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

January 02, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

So far, 2013 has been a year of changes in Southern Gospel music, and the trend continued this evening when Dan Keeton posted this to his Facebook page:

An open letter to the friends and fans of the Gold City Quartet,

In march of 2011, I was afforded a dream come true, to sing tenor with Gold City. Most of you know my testimony of child abuse, the divorce of my parents and my daddy’s alcoholism. I have recently been given an opportunity to do something I have wanted to do for quite some time. I have wanted to start a non profit organization using music and the arts to inspire child victims of abuse. That opportunity has presented itself and I am so excited, but also heavy hearted. Opening this door means I will have to leave Gold City. I can honestly say, I love the Rileys so much. Tim and Danny are like family to me. Chuck, Bryan and Jerry are so easy going and fun to be around that I will dearly miss being on the bus with such fine Christian gentlemen. I will always be greatful for my time here.

As friends and fans of Gold City, please know, I love you all. I have never felt so much love as I have from you. Please pray that Gold City finds the best replacement and the transition is as smooth as possible.

Sincerely,
Dan Keeton

Daniel Riley later added:

We support Dan 100 percent in this new chapter of his life. We believe God has given him this opportunity to go into this new ministry. Dan has personally dealt with child abuse, and we believe his passion is for helping others in this area. He has our blessing and prayers as he leaves to encourage and enrich the lives of others in this special calling. Dan has agreed to stay on with Gold City and continue his role as our tenor until a replacement can be found.”

For those interested in applying for the tenor position with Gold City, demos and resumes will be accepted via email form to tenorauditions@me.com.

While this news is a surprise, I can respect the reasoning behind it. It is certainly not a common reason given for departure, and I wish Dan the best of luck!

The tenor position for Gold City is a demanding role that requires an ability to consistently sing a part that often is pitched higher than many other groups. It will be interesting to see who the group gets, as it is a tough part to fill.

In tribute to Dan’s time with the group, here is one of my favorite clips of Gold City during his tenure:

Youtube Feature: Gold City with Jerry Pelfrey

October 08, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, SG Artists, SG Music, Youtube

Last night, I attended a Gold City concert about 45 minutes away from me, and took plenty of video of the event. Rather than write a review, I’ll let the videos speak for me.

This was my first time seeing them outside of NQC since Brent Mitchell and Craig West were still with the group. I was looking forward to hearing Dan Keeton with them, as well as hearing new lead singer Jerry Pelfrey. He has only been with them for a couple of weeks. Take a look at how the sound has come together:
(more…)

Youtube Find: Dan Keeton with Gold City

May 09, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, SG Artists, SG Music, Youtube

Since the official hire of Dan Keeton to the tenor position in the Gold City quartet, the only video footage available came in the form of two videos from a webcast on a date when Keeton was filling in. He was still getting used to the other voices and the material at that point, but it still sounded good; however, more footage was being sought after. Finally, more has come. Take a look at these videos, the first being what is apparently Keeton’s signature solo that he has brought to the group, Oh What A Savior:

That video alone is probably the finest performance I’ve seen Keeton give ever, much less with Gold City.

Here are some more of him tackling some Gold City fare:

Interesting to note about this one: I have heard many a person say that they wish Gold City had hired Keeton after the departure of Jay Parrack. I’ve noticed an increase in the number of Parrack era songs being brought back recently, and this one is one that is exceptionally challenging for tenor to consistently sing because of the high arrangement. Keeton passes the litmus test for that one (even though I’m pretty sure I’m hearing stacks, he comes through clear enough that you can tell he doesn’t fully rely on their support.) (h/t Nate for posting the video first over at his blog!)

This one includes a fun moment before Gold City sings by bringing on a “scrap-iron” quartet of tenor(!) Jeff Easter, lead Scott Fowler, baritone Clayton Inman, bass Tim Riley, and pianist Jeff Stice.

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
www.goldcityqt.com”

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!

Stuff I Missed – March 2010 Edition

March 13, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Quartet, Ryan Seaton, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Triumphant Quartet

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life and other projects for this blog to work on, I missed several big news items in the world of SG.

1. Ryan Seaton Launches Solo Career – Many were wondering what path Seaton would take after his departure from Ernie Haase & Signature Sound in December. On Monday, that question was answered, when he announced that he was partnering with Innovation Management & Consulting to launch his solo career. This is an interesting move; most of Ryan’s presence has come in the form of being a quartet man (Dixie Melody Boys & Signature Sound), so it is worth watching to see how his sound will evolve in the solo realm. Best of luck to Ryan in this new endeavor! You can keep up with him through Facebook and his website.

2. Triumphant Signs With Mansion Entertainment – In another unexpected change, Triumphant Quartet announced that they are leaving their longtime record label, Daywind Records, and signing with Mansion Entertainment, with promises of a new live project from The Mansion Theater. Wayne Haun will be producing. Bill Traylor has a history of making great things happen when he is involved, and as president of Mansion Entertainment, he’s made a great move by signing this quartet.

3. Dan Keeton Joins Blackwood Quartet – Earlier this month, it was announced that Ron Blackwood was coming off the road, Josh Garner and John Rulapaugh were leaving the Blackwood Quartet as well, and Mark Blackwood was bringing tenor Dale Evans and lead David Mann and merging the quartets together for a reloaded Blackwood Quartet. The changes have not stopped there, though; it was announced Friday that Dan Keeton would be replacing Dale Evans, as Evans is coming off the road to spend more time with his family. Keeton filled in with the group on recent dates, and “everything simply came together,” as he put it.

With the lineup of Dan Keeton, Mark Blackwood, David Mann, and Chris West, this quartet is a stellar vocal group. Mann has promised big things coming for the group on various blogs, so stay tuned.