Gospel Music CSI
Several weeks ago, Steve Weatherford launched a Facebook group, Gospel Music CSI. Anyone can view posts, but you have to have a Facebook account and join the group to be able to post. The discussions involve any number of past and present performers, and some of Southern Gospel’s most noted experts—Harold Timmons, John Crenshaw, Dean Adkins, and more.
The discussions are endlessly fascinating to anyone intrigued with our genre’s history. Original Gold City tenor recently posted a perspective on Brian Free that he’d never shared before publicly:
I believe when Brian came in, it gave a shot in the arm that the group needed. I was pretty good, but Brian had a sound in his voice that I knew would be an asset to the group. History has proven it. Before I left Gold City, and I have never publicly said this, but we all listened to audition tapes. I wanted to listen to Brian’s tape more than once, because I liked his sound. I told Floyd, “I think he should be the one if he can blend with the other guys.” Of course it wasn’t my decision to make but they did ask my opinion. And as they say, “The rest is history.”
Or take a discussion on how a number of the post-WWII generation of bass singers smoked. Big Chief Wetherington’s daughter chimed in and offered a unique perspective that only a family member would know:
Dad (Chief) didn’t smoke to lower his voice…in truth I saw him try to quit dozens of times. Dad smoked because he picked tobacco as early as age four with bare hands. Not only do we have better child labor laws now but the FDA makes them wear coated, leather gloves as nicotine gets into the blood stream and stays. He called it “his thorn in the flesh” and NEVER would encourage anyone to start. I think dad always feared that one day it would actually affect his voice, if not kill him first. But as I said recently to someone…the unrelated blood clot got him first. Fortunately I was born with asthma and was never tempted to try it once. I think my parents prayed for that.
Perhaps founder Steve Weatherford himself put it best when he said: “I’ve learned more in a week on here than in any ten years backstage.”