Michael English and Mark Lowry to leave the Gaither Vocal Band

Last week, news circulated that Mark Lowry was leaving the Gaither Vocal Band. Lowry confirmed the news in a video posted yesterday morning. Lowry indicated that a press release would be forthcoming. What Lowry didn’t add was that Michael English has also decided to leave the Gaither Vocal Band. 

In the official announcement, Bill Gaither commented:

I am grateful that we have had five bonus years with these incredibly talented artists. Thank you, thank you to Michael and Mark.  For those of you who have followed the Vocal Band for the past 25 years, you know that I have worked with some of the most talented male vocalists in our field, and I promise you we are not going to let that standard down in this transition. I am sad to see Michael and Mark leaving, yet I am so excited about the new possibilities we are considering.  So stay tuned for an exciting voyage in 2014!  We will update you when we have made final decisions.

While Lowry will fill all remaining 2013 dates, English’s departure is effective immediately. English’s departure comes as a surprise, and not just to the fans; in the Gaither tour’s concert schedule, posted last week, notes on each Gaither Vocal Band 2014 concert indicated that the 2014 dates would be filled by a four-man lineup of Wes Hampton, David Phelps, Michael English, and Bill Gaither.

While the replacement vocalist(s) have not yet been announced, there are evidently finalists in mind; the Gaither organization announced yesterday that there would be no open auditions.

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377 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. Now this I did NOT see coming…

  2. Really hope Marsh comes back…

    • Wow! I was prepared for Mark, but not Michael! Wish them the best.

      My prediction, FWIW: Marshall Hall and Gene McDonald will be hired, and Bill Gaither will step back into more of an emcee role, probably retire from singing soon, except for the occasional solo.

      • I could see that scenario playing out. I hadn’t realized until I watched the Mark Lowry video that Bill is 78 years old. So I could see him wanting to scale back a bit when it comes to actually singing.

      • The funny thing, at least to me, is that it’s the 78-year-old Gaither wearing out the 55-year-old Lowry with the pace he’s setting. 🙂

      • It is easy to forget that Mark has Multiple Sclerosis because he is always moving so fast. Fatigue is a real problem with MS. Thinking he realized that he needs to slow down and rest. Also, I remember Mark saying (a few years ago) that he would stay with the GVB as long as Michael English was still there.

  3. Daniel, I think you meant to say that Mark will fill all the remaining 2013 dates, not 2014.

    • Correct; good catch. I’ll edit now.

  4. Been following English on Twitter and over the past week or so he has been making statement that has led my wife and me to speculate that he
    Might be leaving. He was also suppose to be doing a solo concert in the Neatherlands I believe it was last week and he cancelled that as well. Interesting developments.

  5. I’m just not sure what Bill will do. I’m having worries about David staying too because his solo career is going really well now too. Maybe since he’s younger he’ll be able to stay with the Vocal Band longer.

  6. Is there any chance that a “new” hire could be Guy Penrod? He’s already signed by the Gaither label and with less than 12 solo dates booked between now and next February, would he be a candidate. I agree, and have thought this for some time, that Gene McDonald should be the bass of the Vocal Band and Bill should be the emcee. Anytime that they bring McDonald out and let him sing with the guys, it’s not only a great sound but the crowds love it. Partly because we have always known a Vocal Band with soaring tenors and mediocre bass. Let’s also not forget that Russ Taff is on the Gaither Label. I’m not entirely sure he will go with an alum.

  7. Within the last thirty minutes or so, I’ve had to delete several comments that did not fit within this site’s very simple comment rules. They’re posted at the top of every comment thread, but just in case anyone doesn’t notice them there, I’ll do a quick copy and paste as a reminder:

    Ground rules: Don’t attack or belittle groups or fellow posters. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic. (Move off-topic discussions to our open threads.)

  8. May I ask what was wrong with my comment? All I said was that I do not like bass singing and did not want Mr. Gaither to hire one. I did not attack any person negatively.

    • Sure; the comments need to be positive and constructive. The part of the comment about stopping to listen to the GVB if Bill ever hires a bass singer was the part that led to it being deleted.

      Not attacking anyone is part of it, but keeping comments positive and constructive is another part. The criteria aren’t either/or; approved comments need to fit all of the items in the checklist, as it were.

  9. I’ll always love Mark and Mike’s singing, but I’m okay with them moving on. Something about this line-up never enthused me. Nothing stood out as “wrong”, per se, but I’m okay with this news.

    I, for one, say get some new blood in there! I would ADORE seeing Scott Allen as the new lead. That man can SING! And his voice would be a great, great fit for the GVB. I second any call of Gene McDonald on bass with Bill as MC as well. And I can’t be the only one who’d prefer they just stick with four guys.

    Don’t hold your breath for any more “returns”, though. Guy and Marsh seem to be where they want to be.

    • Josh – I agree with you! I think Scott’s voice would be a perfect fit for GVB. That boy can SANG and I’m sure Michael would put in a good word for him.

    • Is it possible Adam Crabb will be a permanent replacement

      • It is possible.

      • This picture was posted last Monday on Adam Crabb’s Facebook page:


        Rather interesting that he would be in Indiana with Bill the Monday after filling in at concerts in Dothan, AL and Chatanooga, TN. Maybe having some conversations about joining the GVB permanently??

      • I was at the Dothan concert and it was awesome. Adam did a great job filling in and I think he brings something a little different and just as good to the table. After hearing him I would be happy for him to join GVB.

      • I wish some more videos would surface of that weekend! I’ve seen a couple but that’s it.

  10. I would love to see Guy return. He was always my favorite. So sincere, likable and a great voice. Yes, hiring Gene would be a great idea and mix up the group dynamic a bit. Either way, it will be fun to watch the story unfold. Bill has a way of making one great group after another no matter who is on stage! I really had no idea he was 78!!!

  11. I speculated that Mark Lowry might be the one to take over management of the group when Bill retired. I suppose I guessed incorrectly on that one.

  12. Joseph. Haberdank

    • AMEN!!!! I would love to see Joseph with them!

    • This is a hire I would love to see. If this has been in the works for a while it would also explain his reason for leaving the Perrys…I love hearing the Perrys, but I would be gone to if GVB came calling.

      • I’m 99.99% sure this hasn’t been in the works for a while – at least for the lead position. As of my post last week, last Thursday or so, the Gaither website was still listing a 2014 lineup of Phelps/Hampton/English/Gaither. So at that point, as far as they knew, English was still on board for 2014.

    • Well, I don’t know the mind of Gaither, and at this point, I’m not 100% sure Gaither himself knows what his next move will be. But this I do know: If Joseph Habedank wants the job, the fact that his best friend and songwriting/business partner is the Gaither tour pianist might not guarantee him the job, but it ought to at least land him an audition.

      • A Haberdank/Phelps/Hampton/McDonald/Gaither version of “If You Knew Him” would be spectacular.

      • I think it would be terrific to see Joseph at the baritone position. Can’t wait to hear about the replacements soon. . . . .

    • If I remember correctly, I heard Joseph in an interview with Daniel Britt say that he is naturally a baritone, and had to train himself to sing lead with the Perrys. He would be back in his comfortable range singing baritone. Plus there’s the connection to Matthew Holt, who used to play piano for the Perry’s.

      We haven’t heard much from Joseph since he left the Perry’s, but a voice and talent like that needs to find a home!!

  13. What about Jason Crabb?? He filled in before and it was talked about him taking lead spot before the big announcement of the current lineup.

    • I agree 100%! Jason Crabb and Gene McDonald would be welcome with many people!
      Bill would make a great MC, but it’s time for a change.

  14. Marsh I think is happy with being worship leader at Shadow Mountain. Guy is probably still happy with his solo work. As for Jason Crabb he is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to solo concerts. I just have to say wait and see. Gaither is known to throw some curveballs so I just say sit back and watch…and wait 🙂

    • On the other hand, Gaither has a penchant for discovered relatively unknown talent. Who had ever heard of David Phelps or Wes Hampton, Marshall Hall, Guy Penrod before Gaither hired them? So maybe he’ll bring in someone we’ve never heard of!

      • Gaither doesn’t always hire unknowns. Gary McSpadden, Larnelle Harris, Michael English, Jim Murray, Jonathan Pierce, Buddy Mullins and Russ Taff were various levels of “known”. Some were solo artists already.

        That said, there have been many unknowns hired by him as well. So, who knows?

      • I would like to see you bring Jonathan Pierce back. He is so awesome! Where is he at now?
        God bless the GVB. They have brought a lot of peace in my life when I lost my mom and my sister.
        Thanks for all you do.

      • I don’t see them bringing back Jonathan. I would love to see a new face and voice, but I’m almost 100% sure Pierce is not in the picture.

    • Shane Sparks is so right when he says sit back ad just wait. He knows how to throw a cutter that will cut across all our thought process.

  15. With Mark and Mike leaving, all I can see is GVB hiring a baritone and then a bass to take Bill’s spot if He does decide to step down. Then there will be a different scenerio if David or Wes leaves….

  16. So…we’ve got two tenors more than capable of singing tenor, lead and baritone and a baritone who sings bass.

    Am I alone in hoping they stick with just four guys?

    Phelps would absolutely be wasted anywhere other than as tenor. Hampton would be a fine lead, but I’m not sure he’s a GVB lead. He would own the baritone slot though.

    Moving Bill to an MC/part-time pianist role would be best for him, I think. It’s time we got used to the idea of the GVB without Bill Gaither. So we’d need a bass.

    Gene McDonald could sing bass, Phelps tenor, Hampton baritone and…Scott Allen or Jason Crabb on lead? Personally I think Phelps and Allen in the same group would sound amazing.

    • I agree! David and Wes are both incredible but every sense wes rejoyned its like they have been taking alot of high note moments from david and kind of sharing them with wes, and nobody can hit them like phelps! I would love to see them with 1 tenor(phelps) and move wes to lead anf find a baritone.

      • Well, like I said, I don’t think Wes sounds like a GVB lead, but he’d be a great baritone. But I could be wrong, too.

        For that matter, why not hire a guy who Wes can switch out on singing both baritone and lead? Like Russ Taff and David Will did with the Imperials?

      • Case in point: What if he brought Guy Penrod back and also brought Joseph Habedank (who got his professional start singing baritone) on as well, to keep it a five-man lineup? That would be a pretty impressive vocal powerhouse lineup.

    • Great idea! Gene is a fantastic bass singer and Bill has always admitted that he, himself, wasn’t the best. It’s not that he’s bad…just doesn’t go as low as most…plus… I think he would probably like to have one less thing to do with all the tours and videos. Someone said he was 78. I’m no where near that age and just THINKING of the schedule he keeps makes me tired!

  17. This may not get by the moderator. I have never been a fan of GVB. I am a fan of Joseph though. So, I don’t really know if I want him to go with them. Ha

  18. posted to the Mark comments earlier today that the Michael departure is devastating……..


      • I agree and find myself on the verge of tears. I bought three tickets for an upcoming show at Willow Creek Community Church where I attend on the FIRST day tickets were available. I was SO looking forward to MICHAEL ENGLISH coming to my church! He even posted on FB that Willow Creek was on the roster.
        I am torn now. Don’t even feel like going and I was already primed to be at the front of the line to get front row seats.
        I wish Michael would come. Seriously I wish that. He was why I bought the tickets.

  19. Would like to see Marsh back in the Vocal Band, and it would be awesome if they landed Joseph Habedank. Man! imagine the five-man lineup of Gaither/Hall/Habedank/Hampton/Phelps

  20. This is probably wishful thinking, but I think it would be great if Guy and Marshall came back.

    • It has been years since I have posted anything on this site. But, I too, hope whoever gets hired GVB will be an actual quartet again. I just couldn’t get into the ‘group’ thing.

  21. Michael English says pretty plainly on twitter why he ks leaving. Ill copy and paste so that I get it right…

    @menglish001: I know everyone is wondering what’s going on with the GVB. It’s time for me to go. Way time. I’m tired of treading water. I’m moving on.

    @menglish001: I’ve been in a place for a while now where I knew it was time to go. I pray everyone will understand and move on with me.

    • I’m right behind you, Brother, every step of the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • TREADING WATER????!!!!!! The man has been through hell in his personal life and was even banned from gospel music for a while. I had never really been a big fan; but I couldn’t have admired ANYONE more than when he made a public confession even though he knew the fall out would ruin his gospel career.

      Gaither played a big part in English’s come back. He’s also used to losing band members to solo careers, etc.; but, I really think that even Bill would be surprised to hear GVB being referred to as “treading water”
      On reflection, I think perhaps Michael is regretting his choice of words…unless there are problems between he and Bill. At any rate, I wish Michael well and KNOW Bill and GVB will be just fine.

      • I thought for awhile that Michael wasgoing to leave because he just seeemed to have a lot more solo dates lately than he had before. So I thought he’s fixing to go solo again. Love Michael and will miss him with guys but will definitely still follow him. Plus it puts him in charge of how much he wants to be gone or home

      • This is in reply to Paula…Actually all the guys have really picked up their solo dates. David is going like gang busters and Mark (before he announced his change) was out constantly when he was not with GVB. Even Wes who has never done as many solos is really stepping it up. My take is that they can see that Bill will step away/retire sooner now than later and they are getting prepared. Don’t really think the GVB will continue with out Bill.

