If I were a rich man…

If I were a rich man…

* * *

… right about now I’d be considering following in the steps of the Singing Americans and the Anchormen, both groups that had a non-touring owner/manager. Think about all the “free agents” in Southern Gospel right now.

  • Tenor: Dallas Rogers [EDIT:] As per Coomer Cove’s suggestion, if I could get Jay Parrack, that would actually be my #1 pick. I’d love to hear how he’d fit with the other names I have listed.
  • Lead: Josh Feemster / Josh Garner
  • Baritone: Andrew King
  • Bass: Christian Davis / Gene McDonald
  • Pianist: Andrew Ishee / Scott McDowell / Nick Succi
  • Bass Guitarist: Grant Barker

I put my #1 picks first in that list. There is enough talent out there (and presumably looking for a group) to put together one of the best groups in Southern Gospel.

Of course, if I was truly rich, I would bring either Lari Goss or Wayne Haun on board to produce the project. I’d contact Dianne Wilkinson, Kyla Rowland, Chris Binion, Sandy Knight, Joseph Habedank, and today’s other great songwriters for product. I’d hire the Prague Philharmonic for orchestrations. And, of course, I’d have to put several grand into advertising and promotion.

* * *

Of course, I’m not rich. But it was fun to dream!

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37 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. :o)

  2. They may sound great, but the question is, can they all get along on a bus??

  3. Ahhhh…….it’s nice to dream…..

  4. Dallas Rodgers isn’t a free agent.

  5. Actually, he just left the Dixie Echoes, so that qualifies him as a free agent. Unless he’s joined another group and the rest of us haven’t heard about it yet…

  6. Dallas Rogers is leaving the Dixie Echoes but word I hear is that he’s moving to Nashville to drive the bus for Hissong…so much for spending more time at home!

  7. and hey….Dallas already has the bus! haha!!

  8. In response to the comment before my last one…if what you say is true (I don’t know if it is or not…it’s not what I was told) then why is it such a secret? I’m not directing this at Dallas…he’s a good buddy and I wouldn’t want to bash him in a public forum…

    I have a really hard time understanding why artists give an excuse to come off the road and then when they’re free from their commitment to the group they’re with…they hop on another bus. I really don’t understand why they can’t just be honest from the get-go. If you say you want to stay home with your family…then stay home with your family. Don’t use it as an excuse to hop on the next bus that comes your way. It’s very frustrating, not to mention…it’s lying. Telling the truth will get you a whole lot further.

    Like I said, I don’t know if Dallas is going to drive the bus for another group. I really don’t care if he is or not. It just irks me to the point of wanting to scream!!

    *stepping off soapbox*

  9. Nick and Grant…aren’t they with the Kingsmen…if so, they aren’y free agents.

  10. In response to LaShay, sometimes a person has one thing in mind…then the next day brings something else there way. In my opinion, I don’t see why they even give a reason to the public. It really isn’t an of our business.

  11. Daniel, WOW! I didn’t hear that before…WOW! The Kingsmen without a band? That isn’t right! WOW!

  12. No, it really isn’t any of our business….I can buy that. BUT, if you can’t tell the truth about it, then why say anything? Just say, “Leaving to pursue other interests.” That should cover it. Just don’t tell a half-truth and expect people to be okay with that.

    I’m definitely not saying that other opportunities don’t arise…but c’mon…those “other opportunities” tend to arise wayyyyy too frequently in SGM.

  13. According to posters on the Singing News forums, the Kingsmen are dropping their band, and Nick Succi and Grant Barker are either gone or about to be. 😥

  14. True…it does seem a little strange how frequently that happens. But, hopefully, that is God calling them. Also, it is a tough life, being on the road. Sometimes it might just be necessary to take a short breather before going on to the next thing. I applaude the Ray Reese’s, Claude Hopper’s, and so on for their long years of dedication.

  15. If you are going to have orchestration by the Prague Philharmonic why bother with a pianist? I can’t play a note and could do the job since I wouldn’t be heard anyway.

    IMHO what is wrong with SG is summed up right there. You get orchestras that don’t sound the least bit southern providing the accompaniment while some of the best pianists in the world are drowned out.

    (JUst teasing, but as a writer you should know it is “If I were a rich man.”)

