Shane McConnell replaces Michael Sykes in Canton Junction

Canton Junction: Shane McConnell, Aaron Crabb, Matthew Hagee, Tim Duncan

Left to right: Shane McConnell, Aaron Crabb, Matthew Hagee, Tim Duncan

Canton Junction announced this afternoon that acclaimed studio vocalist Shane McConnell will be replacing founding baritone Michael Sykes. McConnell has been a studio vocalist in Nashville for fifteen years, and has made frequent appearances on Gaither Homecoming recordings and concerts since 2006.

Canton Junction is based out of Cornerstone Church in Texas; Sykes, who had been on staff at Cornerstone, recently relocated from Texas back to Nashville.

Matthew Hagee, tenor for Canton Junction and Executive Pastor of Cornerstone Church, commented: “Shane is a remarkably talented and incredibly gracious individual, who greatly complements the idea that Canton Junction is where good things come together We are extremely blessed to have him and look forward to what the future holds for Canton Junction.”

McConnell added: “I’ve enjoyed all the opportunities I’ve had in the studio through the years, but now as a member of Canton Junction, I’m especially looking forward to being able to interact with live audiences. I’ve always loved quartet harmonies, but I also have a heart for praise & worship, so Canton Junction seems like a great home for me. I believe it’s going to be a fun journey!”

For many groups, the first personnel change can be a hurdle. This doesn’t seem to be the case here. Canton Junction has had to answer questions of whether they’re just a church quartet—albeit perhaps the most talented church quartet in the country! That they would carry on through a lineup change—especially with the loss of such an acclaimed producer and vocalist as Sykes, and finding a similarly acclaimed replacement—speaks to a certain level of seriousness about the quartet that promises well for their future.

For more about —and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

15 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. Funny how this comes on the same day as your post on finding replacements quickly.

    It will be interesting how this affects the groups blend, but I do know that McConnell is a good singer.

    • That irony did not escape me. 🙂

      Given the little I do know of McConnell’s range, I do wonder if Hagee and Crabb will stay at tenor and lead. It also doesn’t escape me that Hagee is standing between Crabb and Duncan; I wonder if the positioning is random, or if McConnell will be singing tenor.

      • That would certainly be interesting.

      • I think the positioning was random. I got to watch them sing at two different church services over the past couple of weeks (1-2 songs per service) and McConnell was singing baritone. Also, when Matt introduced him, he announced that Shane was the group’s new “baritone”.

      • OK, thanks! Well, their baritone sure has an incredible range. 🙂

      • He sure does!

    • i love canton junction. they sing great together. i believe they will sing now as great as always. love their music.

  2. Shane is an amazing talent and extreemly versitile. Get ready to be impressed and blessed.

  3. So does this mean that Sykes is no longer involved at the church or just didn’t want to travel? Just wondering…..

    • He made some comments on Facebook about moving back to Nashville. So I assume this means he’ll be focusing on album production again, and I assume this means he’s no longer on Cornerstone staff. I had been wondering about the future of Canton Junction based on those comments, but simply avoided speculation here. I’m so glad to hear they’re not quitting!

  4. The very few times I’ve heard his voice on Gaither videos I’ve been highly impressed. This group has to start touring right now!!!

  5. Awesome addition! Can’t wait to hear more from them! I love when a group adds a verstile vocalist, as it gives them an opportunity to do different styles and arrangements. Good move for CJ.

    • Canton Junction, Aaron and Amanda Crabb and John Haggee will be in Hershey, PA soon. (about 45 minutes north of Lancaster)

  6. First look at the new lineup:

  7. I will say, the first time I heard “The Sun Shines Down On Me” on the radio, I had no idea it was Canton Junction. The one thing I did think was “Wow, what an awesome bass singer!” Then when I found out who the group (and bass singer was), I had another thought. It was something along the lines of “Was Tim’s talent’s as a bass singer underutilized in the last number of years he was with EH&SS?” On this song with Canton Junction, they just let him go and do his thing. Any thoughts on this? Or maybe I am way off base….. 🙂