Joel Wood joins Mark Trammell Trio

The Mark Trammell Trio announced yesterday that their new tenor will be Joel Wood. His first official date with the group will be July 10 in Sikes, Louisiana.

Wood had performed with Georgia’s Daybreak Quartet for four years. Joel and his wife Melissa have four boysโ€”Tyler (10), Brayden (7), Jaxon (3), and Cameron (9 months). He just had his 29th birthday.

Joel had been with Daybreak since May 2005 and owned a landscaping business, Mac’s Landscaping in Columbus, Georgia. Before joining Daybreak Quartet, he sang with several other groups, most recently the Damascus Road Quartet. He also occasionally sings with Men of Grace, a group based in his home church, Grace Baptist Church of Columbus, Georgia. His brother David is also in that group.

He enjoys golf, and according to Daybreak’s biographies page, at one point made plans to attempt to go professional.ย [EDIT, 6/4/12: Broken link removed.]

The quartet has posted a number of complete songs on their ShoutLife page. Wood has a solo on “Nothing But the Blood” and a brief lead on “The Cross Speaks Louder.” Via Daybreak’s Facebook page, a number of other songs are available for listening here. Wood has a solo on “Sing Oh Sing,” “God Bless the USA,” and “My Country Tis of Thee.” Wood’s voice quality reminds me of Liberty Quartet’s Keith Waggoner (and, though Waggoner isn’t a household name yet, I say that as a compliment to Wood).

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

74 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. Well, brady, I happen to think that Daybreak will be noticed a little more now by some people!! You have to wonder about a group that had someone good enough to go to the Mark Trammell Trio. I’m looking forward to hearing the new MTT lineup.

  2. DayBreak is one of the greatest groups in America today. They came to the Northwest Youth Conference at Greater Portland Baptist in 2005, but sadly, I dind’t make it that night. I did listen to the cooncert they did there in 2008 though. Jason and Nathan Prisk are from Oak Harbor Washington.
    I do think Joel Wood joining MTT will actually help DayBreak get noticed a little more.

  3. Samuel, I am sorry but I respectfully disagree. I don’t think the point is for this move to allow America to discover Daybreak, an obscure regional group who now is minus a tenor. I hardly think this move will put Daybreak on the gospel map. I think the focus here is, as it should be, on MTT’s new vocalist, a relatively unknown landing the tenor spot for a major trio, and the anticipation of hearing what he sounds like with MTT. I wish Joel Wood the best with MTT. I am not familiar with Joel’s work, but I know Mark would only hire talent and class, so I’m excited to hear the new sound. I hope Daybreak finds a new tenor and continue to do what God would have them do, as well–nothing against them at all. I just think it’s a misguided notion to think that losing one’s tenor will gain a group much positive attention. You may not have meant it this way at all, but it seems like you think this will be Daybreak’s big break because their tenor is going to MTT, and I guess I just don’t see it that way.

  4. Brady………….it got YOU talking about them! The SN write will say where he came from. People will go to youtube, shoutlife and their website to check them out. Can’t hurt anything.

    I know what you mean though!

  5. I don’t think it’s a great way to get noticed, but it is a way. Tribute got a little more attention when Jacob Kitson joined Greater Vision.

  6. Well, I would think that if DayBreak were “one of the greatest groups in America today” as Samuel says, I would have already heard of them by now. I stand by the intent of my original statement that the mere fact they’re losing their tenor isn’t going to catapult DayBreak’s career to a higher level. DayBreak will get some publicity out of this, but as far as them getting “noticed” in the sense that I felt Samuel meant it, I just really don’t think it’s going to do that much for their career.

    And for what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s totally accurate to lump Tribute and their loss of Jacob Kitson in the same category. Tribute Quartet was already on a major booking agent’s label and working huge dates for major promoters when Jacob resigned. They had done Templeton Cruises (including a DVD recording on the 2008 cruise), Garden Spot, Bill Bailey, and many more major events, and had already been nominated for Horizon Group of the Year all before Jacob ever left them. So, while their name may have been linked to the group change at the time, they had already more than showed they had momentum built up on their own talent and hard work.

