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 ‘SG Industry News’

Pat Barker Launches Website

July 30, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Pat Barker, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

For the past couple of days, the online community has been buzzing about a “big announcement” that was promised by Pat Barker. Today, that announcement hit:

(Gadsden, AL) July 30, 2014 – Pat Barker announces the launch of his new online community – You Tell Me. Through the “You Tell Me” campaign introduced on his site, individuals will have the opportunity to share how BIG God has been in their life and read how He has shown up in others. There will be artist video testimonials and prayer requests where you can respond in real time to requests made from all over the world.

Most of you were introduced to Pat Barker eight years ago when he joined the legendary Dixie Echoes. Fans from all over discovered his love for gospel music to be contagious. Fans not only loved his ability take a solo and sing it like no other bass singer, but his spirit and personality off the stage. With Pat’s move to the Mark Trammell Quartet, thousands more were introduced to his talent in some of the largest venues across the country including his unforgettable appearance with the Cathedral Family Reunion. When Pat left the road, many wondered if they would ever have the opportunity to see him again involved with the music he loves so much. Do we ever have good news for you. If you thought Pat would start his own group or launch a solo career, you weren’t thinking BIG enough. Today you can join a community of believers from all over the world through Pat’s brand new site http://HOWBIGISGOD2U.COM!

As a member of the community you will also have access to where Pat will be ministering and his latest products. July 30 is the day where You Tell Me and the rest of the world how BIG God is! You can also join Pat live Sunday August 3rd from 3 – 4 o’clock p.m. Central time to ask anything you like. Ask about the new site or find out what’s going on with Pat in the near future. DON’T MISS IT!! More information on Pat Barker and the You Tell Me campaign can be found online at: http://howbigisgod2u.com or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HBIGYouTellMe

This is certainly a unique idea that goes beyond the normal solo career announcement. I look forward to seeing how it progresses as time goes on. Be sure to check it out!

Mark Trammell Quartet Hires Randy Byrd

July 16, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In a move that is likely not a surprise to anyone who has been observing the group’s concert appearances since Pat Barker’s departure, the Mark Trammell Quartet announced today that they have selected Randy Byrd as their new bass singer. From the group’s blog:

After three months and 36 candidates for the position, Mark Trammell has announced today that Randy Byrd will be the new bass vocalist for the Mark Trammell Quartet.   Mark shares, “We are thrilled with the overwhelming inquiry about this position.  And after much prayer and consideration, the group collectively feels that Randy is the man for this season of our ministry.”

Many of you will remember Randy from his recent years with the prestigious Blackwood Brothers Quartet. He also logged some miles with our friends the Mike Lefevre Quartet and the Songfellows.  Randy relates the following upon receiving confirmation from Mark.

“At 12 years of age, I heard The Cathedrals sing There is a Fountain and I was hooked!! I told my mother that night after hearing George Younce, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a bass singer.’  God has blessed me and allowed me to sing with some of the best in the business.  Three years ago my dream started to fall apart.  Between my flesh and Satan’s attacks it seemed my life was over. I am thankful today that in spite of my faults and failures, God never took His hand off of me.  Everything that Satan robbed from me, God has restored!  I am beyond excited to join The Mark Trammell Quartet! I am living proof that God IS faithful!!  Pat Barker is a dear friend.  I am not and cannot be Pat Barker.  But I can work at being the best version of me that God can use and I gladly accept that challenge.”

Please join us in welcoming this wonderful man to the Mark Trammell Quartet!!!

This is a great pick for the quartet’s next chapter. Randy seems to fit them like a glove both on and off the stage, and there is no doubt that the quality of the music will be maintained with this hire. Here’s a clip from Facebook:

Post by ThOm GilmOre.

Triumphant Quartet Signs With StowTown Records

June 30, 2014 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Triumphant Quartet

StowTown Records has done it again by grabbing one of the biggest names in Southern Gospel music. From the Singing News:

June 30, 2014 (Nashville, TN) – StowTown Records is proud to announce the signing of GRAMMY-nominated and multi-award winning gospel quartet, Triumphant.

The GMA/Dove-nominated group is set for its premier release with StowTown in March 2015. Triumphant will once again partner with producer and StowTown co-founder Wayne Haun on the project.

