Craig West Leaves Gold City

Nate Stainbrook has confirmed that Craig West is leaving Gold City at the end of the week. In a mini-interview, here, he quotes Craig as coming to grips with the fact that two days per week at home wasn’t enough to raise his ten-year-old son.

There is no word yet on a replacement.

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19 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. I hate to see Craig leave the group but I do not blame him. Having children old enough that have been accustom to having their dad at home every night and then all of a sudden just two nights a week would be hard on any child. I believe that Craig is doing the right thing. I am proud that he has sang with Gold City. He has done a tremendous job. No one should be able to put any kind of negative spin on this surely. I hate the fact that there is yet another personnel change in GC but God always has a plan and as long as they stay in God’s will, they will be fine. This sounds like God’s fingerprints are all over this decision. I wish that I could make it to NQC this year to hear Craig with them one last time but with a week old son, I think I am not going to chance it this year. I will have to settle for reading wonderful posts from Daniel and Nate!! Great job fellas on play by play! You guys always do a great job!

  2. I hate to hear this as Craig was really growing into a fine lead singer as he gained more confidence.

    What I guess I’m wondering is how any father (or mother for that matter) can stay on the road the way these groups do? Night after night, week after week of missing your children and not being a part of your family.

    If Craig is doing this for the right reasons as so many have said (and I agree 100%), then are the ones who do stay on the road away from their families doing wrong?

    If so, is this music only going to be carried forward by single men (and women)?

    Is the future of Southern Gospel family groups? It seems to me that this has been the growing formula for a while now.

    Just wondering “aloud”…

    • All good points. I could see traveling with a SG group being fun if you were single. Getting to see new places and meeting new people, at the same time you are spreading the Word. But if you are married, it would be really tough to be away from your family so much. And probably just as hard on them. So even though it seems the most common reason people give for coming off the road is to spend more time with family, I can understand.

  3. I was expecting to see a flurry of comments over this news…is GC irrelevant in the SG world these days or does no one care?

    • Well it may be that most people are at NQC this week. Not sure, but I do think they are still relevant, although they do seem to have a good run of bad luck going.

  4. There’s not a flurry of comments, because people have already been discussing that there would be a change in the group this week. So, the “shock value” was kind of nixed. Also, not to be negative, but turnover has become unfortunately normal for Gold City over the last few years. So, a group member leaving is not a shock any longer. Jsoh Cobb, Chris Cooper, Craig West, Roy Webb, etc. all stayed with the group less than a year. Good luck to Gold City. I hope they find some stability soon.

  5. Why not make Danny the lead singer (he has plenty of range) and find a good, blending baritone…..??

    • I have looked for that to happen for the last two changes….

      • I have thought that for a while now…it seems that he takes the lead on a good number of the newer stuff anyhow….why not just go that route…

      • I think that Danny had to take the lead on a lot because Bruce did not have the range to hit the notes. That is just my opinion. Bruce struggled with “I’m Rich” every time he sang it but then look at whose steps he had to follow. Jonathan was a force. Craig had the range to do just about anything that they wanted. That is another reason I hate that he will no longer be singing with them.

  6. I know that Jerry Pelfrey (aka “Punkin”) will be taking over lead for Gold City (he has confirmed on his facebook page) and will be appearing at NQC this Thursday.

    He has recently sang with his own group “The Pelfrey’s” and in previous years had traveled and sang with the “Rowlands”.

    Punkin is a great church and family friend of ours and we are looking forward to watching him live out his dream and watch God use him in a mighty way!

  7. That’s sad to hear. I hope they won’t cancel any concert dates. I have tickets to see them in 3 weeks and I’m excited just as long as I get to see Tim

  8. I completely understand the struggle of trying to sing on the road and having a family at home. Seems if a person is older with grown children, maybe even retired from a job so that they can live on “southern gospel music” salaries the chances of them staying and adding stability to a group would be insured.
    I think Butch Owens..formally with the Stamps, Florida Boys, etc. would fit this mold and is one of the best basses around. What is he doing? GC should call him. They need the stability.

    • Why does GC need a bass? I’m confused…

  9. I completely understand how hard it is to travel and be away from children. GC has had so much turnover they need to find someone who doesn’t have family at home anymore, possibly retired so that they can live on “southern gospel salaries”. Butch Owens formally with The Stamps and Florida Boys fits this bill. Where is he? He is one of the best and would offer some stability they need and great talent.

  10. Maybe he will be around this week somewhere since his son (Ian Owens) is now singing bass for Ernie Hasse and Signature Sound. That boy can sing!!! Ernie showed off, again!!! Ian…help us find your daddy for GC!

  11. I really wish Bruce had never left…he was one of the best. So, where does this leave Gold City? Do they release Somebody’s Coming anyway?

    I don’t want to see them come off the road for good but maybe a little time off to regroup would do well. Daniel has to be exhausted after all of this. Maybe the key is to find someone like Jonathan who grew up in a singing family and know the kind of life a full-time SG singer has.

  12. Ok, I am confused on why several people have mentioned Butch Owens who is a good bass singer as a replacement for Gold City. They are looking for a lead singer and have found him in Jerry but I just find it funny trying to imagine Butch singing lead. LOL!

    • Obviously there has been some confusion between Chris and Craig West. Yes, Owens is a great bass….wouldn’t want to sing lead:)