Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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Dixie Melody Boys Welcome New Baritone/Pianist

May 23, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Dixie Melody Boys, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

AARONOn the heels of yesterday’s announcement that lead singer Mike Rogers had left the group to be the new Brian Free & Assurance baritone, the group closes the door on another transition:

The Dixie Melody Boys have announced the addition of Aaron Dishman to the legendary group as their new baritone and piano player. The group announced last month that Steven Cooper would be stepping down due to vocal issues but will stay on as their bass guitar player. “Aaron had filled with us in a few years ago at piano. We fell in love with his spirit. When this came open, we knew he would be a great fit.” Said Ed O’Neal. Aaron Dishman is 26 and lives in Mississippi with his wife Erica. “We are excited to have Aaron join us. When he came to audition and sat down at the piano to sing us a song, you could feel God’s spirit. He will add so much to our concerts and I know the fans will love him. ” stated Matt Felts. Aaron will join the group in time to appear at the Memphis Quartet Show in June.
     The Dixie Melody Boys were voted favorite Male Quartet for the second year in a row at last month’s Southern Gospel Music Fan Awards. They are currently accepting applications for the lead singer position. They will be back in the studio with Aaron and the soon coming lead singer to finish their sophomore album with Song Garden Music Group.
Leave it to Ed O’Neal to bring new talent to the forefront of Southern Gospel music. I hadn’t heard of Aaron before now, so I took to Youtube in search of a sneak peek of what’s to come. Not only did I find some samples of his singing, but also of him at the piano bench. The first is a cover of “Hello Mama,” and the second is a fun clip of “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” with some family members:
These clips alone make me excited for the future sound of the Dixie Melody Boys once they hire a new lead singer.
Update: Regarding the search for a lead singer for the group, here’s an open letter from tenor and publicist Matt Felts:
 
           As many of you read last week, Mike Rogers resigned as our lead and will join Brian Free and Assurance in June. We will miss Mike. He has been a blessing to us and we know he has a bright future wherever God leads him in the future. We have begun to search for a new member of our team. This is truly an exciting time for our group. Over the last two years, we have been blessed to see the Dixie Melody Boys rise back up to the top of Gospel music. We are currently in the studio working on a new project that is sure to be a milestone recording for us. This album will be finished released shortly after the addition of a new lead singer. Last week, we announced that we have hired Aaron Dishman as our new baritone and piano player. With Steven Cooper moving to bass guitar, we know the fans will love seeing us add live music back to our program.
           Ed O’Neal has set the standard in Gospel music for having the very best talent in his group through the years. We plan to keep that tradition alive for many years to come. Working for a true legend like Ed is a special opportunity. We are currently seeking the very best person available for this position. Our producer and Executive VP of Song Garden Music Group David Staton had this to say. “This is a rare opportunity for a singer. The Dixie Melody Boys are iconic and the next lead singer has a chance to become part of something special. This next album will allow them to make their mark on Gospel music as a great vocalist. The Dixie Melody Boys are set to be the group to watch over the next decade.”
          For the last two years in a row we have been voted Favorite Male Quartet by the fans through the Southern Gospel Fan Awards. “Jesus In My Boat” and The Call Is Still The Same” were voted in the Top 5 for Song Of The Year honors and both climbed high up the national charts. Currently, “I’Ve Got Family There” is quickly becoming a huge hit for us. With all that God has done over the last few years, we know that the future is even brighter. We have numerous things planned and anticipate plugging the right person in as part of our family. We will be accepting applications at dixiemelodyboys@yahoo.com. We look forward to hearing some great singers. We covet your prayers through this process and your support for the group. God bless,
Matt

Mike Rogers Departs Dixie Melody Boys, Joins Brian Free & Assurance

May 22, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Brian Free And Assurance, Dixie Melody Boys, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

971766_10151564029864039_142470391_nThe Dixie Melody Boys announced on their Facebook page tonight that lead singer Mike Rogers had left the group after a ten-month run, and also sent out this press release:

The Dixie Melody Boys have announced that their lead singer Mike Rogers has resigned. Mike has been with the group for the last ten months. “We wish Mike and his family the best.” said Ed O’Neal. The group will begin looking for a replacement shortly. “Change can be hard but also exciting. History has proven that every time a singer has left, God has brought us another great addition to the Dixie Melody Boys. We know God has someone coming that will be the right fit for years to come.” added Matt Felts. The Dixie Melody Boys are taking demos at dixiemelodyboys@yahoo.com.

