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 ‘Three Bridges’

CD Review: Three Bridges – Christmas Must Be Tonight

December 21, 2011 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, Three Bridges

Rating: 3 stars

Producer: Rick Sandidge
Label: The Mansion Entertainment
Website: www.threebridges.net

This trio gets the distinction of being the only group to have a Christmas project come across my desk for review this year. I was looking forward to hearing another CD by Three Bridges, since I was so impressed with their last effort, and after reading a review of this particular one at Musicscribe shortly after receiving the project in the mail, my interest was even piqued.

Kicking it all off is the upbeat, light rock-tinged title track featuring lead singer Shannon Smith. This style seems to be the one that the group clicks the most with. The song takes three perspectives: a traveler going to see the newborn Jesus, the shepherds on the hillside, and someone dreaming on the night of Jesus’ birth. Though the lyrics do seem random in this way, the song ties them together well, and this is one of my personal favorite tracks.

The Drifters’ arrangement of “White Christmas” comes next, reuniting Smith and tenor Jeremie Hudson with their former Imperials partner, Ian Owens, as a guest bass vocalist. Though it would have made it impossible for the group to do this song live had Owens gotten the feature as the original arrangement dictates (the bass got the first verse and standout lines on the chorus in The Drifters version), part of me wishes he had gotten it instead of being confined to background vocals. Baritone Elliott McCoy takes those features instead, with Hudson taking the second verse. Owens shows up at background vocals again on “Mary Had A Baby.” The sound on both of these tracks sounds remarkably like the later versions of The Imperials, especially when Smith and Hudson start ad-libbing on “Mary Had A Baby.”

Other high points include “Mary Did You Know,” which follows the Gaither Vocal Band arrangement pretty closely but showcases the beautiful high harmony of the group, an uptempo arrangement of “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” that is probably the most unique I’ve heard in quite a while, a mellow Hudson feature in “He Came Here For Me,” and another unique arrangement of a classic carol in “Noel.”

As a whole, Christmas projects are something that I can take or leave. Unless they offer something different from the stuff that usually permeates the airwaves this time of year, you can count me out. Three Bridges offers enough interesting arrangements and songs that haven’t been recorded by everybody and their brother that it has earned multiple plays on my iPod and in my car. Though not every song is a solid choice, this CD is a fine effort. If you’re a Three Bridges fan, or just want another Christmas collection to play every year, Christmas Must Be Tonight is a good choice.

CD Review: Three Bridges – Refined

October 02, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, Three Bridges

Rating: 4 stars

Producer: Rick Sandidge
Label: Mansion Entertainment
Website: www.threebridges.net

Track list: “David,” “Satan and Grandma,” “In The Valley There’s A Rock,” “Cooling Water,” “Not The Great I Was,” “Don’t Let Go,” “Everyday It Starts All Over Again,” “Wait On That Mountain To Move,” “I Believe,” “A Little Song Coming On,” “In The Sky,” “Free”

Three Bridges is a group whose name has been around for several years in Southern Gospel music. The trio debuted in 2002 with the Soldiers album, and from there went on to get nominations for awards such as the 2005 and 2006 Trio Of The Year in the Singing News Fan Awards, as well as have great radio success, garnering seven Top 10 singles and three #1 singles.

Other than the occasional appearance on TBN and a couple spins on the radio, I was not all that familiar with the group going into this review. I can remember hearing most of their stuff and not being entirely impressed. However, a lineup change earlier this year gave the Three Bridges sound a complete overhaul. Baritone and group manager Elliott McCoy filled the tenor and lead positions with Jeremie Hudson and Shannon Smith, respectively. Those two names should be recognizable to fans of The Imperials, as both of those men were with the group a couple years ago.  The change was met with a largely positive reception, and I can’t put it any better than fellow blogger David Bruce Murray did when he said that Three Bridges “went from a group I wouldn’t drive across town to hear to one I’d drive an hour or more to hear.” Refined is the first effort from this new lineup.

In a situation such as this where a group has had numerous hits and have a shakeup of this caliber, the best move is to make a release with covers of those hits as well as some new material. This way, their fan base can hear how the new voices handle the old material, but are introduced to the group having a new sound all their own. Refined does exactly that. The project wisely starts off with two new songs. The opening track, “David,” is an upbeat tune featuring lead Shannon Smith, as well as some tight harmony on the choruses. The next new song, “Satan and Grandma,” is an interesting country ballad about the power of prayer that tenor Jeremie Hudson delivers to fine effect. Just from these two songs, anyone even remotely familiar with Three Bridges can tell that the sound is something completely new for the group.

