Saturday News Roundup #201

Worth Knowing

  • Tribute Quartet was in a bus accident last weekend. They posted: “Hi, folks. Ok, it’s been posted that we’ve been involved in a wreck. It is true. We are ALL ok. It is a FOGGY night in Oklahoma. We were making a right-hand turn. The driver hit us passenger side. SO, the bus needs a LOT of work over quite a bit of time. We envy your prayers and we are GRATEFUL to those who are in continuous prayer for us. It’s because of you we are all fine. Thank you!”
  • The Crist Family was also in a bus accident this week. (If two in a week doesn’t serve as a stark reminder of praying for the safety of our genre’s groups, nothing will!)
  • Last week, Tracy Stuffle marked another milestone in his ongoing stroke recovery: He was able to give his testimony during communion at his home church last Sunday. He has also been able to stand on his own for several minutes at a time.
  • Freedom Quartet posted a free live stream of a concert last weekend where they introduced their debut CD here.
  • Speaking of Freedom, their tenor/manager, John Rulapaugh, has announced plans to get into politics. He will be running for County Commissioner in Sevier County, Tennessee. Since Freedom tours with a limited schedule, it is not anticipated that this will impact his performances with the group.
  • Former Brian Free & Assurance baritone Craig Singletary owns a deer processing facility. Yesterday afternoon, a smoker blew up and injured him, requiring treatment for non-life-threatening burns.
  • Tenor Jonathan Price has left the Dove Brothers; they are seeking a replacement.

Worth Watching

The Hopper clan’s musical genes continue to run strong. Here’s little sister Lexi singing a song at a Hoppers soundcheck. (Don’t leave before the end; the spinning high-five is priceless!)


Direct link:Β

Also worth watching: Matt Fouch interviews Jim Brady.

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturdayβ€”you decide!

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

121 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. The interview with Jim Brady was interesting and when he gave his favorite song I had to look it up on YouTube. This is a powerful song and I am surprised that it is not heard more often. The video posted by psalmofpriaise of Jim and Melissa Brady was the more clear and understandable video that I watched.

  2. Sorry to hear Jonathan Price has left the Dove Brothers. He is a super tenor. They seem to be having a hard time to hang on to people lately.

    • Am I understanding that Eric Dove has also left the group? McCray Dove is playing piano? Or other instruments? They don’t have their band anymore? Do I have all of this right?

      Burman Porter is apparently feeling better these days as a member of Tribute Quartet.

      The Dove Brothers Quartet was extremely popular in my area for a number of years; I have not seen them anywhere near here in quite some time. I keep hoping David Hester will, at least on a part-time basis, sing again…

      • I’m thinking Burman is still with Freedom Quartet. Yes Eric has been gone for about a month or so. McCray as far as I know still has a band. He is a very good pianist and bass guitar player too. He has a lot of talent besides singing. I waited a while to see if anyone would answer Ed but I thought I’d go ahead and answer anyway.

      • Sorry, I was away from the computer for much of the evening. Burman Porter is with Freedom Quartet, not Tribute Quartet; Joe is right.

      • Joe, thanks for the correction on Freedom Quartet.

        Can’t help thinking of the Thrasher Brothers and their “change of direction.” In the early seventies, they were easily a top five quartet. Even had their own television show. I really hope this situation turns out better…

  3. I just wanted to take a moment to say that I enjoy your blog. I read it daily. It is my go to source for SG news.

    Another note, I want to say that Enlighten has definitely improved their programming. Glad to be hearing more quality material being played for the sole reason I have an XM radio. The only complaint I have is that after several hours if listening, they play the same songs. I suppose that is the same for almost all radio stations, however.

    • Stephen, thank you! An enLighten question: Are the songs you’re hearing repeated the current top charting radio singles, or other songs? It’s relatively normal for radio stations to play the top 40 charting hits a couple of times per day.

      • Most are top 40. Not sure about some like Russ Taff’s Love Is A Cross or Zane and Donna King’s Hallelujah Jesus Saves.

      • OK. Well, if most of the repeated songs are top 40 hits, that’s at least a step in the right direction. πŸ™‚ I just checked and don’t see either of the two you mentioned in the current SN Top 80.

  4. Daniel,

    Do most groups use a professional driver? I’m wondering if the rash of SGM bus accidents over the past few years were due to driver inexperience or fatigue from performing other tasks for the groups in addition to driving responsibilities?

    • Many do; not all do. I believe that in both of this week’s, the other driver was at fault. Several recent bus issues (Tribute Quartet, Beyond the Ashes) were due to bus malfunctions – fires in both cases.

      This is just my ballpark guess, but of the SG bus accidents I’ve heard about over the last five years or so, I’d guess that 70% are due to the other driver – sometimes a drunk late at night, when only drunks and SG buses are on the roads. Probably 25% are due to bus malfunctions; with how many hundreds of thousands of miles get put on each bus, those things are bound to happen sometimes. I’d guess that 5% or less of the ones I hear about – which is to say, the accidents by the top-tier pro groups – are due to driver error on the bus driver’s part.

      • Daniel,

        Thanks! I did see a “position open” a while back in Singing News for a group seeking a fill-in bus driver for a weekend schedule and it said “no CDL required”, and that got me thinking about driver qualifications.