A short time later, Brian Free & Assurance made this announcement on their Facebook page:

Brian Free & Assurance Announce New Baritone

Douglasville, GA – May 22, 2013 Brian Free announced today a decision has been made in filling the baritone position. Joining the BFA family will be Mike Rogers of Kinston, NC who fans will recognize from his recent position as lead singer for the Dixie Melody Boys. Mike will join the group on June 20th at the Memphis Quartet Show.

Twenty-four year old Mike shares, “The warmth and humility from Brian and the guys when I auditioned made me feel this was truly a God-thing, and confirmed for me that I wanted to be a part of their ministry. BFA is very family-oriented, which means a lot to me. Ministry is important, but after God, family is top priority. Quartet music doesn’t get any better than BFA. They are top notch, and I am honored to join them.”

Brian states, “When I received the audition info for Mike I was very impressed with his vocal ability and the gift to deliver a song. After spending some time with him, his wife Bekki and daughter Coraline at my home, I knew he was the one God had sent to be a member of our family. I love his heart and the love he has for people. He will be a wonderful addition to BFA.

Having over 300 people apply for the job, it was a hard decision due to all the talent I heard. I want to thank each person who took their time and effort to apply for the position. I am truly honored that so many wanted to be a part of our ministry. I know God has a place and time for you to use your talent for him.”

Brian Free & Assurance’s first single I Want To Be That Man off their current project, Nothing But Love, went to number one the month of February on the Singing News Charts. Their follow up single, Calvary’s Cry has quickly climbed the charts and currently holds number six for the month of May.

To keep up to date with Brian Free & Assurance visit their website at: http://www.brianfreeandassurance.com/

While BFA got a singer that certainly fits their style and sound, I hate to see it come at such a blow to the Dixie Melody Boys, as he really added a lot to their sound and stage presence. However, I am sure that the DMB’s upward trajectory will continue with the hire of a new singer.

Dixie Melody Boys Announce Change

March 23, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Dixie Melody Boys, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

In a departure from normal “change” announcements, the Dixie Melody Boys have announced that Steven Cooper has stepped down from the Dixie Melody Boys as baritone singer… but not as a member:

“We are sad to announce that Steven Cooper will be stepping down from the baritone position with the Dixie Melody Boys. As some know, he has been experiencing vocal issues for the last several years. He has been to numerous vocal specialists and they have advised him to go on an extended vocal rest. Steven recently celebrated his fifth anniversary with the group. He has been a valuable asset to us and will continue to be so.” said Ed O’Neal. Steven will remain a member of the Dixie Melody Boys. He will help the group off stage and will also begin playing bass guitar for the group in the near future.

“I want to thank everyone for their concern and understanding over the last year. It has been difficult time having to go through this as a singer. I hope that someday my voice will return and I will be able to sing again. I ask that you will keep me in your prayers as I trust God for a healing. I also want to thank Ed, Matt and Mike for their support in this change and for allowing me to remain a member of the group.” said Steven Cooper.

I have enjoyed Steven’s vocal contributions to the group since the beginning of his tenure. My listening to the music they were putting out when he first joined was admittedly spotty, but I appreciated the fact that was a solid “blending” baritone that could sing a strong feature when needed. I trust that God will heal his voice, and am glad that he is remaining a part of the Dixie Melody Boys.

Now we come to the part that makes this change announcement different from the norm. You may have noticed that it said Steven would soon begin playing bass guitar for the group. It seems that the Dixie Melody Boys have been bitten by the “live band bug” that’s been going around recently, because the plans are in place to bring back live music to the DMB concerts:

The opening has brought an exciting change for the group. “We are currently looking for a new baritone that can also play piano. The Dixie Melody Boys have a rich legacy that included a live band for years. Our lead singer Mike Rogers is one of the best guitar players in Gospel music. With Mike, Steven on bass and the new member on piano, we are excited to add the live band back to our performances. Sometimes through tough situations God can bring new seasons of blessings.” said Matt Felts.

The Dixie Melody Boys will be excepting demos for the baritone/ piano position. Interested people can send them to dixiemelodyboys@yahoo.com.

While I hate that it took a tough circumstance to bring this change about, I am excited that it’s being turned around this way. The Dixie Melody Boys have been on an upward climb over the past couple of years, with a sound and new material that is making them a viable group again. A move that brings back live musicians for them will continue that trend. Their live band set at NQC last year was among the most exciting of the week, and I’m looking forward to hearing that sound in some capacity on a regular basis again.

In tribute to Steven’s contributions to the group thus far, here are a couple of videos. The first is from a couple of years ago and features him prominently. The second, while not a baritone solo, highlights his enthusiastic stage presence. Be sure to watch the whole thing!