      • I agree with your comment about Bill retiring the group. I’m surprised how many people think the group will continue without Bill, because I just don’t see that happening. Even if it does, it simply will not be the same group that it has been. I love what they’ve done, and am going to be glad for every year they continue together, because it won’t last forever (much as I’d love if it could!).

      • Actually though MJW, I don’t really see that much of a difference with David and Wes. David has always done a big Christmas tour at the end of the year and Wes seems to be doing about as many as he always does, though of course he may be trying to step it up some as time goes by.

      • GVB without Bill would be like the Cathedrals without George and Glenn….should not happen.

  22. Well, as we all know following vocal groups – lineup change isn’t a question of “if”, but more likely “when?” I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 5 years with this GVB lineup. Everyone has a favorite or their own personal preference, but I am just appreciative that we got to see this lineup together. The creativity with the harmonies and arrangements were incredible. Even though many times the 5th singer would double one of the other parts, they were able to add so much color and texture with some of the suspension chords, 7ths, 9ths, etc. – putting a new spin on classic songs, as well as making new ones very unique. I love what each of these guys brings/brought to the group. I’m bummed that it’s over, but if you’re a fan of the GVB, you know that Bill will put together another phenomenal lineup – as he always does. I wish both Mark and Michael the best in their endeavors. I just hope we still get to hear the “Hymns” project that they had just finished recorded a few months back! I haven’t heard anything about it in a while and I’m sure it would be a great bookend to the story for this lineup.

  23. *finish recording is what I meant to say…

  24. “treading water”??

  25. So I come back tonight to see what people have been saying all day about Mark’s news and I get blasted with this news. Wow!

    Had he not taken a new job this year, I would’ve considered Shane McConnell a strong possibility. Joe Habedank would be sweet too. Any chance they don’t hire anyone and there’s a rebirth of the Gaither Trio?

    • That would be nice if Danny was still alive. I loved them the way they were. I wouldn’t be surprised if GVB retired unless Benjy Gaither took over. Bill’s been traveling since the 50’s. Bill earned the right to retire. A very busy man. I am afraid when he goes “home” what will happen to Southern Gospel.

  26. I think Shannon Knight would be a good fit, Daniel! Haha! Enjoying your blog!! Thanks for all of the updates!

    • He is a great singer, but I would be more inclined to think of him if Wes Hampton left, from a vocal timbre standpoint.

  27. Those who follow Mark Lowry on social media , could see this coming for months. He is getting very involved with his own solo touring and it is hard to give full attention to both. I also believe that your heart has to be in what you are doing – this is not a negative comment on Mr. Lowry (please just read it then judge it) – but it is also not surprising that when its time for a GVB show, the ‘heart’ was not in it, he was more excited on the solo tour and the future of it , especially in spring of 2014. I wish Mark well.
    As for Michael. I could not be more happier for him! It’s time — changes are being made for the positive for Mr. English and I very much look forward to his new path in this career.
    The GVB – again, not sounding negative — is it time for it to end? I adore the sound. I think that Mr. Gaither has given his all for “God and country” – however I don’t think he has to keep reinventing the wheel — Again, I wish all involved all the best and God’s blessings..
    I will follow Michael no matter where he goes , and his journey .. it is time for change.. and good change!
    All day long I have read such heart wrenching posts – it is so hard when we have come to love the sound of a certain “GVB” – remember when Guy left? Mercy, that took us a long time.. until we heard the new sound.. Those that continue to follow the GVB will face another change and another sound..do not compare them, just enjoy the ride.
    Peace and Love of Christ to you all — and rejoice……… its a new day!

  28. From what i understand it will be a 5 man lineup I have two guy’s i think that may be it Reggie Smith would be a great lead and if GVB come calling i would answer if i was Shane McConnell i think that is the two guys Gaither is going to pick

    • Shane can sing baritone, lead, or tenor. I got to sing with him a decade ago and was absolutely amazed. I think they really hold him back on the homecoming videos. He has one of the best voices I have ever heard and I hope he gets the chance to show it. He is singing baritone right now with Canton Juction but he is as good or better on lead than many of the well knowns.

  29. A name I would LOVE to see back on the road full-time is Ryan Seaton. This is unlikely I know, but I think he’d definitely be fully capable of following Michael English. Not to say others wouldn’t, just that we’ve seen and heard Ryan already do cover versions of some of Michael’s better known stuff (eg Going Home) as well as other GVB material (The Love of God) and do the songs justice.

    One name I could definitely see as a possibility, considering Bill’s propensity to go with guys he’s already familiar, is Mitchel Jon. He doesn’t have the power of a Mike English, but he has some of the vocal stylings.

    • Ryan Seaton’s got his own group, doesn’t he? Did Union Street leave the road and I didn’t hear about it?

      • Yes, but they tour on such a part-time basis that it wouldn’t be too hard for one of the members to accept a Gaither Vocal Band position and still be able to make many of Union Street’s limited dates. Of the group, though, I have to admit I’d be most intrigued to hear what their baritone, Andrew Goldman, would sound like in a GVB lineup.

      • Yes, he would be intriguing as well. Plus, he would be more feasible than Ryan because hes not the group owner.

  30. On Bill Gaither hiring a bass singer, I don’t think he’s going to do it now. On hiring Habedank for the baritone position, that I would like to see. That is very possible, seeing that Gaither doesn’t look for vocalists from other groups but always seeks out soloists or singers not committed with other groups. If he hires someone currently in another group, it will be the first time he’ll be doing that. If Gaither were to take singers from other groups he could easily take Jim Brady, but I’m sure he’s not about to do that.

    If Habedank doesn’t get hired, it’s still safe to say that he is without a doubt currently under Gaither’s radar for potential employees. His baritone/lead vocal versatility makes him a very eligible candidate for this job, plus Habedank would bring much more than his voice to the group.

    These are of course just speculations, Gaither is unpredictable. He can sometimes cast his net from southern gospel, like he did decades ago with Larnelle Harris or not so a few years back with Marshal Hall. Whoever is going to be the new baritone, it will be very interesting.

    • Pardon my horrible English.

      • John, your English is excellent…as well as your spot on comments. We are all in the crazy speculation mode right now, but judging by what Bill has done in the past, we can be pretty sure that he will find the right fit, and probably surprise everyone in the process.

    • I just saw recently that Joseph Habedank has teamed up with his wife, Lindsey, and they have some concert dates scheduled. Can’t see him joining GVB if it their intent to travel full time.

  31. Wes sent out a tweet

    Hey everyone! I’ve received lots of messages and emails today inquiring about GVB auditions. I’m sorry but I can’t respond to all of them. 🙁 Really blown away that so many would want to audition!
    Below is a response from the Gaither organization:

    For all that’ve asked about GVB auditions: “We are not holding open auditions at this time. If anything changes we will post information on http://www.gaither.com. “

    • I think the key phrase there is OPEN auditions…

      • Yeah, that’s pretty clear. Bill’s got a few guys in mind. There’s no way this becomes the Bill Gaither Trio Take 2.

  32. Even though he’s 78 years old, he’s still The Bill – thus he’ll put his group together with pretty much whoever he wants. The thing we forget whenever we speculate about personnel moves are the intangibles – depending on schedules, you’re half a year or more sharing your lives with each other. It’s not just the vocal ability that makes the “fit”, and over the years Gaither has shown himself to be extremely protective of his product.

    I did not see this lineup coming after Penrod and Hall left five years ago (that long? Wow!), and I have extreme confidence in Bill’s ability to produce another “HUH??” moment in his next move(s).

  33. I don’t think Bill would hire him (yet), but a great lead would be Jeff Hawes with KPNR. When I first heard him sing a solo, my first thought was that he needed to be with the GVB someday.

    • Jeff would sure get the chance to sing solos a lot more with the GVB than he does now with KP&NR. And we wonder why Devin left for Signature Sound. 🙂 If you got a talented guy with your group, let the man SING. And not just harmony.

  34. To be honest I would love to see Gaither find that one person that none of us have ever heard of before that would absolutely blow our minds. Someone that has a big voice that has a range high and low. These other people that have been mentioned would be great. I actually would love to see Joseph singing somewhere. I just think that our industry needs something new and fresh that would make everyone pay attention. I hate to see Mark and Michael leave but I think replacing them requires creativity this time.

    • Yes, I totally agree that I want to see him find that unknown that surprises everyone. David Phelps was the find of the century. It would be great to witness that next generation of talent rising.

    • Absolutely! But something tells me that Mr. Gaither has this already figured out.

  35. Wes has recently posted this on his Facebook page:


    He, David and Bill wil stay.

    • That’s good news!

  36. I tell who would make me say wow is former Gaither Vocal Band member Terry Franklin coming back I would love that i think Gaither will have former member as one of guy’s but i think there will be a new guy thats never been with GVb before

    • I truly enjoyed the sound of GVB when Terry was with them. But if he was to rejoin them they would have to rename the group to the Three Tenors (wait thats already taken). David, Wes & Terry, while have different stylings are all great 1st tenors. But the lead is a total different animal especially how Bill uses them.

  37. Why does it seem like so many want to see GVB veterans brought back? Are we that resistant to change? It always kinda baffles me when SG fans react with shock and horror when quartets announce member changes. Like it doesn’t happen every other week, practically.

    Personally, I’d like to see some new blood in the group. I love Guy Penrod and Marshall Hall, but I’m okay with them not returning. Already a few good names have been brought up about who could fill the shoes of these two men, and while it might not necessarily be Habedank, McDonald, Hawes or McConnell joining, why keep bringing up names that have already clocked road hours with the GVB?

    • I think part of the reason people are speculating about veterans being brought back is quite simple: It’s what Gaither did last time. Besides, there’s the fact that Penrod is one of the all-around best singers to ever grace a Southern Gospel stage, and while Gaither certainly may find someone who is good in a different way, he’s unlikely to find a better singer than Penrod.

      • Better, probably not. As good as? There’s tons. Off the top of my head; Scott Allen, Shannon Smith Jason Crabb or Matt McFarland are equals to Penrod, and their voices would work with this group.

        Also…okay, he did it last time. But I don’t think he’ll do it again. He did this time because the three guys were willing to return. I don’t think Guy or Marshall would be.

      • Ivan parket would be my choice

      • I haven’t had time to read all comments, but I saw Josh mentioned Shannon Smith. He is TOTALLY qualified to fill the GVB lead spot. But I would hate the consequences left behind at his current group. I am new to your site. Love it.

  38. Because Gaither wants familiar voice,for the Vocal Band you can’t replace Michael English with some unknown guy especially with social media I think it Will be someone in Gaithers camp like Reggie Smith and maybe the baritone will be a new guy but i have the feelingif Mark is staying till the end of the year that McConnell is the guy because Shane can’t leaving Canton Junction till the end of the year

    • “Because Gaither wants familiar voice,for the Vocal Band you can’t replace Michael English with some unknown guy…”

      The first time Michael English left, Guy Penrod was a total unknown. Wes Hampton replaced David Phelps. Another total unknown. For that matter, Phelps himself was an unknown when Bill hired him.

      I don’t buy that argument.

      • I think everyone is forgetting a big point here Bill does NOTHING without asking God what He wants. He is a very blessed and gracious and godly person. My dads neighbor went to school and church with Bill all there life and he said that Bill was taught and practices ask God first. I love Bill and Gloria they are very humble they hate having the light shine on them. You don’t see that very much anymore. I just can’t wait to see Bill with his rewards for what he has done in Gods name. Sure changed my life and for that I will be a faithful follower.

  39. Where was Guy Penrod at before Gaither? Yes I love his voice. Incredible singer.

    • He was a studio singer mostly.

  40. I can’t imagine Bill hiring a bass singer and him moving to baritone. Bill LOVES the bass part and loves singing it. He knows he’s not a real bass, but his bass singing is part of what makes the GVB’s sound. Bringing in someone like Gene McDonald would completely change the core sound of the group. It ain’t going to happen.

    • Thank you. These are my thoughts exactly, and I was waiting for someone to say it so I wasn’t the only one who thought so!

  41. That’s my point exactly about bringing someone into the group that hasn’t been involved with a quartet, trio ect. I knew who Guy was myself from doing TV back when Ralph Emery had a hand in helping get SG on the Nashville Network back in the 90s. I never thought I would Guy with GVB or anyone else mainly because I thought he was making a killing of money doing studio and back up vocals on TNN. Gaither is a smart man. That was the greatest move he had made by bringing Guy in.

  42. Well Joe when Gaither hired Guy it was 1995 a lot has changed with social media . I love Penrod i would be worried i think it would take him time to get used to sing with the Vocal Bamd again plus does Guy want to put the wear and tear on his voice again because singing lead in the Vocal Band is not easy

    • I highly doubt Bill’s worried about the social media aspect. Bill has always hired the person he thought fit best. Sometimes that’s a well-known name like Larnelle Harris, Jim Murray, Jonathan Pierce or Russ Taff, and sometimes he finds someone we’ve never heard of and makes them a household name, like Guy Penrod, David Phelps or Marshall Hall. I really don’t think he’s worried about how Facebook or Twitter will respond if he hires an unknown.

