Top 5 Unsigned Artists

At any given point, Southern Gospel (as any other genre) has its fair share of up-and-coming artists. Sometimes these artists get noticed early, are signed to a major label, and really start to make their mark on the genre. Other times, they tour and record independently for a few years before getting a major label deal.

Who are some of the artists in the second group? Who are the strongest unsigned up-and-coming artists in our genre?

In no particular order:

  • Old Paths Quartet. Any group ambitious enough to field a live band and produce recordings at the level Old Paths is doing is worth a closer look—even if they don’t have a sound as good as this group’s.
  • The Diplomats. This Georgia-based mixed group captures the raw energy and enthusiasm of the Happy Goodmans, recording and staging both old and new songs.
  • Ball Brothers. These four brothers might not have a bass singer in the family, but they have the tightest four-part harmonies around.
  • Liberty Quartet. Perhaps the only full-time group on the West Coast, more national exposure for this group help expand the reach of Southern Gospel.
  • The Browns. They consistently produce albums worthy of major label distribution, and have a unique live presentation to boot.

This list specifically focused on up-and-coming artists, so I didn’t include artists that have been on major labels at some point but for whatever reason are not now (e.g., Dixie Melody Boys, Dixie Echoes, Blackwood Brothers, Hayes Family).


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13 Letters to the Editor

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  1. The Diplomats and also The Dixie Echoes (since you mentioned them as well) are on Resting Place Music with Ricky Atkinson & Compassion, The Anchormen, The Steeles, and Taj Rohr. Although RPM isn’t one of the top labels in the industry, these artists are not independent.
    http://www.restingplacemusic.com/rpr.shtml

  2. I am under the impression that Resting Place might do radio promotion and maybe one or two other things for the group, but doesn’t actually release their CDs.

    I have the most recent CDs by both groups, and Resting Place isn’t mentioned anywhere on the projects, which leads me to believe that the groups are still releasing their CDs independently.

  3. Interesting that it isn’t on the CD. If you go here [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.] you will see they list Resting Place Music as their “Record Company & Radio Promoter.”

  4. Southern Gospel isn’t a soloist-driven industry, but since he was mentioned above in a comment, I’ll quickley add to the conversation that Taj Rohr is definatley worth checking out in concert if someone has a chance. He has one powerhouse of a baritone-lead voice that, in my opionion, would be an asset to just about any group. I wouldn’t be suprised at all if in the future he would be a member of some major group.

  5. These groups would be better without a recording label and just producing independently. The labels are charging out the wazoo to produce them these days anyway. Most SG artists are better off working independently where they can better understand what is affordable and what fits their style best.

  6. Not necessarily. Some of the “labels” charge for producing and duplication, but the major labels (Crossroads, Daywind, Canaan, Gaither Music Group) don’t. They cover album production and marketing costs—that’s a label’s job.

  7. I don’t think anyone can forget groups like the Shepherds, Lesters, Freemans, Whisnants, Greenes, Eighth Day, CrossWay as far as unsigned groups are concerned. I know some of those groups are declared as “independent”, but they could use a label behind them for several obvious reasons…

  8. Hey guys, I was informed of the chat on the blog and thought Id drop in to clear the air, if thats ok….. lol
    Occationally Resting Place Music will sign an artist that has been producing their own albums successfully for years and we dont have any reason or desire, to mess with that.

    We are not one of the larger labels, because we dont sign alot of artist who dont need help, we are a record company that advances new artist , as a stepping stone, that maybe one day will land on a larger label.

    What we do as a recording company is produce the artist who need our direction, and occationally we sign a bigger named artist and promote them in different ways.
    We are not in this for the recognition of big name artist to make us look good…. we work with the people who come to us for help. and when they leave they are welcome to move on because RPM is not about money, I make a living singing on the road, but its about taking groups from where I was 9 years ago, and trying to get them recognized, promoted, and played constantly at radio nationwide.
    : )

  9. Ricky, thanks for the explanation!

    With the two artists being discussed, I didn’t see any mention of Resting Place Music on their most recent CDs’ packaging. Were their most recent projects released independently?

  10. Yes they record independantly, both own their own studios and produce top quality gospel music that we can gladly put our stamp on and work eith them…. now if and when someone brought us a sub-standard project, they would no longer be able to work with us. Thats the risk they take in producing their own music, they may not pass the test and therefore would not be associated with RPM any longer.
    I know if I produce a group, useing my same team of engineers, studios, and musicians that I use on my own projects, then I know what kind of album I will produce.
    The top teir groups dojnt have any problem producing radio worthy cds, and so thats why we run a slpit level company here, recording label, and promotion company. : )

  11. Thanks especially for the second comment—I think I have a much better understanding of what you do after that explanation. For some artists, you’re a recording label and promotion company, while for others, you focus on the promotion aspect. 🙂

  12. Yep, you got it, we all jsut doing what we can to further ministry and further the gospel, and make a living like the rest of the world. 🙂
    I enjoyed the chat, I may drop back by from time to time!
    Talk to yall later!
    Blessings.

  13. I enjoyed talking with you, too. Have a great evening!