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

Archive for the ‘The Diplomats’

CD Review: The Diplomats: Joy in the Storm

June 19, 2012 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Diplomats

Rating: 3.5 stars

Producer: Corey Pearson
Label: Song Garden Music Group
Website: www.diplomatsqt.com

Song titles: Grand Homecoming; Joy In The Storm; Buried My Sins In The Past; God Shall Wipe Away All Tears; If Not for the Blood of the Cross; The Other Side; Travelers Protected By Grace; He Still Takes Time For Me; We’re Gonna Rise; Sheltered in the Arms of God; I’ll Soon Be Gone

The Diplomats Quartet is a family group based out of Georgia that has been around in Southern Gospel music for years. The group made main stage at NQC a couple of years back, which was my first real introduction to them. I had been unfamiliar with their music before receiving this project, so I came to this review with no reference to their sound before they signed with Song Garden Music Group last year. This CD marks their debut with that label.

The Diplomats excel at the upbeat, country flavored style of Southern Gospel music. Tracks like “Joy In The Storm,” “The Other Side,” and “We’re Gonna Rise” attest to this fact, as the group’s collective harmony seems suited to such a style, which does not require quite as much polish as others do. This mixed quartet is one of those “let it fly” groups; what you hear is what you get, and while the blend may not be as “tight” as other groups, it works well as an ensemble.

A couple of the less up-tempo songs stand out as well. “Buried My Sins In The Past” is a straight forward SG tune featuring lead singer Corey Pearson, which shows off a bit of his range, and, once again, fits the group vocals well. Speaking of Corey, he delivers the best song on this album: “If Not For The Blood of the Cross.” A powerful ballad about Jesus’ sacrifice, the performance and lyrical content made me sit up and take notice. The Diplomats would do well to send this song to radio.

This project has its fair share of cover songs. The Florida Boys recorded “He Still Takes Time For Me” on their I’m Forgiven project in 2000, and while it was written by group leader Jim Pearson and arranged by Corey Pearson, the performance does not quite stack up to that of the Boys. Two Gospel classics are also covered with “God Shall Wipe Away All Tears” and “Sheltered in the Arms of God,” and while the latter does feature guest vocals by Darrin Vincent of Dailey & Vincent, neither track really sets itself apart from other renditions of each song. That is not to say they are bad recordings; I just like to hear a classic be done with a “spark” that at least differentiates that recording from any other.

The Diplomats have put together a solid collection of songs for their Song Garden debut that defines the sound they possess quite well. While not an all-around perfect recording, it is a solid effort, and I’m looking forward to see where the next step of this quartet takes them. Joy in the Storm receives 3.5 stars.

News & Such 8/20

August 20, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Dixie Melody Boys, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Diplomats, The Kingsmen

1.┬áThe Dixie Melody Boys have had quite a few things come down the pipe this past week. First, owner and bass singer Ed O’Neal fell six feet before a recent concert appearance, coming away with a broken leg and having to get eight stitches in his hand. It would certainly have been understandable if the group had just done the concert as a trio, but O’Neal insisted on doing the entire concert sitting on a stool. He will not be missing any dates. Talk about dedication!

2. The second Dixie Melody Boys happening is in preparation for their 50th Anniversary Celebration at this year’s NQC. There will be two events for this, and apparently will feature all former members that can attend, as well as the current group. From a press release sent today:

The Dixie Melody Boys will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary with two very special events at this years National Quartet Convention. These events will include all former and current members who can attend. Over the years, the group has lost contact with some of the former members. If you are a DMB Alumni or have contact with one, please email Matt Felts through the Dixie Melody Boys website or call 615-335-0743. We don’t want anyone to be left out of this once in a lifetime event. More information will be announced soon for the fans who will want to be a part of this historic celebration.

3. The Kingsmen’s owner and bass singer, Ray Dean Reese, has announced his diagnosis of prostate cancer. He is optimistic about his future treatment, and plans to be on the road with The Kingsmen through it all.

4. Song Garden Music Group has announced their signing of The Diplomats. The popular family group will release their debut project with the label this fall.