12 Days of Christmas: Day 4: Greater Vision

This entry was selectedβ€”and ranked as high as #4 on the listβ€”despite the fact that I’m not 100% sure I agree. If it’s the right bass singer, I wouldn’t mind Greater Vision adding him. But enough people feel this way, and Amy R. put it so well, that I decided to post it.

If I could, I would give Greater Vision the gift of having their fans be satisfied with them as a trio. While no one enjoys solid, four-part harmony more than I do, I have come to appreciate Greater Vision for what they are. In the first place, their position as a trio sets them apart from other top-tier quartets. Distinctiveness is an asset to a musical group – examples that come readily to mind are Jake Hess’s or Mark Trammell’s voice and the Speer Family’s blend. It lets listeners immediately recognize even a song on the radio that they haven’t heard before, and it makes it more memorable. With regard to Greater Vision, although their style is similar to groups like Legacy Five, they are occupying their own niche in the genre. I can think of only a couple of other trios in the same rank, as opposed to quite a few quartets.

Secondly, being a trio gives Greater Vision a real versatility. They change the way they harmonize freely. I’m no musical expert on this myself, but I think I remember hearing one of them mention it on the Gospel Greats a few years ago. A group with a bass seems, in a sense, to be “tied” to its standard harmony framework. (Forgive my amateur expressions!) Occasionally you hear a quartet break out of that and record a song like the Kindom Heirs’ “When My Master Walks with Me,” or some of Eric Bennett’s music, but this seems to be the exception more than the rule. I think that is as it should be, but I enjoy hearing Greater Vision’s variations. And of course, if Gerald wants to record a quartet song, he does that too! My jaw about dropped when I realized he had the nerve to record “We’ll Soon Be Done with Troubles and Trials,” but after a few listens, it moved up near the top of my favorite versions.

A long time ago, I stopped wishing for Greater Vision to change its format (or almost anything else about it). This is a group which consistently produces top-quality music and presents it in fresh ways. I think they will hold my attention for a long time before they run out of things to do with their three voices! So I wish for fans to realize what Greater Vision is adding to the Southern Gospel genre that they could not add if they felt the need to be exactly like everyone else.

Oh, and my wish has a Part B, for the GV fans this time: I do wish Gerald would carry through on his hint of a Quartets 2 album! πŸ˜€ For this one, they could try for the Big Chief, London Parris, maybe Pat Barker (who I haven’t yet heard anything by, though I’d listen) and some others they missed the first time!


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14 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. From a merely economic perspective it’s a lot more practical to support a road group with three members, than it is a four-member group. We Couriers made that traumatic decision in the 1960s and it has proved to be a blessing in spite of the critics’ position. I’ve come to believe that if the people like you they’ll like three. But if they don’t like you, the won’t like you with a dozen.

    Greater vision has proved that not only do the people love them, but they can crank out exceptional music in spite of their number of personnel. When your group has only two members the issue gets complicated. It takes at least three singers to sing a chord. Of course it opens up more opportunities when a fourth member is present, but a trio can make a chord and this genre is built around harmony singing.

    Hats off to the innovation and imagination that Greater Vision has exhibited. Add to that their sincere desire to be a vibrant musical ministry, and you have a top notch group.

  2. Excellent post, Neil.

    THIS fan is absolutely TOTALLY satisfied with Greater Vision as a TRIO. And, IMHO, anyone who is truly a GV fan IS already satisfied with their status of trio. πŸ™‚ (of course, I am very, very biased in my opinion.)

    I admit that my preference is for Trios. There are many excellent ones, Booth Brothers, The Old Paths and Paid-in-Full to name just a few. In fact, The Old Paths used to have a bass and they were very good with a bass. But I FAR prefer them as their current trio. I love the tight harmony of trios and I hear the distinct parts a lot better when a bass is not involved.

    Don’t get me wrong. I do like quartets—Triumphant and Tribute are two of my favorites—but trios are my preference.

    • Donna, I knew you would agree with me if nobody else did! (Of course, I mean no one except for Gerald, Rodney, and Jacob.)

    • Donna,

      I’m happy with them as a trio. But I don’t believe thinking they could be excellent in another configuration would of necessity preclude someone from loving them as they are. πŸ™‚

      Daniel

    • I think we’re all joking and having some fun here … or maybe I should just speak for myself!

      But Greater Vision really is the best. πŸ™‚ (The Cathedrals no longer existing.)

      • I’m having fun, too. πŸ™‚

      • OK, good! πŸ™‚

        And to the rest of y’all … GV without a bass can sing circles around all your favorite quartets! πŸ˜€

      • Except . . . no, I won’t go there. πŸ™‚

      • “GV without a bass can sing circles around all your favorite quartets!”

        Awww Amy, I’m sorry you are sick and can’t think clearly so close to Christmas! lol

      • πŸ˜†

  3. IF there’s no bass in it, it ain’t singin’. lol. tongue in cheek. i wish gv would have a bass singer in it. wishful thinking for 18 years—yawn.

  4. The group as a trio is terrific…. a group with a bass is best!! πŸ™‚

  5. LOL! We have had fun with this one, haven’t we??? πŸ™‚

  6. Gimme a good solid bass GV!! πŸ™‚