An A Cappella Concert?

If you were to host a concert in a venue with great acoustics but where, for whatever reason, a sound system did not make sense, who would you book? And who might come?

Gold City has been staging a completely acappella, unamplified version of One Scarred Hand (as here). While it’s quite likely that neither Josh Cobb nor Tim Riley could use their ranges to fullest effect without amplification, they could certainly do a few songs.

The Kingdom Heirs have been singing the Statesmen classic “Beyond the Gates” in recent months. Though they sing most of the song amplified, they lower their microphones at the end for an almost-unamplified final chorus, pulling it off well enough to suggest that they could do the complete song and possibly several others in like manner.

The Crist Family has been known for doing songs without instruments or amplification, at least at some concert venues. (An example is here.) With seven singers, they have enough opportunity to take breaks that they could probably sing enough songs to be a major portion of the program.

Who else would you put on the program?

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50 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 immediately thought of the Voices of Lee. I know they’re a college group and probably not what you were looking for but they’ve been on several SG programs and videos! Their a capella singing is absolutely incredible! And, of course, there are Kings Heralds!

    • Yes, the Kings Heralds are masters of acappella. πŸ™‚

  2. I’d like to see a few a capella numbers, but an entire show a capella would get boring after a while. I can’t even listen to a full a capella CD in one setting.

    • You just haven’t heard it done well enough yet. πŸ™‚

      I’m thinking it can be done.

      • I completely agree. I’m a stickler for great vocals and that is always what I listen most closely to when I listen to music. Without solid vocals, even the best orchestrations fall short.

        I think I would love an all a capella concert!

  3. Maybe not completely SG, but Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver are the kings of a cappella. Never heard em do it unamplified, but I don’t see why they couldn’t.

    • Great idea. They are great at it.

    • I thought of them as well. I also thought of the Isaacs and Ralph Stanley.

  4. Is the Gaither Vocal Band too obvious a choice? Anytime I’ve heard them do acapella its been amazing. You wouldn’t get a lot of bass sound but the tenor part would be covered!

  5. Brian Free & Assurance’s new acappella cd is amazing! Put them on.

  6. The two I immediately thought of were GVB and EHSS. Daniel, you’ve seen EHSS do WGOJ, so you know how good they are without music….

    • Yes, I do – I just didn’t think of it when doing the post. πŸ™‚

  7. Brian Free and Assurance! I’m Surprised no one has mentioned them yet. Their acapella stuff has always been great and their new acapella cd is amazing!

    • I’m really looking forward to hearing that CD, but hadn’t yet, which is why it didn’t come to mind.

    • We sound like twins! πŸ˜€ We both said Brian Free & Assurance’s “new acappella cd is amazing.”

  8. George and Glen, with Mark Trammel and Danny Funderburk on ‘Wonderful Grace of Jesus’. Hits EHSS outta the park, with respect to Ernie! – since it is hypothetical anyway. If it’s for real then the Martins are near the top of the bill.

    • Yeah, but I’m talking about a hypothetical concert with groups on the road today. In that regard, EHSS has the edge since they’re all still alive. πŸ™‚

    • You got that right! (Cathedrals) I thought of the Martins as well. The Isaacs could do it too. The GVB would havea great sound, but Bill would really need a mic. For that matter all basses singing that low would unless the other three parts held back. Younce and Riley had / have good projection, but still.

    • You got that right! (Cathedrals) I thought of the Martins as well. The Isaacs could do it too. The GVB would have a great sound, but Bill would really need a mic. For that matter all basses singing that low would unless the other three parts held back. Younce and Riley had / have good projection, but still.

      • The Martins didn’t even enter my mind which is so sad because I love them! They are so talented!

  9. Yeah OK Daniel, but if GVB are coming then you gotta ask Guy and Marsh to guest for an a cappella concert. The present line-up is a little unbalanced for non-amp / no music sound.David, Guy, Marsh and Bill are all alive!! [though you need Gene Mac to fill in the bass from behind the curtains. lol.

