NQC 2013, Day 4: Live Blog
Highlight of the Night
The Perrys’ set was one of the strongest sets of the week. They started with “Blue Skies Coming,” a song with an incredibly timely message given their struggles over the last eight months (as bass singer Tracy Stuffle recovers from a January stroke and five cerebral hemorrhages since.) Things got even better with another song appropriate for this trial, “Through the Night.” I was prepared to note that song as one of the highlights of the night, but the Perrys were just getting started.
Libbi told David Ragan and Bryan Walker that she was going to throw them a curveball and change up the program. She spent the time frame that would normally have gotten allotted to song three testifying to God’s faithfulness during these last eight months. She then talked about how the two most important things in our lives are God and our families, and offered a sharp rebuke to people who put expensive cars, houses, and boats at higher priorities. It was a passionate and timely reminder.
Libbi said that as she was leaving Tracy’s side this morning for the drive up to Louisville, she told him that they would use FaceTime to show him their set live. She asked if there was a song he wanted them to sing. He asked them to sing his all-time favorite song, “I Rest My Case At The Cross.” They did, and Louisville came unglued.
These are the sort of moments that capture the essence of the National Quartet Convention, the moments that make it feel more like a family reunion than just a big concert or a trade show.
In chronological order:
- Southern Raised was one of the best performers in today’s showcases. Their rendition of “Angels, Swing a Little Lower” was incredible, both instrumentally and vocally.
- “I’m Winging My Way Back Home,” Dixie Echoes, featuring Andrew and Alex Utech. Andrew was singing lead; Alex was singing bass. The audience responded with an enthusiastic ovation.
- “He Ain’t Never Done Me Nothin’ But Good,” The Isaacs.
- “He’s Alive,” The Talleys. (The whole Talleys set was strong.)
- “Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin,” The Hoppers.
- Triumphant Quartet had an all-around solid set, with moments of heartfelt testimony, humor, and no-holds-barred big endings.
- “We Believe,” Booth Brothers—both the song and how Michael Booth used humor and serious exhortation to introduce it.
- “Tradin’ The Old Cross,” Booth Brothers. The Collingsworth Family, who also recorded the song, came up on the encore. Great energy late in the night!
- “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” The Collingsworth Family. An acapella highlight!
- “Oh, Holy Night,” Kim Collingsworth piano solo.
- “Hope Has Hands (Grace Has a Face),” Greater Vision. Subtle brilliance; a highlight of the Christmas section.
We’ve hidden the complete play-by-play from the home page for space considerations; click “read more” or on the post’s title to read the detailed coverage.
10:49: Kim Collingsworth kicks off the Christmas set with a piano solo on “Oh Holy Night.” The audience responds with a rousing standing ovation. Song 2: “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” by the Jubilee gang—Legacy Five, Booth Brothers, and Greater Vision. Song 3: “Silent Night,” Kim Hopper. Song 4: “Joy Has Come to the World,” Karen Peck and New River. Song 5: Fans who have hung in until this point are rewarded with a Greater Vision song, “Hope Has Hands (Grace Has a Face),” featuring Rodney Griffin. Song 6: An audience singalong on “Silent Night.”
10:29: The Collingsworth Family begins their set with “I’ve Come Here to Tell You,” a song from their new CD, The Lord is Good. Song 2: Kim Collingsworth starts off “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” with a solo acapella line. Phil Jr. joines on line 2; Brooklyn makes it a trio on line 3. Courtney sings verse 2 as the family sings “oohs” in the background. The whole family comes in for a dramatic verse 3. Definitely a highlight moment! Wow! (This is from their Hymns from Home CD that released on Tuesday.) Song 3: “There is Healing in His Hands,” from The Lord is Good. Song 4: “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness,” an old John Peterson song made fresh and infused with a little Bluegrass banjo.
10:11: The Booth Brothers begin their set with “Since Jesus Came to Live Inside of Me,” all around one microphone. There’s a funny moment when Gerald Wolfe walks on stage to snap a cell phone picture of the trio. Then he spins around and takes a picture of himself with the group—and they don’t miss a beat in the song. Song 2: “The Blind Man Saw it All.” Booth takes a few minutes to share about their start in Southern Gospel. He talked about how intimidating it seemed to break into Southern Gospel eighteen years ago, and how overwhelming a task it seemed to break in. He said: “I know you’re thinking, ‘O ye of little faith.’ But I was pretty little back then!” He added that Charlie Waller noticed them first, then Eddie Crook, and then—by this point the audience is laughing—how Bill Gaither finally got on board! Somehow he brings things around to a serious note again, talking about the importance of the Gospel and introducing “We Believe.” Song 4: “Tradin’ The Old Cross.” The high-energy performance has the crowd on its feet, and the Collingsworth Family joins them for the encore. (Both groups have recorded the song.)