      • I’m glad to hear your guesses on those accident percents. Some people just read “headlines” and don’t bother to find what really caused the accident. We (I) need to remember to pray more for safety of our groups who are doing what the Lord has called them to do …and not for personal gain. I just heard Gerald Wolfe tell that they are driving 7,000 miles for their Jubilee Christmas… and that’s not just ONE bus!!

      • Lifting up prayers for the protection and safety of our beloved Gospel artists, and for their families and crews, as they travel from venue to venue speading the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    • Based on some of the schedules I’ve seen with SG groups (jumping hundreds of miles from Thursday to Friday to Saturday to Sunday events), driving the bus must be tough. A job I wouldn’t want.

  5. Shouldn’t Rupalaugh be Rulapaugh?

    • Good catch; I’ll fix it. Thanks!

  6. I’m gonna answer these questions for all of you ! Do I still have a band ? Yes we do ! I play piano and keyboard bass , drums (my Nephew plays them), steel, lead guitar, banjo and dobro (played by mike Salley ) ! Vocals are McCray Dove (lead) Lance Jeffery( baritone ) Bass singer (David Cable) Tenor was Jonathan Price , we should have that spot filled soon ! We still sing Gospel Music we sing the Classics as well as our Hits but we also sing songs that talk about life we live everyday ! We are not tied down to one style ! You will have changes in your group sooner or later ! Life changes ! Now you can go with the change or you can quit and stay home ! I know you don’t see or read about us in the Singing News or at this time hear a new song on the Radio or a new cd lately but trust me its coming ! I know you heard a lot of rumors like we left Gospel Music and gone Country ! Well go to our website and look at our tour dates and if that’s true there sure is a lot of Churches and Gospel promoters who love Country Music then ! Come on people you got to be smarter than that ! Our we the same group 15 years ago ? No we are not ! If there is anybody on this site seen us in the last Month I think they can tell you what we do in concert ! I’ve heard so many lies and rumors about us that I just have to laugh ! I guess it’s good that you’re talking ! Lol the group is doing fine and as long as we trust God we will always be fine ! If you really want to know what we are really doing come see the Dove Brothers then you will know the truth !

    • You are correct McCray all groups accept change and move forward if they want to stay in business.
      You are not alone just recently GVB had two members to exit the group.
      Mike Holcomb left the Inspirations.
      Gold City has seen their fair share of changes.
      There is one thing in life that is certain. “CHANGE”

    • Thank you McCray for coming on here and speaking about what is going on with your group. I am glad you are pressing forward. Your lineup was fairly stable for awhile, but lately you’ve had quite a few changes. Some groups just seem to get tired of trying to fill the changes and disband. As the Doves are my current favourite group, naturally I don’t want this to happen to you. Again thank you for coming on here and speaking directly to us fans.

    • I don’t think the Dove Brothers’ vocal lineup has been any less stable than quite a few other SG groups I can think of!

      • I agree with you Daniel. My point was it was quite stable for several years and now suddenly, they are having a lot more changes. Of course, with more members usually come more changes. Since they are my current favourite group and I feel they are filling a huge gap that has been overlooked by SG, I was concerned that there may be some behind the scenes problems. In other words, I don’t want them to go away. I hope they are around for a long time to come. In his post McCray indicates that they aren’t going anywhere. πŸ™‚

      • I’m not too concerned; vocally, at least, they’ve been more stable than certain other groups I could name (but won’t!) πŸ™‚ Over the last two years, I believe they’ve had one move each at tenor, baritone, and bass, and the baritone who came on board was a previous member returning, while the bass was already touring with them in their band.

      • Rhyming with “Old Ditty…”

  7. The truth about the Dove Brothers, they where great on veterans day weekend in PA with the Hoppers. Plus the band is great and they are still singing about Jesus. So do not listen to rumors go out and support MCCRAY and the group.

    • The Dove Brothers have had excellent talent come through their group over the years and have certainly left their mark on SG music. Their “classic years” were their best in my opinion. I appreciate their many contributions and wish them nothing but the best. I really miss seeing them in my area. Perhaps they will “come back home” someday…

    • The Dove Brothers have some excellent talent come through their group over the years and have certainly left their mark on SG music. Their “classic years” were their best in my opinion. I appreciate their many contributions and wish them nothing but the best for the future. I truly miss seeing them in my area. Perhaps they will “come back home” someday…

  8. I saw the Doves last weekend at The Stewart Theater in Dunn N.C.
    There are videos posted on you tube of the concert.
    I think those videos will hush all the rumors LOL. Check them out.
    Johnathan was singing tenor as he will tonight 12/08/2013 in Lumberton NC

    • Jonathan

  9. I too saw all the different people on DBB website and was worried. No need to worry I guess.

    Daniel, a question occurred to me today. What if you happen to have the comment that wins the CD pack? Will you go oddly silent when we get close?

    • Not to worry – I won’t count it. πŸ™‚

      By the way, we’re well under 100 to go, so I would say that we are solidly in the final stretch. πŸ™‚

  10. I attended a Dove Brothers Band concert at the end of September, and can say first-hand that in the 40 minutes that I heard, they not only sang several country songs, but Mccray made numerous references to George Jones, Bill Anderson, etc. And yes, this was in a church on a Sunday night. Perhaps country music can be described as “life we live every day” but shouldn’t be called Gospel either.

