Should Legacy Five sing more of their programs live?

In Legacy Five’s latest blog post, Gus Gaches observes something we have discussed many times on this site: Twenty-five years ago, the Cathedrals would do a live concert with mostly piano and bass guitar, and just two songs with soundtracks. But today, the situation is reversed, and most groups, including Legacy Five, only do one or two songs without pre-recorded soundtracks.Β Then, he asks a question that I had started to fear I would never see a group of this caliber ask:

It is extremely expensive to be on the road these days and the budget for a group is unbelievable. So to add extra pieces to the budget for a band is very hard, thus we all use tracks. But let me pose this question. If you bought a ticket to see Legacy Five and we sang most of the concert without tracks would you leave disappointed? No strings, no brass, no rhythm section. Just simply piano and vocals.

I think we have gotten used to hearing all of the huge arrangements and would feel like we were missing something if it wasn’t that way. That is my opinion, but I would really like to hear yours! What would you think of fewer tracks and more with just piano? Or would you be interested in a special evening once or twice a year that would feature a live band? Please give us your opinion or idea on the matter.

So, fans of fully live music, share your feedback with Legacy Five here!

Maybe, just maybe, there is still hope that fully live music in this genre isn’t on its way to becoming a thing of the past.

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99 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. Come on in boys the water is fine !

  2. I would be happy no matter what. I’m here for L5 not a band. My .02. πŸ™‚

  3. Ive thought about this and I guess my best answer for me is it really doesnt matter. Im not there for the band, the canned music or the vocal stacks, Im there for the message. I will however say this. In the last year, been to many concerts with the professional “Main” groups out there, Ive heard the live band with the Dove Bros, which by the way was awesome (Great mix, one of the best Ive heard live) . Ive heard the canned music, and loved it as well (as long as it isnt so loud it drowns out the vocals ,which I have also heard)

    Stacked vocals, Ive been in the last year to a concert (with a National group) that it was so obvious that the stacks and the movement of the lips didnt add up) I mean it was comical because the particular tenor wasnt even close matching what his face, and mouth was doing to the stacked vocal…. and you could even hear the difference between his actual voice and whomevers voice it was on the stack (clearly wasnt the same person)…

    One particular national group, the added texture from the mixing board to the vocals made the singers sound like they were in the middle of an ocean somewhere off the coast of costa rica! It was very noticeable that when they were all singing it was a natural well rounded mix, but as soon as one stepped out for a solo, the button or knob was pressed an immediately they were off in La-La land with a nice pingy sound to their vocal!!! It was distracting….

    The point to all this rambling I guess is, I want to be blessed, I want the message, and if I get the aforementioned, it doesnt matter if its a live band, a piano and bass, canned music or whatever… But each of these mentioned can also be a distraction sometimes in their own way… IM SO CONFUSED!!! ha ha ha ha…..

  4. I can’t hardly listen to a band without live music..One of the main reasons EHSS is my favorite is because of their live band, I also the reason I like the Gaither Homecoming’s is because of their live music. I’ve never went to a Legacy Five concert, but I probably wont until they have at least Piano, Drums and Guitar.

  5. As I remarked on their FB page about this subject, I would love to see them do as the Cathedrals did – Vocals/Piano/Bass Guitar w/ a limited amount of tracks.
    (I even like the Steel & Drums)

    Basically, when you (like me) grew up listening to groups with live music, this canned stuff just doesn’t cut it.

    The concerts I grew up attending in the late 70’s-80’s with groups such as:
    The Hinsons – The Happy Goodman Family – The Blackwood Brothers – The Statesmen – The Kingsmen – The Cathedrals – The Stamps – The Dixie Melody Boys and many many more, they all had live music and when THAT is what you grew up on, the tracks are a huge let down. (at least for me)

    It may save money, but I wish some groups would follow the old groups and give the audiences what they want – LIVE music. ( πŸ™‚ and I realize it’s not that easy)

    One more thing – Tracks hide a groups blend. Take away the tracks and you might be amazed at what some groups sound like. I wish NQC would do a NO TRACKS night. (as others were talking about on another comments section.

    • If NQC did a no tracks night, that would definitely be the night I would attend, no matter what else took place or didn’t take place that night.

      • Absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with this statement.

