Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go hear the Dove Brothers Band for the first time (other than several NQC appearances). This time around was especially unique, because it was a graduation celebration for a friend to both the group and myself, Lynn Pollard, who you will hear referenced from the stage several times in the videos. Congratulations again, Lynn!
I say it was unique because the event was held in the small fellowship hall of a church in Roanoke, VA. The group set up in the corner, and with a small crowd of family and friends in the mix, it made for a very intimate setting, as you’ll see in the clips. I was impressed that the sound was as balanced as it was in that kind of setting.
As always, I’ll let the music speak for itself:
Traveling with a live band obviously has several perks, one of them being that the artist can let the music keep going if he wants to say something during a song. I enjoyed the little bit of background that McCray gave during “Hold On.”
It seems that Youtube is becoming ripe with videos to feature this week. Today’s feature comes to us from Promise, a relatively new trio that started back in 2011. Their debut release got a 5-star rating from this site. Since that time, the group has had several changes, and the lineup stands today at tenor TJ Evans, lead/baritone David Mann, and lead/baritone Matt Baker. Baker also plays piano on select songs. The videos are from Mann’s Youtube channel, and are taken from a recent concert that was broadcast on the Internet.
We’ve seen a couple of clips of Gold City floating around since Robert Fulton was named to the tenor position, but no high quality video has been available until now. These are from the beginning of April, but were just recently uploaded. Here’s one that I want to turn a spotlight on that I feel is a good representation of where the group is now:
Why this video in particular? For starters, it’s a song that has been absent from their set list for several years. I’m glad to see them start incorporating some songs that aren’t the same ones we’ve heard time and time again. Also, this is a good showcase of the new tenor’s range and stage presence. It certainly makes me want to see and hear more.
Here’s another clip that includes three songs: “I Cast My Bread Upon The Water,” “I Can Tell You The Time,” and “When He Blessed My Soul.” Following that is the Tim Riley standard, “Under Control.”
At long last, we have a Youtube clip of Gold City’s new lineup where the tenor can be heard. It’s a video from far away, but the audio quality is good. While it’s not a tenor feature, it does manage to show that the group has achieved a fine blend with Fulton. Hopefully, more will follow, but here is “I Can Tell You The Time.”
The EHSS bus once again rolled into my home area of Lynchburg, VA for a concert at Thomas Road Baptist Church this past weekend. It’s almost become an annual date for the group; they did not come in 2012, but came the year before that when Ian Owens had just recently started singing with them, and had a couple of concerts there when Tim Duncan was there. This time, they have Paul Harkey in the bass slot, and are experiencing change on the band side of things; guitarist Kelly Vaughan recently left the group, and drummer Zak Shumate is on the way out for a position with The Isaacs.
While I was not able to attend this year because of being away at college, my Mom did, and filmed a few videos of the night. Thanks, Mom!
Every bass singer that has been with EHSS has had a signature song at some point in their tenure that was usually a softer selection. For Tim Duncan in his early days, it was The Old Rugged Cross. For Ian Owens, it was “I Believe.” For Paul Harkey, it’s “Scars In The Hands Of Jesus.” While this song is more often heard as a tenor feature, it works quite well for Harkey’s smooth upper range. Look for this as a featured track on the group’s upcoming project, Glorious Day.
This is a brand new song entitled “That’s Why” from the group’s upcoming release. Mom did not film the main song, but was so impressed with it that she made sure to film the reprise. I don’t know how extensive the instrumentation is for the track, but the song sounds as if it was made for a “stripped down” sound like what is done here. This “teaser” makes me look forward to hearing the full thing on the project in April.
In the last of “new” clips from the night, the group does a cover of “Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord,” which was recorded by several groups, but was arguably made the most popular by the Statler Brothers. EHSS takes off from the Statlers’ later arrangement that was recorded with Jimmy Fortune, right down to the held tenor note near the end, and it fits their energetic style.
There’s not much to say about “Sometimes I Wonder” that hasn’t already been said, except that Doug Anderson was a perfect choice to be featured on this song. Like Scott Howard of Legacy Five, he seems to always get songs that fit him like a glove, and this is no exception.
The concert closer, “Then Came The Morning” has rightfully remained a concert staple for the group, as evidenced by its strong response even after eight years of staging it.