  11. Miss Pam will you name what Country songs that I sang ? The George and Bill is mention with Hold On which was a number 1 song for us and its a true story ! And when you name these Country songs please explain what made them country and why they shouldn’t be done in church ! Lord I hope this day is good is prayer and I’m not the only Gospel Group to sing it ! Hello friends is a country style song that I wrote to welcome our friends to the conert and thanking God for it all ! preachers can talk about life in there sermons but we can’t sing about it hey and why you are at it name all the Southern Gospel songs we did . The More than just a name on the Wall is a prayer a Mother is praying to God asking God to tell her SON who died in Vetinam that he’s more than just a name on a wall in DC ! Every time we sing that song a Vetinam vet thanks us for remembering them ! If by chance we did the song Won’t let go that song is letting someone know that you are there for them and I feel that’s what the Church is suppose to do ! I think I name the songs for ya but if there are some I don’t rember please refresh my memory !

    • I haven’t heard the Dove Brothers live in a little while, but I can back McCray Dove up on the “Hold On” part. I’ve heard him talk about George Jones and then sing that song – a song that went to #1 on the Southern Gospel radio airplay charts.

  12. Mccray, I enjoyed your piano playing, by the way. You forgot (or didn’t mention) the one about being under a bridge in Saginaw, MI. Oh, and He’s gonna smile on me… Whatever your reasons, when I used to listen to “country” music, these were songs played on the stations that were called “country” stations and sung by “country” singers.

    • “He’s Gonna Smile on Me” was sung by the country quartet the Oak Ridge Boys, but they had never dismissed their Gospel music beginnings, and they continue to sing Gospel music.

  13. I believe at the time they sang “He’s Gonna Smile on Me,” the Oaks were still a Gospel quartet, and not fully into country music.

  14. Pam
    Smile on me is a GOSPEL song ! Who do you think the song is talking about doing the Smiling ! You got to be Kidding me ! I did forget about under the bridge but can you tell me what’s wrong with singing a song that reminds us of those who are not as fortunate as we are ? If you recall I took the time to tie the song into the ministry that Candy Christmas and her family are doing every week under a bridge in Nashville TN ! I did that song awhile back in Wade NC and after the concert a man came to me and said your concert really touch me today . The song you sang Under the Bridge really got me ! I live under a bridge and anything else I could find to sleep under for many years ! At one time I was a big contractor and build most of the huge buildings you see in Fayetteville NC ! He said I want go into detail but I lost everything I had ! My family my home and my biz . Thank God he’s bringing me out and that song just reminded me what God has done in my life ! So you may not think you should call it Gospel and that’s fine ! But if the Dove Brothers can sing a song that will speak to someone and it reminds them to thank God for his power and Blessings than we will sing it anywhere and give God the GLORY ! Thank you for the comment about liking my piano playing I forgot how much I enjoy playing ! I love you Pam and let me say this when you just say the Dove Brothers sang some country songs and don’t tell what songs was sang and you don’t tell why the song was done or make sure you know what’s country and what’s Country Gospel that is what causes people to spread things ! We don’t do drinking songs or cheating songs but we sing songs that will reach someone that is in that place in there life and then let’s sing a song that has the answer ! Sometimes and I know I’ve been there you get caught up in the circumstance in your life that you know the answer is The Lord but sometimes the answer seems so distant . But if we can sing a song that hits them right where they are at and then sing a song that will bring the answer to them then that’s reaching the hurting and the lost and like Kenny Hinson said in a song Now Ain’t that what it’s all about !

    • Seriously? This must an annual conversation that is a waste of good internet space.

    • I believe I saw the Dove Brothers perform at NQC in 2010, but to be honest, I am not real familiar with their background. But I am wondering if it really matters if a “Gospel” group sings a “country” song. Maybe it is throught that “country” song that someone will come to know the Lord. The comments in this thread have peaked my interests in the Dove Brothers music, and I will check them out when I get the chance. I am grateful that Daniel’s blog introduces me to many artists I may not have had the chance to “discover” otherwise.

  15. Moderator’s note: We’ve had a couple of comments get close to the line of something the comments policy requires that I delete.

    Just as a reminder to everyone: “Ground rules: Don’t attack or belittle groups or fellow posters. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.”

  16. I only responded because I felt Mccray was asking for it. I did not realize the country music lines had become so blurred, but I guess they have. I wasn’t even trying to be critical, just pointing out that there were what I would consider country songs – (Merle Haggard?). Whatever ministers to y’all – but I gave it up years ago when I saw my little girl in the rear view mirror singing her heart out – “I’ve got friends in low places.” I said I would turn it off when a song like that came on the radio, decided I would pick and choose, then a song or two later – “…leaving Louisiana in the broad daylight..” Had to give it up – sorry, Mccray, I realize you weren’t singing those songs, but I don’t hear the Gospel coming out loud and clear in Under the Bridge or On the Wall either. In fact, they’re depressing! You’re a great singer and piano player, I was really looking forward to seeing you, but without the “country” – no hard feelings though πŸ™‚

    • I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with country-sounding songs, but we just need to be careful and use restraint. Southern gospel has always had a distinct sound and powerful message. If either of them go, it’s no longer Southern Gospel, IMHO. This being “The Southern Gospel Blog”, I feel it is safe to say that here.

      I don’t want to see every group inch towards country, contemporary, pop, etc. If our music sounds like the world’s music, then where is the line of distinction? A man told me once concerning the lifestyle standards of Christians, “If there’s no difference, then how can we expect to make a difference? I think this holds true for Southern Gospel music as well. It’s the one genre that through the years has had a different sound AND message. CCM has the message, but the sound is of the world. Same with Country-Gospel and so-called “Christian-Rock”.

