Concert Review: Blackwood Brothers (Sugarcreek, OH, 8/13/09)
I had the opportunity to see the Blackwood Brothers in Sugarcreek, Ohio on Thursday. The group is led by Jimmy Blackwood, who sings lead, and also features Wayne Little on tenor, Randy Byrd on bass, and Brad White on baritone/piano.
- How About Your Heart (Jimmy/Brad/Randy/Wayne)
- He Touched Me (Jimmy)
- Old Country Church—This song got a particularly strong response.
- Jesus is Coming Soon
- Feelin’ Fine—Brad White’s piano playing wasn’t quite as audible as it typically is, since the piano in question was an upright (3/4 height?) and its sound didn’t carry all that well in the venue. Even so, he was so good that I heard individuals walking away after the concert remarking that they’d never heard a better pianist, even though they’d heard [and here they named a list of familiar names].
- This Old House (Randy)
- The Lighthouse (Wayne)
- Since Jesus Came Into My Heart—This song probably would have received a standing ovation if the audience hadn’t been too full from the preceding dinner to stand up.
- How Great Thou Art (Randy, Jimmy)—Another strong response. Randy Byrd is the John Rulapaugh of tenor bass singers; John wasn’t the highest tenor ever and wasn’t always going for the highest note in his range, but he was every inch a tenor. No matter what note he sang, how low or high, one knew he was a tenor. And no matter how low or high Randy Byrd sings, his voices has an equally pleasant bass tone.
- The Man Upstairs
- I’ll Fly Away
- Just a Little Talk (Randy, Wayne)
- I Wanna Be More Like Jesus (Jimmy)
- In the Garden
- Victory in Jesus
- Amazing Grace
- Beulah Land (Wayne)
- Room at the Cross (Randy)
- It is Well—This song closed the concert and received a standing ovation.
The Blackwood Brothers are known for remarkable consistency. Wayne, Randy, and Brad have all been with Jimmy since the Blackwood Brothers name was brought back four or five years ago. They also have remarkable consistency in their song selection; most of the songs in the concert were the same as the last time I saw them, and probably 2/3 are the same as the first time I saw them several years ago. (And yet they do those songs well enough that I still drive across the state to hear them. Sugarcreek was a two hour drive.)
That said, this is probably about to change; the group signed with Daywind a couple of weeks ago and is working on a recording due out this fall that will include new songs from a number of Southern Gospel’s best known songwriters. It has been over twenty years since the Blackwood Brothers released a recording of new songs. (The name was retired when Cecil Blackwood died and stayed so until Jimmy brought it back in 2004.) But word is the project might just be worth the wait.