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.

Other highlights

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.

Play-by-play highlights

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!

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84 Letters to the Editor

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  1. The pickin’ group was very good!

    Seemed like the tenor for Paul’s Journey was struggling, but maybe I’m just used to their former tenor (blanking on the name right now). And it could be because of the cold/allergy problems around there

    • Yes, it could be either.

    • Randall Garland is Paul’s Journey’s former tenor/current producer.

  2. On your 5:57 comment, was just looking back at the “Are emcees born or bred” topic from earlier this year, thinking about the Booth Brothers that Jim could probably handle the emcee duties if called upon (and Ronnie too).

    Also Joe Habedank earlier and now Bryan Walker of the Perry’s have stepped up and done an admirable job filling in over this year without Tracy.

    OK, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

  3. Wow, Wilburns ended their set right as the clock hit 0:00.

  4. I wonder what happened to Jason? He was suppose to host too.

    • He posted this to Twitter this morning:
      Happy Thursday! Looking forward to tonight at Faith Fellowship Church in Grenada, MS at 7:00 PM.

  5. Is it just me, or does it seem the Browns are struggling a little bit to night? Some pitchy parts here and there..

    • Not just you, but the instrumental was awesome!

  6. Daniel, if you look at the schedule, the instrumental isn’t part of their regular set.

    • Yeah, I did notice that. Even so, it was staged as one continuous set.

  7. Just an FYI: Jessica Brown Trammell HAS, in fact, rejoined The Browns as a permanent member (as of a few weeks ago).

    • Oh, OK. Thanks! She didn’t do the first set this week with them, or most of the second set, though.

      • You’re welcome, Daniel.

  8. I know the Bluegrass group Southern Raised that kicked off the program tonight. They’re from Hurley, MO. They’re just starting to pick up some national attention. They’re next project is going to be produced by Kevin Williams. They’re definitely an group to keep an eye on! Great family!

    • Cool! With talent at that level, I’m not surprised at all that they’re starting to get national attention!

  9. Correct me if I’m wrong, but, I think The Swan was actually on the schedule for tonight. (to do comedy & introduce the Dixie Echoes)

    • He was listed on the schedule. But, as far as I’m concerned, the purpose of someone standing on stage at this particular event is to introduce the next singer. 🙂 😛 In other words, there was some humor in the latest update.

      • Don’t worry Daniel, I laughed!

      • Whew. I know some readers wouldn’t get the joke. I hoped there would at least be some who would get it!

  10. Great to see DE alum Pat there watchin’!

  11. The oldest Allen boy wasn’t there, so there was a few changes since last time they were on mainstage. I think the lead today was tenor last time, and the oldest was at lead, and obviously the baritone and bass switched spots.

    • Cool. I don’t know them all apart yet. But every change was for the better, because the tenor here is also the best tenor they’ve put on stage.

      • Agreed!

  12. Preach it, Libbi!

  13. I’m going to echo the above comment and say PREACH LIBBI!!

  14. Wow Libby is tearin it up! Preach it sister! And then to follow it up with I Rest My Case At The Cross. Wow!

    • The moment of the night – easily.

  15. And now the Isaacs are doing Waiting In The Water. Wow! What a night.

  16. Saying the crowd loved the bass notes on the Dixie Echoes’ performance of “Winging My Way” doesn’t do it justice. That may have been the biggest ovation I’ve seen/heard from yesterday or tonight. And I am typing this after the Perrys’ set.

    • The kids I think catch people by surprise!

      • Yes. People don’t expect a person who looks like that to sing bass like his sings bass. 🙂

    • Thanks! Are you there in person, or basing this on the webcast? The webcast picked up some applause, but I guess it wasn’t mixed all that hot. It seemed warm and welcoming, but the webcast must not have fully captured the level of enthusiasm in the room.

      • I am watching live in Freedom Hall. Although technically, I am in a long line for ice cream right outside of Freedom Hall at this exact moment. I am 16th in line. Lots of people behind me too.

      • OK. That confirms what I suspect: Especially since some of the enthusiasm/excitement was mid-song, the crowd noise was probably down enough in the mix that the enthusiasm wasn’t as obvious to webcast watchers.

  17. Yup. “The Lord’s Prayer” was the first song the Isaacs sang.

    • Thanks! I’ll edit accordingly.

  18. Was just thinking the same thing about the schedule!

    • It’s almost scary how many times we’ve been thinking the same thing at the same time this week!

  19. I see a highlight missing, but you must be saving it for Highlight of the Night

  20. I’ve never heard Up Above by the Talleys before. What a song!

    • Sure is! It’s on their latest mainline, Love Won.

  21. I miss that other blogger who used to tell me how much I should hate everything every year…..

    • Is he still around?!

    • Grigs: 🙂

      Are there weak moments, sets that fall flat? Sure, of course. They happen every year. Those are the sets that get a sentence here. I have limited writing time, and I figure I may as well spend it on the sets that were spectacular!

      (Just for clarification, sometimes I have to brief on the good sets, too.)