  43. Hey Evan I’m not saying you are wrong at all. I was just making my case about someone else new and bringing that excitement into the band just like Guy did. I didn’t mean bring Guy back either though I do love to hear that blend with he and Phelps on the powerful endings of songs. Nobody in my view is wrong on their opinions. I’ve enjoyed all the comments.

  44. Concerning the question of where Guy was prior to GVB, he was a member of a singing group that appeared on “Music City Tonight.” (I think that was it) He appeared with Buddy Skipper band. I can’t forget how tall and overshadowing the others. I seem to remember solo also.

  45. This is very interesting discussion and precisely the reason Gaither is still at the top of his game and the Vocal Band, the gold standard in SG. I don’t remember other group member changes generating this kind of buzz. I’ve seen people say that Wes Hampton should move to the baritone spot. That’s not sound sound. It would be like making Calvin Johnson a Tight End. Could he play the position? Sure, but why take the greatest WR in the NFL and make him fit another position. Hampton, as it’s been mentioned, takes a lot of the “high-note” pressure off David Phelps, and gives him the ability to hit the “WOW” notes he has built a career on, at the right times and more often in concert. Most of you tenors out there know that the older you get, the harder it is to sustain the ability to hit the high notes night after night. Phelps just turned 44. Not old by any stretch (I am a 41-year old tenor…easier to sing the baritone part!) but as George Younce said about deep bass singers, “Your depth will come with age.” Doesn’t matter what part you sing. Hampton still makes perfect sense in the role he has played in the GVB. I would argue that Phelps will sing more baritone in the new lineup. He is very capable of singing the part. As for replacements, I would rule out Reggie Smith. The very reasons Mark Lowry is leaving (more time recording, photo shoots, concerts) that conflict with his solo dates are the same reasons they would conflict with Reggie and Lady Love’s schedule. I agree also about Marshall Hall. Most artists don’t get the opportunity often to come off the road to be a Minister of Music in the position he holds now with David Jeremiah. He gets the best of both worlds. I don’t think he leaves that. I would consider Guy Penrod to be a “darkhorse” candidate. Remember, he still has quite a few Penrods still at home and I think that was the main reason he left GVB in the first place. At the end of the day, my take is the replacements will surprise us, yet won’t surprise us. That tends to be the Gaither way. It made sense when Lowry and English returned and it will make sense who replaces them. GVB has become the flagship group with WAY more popularity and sustainability than the Gaither Trio and the members coming will be exciting and relevant. Gaither doesn’t do things any other way.

  46. I don’t see why Penrod would want to go back to GVB. Things are going very well for him. He recently bought his bus, and has received numerous awards., He is doing quite well for himself. God has blessed. And I do agree Daniel, Bill would have a hard time trying to find someone better.

    • He lost the best, namely Michael English

    • The same would go for Jason Crabb. I would say he has had a very successful solo career. Don’t know why he would want to be tied down with the GVB schedule. And it’s not like he needs the name recognition that would come singing with Gaither. I believe I am right in thinking that he won 4 awards at the Doves recently. Of course stranger things have happened in the SG world.

  47. You know, it’s funny. I remember January 2009 very clearly. Everyone was saying that Guy Penrod could never be replaced and that Michael English’s voice wasn’t what it used to be and would never work. Now they’re saying Michael English can’t be replaced. Wow.

  48. But it also took Michael some time to get his voice the way it sounded before you heard glimpses of it on the reunion videos and you would hard pressed to find anyone who can blend as good as Michael English

    • I still would not call him irreplaceable.

    • This news makes me sad. I think this all-star lineup of English,Phelps,Lowry,Hampton and Gaither is the BEST by far in any type of music!! I’ve always loved Michael English. I remember going to see him with the Singing Americans when I was 7-8 yrs old. When he left them to go with GVB in 1985 I was 10 and thought “who the heck is GVB?” I hated to see him leave the Singing Americans for GVB and now it’s kinda ironic I hate to see him leave GVB. I’ve seen GVB 5 times in 3 years and have tix for 11/22/13 in Concord. I know it will be good but it just won’t be the same without Michael English…..

  49. Completely agree with you, Josh, but Michael leaves a huge void. He was a true lead singer and was able to regain most of the incredible, distinctive voice he had when he left the Vocal Band in 1993. Keep in mind, Michael English was the hottest Contemporary Christian singer when he left the Vocal Band the first time. His coming back was coming full circle. Gaither won’t leave the Vocal Band lacking with vocal talent. GVB is the gold standard for what they bring and the collection of incredible voices they have always possesed. This hire/hires will be no different.

    • I’m certain you’re correct. I’m sure whoever Gaither picks to replace Michael English will be a phenomenal singer. What galled me what the number of posts acting as if English couldn’t be replaced. Bill has always put top-drawer talent together, and he will again this time.

      • I fully accept and understand that every one has his/her own favorite. What galls me is when they insult other artists. Just as you have been galled by people acting as if Michael is irreplaceable I hope you are as galled by people rejoicing that he left so that their irreplaceable favorites can return.

      • Trust me, that bothers me too. I have not dissed Michael English at all. He simply isn’t my favorite.

  50. Buck i agree with you but i also say Michael producing wise is irreplaceable what he did producing wise with David was awesome and their last two projects were there best IMHO

    • Evan…. I think you just nailed something that has yet to be addressed. Michael’s ear is incredible. And as an outrages statement as this is, probably better than his voice. Bill has had that great ear all his life as well, putting together awesome arrangements, that change over time. But I never put his producing talents in the context as to how he makes the greatest singer on the planet, David Phelps, sound even better and nuanced. You mentioned the last two projects, and especially Pure and Simple, perhaps one of the best SG albums ever produced. I’ve been going back and listening to some of the CD’s prior to the current incarnation of the group. As much as I hate to say it, there are some forgettable recordings out there, from some great sounding groups. I think Michael was the mad scientist son in the producer chair that pushed Bill these past 5 years… And then had the added element of being able to go vocally lay down a track exactly how he envisioned that it should be. With David somehow mind reading all along. so my hope is that, even with Michael no longer being in a lead musician role, that his inspiring producer mind is always welcome in that chair.

  51. Where is Quartet Man in all this discussion? I’m calling you out Quartet Man. LOL

    • Maybe Quartet Man only likes Quartets. 🙂

      Well, the GVB might have been a quartet using the typical five men=quartet Southern Gospel counting! 🙂

    • Joe, I have read some, and have had opinions at times, but have not posted on blogs, pages and the like for over three months I think and not done a lot of Facebook statuses either for that matter (and read very little there). I wouldn’t really now if you hadn’t “called me out”. 🙂 I don’t intend on speculating right now but will make a few comments.

      1. Quartet or not, the GVB is one of my all-time favorite groups (not a lot of those still touring anymore it seems). This particular version had many of my favorite members in it (certainly not all).

      2. I had read about Lowry possibly leaving and had gotten used to that idea reluctantly, but English going too really selfishly disappointed me. Some friends and I had some good seats for an upcoming concert and were very much looking forward to it. Other than one reunion at NQC (2012), I had not seen this version live. The last time I had looked forward, gotten good seats and planned, and Michael was out due to his surgery and voice being gone.

      3. Jason Crabb and Joseph Hadebank did come to my mind (with Jason being a fill in at most probably) before I read them mentioned elsewhere. Let me say, that these were not so much speculation on if they will happen as that Jason filled in before and might again (if they don’t just stick with the current 4 to fill out the year). As far as Hadebank, I have no idea if it would happen, but at least would possibly like it. Joseph is a great talent and although not a Michael English, could be interesting as someone different. Guy or Marsh might fill in, but I doubt they would be back as members. That is just my opinion.

      Thanks for thinking of me. I didn’t even know you knew I existed offhand. 🙂

  52. I posted another comment on this thread that obviously didn’t meet the criteria of the kulturkammer (tongue in cheek), so here’s the cleaned up version of it…

    Penrod is not coming back…and I suspect Bill Gaither will add a female singer to the group, and I happen to think it may well be Taranda Greene.

    • No way. Not gonna happen.

  53. So that would be Bill (bass) Wes (baritone) David (lead and Taranda Greene (alto/tenor)..a modern day version of the so much appreciated Weatherford Qt! I’d actually think that would work out fine…I’d at least buy their debut album.

    • That would be an awesome line up…

  54. Does anyone know if this Five Star Line could finish the Hymns project they were recording back in April?


    • I am reasonably confident that this project will be released by the new lineup, if it is not entirely canceled.

      • Thank you Daniel!

  55. Wes is a true tenor, so I don’t recommend him singing baritone. That spot, in my opinion, should either be filled by Marshall Hall, or an unknown. (I like it when Bill works his “hiring an unknown” magic and blows everyone away with how good the new guy is). For the lead position, that should also be either an unknown, or the previous guy (Guy Penrod).

  56. I know absolutely for certain sure that…we have absolutely for certain no idea what Bill has in store. I just can’t pick up any certain direction other than Bill staying on the bottom note. Big losses, big speculation, and big replacements? We’ll have to wait and see!

  57. I’ve been a life-long GVB fan and believe the group’s end is near. Although the time is not now. Even though we are not certain how the next version the vocal band will turn out, I would love to see Buddy Mullins make his return and sing lead with Shane McConnell singing baritone. Thoughts?

    • I think that Bill Gaither will be able to keep it going as long as he wants to keep it going. Age or health issues are more likely to cause him to fold up shop than the departure of English and Lowry.

    • I would love for the GVB to keep going even if Bill himself does decide to step down. After all, the Gaither Music Company, and almost certainly the Homecoming tours, won’t stop even if he does retire, so why shouldn’t the GVB?

    • I would love to see Buddy Mullins as the new lead. I feel like he also is a true lead singer. He was lead immediately after Michael left and before Guy, for maybe a year or so. The Testify album was under his tenure. His voice is unique, powerful and blends magnificently. I would rate him second only to Michael as the best lead of the GVBers. Guy fans of course will not agree and they are legion but, hey, it is my opinion and I am sticking to it. I never really paid much attention to the GVB while Guy was around mainly because I really did not like the country turn the GVB took when he was there. There were, however, some standout songs during that time that Guy sang that I loved so don’t anyone accuse me of being a Guy hater because I am not. He was extremely talented…just not always my cup of tea.

    • Buddy Mullins would be great, and I notice he has been at some of the reunion concerts and NQC reunions, too. I was not a listener when Buddy was with the GVB full time, but have listened to other of his work. He is very talented, IMO. One thing else I would say, Wes would never be happy leaving the tenor spot he shares with David. David is a great tenor, but he has a completely different style than Wes, and I just happen to prefer Wes. Bill know how to pick ’em, and I feel sure he will choose well. Lets hope there is a GVB fir a long time to come.

  58. I predict he’ll bring in Christina and Ceelo. You heard it here first folks!
    (I’m well aware Daniel nor his siblings won’t get this till they google it)

    • Ha!

    • Tad Kirkland… You are a GENIUS!!!!!

  59. There is no reason that everyone can’t be right… They have plenty of dates to bring in guest vocalists on, no reason you won’t see 5 or 6 different people (including Guy, Jason, and maybe even Joseph) filling in for a concert or two. They may not be the final people, but it will be some cool combos on YouTube for the next two months.

  60. Part of the magic that is the GVB are the songs/arrangements that allow the artists to shine where the moments and their talents allow, and Gaither’s efforts to make sure that nobody’s pushed to the side. They blend well when it’s called for, and they excel individually when it’s called for. Maybe I’m just biased towards group singing, but I don’t enjoy Penrod as much as a solo, I didn’t/don’t enjoy Phelps as much as a solo, and English’s raw passion only carries him so far. I’ve often wondered if Phelps’ return to the GVB was partly/mostly business decision – that his solo career benefits more than it hinders by his being with the group. The joys of speculation…wonder if Bill enjoys all the brouhaha his personnel changes stir up?

    • Joe, very insightful. SG, more so than any other genre it seems, produces an ‘act’ that is far greater than the sum of its parts. Solo dates are given added luster when the artist is part of the GVB. A year or so removed, they dont seem to have that same impact for some reason.

  61. Guy Penrod seems to have the best of both worlds right now. We saw him earlier this month at Dollywood and he packed the largest theatre for every show. He gets to sing what he wants to sing AND he had his family with him. Other than the added exposure of the Gaither events, what would be the advantage for him to return?

    Any thought to a transitional period where Bill moves over to the baritone part so they can hire a true base singer?