      I’m not going to swear off a group because of one or two songs that dip into one of these other genre’s, but if they trend towards more and more of the other genre’s, then I’m going to quit listening to them.

      Several groups have “dabbled” a little. GVB is a prime example. They’ve had a few “country” tunes, as well as contemporary. Karen Peck and New River songs sometimes have a “Pop” or Country/Rock sound. But the majority of their music still holds true to the test: A distinction from the world in the sound AND the message.

    • I’m a stickler for the old paths! Our music MUST be distinct from the rest of the world. That’s really the only true way to reach people. The best way to pierce the darkness is to let the pure light simply shine on it’s own. It doesn’t need to be diluted or cheapened by watering it down to “reach the world”. It’s powerful enough by itself. The question is, do we want to simply reach someone where they are, or do we want to reach with something powerful enough to get them out of where they are? Something that will incite a desire to change!!

      • When you say, “distinct from the rest of the world”, do you mean different from any other musical genre or different from the world in the sense of 1 John 2:15 (love not the world…)?

        If you mean gospel music can’t be worldly, I agree. If you’re saying SG must be a genre to itself in order to be worth anything spiritually, I would have to disagree.

      • Really, I mean both. Different from the world in terms of 1 John 2:15 would pertain to the message. Obviously, that needs to be the case. But just as important, the music needs to be different from the world in its sound. And in doing so, I suppose that would put it in a genre all by itself.

        The broader point that I’m trying to make is at what point is it no longer Southern Gospel? There has to be a definition on that somewhere. I suppose it would differ based on everyone’s own tastes. To me it’s more of a “gut-feel” thing. When I hear certain sounds in what is supposed to be southern gospel, certain vocal inflections, phraseology, etc, it blocks the flow of inspiration, at least in my own experience. I know that threshold will differ from person to person.

        I don’t even like it when artists put out a secular album. I am a David Phelps fan, but as awesome as his voice is, I just couldn’t get used to “The Voice” album. Even some of his solo stuff is a little too much for me.

        I’m just saying let’s not be too anxious to blur the lines. If each generation blurs the lines with no restraint, then where will it be 30 years from now? The same is true for any religious teaching, doctrine, movement, etc., not just music. If it’s not strong enough to change lives, then it won’t be strong enough to SURvive!

      • I think the definition of SG is that SG fans buy it. Genre’s change. A genre shouldn’t be bound to a sound if it runs the genre out of business. Not saying the industry is dying, just making a point.

      • Good point. The fans/customers are the ones who determine the sounds that the artists put out. If they keep buying it, then keep making the sound that makes you successful. Thankfully, the fans have succeeded in keeping it primarily in the mainstream. We give room now and then for a departure from the norm, but thankfully, we do have the final say in what constitutes southern gospel.

        But again, when would southern gospel cease to be southern gospel? Even if the fans demanded a more contemporary sound, or country sound, etc., would it still be southern gospel? I think it behooves the artists to regularly hark back to the tried and true sounds that got them where they are, just to keep the genre alive and definitive.

        This has been a very interesting discussion. I know I’ve been long-winded, but thank y’all for allowing me to get on my soapbox! I’m going to step off for now, at least until I can’t stand it anymore! πŸ™‚

  17. Adam Crabb and Reggie Smith filled in the GVB this weekend. I saw a video of “Alpha and Omega” here: The blend sounds pretty good!!

    Also, Buddy Mullins filled in one night (instead of Adam Crabb). Here’s a picture:

    • Thanks for posting the video. I really like to hear “random groups”. One thing I like about SG is the “scrap iron” quartet. I really like hearing great talent blended together. Some of these groups that consist of “fill in” singers allow us to have once in a life time opportunities to hear a specific mix of great voices.

      • I do too! Gaither needs to do an album (or albums) called “The Best of the Fill-Ins”, so we can capture all of these great moments!

  18. If you read my last post again I said then sing a song that gives them the answer ! All I can say is this I see what God is doing and so that’s what I’ll go by ! I love you all and we can agree to disagree ! Now the style or the sound of Southern Gospel has changed down thru the years and will always be changing ! What was consider not Southern 10 years ago is consider Southern today ! If you don’t believe me just take time to listen to the music and arrangements starting with the 50’s to today ! If God is in it you can’t stop it and why would you want to !

    • McCray,

      Thank you for weighing in on this conversation. It means a lot that you would take the time to see what we’re thinking and saying.

      With all due respect, I feel that there is a huge difference between the style changing down through the years, and a “wholesale” adapting the styles of the world. Now, I’m not implying that your group is wholesale adapting the styles of the world, I’m just using those two extremes to make a point.

      Yes, music styles have changed through the years, and I’m glad for it. I wouldn’t want to listen to the same styles forever. That’s what makes music interesting, is the creativity.

      That being said, all of these different styles of southern gospel still must fit within the parameters of southern gospel as a whole. If the music style completely or at least in majority crosses the line into other genres, then is it still southern gospel? Is it southern gospel just because we call it southern gospel, or is southern gospel because it still bears a distinction from other styles and still has that “New Jerusalem Ring”?

