DVD Review: Live in Louisville (Mark Trammell Quartet)
Live in Louisville features footage from the Mark Trammell Quartet’s three sets at the 2012 National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. The SouthernGospelBlog.com staff live-blogged the event, covering their sets here, here, and here. Here’s one excerpt:
The Mark Trammell Quartet’s set was perfectly paced. They started with the peaceful, relaxed “Gentle Shepherd.” They picked up the pace with “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” sung as a tribute to the Couriers (whom Mark saw at his first National Quartet Convention, 35 years ago). Then Mark introduced Pat Barker. It’s clear that the NQC audience loves him; he just had to say Pat’s name, and the audience let out a cheer.
Now, we’re talking about a song that’s a recent #1 hit. It’s the most successful radio single the group has to date. It’s also huge for them live. Pat conveyed the song with passion and confidence, and the audience responded in such a big way that two encores seemed like too little, not too much.
You might think that would be the highlight of their set. But you would be wrong.
“The King is Coming” was the moment of the night.
I have many versions of the song, including the Speer Family’s landmark live 1972 version on Jesus Sound Explosion—a version so powerful that it got the strongest response of the album in front of a Jesus Music audience, surrounded by the strongest Jesus Music artists at the time. Of course, the Bill Gaither Trio’s rendition was also incredible—and many others have been, too.
Despite all that, I suspected that I would eventually make the following conclusion. After seeing the Mark Trammell Quartet’s version live, I am ready to state that theirs is the strongest version ever recorded.
The video footage is sharp and clear. The editing is smooth; some of Mark’s longer talking sections were cut out, but it serves to enhance the overall flow of the video. From an editing standpoint, the largest distraction is an ad for NQC 2013 included between songs four and five and songs eight and nine. It wouldn’t have seemed as out-of-place at the end, but it did feel like an awkward interruption where it was. An ad for an event coming up in just a few months inherently dates the video—though dating the video is somewhat of a moot point, since tenor Eric Phillips had already left by the time the video released.
As anyone who has watched groups at NQC and in normal concerts knows, the brief NQC sets don’t permit the same flexibility of pacing for slower moments and humor that you will find in a normal concert setting. Each set has to be a four-song highlight reel. Trammell, as emcee, works well within the limitations, including a little humor and testimony.
A few minor quibbles aside, the vocal performances and song selection are both spectacular. Fans of straight-ahead quartet singing will number this among the best quartet DVDs of the year.
Group Members: Eric Phillips (tenor), Nick Trammell (lead), Mark Trammell (baritone), Pat Barker (bass), Dustin Sweatman (piano).
Credits: Executive Producer: Mark Trammell. Producer: Kim Ryan White. NQC Program Producer: Phil Brower. Director: Russell Hall. Production Manager: Rob Snyder. Graphic Design: Ben Wolfe. Audio Mix and Mastering: Van Atkins for Crossroads Studios. Editor: Jacob Ryan for Viewfinders, Inc. Review copy provided.
Song List: I Sing the Mighty Power of God; ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus; Wonderful Time Up There; Statue of Liberty; Gentle Shepherd; Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah; I Want to Know; The King is Coming Medley; Meet Me Over on the Other Side; Too Much to Gain to Lose; Standing on the Rock; Golden City Tour.