For the next nine tracks, many of the groups better-known songs are covered. Vocally, the group definitely turned it up a notch from the previous forms of Three Bridges. Hudson and Smith still have the dynamic harmony that they had with The Imperials, (check out “Not The Great I Was,” where the two hit a couple of David Phelps & Guy Penrod-esque chords) and baritone Elliott McCoy blends well with their voices, and the new versions of these songs blow the originals out of the water. The only downside to this is the fact that most of the group’s hits featured the lead singer and had a similar sound, so after hearing Smith’s voice on a lot of songs that sound close to the same, it starts to run together. The only old track that doesn’t feature Smith is “I Believe,” a slow, soft song near the end of the album featuring Hudson. A new track, “Free,” brings this CD to a close. It’s a progressive track that features a guitar in the mix with riffs similar to that from rock group Santana’s “Smooth” and a sound that recalls, coincidentally, something that a recent Imperials lineup would do.

Final thoughts: I was very impressed with the sound displayed here. The only real complaint I have is the one I addressed earlier: most of the covers sound alike, so it runs together. Nevertheless, this new chapter of the group sounds fantastic throughout, and I am looking forward to hearing future efforts from them.

Bottom line: Refined solidifies this lineup as a breath of fresh air in the history of Three Bridges, improving upon the group’s previous material as well as introducing new songs that show what the group can do on their own.

Jeremie Hudson Joins Three Bridges

May 04, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Three Bridges

In a press release from Absolutely Gospel today:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (May 3, 2010) – Celebrated trio and Homeland Entertainment recording artist Three Bridges is proud to announce the addition of Jeremie Hudson to the group. Hudson joins the group immediately and will be filling the recently vacant tenor vocalist position.

Jeremi Hudson has had a respected career in Gospel music. Jeremie sang with the Grammy Award-winning and GMA Hall of Fame Inductees The Imperials for 10 years (1999-2008) before coming off the road a couple years ago to assume a church ministry position. Jeremie, his wife Amanda, and their three children currently reside in Columbia, Tennessee.

Jeremie sang with recently named Three Bridges lead singer Shannon Smith in The Imperials for many years.

“I am so thankful and honored to be singing with Three Bridges and again with Shannon,” mentioned Jeremie. “After leaving The Imperials a year and a half ago, I have served as a worship pastor. I have talked with several great groups from Legacy Five to Gold City, but nothing seemed to fit.”

Jeremie continued, “When Elliott called, my spirit jumped! There were several small mountains in the way to my coming back on the road. God has made those mountains a flat surface! He is truly a GOD of miracles! If He did this here, at the beginning of this new ministry, then I cannot wait to see what He will do in the end and all through the middle!”

Hudson is replacing Eddy Bolton as tenor for the group.

Elliott McCoy of Three Bridges said, “I can not begin to tell you how excited I am to have Jeremie and Shannon in Three Bridges. This is the beginning of a new era for Three Bridges. God’s got some mighty plans for this group, and I’m so excited to still be a part of it!”

Three Bridges recently scored their latest Top 10 hit according to the April 2010 issue of the Singing News Top 80 chart. “It Took His Breath Away,” from the Homeland Records release Another Blessing peaked #10 last month. The song has also been a regular fixture on the AbsolutelyGospel.com (formerly SoGospelNews.com) Top 40 Weekly Chart, Christian Voice Magazine Top 100, SouthernGospelTimes.com Top 40 Fan Chart, and other charts.

For more information on Three Bridges, visit them on the web at http://www.threebridges.net or http://www.homelandentertainmentgroup.com . Three Bridges will also be a regular featured artist on the upcoming national television program “Brush Arbor Jubilee” as will be shown on numerous networks and local cable markets nationwide.

This signals a big change for the group, having just announced another Imperial alumnus, Shannon Smith, joining the group as lead. From what I have heard of Three Bridges, both vocalists are different from what the group is used to. The harmonies will already have come together pretty quickly, as Smith and Hudson had quite a dynamic when they were with The Imperials. I am looking forward to hearing this new version of Three Bridges in the near future!