      Yes, there will be influences that give groups a distinctive sound. I’m not saying that’s all bad, I’m merely pointing out that we as the listeners and you (and all the other SG artists) must use moderation and carefulness when experimenting with various styles. We have to maintain the true sound of southern gospel through it all, or else the distinction will be lost. The music must address two things: the Message AND the sound. As, you know, music is a very powerful tool, and can really stir the emotions. We just have to be careful not to stir the wrong emotions. Are the people affected because it reminds them of a song they heard while going through a break up with a companion, or because they are deeply convicted of sin and pricked in the heart? Likewise, (speaking mainly of CCM now), are listeners excited because of a cool groove or thumping beat or awesome guitar riff, or are they excited because of the true hope and consolation they hear in the music that comes wrapped in a beautiful combination of chord progressions and harmonies?

      I know this probably opens up a lot of cans of worms, and there’s probably not enough room to discuss it all here, but I just wanted to throw my 2 cents in.

      Once again, thank you for your input, and thankfully we do have the liberty to disagree and discuss these types of topics. I’m glad we’re not all forced to listen to whatever music the “State Religion” wants us to listen to! That’s what makes America great!

    • BTW, the same can be said about all genres of music, as far as their defining sounds. That’s why there are so many “hybrid” genres today, because they don’t really fall into any specific category. At what point does Country become Rock? At what point does Pop become Hard Rock? At what point does Heavy Metal become Death Metal? Etc, etc. etc. I don’t listen to any of these, I’m just using them as examples. I’m not just picking on you or southern gospel, it’s just the principle of defining the genre.

  19. Pam there is no hard feelings ! There are those who didn’t like Get Away Jordan either ! I’ve been bashed so many times in my career I’m use to it not saying that’s what you were doing . But I don’t dance by the beat of the same drum I refuse to put God in a box and say what he can use and can’t use for his GLORY ! I ask all of you to remember the Dove Brothers Band in prayer and pray he uses all that we do for his Glory !

  20. I want to chime in just to say that while McCray and the Dove Brothers may have changed their style and their presentation of the gospel, my family and I enjoy and have been blessed by their music now and before. McCray has always been amicable to us. My 14 year old teenager likes the traditional quartet music but also likes the way the Dove Brothers are using live music and doing the positive country songs that give a good message. We have been to several of the Dove Brothers concerts in the past couple of years and always leave with a feeling that it was well worth it. I realize each person has their on musical taste and may prefer one group to another, but it is refreshing to have this music to go see especially for the youth who might be more turned off by more traditional southern gospel. I hope the Dove Brothers will keep pressing on despite the criticism and changes that may occur. God bless you in your efforts.

  21. Ok here something to chew . What is ministry what message is important ? When I wrote the song if I knew then what I Know now . I wrote this song for families in the Church something to think and pray about that was considering Divoce ! Radio could not get the message ! They didn’t want to play it because the song only mention God one time in the song ! They claimed that the song was a Country song but they sure didn’t mind playing Put me down or call me gone and those two songs are a Country style but because it was about the same thing rest of the songs are written ! I see to many other things in this life that is hurting Christian people and there families ! But if its not Heaven is my home or I’m gonna fly or when my feet touches Gold it’s not Gospel or that song is not Southern ! So do you really care about reaching the lost or the Christian that has took a wrong turn in there life ? That’s what we are all about ! What’s in the song ! But let’s Box it up

  22. Joseph has made some excellent points. Over the years, I have taken some heat because I prefer “classic” quartets consisting of four clean cut men (plus a piano player) in matching suits. Yes, I am a huge fan of convention style songs. I even prefer a Silver Eagle bus over a Prevost. Blurring the lines is probably not the best way to preserve our unique American art form. Chipping away at the very foundation of our music is not in our best interest.

    There is room for everybody, but many of us will “vote with our dollars.”

    • Wow, you said in one short paragraph what it took me a writing a novel to say! πŸ™‚

    • I agree with your last sentence, Ed. If people don’t like the songs the Dove Brothers are currently singing, don’t go hear them. I am sure that they draw in people that wouldn’t go to your typical SG concert. Then they hit them with the Gospel Message! Bravo, McCray! Keep up the good work for the Lord.

  23. If we went by that vote artist would have had to quit a long time ago ! Traditional or Not .

    • That being said, in general, groups and singers will ultimately go where the dollar is. That is why you have secular artists crossing over to do Hymns or Gospel albums. The “gold” is drying up where they’ve been digging so they have to find another vein/market. Can’t blame them for that can we? That’s business.

      However, whatever the fans want is what they are going to pay for, so if the income is starting to dwindle, it may be a sign that we need to re-evaluate 2 things: 1. are we giving the fans what they want, and 2. are the fans we are singing to the market we want to be singing to?

      • I think for McCray it is more than just the “dollar.” It is about what is going to reach someone…and there are plenty of folks out there that need to hear about Jesus Christ…people than are not necessarily Gospel music fans.

      • I understand…that’s why I prefaced my comment with “in general”. I wasn’t directing it at anyone personally. Just a generic observation about the role of money in the business.

      • So would you be opposed to going and hearing a “secular” artist performing gospel songs? Is that better than guys in a group that you know are believers singing a few inspirational “country” songs? I guess my question could be: Are we more concerned about the message of the songs or the messenger?

      • Do we have to construct a dichotomy? Can’t we say that both the message and the messenger matter greatly?