  22. Oh no, we’ve fallen 2 minutes behind schedule…

    • :shrugs shoulders: This ain’t NOTHIN’ compared to the good ol’ days… 🙂 There was one time, in 2007 or 2008, when the program was 45 or more minutes behind, and I stayed in the auditorium until 1:30 AM for the Mark Trammell Trio and the Perrys closing out the night.

  23. Hmm…interesting. I never thought of Brooklyn Collingsworth as the emcee type. Is she stepping into that role for tonight only Daniel?

    • She’s emceeing the overall program, not the Collingsworth set. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard her introduce a song at any Collingsworth concert I’ve attended.

      • Although, you have to think Phil Collingsworth is sitting, watching her emcee and giving a thoughtful chin rub.

      • True. Phil’s way too smart to not notice something that’s working, and working well. 🙂

      • So far I haven’t been able to watch the livestream this week. They have a different emcee every night, correct?

  24. Name of song Collingsworth played?

  25. I saw a pic on Facebook of The Hoppers singing and there was another female blonde singing with them?!?!

    • Probably either Karlye Hopper or TaRanda Greene. I was hauling books around and moving bookshelves right around their set, so, regrettably, while I was listening and paying attention to the audio, I wasn’t able to pay all that close of attention to the video.

      • It was Melissa Brady (Jim Brady’s wife). Dean tweeted that since Karlye was going to school, she wouldn’t arrive until tonight at about 10 o’clock. And TaRanda is going to be there with them tomorrow night.

  26. gotta be Karyle….Unless TaRanda died her hair again! LOL. I see they’re giving Karyle a lot of stage time now since TaRanda isn’t traveling with them. Cool….

    • I’m not sure but I think it was Melissa Brady, but definitely wasn’t Taranda or Karye.

  27. It has been nice to see Connie Hopper sing in all the Hoppers sets this week. Here recently she’s missed a couple of concerts and set out for the majority of the ones she’s attended. Anyone have any insight on that?

  28. Why was Melissa singing with them??? Was she singing alto?

    • Fellow artists love Melissa and have an incredibly high respect for her vocal ability and her heart. I can think of several other times she’s been on main stage over the last few years.

  29. oh totally. She is amazing and very underrated. I adore her. Just curious why she was singing with them tonight, but, it’s great whatever the reason is!

    • Agreed on both counts. I’m curious, too, and I’m always happy to see her on stage. (Well, actually, I hate that I missed seeing her this time!)

    • Connie called her up during “Shoutin’ Time” & she sang the alto for that song.

      • Thanks, Austin!

      • No problem 🙂

  30. Got my white socks ready, DBM-style!

  31. I was a little worried about how tonight would compare to yesterday, but man, from the Dixie Echoes on, everyone’s been on fire! And some of these impromptu happenings are downright hilarious!

    • Agreed. Last night is unlikely to be topped, but this night stands a chance of becoming its equal.

  32. These two groups showing why they are probably the most popular quartet and trio on the road tonight! Knocking it out of the park!

    • Agreed. And no less than the Collingsworth Family is up next!

    • Think about that 1-2-3 in a row

      SN Traditional Quartet of the Year
      SN Group of the Year
      SN Mixed Group of the Year

      …in a row! The board really found a gem.

      • Yes. Thursday is the first night that most of the extended-weekend folks come in. What a way to kick it off!

  33. It is soooooo good in this place guys!!! Wish y’all could be here.

    • Boy, you’re not kidding! As someone observed earlier in the comments, placing the current Singing News honorees for Favorite Quartet, Favorite Trio, and Favorite Mixed Group back-to-back sure made for some great singing!

    • Hi Michael!!

      It looked like it was good there, and I was watching online wishing I could be there in person! It is so nice, however, to be able to take-in everything with the live-streaming. It sure is a lot more do-able for me right now than travelling down to KY from New Brunswick, Canada. I can keep up with family commitments and still attend NQC.

      Loved what you said tonight about the audience being individuals with needs to be ministered to, and not just a crowd of people. Amen. That’s why I love and appreciate the ministry of the Booth Brothers so much.

      I will be enjoying the “on demand” feature, too. I need to watch all of those great Booth Brothers moments again and again. I’ve been tuning into every segment in which you and Ronnie and Jim appear.

      Looking forward to the rest of the week.

  34. One of the things I especially appreciated tonight was the camaraderie between the artists on a number of sets. Chris Allman coming up with Triumphant during Old White Flag, Melissa Brady with the Hoppers, the Booth Brothers joining with Triumphant during Saved By Grace, Phillip Collingsworth with the Booth Brothers, etc. That is something you don’t see in many other genres unprompted.

  35. Just wanted to clarify. I was the guest with the Diplomats. I played guitar on the first 2 & last song & bass on the third. The Diplomats drummer is Zach Flowers & pianist is Jeremy Elliott. I am the bus driver for Triumphant Quartet, but I’ve been playing music also my whole life. The Diplomats are my favorite group in all of gospel music & I try to play with them any time I can. Quality music by quality people.

    • So cool, and thanks, Jesse!