Mike Jennings leaves Dixie Echoes

Dixie Echoes bass singer Mike Jennings just announced on Facebook that he is leaving the group:

I would like to let everyone know that my time with the Dixie Echoes has come to an end. The Lord is blessing our family with another little one and I’ll be heading home to take care of them. I have met many wonderful people across the country this year, fans and fellow singers alike. I hope to see many of you again. I would like to thank my family for their love, support and selflessness this past year. Please keep our family in your prayers as we make this transition. God Bless.

This leaves the Dixie Echoes without a tenor, bass, and pianist.


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38 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 was anticipating this change sooner or later because Jennings was traveling so much to meet the group each week, but the Helwig announcement (and of course Stewart’s announcement) was a surprise.

  2. Scoot Shelnut hasn’t left the group has he?

  3. Praying for all parties involved.

  4. Double wow. Jennings was a good one!

  5. Wow sums it up pretty good…

    With sudden departures like this is there any chance the group’s Live at Silver Dollar City CD will be pulled and become a collectors’ item?

    • It’s been out for long enough that a fair amount of copies are already in circulation.

  6. I have been in touch with Randy Shelnut Jr. (Scoot); he confirmed that the Dixie Echoes will find fill-ins and keep all their dates.

    • My wife and I saw Dixie Echoes at the Swanee River Jubilee in Live Oak Florida. They had a bass singer filling in from Pensacola , Mark ? Do you know who he is and if he is the new bass? They mentioned they were looking for a tenor , but not a bass at the concert.

      • The new bass hasn’t been announced yet, so I don’t know for sure.

      • Thanks!

  7. Wow indeed. I was surprised enough by the other two changes. One has to wonder what is going on with three changes in quick succession with two being today and both being announced by the members leaving instead of the group. It sure doesn’t look good. Now, I guess we’ll have to see if a new group is started by the departing members. 😉

    P.S. I just saw his announcement as far as why in this case. Maybe, this is just one of those things or maybe not. Nonetheless, it leaves the group with some serious problems to overcome.

    • No, his wife really is expecting. 🙂

      As to the group members saying it first … that’s just the social media era in which we live. I understand the group will have something out shortly. It happens all the time these days.

      • I didn’t mean his wife isn’t expecting. I don’t know when she is due, how long they have known, and when the decision was made to come off the road in this case. I just mean with everything hitting at the same time. Are they related with one another, or separate occurrences that all happened about the same time? Like anything else, there might be more than one reason too. I certainly don’t know either way, but one would have to admit that all three happening at close to the same time does raise some questions even if they aren’t related or something hasn’t contributed to them all at the same time.

      • Oh, for a decision like leaving a job, there is almost always more than one factor. MD to FL is quite the commute.

  8. This reminds me of the concert many years ago when Dale Shelnut said, “I looked around one evening as we were getting ready for a tour and it was just me and the bus. I looked at the bus and said: “Bus, can you sing??””

    Loved Dale and I know Randy and Scoot will keep the Dixie Echoes going for years to come!

  9. Three members left the Cathedral Quartet at the same time but George and Glen did awfully well after that.

  10. Every time there is a change the blog world goes wild! Randy was there before any of those guys were there and he will be there after there gone! The name of the game is making a living. Ed Oneal would say this, “Boys there is not a Bell that goes ding dong you’ve made it! If you are making payroll and paying the bills you’ve made it! Randy will find and hire and keep on paying the bills! And then you will have to wait for the next group change to have something to write about!

    • McCray, I was agreeing with your post until your last line.

      You said: “Randy will find and hire and keep on paying the bills! And then you will have to wait for the next group change to have something to write about!”

      This blog is different than most. (and that is why I frequent it) It is much more than news about group changes. There are devotionals – SG History – CD Reviews & much more.

      I actually think the group change news to be one of the less interesting parts of this blog. Most of the artists tend to be over-rated and put on too high a pedestal. (IMO) My favorite parts of this blog are the CD reviews & the devotionals.