      • I don’t listen to secular music, so I probably wouldn’t go hear them, even if they were singing gospel songs. Not that I would necessarily be totally opposed to it, but for one, I don’t really follow them or know who they are, so it wouldn’t even register on my radar. Secondly, for me personally, I think it would be a turn-off to hear someone singing a Gospel song that 95% of the time sings about “secular” things. It wouldn’t have the same depth or emotion. That’s just my own tastes.

        An occasional gospel artist that sings an “inspirational” country tune or whatever is fine with me (read my previous posts). My main concern, as I have stated, is the trend, and the long-term affects it may have on the genre as a whole. We better make sure we know where the train is headed before we jump on board.

      • Joseph, you have just made the 50,000th comment on this website. Congratulations! Be watching for an email.

  24. Allright!

    Ironically to this conversation, one of the prizes is a Dove Brothers CD! I have some of their older stuff, but I haven’t really bought anything in the last few years. I’ve heard some of their stuff on the radio. I will listen with an open mind.

    My comments were not addressing their music specifically, but the eagerness to venture into styles beyond the scope of “traditional” or “classic” southern gospel. I hope all of my comments are taken with the understanding that I’m just expressing my personal views and not trying to force anyone to think like I do. Just some food for thought.

    • Yes, it is quite the irony that this discussion won you a Dove Brothers CD. πŸ™‚

  25. I love classic Kingsmen or Hinsons. Southern Gospel today doesn’t have that. I really like some groups and turn down or don’t purchase others. In the case of the Dove Brothers doing a county fair I believe more sinners would listen to a live band and a familar song. Then also keep listening and have a chance to hear the message of Christ that is what it’s about.

    • Amen.

  26. The Dove Brothers haven’t performed any song at a fair that we haven’t done in a Church ! If I believe in it at a fair I believe it anywhere ! !

  27. Hey by the way Joseph you should enjoy that CD it’s pretty Traditional !

    • Yes, he should. One would be hard-pressed to find any quartet since the turn of the century that was more out-of-this-world incredible at singing the traditional quartet style than the lineup on that CD.

    • Thank you McCray! I’m looking forward to it! And thanks again for the very interesting and insightful conversation!

    • BTW, my last Dove Brothers CD was “Never The Same” from 2006. I got it for the song “I Can Pray”. Very beautiful song that really talked to me personally.

      Looking at the track list for the “Sing The Quartet Way” CD, I know I will enjoy it! The Dove Brother’s version of “Get Away Jordan” is classic, IMO!

  28. If you notice,Triumphant and Karen Peck and New River have also been doing country songs. Dove Brothers do a great show!!!

  29. Daniel that combination on that cd in my opinion was perfect for that style of QT singing ! After when that lineup change the magic for that style was gone . But we had two number ones with the Martin/Hester lineup ! Never had a number one song with the original line up ! Our style change started with the enything but ordinary cd ! Had a our first number 1 with I can pray which to me is not a Traditional Southern Gospel QT song but stayed number 1 for two months ! Hold on a COUNTRY style song went to number one ! Nothing we ever recorded traditional went to the Top of the Charts. ! Research it and see ! So we have had success with both and still do both styles every concert ! So explain that ! My favorite cd is the Tribute to Mosie Lister but never had a hit and was the worst in sales we ever had ! I still can’t figure that one out ! But to me it was the best singing on a CD we had ever done !

    • Yes, no #1s with that lineup. Radio didn’t love it as much as they should have! But the fans sure did, with that lineup winning an incredibly deserved Quartet of the Year in the SN Fan Awards!

      I love the Tribute to Mosie Lister CD, too. It’s interesting you said that; it might just be my favorite of all of the CDs you’ve ever done, too. I hate that it didn’t do better.

    • The worst selling CD?
      So many of us talk about how good it was in “the good old days”. I’ve done it too… never got the CD. I’ll go listen to it at Crosroads soon.
      One reason that groups change styles is us…. we don’t put our money where our mouth is. Since groups have salaries to pay, they have to conduct a buisness and a ministry at the same time.

      Another example of the vocal majority not “pulling through” is when the Old Paths brought out a band. I read on here, in a comment from Jermey Peace, that it really didn’t do a thing impacting concert attendance.

      If we put our wallets into what we say we like the most, then we could get what we say we want.

      One more thing, I’ve heard a sermon by the late Adrian Rogers on radio, in which he says that, if churchgoers were all on wellfare, that there’d be more money given in offerings than there is now. Not just a “fly by night” statement, it was proven by fact, and he was referrencing the findings of the research in his sermon.

  30. I’ve read throgh this thread a couple of times, and I have noticed one primary idea. It seems to be a matter of personal preference and as someone said, the goal is to get the gospel before those who need it more than they know.

    I’ve read much of the “traditional style” and a person’s preference for that. It hasn’t been that long ago that the Oak Ridge Boys shocked the traditionalists by actually having a drum kit on stage. Why, the very idea!! But, in today’s style that many of us would call traditional, the drums are not unusual. As Warren Weirsbe wrote in one of his books used in one of my seminary classss, “The only thing we do all the time, is what we do all the time.”

    McCray Dove and the Dove Brothers Band probably present the gospel to more people in one weekend than I will be able to do in a year’s ministry. Am I jealous? Does that make me question motives? Not on your life. The Gospel shared by whatever means should be our focus.

    Just an aside. We remember a young man named Josh Cobb who entered SGM on a national stage in 1979-80 with Legacy Five, disappeared for a while and then reappeared when Gold City hired him briefly. He has now reappeared in a group named “The American Theee”. They sing primarily standards, some patriotic and Gospel. I was just glad to see his talent being used.

