DVD review: “NQC 2006″ (Various Artists)
As I mentioned in my last DVD review, I like to start a DVD by watching the extras. In this case, the extras were the highlight. They included features from various showcases, including the bass showcase. The only complete song included here was a bass quartet consisting of Gene McDonald on tenor, Eric Bennett on lead, Jeff Chapman on baritone, and Mike Holcomb on bass singing “Boundless Love.” A few lines are sung by various combinations before they end up with this one. Eric Bennett is actually a very solid lead, with a moderately high range. He must have one of the widest usable ranges in Southern Gospel music today.
The main part of the DVD starts with Brian Free and Assurance performing “The Coming of the King,” a single from their most recent project, It’s So God. The song definitely goes over well live, but perhaps the main long-term value of the performance is that since Ricky Free has announced his imminent departure from the group, this could well be his final video appearance with the group.
The Whisnants come second, performing their hit song “New Day Dawning.”
Greater Vision comes third, performing their catchy song “Paid in Full Through Jesus, Amen.” This was the song I thought should win song of the year, and even though it didn’t win, it is the best song Greater Vision has released in some time. Greater Vision is a good group to appear on videos; Wolfe’s gestures and Griffin’s facial expressions translate well into the video medium. Other groups’ facial gestures, perhaps intended to be evident even to those in the back of an audience, seem overdone in a video setting, but Greater Vision’s seem well-done without being too much.
The pace slows for the Florida Boys’ rendition of the classic song “For God So Loved.” The song features Josh Garner, and is a different song than the song Brian Free introduced.
The Reggie Sadler family comes next, performing “The Real Thing.” I haven’t quite figured why they typically make the NQC highlights DVD in place of groups like the Kingsmen and the Dixie Echoes, but the group is definitely a crowd pleaser.
Gold City sings a song from their recent progressive album release, “I’m Rich.” The song features Jonathan Wilburn’s blues-tinged vocals. For much of the song, bass Aaron McCune appears to be much farther down in the mix than one would typically expect Gold City, at least in their glory days.
The Perrys’ rendition of “Damascus Road” is easily one of the highlights of the DVD for me, and it’s not just because I like their music. This is the video debut of their new lineup, with Joseph Habedank on lead and Nick Trammell on baritone. Habedank’s voice is quite similar to former lead singer Loren Harris’s voice, although it doesn’t have the harsh, almost grating edge that characterized Harris’s distinctive stylings. I, for one, prefer Habedank’s voice, and I feel that the group has taken a step up with the change. If they can just find suitable material to keep pace with their recent recordings, they will continue as one of the best groups out there, without missing a beat. Habedank’s exuberance and Trammell’s apparently shy personality actually go together well on stage.
David Hester, bass for the Dove Brothers, is featured on “One More Miracle.” Few bass singers attempt introducing ballads, and even fewer singers who sing as low as Hester try it. But Hester does it, and does it well.
The first video appearance of the new vocal lineup of the Palmetto State Quartet follows, with new bass Burman Porter and new tenor Wesley Smith. Smith could perhaps be called the antithesis of Ernie Haase; Haase projects his voice so far that he often lowers his microphone to his chest, while Smith holds his microphone closer to his mouth than many bass singers.
The Booth Brothers perform “He Said it All.” The song goes over well.
The Kingdom Heirs feature Arthur Rice singing a high lead and Jeff Chapman on some very low bass singing on their song “God’s Word.”
The Talley Trio performs “Mountain Mover”; they are followed by the Crabb Family singing “The Cross.” The Hoppers also perform “Waitin’ For My Ride” before Legacy Five closes the project with their song “I Found Grace,” a hit for the group in 2003, five years ago.
This is a video of highlights; these performances did not immediately follow one another. A crowd shot smooths the transition between the songs.
While I tend to enjoy complete concerts more than DVD compilations, this is certainly one of the best Southern Gospel compilations out there, probably only exceeded in production quality by the Gaither productions.