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

Big News From IMC Concerts

April 15, 2013 By: Aaron Category: Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Greater Vision, Legacy Five, Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Industry News, SG Music

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a steady buzz building on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter of a “big announcement” coming today from IMC Concerts. The announcement hits at 9:00 PM EST, but for now, the floor is open for guesses as to what the news entails.

My guess (and what seems to be a consensus among the posts I’ve seen) is that this is a Cathedrals Reunion event, and possibly even a full tour. The evidence is this: the groups that have been posting and hinting at the announcement include Legacy Five, Greater Vision, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, and the Mark Trammell Quartet, at least (there may be more that I’ve missed). The common thread among all of those groups is that they each contain one former member of The Cathedrals.

For years, Legacy Five, Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Trio/Quartet, and Danny Funderburk have done select concerts under the name of “Remembering The Music,” which were Cathedrals tribute events, just without the group name. I remember attending one several years ago in Winston-Salem, NC that was entitled “Remembering The Cathedrals,” but the name changed shortly thereafter. I would guess that, with the addition of Ernie Haase’s group to the usual lineup, the Cathedrals name could be used again for these events, but I’m not privy to how that all works (who actually owns the name or has permission to use it, among other things). No word so far on whether other Cathedrals alumni will be a part of the event/tour, but it will be interesting to find out if the general guess is correct.

There are some silhouette pictures of the photo shoot on Facebook here and here.

Check back here around 9:00 for the official announcement, and feel free to leave your guesses in the comments section!

Update: In light of the tragedy in Boston, the announcement has been postponed until tomorrow at 9:00 PM Eastern.

CD Review: Mark Trammell Quartet – Treasures

October 15, 2011 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, Mark Trammell Quartet, SG Artists, SG Music

Rating: 5 stars

Producers: Mark Trammell, Kevin McManus, Dustin Sweatman
Label: Independent Release

Song titles: Echoes From The Burning Bush; Gentle Shepherd; Bloodwashed Band; That Day At Calvary; I’ll Have A New Life; Statue Of Liberty; An Old Convention Song; I Thirst; Master Builder; Wedding Music; Then I Met The Master; Boundless Love

There has been a whole slew of Cathedrals tributes that have cropped up in the past couple of years, perhaps the biggest being Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s latest album. A major release, that project consisted of re-done arrangements of about twenty-one songs from The Cathedrals, and came with a live video. The Mark Trammell Quartet went the complete opposite direction; they have released a table project that doesn’t even mention The Cathedrals by name, only referring to “Pop” and “The Old Man” in the liner notes. Straight-ahead arrangements, a table project, no video that features all the tracks; this project differs from that of EHSS in almost every way.

Where they are comparable is the high quality of the music.

The MTQ didn’t just take all the big hits that EHSS re-did and do versions not that much different from the originals (the only ones the two share are “An Old Convention Song,” “I Thirst,” “Wedding Music,” and “Boundless Love”). Rather, they reached back and pulled out songs that haven’t been recorded to death. Songs like “Bloodwashed Band,” the upbeat opener to The Cats’ Travelin’ Live that was long overdue for a revival, “That Day At Calvary,” and “Statue of Liberty.” Two of the songs are live cuts from a live DVD the group released and feature fellow Cats alum Gerald Wolfe at the piano. While the new and creative arrangements that Signature Sound brought to the table were certainly stellar, the lower-key feel of this project makes just as much a fitting tribute as that project did.

Really, Trammell did the Cats proud on this project. While I would have liked to hear Dustin Sweatman and Joel Wood featured more (especially since this turned out to be Wood’s final effort with the group), the singing is impeccable. Pat Barker’s voice has drawn comparisons to George Younce over the years, but on these songs especially, the similarity is almost scary. If you enjoyed the Cathedrals and didn’t care for the HUGE sound of EHSS’ work, then this tribute to one of the best groups in SG history will be right up your alley. Treasures receives 5 stars.

CD Review: The Ball Brothers – Breakthrough

December 19, 2009 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Ball Brothers

Rating: 5 stars

Producers: Darren Rust & Jason Webb
Label: Song Garden Music Group
Website: www.theballbrothers.com

Buy This Project

The Ball Brothers is a group who has steadily gained popularity over the past few years. They first got attention when they were featured on Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s Get Away Jordan DVD. They have since recorded several projects and expanded to four members by bringing in another brother to sing.

This latest outing features several original songs, as well as some older ones that have been given a fresh spin. For example, take “Everyday, Every Hour,” which has been recorded by the Gaither Vocal Band and The Cathedrals (the latter version being a recent conversation piece at Averyfineline.) The version that the Ball Brothers do here separates itself from others by adopting a jazzy sound, and it does well at standing on its own two feet. Other notable covers include “I Wouldn’t Miss Heaven” (an old Singing Americans song) and “Keep Me On The Wheel,” a Gold City song that gets a Take 6-esque treatment. The group also covers some more Contemporary fare with “Tell It Like It Is” and “Sometimes He Calms The Storm.”

The original songs here are great, too. “It’s About The Cross” show that the group is as adept at a slow, beautiful song as they are at a driving, faster one. “Forgiven” gives the group a more country style. “He Did What I Couldn’t Do” is definitely on the Progressive side of the spectrum, and is one of my favorites from the project. The album closes with another slower one with “I’ll Do Anything.”

Bottom line: The Ball Brothers is a great group that shows great promise. I see nothing wrong with giving this project a 5-star rating; the original songs found here are stellar, and the covers breathe new life into old songs.