      • Daniel,
        What an excellent idea to pitch to NQC

      • What if there were a “back from the other side” Cathedrals concert with George, Glen and Roger? πŸ˜‰ I am here to tell you, track or no track night, THAT Would be the night I would attend if there were just one. πŸ˜€ I know what you mean, but I am showing that there are exceptions. :p

        While we are on the subject, I still maintain that the Cathedrals being gone even today have left a void in the industry. Don’t get me wrong, there are still other good groups and people I enjoy hearing, but man I miss the Cathedrals.

      • That concert would last about 2 hours.

    • Dan Plemmons January 31, 2013 at 9:50 am
      “One more thing – Tracks hide a groups blend. Take away the tracks and you might be amazed at what some groups sound like.”

      AMEN, DAN!

      • This is so true. I would also like to hear others’ opinions of groups who sing to tracks, yet still have a musician or two “playing along” with the music. Does this really enhance the presentation, meaning is it better than all tracks, or would it be just as satisfying if the groups used all tracks?

    • I think it is dependent on the song, but do love to hear a good live band and the arrangements tweaked and extra energy and improv (within limit) from the singers on some songs. It think certain songs and arrangements call for or are improved by orchestration and others are detracted by them and the live energy helps. With that said, I don’t know that “the fans” all want bands or care anymore. I am not saying I want it to be this way necessarily. If the fans DO mostly want them, are they willing to pay the piper to let the groups afford them or will they expect free or dollar free will offering concerts or lower ticketed events still? Speaking of stacks (as some are) they just make the improvs even less possible than using tracks do (unless the soloist still can). They really lock the group in (although some would argue the artist can concentrate more on other things like choreography, conveying the message etc.

  6. It appears to me that “most” of the “mainline” groups use tracks, so where is the beef? The message is what we should be after, if the song totally depends on live music (by the way someone played it live) then we have lost our way.

    • Musical excellence is not irrelevant. Yes, the message is central, but shouldn’t it be presented in a professional way? (In most genres, standing on stage with nothing but tracks wouldn’t be considered professional.)

      • I was going to say, the message of a song is sooooo important, but small things like the musical aspects (instrumentals and vocals) play a huge role in how effective (or ineffective) a song is. You can have someone singing their heart out in a song and not even hit a single note on pitch. Do you think it would be effective then? πŸ™‚

      • Great illustration. πŸ™‚

    • Ok so in a perfect world we would all have the A team at Crossroads as our road band, but because we all can’t do that why should the “track groups” get put down when they can take the A team on their tracks? I am a musiciam my self and truly enjoy the live music but why do we always have to have something to grip about, let the live folks do their thing and the track folks do their thing and work for the greater good! Why is this always an issue with no clear outcome.

      Let’s work it together and get on with it.

      • If there were no qualitative difference between the two options, then I would agree with the notion that it does not matter.

      • Daniel J. Mount January 31, 2013 at 11:27 am

        If there were no qualitative difference between the two options, then I would agree with the notion that it does not matter.

        Thank you Daniel, my point to the letter.

      • Of course, as my wording suggests, there is indeed a qualitative difference. πŸ™‚

      • Amen!

  7. Ya know, another thing that I thought about that could be cool with some songs is if one of the guys sang with just an acoustic guitar and the bass. Songs like Peace When I leave It In Your Hands and a few “Howie songs” have guitar in it and I think it would sound cool with just that, but only if one of them played an acoustic. πŸ™‚

  8. Ok going to post something that is going to upset some of you and some will even question my reasons for singing Gospel Music ! When are we gonna quit using the quote it’s all about the message to give a pass for performing or bad singing or tracks and stacks ! You either like it with tracks and stacks or you don’t ! You like a live band or just someone playing the keys or you don’t ! Then it may not matter to you either way ! I know and I take that all of you know what makes Gospel music is the Message ! But when I go to a live concert I want it live ! I don’t want to hear a fake blend I want hear what you got that night ! If I wanted to hear the blend you got on the radio I will buy the cd with that song on it ! I always liked the way the Cathedrals sang Plan of Salvation live better than I did on the recording because of what I felt that night they put something in it that they couldn’t on the recording and the message hit me right to the bottom of my soul ! They did tracks as well but for me it was the live stuff I enjoyed and it spoked more to me ! I’m ready for a night of gospel music when all the artist on the program is singing live and playing the music live in the words of my buddy JD I can’t Wait !

    • Of course, it’s not Southern Gospel without the Gospel message. How professionally that message is presented is, or should be, what sets a professional group apart from an amateur.

    • I agree with McCray.

