Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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MTQ Blog Tour Stop #4: Pat Barker

January 15, 2014 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Music

ywtblogtour_fbcoverpatThe Mark Trammell Quartet has quickly become one of the finer quartets in this genre of music, with a journey that began before they added a bass singer. I started paying attention when they released the Once Upon A Cross as a trio, and I have continued to appreciate their strong song choices and their ability to hold that standard even through personnel changes.

I got the chance to catch up with the bass singer for the quartet, Pat Barker, and ask him about the group’s latest effort:

Aaron Swain: What is your favorite song from “Your Walk Talks,” and why?

Pat Barker: My favorite song is “Your Walk Talks.” I was on the Alaska cruise when Rodney (Griffin) and Babbie (Mason) went into the piano bar and wrote that song. They came out to the table and immediately pitched it to Mark. I loved the hook from the beginning and the arrangement is perfect. Mark does a perfect job on the solo, even throwing in a little Jake Hess just for fun.

AS: “Thanks To Calvary” was a signature song for George Younce, and your admiration for him is no secret. What went into the decision to include that song?

PB: “Thanks to Calvary” is a “George” song, no doubt. He is the greatest, and will always be the greatest.

I have had the honor of doing Remember the Music concerts along with Glenn Dustin and Matt Fouch the last few years. It has been a dream come true. More recently, I got to be a part of the Cathedral Family Reunion. At a RTM concert, someone in the audience requested “Thanks to Calvary.” I had never sung it, but I knew the song. Something special happened, and we literally didn’t know what to do next. It became a permanent fixture at the RTM concerts, and was added to the CFR concert as well. Gerald Wolfe was the one who suggested that we put it on the album. My testimony is the story in that song, so it is an easy one to sing. I love that song.

AS: Other than Mark Trammell, you are the only member that has been with the group from the beginning of their “quartet” days. With the other two parts changing over this time period, how do you think the sound has evolved, and do you feel that the change is reflected with this project?

PB: Lots of things have changed. Losing (Dustin) Sweatman was a tough loss. He brought a lot to the table with his piano skills and his ability to win the crowd over. He was also a big help in the studio and picking songs. I still miss having a piano on stage, but Nick (Trammell) has taken over beautifully on lead. He is also a great songwriter, which shows up on this new album.

With the loss of Eric (Phillips), we not only lost an incredible tenor, but I lost my buddy. We bonded very quickly, and that relationship continues, but not as much as I would like. When Dustin (Black) came on board, I knew it would be a challenge for him. I could not be prouder of someone musically than I am of him. There is no other tenor that he sounds like, and I, for one, welcome the change. His solo at the end of the project is one of my favorite cuts.

Thanks, Pat, for a great interview!

I’ll echo Pat’s sentiment about “Your Walk Talks.” At first listen, it just sounds like a bouncy little ditty, but there are very true and applicable lyrics in such a fun song. Another that has taken up residence on my “most played” list is “I’ll Take It To The Grave.” The team of Rebecca J. Peck and Dianne Wilkinson penned a great song with that one, and I’m glad to see it get a fine quartet treatment.

Head over to Musicscribe for the next stop on the MTQ blog tour as Diana Brantley interviews Dustin Black!

Mark Trammell Quartet Names New Tenor

May 16, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

From a press release on Singing News:

Gadsden, AL – GREAT NEWS!!!!! On his 26th birthday, Dustin David Black has accepted the position as the new tenor vocalist for Mark Trammell Quartet! Dustin is from Saginaw, Michigan, and will soon become a “southern boy.”

Mark shares the following…”We are SO excited about Dustin coming on board and we look forward to what is in store for both Dustin and MTQ. I am still convinced that God knows exactly what we need and when we need it.” Dustin has been traveling with the group on a 90 day trial basis. He is a brand new face to gospel music and has already made many new friends across the country with his winning smile and warm personality. He has proven to be a true Christian Gentleman in every way. Mark continues, “I was immediately impressed with this young man and his ability to just be one of the boys. Dustin had only been to one gospel concert prior to walking on our bus. It was a Gaither event in California a few years back while he was finishing his Masters degree in music at West Coast Baptist College.”

When Mark was asked about having a “yankee” on his bus, he smiled and replied, “Its certainly a first for me, but we will eventually get accustomed to the smell!”

When you see MTQ in concert in the coming days, make it a point to stop by their table and welcome this fine young man to the world of gospel music.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DUSTIN and WELCOME TO Mark Trammell Quartet!!!

The group came to my area during Dustin’s first weekend of filling in. At the time, he was still learning the material and was understandably nervous, and was also recuperating from a bout with laryngitis on top of it all. Despite all of these factors, he did an admirable job, and it was enough to make me look forward to hearing him when he was in better health and more comfortable with the group. After hearing him on JOY FM’s broadcast of Singing In The Sun a couple of weeks ago, I was impressed.

Black is not the next Eric Phillips (few tenors are cut from that same cloth), but his is a solid tenor that is a departure from what the Mark Trammell Quartet is used to having; more of a blending tenor with an open sound. The blend for this lineup is already tight, and it bodes well that Black has brought a unique style to the table that has already been given positive feedback.

Happy birthday to Dustin, and congratulations to both he and Mark Trammell Quartet as they move forward!