12 Days of Christmas: Day 4: Greater Vision
This entry was selected—and ranked as high as #4 on the list—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! 😀 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!