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

Catch Up

January 14, 2011 By: Aaron Category: Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music, Tribute Quartet

After a relatively quiet past several days, some news items have hit that I took note of, but could not cover in the flurry of midterms:

1. First and foremost, I wish to send my condolences to the family of Susan Unthank. Unthank passed away on January 5 after a long battle with various health problems. A memorial service has been rescheduled for January 24 after inclement whether cancelled the first one. In all of my dealings with her, be it over the Internet or in the one time I met her in person at NQC a couple of years back, she was always very gracious and nice to talk to. Say what you will about Absolutely Gospel (SoGospelNews), but there is no denying the impact that she and her husband had when they founded that site. Susan Unthank, you will be missed.

2. Dennis Dugger leaves Tribute Quartet, Anthony Davis Steps In – In a somewhat shocking news item today, the group announced that founding member and the only bass the group has had to date has left the group on good terms. Gary Casto has once again made a hire that has the distinction of being one of the youngest singers in the business; Davis is 28 years old. Various sources have said this is the same Anthony Davis that sang bass for Firm Foundation Quartet, and a quick Youtube search yields clips such as these:

At first blush, Davis has a tone that is similar to Dugger’s, while having a distinctive sound of his own. At his young age, he has plenty of time to mature and refine his voice, and Gary Casto does a great job of that with his vocalists; just look at Riley Clark!

I would guess that Davis will be on the upcoming mainline release, so I am interested to hear him on brand-new Tribute material, and hopefully someone will have Youtube footage soon of him on current Tribute songs.

3. It was also announced today that Tim Parton has left the pianist position in Legacy Five. Parton will be taking a position with the 3ABN television network. Like Dugger, he also leaves his respective group on good terms. It will be interesting to see who L5 gets to take the spot; Parton was basically hand-picked by Roger Bennett before his death in 2007, and has been with the group since taking the position full-time after filling in for several months. My mind is drawing a blank as to what “known names” could be tapped for the job, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them pick up an “undiscovered” talent.

My Final Picks for the 2010 Singing News Fan Awards

June 19, 2010 By: Aaron Category: SG Artists, SG Music, Singing News Fan Awards

1. Favorite Artist of the Year
Booth Brothers
Greater Vision
Kingdom Heirs
Triumphant Quartet

2. Favorite Traditional Quartet
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Kingdom Heirs
Legacy Five
Triumphant Quartet

3. Favorite Mixed Group
Collingsworth Family

4. Favorite Trio
Booth Brothers
Greater Vision
Jeff & Sheri Easter
Karen Peck & New River

5. Favorite Soloist
Bishop, Mark
Crabb, Jason
Parker, Ivan
Penrod, Guy
Ritchie, Charlotte

6. Favorite Male Singer
Booth, Michael (Booth Brothers)
Booth, Ronnie (Booth Brothers)
Habedank, Joseph (Perrys)
Parker, Ivan (Soloist)
Rice, Arthur (Kingdom Heirs)

7. Favorite Female Singer
Easter, Sheri (Jeff & Sheri Easter)
Gooch, Karen Peck (Karen Peck & New River)
Greene, TaRanda (Greenes)
Hopper, Kim (Hoppers)
Stuffle, Libbi (Perrys)

8. Horizon Individual
Barker, Pat (Dixie Echoes)**
Easter, Morgan (Jeff & Sheri Easter)
Elliot, Bryan (Perrys)
Gaches, Gus (Legacy Five)
Ragan, David (Inspirations)

9. Horizon Group
Austins Bridge
Ball Brothers
Crystal River
Soul’d Out Quartet

10. Favorite Young Artist
Collingsworth, Brooklyn (Collingsworth Family)
Easter, Morgan (Jeff & Sheri Easter)
Elliot, Bryan (Perrys)
Stringfield, Andy (Kingdom Heirs)
Thompson, Amber (Nelons)

11. Favorite Tenor
Booth, Michael (Booth Brothers)
Free, Brian (Brian Free & Assurance)
Haase, Ernie (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
Phelps, David (Gaither Vocal Band)
Sutton, David (Triumphant Quartet)

12. Favorite Lead
Booth, Ronnie (Booth Brothers)
Fowler, Scott (Legacy Five)
Habedank, Joseph (Perrys)
Inman, Clayton (Triumphant Quartet)
Rice, Arthur (Kingdom Heirs)

13. Favorite Baritone
Anderson, Doug (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Brady, Jim (Booth Brothers)
Campbell, Melton (Inspirations)
Griffin, Rodney (Greater Vision)
Inman, Scott (Triumphant Qt)

14. Favorite Bass
Bennett, Eric (Triumphant Qt)
Duncan, Tim (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
Dustin, Glenn (Legacy Five)
Holcomb, Mike (Inspirations)
Riley, Tim (Gold City)

15. Favorite Soprano
Gooch, Karen Peck (Karen Peck & New River)
Greene, TaRanda (Greenes)
Hopper, Kim (Hoppers)
Isaacs, Sonya (Isaacs)
Ritchie, Charlotte (Soloist)