      Doubtlessly Southern Gospel music is about the message, as so masterfully argued by our friend Daniel in his post just this week (I believe). But there are those groups that if we were free on a Saturday night we would drive a considerable distance to see and then there are those that we wouldn’t. No one would disagree with this statement. We have our favorites and we have those that we enjoy; we have those that we tolerate and we have those that we, decidedly don’t tolerate. In other words, though the quality of music is subjective, we all make these subjective decisions on a regular basis. Then we use those decisions to decide which artists we would like to travel to see and which artists we would not.

      That being said, it is, clearly, about more than just “the message.” The message is clearly the most important part. However, the message can be delivered musically with the quality of music varying to infinite degrees. If the message is presented in the song, check the “message presented” box on your scorecard. Then, move on to judging the quality of the music.

      I assure you, Daniel, McCray, and all of the readers and those that comment on this blog: the second we quit worrying about the quality of the sounds that artists produce the second that we begin loosing the genre we all know and love. The message must be in the songs, absolutely. In fact, I don’t want to listen to a song that doesn’t contain the Gospel of Christ, but IF the message is included, THEN let’s begin to judge the quality of music lest we become overlooked by what will become former fans.

      • “…the second we quit worrying about the quality of the sounds that artists produce the second that we begin loosing the genre we all know and love”
        That’s why the Cathedrals of the 80’s, the Masters V, and Perfect Heart rank so highly on my “favorites” list… they cared about QUALLITY. Yes, I know that the Masters V didn’t pratice as much as they could have, but still, they had a rarely matched “energy” onstage.
        They, and the other 2 groups I mentioned, paid attention to quallity, and could flat-footed outsing most any group that’s on the road today.
        If it were possible to put today’s groups onstage with the 3 mentioned above, and take away the tracks & the stacks, most people would be embarrased to sing onstage with the “kings” of the late ’80’s/ early ’90’s. 1985 was just 27 years ago, 1990 was just 23 years ago.
        And then, when you think of how popular the Kingsmen, Gold City, Heavenbound, The Stamps, The DMB,and others were….How far we’ve fallen, quallity-wise, since then.

  9. Well put Daniel ! But you either can sing it live or you can’t or you may not want to !

  10. I peronally am wit McCray on this one, especially given a group like L5. IMO they are better served without the tracks than with, coming from someone who has grown up adoring their stuff.
    SG in general is most known for 4 guys and a piano player (I’m gonna take some heat there.) When done like that, it’s clear what genre it is and also- as Scott F himself has said- you can understand every word of every song. Doesn’t mean you have to do just classic SG. “I thirst” was very country yet I heard Roger do it just piano and it still worked.
    Just humble opinion. It’s what I do playing for my group and it works. So maybe I’m biased πŸ™‚

  11. McCray just touched on something that’s been on of my biggest pet peeves surrounding Gospel music.

    I actually think the quote “it’s all about the message” is FALSE. If it were true, people wouldn’t fork out 20-30 bucks a concert to see national groups when they can hear Jack and Jill sing the same song off-pitch at the local church.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I obviously believe its important, but it’s not everything. Like Tuesday’s post said, the message is central, but everything around adds to what makes Southern Gospel great.

  12. I guess what it all boils down to is, everybody has their own preference — their own taste. It’s not a matter of a “right” way and a “wrong” way.

    While I think a live band is great, I thoroughly enjoy listening to CDs which, in most cases, have full orchestration. If I go to a concert and hear the same songs, but without the orchestration that I am used to hearing, I am going to feel like I’m being cheated out of something.

    On the other hand, if a group recorded songs exactly the way they staged them, there wouldn’t be any difference. But then, I would probably not enjoy those groups with only a piano as much as those with full orchestra. But that is my personal taste. The next person may well prefer just voices and piano. And that’s fine. Nobody ever said we all had to all be alike.

    • Another thought your post brings up. A reason most groups use for using more canned than live is money. What if groups didn’t record with a full orchestra sound, how much money would that save groups on a project? Probably not enough to pay another man’s salary to join the bus, but it’s still worth noting I thought.

  13. With all due respect to those who like tracks, I think that our youth find them to be boring. I have a teenage son who tells me that constantly. At eleven and twelve years old, I would ask to be taken to every gospel singing anywhere close by. There were no tracks then, and I was drawn to the musicians as well as the singers. Maybe the lack of excitement is why we see fewer youth there today. I realize also there are other factors, such as the massive amount of other entertainment options available, not to mention the over saturation due to all the videos, etc.