    • Amen!

    • I think Cobb came to L5 in 1999 and was their original tenor

  31. This is an interesting conversation…a topic that I think about a lot at church…especially when we see a visitor, or some just walking past the church…we never know when and how we can minister to someone!

    • Some of these clips, especially the “Elvira” ones, makes me think of the question a few weeks ago that Daniel raised about novelty songs and their usefulness. Seems to me like some of these groups, especially the last clip with EH&SS, are singing these songs more for the fun/comedic purpose than anything else. And I think that is OK. Aren’t we OK with MC”s telling jokes in between songs, that have no redeeming value to them? The Bible does say that “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Anybody want to correct me? πŸ™‚

    • Dale, were you just looking to make as long a list as possible? I’ll grant that some of those are country lyrically. But some aren’t; some are explicitly Southern Gospel lyrically, even if the soundtracks use some of the same instruments used in country tracks.

      If all you were trying to prove is that some Southern Gospel soundtracks use the same instruments that country soundtracks use, that list proves that point. But if you wanted to prove something more, your list should have had more precisely defined criteria which would certainly have left it shorter.

  32. Daniel ever since we won QT of the year that year I’ve asked the question . How can a qt the year before sweep the awards and the next year win nothing then a qt that’ had only been singing three years win ! Ain’t that wild !!!!!!!

    • In other genres, it’s perfectly normal for stars to rise and fall each year. But it was and is completely unheard of in our genre – one of the most unusual things that’s ever happened.

  33. We were the fastest to win and the fastest to lose it ! Lol in fact the very next month I knew we were gonna lose our Tenor and piano player ! Now that’s wild as well ! But I believe everything happens for a reason . God has been good to the group ! You would be shocked to know how many in the industry told me that nobody wanted to hear that 50s and 60s gospel stuff anymore ! That we wouldn’t make it ! But I’ll keep those names to myself . Lol

  34. I didn’t read the comments until several days after they were posted. I do want to reply to a comment by “Dave” about ” No CDL required”. A driver can be good ( and professional) and not have a CDL. I have a CDL because it’s a requirement due to the things I haul and the size of the vehicle. If the vehicle isn’t designed to carry more than 15 passengers, the vehicle doesn’t have air brakes or exceed 26,000 GVW, then I don’t think a CDL would be required.

    • Thanks for the insight Vic.

  35. McCray, I love the song you have resurrected from the Oak Ridge Boys!

  36. Thanks Paul ! The bottom line is this ! We sing and do it the way we feel God would have us to do it ! Some groups are flashy some sing four songs and talk the rest of there show and some love to dance ! Some sing songs that sound just like the last one ! The list goes on but the main thing I want all of you to know we have not left Gospel music ! We still play our music no tracks or stacks ! Still a male qt and this band will play own and never will be afraid to step outside the box ! We will always ask God to bless it all . Everyone have a Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

    • Amen. Merry Christmas!

  37. Oh how I wish a promoter here in Eastern Canada would bring the Dove Brothers this way. These comments just make me want to see them live more and more.

  38. Thanks, McCray, for taking time for all your comments here. Just keep doing what you do for the Lord and let Him give the results…and HE will. No one knows what He is doing in the hearts of others. He calls us to be faithful in our calling, which it looks to me like you are doing. πŸ™‚

    (That can also be said of you, Daniel! Thanks.)

    Blessings and Merry Christmas

    • Thanks! Merry Christmas to you, too!

  39. Heard the doves in October, they sounded great, blend was excellent. McCray was spiritual as well as entertaining

  40. I think the truth is rather obvious – people enjoy country music including churchgoers. We can try to justify it with our concern for souls, but country music is what it is. Why sing a depressing song about a man under a bridge to someone who is already sitting on a church pew? If you’re so concerned, then take advantage of every precious second you have with that man and sing the “Gospel.” Bringing a lump in the throat is just not the same thing, but unfortunately, most people don’t know the difference any more.

    • This discussion might just be starting all over again…hold on, here we go! (I think I just made a Dove Bros. joke…hold on…get it). πŸ™‚

      • Just having fun!

      • You’re right… on second thought, never mind. πŸ™‚

  41. This is now the 109th comment on this post. What amazes me is that in all the things Daniel shared way back on Saturday, including two groups involved in bus accidents, a former singer being severely burned, and also another miracle in Tracy Stuffle’s recovery from a stroke, this short sentence, shared at the very end, is taking the attention of most of the commenters. :Tenor Jonathan Price has left the Dove Brothers; they are seeking a replacement.” Makes me wonder where our priorities are sometimes. πŸ™‚

  42. Well Pam I see it a different way ! The song reminds me there is people I need to pray for ! I feel that God is so powerful that he can use this song ! From what I’ve seen he has ! Just because it did nothing for you and you thought it was depressing does not mean everyone feels that way ! I’ve heard my share of depressing Gospel songs that didn’t move me at all but I saw others crying all around me and give a standing ovation ! You will be shocked to know how many Christians love to cry and there is nothing wrong with that ! That’s just the way they get a blessing ! I will say this and I’m done ! We have compassion for the starving in other countries and we have compassion for there souls but compassion for a family that has lost everything and lives under Bridges in our own country we feel nothing ? We feel its depressing ? If you want to call it justifying that don’t bother me at all ! I see a message in the song and when I feel led to sing it I will sing it not because I want to sing a country song but because its a good song that reminds me how blessed I am and that I should be praying for that man living under that bridge no matter the reason for it ! I’ll be praying for you and you do the same for me Pam and I pray we never have to sleep under a Bridge ! Thank you Lord for your blessings on me !

