Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Ian Owens Joins Soul’d Out Quartet

October 23, 2012 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Soul'd Out Quartet

In one of the more surprising moves of the year, the quartet announced today that they have made a big hire similar to the one that took place when they picked up Bryan Hutson after the departure of Tanner Stahl.

Since the departure of long time bass singer Matt Fouch, in mid August, Soul’d Out Quartet has been diligently seeking God and following his leading in the attempt to find the right person to be our bass singer. Despite having met many great people through the audition process, we (the men of Soul’d Out) had made the decision to remain a trio unless God provided the absolute right fit for our team and ministry.

Soul’d Out Quartet is thrilled to announce that God has provided us with the right bass singer!! We are so excited to have Ian Owens joining the Soul’d Out family! You may have heard Ian’s name before as the bass singer for Gospel Quartets such as “The Imperials” and “Ernie Haase and Signature Sound.” Ian has 12 years of full time ministry in gospel music and we are so pleased that this chapter of our lives brings us together to proclaim the Good News!! Ian’s first appearance with Soul’d Out will be on November 9th, 2012. We ask for your prayers for both Ian and the current Soul’d Out members as we transition into this new and very exciting time. God has great things in store for this ministry! Come and see us when we are in your area and welcome Ian aboard! Dusty, Michael, Bryan, Rick and Matt.

Ian also had a personal statement in the press release:

“After spending a weekend on the road with Soul’d Out Quartet, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that joining their team is God’s will for my life. I am very excited to have the opportunity to spread the Word of God with such strong men of faith and integrity! Matt, Bryan, Dusty, and Michael all have such a sincere and earnest desire to see souls won and lives changed. I absolutely can not wait to be “pounding the pavement” with these awesome men! However…..I’m scared I may not be much of a bass singer for them if I’m always hoarse from laughing at them! They’re funny!!”
Ian

My “big hire” comment refers to the level of popularity within Southern Gospel that Owens possesses. He gained quite a following in his time with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (and, with some fans, during his tenure with The Imperials), much like Bryan Hutson gained with The Kingsmen. A second hire of this caliber in a row can only do good things for the popularity of the group.

Besides that aspect, this is also a good move vocally. In the eight years that previous bass singer Matt Fouch was with the group before his move to Legacy Five earlier this year, he developed a unique sound that combined solid low notes with a rich upper register. Owens developed his lower range quite nicely with EHSS, and has an upper register that has received favorable comments. His sound will continue what Fouch brought to the table with the group, while carving his own niche.

Owens had the task of following Tim Duncan in EHSS, and while he certainly developed quite well to fill that role, I’m looking forward to hearing him as he takes the mantle of a bass singer that is more similar to his style.

CD Review: Soul’d Out Quartet – What The World Doesn’t Know

February 25, 2012 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, Soul'd Out Quartet


Rating: 4 stars

Label: Crossroads Music
Website: www.souldoutquartet.com

Song titles: All Things Are Possible; Go Out And Get Them; Since I’ve Been Saved; That’ll Be A Great Day; Worthy The Lamb Is He; If You’ll Just Ask Him; He Is There; When They Had Prayed; What The World Doesn’t Know; Thank You Lord

Download Here

If you hadn’t heard of Soul’d Out Quartet before the end of 2011/beginning of 2012, then you certainly have by now. The group hired Kingsmen lead singer Bryan Hutson after the departure of longtime baritone Tanner Stahl, which moved lead singer and group owner Matt Rankin down to that slot. With a new website, two new CDs (this mainline release and a table project that may be reviewed soon), and a new sound, many have looked forward to hearing what the quartet’s first project since signing with a record label.

The best way I can describe the quartet’s sound with this project is this: smooth. Listeners who enjoy a CD that is chock-full of upbeat numbers will not find much to like here. Rather, the group opted for a laid-back approach this time around. Kicking off with a mid-tempo tune about faith called “All Things Are Possible,” no time is wasted in featuring Bryan Hutson, who gets a solo on the second verse. Hutson is also featured on the project’s most unique song, “Since I’ve Been Saved,” a shuffling song that sounds like it was pulled from a 1950s soundtrack. Of all songs to bring to mind, I thought of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World.” The closing track, “Thank You Lord,” also puts Hutson out front on a slower progressive strong that fits him very well.