  16. In response to the Kingsmen dropping their band: Say what?!? I had read that Grant and Nick were just leaving, not that the band was being dropped altogether!
    Hmm… the revolving door is spinning off its hinges now for SG groups…

  17. I was intentionally borrowing the folksy wording from Fiddler on the Roof.

    I had in mind orchestration like the Perrys do–some piano-heavy tracks, and some big ballads.

  18. The report went out earlier today that the Kingsmen were dropping their band. At this point, current word is that they are indeed dropping it for now (including pianist!), but that they will bring another pianist on ASAP and potentially other musicians down the road.

  19. Ah, gotcha Daniel. Haven’t been on there today.

  20. Yea, the word is now that right now they don’t have piano player and bass player because they both (quit?) left. Until they find a pianist and possibly a bassist, Brandon will be running sound/tracks.

    The good news? The Kingsmen are not planning to axe their band afterall!! YES!!

  21. I read that Mick wasn’t leaving until DEC.

  22. I heard that gene McDonald is filling in with a group that just lost their bass, so perhaps he’s not a free agent after all.

    In reallity the Kingsmen don’t need a band since they use tracks. I think they would be better off to ditch the tracks and use only the band once it’s regrouped.

    Changing subjects, (kind of), I totally agree with Jim T. Orchestration is killing the uniqueness of Southern Gospel Music. We’re almost unrecognizable from any other genre of muic. As good of an idea it may have started out to be, Goss and Haun’s productions have turned out to be a very negativle influence in Southen Gospel music.
    Nothing is individual nowadays. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it all before!!
    I mean, why do you think the Kingsmen were so popular in their prime?? Many times they didn’t have on stage the best of singers. IT WAS THE LIVE BAND that attracted people. The excitement that is transferred to the audience by means of singers working TOGETHER with a band is unparalleled.
    The group Daniel theoretically put together needs either:
    1) a pianist,
    2) tracks with Goss and Haun’s influence.
    But not both.

  23. Quaid, I take it you must have never seen what the Perrys can do with both.

    They can put on an amazing show with both.

  24. Daniel said:

    “I was intentionally borrowing the folksy wording from Fiddler on the Roof.”

    But Daniel – the song is actually called “If I WERE A Rich Man.”

  25. Point taken–good catch. I edited the title.

    😳 😳 😳 😳 😳


  26. True, the Perrys are an exception. They can do a great program with tracks and a pianist.
    But too often the tracks overpower and mask the band and vocalists in such a situation.
    As an example: The Perrys’ performance of “Holy Shore” at the First Lutheran Church concert last month. That track was far beyond LOUD. Orchestra enveloped and covered everything else for a brief moment.
    In the industry abroad I’d like to hear more moderation in tracks. Seems like in trying to make something stand out as unique, producers end up making a group’s tracks sound like all the others. So the purpose of creating something lasting, unique, and memorable is often defeated.

  27. Quiad, so it isn’t just me and the folks at First Lutheran? The groups today are simply too loud…and I think you’re right, it is because of their tracks. I can hardly wait to hear a group like the Dixie Echoes (who supposed are not using tracks anymore).

  28. The general effect the Perrys achieved was what I had in mind for my if-I-were-a-rich-man group.

  29. Actually the past couple groups we have had at our church have had sound men in the audience.

  30. Paul–no, it’s practically every SG fan.

    The Dixie Echoes are probably the SG group best known for using no tracks. The Chuck Wagon Gang is another, and one that uses a mixture of piano-only tracks and piano is Jimmy Blackwood’s Blackwood Brothers.

    A First Lutheran concert with any two of those three would be a night to remember!

  31. Tracks that are “too loud” in a live concert does not mean that the producer did his job poorly. Very likely it means that the group in question was mixing their house sound from the stage, which will never work well for anyone, regardless of what they might believe, and also very likely that no one paid any attention to level between cuts when transfering their tracks to what ever medium they use. Southern Gospel producers do tend to make every one sound alike though. This is due to a couple of reasons, most of which can be tied directly back to budgets, or the lack thereof. Most SG music I hear today has VOCALS and {instrumentation}, pretty much in that order. Take the time to listen to some high quality secular music and listen to the mix. On well mixed records you can hear every instrument and every vocal clearly, at virtually the same apparent level. Now I am not talking about some of today’s pop music where the vocal is buried, I am talking about a well engineered, well produced project like those from Celine Deon and others. SG tends to do the safe, and the expedient, which translates to the cheapest and the fastest. There is a world of difference between a typical “get-by-mix” in SG, versus a well engineered mix, regardless of the genre. I personally try to mix everything I do with the same intensity and attention to detail I did while in the secular field. (God’s music deserves my very best) It means that on any given project, I give away countless hours of my time so that the mix is the best I am capable of doing. No one can mix a complete project in one or two days, and do a decent job, yet that is the rule of thumb for nearly 100% of SG music. It takes me at least two weeks to mix a complete project and even then I am second guessing my every decision. I intend to keep on doing SG music this way till I can no longer do it. It is what is required of me!

