Reports from attenders of a recent GVB concert suggest that Penrod’s sabbatical will be three months instead of three weeks. They’re saying that Bill Gaither distinctly said “three months” when mentioning Guy’s break, and I don’t think it was a slip up; it makes sense, three months would be a much more effective rest period than only three weeks.
As you probably expect, the rumors have flown all around the Web. Averyfineline.com has a nice little thread going about it, with different theories popping up. The most prominent of these is this: What if this hiatus becomes permanent?
One guy at Averyfineline suggested Scott Allen, saying that he sounds much like a young Michael English. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Scott had been filling in on the lead singer slot with The Imperials ever since Shannon Smith left the group, and he took the full-time position a couple months ago. I hope that lasts for a long time, but I do agree that he would be a great fit should Guy ever leave the GVB.
I will say that if Bill decides to retire, he should snag Gene McDonald to take his place. The man’s range would fit great with the GVB’s arrangements; not only could he sing the “high bass” stuff, but he could also add some powerful, deep bass in it as well. All without the aid from the sound system that everyone likes to accuse Bill of (and apparently, they accuse truthfully).
I guess my “dream lineup” of the GVB would be this:
Tenor: David Phelps – nobody can touch this guy. Period. And with rumblings of him being dropped by Word Records after seven albums, it could happen. Just switch Wes Hampton to lead.
Lead: Guy Penrod, Mike English, or Scott Allen – Guy and Mike are (or have been) absolutely steller vocalists, Scott has already been mentioned.
Baritone: Mark Lowry or Marshall Hall – Both great baritones and vocalists in their own right.
Bass: Gene McDonald – see above.