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

Archive for the ‘The Imperials’

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.

The Imperials Usher In A New Era

August 21, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Brothers Forever, Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG History, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Imperials

As you all may know, Shannon Smith left The Imperials several weeks ago to become a Minister Of Music. Now, The Imperials announce that Jeremie Hudson is leaving to accept a position in an Alabama church, and also names the people to take Smith and Hudson’s place.

Taking the lead position is Scott Allen, the guy who filled in while The Imperials searched for a new lead. You may remember Scott from his short-lived tenure with Mercy’s Mark, and this guy has a voice that has been just waiting to be heard on a national level. Scott will be a great addition to the group.

Filling the tenor slot is former Brothers Forever tenor Perry Jones. This guy’s sound is one that will blend well with the other Imperials. It is worth noting that Jeremie Hudson, the tenor who is leaving, has the second longest tenure with the group (clarification: as a tenor). He clocks in at nine years, the longest tenure being Jim Murray’s at 20 years.

Best of luck to Smith and Hudson, and I am excited to hear how The Imperials will sound with the new additions.

Comparison: Great Big Wonderful God

July 19, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Music, The Imperials

Pretty cool comparisons of two different versions of The Imperials singing the same song. First, The Imperials circa 1968. Lineup is tenor Jim Murray, lead Terry Blackwood, baritone Roger Wiles, bass Armond Morales, and pianist Joe Moscheo.

Now, fast forward 40 years to 2008, to the (sort-of) current lineup of the group with a re-recorded version of the song. Lineup is tenor Jeremie Hudson, lead Shannon Smith (just left to be a Minister of Music), baritone Jason Morales, and bass Ian Owens.

My thoughts: I’ll have to hand it to the younger guys for the better version. Although the 1960s version was very good, the newer version has a much better sound. Apparently, SG fans all over think so as well, since this song is rising on the charts as The Imperials’ current radio single.

As far as the look for the two groups, to each his own. I don’t really have an opinion on either one’s personal appearance.

More On Shannon Smith Leaving The Imperials

June 04, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Imperials

SGReporter’s Fan Mail had further info on Smith’s departure today:

Since September of ’02, Shannon Smith has filled the lead position for The Imperials. Before joining the Imperials.. Smith had served as pastor and worship leader on the local church level. Effective now,.. Shannon is returning to full time church work as a minister of music. SGReporter spoke with the group’s tenor, Jeremie Hudson, about Smith’s exit.. Hudson told us: “He (Shannon) felt GOD had called him to a different ministry. Everything is cool. He is still a business partner of the group.”
Scott Allen,.. former lead singer of the, now defunct, Mercy’s Mark.. is filling in with the Imperials,.. and Hudson says Allen is being consider as a permanent replacement for Shannon Smith. Jeremie adds that nothing has yet been decided.. and The Imperials are, at this moment, accepting applications for the vacant position.

visit: www.theimperials.com

Shannon Smith To Leave The Imperials

May 31, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Mercy's Mark, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Imperials

I had heard a couple rumors here and there of this, but it seems that Daniel Mount has confirmed it. Scott Allen, formerly of Mercy’s Mark for a very short time, will be filling in, and an official announcement is coming soon.

I wish Shannon well in his endeavor as a Minister Of Music. I enjoyed hearing him with The Imperials, and I know he will do a great job.

I also wouldn’t mind seeing Scott get the job, seeing as he sort of got the rug jerked from under him with the Mercy’s Mark thing. He’s a very talented guy!

Videos Of Imperials Concert

May 12, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Concert Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Imperials

To add to my review of the Imperials concert Saturday night, here are some videos of it:
Eagle’s Wings(?)
Praise The Lord
Arise My Love

Concert Review: The Imperials in Lynchburg, VA

May 10, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Concert Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Imperials

Artist(s): The Imperials

Venue: Heritage Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA

This was my first opportunity to see The Imperials live. I have both their self-titled release and their Back To The Roots, which won the SoGospelNews Fan Awards Album Of The Year not too long ago. For any skeptics as to how well the “younger Imperials” are carrying the torch for the Imperials name, I encourage you to catch a concert with these guys. You won’t be disappointed!

A rough songlist:

It’s A Beautiful Day (Great way to open up the concert.)
No Shortage
First Day In Heaven
He Touched Me
We’ve Got A Great Big Wonderful God (The guys’ current radio single, and a very catchy tune!)
He’s Everything To Me
Water Grave (This song went over tremendously well. Baritone Jason Morales and bass Ian Owens played electric guitar and bass guitar, respectively, along with the track, and it was awesome! I believe it was David Bruce Murray who reported that when the guys did this song at the SGN awards, it got an even better response. It’s definitely some edgy Southern Gospel music, which I guess can only be described as “Southern Gospel Rock!”)
Wrap My Arms Around The World
Because He Lives
Praise The Lord
Arise My Love (One of my personal favorite songs by this group, and a great way to close the concert, leaving the crowd wanting more.)

Final Thoughts:
The Imperials have always been on the cutting edge of SG, and even though the crowd seemed nervous/surprised (perhaps they were expecting a different Imperials?), they warmed up after a while. Awesome concert, and definitely on my “must-see” list next time they’re around.
Also, props to the guys for having their hearts in the right place. Many groups are all about the show, but these guys are very ministry-minded, and the night focused around a theme of God’s love and redeeming grace.

CD Review: The Imperials-Back To The Roots

September 11, 2007 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Imperials

I must admit, I was a little skeptical at first, seeing how their self-titled release was more CCM/Christian Rock oriented, with only two songs being SG. I thought the arrangements on this one would be rockish. But this album blew me away. The arrangements are awesome and the guys bring back the SG of The Imperials’ name in fine fashion. There’s only one song on here that has a rockish arrangement, but even that one sounds awesome! (Water Grave)

Originally intended as a “table project”, this quickly turned into one of the most anticipated releases of the year, and with good reason; it’s all Imperials songs, from the early days to the Russ Taff era.

Go check out the mp3 feature on sogospelnews.com and be amazed.

See you all at NQC!

Stay Tuned

September 10, 2007 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Music, The Imperials

Just got my hands on The Imperials’ Back To The Roots project. I’ll be reviewing it in a day or so, and it’ll be the last hurrah you hear from me before my NQC trip.