  62. As the shock of the announcement sinks in, and the on-line chatter subsides, we all now settle into the waiting game.
    I too can not wait to see what Bill has up his sleeve, especially regarding the lead position. And although there have been several over the years, in essence however there has only been TWO lead singers for GVB, Michael and Guy. And that feeling is attributed as much to the longevity of their tenures as well as their incredible vocal chops.
    Which really makes me analyze what goes into that one of a kind Lead for GVB. Some of the names mentioned as replacements, I’ll admit that I was not familiar with. But thanks to YouTube, that was easily rectified. There are so many great, amazing voices out there, and all would do admirable jobs. But in thinking of the standard that both Guy and Michael set, that part needs the versatility of 3 types of equal talents. They need to have power AND range, to be able to sing at a strong intense and high (in most groups a 1st tenor range) level on practically every song. They need to have a distinctive voice, you can recognize Michael & Guys voices like you can your own children. So many of the names mentioned have beautiful voices and truly enjoy listening to them, but if you lined them all up and had them sing the same line of a song in a blind audition, you would have trouble telling them apart. Thirdly, and this is the hardest part of the equation as it is juxtaposed against my stated #2, they HAVE to blend seamlessly. It is almost impossible to find that distinctive voice that almost on command must disappear and become part of a group sound. Jason Crabbs name is often mentioned, but even when he was singing with his family, and they all sounded about the same, you could pick Jason’s voice out…how is it going to work with 3 (or 4) varying voices.
    Dont envy Bill at all on making this decision, He can nail it perfectly, and still have a multitude of detractors.

  63. A few years ago, I heard about a guy named Scott Allen who would be singing with the Imperials (right as the lawsuit was finishing).

    I’d only heard of him briefly when he was with Mercy’s Mark after Josh Feemster left, and I’d never heard him sing.

    But as an Imps fan, I decided I had to hear what he sounded like. I found his Myspace page, and was blown away. I think this guy is BETTER than Michael English, and equal to Guy Penrod (but different). His vocal style, power and range would make him an excellent fit with the GVB, and I encourage all of you to go here:


    …and have a listen. I keep hearing “Joseph Habedank” or other familiar names. This guy, in my opinion, blows them all away. And he’s not very well known, so he can be thought of as a Gaither “find”.

    • There is actually a youtube video of Michael English and Scott Allen singing “Go Rest High” during one of Michael’s solo concerts not long ago. Sorry I am not much of a computer person and do not know how to post the link but I am sure you can find it. All I can say about the video is WOW. Judging from Michael’s reaction at the end, he seemed impressed with Scott. However, I will not go so far as to say he is better than Michael. IMO no one is better than Michael and I am so going to miss him with GVB.

      • I respect that many people find Michael English to be the best lead singer out there. I just can’t agree. Nothing wrong with differences of opinion, but as good as English is, he’s never felt like the absolute best. I wouldn’t even rank him in my top five, but that’s just me.

        But would you agree that Scott Allen (I’ve seen the video in question) is an awesome singer and would make a terrific replacement?

  64. What about Ivan Parker as the new lead singer.

    • I don’t think Ivan Parker could sing lead in the GVB. His voice has gotten lower over the years. He used to get pretty high with Gold City in the ’80s (you have to be able to sing a high Bb or C as a lead to be able to harmonize with Brian Free!), but in recent Gold City reunions, he has struggled to hit the notes, and they’ve had to lower some of the keys for him.

  65. Josh, This is a new comment because I did not have a REPLY button to click. I can’t give an opinion about whether Scott would or would not make a “terrific replacement”. I have not seen him in action enough. Scott has actually been to our church (with the Imperials) a few years ago and I have seen him in action in person. The group he was with was enjoyable. They did Water Grave and I loved, loved that song. However, I did not experience a jaw-dropping moment. The first time I saw Michael I did most certainly have that kind of experience. That is why I used IMO because that is all it is and everyone should take it for what it’s worth. The face that Michael does not consider himself to be the best is irrelevant. I’m not sure any of us can say what is the best regarding anything. It is always just an opinion. I’m just glad Bill will make the decision because he has a great track record. Long live Bill Gaither.

    • I simply meant I disagree that he’s the best. I have not seen him live in person, as you have, so maybe I’m less qualified to talk, but I have seen live recordings of him, and I have seen Guy Penrod in person. I certainly had a jaw-dropping moment there, and for that matter, he’s always sounded better to me on recordings than English has. Between Guy and Michael, Guy wins hands down.

      It’s just my opinion, though.

      Scott Allen is another I’ve only seen on live recordings, but boy, I got several jaw-dropping moments when I did. Again, my opinion. I’m not arguing with you or trying to make you see things my way. I just wanted to explain that it’s my opinion I’m siting, not Michael English’s opinion of himself.

    • MJW… You nailed the perspective perfectly. I saw Michael in about ’87 at the Moody Bible Church in Chicago. This was before the video’s and the Vocal Band had a relativity minor part of the program (maybe 4 songs). But Bill really showcased Michael through solo’s, duets & ensemble numbers. Jaw-dropping doesn’t even begin to describe it. Every since that night he has been my favorite vocalist in any genre. But it was as much of the experience as it was the talent. My brother who was not there, but we share similar taste in music and artists puts him in nowhere near the esteem that I do. So I am totally understanding that the position of ‘best’ is totally subjective.
      Josh, I saw that version of Go Rest High several months ago on YouTube, and agree, I thought this guy is incredible, why havent I heard of him. I went searching for other videos and they were practically non-existent. You are right, he might fit that elusive niche of quartet/performance tested, but still can be in that “find” category.
      Here is the link in question. Well worth a listen.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PVlCJU6FOA

      • As far as I know, the reason you haven’t heard of him is that he has twice now joined quartets right before they closed up shop. From what I can see on his Facebook page (nice guy, btw), he is working in the private sector now, and I think he owns his business. But I can tell his heart is in singing. I actually asked him if he was being considered, and in the interests of not spreading gossip, I won’t tell you what he said (please DON’T read into that). I only bring it up to say that even if he is not presently singing, he isn’t out of the running.

  66. Here is a thought that has been tickling my mind for the past couple of days regarding Michael’s future plans. I will readily admit that I do not have it this thought process completely formulated yet but here is a stab at it.
    Due to all his connections, his producing accomplishments as well as his ability to literally sing with anyone, I’m wondering if he doesnt plan on having ‘gaither-like” events. Doing a live show that has a combination of talent and perhaps starting his own quartet. And to carry that thought further, maybe with Mark leaving GVB, he was working on becoming the heir apparent and Bill wasnt willing to give it his blessings… Not trying to stir the pot in any way, but from the tweets and very tersely written announcements, it makes you wonder that it was not an amicable parting.

    • I remember Michael saying on a video (I think it was the GVB Reunion) that he never wanted to be a soloist; he just wanted to be a group singer. Maybe he’ll look for another group and/or vocal band to join.

      • I’ve thought of that as well and what he said. Yet he always seems to want to return to solo. You can never go by what people say though. I can remember him saying on one of the Thanksgiving DVDs that singing with the GVB was the greatest gift he could have with everything that has happened in his life and there was no where he would rather be.Of course, stuff happens and things change but I always thought he would be the last one to leave the group. I have been a big fan of his and wish him well…I just hope he won’t regret his decision down the road.

      • You wrote:
        ” Yet he always seems to want to return to solo. ”

        Actually, there has only been one other time in his entire career that English left a group to go solo, and in that case, there were other more pressing issues beyond just wanting to be a solo artist. He quit the group AND his solo career that other time.

  67. I just noticed the similarities in how Guy Penrod and Marshall Hall Got hired. Guy was a studio singer who provided background vocals for a lot of artists, including Gaither. He was so impressive that Gaither hired him when there was a vacancy.

    Marshall Hall was also a studio singer who at one time worked at Gaither studios providing background vocals. He too was so impressive that in 2000 he was invited to the Memphis taping. The vocal duel between him and Lynda Randle on that Memphis video was so good that he was invited for more tapings. Little did anyone know that Hall would be a member of the prestigious Gaither Vocal Band.

    Gaither’s thing for studio singers did not just end with Hall. A gentleman by the name of Shane McConnell captivated Gaither’s heart. Before being invited for the hymns taping in 2007, Shane had provided background vocals on Gaither projects. The video that Gaither did for Lynda Randle in 2004 entitled A Tribute To Mahalia Jackson lists Shane as one of the background vocalists. I don’t know how many other Gaither projects he worked on before his Homecoming debut.

    I’m wondering, could the pattern repeat itself here again? Could he be the third studio singer to sing his way onto the Vocal Band stage?

    • This was a big reason why I suggested McConnell’s name earlier.

      • Shane McConnell would be excellent, but he literally just joined Canton Junction. I know that doesn’t preclude his hiring, but Canton Junction is one of those “just got started, already high-profile” groups and it strikes me as unlikely that literally only months after joining, he would leave.

        But I could easily be wrong.

      • Not sure I would call them high-profile yet, and I don’t think they’re even on the road full-time, so I definitely could see it as a possibility.

      • Perhaps I should say “predicted as the next big thing”.

  68. I wouldn’t mind seeing this lineup again… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xLv6CzUiqk I think there is a better chance of Marshall coming back than Guy, but I still highly doubt Gaither will bring back anybody.

    • Crabb would have to get some new jeans.

    • I personally am hoping for new faces. I wouldn’t mind Marsh and Guy coming back, but new faces would be exciting after five good years with veterans Michael and Mark.

    • Wow! How have I never heard that clip before. Absolutely awesome!

      I would love to see Jason Crabb join with the remaining three or the remaining three plus one, but I can’t really see him giving up his success as a soloist to be restricted by the GVB…but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

  69. Do you realize this thread now has 143 comments? This should show you just where the Vocal Band stands in the hierarchy of SG music–at the top! Josh, I couldn’t agree with you more about the staying power of the Vocal Band after Bill Gaither is long gone. I can completely see the Homecoming Tour re-branded with a guy like Mark Lowry being the MC and the Gaither Vocal Band simply referred to as GVB. If it were my company with GVB being the premiere product in the Homecoming brand, I would offer David Phelps and Wes Hampton some portion of ownership in Gaither Music to stay for the next 10-15 years (if the Lord tarries). That’s how important those two are to the future of GVB. As for replacements, I would think Gaither has compiled a “short list” of singers who he would offer a position in the group to replace any one of the current guys should they ever leave. Great companies have these types of lists to replace key people that leave their organizations. Make no mistake…Gaither Music is a corporation built to last long after its founder is gone. Hate to burst that bubble, but Gaither has built an incredible machine in SG music.

    • I think you are on to something here. The Gaither music business is a very large enterprise, with 100’s of employees in support roles. So it is no doubt set up to go on in perpetuity long after Bill is gone. But the GVB and the Homecoming videos are the engines that drive the rest of the enterprise. I too had always thought that Mark would be the heir apparent, so his departure took me by surprise for that reason alone. So then I figured Michael might fill that roll. But I like your idea of giving the remaining core guys (David & Wes) some ownership to keep them around.

      • That’s almost exactly what I was thinking. The Gaither Music Company is to the current era what the Stamps Music Company was at the height of SG. The Stamps Quartet went on for decades long after anyone named Stamps was in it. I don’t see why that can’t be the same for the GVB.

  70. I think “juggernaut” would adequately describe the group Bill Gaither has built in the Vocal Band…just an extra thought!

  71. First, it would be pretty low-down to kick Bill out of the GVB. It’s HIS group. 🙂 Staying at bass, he can use Gene McDonalds voice any time he needs to. If he moved to baritone, it would require him actually singing more, which may be rough on him. Stay at bass, Bill.
    David Phelps has a 3 octave range (I think). With the powerful voice he has, he could do lead and also the extra high notes when needed. If Mr. Bill wanted to reduce to 4 guys, then a baritone is all they would need. Isn’t it exciting to wonder just what Bill will do? 🙂 <3

  72. There’s only one thing you all have wrong: Bill Gaither is only 77 … he will turn 78 next March 28th. I am already 78, which is primary reason I felt led to step down from the day-to-day stress of managing the channel.

    After nine years of shepherding it … as Michael English said … there comes a time for a change.

    • Sorry, and thanks! I guess someone (maybe me) rounded wrong!

  73. Who is filling in lead since Michael has already left?

  74. Interesting development. Christmas Homecoming tour dates have been posted on gaither.com. It seems the GVB will remain a 5 member group as the list of artists in includes an unnamed guest lead singer. Interesting.


    • Since they have a baritone singer through the end of the year, (a) Bill Gaither won’t move to baritone and (b) Lowry won’t move to lead. So this doesn’t necessarily tell us much about what will happen after the year’s end.

    • thanks John you answered my question

  75. I saw on Michael O’brien’s (former Newsong singer) Facebook page that he was called about the lead with the GVB. He said no but I thought it was interesting that they are searching within contemporary music to fill the position.

    • Was he specific that he was contacted by Gaither? Or was he perhaps contacted by fans or industry people encouraging him to apply?

      • His Facebook status said “Had an interesting call yesterday from the Gaither Vocal Band. They wanted to know if I was interested in joining the group.” He goes on to say he declined, but almost said yes just to have a meeting with Bill. I remember hearing Michael with Newsong sing “Arise My Love” and it was incredible!
        I know Wes talked about Guy Penrod calling him to come audition, maybe Wes and David are in that role now of helping find someone.