  7. DayBreak is already popular. They sing on the main stage at NQC, and Gary Jones and Tim Parton work with them quite a bit.

  8. Here’s the thing. Life is giving Daybreak lemonsโ€”they just lost what is evidently a first-class tenor singer. So they may as well make lemonade out of it!

    And it’s a little funny to talk about whether it would get them some attention at this juncture, when they’re already being written about on a number of the major Southern Gospel sites and (in the case of my site, at least) getting links to their website and a number of different sites’ music players containing their songs.

  9. #5…you’re absolutely right!

  10. Have they sung on the main stage in the evening prior to this year? I don’t recall seeing them work for many/any major promoters and I have never heard a single by them on the radio stations I listen to, which includes both local/regional stations and Solid Gospel. I don’t recall hearing them regularly on Gospel Greats, and I don’t recall seeing their songs on SN Top 40 Chart. And anyone can purchase the services of a producer, so that really doesn’t validate their popularity. I guess when I think of popular major national artists, I think of groups that have either some or all of the criteria I’ve mentioned–consistent radio airplay, top 40 songs, working for major promoters, major booking representation, Singing News coverage (story features and/or ads), etc. Of course, my opinion is just that–mine—and I’m entitled to it, but that’s how I see it.

  11. Brady – I actually have heard of them in various industry venues. Sure, they’re not Greater Vision, but they’re not an unknown either.

  12. #9–Daniel, I would suspect that people are going out and listening to DayBreak to hear what their tenor sounds like and that will be the end of it. I’d be curious to see just how fruitful the publicity is. A bunch of us armchair quarterbacks offering our thoughts like this means nothing in terms of making them go higher on the ladder.

    I wonder if there is such a way to gauge what this group change has meant to the group in terms of truly increasing their reach and their income. Because I’m not doubting that people are going to go out there and listen to their music or go see what Joel Wood looks like. But as for this getting them noticed in a way that would increase DayBreak’s popularity where it really counts–dates, radio airplay, record sales, etc, I wouldn’t expect it to be that significant. If there is some way you could work with the group to track results that count–and not just hits to their website or youtube by the curious who come and go–I’d be interested in those numbers.

  13. They were the ones who came out with “One Thing I Know”. They’ve actually had some pretty popular songs from the late ’90’s. I’ve been talking to Nathan Prisk some today over YouTube. I have Volume 1 of their Soundtracks series. Their songs are amazing.
    It would be cool to see them on Four. I was watching the other day as Mark Lowry was going through the lesser known artists just waiting to see DayBreak, but I guess I underestimated them.
    I think Tony Jarman would be a good tenor if he got back into SG. Or that’d be cool if a former member rejoined. If I joined as the lead and some tenor from Oregon or Washington joined, they’d probably have to relocate to Washington. LOL!

    P.S. On their site, they have a couple pictures of them on the main stage in ’98.

  14. I also want to make it perfectly clear, as always, that talking about monetary numbers and things like “moving up the ladder” in terms of income and popularity has nothing to do with the group’s ministry value–and no one can put a price tag on that. I am certain that the group ministers to people, and that is the first and foremost sign of a group’s success to me. So, before anyone goes there, I want to make that clear.

  15. All I can say is…I just agreed to review their latest project. And I noticed where another major SG website commented it would do the same.

    If the rest of the group is as good as their tenor singer, then I’d probably agree to review their future projects. And I’d go catch them in concert if they came nearby.

    Publicity on SG news websites isn’t entirely irrelevant, especially since SN seems to be phasing out CD reviews in the print magazine for the most part, so reviews on SG news websites are the only type of reviews you’ll be finding in news outlets.

  16. Which Project? Live Across America or Hymns? Hymns was just released today.

  17. Hymns.

  18. There are so many groups out there who choose not to play the sg game that industry “leaders” want you to play. We still do 160-180 dates a year and many times make a better living than some of the “name” groups……while also keeping our own agenda for ministry in control.

    just sayin’………

  19. And it could just be a lesser know regional group that one day will allow this whole “thing” to “survive.”

  20. Well, like it or not, we can look at certain criteria and say this group is successsful or popular and the other group doesn’t seem to be making as much of a splash. No one can deny that certain groups have “made it” based on the criteria we have as indicators–flats, sales, crowds, prime dates, radio exposure, media attention, and fan recognition. Those are legitimate indicators of a group’s national appeal. It’s hard to dispute the fact that these indicators are what we base the decision of whether or not a group is considered successful on a national level. Regional and/or part time groups can be just as successful in their realm but maybe/probably for different reasons. I think we sometimes compare pro groups to part-timers and that’s not fair either.

