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 ‘Tribute Quartet’

CD Review: Tribute Quartet – Our Anthem

August 22, 2012 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, Tribute Quartet

Rating: 5 stars

Producer: Roger Talley
Label:
Crossroads Music
Website:
www.tributequartet.com

Song titles: God’s Gonna Send A Revival; Thank The Lord; Good News From Jerusalem; The Song Of Heaven; Homesick Angel; Leavin’ On My Mind; The Time Is Now; With Just A Little; He Loved Me Anyway; Through Me, The Cross Lives On; It Always Gets The Darkest (Just Before Daylight); Better Farther On

When discussions arise about the “up and coming” groups in Southern Gospel music today, Tribute Quartet has found its way onto more and more lists in that category. The quartet started picking up steam with the release of For This Time in 2010, yielding songs that either gained radio success or have found lasting power in their program such as “Calvary Wins Again,” “I Am Healed,” and “That’s Why I Love Him So.” Before their next mainline release, The Waiting Is Over, in 2011, the group had seen the departure of tenor Brian Alvey and bass singer/founding member Dennis Dugger. The new guys, Riley Harrison Clark and Anthony Davis, filled the respective vacancies, and though that album produced strong singles like “Bring On The Joy” and “Homecoming Day,” it was not as overall solid as their previous effort, and I looked forward to when the lineup had time to gel and come together for a (hopefully) stronger release.

After an A Capella opening of the chorus of “Revive Us Again,” the group sticks with what has been their strength up to this point by featuring tenor Riley Clark on the upbeat of “God’s Gonna Send A Revival.” Clark also gets strong features on the worshipful ballad “Song Of Heaven,” another upbeat number with an interesting hook called “Homesick Angel,” and “The Time Is Now,” a tender ballad in the vein of “Save My Family.” Clark brought a buzz to the group when he joined at age eighteen with a voice that showed great potential, and it’s nice to hear his continued vocal development being evidenced in these songs.

I mentioned that the group’s strength has lied in featuring Clark, and most of the group’s better-known songs will attest to that fact. That trend is broken with this project, and by what many may not expect; two of the project’s strongest tracks are carried by baritone and pianist Josh Singletary. Most wouldn’t think that Singletary would be the featured vocalist on any “hits” for the quartet; when they started out, he was given songs that played up his “crooner” style, and it was almost a novelty when he got a feature. Since signing with Crossroads, they have gotten away from that, and Singletary really comes into his own here. “Good News From Jerusalem” is a moving track with an interesting structure that chronicles the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and Singletary’s delivery is impeccable. He also gets a beautifully orchestrated testimony song in “Through Me, The Cross Lives On.”

I also appreciated the improvement that bass singer Anthony Davis displayed on this project. I was glad to hear that he has opened up his tone a great deal and grew out of the nasal sound he had on The Waiting Is Over. His standouts on “Thank The Lord” and “Homesick Angel” were good evidence to this, and I didn’t expect to enjoy his cover of the Rusty Goodman classic “Leavin’ On My Mind” as much as I did. This development is arguably what makes the quartet’s sound as an ensemble the strongest it has been to date.

As is the case with any “new” group, Tribute Quartet has needed one project to really garner attention outside of a few radio singles. With strong performances by each member of the group and a song selection that is their best yet, Our Anthem could be that project for this group, and that’s why it’s their first ever project to get 5 stars from this site.

Catch Up

January 14, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Tribute Quartet

After a relatively quiet past several days, some news items have hit that I took note of, but could not cover in the flurry of midterms:

1. First and foremost, I wish to send my condolences to the family of Susan Unthank. Unthank passed away on January 5 after a long battle with various health problems. A memorial service has been rescheduled for January 24 after inclement whether cancelled the first one. In all of my dealings with her, be it over the Internet or in the one time I met her in person at NQC a couple of years back, she was always very gracious and nice to talk to. Say what you will about Absolutely Gospel (SoGospelNews), but there is no denying the impact that she and her husband had when they founded that site. Susan Unthank, you will be missed.

