Concert Review: Austins Bridge (Mansfield, OH)

I found out about on Sunday that Austins Bridge would be in my hometown the following evening. So I decided to check the concert out. The concert, interestingly enough for a group billed as Southern Gospel (and recording with Daywind), was at a local mega-church.

Probably the high point of the concert (in more than one sense!) was their tenor singer. Toby Hitchcock is an incredible talent, on a par with Wes Hampton. He uses less head tone than pretty much any other tenor out there.

I had intended to post a set list, as usual, but the sound was so loud that I was unable to decipher the lyrics to several of the songs. Of the songs I could understand, particularly memorable were “The Pizza Song” and the group’s rendition of “I’ll Fly Away.”

The baritone and lead singers played various acoustic, electric, and bass guitars. A drummer filled out the live band. There was also a piano on stage, and though a reference was made to the fact that the lead singer could play piano, it went unutilized.

Seeing the group live can rightly be described as an unforgettable experience.


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23 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 really don’t like to listen when the musicians are louder than the singers. This happens on cd/DVD’s too and discourages me from playing them. I hate buying something that I can’t enjoy.

  2. So, I get the feeling you didn’t enjoy the concert?

    • I didn’t say that. 🙂

      But then, I am very judicious with what I say on this site. If I really dislike something, I won’t come out and say so. 🙂

      • I find that to be misleading. There is a difference between being negative for the sake of being negative and being honest about your own opinion. Why would you feel afraid to post when you dislike something?

      • It’s because I have made a commitment to be positive here. I can find something nice to say about anything. And I mean every word I say about their tenor singer–he’s an incredible talent.

  3. Being run over by a herd of buffalo can also rightly be described as an unforgettable experience…. 🙂

  4. Considering Austins Bridge is the most progressive group on the scene today – I could have guessed before you ever went to the concert that you wouldn’t enjoy it.

    • Did I say that I didn’t enjoy it? 😉

      • In as many words:

        “Seeing the group live can rightly be described as an unforgettable experience”

      • That is a phrase I could use for a concert I loved. 🙂

  5. Well, while I personally like more traditional southern gospel, I am not closed-minded to other types of music. I do enjoy a good progressive group or bluegrass group from time to time, provided they sing well, I can understand the lyrics, and the music doesn’t over-power the vocals. But then, that’s the same standard I apply to traditional southern gospel, too.

    I like Austins Bridge’s harmony on their CD, and I think they are talented individuals. That said, many times–not always, but many–loud music that overpowers the singer and/or lyrics is a cover-up for bad vocals. In Austins Bridge’s case, I’ve not heard them live so I don’t know if they pull off vocally in concert what they do on recording. I do think that if they’re as good as they are on CD, they wouldn’t have to be so loud musically, except for that’s the style they appear to be going for.

  6. Nothing will ruin a concert like sound level. I’ve never understood it, especially now with ear monitors. Which for the most part depending on the set up you can have it as loud as you can stand in your ear and still have a good level through the house. For me personally I like it on the loud side, but if it’s like you said and you couldn’t make out the lyrics then there is a problem. Those guys are good on CD and probably a little to progressive for some 😉

    • “Nothing will ruin a concert like sound level.” – So true!

  7. Well, I like it on the loud side, too, but not ear-piercing or distorted.

    But this is another side of the problem–I know a lot of the lyrics simply because I either have the CDs or hear the songs on the radio. So, while I think the sound may be fine and I’m “hearing” the songs ok, it’s just because I know the lyrics and therefore don’t realize that other people around me who don’t know the songs aren’t able to understand the words. It’s like I’m getting a false positive on the music and sound quality because I know the words already. I’d probably be surprised at how bad the sound really is if I went to a concert where I knew none of the songs.

  8. I just looked them up on youtube… I like these guys, a lot. They are very progressive, however, for a church like our church (a church that does a blend of new and old), this group would fit well. If the music is “too loud” it would probably not go over as well, though.

  9. All the times I have seen them in concert, they have been great. It really shouldn’t have been billed as a Southern Gospel concert. I would consider Austins Bridge country, with Christian lyrics. Lately, I am finding I prefer that style more and more.

    • Truthfully, I have told my wife for the last few years, that if I was going to start a band, this would be the sound I would go for. More students, at least in my hometown, listen to country music than “rock.” I’ve told her I would like to hear a Christian group with a Keith Urban sound… These guys have done that.

  10. I too prefer traditional quartet music, but I really do enjoy Austin’s Bridge. Wonder if they will ever be featured on main stage at NQC? They seem to be so popular now, especially with the younger crowd that NQC would like to attract.

    • lol… that would be funny

  11. 🙂

  12. Is there any chance that the UNION STREET QUARTET would come to Red Deer, Alberta, Canada to perform at the Westerner in July 2012 when the southern gospel quartets perform for a three day affair. There is a large gathering at the Westerner for all to hear. All of us fans would truly be blessed to hear the UNION STREET QUARTET. YOU GUYS SOUND GREAT ON YOU TUBE. NOW WE NEED TO HEAR YOU IN PERSON. Thanks for the chance to vent my opinion.

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