Aaron McCune leaves Gold City

For something like two months, a persistent rumor has been making the rounds that Aaron McCune is leaving Gold City and Tim Riley is returning. A press release today confirms that the first half is true: Aaron McCune is indeed leaving. Or, perhaps, he’s already left, judging by the past tense wording in the press release—”following the departure of Aaron McCune.”

According to the press release, though, Gold City is seeking auditions for another bass singer, so the second half of the rumor (that Tim Riley is returning) may not be true. So the jury is still out on that one.

Last weekend was pianist Josh Simpson’s final weekend with the group before returning to college, and it’s been less than a month since Chris Cooper was announced as the replacement for departing tenor Steve Ladd.

With turnover at three of the five positions in the group within the past month, a Tim Riley return would be just the boost Gold City needs right now. His return—even if only for a year or two—would generate enough buzz to give the new lineup time to get on its feet and become established.

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64 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. If he hasn’t already left, I hope he’s at NQC.

    Maybe Tim will be filling in while a replacement is found, like he did when Bill Lawrence left.

  2. This is going make it interesting until a replacement is found!

  3. I would love to see Tim with them at NQC, I for one have never got to see Tim live. So it would be awesome to see one of my favorite all-time bass singers in person the same week,I get to see my all-time favorite singer/tenor (David Phelps)

  4. this could possibly a reunion of steve ladd and aaron mccune. a new quartet in the making. stay tuned!!!!!!!!!! remember the anchormen?

    • At this time Steve seems content doing solo work. He just released his first CD ‘Empty Me’, and is finishing up vocals for a new project that will be released this spring.

  5. Burman Porter?

    • Not a bad idea!

      • very bad idea, he can sing but he don’t fit

  6. That is a shame on hearing this. He was a real jewel in the Gold City’s ever growing legacy They have had nothing but the highest quality singers. I agree with Aaron that Tim could be the stable force until things “shake out” so to speak. They are in my prayers and know that great things will continue to be in store for this group of Gods road warriors. Now the hard part in all of this is keeping rumors in check.

  7. Anthony, not gonna happen, I suspect Aaron will stay out of Gospel music for awhile… My pick would be Gene McDonald if you could talk him into it. I think he is the only powerhouse bass that can fill the Tim Riley shoes. JMHO 🙂

    • Also a good idea!

  8. I think the bass singer with driven has come along way. he would do a great job.

    • I agree… Will Lane with Driven Quartet sounds like Aaron to me… Personally..

  9. I wonder if they can do this transition without taking a member from another group and slowing their progress. I sure hate to see Aaron gone, he’s the next best thing to Tim Riley. Daniel is young and trying to carry the torch, they need to find someone young that shares the same vision (whatever that may be) and march on. After all the best bass singer in the world owns the group and could train him, yep Tim Riley. I know I know I think Tim’s the best.

  10. Dwayne Burke would be good. I’d like to see him back with a proular group. He isn’t the lowest bass, but he’ll give a more classic sound. I can hear him in my head singing “Exekiel Saw Da Wheel” comfortably.

  11. Gold City has been trying to be the re-incarnation of the Oak Ridge Boys, in my opinion. I sure would like to see them return to a more traditional Southern style. They have never been the same since Tim left, and maybe it is time for them to review which type of audience, type of song selection, and image they want to portray.

  12. I would love to see Tim Riley assume that position again once and for all. He’s one of the all-time best bass singers in gospel music, and I think, if he stayed, he would provide stability and help the group refocus on a direction, whatever that direction may be. They need to quickly find a plan of action and stick with it. Few groups survive the changes this group has suffered, and I fear what could happen if they continue to drift.

    • I agree.

  13. I agree with Blackstone.
    I saw a recent video and I for one do not like the “image” they protrayed on that particular video. You could see the uneasiness, but, guess this is the reason. Guess the “rumors” were true. Hope it works out for them. Daniel has had big shoes to fill as a manager.

    • They definitely had changed. The spirit was different in a Gold City concert than what it used to be. I think they need to go back to doing arrangements like they did with “In Time, On Time, Everytime” and songs of that nature! Just my opinion, of course.