    What a group chooses to do with the opportunities they’ve been given is between the group and God, I would say. We need good lesser known regional groups and part-time groups just as badly as we need quality full-time groups. I personally think God’s standard of success is much different than the indudtry’s, but because this is both a ministry and entertainment, I think it’s important to first live up to what God would have you be, while trying to strive for the best you can be within the industry. The group who can do both well is one that I personally think will eventually rise to the top.

  21. Frankly, nobody’s saying this will make DayBreak as popular as Gold City. All everyone’s saying is that this will help them get noticed. And I think this discussion is doing as much as anything else to that cause. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Helping them get noticed for what? A group who now has no tenor and is doomed for a personnel change.

  23. Get noticed for being a group of the caliber to attract MTT-quality singers.

    I listened to their songs in the links above, and I would say the group could hold their own with a number of the others on the NQC mainstage.

  24. Well, I honestly cannot say I have ever heard them, so I cannot make a valid opinion or judgement about their sound. But one would naturally assume if they were as good as they are being touted, they’d be more known than they are. Someone would be playing them on the radio or using them on major dates, etc. And if that’s not the road they want to go down, then all this “getting noticed” that people are talking about would mean nothing anyway.

  25. Some people get it…others…

  26. Looks like they will be in your area, Daniel, on Aug 16. You might want to check them out.

  27. But I don’t live in Fort Worth, TX … I live in Ohio. โ“

  28. “One Thing I Know” was a radio release. Plus there’s a quartets radio online that plays them along with other national and regional groups. Unlike NQC, this station is strictly quartet.

  29. Checked out the tunes on Daybreak’s Myspace page. Mark picked a winner. Really nice sound. I thought the lead singer was really good.

  30. I heard their concert online when they did it at Greater Portland Baptist. It was really good, ad there was plenty of comedy. The Prisk Brothers are from Oak Harbor, Washington, and Dennis Fanning is from Illinois. Joel is/was the only member from the South, so they did some jokes such as how he was proud that Alabama was 49th in education (They’re not last) and how he says he’s from Georgia, whihc has a better education.

  31. He’s like right on the border.

  32. brady….I know of a group of the year sn fan award winner that sang at a church for $500 on a saturday night here in my area. I know of a top ten nominee from last year that sang at a church 20 miles from here for $300 – no offering! The image projected is not always reality.

    Obvioulsy Daybreak is not L5 or GV. No one said that. Some people just put less stock in awards/charts to determine sucess. Trust me….you’ve never heard of me……but I have sung full time for 16 years and there is not more than 1 group (GVB) that would pay me more than what I can pay myself. There are a lot of groups who don’t play the “game” and do very well.

    I do see your point……to an extent…I and many others just judge levels of sucess differently.

    As far as being “known” and having chart action and big concert billing being the keys to determine quality….ever hear of a group called TRUE NORTH? I doubt it.

    Jim Brady, Paul Lancaster and Melissa Brady were amazing though. See what I mean?

  33. WOW this has spawned quite the discussion I feel Daybreak may very well benefit from this… this is their time now that their name has been brought up on just about every “Major” SG news site, this is their chance to make a move… First they have to find a Tenor…

  34. Daniel, Aug 16 is in Ashland, Ohio.

  35. Wow – didn’t see that on their site. I’ll have to go back and check again.

  36. Are you sure? I’m seeing this on their site:


  37. Daniel that is a good comparison to Keith… My favorite Waggoner song is “I’m His” I noticed that L5 is putting that song on their upcoming Daywind release… I would like to see it get released to radio… though I wonder who they feature on it, I am guessing Fowler or Frank…

  38. #38: Releasing “I’m His” to radio would be one of the smartest moves L5 could make with the new project. It’s a real shame Liberty Quartet didn’t get more recognition for it, but it’s a definite top 20 song.