      • Dan and McCray,

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts! The main reason I post group changes is that numerous people – fans and industry members – have told me that my site is the only Southern Gospel news source they read. Therefore, I feel an obligation to cover major stories of this nature.

        I agree with McCray that the Randys will have no problem finding new members and continuing down the road.

      • Anyone that has met me would know being on a pedestal is the least of my desires. I would rather sing for a group of 50 people that I know receive a blessing than the larger venues in our industry. I’m sure those comments are not directed at me personally but since it showed up on my thread I thought I would offer my thoughts.

      • I’ll back that up – after meeting him, I was indeed struck that he would be one of the last people I know to seek a pedestal!

    • See McCray? It is effective. It even got you out of the mothballs to post.

      • No Mike – It wasn’t directed at you. If Daniel likes you, so do I! 🙂 lol

  11. News is news. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  12. Ok, wasn’t trying to shoot Daniel but if you took it that way I guess I didn’t write it clear enough. When there is changes there are more comments posted about that then other news. If I am wrong then I take it back! When I see this I laugh because the groups are still going!

    It may not be the same sound but the group is still here and still moving on! They may not be in the Singing news Fan Awards but if that is how you judge a groups success than I guess that’s a good story for Daniel to write about! I don’t post much but I just felt like posting this time. I enjoy reading the blogs they are entertaining to read!

    • I knew you didn’t mean it that way, so it didn’t bother me at all!

      I think people comment because they find it inherently interesting; people like to think how different voices will change the vocal texture of their favorite groups. To take one example close at hand, the Dove Brothers with Burman Porter sound quite different than the Dove Brothers with David Hester. For the record, I like both versions, but it is certainly quite different!

  13. Nuff said by me!

  14. Randy and Scoot are very good friends of mine, as is Stewart, Michael, Mike and McCray. It is very tough to keep 5 guys on the road, all with one focus and goal. So many things can distract, from family, money issues, chenistry one with another, to just the amount of desire in an individual’s makeup. I love all these guys and wish them only the best. Having turnover in this amount is tough….I know for we just went through this last fall. I hop for everyone’s sake that people just give them a little room to sort through the days ahead. It is hard work enough to be on the road singing. It is harder by an order of maginute when you are breaking in someone new. Now, multiply that by 3 or 4 and you can quickly see the amount of work required. I am beginning to understand Ed O’Neal. Training new guys only to see them leave can be hard to deal with.

  15. Ed is the best at it! And he doesn’t worry about industry. He does what he has to do to make it work. You can learn how to survive if you take a class or two at EOU!

  16. As much as I am disappointed with the departures from the Dixie Echoes, it does create the possibility of having a “dream team” quartet. How about Randy and Scoot, plus Jay Parrack or John Rulapaugh, Randy Byrd and Andrew Ishee?

    • There is certainly the possibility that they could attract a dream team. That said, I believe that several of the names you mentioned aren’t looking right now. I saw Ishee comment somewhere (Facebook?) that he’s not wanting to go back on the road right now. Parrack has considered weekend groups at points, but last I heard, doesn’t want to join a full-time group.

    • Out of all those names, I can best see Randy Byrd ending up with the job.

      • I could also see Jerry Kelso, formerly of the Stamps and Dove Brothers, at the piano…

      • That would be an interesting hire. I know he came back to The Stamps shortly after coming off the road with the Dove Brothers, but hadn’t heard much out of him or them since then.

      • Ditto to Aaron, on all points.

  17. Bring Darrell “Red Socks” Stewart out of retirement!

  18. Awww…MIKE!!!! Having enjoyed his singing a couple of times at our local church (when he was with Bay City…now Deep Creek Revival) I was hoping this would be a venture filled with success. But I realize you have a baby on the way. That’s a tough choice to make (for some). I wish you all the best in the future, and hopefully we’ll get to sing together again! Had a blast singing with you all at Faith Assembly in Lothian, MD. We always had a good time with you guys.