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.

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12 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. I agree with your assessment of Eric Bennett. He is just wonderful, especially on songs like He Loves Me and How Beautiful Heaven Must Be — my personal favorites!

    With all of the talented groups at NQC, I’d love to know how they choose the ones that make it onto the highlights video.

  2. I believe the reason the Reggie Sandler Family was on the DVD is because they are very different from so many of the other “professional” groups. Yet they maintain a “personal” atmosphere as well.

  3. Hello,
    First of all, I really enjoy reading your articles.
    I don’t really understand the comment about Gold City’s wonderful bass singer, Mr. McCune. The majority opinion about this quartet’s new line-up seems to be that they are better than ever, and I agree. I have all their CD’s and have seen them many times in concert, and, to me, they’ve never been better. Some who continue to use the cliché, “glory days” need to realize that THESE are the “glory days” for Gold City. Play through the CDs of all the different combinations, as I have, and you will have to agree. (I have enjoyed all their different line-ups, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I now believe that they are stronger vocally than EVER BEFORE!)

  4. Gold City’s new album is progressive? Come on Daniel.

  5. I think I have every one of these videos in my collection, and you can bet that the Hoppers, Florida Boys, Kingdom Heirs, Greater Vision, The Crabb Family, Gold City, Legacy 5, The Dove Brothers, and the Reggie Sadler Family will be on every year. Although not this year, many of the DVD or videos have the Inspirations, the McKameys, and Karen Peck and New River. Palmetto State missed a year or two, but they are frequently featured. Back in their beginning EHSSQ were on, as well as Jeff and Sherri Easter.

    I used to wonder why I bought them and then realized it’s because it’s fun to see what the groups look like each year and their stage mannerisms, not to mention the highlights of the special shows. The sound quality, as Daniel said, is very good.

    As for Gold City being progressive, I’ll just say this. Listening back through several GC albums recently, I think they sound great with the new lineup and though their new album was a little edgier, it was conservative edge. In fact, i think Revival should probably be a finalist for album of the year.

  6. There are some good songs on here, but I afree that the extras part is the highlight of the DVD. It seems like the real NQC highlights are rarely picked for the DVD, and it often serves as a live version of a bunch of radio singles. There were some real highlights I thought that outdid over half of what’s on the DVD, oh well….

  7. T. Bennett, my comments had nothing to do with Aaron’s musical abilities. My comment that he was “down in the mix” means that his microphone was not turned quite as loud as I would have liked. I like his voice and would have liked to hear him a little better.

    Chris, yes, after hearing various clips on your site among others, that is my impression of Gold City’s project.

    A B, I agree. I would love to see a DVD of the spontaneous moments, the big surprises, when a group brings an old legend back on stage and the emotions run so high that even the professional singers have a hard time making it through the song…those are the sort of highlights that I’d like to see.

  8. This will be, I believe, the first time Gold City wasn’t the “opening act” of the DVD. I have all the previous DVD’s, (not looking at them currently), and I’m pretty sure Gold City has the first track on all of them. I’m also pleased that the DVD editors did not choose the Hoppers’ “Yes I Am” or “Shoutin’ Time” on this, since both of these songs occur on 2 DVD’s each (if memory serves). (Of course, I might be thinking also about the ’99 SN Fan Awards Video I got with my very 1st SN subscription).

  9. Daniel – your view of Traditionial SG is very narrow at this point.

  10. Who and how do they decide which group and which song gets put on the dvd?

  11. jb, I imagine the NQC board decides.

    Chris–your comment brought a smile to my face. I suppose you are right. 🙂

  12. I love this dvd, and thanks for the review, Daniel. I can honestly say I’d much rather watch a good NQC dvd with good highlights like this one above a Gaither Homecoming dvd anyday.

    On who appears on the dvds: I’m sure the board has their groups on. Duh, they’re in charge. Steve French with KHQ, Gerald Wolfe with GV, Danny Riley with GC, Scott Fowler with L5 (is on right now?), and of course Les Beasley with FB to name several.

    I thought it was great that BFA took the first cut. In a way their current lineup reminds me of the GC lineup with a full band and Jon, Jay, Danny, and Tim. I’ve seen both the new GC and BFA numerous times, and I just believe BFA is the stronger group – right now. GC is my all-time favorite group, but you gotta lay aside bias, and look at the cold hard facts. Ok, that’s just my opinion. lol

    To the individuals who think GC is better than they were with Tim: Aaron’s better than Tim?!? Not a chance.