  39. On the subject of Daybreak, haven’t they had some other personnel go on to be (or come from) some better-known groups? It seems like I recognized a name from one of their past lineups…

  40. Daniel(#37)…I was referring to the Daybreak Qt…are you talking about MTT?

  41. Daniel, I see now you were talking about MTT while I was talking about the Daybreak Quartet. Sorry.

  42. Donnie ……can’t remember his last name….left daybreak and went to Phil Cross and Poet Voices and later sang with Everyday Driven.

  43. Would u be referring to Channing Eleton? He is the only person I know of who has been with both Phil and Everyday Driven.

  44. Donnie Henderson was with Daybreak, Phil Cross and the Second Mile. (SM was the name Everyday Driven changed to a while after their inception.) SM?ED also included Paul Lancaster……a member of True North lol.

  45. Donnie Henderson.

  46. Ok, ignore post #44. It’s late and I need sleep. I totally did not see Donnie at the beginning of the post about him.

  47. Paul – Oh, yes! OK. Thanks for the explanation. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ll seriously consider it, pending work schedule permitting.

  48. I may even try to get there. I grew up in that church…a long time ago.

  49. I just checked – I was hoping it would be an evening concert. ๐Ÿ™ Unfortunately, the job I have right now requires working 8-5 on Sundays.

    There is some flexibility, but I’m using all the leverage I have right now to pull off a switch the week before for a friend’s wedding reception. Maybe next time!

  50. Wow. 50 comments. Not bad at all!

  51. #45, Mark, I guess the bottom line for me is that it doesn’t matter how good a group is or who sings with them, if I’ve never heard of them or don’t ever hear them on the radio or see them in concert. LOL!

  52. email me your address and I will send you their new cd so you can say you have heard them. Then your world will be complete.

  53. Brady – and yet, many of today’s top groups started out as groups you’d never heard of. The McKameys and Hoppers spent decades as local/regional groups.

  54. Even the mighty Gaither’s started out traveling in local churches in Northern Indiana…

  55. Great point.

    And in the early 70s, after they lost the television exposure, many people might have said, “Who are the Cathedrals”?

  56. 39. Actually Swain the label usually makes the decision on the radio releases… Fowler told me that last month, the group has some say in it but usually the label makes the single choices… But I agree “I’m His” would be a top 10 song for sure… I like it better than “In A Million Years” and that one has made it to number 8 on the SN charts and Number 2 on the SGN chart…

  57. #54 Daniel–I am fully aware that most groups started out as unknowns. But Samuel (and he can explain it differently if I have misunderstood him) sounded to me like he thought that DayBreak would benefit greatly from Joel leaving for Mark Trammell Trio. And while I know they are a side bar to this week’s news I really don’t see how this is going to increase their popularity or be of much long-term benefit. I guess only time will tell. It may all depend on how much or little the group desires to move up the ladder, so to speak, or what they do with this unexpected and unplanned opportunity.

    Some refer to the inner workings of the industry as playing a game that the leaders control. Like it or not, this is a business as well as a ministry and there are leaders and followers. There are also obvious markers that measure a group’s success or popularity on the business side of it that both full and part-time artists would generally agree are a reasonable and fair analysis by which to measure success from the business or popularity side of it.

  58. This discussion you are creating has benefited Daybreak…their name is out their and people are checking them out.

  59. If markers of sucess are having radio singles, nqc spots, fancy busses and record labels…..while cutting salaries, no health insurance, zero retirement savings……frankly you can have that sucess then. There are serious smoke and mirrors going on.

  60. #59–Paul, let’s look at this next year or even next month and see what this has done in the grand scheme of things for DayBreak. I’m not saying they aren’t getting attention now, but I personally do not feel it will make that much of an impact as far as longevity is concerned.

    #60 Mark, when you slant it like that, it makes everyone in this industry look like an idiot for even being out there. Waitresses, social workers, self employed truck drivers, nurse’s aides…the list could go on and on of people who may not make a lot of money or have a lot of benefits. But that doesn’t mean they are not successful or take pride in what they do or enjoy their work.