2. Dennis Dugger leaves Tribute Quartet, Anthony Davis Steps In – In a somewhat shocking news item today, the group announced that founding member and the only bass the group has had to date has left the group on good terms. Gary Casto has once again made a hire that has the distinction of being one of the youngest singers in the business; Davis is 28 years old. Various sources have said this is the same Anthony Davis that sang bass for Firm Foundation Quartet, and a quick Youtube search yields clips such as these:

At first blush, Davis has a tone that is similar to Dugger’s, while having a distinctive sound of his own. At his young age, he has plenty of time to mature and refine his voice, and Gary Casto does a great job of that with his vocalists; just look at Riley Clark!

I would guess that Davis will be on the upcoming mainline release, so I am interested to hear him on brand-new Tribute material, and hopefully someone will have Youtube footage soon of him on current Tribute songs.

3. It was also announced today that Tim Parton has left the pianist position in Legacy Five. Parton will be taking a position with the 3ABN television network. Like Dugger, he also leaves his respective group on good terms. It will be interesting to see who L5 gets to take the spot; Parton was basically hand-picked by Roger Bennett before his death in 2007, and has been with the group since taking the position full-time after filling in for several months. My mind is drawing a blank as to what “known names” could be tapped for the job, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them pick up an “undiscovered” talent.

The New Tribute Quartet In Action

August 02, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Music, Tribute Quartet, Youtube

When it was announced that nineteen-year old Riley Harrison Clark had first joined Tribute Quartet as their tenor following Brian Alvey, there was a montage of clips of one of his first concerts with him, which can be found here. But now, Youtube user iamredeemed1 (who is becoming quite the go-to source for SG videos, particularly of new lineups) has posted several videos from a Tribute concert this past weekend. Several of the clips highlight Clark, and I’ll post them as they become available.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rloLgmW3tXE

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-4J0UxyIF4

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHFyWIZTU50

(more…)

Tribute Quartet Hires New Tenor

June 30, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Music, Tribute Quartet, Uncategorized

From the press release at Singing News:

Nashville, TN – Crossroads recording artist, Tribute Quartet, is pleased to announce the addition of eighteen-year-old Riley Harrison Clark as its new tenor. Riley is originally from Fairland, Okla., and is a graduate of the Steve Hurst School of Music. Riley replaces Brian Alvey, who left the group to accept a position in marketing and promotions.

Group manager Gary Casto says, “We are absolutely thrilled to have found a wonderful Christian young man to join Tribute Quartet. He brings to the group a strong and natural tenor voice that we know our fans are going to love. In the short time I’ve known him, Riley has shown maturity and spiritual character, as well as a love for people. We believe his passion fits perfectly with the mission and message of our group, as well as all of southern gospel music. Josh Singletary, Dennis Dugger, and I cannot wait to introduce Riley to our fans across the country.”

Brian Alvey leaves Tribute Quartet with the blessing of Gary as well as the other group members. “For the past two years our tenor vocalist has done an outstanding job not only as a singer, but also as a musician and song writer,” Gary says. “He leaves us with a spotless record of service and our best wishes for much success in his future career. The Bible says to everything there is a season, and during Brian’s season with Tribute, he managed to make many fans and friends who I know join us in our support of Brian and his future endeavors.”

Riley joins Tribute Quartet just as it is gearing up for a busy summer and fall tour. Make your plans to find Tribute in concert soon and welcome Riley to the wonderful world of Southern Gospel Music. For more information on Tribute Quartet, visit its website at www.tributequartet.com. Tribute is booked exclusively by The Harper Agency, www.harperagency.com.

Count me in the camp of those eager to hear the new tenor. It will be interesting to see whether he possesses a vocal quality similar to that of either of Tribute’s previous tenors, Jacob Kitson & Brian Alvey, or if he will bring something entirely different to the table. A hire of such young talent is enough to catch my attention to start with; obviously, he caught Gary Casto’s attention as well.

Looking forward to hearing how the group will sound.

Update: Hat tip goes to Daniel Mount (and NewSoGoFan as well!) for being the first to post this video of the new tenor in a solo appearance.