If you’ve followed the Dove Brothers since they added the live band, you know that Jonathan Price was hired from the Dixie Melody Boys to join the group on tenor after Jerry Martin’s departure. After coming off the road for a little over a year, Jonathan Price made his return to the group. There have been videos floating around from his “second debut,” but that same Youtube user, DLPollard65, has posted more recent videos that show that the lineup has really settled:
It’s no secret that the Dove Brothers were adopting a country flavor before the live band was formed, but having the band has also allowed the group to branch out in other ways. Never in a million years would I have expected McCray Dove to cover “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” but here it is, and it’s good. According to several comments that have been posted on various sites, this was one of the moments of the concerts.
While the tenor singer in the interim, Keith Casstevens, is certainly a capable singer in his own right, his tenure took the overall sound of the group in a direction that seemed to stray too much from the group’s traditional quartet roots for many people’s liking. Price’s return has given the group the chance to more easily perform that style of Southern Gospel music again. This cover of an old Kingsmen song is solid evidence that the group can still “dance with the girl that brung them,” as the saying goes.
This compilation of four songs from the concert is a testament to the versatility that the Doves have achieved by adding the band. Here, we get a rendition of the group’s first #1 song, “I Can Pray,” a takeoff of the Oak Ridge Boys arrangement of “Just A Little Talk With Jesus,” the classic hymn “Amazing Grace,” and a cover of Rascal Flatts’ “I Won’t Let Go.”
In the SG blogging world, whether we are the ones blogging, commenting, or just sitting back and watching the back-and-forth discussions, it is sometimes lamented that the “excitement” in Southern Gospel music is gone, and that the raw energy, adaptability, and authentic vocals of live instrumentation and singers has given way to tracks and stacks. While I’m not going to down tracks (I personally see nothing wrong with them as long as the vocals are the actual live performance and not a lip-sync), I will pick a live band (or even just piano) any day if given the option, hands-down. The energy and excitement was tangible when I watched these Youtube videos for the first time, and I can honestly say that the Dove Brothers Band is one of the few groups I have been excited about in quite a while. No tracks, no stacks, just solid Gospel singing. That’s something we can all get behind.
The LeFevre Quartet entered the new year with two new additions: tenor Thomas Nalley, formerly of Providence Quartet, and bass Randy Byrd from the Blackwood Brothers and Anchormen. DinanaSN has three new videos that spotlight the new members:
It’s striking how well the LeFevre Quartet has gelled in a short time. If they are considering re-cutting tenor and bass vocals on their latest release, But For The Cross, this lineup would pull it off well; the first clip, which is a track from that project, makes a good case for doing so. Regardless, I am looking forward to hearing music from this assembly of vocalists for (hopefully) quite a while!
The second has been out there for several months, but was pointed out to me last night. Jackie Lamb, former tenor for Heirline, has a new trio called Mercy’s Bridge. They have a Youtube video hightlighting selections from their debut project:
I never did pay much attention to the Garry Sheppard era of Perfect Heart (probably because I haven’t heard their stuff!), but this clip was shared with me today and it cracked me up!
A friend of mine made the comment that a couple of these guys missed their calling. Who knew that Mike Presnell (bass singer for several groups over the years) could sing lead so well? Jeff Stice’s vocals were a surprise as well; perhaps Triumphant Quartet should consider giving him a couple features once in a while, à la Roger Bennett with the Cathedrals and Legacy Five.
The lineup here is tenor (pianist) Jeff Stice, lead (bass) Mike Presnell, baritone Joseph Smith, bass (tenor) Garry Sheppard, and pianist (lead) Darren Doyle.
Thanks to Youtube user r52003, we have our first glimpse into the new lineup of Soul’d Out Quartet. The group recently hired Ian Owens, formerly of the Cumberland Quartet, The Imperials, and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, as their new bass singer following original bass Matt Fouch’s move to Legacy Five. There is a full playlist here, but I will post just a few videos here that highlight Owens’ mark on the group’s sound. My two cents’ worth comes after the videos:
Youtube user EHSSQfan1 has posted a ten-minute video featuring songs from Paul Harkey’s first night with the quartet. Harkey’s features on “Scars In The Hands Of Jesus” and “Old Rugged Cross” are instant standouts, and, like his predecessor Ian Owens, he had a funny moment getting used to the choreography. Hearing the sound from his debut makes me look forward to how this lineup will gel.
To comply with FTC guidelines, we at Swain's Musings state that, unless otherwise mentioned, the projects that this blog reviews were given to the reviewer(s) free of charge. This does not have any bearing on the final rating and is not even taken into consideration when reviewing the project. Due to recent guideline changes, this statement is necessary, because these guidelines assume that a more favorable review is given when the product is received for free.
Contact me at email@example.com for information on how to get your project to me for review.