    No one is holding a gun to a singer’s head making them do this as a career. And they probably know going into it that they will not get rich. But if they want to sacrifice a benefits package to do what they love, then I have no problem with that. So then, if the success comes not from their paycheck, then where? I would think souls saved, lives changed, songs that reach the top, large crowds, award nominations…I would venture to say that person who is working for peanuts would enjoy that blessing or pat on the back, if you will, as validation that they are doing something right and worthwhile even if they aren’t getting monetarily rich from it. It’s called intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards in management classes. And while salaries may be low in southern gospel, there seems to always be someone standing in the wings to fill a vacant spot.

  61. Brady….one last post and then I am done with this. My ENTIRE point is that most groups (other than about the top ten) waste tens of thousands of $$$$$ each year playing the game that the big boys play. They dump money into busses that break down every other week, radio comps that never get heard, producers that fleece them during the recording, ect……when that money could be better served to win souls by keeping them on the road for a longer period.

    Trust me I know all about work vs. reward…I have done this a long time. If not for the eternal result I would have taken several other jobs in the music industry that I have had thrown my way.

    My point is that MOST (not the top 8-10) spend a fortune and do nothing to really further their position. A top 65 song on SN charts does not put a dime in your pocket for your family but it does get a radio promoter a bunch of cash.

    You would see a lot less “leaving to provide/see my family” press releases if people would quit chasing the “dream” and use more common sense.

    You may never hear Daybreak and a million other like them , but many will and they will survive the burnout and falsh in the pans that come and go every day in this industry. Sit back and think of all the “hot new groups” that have come and gone in the last 2 years alone. There is a reason.

    See ya.

  62. Mark, from your last post it seems like you are bitter over groups trying to make it in this industry. It is a group or artist’s perogative to manage their career and use the services and tools provided for growth and exposure. I agree that there are some scammers out there, in fact I agree with a lot of what you said. But this industry is what it is, and until there are sweeping changes, that’s how it will be.

    By the way, I sing in a grouo and have for more than 30 years. No aspirations other than I like to sing, people ask us to come sing, and we enjoy using our God-given talents to hopefully encourage others. I support both full and part-time groups, and I am for any group who can sing harmony and conduct their business Godly and professionally. And I have not been put here to be the judge of who does and who doesn’t do that, so I have tried to just support the music in general, lean toward my instincts, and trust God will justly deal with those whose agendas are not what He would be pleased with–on or off the stage.

  63. To me at least, Mark doesn’t sound bitter at all. Since he’s done posting in this thread, I thought I’d speak up for him. He sounds like someone who’s been around the block a few times in the industry and has grown wiser with age.

  64. You guys done yet?? :p

  65. Why stop now?

    I’m all for helping out new, good groups, and as they say, “All publicity is good publicity.” I doubt any of this is hurting DayBreak any. ๐Ÿ™‚

  66. haha, I meant “are those other two guys finished arguing yet??” ๐Ÿ˜€

  67. May God bless the ministry of Daybreak…hope the publicity that this post has given will help further there efforts…it can’t hurt. And, by the way, I think they have a good sound…and I am sure they will find another good tenor.

  68. Holy Oregon! I had to open my big mouth. This post has the most comments I think.

  69. #67, LOL! I am not arguing. The last time I checked, this country allowed for opinions and observations. I have not raised my voice(by use of capital letters) nor have I said anything disrespectful to anyone. I have obviously provided thought-proviking comments to this discussion or else you wouldn’t still be reading after over 60 comments. If you have some meaningful comments to this topic, I am sure there is still room for more.

    #64 Daniel, re-read Mark’s post, then answer this; how are groups supposed to get noticed and try to make their mark if they don’t utilize advertising, promotion, marketing, attempts to make the best quality records, and/or trying to get their music on the radio? I know there are folks out there who are not reputable, but if a group wanting to increase/expand their work doesn’t spend some money, how do they compete with all the other groups out there? And if no one tells a group a certain promoter or label is out there only for money, how are new groups supposed to know this? I know a lot of this is trial and error, but aside from that, what do you think?