  14. To me a message is more powerful when sung live. There is more freedom with the deliver of that message. As someone who has followed and listened to gospel music all of my life, it is getting harder and harder to see groups with all tracks. I have young children and it is hard for me to introduce them to this great music when it is karaoke. No wonder we are not gaining large groups of young, new fans!

  15. I miss everybody telling me the drums are tooooooo loud. LoLb

    • I sure do miss those Kingsmen drums. The Kingsmen Band was what introduced me to this music. I say turn ’em up.. lol

    • Honestly, you (and other younger musicians) don’t have many opportunities within the genre to use your talents. If we really want to expand the genre and ensure healthy growth, it’d be good to give those who have the interest and talents a “place to belong”… If a bass player has a talent and wants to use it oon the road to spread the gospel, he’ll have to go with a contemporary group. We just lost a chance to win fans.

    • Brandon, the drums are too loud! Better? πŸ˜‰

  16. To me it is song selection that matters. If a song is good then it is good with or without live music. If a song is boring it doesnt matter how fancy u make it, it is still boring. [edit] I recently saw Brian Free and Assurance and Gold City. Both groups used tracks exclusively but it was amazing because the songs they sang were so good. Another group sang later ( i wont say who) & people around me were LITERALLY falling asleep! So to me the key is great songs done in a professional manner sung by fantastic singers. I prefer a live band but ill take a good song with tracks over boring song with live band any day.

    • Jeff, sorry, but two sentences in your comment fell outside of what the comment guidelines permit.

      On the flip side, the way you were vague about the group that put users to sleep was great.

  17. I disagree with the comment that said young people don’t come to concerts because of the lack of live instruments. I am a young person (nearly seventeen) and really enjoy “tracks-only” concerts. I agree that live music (especially drums IMO) enhances a performance, but by no means do I think that the lack of instruments ruins it. One of my favorite parts of SoGo music is the “music” music. (drums, piano, orchestra, ect.) even if they’re “only” part of a track. And of course, it depends on the artist performing. Brian Free & Assurance, L5, etc. do great in a live setting, while others (who have multiple back-up instrumentalists) do horrible.

    • That just goes to prove that no one person can speak for all young Southern Gospel fans. πŸ™‚

    • I understand your comment and agree to a point. I did not say that ALL young people were not coming to concerts because of this. However, i do feel that more would be interested if there were bands. I have two young children that absolutely love gospel concerts with live music. When we go to see the best Southern Gospel groups with tracks they are bored out of their mind. That is their natural reaction. The old saying, “learn to play the guitar and you will never be alone…” is absolutely true. People are drawn to live music (espeically young people) and they always have been. Several years ago I was approached by someone I worked with about my age (i am relatively young) and the person told me I love CCM but the one thing I love about southern gospel is the live concerts with all the instruments… I thought to myself – you obviously havent been to a southern gospel concert in a long time… I just think it is a shame. Give me the piano and one bass guitar and I am happy. Look at what the Dixie Echoes are doing. It is fantastic and good quality music with just piano and bass guitar….

      • Don’t get me wrong. I think groups would be more fun to watch if they had a live band, IN ADDITION, to their soundtracks. (the soundtracks provide the orchestra part of the music) But most groups can’t afford a full band, and I think piano and bass-only songs are usually (I said usually, not always πŸ™‚ ) very boring in a live concert setting. You have to have an absolutely incredible pianist (which a lot of groups don’t have IMHO) to pull something like that off.

      • Let me put this another way. Only a truly strong song sounds excellent with four voices and a piano. Weaker songs might need a track as a crutch. Groups who sing with four voices and a piano will, therefore, need to look until they can find truly strong songs. It would be far from a bad thing for the genre if that happened!

        (Of course, there is the occasional great song that needs a track – “Champion of Love,” “Midnight Cry.”)

    • And on another note… As a teenager the Kingsmen band (with Randy Miller and Greg Fox) blew me and all my high school friends away… And many of us are still gospel music fans to this day…

  18. I would love to hear quartets with less canned music.

  19. I first heard SG primarily with the Cathedrals, around their Live in Atlanta time period….they are for me the standard. If the group can perform well with piano/bass, then they have passed one of my tests for groups worthy of listening to!!!:-)
    We all know Legacy Five can/could do that.
    My suggestion is to shift the balance more towards live wherever/whenever possible.