9:53: Triumphant Quartet begins their set with “Because He Loved Me.” Scotty Inman testified to God’s faithfulness in the healing of his baby daughter; a year ago this week, she was on a breathing device, and today, she’s at NQC. He then sang a solo on “The Great I Am Still Is.” To the delight of the audience, “Old White Flag” was third. Song 4: “Saved By Grace.”
9:53: Perhaps in consideration of how far behind schedule we are this evening tonight, it looks like the Gerald Wolfe/Jeff Stice piano duet has been dropped.
9:34: Greater Vision starts their set with “Since I Have Been Redeemed.” Song 2: “Come Unto Me.” Song 3: “When They Ring the Bells of Heaven.” Greater Vision always shines on convention songs, and this is no exception. Gerald Wolfe dedicates it to Woody Wright, who specifically asked them to sing a convention song. Song 4: “This is Mercy.” Song 5: With Stan Whitmire at the piano, Greater Vision has the ability to improvise, adding in a piano-and-audience-participation chorus, “At Calvary.” Song 6: “For All He’s Done.” At this point, by the way, we’ve fallen around twelve minutes behind schedule.
9:27: Clarke Beasley talks about NQC 2014 in Louisville, and introduces an ad for the TBN Network.
9:17: The Collingsworth ladies perform “The Prayer” as a violin/violin/piano instrumental performance.
9:00: Mark Bishop is one of Southern Gospel’s understated and underrated funny men. He’s a master at taking a normal moment and injecting some perfect situational humor. Without actually mentioning that Claude missed the first few songs of the Hoppers’ first set of the week, he subtly referred to it by indicating that he didn’t see him around stage, but added: “I’m going to take it for granted that Claude has shown up for his own concert tonight. This is me stepping out in faith.” (Claude was there.) Song 1: “I Am Whatever You Need.” Song 2: “I’ll Worship Only At The Feet of Jesus.” Kim Hopper indicated that she hadn’t heard the song before Gaither asked them to perform it for a videotaping at the Billy Graham library. Connie Hopper’s solo was exceptionally strong. Song 3: “Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin.” Song 4: “Shoutin’ Time in Heaven.”
8:47: David Jeremiah takes about five minutes to introduce Mark Bishop, and doesn’t ever get around to actually introducing him. So Brooklyn Collingsworth brings him on. (Casual readers: That’s part of a running joke, somewhat an inside joke, for anyone who’s been following the comments section this evening!) Bishop starts his set with his #1 hit “Listening For The Call.” Song 2: Bishop brings Gerald Crabb and Phil Cross onto stage to sing their current trio song and radio single, “Song of a Lifetime.” Song 3: Another of his solo career’s three #1 hits, “I Got Here as Fast as I Could.” Channing Eleton is on the piano, and does a brilliant job on this acoustic rendition. Somehow, even though I’ve heard this song countless hundreds of times since it first came out in 2005, I still get choked up every time when he reaches the climax. What a song.
8:25: The Talleys’ set begins with “God is Great, Good, and Merciful.” Remarkably, this deep into the night, the schedule is on time to the exact minute. Song 2: “Broken World,” featuring Lauren Talley Alvey. Song 3: Lauren starts singing “The Broken Ones,” as Roger Talley heads over to the piano keyboard. Song 4: Roger’s time at the piano was rather short-lived; after a chorus of “The Broken Ones,” he’s back onstage for his solo on “Up Above,” their current radio single. Lauren takes the second verse and the bridge. Song 5: “He’s Alive,” featuring Lauren.
8:23: A video of the Florida Boys’ farewell performance, “When He Was On The Cross (I Was On His Mind).”
8:07: The Isaacs kicked off their set with an acapella rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer.” Song 2: “Waiting On The Water,” featuring a heartfelt solo by Becky Isaacs Bowman. She lived the song, waiting twelve years for healing from Chron’s disease. Song 3: “Accentuate the Postive.” Song 4: “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days),” featuring soprano Sonya Isaacs. Song 5: “He Ain’t Never Done Me Nothin’ But Good,” featuring Sonya.
8:00: The Penny Loafers sing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” acapella.
7:44: The Perrys kick off their set with “Blue Skies Coming,” a song incredibly appropriate for the trials they’ve been facing. New lead singer David Ragan, whom you last saw with the Inspirations, nailed his solo. When the Perrys lost Joseph Habedank, a beloved member who helped define their sound for a decade, it would have been a mistake to try to find someone who copied Habedank’s every vocal lick note for note. They did the right thing by doing what the Statesmen did when Jake Hess left and they hired Jack Toney—hire a singer who is similarly talented, but in a distinctly different way. Song 2: Libbi Perry Stuffle nails a heartfelt rendition of “Through the Night.” Easily one of the evening’s highlights! Song 3: Libbi is testifying! She is on a roll! After several minutes of heartfelt admonishment and testimony, they sing “I Rest My Case at the Cross.” It’s safe to say that this is the highlight of the night.