      • Thanks!

        That does go to show one thing: There wasn’t an immediate call/accept for Guy Penrod. That’s not to say for sure that he won’t agree to come back later on, of course.

      • It also goes to show that this wasn’t a planned thing…there was no “trick up their sleeve.” They are having to search. Undoubtedly, Bill has plenty of people in mind, but it just goes to show there was no grand surprise of any kind planned.

      • I agree, that sounds just a little too self serving. Like I have mentioned on previous posts, this is a huge business, ran by intelligent individuals. I would be very surprised that anyone they speak to about openings are not required to sign a non-disclose agreement before the first discussion begins. Bill is way to savvy of a businessman to let these type of stories get out.

      • When it’s a phone call out of the blue, it’s kind of hard to get a non-disclosure agreement signed prior to discussing even the purpose of the call.

      • O’Brien followed up his earlier Facebook status with:
        “Clarification: I think it is important that you understand something. I was called by the Gaither vocal band to see if I would be interested in joining the group, but I was not offered the job over the phone. I am sure they had some other people they were looking at as well. Bill wanted to sit down and talk with me because he had heard my recordings and liked what he heard. But that is it.”

    • That’s too bad. I love his voice.

  76. Probably won’t happen but it would be amazing if Doug Anderson was chosen for the new baritone. Seems to my ears he would fit right it.

    • Yeah, since he has been with Ernie since the founding of Signature Sound (has it really been over 11 years?), I don’t see him leaving anytime soon. Granted you had Mike Holcomb leaving the Inspirations after 40+ years. But considering his age and the fact he is going to be continuing his preaching ministry, I view that differently. Daniel, this could be another subject for another day. What are some of the long standing duos within Southern gospel groups? Doug and Ernie are mentioned here. How about Bill Shivers and Brian Free? Bill has been with Assurance since they reorganized in 2001. I was privileged to be at their 2nd concert as the “new” version of Assurance. Wow! They brought the house down. Anyway, like I said, another subject for another day.

      • I actually did something similar a couple of years ago, focusing on the longest-running group members that weren’t family or ownership. Of course, then, I would have been talking about Guy Penrod and Jonathan Wilburn!

      • Don’t forget Scott Fowler and Scott Howard of Legacy Five. They have been together 14 years. Of course no one will ever again approach the spans of George and Glen together!

      • Generally speaking, outside of family groups, that would be the case. However, in the Primitive Quartet, Norman Wilson has hung in there with Reagan and Larry Riddle for forty years this year, passing George & Glen’s mark by five years.

      • And consider the long tenure that Triumphant has had together. They all started together as Integrity and Eric, Clayton, Scotty, David and Jeff have remained intact for all these years! No quartet has held as solid for that long in my opinion since the Statesmen. Also Gerald Wolfe, Rodney Griffen and Chris Allman have some long tenured time together.

      • Rodney and Gerald are coming up on 20 years together in Greater Vision. I don’t know the exact date Rodney joined, but I believe it was late 1993.

      • I believe that Chris Allman and Gerald Wolfe were together a few years before Rodney Griffin came on board.

    • I agree. I love Doug, his voice blends very well, he’s young, so he’d bring some good energy to the group too. I love Doug’s solo album as well. It’s funny…I bet when Bill Gaither sends out word that someone is leaving the group, every other gospel quartet out there panics for a minute about losing someone in their group. Seems like Gaither’s got the group that everyone really considers to be the ultimate. No disrespect to any other group out there – just my opinion!

    • I thought too that Doug Anderson would be one of the best guys to fill the baritone spot [edit]. I don’t think he would want to go, either – he fits his current spot perfectly. But I love Doug’s voice, and I think he could easily fill the position needed in the Vocal Band as well. He’s pretty versatile. I’m just pretty excited to see what Bill has up his sleeve, since he always seems to know just where to go to get the best voice for his group.

    • I’m a huge Doug Anderson fan. He has a fantastic voice, and from all accounts really nice guy. That and the fact that Doug lives in Lapel, which is less than a 1/2 hour drive from Alexandria. But something tells me that as close as these two groups are, and the connection that Bill has with Ernie, that it wouldnt surprise me if they had a ‘no raid’ agreement among themselves.

      • Yeah, I don’t really see it happening, either…it would be nice though. Doug Anderson at lead (his range is incredible) and Joseph Habedank at baritone would be a nice addition to the GVB. I’d buy that record.

  77. I just wanted to chime in because I love this discussion! And I know Bill has his own way of doing things, and they’ve worked out very well for him thus far, but oh how I would love to see auditions for this role! If Bill were to open this up to the public and invite audition tapes via You Tube or something…those would be great to watch! I bet there are SO many great undiscovered singers out there, and I know that I would have a great time sifting through the videos…
    I know it’s not going to happen, but it’s fun to think about. I know of one or two great praise team members here in the Dallas area that have AWESOME voices, would be great to have them at least have a chance of getting in front of Bill. Anyway, can’t wait to see the new line-up! My vote is still for Guy….I miss all the comments on his long hair! HA!

  78. I really hope Marshall hall comes back

  79. I really hope Marshall Hall returns to the group.

  80. I just popped over to The Gaither site to see if there was any new info. The ‘announcement’ has been rewritten somewhat , but an interesting postscript that has me a bit concerned.

    ” Please note: The remaining 2013 Gaither Vocal Band concerts are going to be incredible, as they will include Bill Gaither, David Phelps, Wes Hampton, Mark Lowry, and gifted guest artists singing lead throughout November and December. You will not be disappointed. ”

    I have a very very strong feeling that many have simply fallen in love with the incredible sound of these fine men — and this has taken them for a shock. I know we all do have our ‘favorites’ – I for one absolutely loved these five together. I know of 10 people who have asked for a refund — Unless the GVB comes close to my city, I am very doubtful I will ever get to see them live. (Although I am going to see Michael English live one day if I have to hitch hike! 🙂 ) — If you do have tickets , and I am speaking to many who tend to just read and not comment — I have seen the GVB (Mark, Bill, Guy, David days) and it was glorious. Don’t pass the opportunity — please do not. You will regret it.

    Such exciting times in Southern Gospel music lately… almost feel a sea change happening — in a good way. It’s time – However, lets not over look that it takes a long time for fans to make that ‘change’ — so I hope we are a bit patient with those folks..we have all been there. As for me, I wish every one of them well — Thanks for letting me speak a bit ! God’s blessings on you all!

    • Another wish for Marshall to return, but it’s not gonna happen. He’s happy where he is right now. Michael comes as a total shock. I have tickets and just missed him by one week. If Jason Crabb steps in, that will be the end of my GVB days.

      • It wont be the end of mine, but I just can not see him fitting in at all. Vocally, while he has won awards and is well regarded, his style just wont work with a well blended quartet. But I’ll bet money he is one of the ‘guest’ lead vocalists.

  81. Hey, Allen Allesbury would really bring new life to GVB.
    The man has a serious vocal range and power to match the best out there.

    I think Bill would be blind not to consider him for the lead.

    • Allen would be a great pick indeed…

  82. I think it would be totally awesome if Chip Pullen of Gold City would be the new GVB lead, he would bring a fresh new sound to the vocal band.

  83. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the “Guest Lead Singer” for the Nashville concert is Guy Penrod, nor would it surprise me if the new lead singer is Guy Penrod. Having said that, why would Guy have to “audition” for the GVB? He has sang with both David Phelps and Wes Hampton, and he was the one that “auditioned” Hampton for the tenor spot when Phelps left. The Newsong lead is interesting, but not a fit (sorry guys). Just because you can nail one song, doesn’t mean you can nail the whole GVB library of great songs. Full disclosure, if I got a call about my interest in joining the GVB, I’d be telling everybody too! LOL! I think Gaither is open to the right people joining GVB, whoever they are, but I think only he really knows who is on the “short list.” Everything else is just wild speculation right now, and I don’t think they are in a huge hurry to make the selections.

    • Who said Guy had to audition again? I think you and Daniel both misunderstood Nathan’s post. He’s referring to when Guy contacted Wes re: an audition for the open tenor position.

  84. Okay, very dumb question… Have they been singing 5-part harmony arrangements, or 4 part with either an “extra” to support the lead or tenor or even baritone as the song fits?

    • Some of each.

      • Michael has addressed this before.. stating David and Wes would often sing the same, Michael and Mark as well.. and the question is not dumb at all.. No offense to Ernie, but the 5 part sound of the latest GVB was magnificent — if they were ‘all’ on — When Michael would sing under Wes and David… perfection. Exciting times which way Bill will go, eh?

    • My ear isn’t good enough to dissect individual parts out of a group, but the effect was awesome. Remember when the GVB and Signature Sound did that “Together” recording and tour 6 – 7 years ago? I didn’t get to see that live – one of my bigger regrets – but that album and concert video still gets a lot of play from me. Some of those arrangements should be included in the definition of the term “big”.

  85. I think the reason why they are only saying “guest” lead singer is because its going to be different singers on different nights. Just like last time, when at least three or four different “guests” filled in

  86. As soon as I saw Mark was leaving, the first name I thought of was Larry Gatlin. For all of those people who have been yelling at me to think outside the box for years, I think I finally did it……

  87. Very surprised to read that Michael is leaving GVB, seeing that he told me in person two weeks ago when I asked him about how long he was going to stay with the group, and he told me he was not going anywhere. Wonder why the ‘sudden and immediate’ departure from Gaither?

    • At that time, he quite possibly did not know that Mark Lowry was leaving. Lowry and English are good friends, and at least one of them had commented publicly that he wanted to stay in the group as long as the other one did. So English’s decision to leave probably did indeed come after he found out that Lowry was leaving.

  88. I believe one of the guest lead singer is going to be Adam Crabb. The following has been added to his tour schedule.


  89. Did I hear Taranda Greene’s name mentioned? Absolutely the most exciting voice in quite some time! Of the Barbra ilke. Bill wouldn’t dare, would he? It would be the best decision he’s ever made. I know you’re listening, Bill. We’re getting close, aren’t we?

  90. Hate to burst your bubble. but No Marshall No Guy i heard from a reliable source it will be two new guys and from what i understand its guy’s that. are unknown but the source said these guy’s are going to blow people away

    • I knew it wouldn’t be Marshall or Guy. But have two men already been chosen? Or just guest singers?

    • who is your source of this information?

  91. Just a quick note….I saw and spoke with Bill Gaither at the Pacer game last week (we see each other there all of the time)…he was calm,cool and collected as normal….I have seen many of the SG artists there with Bill and occasionally Gloria will be with him for the big games (think Pacers vs. Heat playoffs)….
    We saw each other the day of the announcement…he was as cool as ever!
    The GVB does the national anthem at least once a year at Bankers Life for a Pacer game.
    On a side note I wish all of the SG fans could see Bill cheering on the Pacers….he is a terrific fan, really gets into it!

  92. I’ve only just “discovered” GVB and I wish it would’ve happened a long time ago. I was able to see them in concert in Omaha on October 6, 2013 and thought it was great. I’m so glad I was able to see the group with Mark and Michael. I don’t know many of the singers you are all talking about but look forward to finding out who Bill has chosen to replace them. One regret I do have is the fact I can’t seem to find them on TV. Of all the stations listed on the Gaither homepage, I don’t get any of them. I think they used to have a show on CMT a few years ago but I would just skip over those shows then. I realize God has revealed them to me in order to grow my faith in Him. Their music is the only music I listen to which has greatly enhanced my reborn Christian life. Glory be to God in the Highest!

    • I’m glad the GVB’s music has touched your life, Joey. If it helps any I can try to give some help understanding the situation.

      A lot of the names you see are past GVB members such as: Russ Taff, Marsh Hall, Guy Penrod & Buddy Mullins. People are assuming since Bill got David, Mark & Michael to come back to the group, he’ll do that again.

      The issue that a lot of people are having is trying to guess if Bill will go with 5 guys or go back to having 4. This 5 person lineup is a little abnormal for gospel music. Also, people don’t know if Bill stay on as the bass or move to baritone (Mark’s part) because Bill once sang that part when he first started the group.

      Bill is known for finding unknown people such as Guy Penrod, Marsh Hall & Wes Hampton. So there’s really no telling who he will pick.

      As a suggestion try to get the GVB Reunion videos everybody who has ever been in the GVB is on the videos (except Jonathan Pierce & Terry Franklin) so that will kinda give some background on the GVB.

  93. I’m looking forward to coming back here when the new guy(s) decide to leave so that I can read literally these exact words about being distraught, aghast and near tears that these guys (particularly Michael English) are leaving, and the claims that they cannot be replaced.

    • I’ll help you out a little. I still think the Gaither/Hall/Penrod/Hampton lineup is the best ever (Phelps for Hampton might have trumped that, but it’s an incomplete sample). If I were blessed enough to be able to have my pick of artists for a quartet, I would take Penrod over English without a thought. It’s my own personal taste – no one has to agree with that.