  20. Personally, the three groups I got introduced first music-wise were the Cathedrals, Statlers & the Oak Ridge Boys. I have to be honest that kind of set me on the live music side of this. Because I’m fairly young (19) I didn’t realize that anything was different about having 4 guys, a piano and one of the quartet playing bass. I think the first “tracks” group I saw was Greater Vision. I don’t mind when group use tracks as long as they’re very good. I also would like drums too because I played drums from 5th-9th grade but wasn’t very good, so the perfect group to me would be 4 guys, piano, bass & drums.

    • My nephew began his career in Southern Gospel in the late 70’s playing with the “original” Mercy River Boys who recorded with Canaan Records. This group carried a full band and gathered a pretty good following during the late 70’s and early 80’s. But lets be honest, if a group is going to carry a full band, which I would consider a minimum of four artists, that is going to add a huge load to the already thin margin of profitiability that most Gospel artists enjoy to begin with. I know that the Mercy River Boys came off the road in the mid 80’s for one main reason; funding.

  21. Let me address this in a way that I haven’t seen in any of the previous comments.
    What would blue grassers think of us? They’d laugh us off the stage. Yes, we have, as a generalization, clearer, more intelligible vocals in Southern Gospel. But, in a sense, they are better singers than we are.
    Imagine a bluegrass group with soundtracks… now imagine if the whole genre went the route of using soundtracks. Fans would just simply go away.
    The fans know, and the artists also know, that so much of the music’s appeal is based on the live instrumentation.
    Now if things did work out that the whole bluegrass music industry went the route of soundtracks, people like Ricky Skaggs, Allison Krauss, Del McCoury, and the other “leaders” of the industry would still sing until they one by one retired from singing, or passed away. Then the industry would see a new generation of artists emerging, all who started singing the music with live instrumentation, but were started using tracks before they rose to national prominence.
    Eventually, with the passing of time, there would be a generation of bluegrass singers who were so accustomed to singing with a track that the thought of live instrumentation would be foreign to them.

    Undeniably, there’s something about soundtracks that inhibits “energy”, that doesn’t foster and develop the ability to sing more powerfully: tracks limit a live performance, GOOD live accompaniment energizes it.

    In reality, these imaginary “future” bluegrass singers would be lesser quality singers than those who are in bluegrass right now… because of the fact that they would choose to rely on the soundtrack. They won’t be “driven” by the energy of live accompaniment, they wouldn’t “feel” the song like their “predecessors”.

    If the genre even survived that long, the fan-base would be smaller at that point than it is now. There’d be less money coming in to the artists, so it’d be harder for them to make a living by singing their style of music.

    My fellow Southern Gospel fans, this is EXACTLY where we are right now.

    • Let me re-write something..
      “Then the industry would see a new generation of artists emerging, all who started singing the music with live instrumentation, but had started using tracks before they rose to national prominence.”

      • It should be pointed out that in a vast majority (I would even go so far as to say all) bluegrass bands, the musicians are also the singers. That does tend to lessen the overhead a bit. And in the SG genre, we have in fact had one group known for tracks-only that actually took the challenge and for almost a year devoted the entire second segment of their concerts to singing with their own instrumentation, only to discover that it was mostly a matter of indifference to their audience whether or not there were live instruments. That group, of course, was a struggling little “karaoke” trio known as the Booth Brothers.

      • True, most bluegrass artists do play and sing. But, it could still work for us, eg. Scott Fowler, Rodney Griffith, Gerald Wolfe, Mark Tramell, and severall others who sing in a group can play an instrument.
        So, in the light of economics, groups like the MTQ, Legacy 5, and Greater Vision, if they should choose to go this route, wouldn’t have to hire a full band. In fact, Greater Vision and Legacy 5 could make the transitsion without having to hire another group member.

  22. Being a musician myself I do not like having to play along with tracks because for me I have to concentrate so much on staying with the click track that its hard for me to put a lot of heart into my playing. That might not make sense to some and that’s cool because I know there is another way to express that but it’s not ringing a bell with me at this moment. LOL. I know that most piano players that are using split tracks do a magnificent job with them and it makes me wish I could do as good with tracks.We (Jordan’s Bridge) discussed using tracks on a few select songs but They left it up to me and my brother Jamey and we voted nope. Nope is an East TN word for NO. Anyway I don’t have a problem with people who use tracks and really I think most SG groups would rather have a band but for a lot it doesn’t fit into their budgets so I do not think any less of the groups that use tracks. I believe as time goes on that we will start seeing more live music. When working with McCray I just asked him one evening about leaving the tracks out and he agreed and I don’t think they surfaced again. I know Devin liked not having to use them as much as me and Devin Dove is as good as it gets with or without split tracks. He is my favorite drummer.