7:40: Showcase winner performance: The Allen Family’s male quartet sings “Give The World a Smile.” Their quartet sound has taken a distinct step forward since one brother’s voice settled into a genuine Southern Gospel bass range, and the father moved to baritone. The lead singer’s voice has also matured and improved in the year or two since we saw him last. Jeff Stice joined them on piano.
7:23: It took Dennis Swanberg five minutes to introduce the Dixie Echoes, and he didn’t even start talking about them till the last fifteen seconds or so. Ah, well. 🙂 The Dixie Echoes started their set with “On the Other Side of Jordan.” Song 2: “I’m Winging My Way Back Home.” The audience loved the bass notes. Song 3: “Roll on Jordan.” Song 4: Tenor George Shelton is featured on “Walk With Me.” Song 5: The set is closed with Randy Sr. featured on “How Great Thou Art.”
7:00: The McKameys begin their set with “More Like Jesus, Less Like Me.” Song 2: This set, we get a full performance of “God On The Mountain.” Peg McKamey Bean is on fire, as usual! Song 3: “He Can.” Song 4: Roger Fortner’s unexpected hit, “Unspoken Request.” Song 5: “Hold On”; the McKameys repeat their radio single from their Tuesday set.
6:44: The Diplomats are appearing in a male quartet configuration, with new member Harold Reed on tenor, Corey Pearson on lead, Jim Pearson on baritone, and Joseph Brown on bass. Their alto, Rita Pearson, suffered a torn hamstring and was unable to make the trip. They have a live band of regular members, with possibly a fill-in or two. Song 1: “Joy in the Storm.” Song 2: “There is a Light.” This group has so much talent that, even though a male quartet isn’t their primary configuration—in fact, at many points, it’s pretty much just a novelty portion of their program—yet they’re putting up one of the stronger male quartet segments of the week. Song 3: “If Not For The Blood of the Cross.” Song 4: “I’ll Soon Be Gone.” Another great uptempo male quartet song.
6:40: Showcase winner: Back Home.
6:19: The Browns are up next, reprising “A Place in the Choir,” a novelty song they performed on their first set of the week. Song 2: A shift from novelty to the strongest serious song in their repertoire, “It Will Be Worth It All.” Song 3: The Browns sing “Going Home” acapella. Michaela sings a solo verse acapella; it takes a confident vocalist to pull that off! Song 4: “I’ll Fly Away,” with a fiddle instrumental. Song 5: They welcome oldest sister and former group member Jessica Brown Trammell on stage for “Everywhere I Go.” Song 6: A solo instrumental medley of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Carol of the Bells.” This is a rather long set.
5:58: Wilburn & Wilburn kick their set off with a number familiar from Jonathan’s Gold City days, “I’m Rich.” That’s a pretty smart move for this audience—both familiar and a high-energy kickoff for the first headliner set of the night. After introducing his son Jordan and Jordan’s brand-new bride (Jordan got married last Saturday), they sing “Jesus Will.” Song 3: “A Man Like Me,” their current single. Song 4: “Let’s All Go Down To The River.”
5:57: Jim Brady and Brooklyn Collingsworth will host tonight. This will be an interesting first-time pairing—also interesting because both are not their group’s usual emcee, so we rarely hear from Brady and almost never from Collingsworth on stage.
5:51: There’s a Fire in the Choir segment, with Tribute Quartet and a 120-voice choir singing “Good News From Jerusalem.”
5:50: The schedule announced that Jason Crabb would lead the audience sing-a-long. Instead, it is Tim Lovelace leading it.
5:34: Paul’s Journey is up next, singing “Living in Canaan Now.” Their most recognizable name is lead singer Joe Kitson (Dixie Melody Boys, Statement of Faith).
5:29: Southern Raised is the first showcase winner appearing tonight. They’re singing “Angels, Swing a Little Lower.” They’re a bluegrass band; the level of the talent behind the picking and singing is unreal. There’s a solid banjo solo and absolutely mind-blowing guitar and fiddle solos. This isn’t just on par with the quality of picking and singing you’d expect to find in an Isaacs set; this would be spectacular closer-of-Isaacs-set type material.
5:21: Our live blogging for the evening is about to get under way. If, like us, you’re logging in via webcast, or if you’re there in person—either way, we’d love to have you jump into the discussion and share your thoughts!
For more about Dixie Echoes and Greater Vision and Mark Bishop and the Booth Brothers and the Browns and the Collingsworth Family and the Diplomats and the Hoppers and the Isaacs and the McKameys and the Perrys and the Talleys and Triumphant Quartet and Wilburn and Wilburn—and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!