Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Things I Missed (7/6/13 Edition)

July 06, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Quartet, Promise, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

It was a busy enough week that I didn’t have time to get to these stories when they hit, but here are some noteworthy news items that came about in the past few days:

1. The SG industry lost two men this past week that impacted it in various ways. The first was Harold Gilley, mostly known for his days singing bass with the Palmetto State Quartet and his impressions of various bass singers. I always thought he was grossly underrated, and I know that he had been in poor health for some time. The second is Furman Wilson, founding member of the Primitive Quartet. Although Wilson left the group in the late 1970s, there’s no question that the work he helped start has become a mainstay in SG, and that is not to be overlooked. Please keep the families of both men in your prayers.

2. David Mann, lead singer and co-founder of Promise, is stepping away from the group. It’s not often that you get a press release dealing with change that is this open and forthcoming, but David teased a change a couple of days ago on Facebook, and then posted this yesterday:

An Open Letter To Family, Friends, and Fans of Promise
By David Mann

7/5/13

“The only thing constant in life is change.” – François de la Rochefoucauld

The past two years have been a fun and exciting ride. It’s definitely had its ups and downs, but the progress we’ve seen, in spite of the obstacles we’ve faced, has always kept us optimistic. Because of that, making the decision to leave was one of the hardest ones I’ve ever had to make.

In August, I will be stepping down from my position as manager/lead singer for Promise. Starting a group, with next to nothing, is never an easy task. The past two years have taken a toll on me, both physically and emotionally. More importantly, the financial burden on my family has simply become too much. Everyone’s situation is different, but unfortunately, for me, it’s come down to choosing between my work with Promise, and the well being of my wife, and 3 young children.

The good news is, Promise is pressing on. TJ Evans will be stepping in and taking the reigns. I’ve known him for nearly 12 years now, and I have every bit of confidence that the group is left in good hands. Better hands. Promise will be keeping all it’s commitments, as well as continuing on. I’ve told the guys that, though I’m leaving, I still foresee a very bright future for this group. Please take a moment to show them your support. Encouragement goes a long way. My last date will be on August 4th, in Winona, Texas. This will be a special night for me, because my last date with Promise also happens to be where we held the very first concert we ever booked.

As far as my future plans are concerned, I will be taking a position, singing baritone, with the Blackwood Quartet. Most who know me, know I sang with Mark Blackwood and his group for a little over 2 years, from the fall of 2008 to the winter of 2010. I’m happy to be returning, and excited about the future. I’ll be starting with them, immediately following my departure from Promise.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement!

God bless,

David Mann

No real room for speculation there. I am excited that Promise will be continuing, as I have been impressed with them from their start and am looking for them to continue to rise in the industry from here. No word on a new singer for them yet, but be looking for a press release as August 4th approaches.

As far as the Blackwood Quartet, they are getting a solid baritone that knows the ropes. The first time I saw them was not long before David left, and even though it was the tenor’s first night and they had a fill-in bass, the sound was solid. Mark Blackwood has never had much trouble putting together a good quartet, and I look forward to seeing what plays out there in the future as well.

Side note: Be looking for a long overdue CD review on Monday. Hopefully I can actually get this thing finished!

Playing Catch-Up

February 22, 2010 By: Aaron Category: Blackwood Gospel Quartet, Blackwood Quartet, Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

With the busy schedule I’ve seemed to keep for the past few days, I haven’t had much time to blog! Here’s some items I missed:

1. Blackwood Shake-Up Groups experience change in SG quite often, but few experience changes this drastic. Ron Blackwood, owner of the Blackwood Quartet, announced his retirement for health reasons on the advice of his physician, and announced that he was turning leadership of the group over to Mark Blackwood, baritone and owner of the Blackwood Gospel Quartet. On the heels of this announcement came the one that stated, effective March 1, tenor John Rulapaugh and lead Josh Garner were resigning their positions in the Blackwood Quartet and forming a quartet of their own. Thus, Mark Blackwood is merging the BGQ with Ron Blackwood’s group. The lineup is: tenor Dale Evans, lead Mark Blackwood, baritone David Mann, and bass Chris West.

I am very excited about this announcement, because, for one, the vocal lineup for the Blackwood Quartet is shaping up to be quite the powerhouse. David Mann and Mark Blackwood are great vocalists, and Dale Evans is one of the best young tenors I have ever heard. Throwing a young bass like Chris West in the mix is sure to make a great quartet.

Greater still, the fact that John Rulapaugh and Josh Garner are forming a group opens up exciting possibilities for a lineup. I wouldn’t mind seeing them pick up baritone Rick Fair and bass Brad Smith. An announcement should be coming sometime soon as to the lineup of this new quartet.

2. Videos of the Mark Tramell Quartet are now up. Check out Pat Barker singing what has becoming something of a signature song for him, “How Big Is God,” and a favorite song by the Mark Trammell Trio getting a quartet treatment on “Loving The Lamb.”

Be looking, probably sometime next week, for the first interview I’ve ever done on this blog. It was a great interview that I was privileged to be able to conduct, and I can’t wait to have it posted!

Update: For now, the videos of the Mark Trammell Quartet have been removed at the artist’s request. I’ll repost if they are put back up!