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

Personal Update & Gold City News

March 30, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

I’m back! It seems like that I have said that a lot recently, but quite honestly, this senior year of high school has thrown my schedule out of whack more than it has ever been. Hard to believe it will be over in a little over two months. On a positive note, I finally made my college decision, and will be attending Radford University in the Fall as a Software Engineering major!

Now, turning the focus back onto the world of Southern Gospel, Gold City is once again welcoming a new tenor. From a Facebook message posted by Gold City around the time I started this post:

“Brent Mitchell has decided to come off the road. Dan Keeton is the official new tenor for Gold City. As many of you know, Brent and Heather welcomed a new baby girl, Paislee, back in January. She has been experiencing some health problems and he has decided to come off the road to focus on his family. We will miss Brent and covet your prayers for his daughter. For more on this, visit goldcityqt.com

Earlier today, Dan Keeton posted an open letter at his website, keetonsong.com. You can read the letter in its entirety there, but I will post an excerpt of it that makes the announcement:

“…As of Monday, March 28th, 2011, I retired and disbanded “The Keetons”. Nancy is doing what she loves, being a High-Risk Labor and Delivery RN. Jim Sheldon will follow his calling in a full time music ministry and your friend, Dan Keeton, has accepted the position of Tenor in the one and the only … Gold City Quartet!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support of The Keetons. Please come see me soon with Gold City!

Dan Keeton

I was talking a friend of mine the other week after a webcast appearance of Gold City in which Dan Keeton was filling in, and at the time, I was unimpressed. It could have been the quality of the webcast, the fact that I was forgetting that it was only his second night out with them, I don’t know; whatever the reason, I told my friend that I didn’t think Keeton was a good fit at all.

That being said, I have heard clips and comments from several people who don’t mince words about what they think about a group’s sound; people who can be very tough critics. Every single one of them have come away from seeing Keeton with the group recently saying that the sound Gold City had was unbelievably strong, and that it was reminiscent of the Jay Parrack days. I’m hoping some new video will pop up soon, because my interest has definitely increased.

My doubts in Dan’s fit have certainly been erased by what I have seen and heard, and may this lineup of Gold City have the best possible run it can have! I certainly wish Brent Mitchell and his family well, and I encourage you all to pray for he and his little girl as they deal with the recent health issues.

Update: Also from Facebook, a personal statement from Brent Mitchell:

For all who have asked. I am no longer with Gold City. My 3 month old daughter has been very sick for the past few weeks and I feel I need to be with my family at this time. Family has always come first in my life but I am so sad to leave my dream job. I just did not think it was fair to Gold City for me to hold them back not knowing the future health of my little girl. Please pray for my family that she will get thru whatever her little body is going thru right now. I will miss GC and cherish the little time I had there!

New Gold City Lead Singer Announced

December 19, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Well, that was fast!

A trip to the Singing News website today revealed that Gold City has announced their new lead singer, who is taking the position after the resignation of Bruce Taliaferro:

Gold City has announced that Craig West  of Jasper, Alabama, is the group’s new lead vocalist. (emphasis mine.)

His first date with Gold City will be Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010, in Villa Rica, Georgia.

“Bruce Taliaferro, who sang with our group for three years, is a dear friend,” adds Daniel Riley, “and one of the finest lead singers to come along in years. I will miss singing and traveling with him. I look forward to introducing Craig to the friends of Gold City at a concert or church service near you soon.”

Diana Brantley (DinanaSN on various forums and Youtube) has already said on the Southern Gospel Forums that she will be there to take videos of Craig’s debut concert, but in the meantime, she has captured several videos of him over the years. These three videos are of the “No Name Quartet,” an unnamed group that was set to hit the road a couple years ago but never did. Brent Mitchell, the current Gold City tenor, was filling in for this first concert while the group was searching for a full-time tenor. Josh Feemster (Mercy’s Mark) sang the lead, Craig was the baritone, and Gold City soundman and former Mercy’s Mark bass Chris West (brother to Craig) was the bass singer:


What has struck me most about Craig, both when I first heard him and now, is how much he sounds like a young Michael English, all the while having a style of his own. He’s a great choice for the part; he definitely has the range to handle the material, and there’s the added bonus of having sung with Brent Mitchell before (he, Brent, and Chris had a quartet of their own several years back), so that will make for a strong blend.

Another good thing is that, according to several reports I’ve seen, Chris West is running sound with the group, but is getting called up to sing several songs each night. This leads me to believe that when Tim Riley eventually retires again, Chris will step in as the new bass. This will give Gold City three singers that have previously sung together, plus Daniel Riley. That will make for a great sound, and it should be similar to the current one; Chris already has the depth and power in his voice that Tim has, and that can only grow stronger with time.

Craig should be on the upcoming mainline release, so, much like Bruce did when he first joined, he’ll have new material with which to make a name for himself. Gold City has made a great pick here; they managed to get a lead singer that has the command of a vocalist like Ivan Parker or Jonathan Wilburn, while having Bruce Taliaferro’s soulful sound as well.

Update: David Bruce Murray left a comment with a link to a post on his blog that Kyle Boreing put up this morning featuring two clips of the Promise Quartet, a group that Brent, Craig, and Chris sang in together. Throw in Daniel Riley and you could be hearing what Gold City will end up sounding like in the near future, claims Kyle. Check them out!

The first clip, “Glory Land” features Craig and shows off some of his upper range that I, personally, didn’t realize he possessed, and is very uncommon for a lead singer to have. After hearing that, I hear some similarities between he and Josh Feemster. The second clip, “Turn Your Back” features Chris. Coincidentally, that song was done on Gold City’s last mainline release, Moment of Truth.