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 ‘N’Harmony’

N’Harmony Is Back!

May 19, 2009 By: Aaron Category: N'Harmony, SG Artists, SG Music

For those who wonder if the new lineup can tote the mail on the old N’Harmony stuff, here’s a clip from a recent concert of the guys singing what is probably N’Harmony’s best known song, “Out Of The Blue.”

Here’s another of them singing “I’m Glad I Know The Lord.”

New Lead Vocalist For N’Harmony

February 16, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Mercy's Mark, N'Harmony, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In a surprising move, Shane Dunlap released this statement today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

N’Harmony Announces New Lead Singer

Nashville, TN – N’Harmony is pleased to announce the addition of fan favorite Josh Feemster as the new lead vocalist for the group. “We are honored to have Josh joining us in our ministry”, states Shane Dunlap. “He is one of the finest singers in gospel music today and we look forward to working and traveling with him.”

With the addition of Josh at the lead position, Shane Dunlap will be assuming the baritone vocalist position. Feemster’s first concert with N’Harmony will be held at Temple Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC on Good Friday April 10, 2009.

To learn more about N’Harmony’s touring schedule, please visit www.nharmonymusic.com or www.dominionagency.com.

My intial thought is; Josh Feemster is back? Awesome! I’ve been really wanting to see him back with a group ever since he left Mercy’s Mark, and since the group he was trying to put together didn’t go through, he couldn’t have picked a better lineup of vocalists to go with.

A question does arise, though, that I hope a future press release will answer; since Dunlap has opted to move to the baritone slot, does this mean that N’Harmony has gone the Gaither Vocal Band route and employed a five-man lineup, or has Chris Whitaker left the group and no one knows it yet? If the latter is the case, it would be a real shame; Whitaker is one of the finest baritones on the road today, and I was very impressed with him on N’Harmony’s latest project, Favorites.

I’ve said before, keep an eye on this group, because they will go far if they can keep together. I say that now more than before, especially if they are going for the five-man group.

Welcome back, Josh!

Update: Several have contacted me to say that Chris Whitaker has indeed left the group and his future plans are to be announced soon.

Further Update: I had a suspicion that this would be the case, but it seems that Chris has joined Mike & Kelly Bowling:

Popular Southern Gospel trio, Mike & Kelly Bowling have announced the addition of tenor Chris Whitaker to the group’s line-up. According to Mike & Kelly, “Chris has so much to offer our group. Not only does he possess an incredible lead voice and a natural ability to sing harmony, he has a passion for ministry.” “Kelly and I believe Chris is a perfect fit for our group,” stated Mike. “We are so happy to have Chris as a part of our ministry and are excited about the future.”

Chris grew up in Hamilton, Mississippi where he began singing in church at the age of 10. His family moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2005. Chris married Tara Leonard in February of the same year. They now have one child, Robert Colton Whitaker, who is 9 months old. Chris is no stranger to Southern Gospel music. He has performed full time for several years within the Southern Gospel industry. Chris added, “I am extremely excited about singing with such a wonderful group and family. I am most looking forward to ministering to those who are lost.”

The addition of Chris came on the heels of Mike & Kelly Bowling’s hit single “A Miracle Today” reaching number one for March 2009 on the National Radio Chart according to the Singing News Magazine. It is the third consecutive number one from the trio. “A Miracle Today” was written by Becky Isaacs Bowman and Sonya Isaacs and is the second number one for Mike & Kelly Bowling from the writing duo. “Your Cries Have Awoken The Master” was the Singing News 2008 Song of the Year and topped the charts in August 2008. The Singing News Song of the Year is selected according to a point system assigned to radio singles for their duration on the National Radio Chart throughout the year. The Song of the Year announcement came at the one year anniversary of Mike & Kelly Bowling’s first number one song written by Carroll McGruder, “We Have A Saviour.” Their current single, “Notified” was written by Ronny Hinson and is currently playing on radio stations worldwide. All four singles are included on Mike & Kelly Bowling’s debut Canaan Records release Faith To Believe. Word Entertainment distributes the newest project to stores worldwide and was released on August 12th.

Also, Mike & Kelly Bowling are currently looking to add a full time piano player. Interested musicians can e-mail their information to mikeandkellybowling@hotmail.com .

For booking information on Mike & Kelly Bowling, contact The Beckie Simmons Agency (615-595-7500, http://www.bsaworld.com or e-mail: beckie@bsaworld.com.) For more information on Mike & Kelly Bowling or to order Faith To Believe, visit http://www.mikeandkellybowling.com or Canaan Records, http://www.canaanrecords.com . For radio information, contact The Rick Hendrix Company ( rick@rickhendrix.com ) or call 615-662-4848

Mike & Kelly won’t miss a beat, as Chris’ voice will fit in great with theirs. I look forward to hearing this group in the future, especially once they hire a piano player.

N’Harmony Home From Northern Ireland

December 04, 2008 By: Aaron Category: N'Harmony, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music


And they seem to have had a warm reception. Shane Dunlap sent out this press release today:

N’Harmony Completes Successful Northern Ireland Tour

NASHVILLE, TN (Press Release) – N’Harmony recently appeared in Northern Ireland
as part of their first tour in over six years. While in the UK, N’Harmony enjoyed
3 great nights of concerts and were even given a personal tour of the Northern Irish
Parliament in Belfast. Also appearing on the concerts was Rev. William McCrea,
who was debuting his latest release “In Christ Alone” produced by Shane
Dunlap.

Shane stated, “The Emerald Isle has always been near and dear to my heart.”
He continued, “The people there are very warm and truly enjoy southern gospel
music.” All of the members of N’Harmony left feeling the same way. Plans
are already underway for a return trip in May of 2009.