    • Oh, I understand. It is really difficult for me to record midi arrangements and keep with the metronome. It is too easy for music to be robticized this way (not quantizing helps, but it is still tough to do much pushing and pulling to put life in it and not get to far away from the metronome.

    • I have always enjoyed playing piano along with tracks. The way it’s been until recently for us. We might do a 3-song “moment” in a program with just piano, but the rest of the program has typically featured both tracks and piano.

      We added a bass guitar player some time ago, though, so I expect we’ll add several more songs in the future for bass and piano, and maybe even get to a point where we can leave the tracks at home someday.

      When you get two or three musicians trying to play with tracks, you might as well just go without them.

      We’ve had a few tracks made specifically for us, but most of the stuff we use is bought off of the shelf or adapted from a track intended for choral use. This makes it difficult to mix just right when the track already has some piano fills and of course, a bass part.

      • Concerning a band playing live vs. a band playing with tracks, when Channing, Doug, and Adam were Gold City’s band members, I’d thought that they should’ve skipped using the tracks.

  23. I have to say that as a fan of live music, I would LOVE to see Legacy Five step out and do an all live set. I think there’s nothing more vintage, more raw, more powerful, more ( add awesome adjectives here). Sure, tracks and stacks have their advantages. But put a piano, a powerful pianist who compliments the vocals as well as adds appropriate accompaniment, and a bass guitar on stage and you’ve got a band that can carry a group. I LOVE LIVE BANDS! Let the record show that!

    • A pianist who wants to keep his job would do well to COMPLIMENT the vocalists. πŸ˜‰

  24. A pianist for an artist has alot more to offer than playing LIVE on the stage in the concert venue.
    Who going to does all the homework during the week for the groups?
    A pianist offers the ability to have every concert hand arranged for the concert goer.
    It is the pianist that helps arrange, I mean not run, the flow of a concert.
    I am not saying throw out the tracks but the pianist is the most knowledgeably to blend the background orchestration from the studio with the live music.

    A pianist adds that quality sound from the days of old that so many in southern gospel music want to preserve.

    Do not take from me, let me direct you to……..

  25. I think according to the comments on this thread, as well as the link you posted, Daniel, the result is an overwhelming “Less Canned – More Live!” Will the groups listen and give the crowds what they want? I hope so! πŸ™‚ I predict it would revitalize the world of SG music!

    • Well, when I did polling a while back, the results were interesting: Out of several hundred replies, about 50% didn’t care, 45% strongly preferred all-live music, and 5% preferred tracks. Based on everything I hear with all the comments I read – which is to say, just about everything posted on just about every SG website – I would say those percentages are accurate.

      That said, it helps groups in a huge way if they are doing something unique. These days, doing a significant portion of the program live is on the unique side. So I do think it would add a nice blast of fresh air into L5 concerts, and help set them apart from the pack, if they shift to doing significant live segments.

  26. I have commented on this topic several times through the years. On the L5 blog on this topic, I was all for the piano and having Scott to pull the bass out again. I also commented that perhaps they could use tracks for any song that went #1 – or a signature song etc. perhaps like Strike Up The Bank or I Found Grace. As much as I loved the initial recording of I Stand Redeemed – hearing L5 on this song with just the piano is absolutely fabulous.

    At a recent Greater Vision concert, the longest – loudest – and only standing applause was for the piano and bass on I Know A Man Who Can…

    I don’t mean this as it sounds – but three or four people singing to a track without any live music reminds me of Karaoke – I guess because in many way, it is…

    I prefer hearing a second tier group with a piano to an upper tier group singing with tracks. I did go see GV because I know they will eventually sing a couple with Gerald at the piano and Rodney on bass.

    Just my opinion – but I spend lots of $ at concerts and for recordings…


    • J E Butler – Good one πŸ™‚ “Strike up the bank!” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ – I know what you meant! πŸ™‚

      I agree – I never enjoy Greater Vision any more than when Gerald slips over to the piano and Rodney grabs the Bass Guitar!