“I cannot wait to get back in the studio with these guys. They are so talented, and working with them is always a pleasure,” said Haun. “They are genuine and downright fun. We make a great team.”

The longstanding fan-favorite quartet, based in Pigeon Forge, TN, consists of lead vocalist Clayton Inman, his son and baritone Scotty Inman, bass Eric Bennett, and tenor David Sutton.

“Triumphant has had the opportunity of working with Wayne Haun and Landon Beene over the past several years. We have been friends with (StowTown co-founder) Ernie Haase throughout his career,” added Sutton.”We are so excited to join the incredible team that God has put together at StowTown Records. We look forward to being able to create wonderful music together that will touch audiences all across the country. We can’t wait to see what God has in store.”

Triumphant was most recently with The Mansion Entertainment. Purely from an observational standpoint, it seemed that since signing with that label, all projects except the first one (Love Came Calling, one of their best to date) had been independent releases. Many probably did not even notice, as these independent releases were of the same level of quality as a “mainline release,” and even garnered some radio attention. StowTown seems to keep pretty busy, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing more label releases from the group.

Having Wayne Haun on hand to produce and arrange material may also help to ease the transition for the group following the departure of Jeff Stice, although I imagine that since he is doing solo dates and studio work now, he will still have at least a part in that role.

Things I Missed (3/1/14)

March 01, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Gold Harbor, Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Hoggle Family, The Inspirations

1. The Inspirations lineup has finally settled. The group has had a series of fill-ins lately, but it was announced this week that the new lineup sees the return of Dallas Rogers at tenor, Matt Dibler at lead, and Melton Campbell at baritone, with Jon Epley moving down to the bass part. The band remains the same.

Here’s a clip of the new Inspirations in action:

2. Legacy Five bass Matt Fouch’s “On The Couch With Fouch” has become a favorite series for Southern Gospel fans. Here’s the latest installment with guest Scott Inman of Triumphant Quartet:

Next week, I plan to have two CDs reviewed: The Hoggle Family’s self-titled release, and You Are My Song by Gold Harbor.

Woodsmen Quartet Welcomes Two New Members

February 20, 2014 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Woodsmen Quartet

We all know about the big announcement this week with the Gaither Vocal Band. That’s been covered well, so I won’t rehash it. Instead, I’ll spotlight another group that has reconfigured.

You may have seen the Woodsmen Quartet in their brief appearances on main stage at NQC, or maybe you’ve heard of them because of some of their past members (Derrick Boyd of the Dixie Melody Boys, Carolina Boys, and others, or Jim Huston, brother to Bryan Hutson of the Kingsmen and Soul’d Out Quartet). They’ve recently had a shift in membership, with two faces that some might recognize coming on board:

The Woodsmen Quartet would like to announce the new additions to the group!

As you may have already heard, Josh Arnett, our lead singer has announced his departure and has decided to pursue other things. Josh is one of the best lead singers in the business and we will definitely miss him a lot as he was a huge part of the Woodsmen and always will be! We are thankful for Josh’s time with us and wish him the best! Coming back to sing lead for the Woodsmen is our own Jim Hutson, as you may have heard. We’re very excited to have Jim back with us and look forward to see what will happen in 2014!

Some of you may have heard but our tenor, Scott Joss has also announced his departure from the Woodsmen. Scotty has been a great asset and we will miss him and wish him the best! Coming in to fill in the tenor shoes is 22 year old Daniel Rivera from Merrillville, IN. Daniel is no stranger to Southern g=Gospel music. Having sung with The Toney Brothers, Blackwood Legacy, Promise, and The Hallmark Quartet, Daniel brings to the stage a sound of a seasoned southern gospel veteran. We look forward to this brand new lineup and can’t wait to see what God has in store! They will start together in March!

This has the makings of a quartet with a great sound. I’m not all that familar with Jim Hutson’s singing (just enough to know he’s good), but I actually got to hear Daniel Rivera when he filled in with Promise back in 2012. Here are a couple of clips from that concert:

It’s safe to say that these two men will be an asset to the Woodsmen Quartet.

