Finding Replacements Quickly

There is a common impression that it is taking longer than ever before for groups to find replacement vocalists after a member departs. Several weeks ago, reader and frequent commenter Josh posted a commentย to this effect. He got me thinking.

It’s probably true that we are now seeing the longest interval between when we find out about a group member change and when we find out about a replacement. I’m not sure, though, that thisย necessarily means that it is taking groups longer to find replacements.

Here’s why: Years ago, before social media, we often wouldn’t find out about a member change until a replacement had been hired and the official press release had been issued. In this era of social media, groups or the departing member often post news of a departure the same day a decision is madeโ€”often two weeks or more before a group member’s final day. Even groups that aren’t socially active aren’t immune from news getting out early: As often as not, word will spread on social media as soon as a fill-in appears on stage with a group.

So is it really that it’s taking groups longer to find replacements? Or is it just that we’re hearing about departures sooner?


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62 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 think a couple of things…Just opinions (for what they are worth..not much)…It seems to me it is getting harder to find people sold out to the commitment. I dont mean to sound critical but how many out here today would go through…living on the vegetable from the garden to keep the quartet going? Take a career knowing they will never make much? When I think of our legends I think about their stage presence of course and singing and songs…but also of the sacrafice and commitments for the industry…applause to all of them…and I understand this generation (mine) might not know how to relate to those sacrafices…

    • With the utmost respect, I think that the level of sacrifice required from this generation of up-and-coming Gospel singers is approaching the level of sacrifice required in the ’40s and ’50s. Yes, if you got a job with the Blackwood Brothers or the Statesmen you’d be doing well enough financially. And today, if you get a job with the Gaither Vocal Band, the Booth Brothers, or Greater Vision, you’ll probably be making comfortably above minimum wage. But then and now, if you want to ultimately make it into one of the biggest groups on the road, you’ll probably need to spend more than a few years making a name for yourself in lesser-known groups. In most groups outside of the 10 or 20 biggest, you probably won’t be making much more than minimum wage, and you’ll be on the road 170-200+ days per year. Suppose you’re the sole breadwinner for your family and have one or two children; there is a decent enough chance you will be below the poverty line.

      I have no idea what your age is. If you’re mid-thirties or older, then your closing statement may well be right. But when I speak of my generation of singers, I’m speaking of those mid-twenties and under – less than a decade out of high school. While I can’t speak for earlier generations, when there was a little more money in the genre to go around, but I think that this generation knows how to relate to the sacrifices of the pioneers – because they’re making them, too.

      • It is tough in todays standard to make a decent living on the road singing gospel music, unless like Daniel says, you’re with one of the bigger named groups. How often do you see a change in these big name groups so your chance of getting a call from one or being accepted, if there is ever a vacancy is slim to none. I believe the average family income now days is around $55,000 a year. In a lot of cases it takes both the husband and wife working to earn a decent wage. A person that is young and single can afford to go on the road singing for minimum wage. He/she is getting to see the world and go on cruises that otherwise they would not be able to afford. You will continue to see more and more vacancies in groups when the young folks get married and have a family to support. They have to find a decent wage to support the family.

  2. Wow, this is a good subject topic for a slow Tuesday. I’m not sure you will get some folks to agree with you that the artists of today have made anywhere near the sacrifices of those pioneers who paved the way. I think maybe the sacrifices are different, if any. But I don’t think nearly as many people would be signing up to do this full-time today if the conditions were like they were in the 50’s. Most traveled in cars, there were no cell phones, road conditions were worse, and that’s just three quick things off the top of my head. I know there are more adversities the pioneers of our industry had to face. I think today’s artists have it a lot better off in terms of the amenities, for sure. I do agree that today’s artists face challenges, but more in the area of so many career options, life choices, and financial situations vying for their time. They can make as much or more staying at home in a “regular” career. And let’s be honest. A lot of people are not willing to lay down their life to the extent a gospel artist has to, in terms of missing family birthdays, anniversaries, school ball games, etc. I think all of this is very important, don’t get me wrong. I’m for family first, but a lot of times the schedule doesn’t build into it the ablility to stay home for every life event of every familiy member. And an artist has to get rid of that part of “self” really quickly if they’re going to survive–and so do their loved ones. So, I do agree that both pioneers and current artists were/are not free of challenges, but I think the pioneers’ challenges were more about the travel itself and current artists face more self-related challenges. I hope that makes some sort of sense. LOL

