Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Mega-Review: Kingdom Heirs – We Will Stand Our Ground

May 12, 2011 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Kingdom Heirs, SG Artists, SG Music

In the past couple of weeks, several of us Southern Gospel bloggers (Daniel Mount, Brian Crout, Adam Edwards, Wes Burke, Brandon Coomer, David Bruce Murray, Steve Eaton, and me) put our heads together and gave our thoughts on the new Kingdom Heirs project. Here’s the results. Overall, our thoughts on the CD were very positive! (more…)

Jerry Martin Joins Kingdom Heirs

November 09, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Kingdom Heirs, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

As many have already reported, The Kingdom Heirs announced via Facebook that Martin will start with the group on January 20, 2011. I’m glad to see that rumor pan out; Martin has the range and ability to handle the demanding tenor part that the group usually contains in their material. I look forward to hearing this new lineup!

Jerry Martin Leaves Dove Brothers

October 15, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dove Brothers

I should have known that it was just the calm before the storm when Doug said, “So things seem pretty dull lately, no?”

In the second major (and unexpected) change this week, The Dove Brothers announced today that Jerry Martin, their tenor singer for the past eight years, has departed the group. Says the press release at the Singing News website:

McCray Dove, of the Dove Brothers, has announced that tenor Jerry Martin has left the group to pursue other interests. A replacement for Jerry will be announced soon.

“Jerry has been with our group for over eight years and has done a great job,” says McCray. “We wish him the very best in all his endeavors. Jerry felt it was time to make some changes in his career, and we respect his decision. We will be announcing our new tenor very soon, so stay tuned!”

I’m currently racking my brain to figure out who the new tenor may be, but I’m coming up short. Jerry Martin was part of that elite class of tenors that includes Ernie & Eric Phillips, Brian Free, and Jay Parrack (among others), that can sing in the rafters night after night and make it sound absolutely effortless. Some of the more recent Dove Brothers arrangements utilized that high tenor, so whoever they bring in has some big shoes to fill. As known tenor singers go, Parrack doesn’t fit the sound, and I don’t see Eric Phillips back on the road anytime soon. While I’d hate to see Jodi Hosterman leave The Inspirations, he has a sound similar to Martin’s, and he’d be a good fit. Perhaps McCray has a fresh, untapped talent in mind. We shall soon see…

This announcement comes right on the heels of yesterday’s news about the departure of Troy Peach from The Perrys. I had a review ready to go of a pre-release copy of their new project, Blue Skies, but since I learned that the album is being re-cut with new baritone Bryan Walker’s vocals, I will not post it. However, Daniel Mount has a fine review up of it in its current form, and I shared many of the same thoughts he had in the review.

Update: A later press release expands a little on the departure. From McCray Dove via Southern Spin Entertainment:

“Jerry has been a big part of our group for the last eight and a half years. This decision was mutual between us. We have no hard feelings for Jerry and wish him the best in the future. Sometimes one knows when their time is up with a group, and Jerry felt that it was time for him to transition to a new area. What that is exactly we don’t know – but we love Jerry and support him in whatever way he chooses to go.”

CD Review: The Dove Brothers – Unshakeable

July 03, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Dove Brothers

Rating: 4 stars

Producer: Danny Crawford
Label: Sonlite Records
Website: www.dovebrothersquartet.com

The end of 2009/beginning of 2010 saw several big changes for the Dove Brothers, with piano player Jerry Kelso leaving the group and Adam Harman being brought in, and then adding  drummer Devin Dove and bassist Marc Peele for a three-piece live band. Changes this major will affect a group’s sound for sure, but the question here is this: how did the addition of the band change their sound for this new project?

The group has stayed in the Country Gospel direction they started in with 2006’s Never The Same, and continued with 2008’s Life and 2009’s Hold On. Fans who didn’t like the sound to begin with will really dislike this album; the group has jumped into the Country sound with both feet this time around.

With the band, the group’s song choices for this project feature arrangements that a three-piece band can easily replicate. Interestingly, many of the project’s songs come from the 1970s, an era when live bands were popular in Southern Gospel. The covers run the gamut, with songs such as The Imperials’ “Ole Buddha,” and The Dixie Echoes’ “Good Ole Gospel Song,” both of which feature lead singer McCray Dove and do a great job of maintaining the original feel of the songs while updating them to a more modern sound. Tenor singer Jerry Martin takes a feature on “My Soul Has Been Set Free,” an old Lesters Tennesseans tune (thanks, DM!). As if the group knew that this effort would draw parallels to the Oak Ridge Boys, they also recorded the Oaks classic “King Jesus,” totally updating the arrangement and turning it into a bass feature for David Hester. Hester is also featured on a Blackwood Brothers song that Bill Lyles originally sang, “How About You.”

There are plenty of newer songs to go around as well. “Hey Lazarus” has a callback arrangement on the chorus, with Hester echoing the group on each line. Baritone Eric Dove gets a solo on a verse of the Poet Voices song “Preachin’ In Prison.” “I Recall” is an upbeat quartet song, and “If I Knew Then” is a ponderous McCray Dove feature that has the lonesome sound you would find on any country ballad on the radio today. The last track, “Unstoppable,” is a song originally cut by Rascal Flatts that allows Jerry Martin to cut loose.

Bottom line: While the group has definitely adopted the heavy country sound, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Although there’s a couple tracks that aren’t my cup of tea, the Dove Brothers have released a project that makes a bold statement about who they are and what they believe in, while very clearly defining their sound.