Saturday News Roundup #21

A couple stories I didn’t get to this week:

  • The Imperials announced two new vocalists this week: Tenor Perry Jones and lead singer Scott Allen replace Jeremie Hudson and Shannon Smith, respectively. Scott Allen was introduced to Southern Gospel audiences as the second and final lead singer for Mercy’s Mark; his brief tenure with the group included a mainstage appearance at the 2007 National Quartet Convention.
  • Worth reading: Wes Burke reviews a Dixie Echoes concert.
  • The Isaacs and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver picked up nominations in this year’s 2008 International Bluegrass Music Association awards. The Isaacs are up for Vocal Group of the Year, and Sonya Isaacs is nominated for Female Vocalist. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver is up for Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year, and Mandolin Player of the Year (Doyle Lawson).
  • The Ball Brothers launched a new website design last night. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.]
  • Personnel changes this week: Bass singer Brandon Barry leaves the Old Paths Quartet, and pianist Joshua Pope leaves the New Florida Boys. [EDIT, 11/6/10: Regrettably, the link seems to be broken, so it has been removed.]

Comment of the day definitely goes to former Dixie Echoes bass Tracy Crouch. His comment on my review of the group’s first album since his departure is pure class:

The guys really outdid themselves on this one! There’s not a group on the road today that truly represents what our industry is all about like the DE’s. Am I a little prejudiced? Sure! But…I’ve also looked at what else is available. There are a lot of good groups but no one is any closer to true, pure quartet singing than the DE’s. I have been a Pat Barker fan from day 1, I can’t think of a better fit in the bass position than he. Pat’s version of “Not In A Million Years” is a true crowd pleaser and consistantly has people on their feet everywhere they go. Wesley is one of the smoothest, easy sounding tenors today. Not many tenors can sing “Walk With Me” the way it deserves, but Wesley nails it perfectly. I think this album showcases some of Scoot’s best singing ever! He has developed into one of the best baritones in our business today and it is evident by his lead on “Until You Find The Lord”. Of course Randy’s rendition of “Little Is Much” has been a hit since the first time we staged it. I still love to hear this arragement. And certainly the DE’s would not be able to do what they do without the classic touch on the piano provided by Stewart Varnado. The currently line-up of the DE’s is one of the best. In fact, I’d rather hear Pat sing than me any day!

If someone were to ask me to play a cd of songs that represent what southern gospel music is all about, this would be the cd I’d give them. I’m extremely proud of the work the guys have put into this project and I encourage everyone to get their own copy. You can sample tracks from this album at the Dixie Echoes MySpace page: [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

Upcoming reviews (switching to 2 per week during NQC album release season):

  • Aug. 26: Simplified (Ball Brothers)
  • Aug. 29: Turning Point (Cross 4 Crowns)
  • Sep. 2: Nothin’ But Good (Mike LeFevre Quartet)
  • Sep. 5: How Great It Is (Inspirations)
  • Sep. 19: Faith to Believe (Mike & Kelly Bowling)

Also in the works: Reviews of the latest from the Talley Trio, the Old Paths Quartet, a solo project from Liberty Quartet bass singer Royce Mitchell, and a classic CD from the Kingsmen.

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2 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. That is such a fine display of class by a former member of the Dixie Echoes. In this day of “he said, she said”, it is so refreshing to see such an outstanding comment by Tracy about his former employer.

  2. Tracy is a top-notch individual and I’m humbled to call him my friend. To see him be supportive and classy of the guys is nothing unusual. He’s an awesome guy.