Even though he’s not singing in tenor range for this song, I’m already looking forward to hearing his upper range with Tribute. What intrigues me most is the amount of maturity and control he has in his voice for such a young singer. Looks like Gary Casto made a great hire.

Pray For Gary Casto

August 12, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Prayer Requests, SG Artists, SG Music, Tribute Quartet

From the Tribute Quartet newsletter:

Gary Casto, manger and lead vocalist of Tribute Quartet, will undergo surgery on Thursday to remove a kidney stone that is embedded in his kidney. Gary experienced some problems on the road last weekend, prompting a visit to the emergency room at Lebanon, Mo., while the group was there to perform on the Brumley Sing. He was able to finish the weekend, but after returning home was admitted to the hospital for more extensive tests which showed the kidney stone had become impacted in the kidney, causing the kidney to cease function.

On Tuesday, doctors performed a surgical procedure to correct part of the problem, and on Thursday, they will do a second procedure that will hopefully completely resolve the issue.

Tribute Quartet requests your prayers for Gary as he undergoes the second procedure tomorrow morning. He plans to miss no tour dates.

Get-well cards or notes can be sent to: Tribute Quartet, P. O. Box 454, Hendersonville, TN, 37077 or office@tributequartet.com.
Tribute Quartet, Inc.
P.O. Box 454
Hendersonville, TN
37077-0454
615.822.7911
office@tributequartet.com

Prayers and hopes that all goes well.

Update: Tribute’s baritone/pianist Josh Singletary says via Facebook that Gary has come out of surgery and is in recovery. His doctor said he could leave this afternoon.

Dual Review: Tribute Quartet – My Tribute (2006) & Anticipation (2007)

October 27, 2008 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, Tribute Quartet

Rating: 3 stars
Producers: Glen Bates & Arthur Rice
Website: www.tributequartet.com

1. Brother Don’t Lose The Shout – The group’s debut project opens up with some straight-up Southern Gospel quartet singing. Nice way to open up, and nice piano work in the background by Josh Singletary.

2. God Can’t Remember – Lead singer Gary Casto is featured on this country-flavored song. Nothing really jumped out at me about this track.

3. My Tribute To You – Casto is featured on this soft, slow track, showcasing his higher range. Singletary’s piano work on this track is a great accompaniment. I guess this is kind of a “theme song” for the group, and it’s a nice one. Stepping it up at the end makes for a good finish.

4. I Found A Place – It’s more traditional sounding fare on this track. Jacob Kitson’s tenor out front finishes the first part, then leads into the built-in encore. An OK inclusion, but probably does better in a live setting.

5. In The Shelter Of His Hands – This song moves at a shuffling pace, and gives baritone/pianist Josh Singletary his first feature. Kitson leads the chorus. I’ve heard it said that Singletary has a voice with a crooning tone similar to that of Frank Sinatra, and I agree with that.

6. You’d Better Have A Boat – Bass singer Dennis Dugger sings/recites this song about Noah. The recitation somehow seems out of step with the music, but it’s not a glaring problem.

7. God Knows – This slow song opens with more of Josh Singletary’s great piano accompaniment, and Jacob Kitson (now tenor for Greater Vision) is featured. I don’t recall seeing this song go out to radio, but I imagine it would have done well. Kitson has good control and tone to his voice, and can carry a slow, pretty tune like this well. One of the stronger songs of the project.

8. I’m In That Crowd – Yet another traditional sounding song. I bet this one is a “hand clapper and foot stomper” at concerts.

9. It’s Always Been You – Josh Singletary plays and sings this song that fits his vocal style much better than “In The Shelter Of His Hands.” One of my favorites of the album.

10. Heaven In Sight – This track opens up with a harmonica’s imitation of a train whistle, and the song employs a country sound. Jacob Kitson leads it. Nothing really impressed me about this track.

11. The Other Side Of Calvary – Bass singer Dennis Dugger sings (not recites) this song, singing a solid low bass solo that reminds me of Jeremy Lile’s verse of Crystal River’s “Before The Teardrops Hit The Ground.” This song would have done well on radio as well.