    As for the groups taking forever to find a replacement, I just find it totally hysterical that “we” (meaning the fans as a whole) don’t like change. We normally hate it when it happens. We whine about it. But then we want a replacement as quickly as possible, but if the groups just grabbed the first person that came along, we’d not be happy and if that replacement were not the right fit, there would be another personnel change most likely, causing the cycle to repeat. I think there is a lot of merit to the fact that we hear about changes so much quicker, Daniel. You are certainly right about that. I do think that for those who are hoping for replacements to be found quickly, we should all go read James 1:4 and claim that for our favorite groups–let patience have her perfect work! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I think that this is an apt and appropriate use for applying James 1:4! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I do think you have a good point that groups back in the day faced worse roads and tighter traveling spaces. I’ll certainly grant that. But I do think the schedule / strain on family life has hit a point about as bad as then, and I’m not sure but that groups in comparable levels of success in the industry might not be starting to face financial challenges and worries about as bad as the ones the pioneers faced.

      • You will get no argument from me that finances are tough these days for sure! But again, I have to wonder if it’s for the same reasons. I think that in the early days when the pioneers of this industry were just starting to figure this thing out, they were dealing more with love offerings, the generosity of the people, and the balance of trying to put a price tag on what was ministry versus entertainment–sound familiar? LOL Some of the challenges were the same, but they were still in the learning stage and just trying to launch this genre. I think while we have more of a grasp of what it takes to keep a group on the road today, I think some of the challenges today besides a tanking economy are the problems that groups face in trying to keep up and compete. And I use this word “compete” with caution in the sense not of an act of competition in the ministry or what happens on stage, but in things like promotion, marketing, and “things.” Group A has a bus, group B thinks they need one. Or an expensive website. Or a backdrop for the product table. Or ear monitors. Or cordless mics. Or whatever the latest gadget is. We’ve all seen the trends and transitions and how costly they can be, but groups frequently feel that in order to be a viable entity, they need to keep pace with the others. Again, different types of challenges but challenges nonetheless. And my point about the travel itself is that today at least there are instant ways to communicate with family to keep touch at any given time with cell phones, email, Skype, Facetime, and Facebook. The pioneers would have never dreamed to have had these luxuries that we all consider necessity, especially for the road warriors. The family sacrifice away from the home is some the same, even though many groups can now fly to and from dates and travel considerations are much better. There’s still time away and missed functions, but the communication has improved a million percent, of which I’m thankful for. A huge blessing for our artists.

      • Communication has definitely improved.

        On the other hand, I think that Southern Gospel, as a whole has been heading back into being a genre that depends on love offerings a lot of the time. There aren’t too many groups that get a flat every night!

      • I think it is a combination. I am not sure if there were more groups around back then or now, but one thing that is different is that it is harder for groups to get into churches. So many churches are doing away with SG and the industry seems to be shrinking. Several groups are vying for less dates. Back in the older days, there were likely a lot more places that wanted singing (even though I suppose there were several singing school singers filling some of the void. Also, there were a lot more people who considered the church functions, music, radio etc. as the main entertainment for the family. Now there are tons of other options available and the church has more competition with that and with several of the world not believing anymore.

        Definitely the older days were tougher as far as transportation, communication, TV etc on the road, air condition today and maybe not before, maybe now groups have more help as far as hiring people to take care of some aspects of their career etc.

        I do think the older days had more people sacrificing or suffering to sing (nearly starving to sing etc. whereas today they might make a bit better living even though I suppose in general people expect more as a minimum standard of living, so maybe it is relative and is a wash).

