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

Archive for the ‘SG Legends’

NQC 2009: Monday Night

September 14, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, NQC 2009, SG Artists, SG Legends, SG Music, The Dixie Echoes, The Inspirations

Tonight’s lineup of concerts was “Quartet Night,” meaning that every group on mainstage was a male quartet. Let’s take a look at memorable events and happenings that transpired during this first night of NQC 2009.

1. Tim Riley is back! And hasn’t lost a thing; in fact, some might say he’s even better now. Not a word had been spoken by Gold City when they hit the stage, but once Tim stepped on, the place erupted. They were the only group of the night to have such a response. The sound was powerful and crisp, like the GC of the 80s and 90s. Great performance.

2. Speaking of Gold City, anybody who’s doubted about Chris Cooper’s fit at tenor should have heard him tonight. Close your eyes and you would have sworn it was a lineup with Jay Parrack. Gold City as a whole is bringing it so far. I’d like to hear them do “For The Sake Of My Heart” some time this week.

3. Sound issues abound, but that’s almost the norm nowadays. It just seems like it would be common sense for, when the singer is lifting his or her mic, to TURN THE THING ON. Groups that had decent sets were hindered by mediocre operating of the mic levels. Even when the mics were tested beforehand (example, The Dixie Echoes), the mics were still somehow off when the singing started. Hopefully as the week progresses the sound problems will decrease.

4. The comparisons between old and new lineups of the groups is a good idea. The way it worked was, a vintage clip of the group would play, which would segue into the group’s set as a “then-and-now” statement. It was quite fascinating, especially with groups like The Inspirations, whose vintage lineup and current lineup sounded almost identical.

Anything else? Chat away.

The Mike LeFevre Quartet Retires Name

June 16, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Eva Mae LeFevre, Priority, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Legends, SG Music, The Mike LeFevre Quartet

From the press release on SGN:

Atlanta, GA, June 16, 2009 — In a bold move, the LeFevre Quartet announced their decision to retire the family name with the recent passing of matriarch Eva Mae LeFevre. The group will be known as “Priority”.

A partnership, forged barely four years ago, established a sound and set in motion a number of unprecedented milestones. Within months of forming, fans voted them Horizon Group of the Year at the 2006 Singing News Fan Awards because of what they heard and saw in them. The following year came Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award. Next came television appearances on Dr. Charles Stanley’s popular In Touch program, a 2009 Dove Award nomination and recordings along the way that simply raised the bar for an entire genre.

This move comes in response to a request by some LeFevre family members to discontinue the name when Eva Mae was no longer able to travel. In a statement, Priority (Stacy Bragg, Gus Gaches, Mike LeFevre, and David Staton) said:

“We were able to honor a name that had such an influence on gospel music in America. On nearly every recording we’ve done, we re-recorded a classic LeFevre tune as a sort of tribute.”

Recognizing that now is the time for them to impact this generation of gospel music fans and the twenty-first century church, the group hopes to solidly establish their identity as “Priority”. The name is a reflection of who they are, what they’re about, why they do what they do, where they’re headed, and how they’ve gotten this far.

“Life is about relationships and priorities. God has blessed so much, and certainly not because we’ve done anything to deserve or earn His favor. So we want our relationships to take priority—with Him, our families, our churches, and each other.”

There are no personnel changes and no changes in musical style, just a new name. The group will still travel with a live band consisting of Jordan LeFevre and Trey Ivey. Audiences will continue to hear the trademark harmony and talented musicians.

In light of the recent passing of Eva Mae LeFevre, this is a very classy move. It honors the memory of one of Southern Gospel Music’s finest ladies, while still allowing the group to establish their own identity.

The group has already shown us they are capable of awesome things, producing one of 2008’s best projects with Nothin’ But Good. I am certainly looking forward to hearing more from Priority.

Tribute To Eva Mae LeFevre

May 18, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Eva Mae LeFevre, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Legends, SG Music, The LeFevres

Via Tweet from @sogospelnews, I learned that Mrs. LeFevre passed away at about 7:25 this morning at the age of 92. Southern Gospel Music has lost another legend.

I can think of no better tribute than to post this video of Mrs. LeFevre singing in 2008, and then another of her piano playing long ago with the LeFevres.

Update: Vistation: Wednesday, May 20, 2009
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
H.M. Patterson & Son-Arlington Chapel
173 Allen Road Ne
Sandy Springs, GA 30328 USA
Phone No: (404) 851-9900

Funeral: Thursday, May 21, 2009
12 p.m. (noon)
Mt. Paran Church of God Central
2055 Mt. Paran Rd
Atlanta, GA 30327 USA

Archie Watkins Resigns From The Inspirations

February 18, 2009 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Legends, SG Music, The Inspirations

Daniel Mount got it partly right; Archie is leaving The Inspirations.

However, he is not retiring completely. Check out this press release from the Singing News:

Archie Watkins Resigns From Inspirations Quartet

Long-time tenor and founding member of the Inspirations Quartet, Archie Watkins, has announced his resignation after 45 years on the road with the group.

Watkins informed Singing News, “I will be continuing my ministry as a solo artist.” His last appearance with the Inspirations will be Feb. 28 at New Hope Church (formerly the Lee Greenwood Theater) in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Anyone wishing to contact Archie can call (828)497-9798, send an email to info@archiewatkins.com or visit his website at www.archiewatkins.com.

I can see where this move makes sense; Archie could work at his own pace and not have to keep a full road schedule all the time. However, I wonder how big his fanbase will be. Sure, the 45 years of Southern Gospel Music history will certainly be a draw, but not everyone is a fan of Watkins’ Appalachian tenor style.

I can only imagine the conversation that will take place once Averyfineline gets wind that Archie is embarking on a solo ministry.

With all of that said, I am eager to hear the new Inspirations lineup in concert. Dallas Rogers (the new tenor) has such a similar style to Watkins that the group will sound essentially the same. I hear tell the young new lead, David Ragan, is very good as well.

George Beverly Shea Turning 100!

January 27, 2009 By: Aaron Category: George Beverly Shea, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Legends, SG Music

George Beverly Shea, the legendary gospel music singer that many may remember from the Billy Graham Crusades, is turning 100 years old on February 1st. To honor the occasion, a biography is being written about this man. I would encourage you to head over to his website and wish him a Happy Birthday, and maybe even order his book.

We salute you, Mr. Shea. Thank you for your contribution to Southern Gospel Music.

RIP Billy Todd

November 30, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Legends, SG Music, The Florida Boys

Dixie Echoes pianist Stewart Varnado sent out a newsletter saying this:

It is with a heavy heart that I write this email to let you know that my friend
and former Florida Boys & Dixie Echoes bass singer, Billy Todd, passed away
this morning (November 30th), after a long battle against alzheimers.

Arrangements are still pending. They will be available at www.singingnews.com once
they have been finalized.

I have just uploaded a “Remembering Billy Todd” page on our website: www.dixieechoes.com
that consists of a brief biography along with many pictures of Billy throughout
the years.

Please keep the Todd family in your prayers.

God Bless you all!
Stewart Varnado
Dixie Echoes

This is sad news; I enjoy hearing Todd sing on old Florida Boys projects. However, we all know he’s not suffering anymore.
I encourage you to check out the tribute on the Dixie Echoes website and I echo (no pun intended) Stewart in saying to pray for the Todd family.

Lily Fern Weatherford Turns 80

November 25, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Legends, SG Music, The Weatherfords

Today is the birthday of an SG legend. I’d just like to take the opportunity to encourage all of you to send her an email to let her know how much you appreciate what she has done and continues to do for Southern Gospel Music. (hat tip, Daniel Mount)