  14. Gene McDonald gets my vote.

  15. I’d say Chris West, but I’m not sure if he’s looking for a full-time position.

    I found a video of Cross 4 Crowns bass Justin Terry singing “Under Control,” and while I’d hate to see him leave C4C, I think he’d be a good fit.


  16. I agree with Aaron, Chris West was the first person to come to mind to fill Aaron’s position. I would even say Burman Porter…he’s not as low as you might expect from a Gold City bass but I think he would fit well.

    • Having heard Burman with the Dove Brothers and the Blackwood Gospel Quartet, and even the Palmetto State Qt; I think he would do well with Gold City.

  17. Chris West would be an awesome choice!

  18. I hope Tim comes back at least til they can get a stable lineup. I have also heard from a reliable source that Bruce might be leaving too. That would be devastating for their ministry. We all need to pray for them so that they do not stray from their mission which should be to reach souls for our Lord!! If I had my choice I would like to see Justin Terry or Gene McDonald if Tim’s health is not good enough to go back full time. I am a big Gold City fan but they have not been the same since Tim Riley left them. Danny has done his best, I believe though!

  19. I agree that Danny is a good man and I do think he is trying his best to keep the group going. Between his father’s departure, the other major personnel changes, Doug Riley’s untimely death, a tanking economy, and a few years when Southern Gospel was seeing a brief influx of more country/trendy groups (Crabbs, McRaes, Crossway), I think GC got caught up in a tail spin that has never been corrected.

    Consistency goes along way in this industry, and for whatever reasons, some avoidable and others not, GC has not been consistent in a long time in the areas that seem to matter most. I will be praying they find their groove soon, because I really hope they can make it.

  20. the best replacement would be Butch Owens that was picked to fill the place of the ALL time great J.D.Sumner. Butch no doubt could get the job done and would bring stability to the group.

    • Butch could get it done!

  21. Personally, I think Moment Of Truth was Gold City’s best album since Walk The Talk. Danny’s done a great job so far.

  22. I have been a GC fan since their beginning, when they really were just another QT but they just had “It”. I love the changes in their style as I like the old style. They are just good!! They will make it through this as they did when Brian, Ivan, Mike, Jay, Jonathan and Tim moved on.

  23. Imagine if Nathan Prisk joined Gold City.

  24. I personally wasn’t a big fan of “Moment of Truth.” I think “Revival” was as progressive as GC can go without alienating fans.

  25. PLEASE OH PLEASE…. come back Tim!!

    I’m THE biggest Tim Riley and late 80’s early 90’s GC fan in the world(or I like to think I am :))

    If Bruce leaves, what about Steve Lacey? Is he still around somewhere? He was a beautiful singer.

  26. P.S. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2LCwhw4Nxs

    All they need to do is watch this clip, and recreate the magic(not sure how, but do it!)…. if a group came out on stage in 2009 and sang this song, it would impress!!

    Let alone the fact that they did this 18 years ago!!! Unbelievable.

    Can anyone think of any other group from nearly 20 years ago that you could put on stage and sound THAT good??

  27. I thnk Joe Brown with the Diplomats Quartet, is without a doubt the best and the smoothest bass singer going today…Joe would definately be an asset to Gold City.

    • are you from Laurel, ms

      • Hello, no I am from Rome, Ga.

  28. I hated to hear that Aaron and Josh were leaving.Aaron was such a good bass singer and a nice person to talk too. Josh was also nice.They will both be missed.I think Daniel has done a good job with Gold City.(but i may be prejudiced because hes my favorite singer.)I will love Gold City no matter who they hire.

  29. what about Butch Owens.do you think has a chance?

    • Who is Butch Owens?

      • the first bass singer chosen to replace the late/great J.D. Sumner.he is no doubt the best replacement!Butch is from Jackson Ms he now livesin Nashville.Can’t be;eive you havn’t heard of him.

      • I believe Tom Graham was the bass after JD — Owens was later.

      • Butch left the Stamps and replaced Gene McDonald with the Florida Boys just prior to the FBs retirement. Butch would be a great fit.