        The economy, however is likely worse now than in those times. The war if nothing else caused the economy to improve after the Great Depression which helped things to pick up. So, there are probably too less jobs to be had other places and less people going to concerts / buying CDs etc. out of the ones who do want to still listen to it (which I believe is shrinking).

  3. Lol, I never expected my idle comment to become the subject of a post.

    I think honestly it’s a mix between what Bond Broker said and Daniel’s take on it. I do think that money just isn’t there the way it used to be (as evidence, I point to the number of groups that used to travel with a full band and now just use tracks; however, there does seem to be something of a renaissance there, as the Dove Brothers, Legacy 5 and Dixie Melody Boys are going back to having a full band, not to mention the LeFevre Quartet getting a pianist again).

    However, I do wonder at the number of really big names that have come off the road; Jay Parrack, Glen Dustin, Harold Reed, Bill Lawrence. In some cases they might have reasons for doing so other than that the money wasn’t good enough, but I know in at least one case it was because there simply wasn’t enough work.

    • Some people just don’t have the energy levels to work two jobs. I know, because I’m one of them! And if you don’t, and you’re not making enough to support a family on the road, then I suppose you just have to come off of the road.

      And Josh – you never know when an idle comment will get me thinking. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • So do all gospel singers have two jobs?

        Many’s the time I’ve considered throwing my hat in the ring. I even considered facebooking Scoot Shelnut with a video of me singing bass (I don’t have the resources to record a demo CD) just to see what happened. But being realistic, I just couldn’t do that either.

        BTW, do we know anything about:

        -The Dixie Echoes’ bass?
        -That Mark Clark has officially joined the Inspirations (according to their facebook)?
        -The Anchormen’s bass?
        -The Blackwood Quartet’s tenor?
        -The Mark Trammell Quartet’s tenor?
        -Freedom Trio’s baritone?
        -Was that Allen Sipe asking about the Dixie Melody Boys’ baritone/pianist position?

      • No on most counts, but I can say that Mark Clark is included on the in-the-studio videos of the Inspirations working on their next album this week. ๐Ÿ™‚

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cfavMHrw6A

      • All of these are to the best of my knowledge (so it could be outdated or wrong! :))

        Dixie Echoes: Jordan James is remaining on bass until a new hire.

        Mark Clark is the new Inspirations tenor

        I saw pics of the Anchormen with a bass but don’t know about if he’s there full-time or not.

        Blackwood Quartet is still looking

        Mark Trammell Quartet has a young guy named Dustin Black traveling with them right now, but a decision has not been made. I will say that I saw them during his first weekend and I was impressed at how well he did considering he was under the weather.

        Freedom Trio had Jonathan Sawrie filling in, but I highly doubt that would become a permanent thing (though you wouldn’t find me complaining!)

        No idea on the DMB.

        On the subject of this thread, I’m wondering how many of these will be resolved at the same time. Just as we seemed to find out about these at around the same time, perhaps the same will happen with the new hires.

      • Thanks for the run-down!

        Freedom has said that Jonathan Sawrie was just filling in.

      • You need to stay away from those “idles” (idols). ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Honored to be in a mix with Daniel!
    The World is different, churches are different, conerts are different…and SG and giving your life to it is different…
    I love and respect the fact that people of any decade have committed to this industry/field of ministry…
    You have my age correct and I can tell you from an economic standy point the ease of credit in our country created and kept groups on the road in the 70′-2000’s….that credit has become more difficult to get and people are more cautious about taking on debt or having to many people on the road (not that they don’t want them)…
    I even remember on quartet that was supposed to be the next Gold City and Cathedrals…they came out in the 90’s financed by a wealthy individual…then came off the road 8-10 years into their existence…
    Money and ministry…you can’t have on without the other!
    Praying for opened doors, minds and hearts for the future of SG!

    • The quartet in question…did it have a two-word title that describes an immaculate muscle?

      • ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I think the problem could be related to a study I saw on TV a few weeks ago. They said more men are stay at home Dads because they feel guilty about not being around family. They did have a guy who said his kids weren’t mad about him missing stuff they just said he had to be accountable for the decisions they made not to be at home. Maybe that’s part of it. Guys come off the road because they feel guilty about not being with their families.