  10. I believe the spam filter had some lunch.

  11. L5 does a good A Cappella medley most every night…

  12. Dailey & Vincent did an a capella hymns & gospel songs project that they do songs from regularly in concert. They sound especially good with Christian Davis as the bass now.

    • They are great and Christian adds a lot to their sound. It was entertaining just watch and listen to a traditional bluegrass audience respond (go crazy) to Christian with Dailey & Vincent. Most bluegrass fans were not familiar with bass singers such as those we are used to in SG.

  13. The Isaacs’s are the absolute best at a capella on the road right now…bar none.

    • I could not agree more!

  14. The Isaacs to me are the most obvious choice. Their vocals are second to none, in my opinion, and have been that way for years. Their a capella renditions are flawless and absolutely stunning.

    The Chuck Wagon Gang has done a capella pieces here and there. The most memorable being O Come Angel Band with Stan Hill singing lead. Video here:

    I think Greater Vision does wonderful with a capella music. You do not hear it out of them all that often, but when they do, it’s fantastic. With Chris Allman back with the group, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more of their rendition of the Courier’s arrangement of I Sing the Mighty Power of God. They are a group that puts great emphasis on solid harmonies, and I would love to hear more a capella music from them.

    Actually, I think the Perrys would also be great doing a capella songs. They are also a group that we do not hear a whole lot of it from. But if you’ve seen them live, you know they will encore certain songs a capella, such as Holy Shore and Did I Mention. They always have a solid, strong delivery when they sing a capella, I think they would do well with more of it also.

  15. DayBreak recorded an album in Sydney ten years ago that was all a capella and piano.

  16. The Collingsworth Family

  17. Gosh, I am starting to get a complex here. I replied to Meagan (but spelled her name wrong) and the spam filter seems to have eaten it too.

  18. Fickle thing. πŸ˜‰

  19. So why hasn’t anyone mentioned that EHSS’s a capella concert wasn’t hypothetical?

    • Disgusting, I tried “cappella” with both spellings and Firefox didn’t like it either way. So I hit submit just before noticing the spelling in the title. At least Kerr doesn’t visit here to comment on homeschoolers’ spelling!

      • I don’t think Firefox likes any variation of the word. The Firefox spell-checker programmers must guest as SG pianists on the side. πŸ™‚

    • Hmm . . . well, in my case, I’d forgotten!

      • LOL!!! πŸ˜†

        (lengthening comment)

  20. My all time favs wwere Cathedral’s and Bishop’s for acapella, but now days the Isaacs are great.

  21. An obvious choice is the group Acappella if you go outside the southern gospel realm. They did appear on a Gaither video several years back. I prefer that lineup to many of the others because they have had many people come and go through that ministry in the last 30 or so years. They have a whole company with different styles of Acappella stuff that you can find out about if you go to their website. The Isaacs are one of the best going in southern gospel right now. I was kinda disappointed in their last CD that they didn’t go all way and do it Acappella. Almost Acappella??? I am with Daniel, it is either acappella or it isn’t. Voices of Liberty are really good, which is the group that sings at Disney World in Epcot. In the barbershop realm you have Revival that did all gospel stuff. They were gold medalists a few years back in the SPEBSQSA championship. Acoustix are good as well as Gas House Gang. They have at least a portion of their stuff that is gospel. Four Voices were good but only lasted a couple years. That was four guys out of Voices of Lee. Glad is good if you like vocal jazz. Coming back to southern gospel one of my favorite CDs is the Lordsong acappella CD. Minus the vocal stacks it has some REALLY good arrangements and medleys.

    • On the Isaacs’ last CD – even though it’s not acappella, it still came off sounding great.

      Glad does have some great arrangements.

  22. King’s Heralds would be the first one on my top list, if you want an all acappella concert, then my list would continue with LordSong, they are great when doing complicated materials.
    Not to mention the non SG group, Acappella.
    Just my 2 cent.

  23. The Crist Family do some incredible acappella arrangements. They’d be among the top of my list as well.

  24. I agree with several of the others. The first group that comes to mind is Brian Free and Assurance. We’ve seen their talent in that area before, and with their new acapella album, they’d be my first choice.