      But in the clamor of all of this speculation and commentary, it’s worth pausing to praise God that we all don’t like the same thing (man, we would be boring), and that He brings us His music, gives us artists of all talents, blends them in different mixes, and has given us technology that allows us to hear and see what we love long after personnel changes or people have gone Home. Be open to new blessings with whatever decisions Bill makes, and what Michael and Mark do in their ongoing ministries. Recent cool example: I saw Tim Duncan leaving Sig Sound and was bummed. God saw Canton Junction. ‘Nuff said.

      • I’m actually with you on that. Phelps is my favorite of the tenors, but Guy and Marsh are my favorite lead/baritone combo so I’m okay with the combo that included Hampton (no slouch himself). English, in my view, is yards below Penrod as a lead singer. I mean, English is great, but Guy is amazing. I’m sorry to any English fans I offend. I’m not criticizing English, nor do I seek to change any minds, but to my mind, while English deserves to be counted among the best lead singers ever, Guy Penrod IS the best lead singer ever.

        But I still favor Scott Allen being hired to replace English. He could, in time, even equal Guy in my mind.

      • I’m going to jump in here on this…everyone talks about Phelps. Don’t get me wrong, he is an incredible singer. But his Southern Gospel tenor singing leaves something to be desired. He is an excellent operatic tenor, but a Southern Gospel lead at best. He can hit the high notes with the best of them, but it takes more than high notes. You can’t just sing the part, you have to have the type of voice for it. Wes Hampton, on the other hand, is a TRUE Southern Gospel tenor. He has the voice, the shrill that’s required to fill out the sound of high end.

      • Yes, a fair amount of what Phelps does is full-voice and/or head tones so reinforced that they sound full. But I, for one, love what his full-voice brings to a Southern Gospel song. And I couldn’t count how many of top-tier Southern Gospel tenors point to him as their favorite tenor today.

      • I’ve said that for a long time. Phelps has an amazing range, meaning he can hit tenor notes that most singers could only dream of hitting, but his main voice is that of a lead singer. That said, if Bill were to move Phelps to lead and stick Hampton on tenor, that would be a waste.

        My personal opinion is that Gaither should hire Scott Allen as lead singer, leave Phelps on tenor officially and move Hampton to baritone, again, only officially.

        If he does that, he’ll have three guys capable of singing any part other than bass. He can switch them out as he sees fit. Any one of them can soar up high on a solo or sing lower if that’s what’s called for.

        I first got this idea in 2009 when the GVB first began touring after Michael English and David Phelps had rejoined but Mark Lowry couldn’t make the first few concerts. I saw a vid of this line-up singing “Journey to the Sky” and Wes was singing the baritone solo that had been Marsh’s, and doing an excellent job. So, I think he would do very well as the baritone, as long as he was able to flex his vocal muscles and soar up into tenor on solos, or even just have the guys switch parts when it works to do so.

    • I couldn’t imagine them without David, and then Guy and Marsh, but I ended up happy with their replacements. Now I’m freaked that Mark and Michael are leaving. You’d think I’d learn!
      I know that Bill is quite capable of pulling together an outstanding new line-up, and am looking forward to hearing it, no matter who it is. That said I’ve got my fingers crossed (Marsh, Marsh, Marsh, Marsh…)!

  94. Josh it sounds like to me your discounted everything Michael has done in his career i never said he was irreplaceable but you would be hard pressed to fill the void he is leaving Michael has the best ear and is a mad scentist in the producers. chair have you heard Pure and Simple Ben Issacs produced the music but Michael produced the vocals

    • It’s always a little awkward to say this, but I think Josh’s wording on his most recent comment left it rather clear that it was tongue-in-cheek, with perhaps a hint of humorous sarcasm.

      It’s awkward to explain a joke, but what he’s saying is that people get really, really worked up any time someone leaves the Gaither Vocal Band. Each member brings unique, individual contributions, and when that member leaves, some fans will focus so much on the strengths of the departing member that it’s easy to miss the strengths of the incoming member amidst all the clamor.

      • That’s pretty much exactly what I was saying. In 2009 comments on this site (from posters, not Daniel) lamented that Guy Penrod was leaving, because he was the heart and soul of the GVB and could not be replaced. There were even comments that Michael English was well past his prime, couldn’t sing like he used to, and therefore was not an adequate replacement.

        Flash forward to 2013 and now it’s Michael English that can’t be replaced.

    • I just want to say that I don’t think you are entirely correct about ‘Pure and Simple’. I know David Phelps had a lot to do with the production of it including writing the song ‘Fools Gold’. I think David is going to be more and more prominent with Bill Gaither. Just my 2 cents worth. 🙂

      • Also David does a LOT of the arranging. 🙂

  95. I understand that a lot of people overeact when Guy and Marsh left and the five man lineup came to be i was excited because Michael And David are my favorites i was worried about Michaels voice i believe Michael is replaceable especially if Gaither is thinking about Scott Allen i was very impressed with him and Matt Mcfarland would be nice at baritone he has icredible range and would be fun to have a guy who can sing first tenor to sing baritone

  96. Drew Cline, Andrew Carlton are some contemporary christian singers who could quite easily fill this void… Obviously Allen Asbury, Matt Mcfarland and Scott Allen to… I liked Gold City’s lead singers a few years back and they could do a solid job of the lead as well Bruce Taliaferro,(2008–2010) and Craig West,(2010–2011) Why not?

  97. One bright spot that may come out of all this: maybe we’ll be able to hear a lot more of Wes Hampton. It seemed that he was overshadowed many times by English, Phelps, and Lowry. Every now and then they would throw him a solo, but most of them went to the other 3, along with any fill-ins/ad-libs. On each of the last 2 or 3 GVB CDs, Hampton may have been featured on 2 or 3 songs at best. Wes Hampton is a premiere voice that needs to be put out front and center.

    • AMEN to this comment. Just what I’ve been thinking for a long time. I hope you’re right that we hear a lot more of Wes. I absolutely love his voice. Really wish Mr. Gaither would even it out more!

      • I agree with Joseph and CLW, I attended the Dothan concert, and Wes Hampton was outstanding. He just couldn’t have sung any better. Love his voice! To my mind, the gvb was at its sweetest harmony with Guy, Marshall, Wes, and Bill. Seems the others are all stars and trying to outdo each other rather than trying to harmonize.

    • Wes has a great voice, but he is ultimately a role player. I can only take so many Wes solos. His voice blends great in the group dynamic.

      • But, you see, different voices strike people different ways. I’d rather see a GVB album with five Hampton solos and two English solos than the other way around.

      • I just got back from the GVB concert and it was fantastic. And let me tell you Wes Hampton was spectacular. If you had heard him tonight I don’t know how you could say that. He received two standing ovations. All of the guys sounded amazing.

    • I agree. Wes is my all time favorite member of the band. I would love to hear more of him!

  98. Daniel, you are exactly right about David and what he brings to S. Gospel music. I love what he does with the group singing “At the Cross” and so many other pieces. Also I agree with you about the admiration from his peers. This is a direct quote from Wes Hampton.

    ” A Conversation with Wes Hampton…..”It came to a point, too, where God really spoke to me and I realized He told me to be me and to not try to be or do what someone else does. I’m no David Phelps. I cannot hold on to those C-sharps like he can—he’s the only one I’ve heard who can do that!”

  99. Hey Daniel, do the GVB have any plans to add Joseph Habedank or Chip Pullen or Matt McFarland or Drew Cline or Andrew Carlton or Adam Crabb or bring back Guy?

    • Pablo, I posted this about Adam Crabb on Nov. 3rd. IT’s been on his schedule at least since then.

  100. It also looks like some of those Gene McDonald speculations might have some truth behind them…I saw a picture of him on stage at the concert with Adam Crabb and the GVB. With Mark still there till the end of the year, that made it a 6 man lineup.

    • I saw Gene at a GVB-only concert in Lynchburg a couple of weeks ago. He came out during the second half, and he travels with them most of the time now.

    • I saw them in Houston back in February. It was billed as an evening with the Gaither Vocal Band. There were no other artists advertised to be there, but when we got there, Gene McDonald was there. He was the only artist there besides the GVB. He came out and did a couple of solos, then did a couple with the GVB. Sounded PHENOMINAL!

      That’s what got me to wondering if Bill was experimenting with the idea of having Gene become part of the group. He was also present at a concert in Beaumont, TX last August, but that was more of a mini-homecoming, with 3 or 4 other groups/artists. But he did sing with the Vocal Band for a couple of numbers.

      I for one would love to see Adam Crabb join the group! His voice would blend well (like Aaron’s in Canton Junction), and he plays the harmonica and the bass (I think), so there would be some options there that would add to the overall sound!

      If I’m not mistaken, Gene McDonald is singing bass on Adam Crabb’s current single, “Higher Ground”. Could be a preview of what’s to come. Not sure who the other BGVs are on that song.

      • Oh, and Marshall Hall was there (in Houston), but he was filling in for Mark, who was recovering from his broken femur.

      • Is there a limit to the number of times you can reply to your own comment? 🙂

        Just another thought, I haven’t heard Adam Crabb sing with the GVB yet, but I would think that his style of singing would capture at least some of the “soul” that Michael English has. That is NOT a direct comparison to Michael, but I think Adam would do well singing some of Michael’s solo parts, because he sings with a lot of feeling and soul.

      • Fairly certain Gene drives bus for GVB. Thats why he would be there even on a night billed as GVB-only

      • That would certainly explain things! All the more reason to make him a permanent member!

        Another note, Gene McDonald’s website actually states that he can sing anything from tenor to bass (on the “About Gene” page). I’ve never heard him sing tenor, mind you, but I have heard him sing baritone, and it is a very rich sound. Just am “objective opinion” 🙂 , but perhaps Bill and Gene could trade out on Bass/Baritone much like Wes and David trade out on Tenor/Lead. When the song demands a low bass note to really fill it out, Gene’s on it! When the song demands that close 4- and 5-part harmony, well, Bill specializes at that, and Gene could slide up to baritone. Just a thought!

        I guess I’m saying I’d really like for Bill to make Gene a permanent member! And Adam Crabb too!

      • Hilarious! I was just watching an audience member’s video of the same event (poor quality), then came back to post it and saw your post! Thanks! Gene McDonald is amazing!!

  101. I’ve just been getting the funny feeling that Gene has his eyes on a spot with another group but out of respect for everyone involved I won’t mention who.

    I think that Gene is a really good singer too. But I just have one of the those funny feelings. I still feel Bill is simply looking for a baritone.

  102. I love Michael English and was in a rather serious depression for the days after I heard he was done. Thankfully, I was front row in what was his last gvb concert ever, even though I didn’t know it.

    Adam Crabb. I like where Bill is going with this. He does have a little of that Michael English passion and soul which the gvb must have. Michael was always the X factor. We need someone like that again. Can’t wait to see them next week, hopefully Adam is still with them.

    And then Bill will have to find someone to replace Mark…oh man.

  103. I love everyone expressing their different opinions. I have held back since the post first appeared but I finally decided I’d go ahead and express mine. Michael English is the most significant singer to come along in Gospel Music in the last 30 years. IMHO there is no one close. He totally changed the lead singer spot just like Jake totally changed the spot 60 years ago. Michael is the most imitated singer in gospel music and has been since his days with the Singing Americans. Michael made Southern Gospel sound relevant to younger ears. I have sons in their 30’s and they are mesmerized by Michael’s subtle stylings. He fused blues, country, soul, rock, folk and every other imaginable genre into Southern Gospel. Guy is great. He is a terrific man with a terrific voice. Michael English is a once in a generation talent that we got to watch and listen to. I, for one, am glad I got to see him do his thing. To me, it was magical almost every time.

    • Shorty…you nailed it! Michael has been the most infulential singer, you got Jake Hess, Russ Taff and Michael English!

    • You have said it the best of anyone and I agree 100%

    • Perfect read on the subject. Michael did change the perception of the role of a lead singer in a SG group. 30 years ago, no one would try to do what he routinely does, and now so many try to emulate his styling. It is not traditional, but it works and works incredibly well. Same thing with David, his operatic style of tenor doesnt fit well with a lot of our SG tenors ears. I agree, Wes fills that spot of a traditionalist perfect. And its not without accident that so many posts on here suggest the best quartet makeup has been Wes, Guy, Marsh & Bill. And without a doubt that was a phenomenal group. Then Bill totally dropped the quartet dynamic on its ear when he brought in the 5-man lineup that included those unique vocal talents of Michael and David. To me that was complete genius. To others it never seemed right at all. Its in Bill taking those chances that we learn to like and appreciate the things we never knew could exist.

      • Now there’s an objective opinion! I agree totally. I personally love what Wes does and I would have been even more disappointed if he had been one to leave, but I still can’t get over what this last 5-man lineup did with Michael’s and David’s unique styling (unique to SG). I’m really going to miss both Michael and Mark, but am excited about the changes around the corner. Changes come whether we want them to or not.