    • That’s always been a factor in SG. But it seems to go through cycles, and right now seems to be an especially tough time for parents on the road.

  6. @Josh, what about Gold City’s tenor?

    • Right, I forgot. Robert Fulton is filling in with them (the others, I’m not even aware of a fill-in other than Mark Trammell’s wife who is clearly not going to be the new hire).

      • I believe that was Nick’s wife, instead of Mark’s.

  7. By the way, I condemn or criticize no one in this…

  8. Indeed, it was Jessica. Sorry.

  9. I’ll add a little different viewpoint here. I think a major issue is the fluidity of the genre. There really isn’t such a thing as job security in SoGo anymore. When you see the big name groups struggling as there are, it is tough to try to make the decision to leave an established career and take on all of the risk involved. I say that because that was precisely what I was left with when I prayed/contemplated taking a job with big group last year. My wife and I could have overlooked the other obstacles, but the risk of quitting my current job, relocating, and having little stability/security was too much.

    • It’s a risk, for sure. It just has to be the situation where you know for sure that it’s God’s calling on your life, at least for the time being, and there are people in the genre who have that assurance. I’m grateful for the sacrifices they make!

      • I absolutely agree with you. I don’t discount ever doing it if the right opportunity came along, and God was pointing in that direction, but I wanted to display my though process while I was in the midst of that decision.

      • Daniel,
        Just curious if you could give me a biblical example of someone being called in music.
        We are all ministers of the gospel.

      • Gifted would be a better word. We are all called to be ministers of the Gospel, but God does not call (or, if you prefer) assign us to different areas.

  10. Interesting discussion. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • We may have to make a rule that your comment be longer than your name.

  11. So, it is definitely a struggle. But, to drive the point home that Brady made, to get a group on the road does not take a bus, the best sound system on the road, a bus driver, a sound man, a full band (although it would be great), etc. Arguably, I would suggest that the one thing it does take is sacrifice! In my current situation, we have started a group that we fully intend to be around for quite some time and we fully intend to travel outside of our area. That being said, the partners involved have been blessed with good, stable incomes and have felt led to use those resources to pursue this ministry that we love dearly. This is in addition to the tithe that the Lord requires…nothing should ever take the place of that (personal conviction there).

    That being said, we have decided to deploy a supply and demand approach to this ministry. In business terms, if we can put out a good product and create a “demand” through targeted marketing and radio, then we will slowly and steadily increase our footprint. It is the typical success-based model that many businesses employ today. That does not mean you don’t invest, nor does it mean you don’t take risk. But, you do so in a targeted, controlled manner.

    All of this has no bearing whatsoever without a prayer ministry behind the scenes and without being absolutely sure that you are in the center of God’s Will. That should have been my first sentence!

    • Great words. I think you’re doing a lot of things right in your group launch, and I’m pretty optimistic that the future looks bright for you all!

  12. Money is a large issue but I believe it is a talent pool problem. Overall the Church does not support SG music and therefor young people are not being exposed to it.

    For the love of all that is good and right this does NOT mean we need to change the music to go after younger people. Simply means that this style of music is loosing it’s opportunity to be showcased to young people that WOULD like it.

    I do not fear loosing SG because of an older audience dying off because it has always lended itself to that demographic. I am VERY concerned about our future concerning quality singers and musicians.

    Bottom line to me is, if SG goes away because we lift the Cross, empty tomb, virgian birth, depravity of man and righteousness of God up too high for the modern Church to support it, then so be it. Painful to see this happen but Jesus had a LOT of people walk away from Him.

    • Wow! When I read insights like that, I think, “You should be the one writing this blog, not me!”

    • Amen! Amen! Very good Michael!

    • I mentioned the amount of churches accepting SG diminishing in my post above, but never thought about the talent pool also drying up. That brings to mind a responsibility. In order for SG to grow, or kept from wasting away, it is up to us more to expose kids to it before it is too late. That might mean having your own kids be brought up with it, taking them to concerts, maybe taking kids from church, school etc. with you as well when we do etc. Other ways would be singing SG as specials in church (or requesting someone to sing it) etc. Maybe posting videos on Facebook, basically taking advantage of each of us promoting it as best we can to friends, youth etc. It might mean driving further to concerts etc. too.