16. Favorite Alto
Bean, Peg McKamey (McKameys)
Easter, Sheri (Jeff & Sheri Easter)
Hopper, Connie (Hoppers)
Stuffle, Libbi (Perrys)
Talley, Debra (Talley Trio)

17. Favorite Musician
Collingsworth, Kim (Collingsworth Family)
Fortner, Roger (McKameys)
Mote, Gordon
Parton, Tim (Legacy Five)
Stice, Jeff (Triumphant Qt)

18. Favorite Songwriter
Brady, Jim
Crabb, Gerald
Griffin, Rodney
Habedank, Joseph
Hinson, Ronny

19. Favorite Album
20 Years-Live In Texas (Greater Vision)
Almost Morning (Perrys)
Everyday (Triumphant Quartet)
Jubilee (BB, GV, L5)
The Son Came Down (Inspirations)

20. Favorite Song
He Locked The Gates (Kingdom Heirs)
I’ll Pray For You (Whisnants)
If You Knew Him (Perrys)
It Pays To Pray (Greater Vision)
Peace In The Shelter (Booth Brothers)
The Son Came Down (Inspirations)
When The Trumpet Sounds (Triumphant Qt)
When They Found Nothing (Legacy Five)
Why Can’t All God’s Children Get Along (Karen Peck & New River)
You Must Have Met Him (Brian Free & Assurance)

Legacy Five Names New Tenor

October 26, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Legacy Five, Priority, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In the latest post at the Legacy Five blog:

We have a winner uhm…tenor! It’s Gus Gaches and we’re thrilled to have him aboard.

He’s the man that Frank recommended fill in for him if he should have to be out during Frank, Jr.s illness. Fortunately, Frank never had to be absent; however, when Frank decided to go back home to be with his family, Frank reminded us to call Gus. We did and the rest is soon to be history.

Stay tuned for an in depth interview(!) with Gus. He has a great history in Gospel music and will be a huge asset to Legacy Five.

Welcome aboard or in other words, “GET ON THE BUS, GUS!”


Legacy Five has a history of picking good tenors, and Scott Fowler has made a wise selection here as well. Ever since word popped up on various blogs and message boards that Gaches had been auditioning, the general consensus seemed to be he was the man for the job, as people said the sound was fantastic. Gaches does indeed have a good history in this music, being with groups like Calvary Construction Company and the Imperials group with Joe Moscheo, Sherman Andrus, and Terry Blackwood. Most recently, he was with Priority (formerly the Mike LeFevre Quartet) and was a part of their finest project to date, Nothin’ But Good. He brings more than a solid tenor voice to the table; he is also a good songwriter and studio engineer.

As much as I hate to see that Priority lost both their bass and tenor in such a short amount of time, this is a great pick by Legacy Five, and I’m sure Priority will be just as strong when they get another tenor.

I am looking forward to both the interview with Gus and the re-cut version of Legacy Five’s latest CD, Just Stand, with the new tenor vocals.

For some samples of his singing, here are some clips of him with Priority:

When I Get Carried Away
Without Him

CD Review: Legacy Five – Just Stand

October 03, 2009 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 5 stars

Producer: Lari Goss
Label: Daywind Records
Website: www.legacyfive.com

1. New Born Feeling – This song that The Cathedrals used to do opens up this project in a nice up-tempo way. This arrangement is quite a bit different from any previous treatments this song has gotten; it’s very jazzy and the group does a nice job of breathing new life into it. The verses are sung in mostly unison, splitting into parts near the end. Right away, it is evident that the group’s harmonies have been capitalized upon in this latest effort.

2. Great Is Thy Faithfulness – Typically, when one hears the name Lari Goss, they think of the lush orchestrations that usually show up in his productions. This project is no exception. Goss arranged this version of this great hymn of the church, and the orchestration fits perfectly with the song. Tenor singer Frank Seamans is featured on the second verse, hitting high notes that were heretofore not really featured in his voice. The whole song fits the group like a glove.

3. One Thing God Can’t Do – Pianist Tim Parton sings the first truly “new” song of the project. Parton’s voice is not grating, but it doesn’t hint at any powerhouse vocals either. Rather, his soft vocals are what they are, and he doesn’t try to make it any more than that. The soft ballad songs seem to be where his vocal strength lies, and he turns in one of the finest performances he’s done with the group.

4. Just Stand – Fans of the Liberty Quartet will recognize this CD’s title track. This song was written by former Liberty pianist/baritone Doran Ritchey and was featured on their Amazed project, the review of which has been done here.

Legacy Five takes this song, raises the key a full step, and kicks it up a notch. The jazzy horns are back, and this hard-driving track gives bass singer Glenn Dustin room to showcase his lower notes. Dustin has improved over the past 10 or so years as a vocalist, and he sounds great on this song. This is sure to become a concert favorite for the group, and would be good radio single material.

