NQC 2012, Day 4: Live Blog
Our NQC live blog posts take shape through the evenings.
Greater Vision. Rodney Griffin kicked off the set with “No Longer Chained.” By the discussion in the webcast’s live chat, it appears that the video feed cut out for most or all users for a good portion of the song. It had returned (for me, at least) by the second song, “When They Ring the Bells of Heaven.”
Gerald Wolfe introduced song three by saying that Jack Campbell’s widow was in the audience, and she came all the way from Mississippi or Louisiana to hear a song her husband wrote. He apologized to the team in the TV truck for changing the program on them, but he said he simply had to have Chris Allman sing “I Know a Man Who Can.”
Gerald Wolfe bought up a trio of a brother, sister, and another young lady who sang up sang a unbelievably amazing rendition of “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”—an arrangement at least inspired by the Martins.
Wolfe took his time setting up the final song, “Faces,” telling stories of people who had inspired him and helped him in his life.
Jason Crabb. Jason started his set with a classic, “Who Am I,” before launching into the first Crabb Family single that featured him, “Still Holdin’ On.” He kept the Crabb Family theme going with “The Lamb, The Lion, and the King.” He switched to his solo repertoire on his fourth song, “Sometimes I Cry.”
National Quartet Convention or not, it’s not NQC unless Jason and his sisters break out “Through the Fire” at least once! Talk about ending a set on a high note!
Whisnants. Susan Whisnant introduced “I’ll Trust The Potter’s Hand” by talking about how much she loves the Lesters’ song “He Doesn’t Throw the Clay Away,” and how this song is in a similar vein. They launch into their second song, “I’m in the Gloryland Way,” by noting that Gerald Wolfe is filling in on piano.
The Whisnants have been through an incredibly tough year! Jeff’s father is in his fourth week of chemo, and they got a call this week that his brother has been hospitalized. She introduced their third song, “All is Well,” by sharing how her mother was facing a cancer diagnosis last year.
They wrapped up their set on an uptempo note, with “New Day Dawning.” Members of the Mark Trammell Quartet came up on stage to join them for an encore.
Tribute Quartet started with two up-tempo to mid-tempo songs, “Thank the Lord” and “Homesick Angel,” both from their new album, Our Anthem. Tenor Riley Clark was featured on a passionately powerful rendition of “Homecoming Day.” They wrapped up their set with “Good News From Jerusalem, featuring Josh Singletary. This is the most animated and enthusiastic I’ve ever seen Singletary during a vocal solo; he has come into his own as a quartet vocalist.
Booth Brothers. They lined up a special treat for the audience, getting legendary pianist and producer Nick Bruno to fill in on piano. Song 1: I’m Free. Turns out that wasn’t the only special treat they’d lined up; they brought Bill Gaither on stage as a guest bass vocalist for their second song, “Joy in the Camp.” He introduced their third song, “Let the Healing Begin,” before walking off stage. He came back onstage for the third and fourth encores of their closing song, “Played in the Band.”
10:41: Kingdom Heirs. Song 1: “Ever Since That Wonderful Day.” Song 2: “Hit the Ground Running.” Song 3: “He Locked the Gates.” Strong response from a tired but enthusiastic crowd. Song 4: Jerry Martin sang his signature song, “I Can Pray.” Song 5: “I Never Shall Forget the Day.” This late at night, it makes sense to end the set on an uptempo note. The ending on the encore is classic Kingdom Heirs—exactly what Southern Gospel is supposed to be.
Sorry the notes are cursory at this point. I’m heading for Louisville early tomorrow morning, and I’ll have to call it a night within a few minutes. I had to stay up late enough to catch the Kingdom Heirs’ set, even with how far behind schedule I am. After all, I’ll be at their booth for the signing tomorrow—4:30, right after the NQC Music Awards—and I dare not tell the host group that I slept through their set! That would be like apologizing to a preacher for sleeping through his sermon!
10:19: Talleys. Song 1: “Surely.” Brian Alvey is back on stage with the group tonight. Song 2: “Broken World,” their current radio single. Strong, strong, strong song. Alvey introduced the third song, “That’s Why I Love Him So,” by talking about his time of running away from God, and how Gerald Wolfe’s witness was part of what brought him back to God. Song 4: “Great Love,” featuring Debra and Lauren. They close with a quick chorus of “He’s Alive.”
