Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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News Catch-Up (7/24/12)

July 24, 2012 By: Aaron Category: Beyond The Ashes, Dixie Melody Boys, Freedom, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

While I was out of town the past few days, several items of interest came through in the world of SG news:

1. The Dixie Melody Boys have officially announced their new lead singer. Here’s a snippet from the press release:

The Dixie Melody Boys announced a few weeks ago that they would be accepting demo’s for the lead singer position. They also stated that the new member of this legendary group would be introduced on the main stage at this year’s convention. Over the course of three weeks the group received over 300 applications. “It was an overwhelming response. We didn’t expect so many men to apply. It proved to me that there is a lot of talent in Southern Gospel music. As we stated, our plan was to audition several men, take them on the road with us and then announce them in September. Sometimes plans change. “Stated Matt Felts. “As I was going through demo’s a voice begin to sing and I knew we had found our next lead singer. Ed listened to his demo and agreed. The moment we met Mike Rogers and heard him sing with us we knew God had brought us the right fit.” added Matt.

“Mike started with us the next weekend. The fans have already shown us that we made the right choice. We debuted him at the Absolutely Gospel Fan Fest and Frank Arnolds Songfest in Jackson, TN. After the response he received we knew it wouldn’t take long for word to get out online so we altered our plans and decided to move up our announcement. When God moves, you go with it. Mike is a great talent and we are proud to have him.” said Ed O’Neal.

A couple of videos have surfaced of Rogers with the group on Socialcam. The first features him on a DMB Band classic that was recently revived, “Good Ole Boys.”

The other song is “Daystar,” accompanied by Rogers on guitar. This is a very different sound and stage presence than we are used to for the Dixie Melody Boys, but it’s a “good” different, and showcases the unique presence that Rogers brings to the table. You can view it by clicking this link.

2. Beyond The Ashes have announced the departure of their lead singer, Casey Rivers. He is leaving on a good note, opting to spend more time with family as his third child is on the way. Here’s the announcement in Casey’s own words:

“For more than three years now I have been blessed to be one of those three singers that make up what many have come to know as Beyond The Ashes. Saying goodbye to family, and all I’ve grown accustomed to, is not an easy thing, but nevertheless, a new season has come for BTA and for me. I am 100% supportive of my brothers, and I know they are of me, as we all begin this new journey we’re embarking upon. Also, to pacify any wondering minds, I just want to clarify that I am leaving on an incredibly good note. After much prayer and discernment, I decided this was the best decision for me and my growing family. Most of all, I’m confident that it is God’s will for us. Thank you Anthony, Kellan, Dusty, Rob, fans, friends, and most importantly God for the awesome ride! Love you all…”

3. On the “that’s interesting” front, Freedom Trio recently appeared at the Absolutely Gospel Music Fest…. as a quartet. The group, composed of John Rulapaugh, Josh Garner, and Tyler Vestal, brought up two additions for a few songs during the concert: bass singer Randy Byrd (formerly of the Blackwood Brothers) and pianist Stewart Varnado (formerly of the Dixie Echoes). You can view the video on Socialcam.

Byrd has also done a few concert dates outside of this with the group, so one has to wonder… what’s next?