  27. True story. I was watching some L5 videos on YouTube, and while I enjoy their music it doesn’t stand out enough for me to become a big fan. Then I found a number of live videos of impromptu songs, typically older ones, with just piano, and sometimes Scott on the bass. I enjoyed those so much I told myself I would happily pay and drive the distance to see a concert where I knew I’d get plenty of that, even though its not a group I really follow. I understand the tracks, but frankly 50/50 is the minimum I’d pay to see. More tracks than that and you’d have to be next door and free. πŸ™‚ just my .02€

  28. Live music want fill the buildings over night it will take a little time ! But I do believe that if we had more artist performing with live music we would see something positive take place in Southern Gospel music a new excitement ! New venues would open there doors I know that for a fact ! I would love for artist to go back to live music although I don’t think they have to go back because that’s up to the artist ! The Dove Brothers Band are doing what we believe in and if you like it live come and see one our concerts !

    • McRay, let me say I appreciate u bringing a live band back! Btw… When r u coming to Florida? I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I have left concerts saying, “the singing was great, but we sure do miss the bands.” My favorite concerts ever used to be with the Kingsmen, the Mcgruders, KP and New River, and Gold City when they had live bands. Still love these groups (ones that still tour) but there was more energy with the live band. What I miss also is LIVE RECORDINGS! Which again may I say thank you MCray for the live Dove Brothers cd! I listen to it ALL THE TIME! As for me, bring back the live EVERYTHING!!

  29. I agree that a live band with a quqrtet would be better, but the sad truth is that most quartets (even some full time and popular ones) find it difficult to make it financially. Bus payments, fuel, equipment upkeep, payroll, (the list could go on) are all concerns for the group. Add to that having to pay a band and I just dont see how a group could make it these days. Even those groups that dont travel on a bus but instead pull an equipment trailer and stay in hotels are having a tough time making it.

    Churches are also seeing tough financial times and find it difficult to afford a groups booking fee as they are now with tracks. If the quartet hires a band the booking fee will have to go up which will further limit the number of churches that can afford the group.

    I could envision a group with the popularity of L5 doing the occasional concert with a band but my guess is that the days of touring with a full band are gone.

    • I wouldn’t say you even need a full band. No ones saying that. They just want live music.

  30. Keith the Dove Brothers BAND do it every week ! You will do what you really want to do ! If you believe it will make a differents you will find a way to do it ! You will sacrifice believing that one day it will pay off ! You will take turns driving, you will work the product table together, you will take care of your own website , you will find a way !

  31. This morning I watched the latter part of Legacy 5 and Greater Vision’s 2002 recording “Live At The Palace.” I put the VHS (remember those?) in for their rendition of “Land Of The Living”, but watched the last 34 minutes of the concert.
    I noticed that the majority of the songs, and the majority of the highlights of the video, were songs that had only piano and bass accompaniment.

  32. Thats right it doesn’t have to be a five piece band the Cathredrals proved that !

    • Exactly.

  33. Keith, i hate to raise this question… If it is that difficult, should those groups be on the road full-time? I pay to see good music and would buy expensive tickets to see a good live southern gospel band. I hear these statements all the time about this group or that group having such a hard time making… Is it time for some of them to say, “if this is the way it is going to be, maybe we shouldnt be doing this full-time”.

    Now i am not trying to say that they should not be traveling. I am just thinking out loud.

    • I think it’s possible for a group to have a valuable, meaningful ministry that changes lives and makes ends meet, but not much more than make ends meet. And I’d be fine with calling that sort of success … the success that really matters. πŸ™‚

  34. Daniel I have to say this when you put a ticket price on something or you charge a flat to appear for someone that changes things ! Part time artist who hold down a 9 to 5 job and travels over the weekend on 250 mile radius and doesn’t depend on singing to make a living sing a enough gospel to change the world because there tons of them across the map ! RP has a point when you are buying a ticket !!!!!!

  35. Comment

  36. I just want four guys and a piano, no tracks and certainly no band. I hate to think of the Blackwood Bros., Statesmen, Stamps, et. al. of the 50’s have their great voices covered up by twanging, banging and clanging. Maybe that is why the bands and tracks, because those great voice, arrangements and endless practice time are no longer with us.