12. Give The Gift – The album closes with a “bonus track” that sounds like a modern country tune with a Christmas theme. This was a good way to end the project.

Final Thoughts – The debut project of Tribute Quartet is OK. It does have some good, and a few great, songs on it, but I imagine the group was still trying to find their “niche,” if you will. This album earns a solid 3-star rating because it’s not great, but it’s not lousy either.

 

Rating: 4 stars
Producers: Glen A. Bates & Arthur Rice
Website: www.tributequartet.com

1. Good News – The album opens up with a track similar in style to that of the previous project. The group does all kinds of stuff with the parts on the chorus near the end. When I first picked this album up, I wondered what it would have sounded like if the group had covered the GVB song of the same title. Ah, what could have been… This is an enjoyable track nonetheless.

2. Be Still And Know – This track is the group’s current radio single, and it’s good choice for a single. Great message and vocals with a nice music track. One of my favorites on here.

3. Beulah – Nice bluegrassy tune. The group pulls off this sound as well.

4. The Cross Jesus Carried – Lead singer Gary Casto is featured here. The feature is handed off to Jacob Kitson on the second verse. His feature here reminds me of a young Danny Funderburk for some reason.

5. There Is An Eye – Josh Singletary is featured on a song that is tailored to his crooner tune, complete with saxophones in the background. It is obvious that he did not play piano on this project, but this is still a good song.

6. When Those Gates Open Wide – This uptempo song was the first single off this project, and it’s also the one that got me interested in this group. The only complaint I have is that the bass has kind of a muddy sound on the chorus.

7. In Remembrance Of The Cross – Acoustic guitars open up this slow Gary Casto feature. This a good song, and would probably perform well on radio.

8. Over On The Other Side – This is another “hand clappin’, foot stompin'” song that this group is so fond of doing. It doesn’t get much more SG than this.

9. Mercy Walks A Road – Jacob Kitson carries this ballad. Slow songs seemed to be his bread and butter during his tenure with the group. Good song.

10. Wait On The Water To Part – Josh Singletary tries his hand at country singin’, and he pulls it off better than I expected. I honestly didn’t see a Singletary feature coming when I heard the intro to this song.

11. This I Know – The project finishes off with a slow tune. Nice bass feature by Dennis Dugger on the second verse.

Final Thoughts: The sophomore effort by this group is better than their previous release. If the group continues in this direction, they’ll be fine.

Even though Jacob Kitson left to join Greater Vision, new tenor Brian Alvey is a good tenor as well, and the group hasn’t missed a beat. I look forward to future projects from this 2008 Horizon Group Of The Year.

Next review: N’Harmony – Favorites

I’m Back! And Upcoming Reviews

September 14, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Brian Free And Assurance, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, Mark Trammell Trio, NQC, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Soul'd Out Quartet, The Mike LeFevre Quartet, Tribute Quartet

Just got back yesterday from this year’s NQC, and it was a blast! I could never adequately give a rundown of all the events, but be sure to check out Averyfineline.com, Daniel Mount’s blog, and David Bruce Murray’s blog for some reports.

Also, I took advantage of some great deals, so be looking for these upcoming reviews (in order):
1. Greater Vision – Not Alone
2. Mark Trammell Trio – Always Have A Song
3. Mike LeFevre Quartet – Nothin’ But Good
4. Soul’d Out Quartet – Ain’t Nobody
5. Legacy Five – God’s Been Good
6. Brian Free & Assurance – Timeless Hymns & Classics Volume II

And, since Tribute Quartet won 2008 Horizon Group Of The Year, I’ll be reviewing both of their projects as well.

Driven Quartet Experiences Change

July 21, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Driven, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Soul'd Out Quartet, The Anchormen, Tribute Quartet

Just read on the SN forums where Alex Woolard, tenor for Driven Quartet, has left the group to accept a music position at a church. A later post stated that their new tenor had filled in for Steve Ladd in his Anchormen days, but the name escapes me as well.