  32. I give many compliments to the Perrys for having a FOH ( Front of House) soundman. Many groups ar either
    1)) ignorant,
    2))too cheap ,
    3)) too controlling (the I MUST CONTROLL MY SOUND mindset) to break down and do the right thing for the audience: hire a FOH operator.
    Yes, there are many occasions where a groups goes to a sing to find either a pathetic house system or an incompetent engineer who WILL NOT listen to what the singer says they need. So it’s ingrained in many people’s heads that they have to run the sound onstage to get the monitors the way they need them.
    This is a very touchy issue for singers. But there are 2 sides of the spectrum. I’ve been on both sides of this issue, which is why I think it’s important to do the following in order to please both picky singers and crowd:
    The Perrys had a board and rack of processors onstage from which they controlled monitors. Then they ran an audio snake to the back so that the FOH engineer could set up a board and processors controlling the two main speakers. Independent mixes and volumes for the stage and audience.
    A mic splitter is very simple to operate and extremely affordable. I’ve seen some new for $39 apeice. Just have one for every input into the mixers and split the source mic/line by plugging it into the splitter. Run one cord from the splitter to the stage mixer, and another from the splitter to the snake.
    If a singer MUST controll their monitoring system onstage, this is the way to go.

    As Ben Harris mentioned, Southern Gospel today is vocally inclined. Thus the tendancy often is to over-emphasise the voices. Every time I felt that the volume was too loud that night was when the whole group was singing with a full, pre-recored track. When all were singing with just the piano, or a simple track the volumes were fine.
    I have also noticed these “vocal volume peaks” with many other professional groups. I may be wrong, but all evidences point to overstacked vocals. When an engineer wishes to raise the volume of the track in a live performance, (example: the volume of the track to “Holy Shore” was repeatedly turned up in certain parts for musicall emphasis.) the stacked vocals are raised also. So, many times ths leads to audio being WAY TOO LOUD for the audience. I’ve often noticed with stacks that vocals loose their individuallity and intelligibility. So it seems to the listener out front that the vocals have jumped sharply in volume, “crowding” through the speakers.
    Sorry if I’m rambling and boring some readers. I just had to vent.

    The point simplified: Singers, run your system from in the audience, and if you want controll onstage of monitors, buy the nessasary equipement to do so. No reason to upset the audience and yourselves with the wrong mix: do it right.

  33. Yes, I agree stacked vocals can be a problem…and for the most part ARE a problem. Some groups have used them very successfully, while others haven’t figured out how to used them (so I think). My opinion…drop the stacks.

  34. What ever happened to simply relying on the 4 voices standing on the stage…it worked for the Statesmen and Blackwood Brothers.

  35. …and still works for the Blackwood Brothers. 🙂

    Randy Byrd told me that they do not use any stacks, and since their soundtracks (for the part of the program that isn’t just piano) are piano-only, I tend to think it would be hard to slip stacks in anyhow! 🙂

  36. I agree Daniel. I applaude the Blackwood Bros.

  37. If I remember correctly, the Prophets are not putting stacks on their upcomming project.
    I understand that stakcs can be used properly as a special affect on occasion to improve a song. Yet today it’s become a highly overused and abused technique, a “security crutch” for vocallist who in reallity can’t sing. Someone only has to sing their part right once in the studio. If they don’t sing on key any other time, the audience will still hear the right harmonies.
    Actually Paul, the Perrys were very quiet in comparision to the Kingsmen concert. But as I remember, all the KM’s equipment was on the stage, which lead that night to ear-splitting volumes. The Perrys were deafening on occasion, but the KM were constantly.
    Again let me say that’s why GROUPS NEED FOH SOUNDMEN.


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