  30. As is often the case, I believe Professor Adkins is correct on this one.

  31. I completely agree with BUTCH OWENS being the best possible replacement at this time. He is very low, very smooth and has lots of stage charisma which they will need with the present turnovers. Tom Graham and David Hester sang with Ed Enoch and Golden Covenant. Butch was the bass when they reclaimed “The Stamps” name.

  32. many may have certain song and style preferances. I for one think they are better than they have ever been and moment of truth was awesome. They are leading as many lost souls to the lord as ever before. and I feel the holy spirit in the building in a concert today just as I have in any other concert they have done in the last 20 years. Guys Im praying for ya.. I love ya and keep hanging in there


  33. i’m thinking that it is gonna be Chris West. I talked with him a couple of days ago and he said that while he was on the road with Gold City that Tim picked him up and took him out to breakfast and just talked to him about the whole thing. I know it’s ultimately Danny’s choice, but you’ve got to think that Big Tim has a little bit of say so. I think this is exactly what Chris needs. Him and his brother both are full of talent. Craig needs to be on the road too.

  34. I think that Chris West would be a great fit. And if the “rumors” are true about Bruce leaving… Chris has personal ties to a GOOD lead singer (i.e. His brother). I’m not crazy about Chris Cooper, but if you have a good bass and a good lead, the tenor will get better. I stick to my comment some time back that there is only one bass singer that I have heard lately that can carry the sound that Tim has, and that’s Jeff Chapman. I know that there’s no chance that Steve French would let him go, so they’ll have to find the next best to fill the position. That is, if Tim hisself chooses not to “fill-in”.

    • Gadsden, AL – Danny Riley has informed Singing News that Chris Cooper has departed the group. Gold City had delayed making an official announcement as they finalized details on additional developments that will be announced soon.

    • The reason Jeff Chapman has the sound that he does today is because of one reason….. Tim Riley. Tim took him under his wing several years ago and trained him, in my opinion, to be a great bass. If you will go back and watch some of Jeff’s earlier performances, for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jabiWM54KYg&feature=youtube_gdata , that was before Tim started working with him. If you see Jeff today, his voice and mannerisms are exactly like Tim’s. If Tim could get his hands on another up and coming bass, just think of the possibilities!!

      In the words of my late friend Mr. J.D. Sumner, I’m just thinking out loud to see what I can do….

  35. Gold City appeared at Dollywood this weekend for the Harvest festival and Tim sang bass. No mention of where Aaron was, didn’t find out till today that he was gone. Danny did, however, speak at great lengths about how he and Bruce had been friends for a long time and how they share a common love for Southern Gospel. Could he be trying to keep him in the group? Tim sounded better than ever.

  36. are you serious i hope thats just a ROUMOR
    i really like josh and aaron, i know aaron.

    • Do you know what Aaron is doing now, is he singing with someone else?

      • Yes, he’s singing part time with former Ernie Haase & Signature Sound member Ryan Seaton’s Ryan Seaton Quartet.

    • I was sad to see that Aaron was leaving GC, he was probably my favorite bass singer of all!

  37. Oh no, it’s entirely true that Aaron left. If you knew him, I thought you would have heard by now. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true—he’s been gone for months.

  38. I know being on the road is rough [EDIT] May God […] put this group back where he would have them to be.

  39. I think Butch Owens or Gene McDonald would be a great fit, I don’t think Will lane will leave “Driven” or David Hester will leave “The Dove Brothers” and I think Jeff Chapman is pretty happy with the “Kingdom Heirs”, he has the perfect schedule at Dolly Wood, pretty much 9-5 and then a short touring season when the park closes, then back to Dolly Wood.

  40. My husband & I just returned from the West Coast of Florida (Palmetta). We went for 4 days to the Winter Southern Gospel Concerts. We LOVE Gold City but it was sooooooo disappointing to hear Gold City without Aaron. Is he going to show up with another group? Is there any way to send him an e-mail?

  41. Does anyone know WHY Aaron left GC? I MISS him- Great bass singer!!!

    • We will just say that he left for “personal reasons” and leave it alone…….

  42. I’m 37 an would lov 2 try out 4 the bass I hav sang 4 years an I think I am what they need just don’t know what I need 2 do can someone pass this info. 1greendriver@gmail.com thks

    • Actually, Tim Riley has come back on board the Gold City bus, so they are not looking.