Though many of the songs feature the new guy, the other singers do a great job as well. Bass singer Matt Fouch shows why he is among the most underrated basses on the road with his solos on “All Things Are Possible” and “That’ll Be A Great Day.” Tenor Dusty Barrett shines on “Go Out and Get Them,” as well as “If You’ll Just Ask Him,” and Matt Rankin sings the title track, which features some very thought-provoking truths. He also gets the second verse of one of my favorites of the CD, “Worthy The Lamb Is He,” an orchestrated ballad in the vein of one of the quartet’s earlier songs, “He Is My Lamb.”

As I mentioned before, the group’s sound is very smooth now, and that fact is prominent on their ensemble work on tracks like “Go Out And Get Them” and “Thank You Lord.” That does not mean that they have lost anything in the way of singing faster, more “quartety” songs; “That’ll Be A Great Day” and “When They Had Prayed” are evidence of that. The difference of style that was chosen for this project show that this lineup has a versatility that will benefit them greatly in future efforts. My only complaint would be that there seemed to be an imbalance in the number of slower tunes vs. more uptempo fare. Too much slow stuff can start to run together after a while!

If you have not heard Soul’d Out Quartet before, this CD will be a great introduction for you, and people who were already fans of the group will find a lot to like about their new sound. What The World Doesn’t Know receives 4 stars.

First Look: Bryan Hutson with Soul’d Out Quartet

January 08, 2012 By: Aaron Category: First Look, SG Artists, SG Music, Soul'd Out Quartet, Youtube

On January 6, I was privileged to be able to attend the Soul’d Out Quartet concert in East Bend, NC, hosted by JOY FM and a local group, The Boys. Every Soul’d Out concert I’ve ever been to has been great, but there was an extra level of excitement to this one, as it was the debut concert for the group’s new vocalist, Bryan Hutson. Hutson came from singing lead with The Kingsmen to fill the void left by Tanner Stahl’s departure in December 2011.

The activity center of Enon Baptist Church was filled to capacity, making it one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen for a concert that wasn’t NQC or Gaither related. There were quite a few singers in our genre, past and present, that were in attendance as well; among those spotted were Phil Barker, Darren Osborne, Harold Reed, and Chris Collins.

Bryan Hutson fits the Soul’d Out Quartet like a glove in sound, stage presence, and personality. I also picked up the new Soulace project and a pre-release copy of their upcoming Crossroads debut, What The World Doesn’t Know, and both are really good. But you don’t have to take my word for it about their live sound; see and hear for yourself!

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Bob Sellers Joins The Kingsmen

December 16, 2011 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Kingsmen

In a move that has been much speculated on and expected, Capstone Quartet lead singer Bob Sellers has come in as the new lead singer for The Kingsmen. Here’s the press release:

The Kingsmen are pleased to welcome Bob Sellers to the quartet, filling the vacancy created by the departure of BryanHutson. “I am so excited to become a member of the legendary Kingsmen Quartet family,” says Bob. “I’m thankful for this opportunity that Ray and Brandon Reese have given me, and I look forward to meeting every single Kingsmen fan.

“The first song I recall singing with my mom and sister in our little country church was ‘A Place Where The Hungry Are Fed,’ so it is a dream come true to now stand on stage with the group that introduced that song and so many other great songs to Gospel music. I will work with all that is within me to continue the proud tradition that is The Kingsmen Quartet and, most importantly, to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ in song effectively. I cannot wait to see what God has in store!

Bob’s first concert will be in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada on December 31, 2011.

Sellers has filled in for two Kingsmen singers recently: the first was Bryan Hutson a couple months ago when he had to be away for a funeral. Most recently, he was filling in for Randy Crawford when he was out for his heart operation. Here’s a taste of what he sounds like, singing “For God So Loved” with the Capstone Quartet:

For a taste of his sound with The Kingsmen, here’s “Look For Me At Jesus’ Feet.” Hat tip goes to my friend Andrew Graham for this find:

If the videos are any indication, Sellers will be a great fit.

Bryan Hutson Joins Soul’d Out Quartet

December 14, 2011 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Soul'd Out Quartet, The Kingsmen


At long last, the word has finally come out. The “mystery man” that is coming to the group after the departure of Tanner Stahl earlier this month is none other than Kingsmen lead singer Bryan Hutson. Here’s an open letter from Hutson on this move:

I want to thank the many friends that I have made while being involved in Gospel Music as well as Worship Ministry. You have embraced me since I began singing with my brother in “The New Generation” in 1985. I started traveling fulltime with “The Heartland Quartet” in 1993. Your continued support, love and encouragement through both my tenures with “The Kingsmen” is deeply appreciated. In early November, I decided to follow God’s leading and give my resignation with “The Kingsmen.”

