Eric Phillips to leave Mark Trammell Trio

The Mark Trammell Trio has announced the resignation of founding member Eric Phillips. He has been their tenor since they started seven years ago. He is leaving to pursue a career in law enforcement.

The announcement on the group’s website states: [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

It is with bittersweet emotion that we announce the soon departure of our award winning tenor Eric Phillips.  Eric has served this ministry with integrity and honor since our very beginning seven years ago.  Bitter, because I view him as a second son and cherish the bond and relationship God has allow us to have for these years.  Sweet, because we firmly believe that God has a plan for all of us as we move forward to the next phase of our lives.  Eric has been praying with careful consideration about this move for a number of months and feels confident that his return to Law Enforcement is what is best for he and his family.  Please join us in praying for God’s perfect will for both Eric and this ministry.  His departure will take place sometime mid to late summer depending on our finding a suitable replacement and his re-instatement to active duty as a police officer.  As Eric stated to me, “I have two passions.  One is singing, and the other is Law Enforcement.  I have enjoyed my days with MTT and have enjoyed the love of gospel music fans around the world.  But I am convinced this is the right timing for this change.”  Anyone interested in auditioning for the tenor position should send a brief resume along with a sample tape or CD to Mark Trammell Trio/audition/PO Box 588/Gadsden, AL/35902. We will in turn listen and then contact those we feel to be the individuals most likely to fit our style, etc.   Auditions will begin just after fathers day as the group will be on an eight day tour and then vacation immediately following.  If you wish to send cards of encouragement to Eric, Lauren, Carley, and Blake, send them to Eric Phillips / c/o Mark Trammell Trio/PO Box 588/Gadsden, AL 35902.  I smile when reminded that the only thing that doesn’t change is Jesus.  In order for us to grow as Christians, change must take place.  We wish Eric and his family God’s speed in the days ahead.

In HIS service,

Mark Trammell

Phillips’ distinctive voice and range make him nearly irreplacable. What is even more rare than his range, though, is his consistency. The tenor part is the most demanding part to sing; even the best professional Southern Gospel tenors have nights where they struggle to hit certain notes. But Phillips was rarely if ever heard to struggle to hit notes.

Here is one of my favorite Phillips moments:

EDIT. One other thought. Phillips is undeniably going out on top. Not only is he in peak voice, but he is also coming off the success of the group’s strongest project to date, Always Have a Song to Sing, a project I reviewed and rated 5 stars of 5 here.

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24 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. He’ll be tough to replace…

  2. I like that idea, Seaton, except that I would say mixed quartet and keep Dustin in the group!!

  3. Maybe Mark will consider becoming a mixed trio by adding Nick and Jessica.

  4. I really like the mixed quartet idea…

  5. Nice idea…Does Jessica have the range of Libbie Stuffle? If so, add Nick’s baritone and Mark’s lead (or vice versa). Does Dustin sing bass? 🙂 Seems like they would have too many lead/baritones.

  6. Dustin sings lead.

    I think Jessica’s range is higher than Libby’s.

  7. I don’t mean to question his decision by this….I’m sure he knows what he is doing…..I just find it funny that this months singing news he speaks of how he left his love of law inforcement to go into singing. (the article with his dad) lol. I guess that is the downside to a monthly magazine. Things can change before print dates.

    Road life is hard on a young family and I am sure this will be good for his home life. Wish him the best.

  8. Yes – the one time I had an article published by SN, I wrote it probably 3 or 4 months before the start date.

  9. Dustin singing bass was tongue-in-cheek, btw. 😉

  10. Just savoring this mental picture of Dustin singing bass with his tongue in his cheek. Gives him a really wierd facial expression. LOL

  11. It’s pretty hard singing bass like that – only the most talented are capable.

  12. forget police work…he should sing with gold city

  13. i must have missed that article. what was it about?

  14. I don’t follow MTT that much but I hope they find somebody new.

  15. Forget this Mixed Quartet business… Mark needs to bring in his old buddy Jay Parrack, them two together again would be awesome!!! Add a good bass singer (Glenn Dustin, Pat Barker,etc..) and you would have one of the best Male Quartets around!!!!!!

  16. 12) he’d be perfect for Gold City, wonder if that’s what’s really going on…

  17. Yea, Eric’s name has been mentioned over and over for the GC job, and I’ve said from the very start that he sounds more like Jay Parrack than any tenor in the business.

    When I heard he was leaving MTT I figured that GC surely had something to do with it, but I guess we won’t know for sure until they actually name a tenor.

    “Police work?” Like patrolman? Parking-ticket cop? Detective? CSI? If he’s laying SG down to go to start a career in the FBI or something, I totally understand. But I hope he doesn’t leave us to write parking tickets (with a voice like that)…then again, if that’s where God wants him, who am I to stop him?

  18. I think he’s genuinely planning to go into police work. He probably wants to spend more time with his family.

    Sorry, Tyler, but I’d rather he write traffic tickets. I’m hoping he survives this part of his life–and can get back on the road when his children are more grown and there are less birthdays and ballgames to miss.

  19. Well I guess that would be one advantage of being a parking enforcement cop. It’s safer. (That said, I don’t think he’ll be one).

    Maybe I’ll double-park and then have him sing me a song as he writes me up. 🙂

  20. IMHO, I think that the MTT is out performing Gold City. MTT would be a nearly untouchable iqt f they had a bass singer. I heard GC in concert recently and they are still doing a great job. However, I didn’t leave shaking my head in awe over the greatness like when I left the last MTT/GV concert I went to. I said that to say this. If Eric Phillips ends up with GC, he is taking a step backwards musically. He may end up with better recognition and a group with a great heritage, but GC just isn’t what they used to be.

  21. 19) lol … i’d get him to sing “safe on the glory side”

  22. Eric isn’t leaving to START a career in Law Enforcement, he was doing that before joining MTT. He had remained as an inactive reserve officer with the Ashville, NC PD and has maintained his qualifications and training for the future possibility of returning. It seems now that God is directing him back to this career. I wish him the best. It is a very rewarding career and I for one believe we need many more Christian’s in Law Enforcement. It’s a great witness.

    He’s not the only one that has done this. I know that Butch Owens who sang bass with the Stamps and Florida Boys was a police officer in Jackson, MS, Craig Singletary left BF&A and joined the Georgia Highway Patrol, and Tracy Crouch left the Dixie Echoes and is now a police officer in Louisiana.

  23. Just now caught up on SG news and found this … It’s surprising enough. But on the other hand, MTT has had an incredibly stable lineup, and they ought to be able to handle this, seems to me. Wish them the best!

  24. I’m still trying to picture Eric Phillips, or Craig Singletary, or Tracy Crouch walking up to my window and saying, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

    “Uh, sir, I was just jamming to the Mark Trammell Trio and the Dixie Echoes and wasn’t paying attention to the fact that I was driving in the median!”