Been Good
6. Brian Free & Assurance – Timeless Hymns & Classics Volume II

And, since Tribute Quartet won 2008 Horizon Group Of The Year, I’ll be reviewing both of their projects as well.

NQC And Upcoming Reviews

September 09, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Greater Vision, Legacy Five, Mark Trammell Trio, NQC, SG Artists, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

Well, this will be the last you hear from me till probably Monday. I’m heading out tomorrow to go to NQC, and I’m planning on picking up several new (some brand-new, some that have come out recently) projects to review. Be looking for such reviews as:

Mark Trammell Trio’s new CD
Greater Vision – Never Alone
Legacy Five – God’s Been Good
Mike LeFevre Quartet – Nothin’ But Good
Brian Free & Assurance – Timeless Hymns & Classics Volume II

Hope to meet some of you at NQC, and I’ll see you all when I get back!

Concert Review: Cathedrals Remembered

June 29, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Concert Reviews, Danny Funderburk, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, Mark Trammell Trio, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Artist(s): Danny Funderburk, Mark Trammell Trio, Legacy Five, Greater Vision

Venue: Reynolds Auditorium, Winston-Salem, NC

I attended a Cathedrals Remembered concert last night, and it was great! I missed most of Danny Funderburk’s set, which was first, but I did get to hear him sing the old Cathedrals song “Statue Of Liberty.” Good stuff, and Danny still has “it!”

Next up was the Mark Trammell Trio, a group that is getting better and better. A rough songlist of their set was “I Still Believe”, “Weary At The Well”, “How Great Thou Art”, “Glory Road”, and “Once Upon A Cross.” Mark’s solo on “How Great Thou Art” was top-notch, and I stand by my opinion that he’s one of the best baritones out there.

Legacy Five came after that, but with a surprise; Scott Fowler said that literally five minutes before they were on, Tim Parton’s son was playing backstage (I think), and slipped and busted his head open. Tim had to take him to get stitches, so he was unable to play for the guys. However, Scott brought out Gerald Wolfe to play for them, and he was excellent! I agree with Scott’s statement that Gerald doesn’t play nearly enough. Their set consisted of “The Moment I Get Up There”, “Strike Up The Band”, “Personal Savior”, “I’ve Been Changed”, “Holy Is Thy Name.”

Greater Vision came last in the first half, and it was good to see Jason Waldroup one final time. They did songs like “He’d Still Been God”, “Thank God I’m Free”, “My Name Is Lazarus”, “A Mighty Fortress”, an acapella Jason solo “Victory In Jesus”, and “It Means Just What It Says.”

The best part of the night, by far, was the second half. It was a huge tribute to The Cathedrals, and I don’t even remember all of the songs that were sung. A couple of highlights:
1. The appearance of Steve Lee, the baritone for The Cathedrals from 1979-1980. He sang “Then I Met The Master” and got a standing ovation.

2. Gerald singing bass on “Movin’ Up To Gloryland.” He even made it rumble!

3. Jacob Kitson, who is going to be Greater Vision’s tenor when Jason leaves, came out and was featured on “Little Is Much.” Wow! Greater Vision won’t miss a beat, and Jacob is a fine addition.

Final Thoughts: Very good concert. I plan to catch another one when it happens next year.

Mark Trammell Trio Singing "Once Upon A Cross"

February 21, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Trio, SG Artists, SG Music

To add to my review of the Lynchburg, VA concert of the Mark Trammell Trio a few weeks back, here is a video of the group singing their hit song, “Once Upon A Cross.”

Absolutely outstanding. Mark’s still got it, and Dustin Sweatman and Eric Phillips are none too shabby either!

Concert Review: 5th Annual Winter Angel Benefit Concert

January 27, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Concert Reviews, Garden Of Grace, Jerry Trammell, Mark Trammell Trio, SG Artists, SG Music, The Joys

Artist(s): Mark Trammell Trio, Jerry Trammell, The Joys, Garden of Grace

Venue: Hyland Heights Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA

I got the opportunity last night to attend a concert only 20 minutes from my house. It was a benefit concert, one that has been held annually for five years, apparently, and this was my first time attending. The love offering that was taken was given to a family whose baby girl has a condition that is pretty serious and she needs operations.

The concert started at 7:00, but at 6:30, pre-concert music was provided by The Joys, a regional group from VA Beach. They put on a decent set. Then around 7:00, Garden of Grace, another regional group from Lynchburg, VA, gave about a five song set that was pretty good.

Then, Mark Trammell’s brother, Jerry, did another 5-or-so song set. Long-time gospel fans may remember Jerry’s days with the Florida Boys. The man is a very powerful singer, despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease a while back. It did not affect his singing, however, and he brought the audience to their feet several times.

Jerry then introduced his brother’s group, and they launched into an amazing acappella rendition of an old hymn (the name of which escapes me). I got so wrapped up in it that I totally forgot to write down a song list, but it was an awesome set. Mark’s own brand of dry humor had everyone rolling. He commented on the song “Glory Road” being like “eating nothing but fillet mignon for a week; by the seventh day, you’re about to die to get fed something else!” Then, after having to start over the tenor feature (the part where he goes up on “I can see”) three times because somebody liked it so much each time, Mark finally said “Well, we ain’t never gonna get there, but we can see it.” The audience roared with laughter.

Other highlights included MTT’s powerful performance of “Once Upon A Cross”, Jerry joining his brother’s group to sing bass for them on one song, and the finale with all the groups that had sung that night joining for one final song. Jerry and Mark picked the daylights out of each other the whole night, much to the crowd’s amusement.

One moment I don’t think I’ll ever forget was at the very end, when Mark explained to the audience that the next morning, tenor Eric Phillips’ dad, Ernie, was to have surgery to remove a large mass from his lower abdomen. He said the doctors did not know what to expect. He then got Eric to stand in front of the altar, and the crowd gathered around him as Mark led everyone in prayer. Then, as we headed back to our seats, Mark led us in a verse and chorus of “Victory In Jesus”, with Dustin Sweatman playing the piano.

It was a great night. I can safely say I’ll return to the next Winter Angel Benefit Concert!