      • Is “objective opinion” an oxymoron, an inherent contradiction in terms? 🙂

      • Weeeeeell, I thought of that, but ya gotta get past it to get my point. Ya know? 😉

      • Well, yes. That tickled my funny bone just the right way – it was too good to pass up! 🙂

  104. Shorty i totally agree with you about Michael but i feel there is young talent out there that could. be as great i like what i heard from Adam Crabb i hope he is the new lead he has a great voice and a wonderful personality and all around great guy

    • Shorty I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!!!!!!!! Thank you for putting everything in perspective. Guy Penrod raised the bar but MICHAEL ENGLISH TOOK IT AND THREW IT ABOVE THE STRATOSPHERE. THAT IS MY HONEST OPINION.

  105. Moderator’s note: Y’all are more than welcome to talk about how much you like Michael English. Call him the best if you like. But don’t criticize other GVB lead singers and say that they don’t measure up; comments of that nature fall outside the comment guidelines and will be deleted.

    And yes, I will do – and did – do the same thing the last time around, when it was the Guy Penrod fans down in the dumps and unhappy about the change.

    • So very true, Daniel. We (Guy’s fans) were very upset and worried. Those discussions were great and so helpful back then. It all worked out in the end. Guy didn’t let his fans down. I’m sure Michael won’t either.

  106. About two months ago, Michael English was writing some weird twitter messages about losing something you love and the harshness of change. It did not seem as if he was writing about losing his father, who had died during that time period. Then, Michael said he would be doing a Kickstarter musical project and he wanted his twitter friends to be a part of it. When I later heard that he was leaving, I wondered if it was his choice to leave.

    • I’m pretty sure it was his choice. As far as everyone in the Gaither office knew, there was a several-day period when they knew Lowry was leaving, though it hadn’t yet been announced, but they were still specifically listing English as appearing at all 2014 concerts. Plus, in a Twitter message posted after the news of his departure hit, English tweeted about being burnt out. So every indication on all fronts is that it was truly his choice.

  107. I have no inside information but it seems to me Mark is the only one really positioned to continue with Gaither like events after Bill slows down. Mark packs 2000-5000 seat churches and arenas regularly. No one else is in that ballpark. He is currently traveling with a mix of talented singers and players just like Gaither does but on a smaller scale. He is a master MC – one of the absolute best I have ever witnessed. HE sells to the young and the old – just like Bill does. If you have only seen his schtick with the Gaither shows you have missed out. In his solo dates he will have the audience rolling with laughter and then make the most amazingly profound spiritual point in a way no other performer I have seen is able to do. He is incredibly smart and is a focussed business man. Currently I see no person able to do what Mark can do.
    As you can tell from my earlier post, I love English as a performer but he would be the first to tell you he does not possess those talents Mark and Gaither have. My best scenario for Michael is that he is a huge part of Lowry’s program — that he and Mark put a vocal band type group together – and then Michael stays busy in the studio and doing his own solo dates across the country as well. It will be interesting to see how all of this turns out.

    • Michael has stated in interviews that he still has anxiety attacks from time to time when on stage. I don’t think he would want to tackle emceeing a “Gaither-like event”. Anytime he ever says anything from the stage he usually prefaces it with “I normally don’t say much…”

      Mark Lowry, on the other hand, well we all know that he’s never been at a loss for words 🙂 ! I think he would be a perfect fit to pick up the mantle and continue the Homecoming circuit or something similar, should Bill ever decide to hang it up.

      As far as Michael and Mark forming a vocal band type group, I could see that happening. If you think about it, Mark has been in the Vocal Band for the majority of both of Michael’s stints. Michael I believe had some say about Mark joining back in the ’80s. In fact, he was pretty annoyed at first, according to the GVB Reunion videos! 🙂 Michael seems to be very comfortable working with Mark. Just like some here feel the Vocal Band isn’t the Vocal Band without Michael, he probably feels that it’s not the Vocal Band without Mark!

      I am fairly certain that any development we may see concerning the possible formation of a vocal band type group with Mark and Michael will not be without Bill’s blessing. I don’t think they would want to burn bridges or cross Bill to go into direct competition. If I were in the industry, I for sure wouldn’t want to get in the way of “the juggernaut” that is the Gaither Music Group!!

  108. JOSEPH, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I know all the guys have a great chemistry together but Mark has always really clicked with Michael. Mark came back to the Vocal Band when Michael returned. I also agree there will be no bridge burning with Gaither. Bill gave both of them the huge platform they now enjoy. Mark and Michael both know it. I really believe they love and respect Bill tremendously and would never do anything he did not endorse.

  109. Go check out Travis Cottrell i am tellin. you you will be very impressed

  110. I don’t know if it was posted here or not (kind of hard to follow 260+ threaded posts later), but Marsh Hall is filling in this weekend (or at least he was last night) with the Homecoming crew

    Another side note is that Reggie Smith was there two, but wasn’t advertised as a headline artist as others were. Don’t know if there’s anything behind that or not, but thought I’d post it anyways.

    • It looks like Marsh filled in on Friday and Reggie filled in on Saturday according to Wes Hampton on twitter.

  111. Marshall! Marshall! Marshall! PLEASE!!!

  112. I mean no disrespect to ANYONE, BUT, when I heard that the lead singer spot for the GVB had opened up, my first thought was it will have to be filled by a VERY good vocalist. My 2nd thought was that Bill will choose someone tall & handsome. You can’t deny it…good looks is a draw.

  113. Since Steve Ladd travels wtih Michael a lot, I could see them forming a new group wiht maybe Johnathan Martin. It would make sense with Michael being Steve’s producer.

    • I’ve thought of this as well. Steve’s new album (On My Own) was produced by ME and he also sang a lot of BGV’s. The sound is amazing. Not sure if this would ever happen though because Steve is doing well solo and Michael seems to want to go that way also…not sure why though. He shines most brightly with a group and as some have pointed out, he seems to be more comfortable in a group. Maybe in the future. We can only hope.

  114. Daniel, I went back and looked at the story on your blog from 2009 when Penrod and Hall left the GVB, and Phelps, Lowry, and English joined. That story was at 172 comments, and at the time you stated that it was probably the biggest story in southern gospel that year. As of this post, this story is at 282 comments.

    I’m just curious, how does this story compare to any of your past stories, in terms of number of comments? It appears that it could be the biggest story on your blog!

    • It’s not #1 in any metric yet, but may eventually get there. The #1 post in terms of views was the day Tony Greene passed away, because Singing News’ server crashed and mine stayed up. The #1 in terms of comments was Friday night at NQC 2013. But this is, I think, now #2 in terms of comments.

      It may have been #1 except for all the comment-guideline-violating comments that I had to delete!

      • I think it would be interesting if you implemented a “Top Stories” section based on those metrics.

      • I know my readers a little too well to try that one! 🙂 I could easily see a couple of readers wishing that the #3 story in one metric – say, comments – was #1 instead, and posting silly comments to push it over the top. 😀

      • Awww, man, you busted me! That’s what I was trying to do with this thought! 🙂

        Just kidding, I definitely understand that concern! You want to keep it relevant.

      • No problem. 🙂 It’s all in good fun. I try to take it seriously enough without taking things too seriously! 🙂

      • Looks like the next comment or two will push this story over the top for the most commented story on this site. If the changes aren’t announced really soon, this could take the lead by a lot…until the new hires are announced, then that story will take over.

      • I hadn’t been monitoring it that closely, but I knew it had to be getting close. Interesting!

        Honestly, I don’t think the story of the change will top this one. It’ll be news for a couple of days, the active readers/commenters will share their thoughts, and then everyone will move on (except for the dear grandpas, bless their hearts, who find the story two years from now and learn the news for the first time!)

        On the other hand, the prolonged suspense (and the fact that I closed two related posts and pointed discussion here) has people still talking on this one.

  115. Does anyone have any video of the post Michael English GVB? I would love to hear them with Aaron Crabb, but I can’t find anything.

  116. I just saw this tweet by Wes Hampton.

    Wes Hampton ‏@weshampton 12h
    Wesley Pritchard & @cottrelltravis sang with the GVB tonight in NC. Both were fantastic! On our way to Woodbridge, VA now.

    I was wondering if anyone had any comments about this? I was a little surprised and was wondering what Bill had on his mind. 🙂

    • Who knows? Perhaps he is indeed interested. He would be quite the hire, that’s for sure.

      • Yes, he surely would. I would never have thought of him in a million years. 🙂

  117. Hey, I saw a pic on FB of Wes, David and Travis Cottrell. I know he has filled in for them a few times. What are the odds that Bill hires Travis? Man, what a voice that guy has!

    • Because he did fill in on a recent weekend, I guess we would have to say that it’s at least a distinct possibility.

      • I have it from a great friend of mine that Travis Cottrell just joined the GVB on stage in Woodbridge VA.

  118. I think the new GVB lineup should be, Bill Gaither/Wes Hampton/David Phelps/Adam Crabb/Travis Cottrell, what a dynamic all-star quartet that would be, AWESOME!!!

    • Well, it would be incredible, but what it wouldn’t be is a quartet. 😛

      • A quintet? 🙂

      • Yes. 🙂

    • Gaither has been known to throw a few curve balls Travis would be a great baritone and has q fantastic. voice i want to hear him with Crabb to see how they mesh

  119. I am surprised to an extent that Gaither is going to release the Hymns project as is. I figured he would re-record vocals with his new hires. I am certainly not disappointed however. It will be great to hear the voices of English and Lowry with the group once more.

    • We’re still far enough out; there’s a distinct possibility Gaither may yet change them.

      • I found it interesting that the website pointed out

        “•Last recording with the All-star line up of Mark Lowry and Michael English

      • Ah. Good point.

  120. This is all still a total guessing game I know, but do you think there will be one new hire or two? I cannot help but think that Gaither really likes the sound of the quintet, even though he has openly admitted that quartet singing has always been a passion of his.

    • Well, he still has two tenors left. If one of the tenors had left, then a return to quartet harmonies would be more likely.

    • Furthermore, the two tenor idea is something that is embraced by David Phelps, according to the Best of David Phelps dvd. He said that it’s nice to be able to sit out for a couple of songs and let his voice recover, or to move down to lead on a song or two. He referred to Wes Hampton as “insurance”. He even said “the road behind the Gaither Vocal Band is littered with tenors”, or something to that effect. If one of them is having an off-night due to sickness or sinuses (as Wes Hampton just did), then the other can pick up the slack.

      I think it’s smart to keep two tenors, and Bill knows it. He’ll get a lot more out of them for a longer period of time by letting them rest during the concerts, plus it adds versatility to the sound combinations, featuring different styles on different songs. It’s a win-win. Add to that two lead-baritones or even a bass-baritone (Gene McDonald), and you get the same results.

      • There are advantages of being at the top. Keeping two of the best singers in any genre lying around in case one doesn’t feel like singing is one of those advantages.

      • Another way to look at this is for Bill to hire someone, be it Adam Crabb, Travis Cottrell, or whomever, and let the three singers switch spots.

        Officially, the lineup would be Phelps on tenor, Cottrell/Crabb/Whomever on lead, Hampton on baritone and Bill on bass, but then, Hampton and Phelps could alternate on tenor/baritone depending on what kind of tenor the song calls for and whichever one needs a rest, not to mention that obviously they’d take lead on several songs.

        Sorry, I just really prefer them as a quartet. However, if the lineup ends up as Phelps/Hampton/Crabb/Cottrell/Gaither, I won’t pout about that at all!

  121. Charles Billingsley is a name I have not heard mentioned yet. I sincerely doubt he would leave his job at Thomas Road Baptist/Liberty University, but I cannot help but wonder how amazing it would sound with his big voice in the mix. This is simply a case of wishful thinking, but I figured I would throw it out there. I was extremely impressed with the video of Adam Crabb with the GVB. He has both the voice and the look that would fit in well. Throw in Travis Cottrell and you have another incredible quintet. Someone in an earlier post also mentioned Allen Asbury as a possible lead. He definitely has the voice!!!!! His raw power and emotion remind me of Michael English in many ways.

    • Can someone post the link to Adam Crabb with the GVB? I’ve searched but haven’t found anything yet.

  122. I’d really love to see Bill go out and get Guy Penrod back as lead. Even with the super group, the GVB sound just didn’t resonate as well without him. He and David were perfect compliments to one another. As for baritone, to names come to mind that haven’t gotten much mention. One is Wesley Pritchard. Wesley has been a company guy at Gaither Music for years. He performed the baritone spot greatly with the Old Friends and even carried the lead well in his short subbing stint with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. In fact, Ernie really wanted him to take that position. If anyone deserves a shot and stint with the GVB it’s Wesley.

    The other name is one I’d just as soon NOT see leave his current position but in my humble opinion, the guy is the best young baritone in the business today and may be it’s next big “star”…..Josh Singletary of Tribute. His talent is awesome and he brings so much to the table. And with Mark leaving, he would be the perfect foil for Bill! But again, I’d really rather he stay with Tribute, a quartet that I think we’re going to be talking about a lot in the next several years! “Good News From Jerusalem” and “Homesick Angel” are just the beginning of this talented groups rise!

    What do you think Daniel?