      Of course the same can be said about the gospel message in general. I look at the world and see a generation that has far too many people leaving the church if they ever went. I look at America and the sad state she is in and wonder if we are seeing the end of America as we knew it and prophecy coming to fruition as far as America not being around or being much at all in the last days.

      • In order to try getting more youth involved I starting offering a student ticket for $5.00 to any of our concerts. We are moving to a new venue in May and the Church has a large school. The school is going to promote the concerts and have tickets in their office for students to purchase. We are hoping we can get more youth involved. I believe if they hear the message of SG they will become attached to the music.

  13. I’m good for little bursts every now and then. But that’s about it!!!!

  14. Wow, Michael…wow. THAT is an amazing thought. Even though CCM has improved in its theology in recent years, for too long it was “7/11” music- 7 words repeated 11 times. I have always thought that next to the old gospel hymns, the next most-gospel-accurate songs were from SGM. I’m not talking about “fluff” or “waste” songs like Get Away Jordan and Low Down Sweet Chariot. I’m thinking of true gospel songs like “Meet Him At Calvary” by Greater Vision, “What We Needed” by the Kingdom Heirs, “Come Into The Ark” by Gordon Jensen, “Washed In The Blood” by Paul’s Journey, “God Handled It All” by Gold City, etc. IF southern gospel music fades away because the majority of the songs and songwriters tried to stay faithful to the cross, and the enemy made sure it was attacked until it faded away, then, at least the artists were faithful. Satan is FAR more powerful than any of us realize. Thought-provoking post…

  15. Michael is right young people don’t have the exposure to it.Something I want to point out also is that young musicians and singers don’t have the support of most of the Southern Gospel groups passing the Torch to them.Many times young musicians get discouraged on this because they have questions but don’t know the answers.I will say this Jeff Stice Understands passing the Torch has Helped many young musicians and so has Declaration Trio has helped with answering sound equipment questions.Also I live in the North and Southern Gospel gets NO RADIO EXPOSURE UP HERE. So the young people in Michigan grew up on CCM Music just the way it is so I think that effects young people up here .But like Michael said the Church does not support Southern Gospel and most churches up here in Michigan it’s Praise and Worship that the Church supports. I think Michael has a very valid concern on young musicians and singers in SG Industry.

    • I have found that many if not most groups would actually be happy to help answering questions from newer groups – if those groups would just ask. Some of the biggest groups out there can count on one hand the number of times up-and-comers have asked them questions of this nature.

  16. The evangelical church today have more in-house musicians that could travel with many of the national SGM groups. We can start with the lead person that opens the singing part of a Sunday Morning or Evening church service. Many of members of the team singing on the platform can hold their own in a SGM group. We have members of the orchestra and members of the band who can sing, too.

    The lure of using your musical gifts and developing your talents for Jesus in a stay at home local church far exceeds the perception of glory traveling country side singing gospel music.

    These days find churches having associate pastors for everything under the sun which is good. Senior pastors have to share their pulpits to allow the staff pastors preach to meet their credential requirements.

    The yardstick I use to determine the validity of a national group is where they sing on a Sunday night. For a regional group, where they sing on a Sunday morning. Pastors like to fulfill their callings by preaching on Sunday.

    There is an abundant of opportunities for local churches to fill their schedule of services/events with in-house servants of God much to the delight of the church’s Finance Committee.

    On the other end, the regional groups who know their calling are producing some good looking schedules. They are opening up for many of the multiple night events in southern gospel music today.

    A church hiring Michael Booth as their pastor would be of great value. He can lead the service, play in the band, do prayer time, he can preach and he knows how to close with the call for slavation. He could do all this and you still be out by noon.

    • I thought you were about to say that Michael could play in the band and sing in the choir!

