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

Bring ‘Em Back: “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “Reach For The Sky”

September 05, 2011 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG History, SG Music

I’m the type that likes to have music playing while I’m working on something, like homework or a blog post, for example. Recently, I had my iTunes library on shuffle, and two songs came up that I had heard several times before, but this time around, they really grabbed my attention. The first one is the third track on the Singing Americans’ highly popular Black and White project. It’s a ballad that starts out soft with the whole group harmonizing, with Rick Strickland’s tenor coming out front a little on the first chorus. Michael English takes the second verse, and it really kicks off. Strickland turns on the after-burners and seems to sing in the stratosphere after the key change on the final chorus.

Here’s a clip of the second verse and chorus:

They Can’t Take That Away From Me

For a group that could bring this one back, I nominate Gold City. I think Dan Keeton has the power and range to handle the demanding tenor part, and giving the English solo to Craig West is a no-brainer. Plus, having Tim Riley play around with the bass part on it would be worth hearing! Other possible groups: Triumphant Quartet, The Old Paths, The Inspirations. (an Inspirations arrangement would be VERY interesting.)

The other song that got me was “Reach For The Sky.” The opening track for Palmetto State Quartet’s Thank God For A Song project, it was one of the strongest songs, and let PSQ fans know that Burman Porter’s succession to Aaron McCune’s spot was a great fit. The whole song features Porter with some of the lowest bass singing I believe I have ever heard him do. He was a solid bass with the Dove Brothers, but something about his sound with Palmetto State was a lot more robust and had more depth, and this song is a perfect example. Check out the first two choruses and a verse:

Reach For The Sky

The obvious choice for this one? The Dove Brothers. With the recent rehiring of Porter to the group, they would be the group that would bring this song back best. I’m sure that they’d have a killer arrangement, especially with the live band. Other possible groups: Gold City, Kingdom Heirs.

Feel free to share other groups you think could bring these back!

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!

Two Arrivals & One Departure

October 30, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Gold City, Kingdom Heirs, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, The Dixie Melody Boys

It’s been a week for lineup changes in Southern Gospel, and yesterday brought the announcement of two additions to groups, and also one group that is searching for a tenor.

1. Brent Mitchell Joins Gold City – The blogs and forums were buzzing earlier this week when it was announced that Josh Cobb was out as Gold City’s tenor, and that the new one would be debuting that night. As it turns out, it is former Mercy’s Mark and N’Harmony tenor, Brent Mitchell:

Gold City has announced that Brent Mitchell has joined the quartet as tenor vocalist, filling the vacancy created by the departure of Josh Cobb.

“No one dislikes change more than I do,” says Gold City’s Daniel Riley. “But that doesn’t change the fact that changes do happen. Often times, people don’t always understand the reason behind the changes—we don’t always understand it ourselves, as change can come quickly for any of a huge number of reasons.

“Josh Cobb is an incredibly talented person and we’ve enjoyed our time with him. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.

“Brent will officially start his role with Gold City November 11,” continues Riley. “Many Southern Gospel fans will remember Brent from his tenure with Mercy’s Mark. He possesses a very distinct tenor voice, and we’re very excited to welcome him to our group.”

Brent, his wife, Heather, and their 7-year old daughter, Ivy, live in Moulton, Ala., and he’s excited about joining the legendary quartet. “I grew up listening to this music,” says Brent. “It has always been a dream of mine to be part of a legacy like Gold City. I am excited to have an opportunity once again to sing the best music in the world.” (Singing News)

If there is one thing that Gold City needs to keep their legacy strong, it’s a distinctive, solid tenor with a strong stage presence. Josh Cobb brought those factors to the table, and Brent does as well. I enjoyed hearing him with Mercy’s Mark and N’Harmony, and I think he will do just fine with Gold City.

For those wondering how he’ll sound on a Gold City classic, check this out. I’d also like to see him bring his take of this Cathedrals song with him to GC.