Legacy Five Stays With Daywind Records

January 15, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

With the recent Kickstarter campaign to fund the group’s upcoming release, speculation began as to whether Legacy Five would remain a Daywind artist much longer. Those questions were answered today in an announcement from Daywind:

Multi-award-winning artist Legacy Five recently signed a long-term recording contract with Daywind Records. Daywind has been Legacy Five’s home for the past decade, beginning with the group’s “London” project. The group is putting the finishing touches on their latest recording, entitled “Great Day.” The upcoming release is produced by Lari Goss, and it will release on March 25.

Legacy Five manager Scott Fowler stated, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Daywind. Daywind has an incredible roster of artists, and we consider it an honor to be a part of their family. We are very excited about the direction they are going. We feel like our fans are part of our team, too. Daywind is inviting our fans to choose the cover photo for our new CD, ‘Great Day.’ Fans can vote athttp://legacyfive.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/choose-l5s-new-cd-cover/#comment-3168.

“Legacy Five is one of the premiere groups in Gospel music. This agreement will continue Daywind’s successful partnership with Legacy Five for the foreseeable future,” stated Daywind Vice President Scott Godsey.

In 2014, Legacy Five will celebrate its 14-year anniversary in Southern Gospel Music, having been formed by Roger Bennett and Scott Fowler, two of the members of the legendary Cathedral Quartet. The male quartet has been nominated for two Dove Awards and more than 75 Singing News Fan Awards. “Great Day” comes to Legacy Five fans following its latest release, a “A Wonderful Life.” “A Wonderful Life” included the successful singles “Ask Me Why,” “Living In the Palace,” and “I’m Still Amazed.”

Daywind Records is home to a great roster of artists such as Brian Free and Assurance, Adam Crabb and Greater Vision. Daywind is distributed to retail through New Day Christian Distributors, Select O Hits, and all major digital outlets including iTunes. For more information, visit www.daywindrecords.com  or contact Amanda Martin at publicity@daywind.com.

For more information on Legacy Five, please visit www.legacyfive.com.

It is worth noting that Great Day will be distributed by Daywind as well.

Gaither Vocal Band Welcomes Adam Crabb; Still Seeking Fifth Member

January 10, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Adam Crabb, Gaither Vocal Band, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In an email today, Bill Gaither confirmed what many had already speculated:

We are thrilled to welcome Adam Crabb aboard as the newest member of The Gaither Vocal Band!  Adam comes to us with years of musical expertise, including on-stage and studio work as a member of award-winning Crabb Family, and as a solo artist and worship leader.

Bill Gaither is grateful and excited about the future! He says, “For decades now, we have reinvented the Gaither Vocal Band again and again, and in the process we have found some of the most incredible male singers and wonderful human beings on the planet. Adam is a very exciting addition to this 30-year legacy of excellence.”

As for whether or not the GVB will maintain a five-man lineup, Gaither had this to say:

“We are taking our time and trying out some wonderful individuals during the next few weeks. You will see some very gifted guest artists out on the tour with us as we seek the perfect fit.  Trust me. You do not want to miss the chance to see what is about to happen as we enter this new season.”

Let the speculation continue! For now, here’s a look at how Adam fits with the group. This is a compilation of clips, and the whole thing is worth watching, but for the songs that directly feature Adam, skip to 1:07, 2:55, and 4:41:

Dove Brothers Band Hires Mark McPherson

January 06, 2014 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dove Brothers, The Dove Brothers Band

McCray Dove announced last night on Facebook that the group has decided on a tenor singer following the departure of Jonathan Price:

Excited to announce that Mark McPherson will be McCray Dove and the Dove Brothers Band’s new TENOR! This was Mark’s first weekend with the Band. Mark brings a fresh but true Quartet Tenor sound to the band! So come out and hear the new line up!

Mark has been a member of groups such as Holy City and the Vintage Quartet.

Here are a couple of samples from over the weekend:

First News Roundup of 2014

January 03, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Declaration, Omega, Promise, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

1. Promise disbands, TJ Evans joins Declaration

One constant in Southern Gospel music is change, but 2014 brought an announcement of transition on Day 1. Since the departure of group founder and baritone David Mann, Promise had been seeking a new singer. As of January 1, the trio has closed the book on their history:

Promise would like to thank all of you for your support and friendship over the last two years. The Lord has done some amazing things, and His impeccable timing has brought on a new chapter for us recently. As of today, Promise will no longer be traveling. Matt has decided that it is best for his family for him to cut back a little on the amount of traveling that he does. We have always said that family comes first! At the same time, another group was in need of a tenor vocalist. TJ has accepted that position, and will begin officially singing with them this weekend. We will post more information about that later today.