January of 2012 will mark a new chapter in my gospel music career. I will be joining one of America’s best new groups, “Soul’d Out Quartet”. In fact, the group was awarded “Horizon Group of The Year” (Favorite New Group) in the Singing News Magazine Fan Awards in 2010. Matt Rankin (lead), Dusty Barrett (tenor), Matt Fouch (bass) and Michael Howard (piano) make up “Soul’d Out Quartet”. I will share lead vocalist duties with Matt Rankin. SOQT is a solid quartet who sings straight ahead Southern Gospel Music with a progressive sound. I’m very excited to see what God has in store for our future! Over the past several years, I have developed a friendship with members of the group. I believe the men of “Soul’d Out” are men of integrity and have a heart for ministry that mirrors my own passion. I know my friends and family will love the music and ministry of “Soul’d Out” as much as I do.

My wife, Yvonne, and I have been seeking God and wise counsel about this decision and feel that this is a door God has opened. The tour schedule for “Soul’d Out” is a better fit for me as a husband and father. This opportunity will also allow us to reach our long term goals as a family.

I joined my all time favorite group “The Kingsmen” in 1996 under the late Eldridge and Greg Fox. The 5 years that I spent learning from the Fox’s, the late Jim Hamill and Ray Reese were some of the best years of my life. Upon returning for my second run with “The Kingsmen” in 2007, we have seen lives changed through our music. I want to thank Ray and Brandon Reese and “The Kingsmen” for allowing me to be a part of the continuing Kingsmen legacy.

I would like to ask for your continued support, encouragement and prayers for my family and both groups. I am looking forward to seeing each of you at upcoming “Soul’d Out Quartet” concerts. Please check our website for upcoming performances: www.souldoutquartet.com

In His Will,
Bryan

Can’t argue with that. Family is often a reason for changes made in a singer’s career, and I am glad that Hutson didn’t beat around the bush in stating that as the reason. I also appreciate that he didn’t simply say, “I want more time with my family.” He was open and transparent and explained the move well. Not that every singer has to live in a glass house, but it’s a refreshing change from the usual cliches. The classiness is also admirable; both the group he is going to and the group he is leaving get equal treatment, and it’s nice to see a singer that is making a move from one quartet to another have good things to say about their former employer.

The Kingsmen have also put out a press release:

From The Kingsmen

Bryan Hutson will be leaving the Kingsmen this December and will be joining Soul’d Out Quartet.

Brandon Reese states, “In November, Bryan came to me and stated that he felt it was time to make a change in his professional career. He also told me that he had been seeking God’s will in an opportunity to stay home more with his family. I commended him for letting the Lord lead in his life. The door opened for Bryan to join Matt Rankin and the rest of Soul’d Out (who are based out of Columbus, OH) and as many of you know is only an hour or 2 from where Bryan grew up in Batesville, IN. Bryan stated to me that joining Soul’d Out is perfect for the long term goals of his family and until then will maintain his residence in Asheville, NC with his wife Yvonne and four children Alexa, Jake, Bailey and Jordan. I, along with the other Kingsmen members, wish to thank Bryan for his two tenures here and his continuing friendship.”

I am planning on seeing Soul’d Out in January, and I am looking forward to hearing how the group’s sound changes with Bryan on board. Hearing Matt Rankin and Bryan Hutson swap parts will be interesting for sure! Be sure to check out the group if they are near you; I have a feeling the future for this quartet is very bright!

Update: Soul’d Out Quartet has also issued a release on the change:

We would like to inform everyone that Tanner will be leaving Sould Out Quartet and will be pursuing other interests. He will be missed by many and SOQT would like to thank Tanner for being part of this ministry for four and a half years. We ask that you pray for Tanner and his family as he is starting a new path. We believe that God has orchestrated this change and we pray that he will continue to bless Tanner as well as SOQT.

Coming the first of 2012, Matt Rankin will be assuming the baritone position and Bryan Hutson, a Kingsmen Quartet icon, will be taking the lead. We are excited that God has placed us together and we look forward to seeing how the Lord blesses the new line up. As always, the heartbeat of the ministry is to reach the lost, encourage the saints, and make a difference in people’s lives.

We will be releasing two new recordings after the first of the year. Coming the first part of January will be a hymns and old songs CD called “Soulace.” Then a brand new CD with all original songs called “What the World Doesn’t Know” at the end of January. We are very excited about both of these projects and we pray they will spiritually affect the lives of those who listen.