N’Harmony is booked exclusively by the Dominion Agency. Call 910-484-6996 to
schedule a concert in your area. For more information, please visit www.dominionagency.com
or www.nharmonymusic.com.

Can’t wait to catch these guys in a concert soon. I’d also encourage you to check out their new website; it’s one of the best-done websites in SG right now.

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.

CD Review: N’Harmony – Favorites

November 05, 2008 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, N'Harmony, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 4 stars

Producers: Shane Dunlap & N’Harmony
Label: Independent

1. Step Into The Water – The album opens up with a new arrangement of The Cathedrals’ classic song. The group breathes new life into it, giving it a more country sound, speeding up the tempo a tad, and shedding the stand-out bass lines on the chorus. The last change is not as disappointing as one might think, and this track is still good.

2. Old Time Religion – This old song takes the piano-and-vocals approach. The solo features are baritone Chris Whitaker, lead Shane Dunlap, and tenor Brent Mitchell, respectively. Bass singer Will Van Wyngarden gets short solo lines on the chorus. Nothing fancy about this track, but it will appeal to fans of the old style of Southern Gospel singing.

3. The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power – The group covers a song that was also featured on Brian Free & Assurance’s Timeless Hymns & Classics Volume II project. Chris Whitaker’s great range is displayed here and he turns in a fine performance. This version of the song has a slight edge of BFA’s version in that it does not feature “canned” instruments at all; the horns on BFA’s version sounded somewhat fake.

4. He Loves Me – Brent Mitchell gets his first true solo feature of the project here. This song was written by George Amon Webster and orginally recorded by The Cathedrals when he was their baritone. My all-time favorite version of this song is Greater Vision & Eric Bennett’s version on GV’s Quartets project. This arrangement differs from both in that it is a tenor feature. Mitchell’s voice fits the song well, and it comes at a close second to my preferred version.

5. Run On – Shane Dunlap steps out front for this bluegrassy song. This sounds to me like a faster, slightly different arrangement of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” that was a single off of his posthumous American V: A Hundred Highways. The groups pulls off this sound pretty well.

6. It Is Well – This is another song on the project to feature just piano and vocals, at least until the chorus when some light accompaniment comes in. I thought that Chris Whitaker’s range was impressive on “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” but he displays it much more here. This is the first time I’ve heard a baritone featured on this song, and it exceeded my expectations.

7. I Can See The Hand – This is possibly my favorite song on this project. The group takes the song and gives it more life than The Cathedrals version, picking up the tempo a bit. The key change pushes Brent Mitchell to some high notes. Mitchell is by no means Danny Funderburk, and niether does he claim to be. He turns in a good vocal here, and bass Will Van Wyngarden is none too shabby in his bass part here either. Very well done track.

8. Lord Feed Your Children – Just piano and vocals here for this Shane Dunlap feature. This is a good arrangement; I’ve never been as crazy about the song as most people, but the guys sing it well.

9. Life Will Be Sweeter – This track is really no different than Mercy’s Mark’s arrangement on their Southern Selections Volume Two project. It’s almost a carbon copy, right down to the piano. This is an OK track besides that fact.

10. Beulah Land – A short, acappella version of the chorus of this Squire Parsons classic shows that the guys have great harmony. My only complaint is that it wasn’t longer (it clocks in at 58 seconds).

Final Thoughts: The revived version of N’Harmony that Shane Dunlap has built has made a fine “debut” project. It shows that they have the potential to be one of the genre’s top quartets. Brent Mitchell holds down his tenor part well, the similarities in Shane Dunlap and Chris Whitaker’s voice (not to mention the fact that both have impressive ranges!) make for some tight harmony, and Will Van Wyngarden is a young bass who’s style is akin to Chris West or Christian Davis.
The guys do a great job of revamping classic songs here, and I am anticipating future, original material from this young group.

Update On N’Harmony

September 18, 2008 By: Aaron Category: N'Harmony, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

This may be old news to some, but I noticed that on N’Harmony’s Myspace site now has complete clips of six songs from their upcoming project.
These guys have a great sound; they could very easily be that “once-in-a-decade-lineup” that Averyfineline says the first Mercy’s Mark had. All the guys blend great in ensemble work, but can also stand their own in solos, something that is essential for a good quartet.
I’m anticipating hearing this new project and the group in a live setting.

N’Harmony Returns

September 06, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Crystal River, Mercy's Mark, N'Harmony, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music

After being unable to access the Internet for a couple days, I was thrilled to read this press release from Shane Dunlap:

Charlotte NC- For almost ten years N’Harmony’s youthful sound and energy
wowed audiences where ever they went. Now nearly six years after news of their retirement,
N’Harmony returns stronger than ever, poised and ready to pick up right where
they left off. Original lead singer and founder Shane Dunlap states, “I have
been thinking about a return for a long time, but I wanted to find the right guys
with the same exact goals.” Joining Shane (N’Harmony and Signature Sound)
is Tenor Brent Mitchell (Mercy’s Mark), Baritone Chris Whitaker (Won by One
and Crystal River), and Bass Will Van Wyngarden (Journeymen Qt.). Shane says, “Every
single guy in this group has their priorities in order.”

They were in the studio recently put the finishing touches on a brand new favorites
project, and will be kicking things off Oct. 17th and 18th with concerts in Northern
Ireland and Scotland.

For more info or scheduling contact nharmonysings@gmail.com. You can also visit
N’Harmony’s brand new myspace page with clips of the new recording at www.myspace.com/nharmonyquartet

This is pretty cool news; not only is a great group being brought back, but the lineup is none too shabby either. Brent Mitchell is a great tenor, Shane is an awesome lead, and Chris Whitaker is one of the most underrated baritones in the business. I’ve not heard of the bass before this, but he sounds good as well.

I’m very excited after hearing the clips and am looking forward to hearing the new project.