  70. #69 Samuel, Samuel, Samuel…you rabble-rousing trouble-maker!! LOL! Just kidding! Don’t ever stop voicing your opinion. It is ok for us to have our own thoughts on a subject and I appreciate the way we can all agree to disagree and still be civil about it on this website. Besides, Daniel owes us both an ice cream at NQC for keeping this thread going.

  71. I lied. I said I was done but I do want to answer you brady.

    Referencing your post # 70 (2nd part)

    Nick Bruno makes the same points I was making. So many groups that are “chasing the dream” spend big bucks on radio promotion, ads, ect….to send their music to radio in California when they are not able to leave a 2 state radius because of work restrictions. These same artists draw 35 people in their hometowns but get talked into a “national” campaign to promote their ministry.

    You ask how can they know if a promoter is bad or money grabbing? Pretty easy….if they don’t know the scope of your ministry, if they don’t ask important questions like ” are you selling out in your area?” then you might wish to keep looking.

    The way you build a following and fan base and get noticed is NEVER to buy it. Try doing what the Booth Brothers and many others did. They sang their tails off in their home state first and built a following outside of their family and then slowly eased into regional/national promotion. Shoot- the BB still drive an older bus and have the cash in the bank to replace the engine and transmission! They are at the top of the food chain but run the business very different. They have a unique recording deal with their label as well. They are the blueprint to follow.

    A group that wants to grow their ministry and signs a radio deal will pay around $800 to get on a disc. Monthly promotion can run $400 or more a month. You have to do that 4-5 months per song. Now you have spent $2500 or more to have your song buried at the bottom of a disc and never get heard.

    A better model is :
    1. Put $1500 in the bank for future needs!
    2. Send out about 400 demos to new prospects for booking with the other $1000.
    3. use that extra money to build your fan base through your web activities, mailers to your suppor tlist ect…..

    Once fans are beating your door down in your area and 2-3 states around you…..take the next step and seek out a GOOD company for ads and promotion.

    This is a model that groups like Daybreak and many others follow. This is how you sing full time for a lifetime, retire with money in the bank and not have to have a benfit concert if you need a root canal.

    Souls can be saved, lives can be touched and a nice life can be had all at the same time!


  72. I agree about the ice cream part!

  73. Mark, God has a special place for liars, but since you openly admitted it, you are safe! LOL!

    Obviously, this thread has evolved into exposure and trying to make it, and I agree with a whole lot if what you say and my asking was more to try to get others to contemplate this rather than wanting or needing to know for myself. I already know most of the ins and outs of this business, as you obviously do, too.

    For every wannabe group there are a dozen people with their hand out to take money from them for a promised service that may or may not ever come to fruition. I think there is more than one way to make it in this business–some have hit on a big song, others by their stage performances or the way they build a following one fan at a time. It is not easy to predict who and what will click with audiences. And it is true that some artists have more dollars than sense. But I think a well balanced blend of talent, personality, hard work, an ad budget well spent on the most effective bang for the buck, as well as a healthy prayer life would be a good place to start for most any group.

    And depending on the time of day, I may prefer the boneless pork chop sandwich instead of the ice cream. ๐Ÿ™‚

  74. “But I think a well balanced blend of talent, personality, hard work, an ad budget well spent on the most effective bang for the buck, as well as a healthy prayer life would be a good place to start for most any group.”

    I AGREE 100%

    Maybe we can start a business where we tell everyone how they should spend their money……

    I expect Daybreak to mail me their new cd because we have talked about them. Ha! One more thing….I met them at a concert we did together in Scotland…..Scotland knows them!

    I am on vacation from singing for 2 weeks! What am I doing discussing it on a blog at midnight on saturday?


  1. New Tenor For Mark Trammell Trio « Burke’s Brainwork - [...] 2, 2009 by burkesbrainwork Via Daniel Mount, the Mark Trammell Trio has announced Joel Wood as…
  2. » Daybreak Quartet offers free CD download - [...] Quartet recently lost their tenor, Joel Wood, to the Mark Trammell Trio. They continue to make lemons out of…