Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Matt Felts to Lesters, Tony Jarman to Depart the Down East Boys

August 26, 2014 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Down East Boys, The Lesters

There were a couple of group changes announced today, the first being the completion of Matt Felts’ transition from the Dixie Melody Boys:

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT……….THE LESTERS WISH TO ANNOUNCE THAT “MATT FELTS” WILL BE JOINING OUR MUSIC MINISTRY! 


Matt and his family reside just outside of Nashville, TN, but he is originally from St. Louis, MO. He was actually raised not too far from where we live in South City St. Louis. His wife’s name is Jennifer, and they are Blessed with a beautiful daughter whose name is Abbey and is 5~years old. Matt is a Graduate of Missouri University in Columbia, MO, with a degree in marketing, and he’ll be the first to tell you his desire is to “Serve the Lord” through singing gospel music and will use everything he has learned to get the message of Jesus Christ out to the world! He has traveled with several different gospel groups in his young life, including just finishing a nearly 5 year stay with the legendary Ed O’Neal & The Dixie Melody Boys. We are grateful to the Lord for sending Matt our way and we’re looking forward to what God has in store for this ministry as we continue our journey for Him. Matt will join us beginning the week of September 8th, so be watching our Tour Schedule and come join The Lesters in concert; get to know Matt, and welcome him to the family.

Message from Matt:

“Growing up in St.Louis, our home was filled with the sounds of great Gospel groups like the Cathedrals and the Happy Goodmans but one group stood out to us above the rest , the Lesters. One of the first songs I ever sang in my local church was “He didn’t throw the clay away”. I never dreamed I would have the honor to sing that song with them on stage. I’m thrilled to be apart of such a rich legacy of ministry and great music. Brian, Jon and all of the Lester family have already made my family feel so welcome. Joining the Lesters is truly like coming home. I look forward to getting to know all of their friends and fans very soon.”

Here’s a video announcement from Matt:

 

The second announcement comes from the Down East Boys, as their tenor for the last several years is also leaving:

Reidsville, NC – Ricky Carden of The Down East Boys has announced that tenor vocalist, Tony Jarman, will be leaving The Down East Boys to pursue other ministry opportunities. Tony has been with the Down East Boys since January 2011. Prior to joining The Down East Boys, Tony sang with Poet Voices, The Old Gospel Hour Quartet, and Legacy Five.

“Tony has been a great asset to The Down East Boys and we will surely miss his presence on stage”, comments Carden. “Daryl, Joe, and I wish Tony nothing but the absolute best in his future endeavors.”

The Down East Boys are currently accepting demos to fill the tenor position. Information on how to submit a demo can be found on the Singing News Jobs Board.

In tribute, here’s a song that became a Tony Jarman signature during his time with the quartet:

NQC 2013 Main Stage Schedule – First Take

January 18, 2013 By: Aaron Category: NQC, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

By now, most of you have probably seen the initial schedule for NQC’s last year in Louisville. Since the showcase schedule is not really fully formed yet, I’ll just comment on the main stage lineup. Daniel Mount gave a good rundown of additions and removals, so I’ll quote his list and give my thoughts below:

The Inspirations and The Torchmen return, and there are five new artists: 11th Hour, Keepers of the Faith, Old Paths, Providence Quartet, Wilburn & Wilburn.

Meanwhile, ten artists on the 2012 program won’t be returning to the mainstage: Bowlings, Browders, Chuck Wagon Gang, Down East Boys, Naomi & the Segos, Nelons, Paul’s Journey, Pfeifers, Sisters, Skyline Boys.

I’ll admit, I don’t “get” some of the moves. I remember a conversation I had with a friend shortly after last NQC. We noticed the strength of both of Tribute Quartet’s sets (two of the best sets of the convention), and my friend commented that the Down East Boys seemed to have been received just as well. As someone who actually attended and caught both groups, I agreed; plus, they are seeing some success from their latest major release. Surely they could have gotten at least one night; perhaps another Quartet Night slot as they did last year.

Sisters were on the Gaither slot, but they also took the spot of the King’s Heralds for “A Capella” moments in between sets. I wonder if they’re doing away with that feature altogether, or if they’ll bring in a completely different group like the Penny Loafers to fill the spot.

Nelons were also on the Gaither slot, and got a favorable response. For their first set on main stage in years, it was apparent that the crowd was glad to have them back. Of course, it’s entirely possible that they and the Sisters will be with Gaither again.

I’m glad to see Wilburn & Wilburn and the Old Paths get spots this year. The Old Paths have had it coming for years; “Battle Stand” going #1 no doubt sealed the deal.

The Inspirations return after not appearing last year; Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and Dove Brothers, so far, don’t share the same fate. If you look around in the comments section of a couple other blogs, you’ll get a pretty decisive answer on one of those, but it’s fair game for these and several other absences.

If history repeats itself, this schedule will undergo several changes before September rolls around, but for now, let the speculating and “armchair quarterbacking” begin! 🙂

Youtube Feature: Down East Boys

January 03, 2012 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Music, The Down East Boys, Youtube

I attended a Down East Boys concert in my area on January 1st, and got several videos of the event. This was my first time seeing the Down East Boys outside of a couple sets at NQC over the years, and I was particularly looking forward to hearing their live sound with Tony Jarman at tenor. This was their first date in about fifteen days, so though they were getting back into the swing of things singing on the road, they still put on a great concert.

Click the link below to see the videos!

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New Year’s Roundup

January 04, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Quartet, Gold City, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Statement of Faith, The Down East Boys

Though I’m a few days late, welcome to 2011, everybody!

I haven’t found the time to update the blog in the past couple of days, so here’s a roundup of what I missed:

1. Tony Jarman joins the Down East Boys – Daniel Mount has the scoop: the former Poet Voices, Legacy Five, and Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet tenor has joined the quartet after the end of Jason Runnels’ eight-year run. Jarman starts on January 13. I’ve thought for quite some time that the Down East Boys are one of the most underrated quartets out there, and this newest addition to the group may be what they need to produce some music that will give them some well-deserved attention.

Nate Pritchard has posted a video on Burke’s Brainwork of one of Tony’s big songs of his L5 days, but I’ll post one of my personal favorites: this performance of “Little Is Much” is taken from the Live At The Palace video that L5 did with Greater Vision, and features Jarman out front with piano as the only instrumentation, leaving that clear tenor to deliver the song unmarred by an overly loud track.

2. David Mann joins Statement of Faith – Right on the heels of the news of the trio’s former baritone heading to The Inspirations, they have announced that Mann will join his brothers-in-law. Mann comes from a stint of a few years with the Blackwood Quartet, and I have always been impressed with his voice. His talent, combined with those of Jacob and Joe Kitson, will make for a great trio in Statement of Faith. Their debut project already impressed me; their next should be even better.

Here’s a clip of him singing baritone for the Blackwood Quartet. The lineup at the time this clip is tenor Dale Evans, lead Mark Blackwood, baritone David Mann, and bass Chris West.

3. There are clips floating around of Craig West’s debut as Gold City’s lead singer. I won’t post them all, but here’s one of a Gold City standard: Midnight Cry. Craig’s voice possess the soul-tinged vocals of Michael English, while having the power of  Josh Feemster or early Ivan Parker. If this clip doesn’t convince you that West fits the group like a glove, I don’t know what will.