  17. Just last night we finished our Canadian tour at a church that we, L5 had never been to before. There were 400 people on a Tuesday night! We were thrilled with the crowd but even more thrilled that almost half had never been to a Southern Gospel concert before! They had purchased tickets to see a group they had never heard sing songs that they were unfamiliar with. Why? Because the Pastor, the Minister of Music, and the Youth Pastor all got behind the concert and assured the people that they would love it! It was amazing to watch as they soaked it in! If only more churches would do this! When you present Gods word in song it will not return void!

    • Wow! That’s so neat! May God open up more of these doors!

  18. One thing I was thinking about that might discourage people from either entering the genre or from staying long in the genre.

    I think SG fans more than any other genre get attached to individual singers. I hear a lot of “this is a (enter individual’s name) song. How discouraging must it be to hear someone say or read someone write that they don’t like the job you’ve done because someone who came before you is far superior…

    • Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s because CCM groups or secular groups losing a key singer often just split up instead of hiring a replacement.

    • To be honest I’ve always wondered why this is. SG has more changes in its line-ups than any other genre. The ONLY constant in SG is change. And yet the fans seem to be the ones most resistant to change.

      Personally, I only get bugged if the concurrent line-up of a group hasn’t even had a year together before they lose someone. I’d like to be able to see some line-ups last. I miss the days when Gold City could go six or seven years with the same four singers.

      It’s kinda odd when, say, EH&SS gets a new bass and everyone suggests that “no one” could replace Tim Duncan. Paul Harkey’s doing a great job, IMHO.

      • Actually, I’m not sure that SG’s lineup changes are any more often. It’s just that when a CCM band or secular band has a personality clash, they’re more likely to just break up instead of hire a replacement and move forward!

      • I think there are various reasons. First, money might be part. Things are a lot easier when a more comfortable living is made. Secondly, I think maybe there are more different level of groups in SG, so artists can advance more. I think that SG treats the different levels of artists more equally and it is easier for people to break in. That, and the label structure is different than it probably is in CCM (once again due at least in part to money.

        Then, you also have less groups in general in CCM. Some, like Avalon have had some membership changes and I suppose changes are more acceptable in a group of 4 members than a duet. Some groups like 4Him just retire (like Alabama did in country) whereas others like Avalon go on (like the Oak Ridge Boys, Statler Brothers, Exile, Restless Heart and others in country). So, of course since CCM is more soloist oriented with very few groups, that alone would make more personnel changes in SG never mind the things I put above. Even with some groups in CCM, perhaps the emphasis is on a lead singer with a backing band or background vocalists than compared to SG which at least in many cases give other members a chance to shine. Mercy Me, Third Day or the such losing their primary vocalist would hurt more than many SG groups losing one (to some degree it might depend on the vocalist leaving and the strength and likeability of the ones left behind).

  19. Well….we have gone from sacrifice to money to family to competition to churches changing to talent pool to job security…all valid points and are probably true….
    Maybe we should do a discussion on firings sometime..
    One thing I might recommend is that everyone invite someone who has never been to a SG concert this year….take them to a quality group in a quality venue….
    For my birthday party this year my wife is having Gold City come in to do a concert of my 10-12 favorite GC songs…it will be a great Saturday night, no admission since it is my birthday and many people who have never heard Gold City will get o hear them!….
    Let’s get some new folks out!

    • Firings and everything else in between???
      We’ve done that.
      You will not find it here on this blog! (That’s good, too)
      Not pretty!

  20. LOL…true…but a firings discussion would be entertaining to say the least…we would hear the normal “he that is with out sin among you”…kind of verbage for failures…but I do think what criteria firings are/should be based on would be an interesting discussion…maybe not online where everyone could read, and I would hate to put Daniel is a difficult spot…perhaps at NQC over coffee!