It’s a real shame when groups experience turnover just when they are starting to get noticed, but if Driven is anything like Tribute or Soul’d Out of recent weeks, they’ll bounce right back from the change.

Be expecting a press release soon.

New Tenor For Tribute Quartet

June 02, 2008 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Tribute Quartet

Wes Burke over at Burke’s Brainwork is reporting that Tribute Quartet has named former Southern Sound tenor Brian Alvey as their new guy. I’ve heard Brian before; he has a good sound, and he’ll fit right in.

Here’s the press release:

Tribute Quartet Announces New Tenor

NASHVILLE, TN(Singing News) – BSA/Beckie Simmons Agency has announced today the
search is over to fill the position of tenor vocalist for Tribute Quartet. Brian
Alvey, 29, from Jasper, Ind., will be rounding out the group singing tenor. Some
fans will recognize Brian from his time with the group Southern Sound. Gary Casto,
manager of Tribute Quartet states, “We feel very strongly that the Lord has
directed our steps in finding Brian to fill this position. There were numerous applications
sent to our office and we are thankful for everyone who applied. I was very impressed
with his voice and talent, and I know our fans will also! He has a wonderful musical
ability that will be a great addition to the presentation of Tribute Quartet!”

Beckie Simmons adds “Tribute Quartet has certainly made an impact on our industry
already! The proof comes from radio airplay, acceptance from promoters and pastors,
and from the fans nomination for “Horizon Group of the Year” in the Singing
News Fan Awards! Glen Bates, producer for Tribute Quartet adds, “Nothing can
slow down a moving train and Tribute is definitely on the move!”

Tribute Quartet records for BSA World Records and is represented exclusively by
the Beckie Simmons Agency. For further information call 615-595-7500 or log onto
www.bsaworld.com.

Tribute Quartet, Inc.
PO BOX 454
Hendersonville, TN 37077-0454
615-822-7911
office@tributequartet.com

Greater Vision Names New Tenor

May 13, 2008 By: Aaron Category: Greater Vision, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Tribute Quartet

From a SoGospelNews article:

Greater Vision has named Jacob Kitson as the group’s new tenor. Jacob is from Yuma, Arizona, but has lived in the Nashville, Tennessee area for the last seventeen months, and will soon be relocating to Morristown.

Kitson, 24, is a graduate of Grace Baptist College in Gaylord, Michigan. He is the eldest son of Kevin and Gina Kitson, and has three brothers and eight sisters.

Jacob has traveled with the Tribute Quartet since their inception in 2006, and was a founding member of the group.

Gerald Wolfe states… “We are really excited about Jacob joining Greater Vision. The first time I met him, which was about one year ago, I knew he was a very special and gifted young man with a real heart for ministry. He was the first person to call me after the announcement of Jason’s departure, and he is the only person we actually auditioned. We knew he was the right man from the start.”

Rodney Griffin said… “I look forward to what the Lord has in store as Jacob joins our ministry. Jacob says he’s been a Greater Vision fan since he was a teenager. Now that’s he’s joining us, we’ll see how long he remains one! LOL”

Jacob commented…”I am looking forward to serving side by side each night with men who have dedicated their lives to a ministry of Christ-honoring Christian music. I can say this is a great honor and I’m pleased to be part of such a team.”

Jason Waldroup, who will be leaving Greater Vision in August, said…”I’m glad we’ve found someone who I believe is, first and foremost, a man of God. I’m sure everyone who meets him is going to love him. I hope to be a help to him anyway that I can during this transition. God has great things in store for Greater Vision.”

Jacob will begin traveling with Greater Vision in June, and his first official concert with the group will be August 6 in Lebanon, Missouri.

Greater Vision will be in the recording studio later this month working on Jacob’s debut recording with the group.

Hmm.. interesting move. I enjoy Jacob’s singing, especially on Tribute’s new single, “When Those Gates Open Wide.” I think he will be a good fit for Greater Vision.
Now, I wonder who Tribute’s new guy will be….

Update: For those wondering what Jacob sounds like, visit www.tributequartet.com and listen to the song on their front page. He is featured on the verses.