5. Faithful To The Cross – Legacy Five is one of those groups that likes to have a premier ballad on each of their projects; a slower song that is powerful and comes to mind whenever that particular CD is mentioned. This track is likely to be that song for Just Stand. Lead singer Scott Fowler gets the feature on this powerful statement of the group’s mission. Frank Seamans shines on the bridge and final chorus. Like Dustin, Seamans has improved over his tenure with the group as well.

6. Above All Circumstances – Baritone Scott Howard gets the solo on this “orchestrated country” track. Howard’s voice sounds very well-rounded on this song. Songs of this type seem to be his forte, and he does a great job here.

7. When They Found Nothing – Another ballad featuring Scott Fowler that is similar to “Carved In Stone” from the group’s Heroes Of The Faith project. It is similar in both sound and lyrical message. I’m told this will be the first single from the project, and it’s a good choice.

8. My Soul Is Firmly Anchored – This song was featured on Paid In Full’s latest project, No Trace Of Rain, and unlike Paid In Full’s heavily country-influenced version, Legacy Five gives the song a more straight-forward quartet treatment. The song really picks up when the lead is handed to Frank Seamans near the end and the other guys all sing different lyrics under him.

9. Statement Of Faith – This song features four groups: The Booth Brothers, Greater Vision, The Hoppers, and Legacy Five. It is in the anthem style, and while not every member of each group is featured, it is still a good song, and every featured vocalist does a fine job.

10. Thankful For The Change – It’s back to the upbeat, horn-driven style for this track. While not immediately a standout, it is a pleasant track, and it grows on you each time you hear it.

11. ‘Til We Meet Again – A powerful slow song about going different directions in life closes out this project, and as others have mentioned, it is almost like a send-off for the departing Frank Seamans. They couldn’t have picked a better song as Seamans’ final feature, and his performances is sweetened by the fact of his leaving.

Final Thoughts: The team of Legacy Five and Lari Goss is something that should have happened long ago. He had a hand in Heroes Of The Faith, but this is the first project that truly took the reins on for this group. The vocals are smooth, the song selection stellar, and each vocalist shines. This is one of the best CDs the group has recorded to date.

It has been announced that the CD will be re-cut with the new tenor’s vocals, and I may do a separate post comparing the two versions of this album. As is, however, this is definitely something Legacy Five can be proud of.

News Roundup

June 30, 2009 By: Aaron Category: Brian Free And Assurance, Legacy Five, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Hey, everybody! Great to be back in the blogosphere after a nice break. Let’s look at a rundown of things I missed:

1. Brian Free & Assurance Hires New Baritone – The second in a string of personnel changes to be completed, BF&A hired Randy Crawford (h/t, Singing News) to fill the position left by Derrick Selph.
You may remember Randy from his days with The Kingsmen/Carolina Boys, and most recently, The Toney Brothers. He also had an earlier stint with BF&A in the 90s as lead singer, singing hits such as “Who Is This King” and “What A Difference A Day Makes.” It has been observed that such a hiring is similar to what The Kingsmen did with Bryan Hutson. It will be very interesting to hear how the group’s harmony rounds out now, with a lead singer as baritone, a tenor as lead, and a sky-high singer singing tenor!
2. Frank Seamans Rumors Settled – There have been rumors flying for some time now that Frank Seamans was leaving Legacy Five. Thanks to L5girl-N-TX over at SN Forums, the truth to the situation is finally out:

“…Ok, I got to talk to Frank Friday night. I just told him that I’d heard some rumors going around about him leaving the group and I wanted to hear from him if he was.

He said that in several weeks Frank Jr is going to have to be in the hospital for a month. He said that him staying depends on how Frank Jr is after that. He said if he is gets good results and he’s doing alright he’ll stay, but if something happens his son needs to be his #1 priority. As much as I don’t want him to leave, I completely understand. He told me that he just felt like he had to be honest with Scott about it, because if something happened with his son and he was still with the group he didn’t want to have be in the position where L5 needed him and he also needed to be with Frank Jr. He said that they had checked in to some possibilities of either a temporary or replacement tenor.

So as of right now he’s not leaving. They just have to keep in mind the possibility of needing another tenor. He said they’re just praying and waiting on what God leads them to do. But he did tell me that unless something happens where he has to leave or unless God leads him to do something else, he would NEVER leave! He said he loves what he does and really believes this is what God has lead him to do.

He just asked that we please pray for his son. And we all REALLY need to keep Frank and Frank Jr in our prayers regularly. I know I’m definitely gonna be spending alot more time on my knees on their behalf. The whole family needs to be in our prayers. I know it’s got to be trying on Frank’s faith and not always easy to put up a strong front.

I just want him to know that we love him and are praying for him. I’m really believing God will work a miracle for him…”

Speaking of Legacy Five, they have several new projects coming out in the next couple of months, one being their next Daywind release. It is entitled Just Stand, and is being produced by Lari Goss. That said, it should be one of the best projects they’ve ever done.

They are also coming out with a new DVD called Legacy Five: Live At Oak Tree which will be studio footage capturing songs from their Decades project. Another project, entitled Jubilee, is a joint effort between L5, Greater Vision, and The Booth Brothers, and it will feature the three groups singing SG classics.