10:11: Mark Bishop. Song 1: “Listening for the Call.” Song 2, after a well-spoken introduction, “God Builds Churches with Broken People.” He only did two songs; not sure if that was scheduled or if he gave up some time since the program is twenty-five minutes behind (after only two songs!).
9:27: Isaacs. They started with the energetic “It’s Gonna Rain.” Sound issues persisted through the first song or two. Song 2: “Why Can’t We.” Interestingly for a bluegrass group, they took the stage with a pianist (Matthew Holt) and drummer. Song 3: “Four Men Walking” (guess on title). Becky Isaacs Bowman testified before her solo on “Waiting in the Water.”
9:25: Sisters sang an incredible acapella rendition of “It is Well With My Soul.”
8:37: Producer Phil Brower introduced David Jeremiah by showing a video with photographs and discussion of Jeremiah’s little-known college basketball career. He mentioned that there was going to be a basketball challenge between a team led by Jeremiah and a team led by Gerald Wolfe next year. It’s not entirely clear if he was joking!
8:11: Collingsworth Family. It’s been a while since Phil Collingsworth has brought out the trumpet on the main stage! He kicked off the set with “O Magnify the Lord,” while Kim played piano. After one uptempo vocal song, “I Know,” the lights dimmed and Olivia Collingsworth recited the Christmas story before Phil Jr. launched into “Silent Night.” As that track ended, they did an immediate segue into “What Child is This?”
After a moving video about how Phil Sr.’s father won a Silver Star in the Korean War, and how many servicemen the extended family has sent into the military, they sang a stirring acapella rendition of “God Bless America.”
Kim Collingsworth followed with a piano solo, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” that got one of the biggest responses of the night.
7:50: Jeff & Sheri Easter. Jason Crabb brought Jeff & Sheri Easter on stage by starting into a chorus of “Thank You, Lord, For Your Blessings on Me.” They joined him on the chorus before launching into their own first song, “A Little Bit of Sunshine” (? on title). Jeff Easter said that their second song, “I’ll Take It,” was written by Joseph & Lindsay Habedank. Their third song was a sad love song, “Sitting On Top of the World.” Son Madison’s wife Shannon joined Madison and Morgan for “Does it Make Him Cry?” Jeff Easter brought another guest—his father, James Easter—onto stage for “I Won’t Have To Worry Anymore.”
7:04: McKameys. The McKameys are introduced with a classic two-decade-old clip of them singing “God On the Mountain.” When they walk on stage, though, they’re a little more subdued, singing the convention-style song “Some Morning I Shall Stand.” Song 2: “Nothing But Grace.” After a track mis-cue, they moved into their third song, “Unspoken Request.” Peg sets up the fourth song, “Finish Well,” by noting that it’s the first time there has ever been a McKameys male trio. They end on a high note—literally and figuratively—with “I’ve Won.”
6:22: Lesters. They begin with “Revive Us Again.” Second: “I’m One of His Redeemed” (guess at title). Their third song, “Rocks Dropping,” had a cool concept and was well executed (lyrically and vocally). The high point of the set was their signature song, “He Didn’t Throw the Clay Away.” They closed with style and class, with a simple arrangement of “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.”
6:17: Kim, Brooklyn, and Courtney Collingsworth play “The Prayer.” They got a rousing standing ovation from the artist circle, and a partial standing ovation from the rest of the audience. (Worth noting: NQC audiences will almost never unanimously stand until later in the evening.)
5:58: Mark Bishop takes the stage as emcee. He’s off to a great start with some timely humor. He walks up as a choir walks off stage, commenting that he’s surrounded by Johnny Cash impersonators! He also wishes himself luck and mentions that he listened to rap music on the way over. He paused long enough for the crowd to gasp in horror—before clarifying that it was blaring from a jeep two blocks away!
5:44: The Hoppers come on stage to sing one song, “I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About to Happen.”
5:39: Penny Loafers. This inimitable group offered a highlight of the showcase spotlight segment, singing their signature song—their a capella take on the Mosie Lister classic “Goodbye, World, Goodbye.”