Question of the Week: Thomas McCalmont

Crossroads announced yesterday that they had signed Revelation, a trio from Northern Ireland, to their Pinnacle label. I recently had the chance to interview their tenor, Thomas McCalmont.

Daniel: How did you get in touch with Crossroads?
Thomas: David [Strange] and myself went to the National Quartet Convention back in 2005. We coincidentally were in the same hotel as Three Bridges. That’s where we met Dave McKay. We kept in touch through email, Facebook, that kind of thing. I guess he knew we were singing and all, and he said that maybe we should contact Jeff sometime. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Thomas McCalmont

Photo courtesy of Thomas McCalmont

Daniel: In which countries have you sung so far?
Thomas: With the whole political thing with Ireland, there’s Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. We’re based in Northern Ireland, but we’ve sung in Southern Ireland also. We’ve been in Scotland—we were at their music convention over the weekend. We’ve been on the border with England. We’re also considering dates in Norway right now.

We’re excited about the whole American thing—it’s a dream for us, really. We’ve been following this kind of music for years. Even the last two years, we’ve had so many groups from America come visit us over here—Hoppers, Gaithers, David Phelps, et cetera—and this year, there’s more coming out also. We’re also doing some support work in the UK for David Phelps this year. We’re excited about that!

Daniel: What are some of your favorite Southern Gospel groups from America?
Thomas: An easy question—I’m delighted to tell you. The Gaither Vocal Band. My partner in the group, David, really, really loved the Southern Gospel sound, the Cathedrals. When we were at the convention in 2005, we were so impressed with Perrys, who were really just starting to put their stamp on the music at that time.

The Anchormen—that group’s changed a lot since 2005, but people will recognize that name, I imagine.

Brian Free and Assurance—what a group, what a guy!

A group that has impressed us a lot is a group called Paid in Full.

Daniel: Oh, yes—I saw your version of “I Could Sing About Heaven” on YouTube.
Thomas: The concentration on harmony, and the focus on three continuous harmonies—for us, that was a lot of education. We have benefited from coming across these guys in particular.

Those are some of the people that impressed us.

Daniel: Thank you!
Thomas: Thanks.

You can check Revelation out online at http://revelationministry.co.uk/. Here’s a glimpse of what they sound like in concert:


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18 Letters to the Editor

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  1. I think this is my favorite version of this hymn ever. These guys have a beautiful blend. I’m surprised Thomas didn’t list the Booth Brothers as an influence—I think there’s definitely a similarity there. You can tell they’re a little new, still finding their feet, but tremendous promise. Ditto with Thomas himself—beautiful, clear tone, a little inexperienced, but that’ll smooth itself out over time. Thanks for introducing us to this group Daniel! Will have to keep an eye out for them.

    • Yes, he does have a really nice tone.

      On the inexperienced part – this clip is actually two plus years old, I’m thinking. I’m told he’s improved since.

      • I think the clip is from the ‘St Patrick’s Day Live’ DVD. Great to see these guys getting exposure in the ‘real’ SGM arena, it is what they need.

        It is not so much lack of experience, as lack of exposure and competition too; though the guest pianist, James, is David’s brother, and plays / sings for a quartet, which is also featured on that DVD, so there IS some family competition.

        To see quality southern gospel style trio and quartet singing of this ability coming out of such a small and deeply troubled community is a marvel to the grace of God.

        Big thumbs up boys, may you all go far for His glory!

      • Gosh…he must be *really* good now!

      • I imagine that they spoke of Paid In Full because they may have seen and talked to them at the Scotland Gospel Music convention which PIF has been to at least two times and sang at earlier this month. And the song “I Could Sing About Heaven” is a song that Paid In Full sang on a Gaither video.

      • They were indeed at that convention. 🙂

  2. That is truly awesome!

  3. Is Pinnacle a pay to play “label” for crossroads or is it full fledged-they are fronting the costs?

    • This would be a question for you to ask Crossroads or the artist. My understanding, however, is that most label/artist negotiations are covered by non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses, which only artists and (if applicable) their attorneys are privy to, so I don’t know.

  4. Isn’t it weird how their Irish accents are kinda hidden? I’ve noticed that though when someone doesn’t have a Southern accent or doesn’t sing with one, they end up having this universal accent which sounds almost the same between British, Irish, American, and Canadian.

    • Well . . . maybe singing, but not hidden when speaking! Thomas has a delightfully thick Irish accent – I loved talking with him!

    • Hmmm, a bit hidden, but you can still hear it, especially on the second verse. To me, there’s just something so irresistibly charming about hearing SG sung with an Irish accent.

      I’ve noticed that Brian Free sings with some kind of an accent that I can’t quite peg…odd because he’s completely American, but it almost sounds Irish to me…especially on “Dare to Be A Daniel.”

      • Yes, I’d have to agree that there is something irresistibly charming about SG songs sung with Irish accents. 🙂

      • Pity my blog doesn’t talk with an northern irish accent then 😉

        Enjoyed the mini-interview with Thomas, he is a top chap. They have their priorities right, God will do the rest!

      • Audio versions of blog posts, perhaps? I’d listen! 🙂

  5. I am sure crossroads wouldnt release that info daniel. I’m glad they get to work with a great company like that. i am sure that is much harder to come by where they are from. So great for them. Very cool.

    The difference is that a press release for a custom – pay for it yourself- label should be a little different than a label picking up a group and fully fronting/promoting them. Of course I don’t know if that even happens in the SG world anymore. It would be interesting to know.

    • The traditional contracts you speak of are definitely still around for major artists.

      I’ve also seen several press releases, out of both Crossroads and Daywind, mention that an artist signed a distribution deal – that’s where the artist makes (and owns the rights to) the recording and the label distributes it. Example: When Spring Hill faded away and the Booth Brothers, Karen Peck & New River, and Jeff & Sheri Easter all landed at Daywind, I seem to recall that two of those three were distribution deals – I think the Easters’ was, but I can’t remember which the other one was.

  6. Kudos to Crossroads for branching out and looking at groups outside of the usual territories. Can’t wait to hear these guys!