Tomorrow’s All-Star Quartet

QuartetFan at Southern Gospel Perspective brings up an interesting topic: Years down the road, who will be the all-star quartet made of people on the road today?

He names Eric Phillips, Bill Shivers (with a nod to Josh Garner), Doug Anderson, and Aaron McCune. That would be a great quartet, no question about it; I’m sold on the abilities of all the singers he names, with the caveat that I haven’t heard yet what makes Bill Shivers shine, though I have no doubt that the numerous people who name him know what they’re talking about.

Here’s my list:

Bass: Christian Davis. I’d put Gene McDonald into that slot if he came back to the road, though.

Baritone: Doug Anderson. I agree with QuartetFan here.

Lead: How young can I go? I’m tempted to go with Arthur Rice, who will be a legend if he sticks around for a few more years. But I think he might be a little too old to satisfy the intent of QuartetFan’s original post, so I’ll go with Ryan Seaton instead.

Tenor:  Eric Phillips. I also agree with QuartetFan here, with one provision.

Especially in the tenor position, but to an extent in any position, the all-star will be more the person who sticks around for 40 years than the person who has the ability. There were a lot of great tenors in the 60s and 70s, but the reason Archie Watkins is making the all-star lists today, more than anything else, is that he’s the one who stuck around. Thus it is completely feasible that tomorrow’s all-star tenor could be one perceived as run-of-the-mill today–but with the persistence to make a lifetime out of Gospel music.


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10 Letters to the Editor

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  1. If this was posted a month ago, the only choice for lead singer in my mind would have been Josh Feemster from Mercy’s Mark.

    If Arthur Rice can be considered for the lead spot, Danny Riley should be young enough to claim the baritone spot. My arguement for Danny: Mark Trammell is my favorite singer and I think the best baritone to ever sing SGM, but when Danny replaced him in Gold City, the unthinkable happened. Gold City improved. That blew me away. The thought that Gold City would sound better without Mark never entered my mind.

    Another arguement for Danny: We were talking this weekend at the Greenes’ Jubilee about the best male voices singing SGM today. The list we came up with included Danny Riley, Ronnie Booth, Gerald Wolfe, Guy Penrod, and Arthur Rice.

  2. Interesting choices, Daniel. But one question, Tim Duncan w/ EHSSQ seems to be trying to mold himself after George Younce – who got better w/ age.

    Do you think Tim would fall into that category or do you think he has reached his peak now?

  3. He’s in line to be named in the same breath as the greats if he stays around. But I thought if I named Eric Phillips and the three younger guys in Signature Sound as the next all-star lineup, I would catch a lot more flak than I will currently!

  4. Daniel, those are good choices too.

    I strongly considered Arthur too, but he’s been around so long (sorry Arthur) that I didn’t think he met my own criteria. He is one of today’s “all-stars” though.

    I think your point about tenor is true for any of the other positions as well. I know Archie might make some “all-star” tenor lists, but honestly he has never really been what I would have considered for placement on such a list. Is he a great person, a super ambassador for SG, a legend? Yes to all. In fact, he is The Inspiration sound. However, I don’t see him as an all-star tenor. JMHO.

    I will also take the same perspective about Seaton that you took with Shivers. I have yet to see what you and others see in him. If Shane Dunlap was still with SSQ, I can easily see him on my list however.

  5. QuartetFan, thanks for your comments. I had a feeling you’d feel that way about Arthur Rice, which is why I picked Ryan Seaton instead.

    It honestly took me over a year before I even started *liking* Ryan Seaton’s voice, but now after seeing him in person I have become won over.

  6. Although he isn’t mentioned often in these “favorite this”, “all-star that”, “best fill-in-the-blank”. Michale Booth is an excellent tenor. I think sometimes his stage persona causes people to overlook his singing. Anyone who heard him sing “Over the Moon” at the GOGR Saturday night would rank his rendition as A-1.

  7. I have a post on my blog along the same lines as this one, only I thought about what a good quartet would come out of putting only those that are off the road or gone solo…

    Aaron Swain

  8. I’m not so much sold on the choice for Ryan Seaton. He hasn’t really been tried and tested by the industry, nor has he really had the opportunity to show people his true talent. He, afterall, hides behind huge stacks. One will never know the power of a voice until they can hold their own without all the hooplah.

  9. LaShay, Signature Sound does several songs on their videos with only piano accompaniment. Since those songs are completely live, stacks would be impossible. He does well in those songs as well.

  10. I agree with lashay…Ryan can sing a FEW good live songs with piano, but many many people are noticing that he hides behind some LOUD stacks on the vast majority of all SSQ songs….and until youve seen BFA live or heard Shivers live…you cannot appreciate not only one of the best singers, one of the best lead singers..EVER