Matt said, “This last year has been such a wonderful experience in my life. I’ve grown more in my faith than ever before, and I watched God do some extraordinary things in our group in 2013. I am forever grateful to TJ and Dave for the opportunity to follow my calling, and I couldn’t be happier with his next step in his ministry. To all those who booked Promise at their church, those who came to see us, and those who offered a helping hand along the way, I personally want to thank you for your investment into our ministry.” Matt will continue traveling as a soloist. He plays piano, which makes him quite versatile, and his heart’s desire is to share the Gospel every time he sings. If you, or someone you know would like to book Matt for a special service, you can email him at: mattabaker425@yahoo.com

Later, TJ Evans announced his future plans on Facebook:

You may have heard of a fantastic trio called Declaration. I will be joining them as their new tenor, and my first official concert with them will be Thursday, January 2nd, in Bourbonnais, IL. I’m positive that this is where God wants me.

Please be sure to head over to the Declaration page and like it to keep up with our ministry. I would love for you all to get to know Kasey Kempand Jake Sammons, who will be traveling with me.

These developments come on the heels of a transition for Declaration, as tenor Josh Horrell has joined the Anchormen in that position.

Promise made a strong impression right off the bat with their debut project, which I gave a 5-star rating. While I hate that a group with such a bright future is ceasing to exist, I am glad that everyone has ended up in a place where they feel they should be, and I look forward to seeing the new Declaration lineup in action.

2. Omega signs with Morris Music Group

This group has had one thing after another happening for them. They have appeared as NQC showcase winners as a trio for a few years, but recently became a quartet with the addition of Rick Walls. They recently signed with Morris Music Group, which will hopefully continue adding to their growing presence in Southern Gospel music:

Morris Music Group is proud to announce the newest addition to their family of artists, Omega Quartet. Based out of Dahlonega Georgia, Omega Quartet is the first all male quartet signed to the Delta Sky division of Morris Music Group. Omega Quartet was formed in 2008 and has quickly garnered many honors in a relatively short time. “Omega Quartet is a great addition to MMG,” stated Kelly Morris, owner of Morris Music Group. “Producer Darren Morton and I are looking forward to working with this talented young group. Their dedication to ministry and perfecting their craft will win them new fans in southern gospel music.” Omega is set to begin their new project with producer Darren Morton of Gat 3 Midsouth in the upcoming weeks. Omega members include: tenor – Doug Pittman from Dahlonega, GA; baritone – Cody McCreary from Hartwell, GA; bass – Rick Walls from Myrtle Beach, SC; and lead – Kevin Harry from Dallas, GA. Visit www.morrismusicgroup.com or www.omegaquartet.com for more information about Omega Quartet.

Mid-Week Roundup 10/30/2013

October 30, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Freedom, Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Several news items have popped up in the past few days. Here’s a rundown:

  1. Legacy Five has started a Kickstarter campaign for their upcoming release. With the incentive of various rewards for different amounts of donations, fans can get involved in helping to fund this project. Visit the link for a summary of what the group is doing and the different rewards.

    One thing you can say Southern Gospel music is that even the “top groups” are some of the most accessible artists out there. In how many other genres can you regularly meet the artist at the product table? In a way, something like Kickstarter is perfect for this genre, because it’s a way for the fan to become involved in what the artist is doing with their music, which in turn brings a new sense of that accessibility.

  2. Some have asked where former Dixie Melody Boys lead Donald Morris ended up after leaving the group. Morris and his wife have just joined a family group by the name of the Hoggle Family, and are currently working on a mainline release through AK Music. You may remember that Morris had several songs that he had written cut on the DMB’s The Call Is Still The Same project. He has not stopped writing; all ten songs on the Hoggle Family project are from him.
  3. Freedom Quartet made a splash at last NQC with a lineup of several fan favorites and a new face to most. John Rulapaugh, Dale Shipley, Preston Garner, and Burman Porter are getting ready to release their first project as Freedom Quartet, and you can hear three songs from that project in the player at the bottom of their website: “Somebody Touched The Lord,” “I Believe He’s Coming Back,” and “On A Journey.”