    • I’d be happy to see them hire Wesley Pritchard. And since he has filled in this fall (and Guy Penrod hasn’t), I’d have to say that he’s distinctly more likely than Guy.

      Josh Singletary has a very distinct crooner’s tone, but partly as a result of the limitations of that tone, he stays within a very distinct range limitation. Whether or not he can sing them in a different, lighter tone – I rather suspect he could – he generally doesn’t sing on stage the four or five highest notes that GVB baritone arrangements call for.

      • Don’t count on Wesley Pritchard he is a pastor of a church in North Carolina i don’t think he will leave and give up his church to sing with the Vocal Band i think its Travis Cottrell if he is wih them this. weekend he is the new baritone but i disagree Guy is going to fill in the first weekend of December and Adam will sing the last weekend and then they will make the announcement Adam Crabb and Travis Cottrell has joined the Gaither Vocal Band

  123. Does anyone know if Daniel Crews is looking to join a group? He has a great voice, probably not one the GVB are looking for right now, but who knows what Gaither is going to do.
    I saw a couple videos of the GVB with Wes Pritchard, but they didn’t have any of Travis Cottrell. Does anyone know what songs he sang with them?

    • I wouldn’t be so sure Evan. I spoke with Wesley at a concert a few days ago and he said he was going to do some fill-in dates with GVB. When I told him I was hoping Bill would put him in their permenently, his reply was “Don’t know….wr’ll just have to wait and see.” So I took the implied impression to mean that either he was in the running or there had been some discussion at least to that effect and they were waiting for one party or the other to decide. I think Wesley would be a top flight addition to the Vocal Band.

      • Unless you know him really, really well, I wouldn’t be surprised if he would say that even if he knew for sure that he wouldn’t (or would) be joining.

      • I would think that if Wesley Pritchard wanted to join the GVB, he would have done so long before now, same with Reggie Smith. They both have filled in on previous occasions. No doubt Bill may have offered them the permanent job before even this most recent change. I get the impression that they don’t mind filling in occasionally, but wouldn’t want to do it full time.

        For someone like me, that would be a dream come true! But for them, they’ve travelled with the Gaithers before and they know the rigors involved. It may not be such a “dreamland” when you’ve been there, done that. I’m not suggesting anything negative there, but just the demands on time, schedule, voice, etc. Every GVB concert I’ve ever been to is a 4+ hour event. Do that 2 or 3 times a week plus solo dates, and you’ll be begging for a break, I’m sure.

        And then there’s always the factor that some people just don’t want that kind of attention. Both Wesley and Reggie strike me as that type. They seem content to just be in the background and do their thing.

      • I think Wesley knows whether he is joining or not and i agree Wesley is awesome and i would not be dissappointed if he joined pretty much all the guy’s in the Vocal Band have been swore to secrecy about who is filling in and replacements maybe Wesley is in the running but i know for a fact Adam is a contender Gaither has a hard. decision especially if its between Adam and Wesley i think Travis is the only contender for baritone so

  124. I’m wondering if Michael’s reasoning for leaving had anything to do with the possibility that with the past throat issues he’s had, that he could just not vocally do all the many dates that GVB requires each year.?

    • You’re probably right Bout that Daniel. But I still think he’s got to be on Gaither’s short list!

    • I’ve followed Michael for years and my opinion is that he is not hampered at all with vocal issues. He is at the top of his game vocally. The reason he gave at a recent concert centered on spending more time with Bella and his granddaughters and to be able to pursue other things. Not sure that is the full answer but that is what he is saying at this point. It’s pretty much pointless to keep speculating. We need to give these artists their privacy. We don’t need to know all the details. I’m sure the reason for stepping away was complicated and was not reached easily.

      • The “where” I got that Michael had had some vocal issues was two years ago at NQC, he had some difficulty during the Southern Gospel 100 year Celebration during the Singing Americans Reunion and he had Clayton Inman assist him with the lead on several songs. He stated at that perfomance that Clayton was helping him due to some vocal issues he had been dealing with. That and the fact that I had noticed that Wes and David picked up the lead several times at Gaither Homecomings on some songs with GVB that Michael usually had done. But quite honestly when he’s on, he’s superb!

      • I may have the timing wrong, but I’m quite sure that NQC 2011 was right around the time he was just getting back on stage after having neck surgery. He was unable to sing for like 6-8 months per doctor’s orders, so he lost a lot of his range. He had just been cleared to get back on stage, so he hadn’t quite gotten his vocal strength back yet.

      • Michael’s surgery was March 2010. He was just beginning to sing again around NQC of the same year. The vocal cords were inadvertently affected by the surgery on his neck and it took him a while to get going again but that is long behind him now. This change had nothing to do with vocal problems.

      • Yes, thank you for the correction. 2010 was the year they did the 100 year celebration, and the had the Singing Americans reunion with Michael joining them.

  125. What’s interesting is, they recently did a concert with Marshall Hall filling in the lead spot…so it was literally two natural tenors and three natural baritones! Weird, huh?

    • Many a Southern Gospel concert has been performed by four natural baritones, one of whom making a valiant effort to try to sing bass and another making a valiant effort to try to sing tenor.

      Such concerts are not the sole property of local groups, either!

    • I have to say Marshall Hall may sing the baritone part but he is not natural baritone Marshall has incredible range he is a natural lead and so is Mark Lowry

      • Well, if you’re speaking in classical terminology, there are only three male vocal types: Tenor, Baritone, and Bass.

        Some Southern Gospel leads – the ones (like Jonathan Wilburn and Tim Rackley) who are eminently comfortable singing high B-flats in full voice – are probably natural tenors. Others (like Glen Payne and McCray Dove) who top out at Eb/F/G for full voice are classically baritones.

      • Guys like Ivan Parker, Jim Hamill or Russ Taff have/had baritone timbres while having lead-singer range. Guys like Bill Shivers or Jonathan Wilburn have tenor ranges and tenor timbres. Guy Penrod and Michael English straddle that line pretty well.

    • I would say most of the tenors in our choir at church (which includes me) are a lot more natural in the baritone range vs “true tenors”. While we can all hit most of the notes, I wouldn’t say it’s always comfortable and I believe I sound a lot better in a lead/baritone position.

      • I believe David Phelps is the most natural and comfortable tenor I have ever experienced.
        His high notes are full and he seems completely at ease with it. 🙂

    • For further strangeness, Jonathan Pierce sang lead with the Imperials and tenor with the vocal band, but he has always sounded like a baritone to me. For all I know, maybe he *could* have sung baritone back then if he had wanted to.

  126. Here’s another thought. I know he is tremendously busy with studio work and producing, but has anyone considered Gordon Mote for one of the two vacant spots? He could easily keep up Mark’s comedy end and he has a super voice.

    • Given that he left fairly recently – around two years ago? – I don’t suppose he would come back quite this quickly.

    • Gordon would be great but you would be crazy to let one of the best piano players stick to strictly singing and not tickle the ivories now if Gordon would go back to play i would have no problem with that and don’t get me wrong i don’t want to take Matthew Holt off the piano. bench that man can play but i would love for GVB to go with a 6 or 7 piece band

      • Gordon could always add an additional keyboard; he can play B3-style organ perhaps even better than he plays piano, for example.

  127. I am almost all for Travis Cottrell joining, but I really want to see a video of him singing with them. I can see Adam joining, but not Wesley. Nothing against the man, but his name has been thrown around erverytime there has been a lead or bari change in the group. I’ve seen them with Wesley filling in and its bad at all, but not great. They need a voice with a bit more flavor to it. Adam and Travis would be great parallels of each others but would add the needed diversity that make the GVB the GVB. Guy is not coming back. Guy is having too success as a solo artist. The reason he stepped down was not only to focus on a solo career, but also more time wtih his family. If rejoined the vocal band and still did solo dates it would contradict why he left in the first place. So far, Adam and Travis are the names that excite me for the future.

  128. Not to say that Wes could not song baritone, I think it would be a waste of his range and wonderful high notes to move him to baritone. I think it’d be great for David to stay on tenor, Wes move to lead and then bring in a new baritone. I’ve seen many names thrown around and I’ve agreed with most of them. I’m sure Bill knows what he’s doing.

    • Sing*

  129. I just saw this tweet about tonight…..

    “Adam Crabb Music ‏@adamcrabbmusic 1m
    Saturday November 30, 2013
    Bankers Life Fieldhouse
    125 S Pennsylvania St
    Indianapolis, IN

    So, it appears that Adam Crabb with be with GVB in Indy tonight. 🙂
    I am glad to see him back with them….maybe, just maybe….

  130. Hey Daniel, any chance at all of Guy coming back? or will he stay solo?

    • Chance: Sure. Probability? No.

  131. When will GVB release Hymns album?

  132. I heard that Mark just finished his last concert with the vb. Can anyone confirm or deny this? I thought he was singing until the end of the year.

    • Well, both Gaither and Mark Lowry’s websites still have him listed as being with the GVB for the remaining dates in 2013. This would indicate that he would still fulfill his 2013 commitments with the GVB. However, I too read a comment from someone who attended the event in Indianapolis over the weekend which stated it was his last concert with them, so who knows?? I guess we’ll find out more after this next weekend of concerts…

  133. Previous to the name Travis Cottrell popping up in these discussions as a possible replacement, I had never even heard of him. I pretty much stick strictly to southern gospel groups. But, I’ve been stretching my listening parameters a little and have created a Travis Cottrell Pandora station. I gotta say his voice starting to grow on me. I like his style of music, just simple Praise and Worship, not a lot of “heavy” rock sounds. I think his voice would be a great fit at baritone in the GVB.

    I felt the same about Marshall Hall. I had never even heard of him, and was disappointed when I found out that Russ had left, but his voice grew on me and I now consider him to be one of my favorites.

    BTW, Daniel, are we getting close to 50,000 comments? I’m really trying!! 🙂

    • Sorry, there’s quite a bit to go. I’m expecting the contest to last at least a couple of days!

      There are days when I wonder if this particular thread will reach 50,000 by itself. 😛

      • Our only hope is that Bill Gaither will prolong the decision/announcement for a while. Until something official comes out, this thread will be continue to be the “speculation” thread. As soon as you post an article about an official announcement, it will become the new conversation arena, and sadly, this thread will wither into oblivion! 😀

  134. Wes Hampton tweeted out that he, Bill, and David were joined on stage by Adam Crabb and Reggie Smith tonight (and, I’m assuming, for the weekend).


    • I saw that as well. Would Adam Crabb be considered a “lead” before he began filling in for the GVB? I never listened to a lot of the Crabb family, but I always thought Jason was their lead and has a more obvious lead voice. Maybe I’m wrong, but I was just wondering.

      • Jason was the Crabb Family’s lead singer, mostly, but Adam and Aaron’s voices are similar, and so are their ranges.

    • This looks like a pretty good line-up. I think they would work well together. 🙂

  135. We love the GVB , David Philips and Wes Hampton have beautiful voices, but also have a
    beautiful personality, which I feel makes you enjoy even more their voices I hope this
    can be found in the new ones.

  136. Looks like Bill has waited so long to make his hires the interest has died down…of course, I’m sure it will explode the moment he makes the announcement.

  137. I just received the latest issue of Homecoming magazine. I’m not sure if it means anything, but the 2014 Touring Schedule lists the GVB as “Bill Gaither and the Gaither Vocal Band”. To me, this seems to indicate that Bill may be stepping back from the singing and doing more of just emceeing..just my own impression.

    Also, FWIW, the picture they have of the GVB has Adam Crabb in it. Granted, it also has Mark Lowry in it, but it almost makes me think that Adam Crabb may join..

    • I could very well see Bill stepping back somewhat. I had heard somewhere that Bill had actually at one point wanted to come off the road and let Mark take over the Vocal Band and be the emcee and all but that apparently isn’t going to happen. I could see Adam filling the lead position vacated by Michael and if Bill is stepping back, I’m sure it’s a given that Gene McDonald would step into the bass roll. So since neither David nor Wes is suited for the baritone spot, that leaves up in the air would Adam come in as the baritone with one of them filling the lead, or do we get three new members as we did last time with Adam, Gene and maybe Wesley Pritchard at baritone. I personally am still holding out hope to see the replacements for Michael and Mark be Jason Crabb and Joseph Habedank….what a power duo that would be to combine with David, Wes and Bill!!!!

  138. Still no news…the suspense is killing me.

  139. They are scheduled to be in Lubbock on the 23rd, so maybe we will get a clue then. 🙂

  140. I would think, or at least hope, that a final decision and announcement would be made before they kick of their 2014 Touring Schedule.

  141. I just went back and looked. The announcement of English/Lowry/Phelps being added to the group was made on January 13, 2009, before the 2009 Touring Schedule started. The departure of Marshall Hall and Guy Penrod was announced in October of 2008. So the timing for that personnel change was very similar to this one. If they follow the same thought process, then maybe we can expect an announcement in the next couple of weeks. Just my opinion.

  142. Gaither has issued a press release officially nong Adam Crabb as the fourth member of the GVB. They also stated they will be continuing to try out baritone spots.