Shannon Smith Joins Three Bridges

April 26, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Three Bridges

In a press release at AbsolutelyGospel.com last week, it was announced that former Imperials lead singer Shannon Smith will be coming on board with Three Bridges.

Though I am unfamiliar with most of Three Bridges’ music, I know enough to know that having Shannon will be a huge asset to their sound. It will be good hearing him again after his time with The Imperials, and I’m looking forward to hearing how his voice adds a new dynamic to the trio.

Review Of "Praise The Lord" Last Night

March 29, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Crabb Family, Gold City, Mike and Kelly Bowling, Palmetto State Quartet, SG Artists, SG Music, Three Bridges

I taped the show last night and watched it this morning. The lineup was Gold City, Mike & Kelly Bowling, Three Bridges, Palmetto State Quartet, and The Crabb Family. The event was hosted by Jason Crabb.

1. Jason Crabb

1. Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus

2. Gold City

1. God’s Been Good
2. Mercy Came Running
3. That’s What I’m Talking About
4. Preach The Word

Only one song featured their new lead singer Bruce Taliaferro, but that was all I needed to hear to tell you that Gold City is as good as ever! Bruce has just the right voice to do Jonathan Wilburn’s songs justice, while still making a name for himself. Danny Riley mentioned that they are working on a new project, and I can’t wait to hear it.

3. Mike & Kelly Bowling

1. ??? (song I didn’t get the name of)
2. There Is Power In The Name Of Jesus
3. There’s Just Something About That Name (with Jason Crabb)

Good to see the former baritone for Crystal River, Jeff Snyder, with this group. I don’t care much for the group, but it is nice to see that guy with someone.

4. Three Bridges

1. Step Back On The Rock
2. Medley (Somebody Bigger Than You And I, You’ll Never Walk Alone, The Impossible Dream)
3. I Feel A Little Song Coming On

I wasn’t very familiar with this group, and I wasn’t too impressed with what I heard. Just not my cup of tea.

5. Palmetto State Quartet

1. On Time God
2. Resting Place
3. Open The Eyes Of My Heart

This was my first opportunity to hear the almost-totally new lineup of PSQ, and I liked it. There were some pitch issues from the baritone, Brian Beatty, near the end of the first song, but he caught himself (you could see him shake his head as if to say “Not right!”) and finished strong.
The group’s new keyboardist, Casey Martin, is a very talented guy, which was evident throughout their set. They’ve also added a percussionist, which adds alot to their onstage sound and presence (the guy really gets into it!).
They’re obviously still trying to mesh and find their sound as a group, but nevertheless, they sound pretty good at this point. It’s pretty clear that they are bringing a fresh, new sound that PSQ has not had before. I expect great things from this new incarnation of the Palmetto State Quartet!

6. Mike & Kelly Bowling, Part II

1. Your Cries Have Awoken The Master

This is quite possibly the only song I really like from this group. Very powerful song.

7. Jason Crabb

1. You’re All I Need
2. I’d Rather Have Jesus (joined by The Crabb Family)

8. The Crabb Family

1. Please Come Down To Me
2. He Thought Of Me

Now, what doesn’t make sense to me is that the Crabb Family broke up not too long ago and have seperate ministries all over the place, and yet they have “reunions” all the time. On this show, at this coming NQC, and I saw across the bottom of the screen where they’ll be on another show in a couple of weeks. I wonder when they will truly disband (the brand name, not the family itself)…

SG Groups On Praise The Lord Tonight

March 28, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, Mike and Kelly Bowling, Palmetto State Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Three Bridges

It will be a good night to catch some good Southern Gospel groups tonight on Praise The Lord at 10 PM Eastern and 9 PM Central time on the TBN channel.

The lineup will include Gold City, Three Bridges, Mike & Kelly Bowling, and Palmetto State Quartet. I’m excited about the two quartets; Gold City’s performance will be new lead singer Bruce Taliaferro’s first TV appearance with the group, and it will be my first opportunity to hear how the group sounds since Jonathan Wilburn’s recent departure. It will also be interesting to hear how the new Palmetto State Quartet lineup sounds.

I’ll try to tape the show tonight and post my thoughts tomorrow.

What Is The Deal?!?!

June 12, 2007 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Three Bridges

More bad tidings from averyfineline.com (no offense) say that Three Bridges has also decided to call it quits today, what with two of its members leaving.
Such promise.. ah, what could have been…