News Roundup #7

Ever since before Christmas, it’s been pretty slow in Southern Gospel, at least as far as news stories go. Now, within the last day or two, things have started happening.

1. Greg & Charlotte Ritchie left Jeff & Sheri Easter. It’s one of those things that was bound to come sometime–since nobody stays with a group forever–but the Ritchies stayed so long that it can’t help but be a big story.

2. The Dixie Echoes are still looking for a tenor vocalist. In his most recent email update, Stewart Varnado of the Dixie Echoes said:

As you may know, December 9th, 2007, was Dallas Rogers’ last concert with the Dixie Echoes. Dallas and his wife have moved to Nashville, TN, where he accepted a bus driving job. We wish him the best. For the past two weekends, and this coming weekend, we’d like to thank Wesley Smith (former tenor for the Palmetto State Quartet) for filling in with us. Wesley has done a great job. Just wish that we could hang onto him. ha!

However, we are still searching for a tenor vocalist. If you know someone that would be interested, have them email their bio, a photo, and an mp3 demo to me at

Although there had been some indication that the former members of the Palmetto State Quartet (tenor Wesley Smith, baritone Rick Fair, bass Burman Porter, and pianist Bryan Elliot) were going to start a quartet of their own, several appear to already have other plans. Word has it that Elliot and Smith will be announcing joint plans soon, while I believe Fair is now working with Ron and R.W. Blackwood’s Blackwood Quartet.

3. While no official plans have been announced yet, once Mercy’s Mark temporarily(?) disbanded, Garry Jones did retain one date on his calendar for the rest of the year. At this date, he accompanied a quartet made up of two original MMQ members (Josh Feemster on lead and Chris West on bass), as well as Chris’s brother Craig singing baritone and MMQ 2.0 member Brent Mitchell singing tenor. Could MMQ 3.0 be in the works?

4. There’s an interesting story over at Burke’s Brainwork. Wes Burke was listening to a copy of Canaan’s new Canaan Revisited album for Christmas and noticed something interesting. The Cathedrals’ original rendition of the song “Statue of Liberty” was on their 1974 Canaan release Statue of Liberty. But instead of that rendition, this compilation appears to have inadvertently used their later 1985 Especially For You version of the song. Since Especially For You was released by Riversong / Benson and not by Canaan, it seems Canaan might keep busy untangling a legal mess for a while.

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