  21. What I truely hope is that the younger singers who are being employed today have something to fall back on…singing doesnt last forever and when you try to head into the current job market you will find it vey cold and unresponsive. Dont get me wrong, SGM is great and I was priviledged to do it a long timeand miss it everday but sometimes you need to consider if the end justifies the means..Missing almost EVERYTHING with your family is hard, when a family member passes and you cant be there its a strain, when you talk to your kids on the phone and they say “im miss you Daddy”, its gut wrenching, when marriage is strained and falls apart its hard…you ask why replacements are hard to find..you have your answer in many forms but consider jus for a moment, maybe its not the talent pool that has fallen off but possibly its the groups who need to step up and make it worth while…i wish everyone seeking replacements luck and Gods guidance, take your time and find the right person…just rambling outloud….
    Harold Reed

    • Hey Harrold

      Could you give more of an deffinition of groups that could step up and make it worth while? Also, I’ve lost your cell number, shoot me yours with a text.

      MB

    • I really like this point. Is it worth it for someone to give up a good paying job, and then sacrifice years out of the market place should the singing career come to an end – all for $30K a year. More if you’re with an A League Group, but for the most part, SG pay is pittance compared to what “Pharaoh” can pay. Having to miss out on everything with your family, you need to have compensation be worth it if you want to attract some great talent. There are a few groups who can afford this – maybe 15 – maybe. It’s tough, Harold. I just wonder if there ever was or will be a time when a SG group can call someone to sing, and there’s no hesitation to join because of finances….

  22. Harold not HARROLD. My bad!!

  23. I think exposure is a problem. I’m younger than most who read this blog (19) and there are no SG radio stations near me. I got plenty CCM stuff because that’s what my mom likes. The only reason I got SG music was most likely because my dad had the Cathedrals Campmeeting & Farewell cassette tapes that got worn playing them over and over.

    Also, no one comes our way regularly. Even looking back now through SG’s history I can name the number of groups that come to my hometown regularly:

    Sunshine Boys
    Blue Ridge Quartet (Actually did a live album in my hometown)
    Statlers
    Oak Ridge Boys
    Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

    Granted, the GVB comes every few years too. but the point is if you asked my church to name a SG group they might be able to name EHSS because they’re the only ones that come regularly. I understand that it’s hard to take a chance on a new venue, but I’m just saying the exposure is a real problem in some areas.

    I think the reason EHSS and the Oaks come regularly is because they know they can sell 2200 seats. Heck, the Oaks are coming a country music festival this summer near me where they’ll be almost 100,000 people.

    Bottom line, with no exposure around me, I feel very fortunate to have parents who did expose me to SG music.

    • AJ Thats what I keep saying no radio play were I come from and yes I had parents who exposed me to SG also grew up with the Cathedrels,Gold City ,Nelons and Kingsmen when I was little we only went to Cathedrels concerts and we drove distances to do that.I also was lucky enough that my parents sang and traveled in a group that was SG.I’m twenty-seven and my friend who is twenty nine had really no exposure to SG until she met me and started coming to my church she grew up on CCM .Now some groups do make it up to Michigan on a regular basis Booth Brothers being one of them,Greater Vision ,Legacy Five.But Martins not that much and on the other side of the state when they do BFA we are lucky if we see them once a year.And sometimes we have to go to Indiana to see SG groups . Also what exposed me was XM radio that’s how I found out about the Booth Brothers,Talley Trio because I heard songs I liked on XM radio and looked up the group to see who they were .My first Booth Brother CD was The Blind Man Saw It All and had I never heard that song on XM radio I doubt I would have known who the Booth Brothers are and problably would have never seen them had it not been for Radio Exposure.It’s so important I think for radio stations to play SG a lot more people would come and support SG if they heard it.And there is no young people at SG concerts from what I have seen seeing groups BFA gets a good varity and so Does TQ but most other groups are either mid 40s to 50 or older that attend.

      • My church had some southern gospel in when I was a kid (a time or two I remember), my grandpa had a bunch of albums I am told (I wasn’t really exposed to them), and my parents a few things. Then, as a teen I heard a bit on SG radio (an hour or two on Saturday morning). I did start getting a little SG in 1987 (Stamps, Gold City, Cathedrals), but a lot of my SG exposure was from the Gaither Videos as far as several artists. Since I have heard some on SG radio and elsewhere too.