  43. This is a discussion not exclusive to southern gospel. I read an interesting article from a member of the rock group Switchfoot, after they stopped considering themselves “Christian” rock artists. I think this exerpt fits the current discussion:

    Many songs are worthy of being written. Switchfoot will write some, Keith Green, Bach, and perhaps yourself have written others. Some of these songs are about redemption, others about the sunrise, others about nothing in particular: written for the simple joy of music.

    None of these songs has been born again, and to that end there is no such thing as Christian music. No. Christ didn’t come and die for my songs, he came for me. Yes. My songs are a part of my life. But judging from scripture I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing. I am a believer. Many of these songs talk about this belief. An obligation to say this or do that does not sound like the glorious freedom that Christ died to afford me.

    If you want to consider the Dove Brothers as “country,” fine. Like the article says, we shouldn’t try to put artists into a little box in order to be southern gospel. I think that’s what made ORB “go country.” They did okay for themselves.

    It’s just too bad people can’t accept artists for who they are, and instead expect the artists to live up to their own standards in order to be considered “southern gospel.” Not all rock songs sound the same, not all country songs sound the same, and not all southern gospel songs sound the same. That doesn’t make them inferior, it makes them unique.

    • Oh yeah, I notice that quote’s been going around the SG blogosphere—a couple bloggers have weighed in on it. I think it’s interesting but not sure I agree…

    • Kind of like an owner of a christian bookshop saying that the blood of Jesus was not shed for bookshops simply because he has started selling secular books. Really? Just remove the Christian label on your bookshop instead of all other bookshops that still choose to be confined to selling literature filled with the gospel message.

    • I think it’s ridiculous to say there’s no such thing as Christian music because the music hasn’t been born again. With that logic, there’s no such thing as Christian churches either, because the church building itself hasn’t been born again. No, an inanimate object such as a church building or a song cannot be born again. But what makes the church Christian are the people in the church and the message that is preached. Likewise, what makes the music Christian are the people singing it and the message they’re singing. Christian means “Christ-like”. So Christian music is that which is Christ-like, that which exalts Christ, etc. This is just self-justification in it’s simplest form.

  44. McCray is just trying something different and the industry don’t take to different very often. We are trying to keep the old days alive. If Pop Music tried to keep Big Band as its prevalent force and not allowed artist like Buddy Holly, Elvis, The Beatles, Eagles, James Taylor etc.. have their rightful place in time, where would that industry be. You can’t move forward effectively while looking backward.

    • I’m not sure the comparison holds. Some genres have no inherent musical characteristics that define that style. Pop is one of them; it’s whatever’s popular, and that changes. CCM is another; it’s whatever’s contemporary – or perhaps (slight sarcasm alert) whatever was contemporary in pop 5 years ago. Certain genres have no musical core, no inherently defining characteristics, and constantly chase the latest fad.

      But other genres do have inherent musical characteristics. Swap out the banjo, mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, and guitar for other instruments, and it’s simply not bluegrass anymore. Take out the twangs, fiddles, and steel guitar, and it’s not country anymore. I would make the case that Southern Gospel falls into this second category.

  45. I should have said all other bookshops that still choose to be labelled as “Christian,” ’cause there’s a difference there. There’s no problem with a christian singing secular music, as long as the music doesn’t uplift the devil. But when you choose to drop the ‘Christian’ label, to me that’s more of a downgrade than an upgrade. Sure your wallet might get heavier because of that move, but there’ll be one less bearing the name of Christ. I feel the only justification for dropping the Christian label is if you feel you are taking the name of Christ in vain, that is, when you are drawing a Christian crowd that’s expecting Christian songs from a Christian band while the majority of your music is not really Christian. When that is the case, them really a group must by all means drop the Christian label, but not unlabel all other groups with them. Switchfoot did well to drop ‘Christian’ and stick with rock, but did wrong to say they dropped it because they discovered there is no such thing as ‘Christian’ music.

  46. Daniel I think I understand your last post . If so my question is when did Southrn become brass, strings, etc ? It started with singers and a piano and guitars ! Did its musical core change when other instruments were added ? How about tracks or does it matter ?

    • McCray, this is the same question i have been asking. The overdone orchestration is what now defines this music… For all of this arguement, i believe DBB is actually closer to what used to define gospel music than the groups that everyone is claiming to be “traditional”…

      • I claim that the Dixie Echoes and Chuck Wagon Gang are traditional. Of the top-tier groups, they’re about the only ones I define as traditional. Everyone else I define as somewhat traditional, middle-of-the-road etc. πŸ™‚

      • But it would seem this doesn’t hold with your earlier argument if there are inherit characteristics of SG, shouldn’t all SG groups have that, not just the traditional groups. Here is a blog topic (that you’ve probably already covered) what are the necessary characteristics to be considered SG. I tend to believe SG is a little bit like CCM, but instead of pop, SG follows the country music world.

  47. Traditional , Country , inspirational , middle of the road or bluegrass ! If you can sell tickets , CDs or subscriptions trust me the industry will find room for ya !