  37. Mr. Jones just go to the concerts without tracks or a band ! That should be simple ! Lol

  38. I would love to see groups “band” together on select dates. For,example, bring back KingsGold. Share musicians-Brandon on drums, Gold City has the piano, co-hire a bass play-share the cost. Do several dates together over the course of a year. I think if groups would think creatively of ways to do things outside of the norms-especially those like me who love the live sound, it could be a win win situation for everyone.

    • Butch, interesting idea!

  39. Reading all of these comments is very interesting, but Legacy Five is not really asking if fans want them to add a live band.

    They want to know if you’d be disappointed if they used “Just simply piano and vocals” for most of the concert.

    That would be great, but it would be a shame for them to go that route and not put one of the singers on double duty playing a bass guitar.

    • David,
      L5 was forgotten about from the first few comments. Lol. Even after reading most Of them I wasn’t thinking about what the post was about until you reminded me.

  40. I just got off a cruise ship and all the shows in the main theatre used “canned music and stacks” and I never heard one person say “It’s not professional”

  41. We love just the way it is!! Keep it !! One thing no occupela please!!!

  42. One thing I miss from the early days of L5 is when Fowler would get on the bass. Of course, that was when Roger would emcee. May be a bit of a problem now. Still, I’d like to see more live music. Not all, and not even most. Up to half would be good for me.

    • My thoughts exactly.

  43. Here’s a great example of what can happen with live music. Here, Ernie Phillips is joining Soul’d Out on “Gloryroad”. Ernie, Brian, Matt, and Ian are singing to Michael Howard’s piano accompainment.

    • While it was great, this isn’t really something that couldn’t be done with tracks though either, so I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at.

      Unless you’re saying that this couldn’t happen unless they had that specific track in their system?

      • As far as I can tell, Soul’d Out has never recorded that song, so it stands to reason that they would have a track for it in their track machine. So it is true that their musicians and singers were able to improvise, live, for a great moment.

      • Of course, I meant to say “wouldn’t have a track”

      • Brian’s right. At least in the national-profile era of the group, the era when they would have tracks at a level of quality that you would expect to see, they have not recorded this song. Therefore, without a live pianist to accompany the song, this moment would not have happened.

        By the way: I was at this concert. As far as I know, it wasn’t captured on film, but the offertory was quite a pleasant surprise. Pianist Michael Howard was still on piano. Bass singer Ian Owens moved over to playing bass guitar. Lead singer Bryan Hutson moved over to playing drums! It was incredible.

      • I hadn’t actually meant that, but what I was getting at was that it was the energy that was exhibited with live accompaniment vs. a track.

        Another thing to think about: without a soundtrack or a live bass guitar, there’s more room in the mix for the bass singer. Less to compete with him.
        Take, for example, a recording of the Inspirations. They don’t use drums, so there’s less “blending” Eq. needed to make everything “set” in the mix. With other groups, a drum, bass, and a bass singer’s recorded tracks compete with each other for “space” in the mix.
        So, Ian came through more prominent on this song, compared to others they would have sang that night, because there was less sources using the same frequency range that he was singing in.

      • In point of fact, though, Ian was that prominent all night. (I was there.) His microphone was simply hot in the mix all night.

      • True, he was strong on the other video also. (They sang “Travelin’ Home” with a soundtrack, for those who haven’t seen it.) Still, the sound texture was different on “Gloryraod”.

      • Yeah. He wasn’t singing as loud on “Travelin’ Home” as, for example, on “Say a Prayer,” which wasn’t filmed, though.

  44. The nature of live performance: varying dynamics.
    Bringing my post back to the topic of the thread, by nature of having live instruments, there is more dynamics in a “live” performance than a “tracked” performance. Most people in our industry don’t carry enough outboard gear to compress every input, if they even do that.
    With a track, compression processing has been done before the track is taken out live and sang with.

  45. Obviously we’re late to the conversation, but better late than never, we suppose! πŸ™‚

    While we have enjoyed tracks in the past – accepting it as the norm for Southern Gospel groups – we have come to truly appreciate the live band approach used by several major groups. There is nothing like live music; it adds genuineness to a concert, an honesty, so to speak. When the overwhelming orchestration is set aside, the subtle nuances of the vocal blend and clarity of words more effectively drives the message home, grabbing the attention of the listener. The simple accompaniment of a piano and bass can enhance to the reflective or grooving mood of a concert, if used tastefully – which we’re certain Legacy Five could do! And other live instruments would add more fun and polish as well.

    So, we would love to see Legacy Five incorporating more live music! It’s a lost art.