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

New Kingsmen Clip

June 25, 2012 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Music, The Kingsmen, Youtube

It was posted on Facebook today that The Kingsmen were at Crossroads Studios working on their next release. One of the songs was “Oh What A Savior,” and apparently, new tenor Chris Jenkins nailed it. No studio videos have surfaced yet, but here’s a concert video of that same song from last week. (Trust me, even though everybody and their brother has done this song, it’s worth it):

Update: Just as Daniel Mount promised in the comments, studio videos are surfacing. Here’s “Without Jesus,” showing off a smoother side of the Kingsmen. You may remember that song from The Kingsmen’s Proven Time and Time Again project, released with the Jerry Martin, Bryan Hutson, Parker Jonathan, and Ray Dean Reese vocal lineup:

The Kingsmen Hire Chris Jenkins

May 09, 2012 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Kingsmen

(l-r) Ray Dean Reese, Bob Sellers, Randy Crawford, Chris Jenkins, Brandon Reese)

After a fill-in period that once included Ernie Phillips, and a guessing game this past weekend on Facebook that built some excitement, the Kingsmen have finally announced their pick for the tenor position:

The Kingsmen are pleased to announce the addition of Chris Jenkins as our new tenor vocalist.

Chris, 25, has been singing in various ministries and groups since his teenage years, most recently tenor vocalist for the Vintage Quartet since 2010. Prior to joining The Kingsmen, Chris worked as a loan officer and banking manager for the last six years.

“I am so thankful that God has allowed me to do what I have always loved to do,” says Chris. “I could not be more excited about joining a group with such a legacy and rich history as The Kingsmen.  I have been a fan of The Kingsmen since I was very young. I look forward to seeing what the future holds with this great quartet, especially this line-up of individuals as they are top-notch vocalists. It is a real honor to follow in the footsteps of some of my heroes.”

Chris will begin touring with the group immediately. In fact he has been filling in with us in recent weeks. Chris, along with his wife Kimberly, and two children make their home right outside of Greensboro, in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.

Chris is looking forward to meeting many friends and fans of The Kingsmen as he begins this new chapter in his life. To find out when the Kingsmen Quartet will be in a city near you please visit us at www.kingsmenquartet.com, and also visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kingsmenquartet

I have been excited about the possibility of this hire ever since I learned that Chris was filling in after Ernie Phillips came back off the road. Jenkins has already impressed me with his work with the Vintage Quartet, and I am glad that he has been given a platform with such a well-known group. I would encourage anyone in the “bring back Ernie” camp to give this guy a chance; Jenkins bring a sound to the table that is a throwback to the Ernie days of the group, while still having the modern flair the group has adopted over the past few years.

I am looking forward with renewed anticipation to the release of material featuring this lineup of Chris Jenkins, Bob Sellers, Randy Crawford, and Ray Dean Reese.

No videos of Chris with The Kingsmen have surfaced yet, but here’s a clip from the Vintage Quartet:


CD Review: Vintage Quartet – Tell The Story

January 21, 2012 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, Vintage Quartet

Rating: 3.5 stars

Producer: Danny Crawford
Label: Skyland Records
Website: www.vintagequartet.com

Song titles: I’m Gonna Tell The Story; I’ll Cast My Crown; He’s Been So Good To Me; Somebody Touched Me; I Can See The Hand; Freedom Still Flows; Lord Stir The Wind; The Cross Has Won Again; That Wonderful Day; Everything

Crossroads Music recently launched a new label, Skyland Records, to give up-and-coming artists a chance to have Crossroads production, marketing and promotion, and distribution. The first release of this label comes from a new quartet, The Vintage Quartet. By all accounts, this is the group’s debut project, though they have been singing since 2010. I hadn’t heard much about them until a friend of mine (that many know around the SG blogs as irishlad) started giving them some praise. I decided that, since he’s no slouch when it comes to critiquing SG music, it would be worth it to download the project. I ended up being pleasantly surprised.

Being a newer, regional group that has just signed to a component of one of the bigger record labels, it’s no surprise that their debut effort would be a fair mix of original songs and covers. In fact, after the opening track, the project has a streak of four cover songs. The first two, “I’ll Cast My Crown” and “He’s Been So Good To Me,” come from the Soul’d Out Quartet catalog. The former is nice, but doesn’t quite top the original, and the latter throws in some higher tenor harmony near the end to help put the group’s mark on it. The next two songs are both Cathedrals tunes, and both are tenor features. Tenor Chris Jenkins has a voice that reminds me of a mix of Jodi Hosterman and Jeremy Peace, and his rendition of both of these tunes are different from what you might expect because of the timbre and range he possesses. Other covers include The Kingsmen’s “The Cross Has Won Again” (a song that deserved a revival) and “That Wonderful Day” (another Soul’d Out Quartet song that has been widely recorded, but once again is made unique by the harmonies on the higher end).

The original songs on the project are well done. “I’m Gonna Tell The Story,” which also serves as the group’s debut radio single, is a straight-ahead quartet number that fits the group’s sound well. “Freedom Still Flows” is a slower song that the group won a talent contest with in 2011, and is one of the project’s stronger songs. My personal favorite of these songs is found in “Lord Stir The Wind,” an upbeat bass feature that gives Jim Albertson that really lets tenor Jenkins and lead singer Steve Bertaux shine on the choruses. “Everything” is a slower song that never really grabbed my attention.

Vintage Quartet has a lot to be proud of with this effort; it does a good job of highlighting their strong sound and the song selection is decent, though a couple of the covers could have stood to have the quartet put their spin on it rather than follow what was originally recorded so closely. The combination of voices found with Chris Jenkins, Steve Bertaux, Warren Kinney, and Jim Albertson are very good for any quartet, much less a regional one. I was especially impressed with Jenkins; with the power and range in his voice, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up with a group like The Kingsmen in the future.

You may be wary of buying a project from a quartet you’re unfamiliar with, but The Vintage Quartet has made a project is worth the purchase. Tell The Story receives 3.5 stars.