Casey Martin joins Palmetto State
Palmetto State recently announced that they will be adding a new keyboardist. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.] Casey Martin, who has toured playing for secular jazz and Contemporary Christian music artists, as well as Southern Gospel performers Ivan Parker and Janet Paschal, will be playing keyboard accompaniment and a saxophone solo during Palmetto State concerts.
This will make Palmetto State Southern Gospel’s first intercultural group in perhaps 20 years. The last example that comes to mind was the mid-80s Gaither Vocal Band, with Larnelle Harris as their tenor. And, in fact, I can only think of one example before that–Sherman Andrus with the Imperials, although they weren’t exactly Southern Gospel at the time. This move should add a unique flavor to Palmetto State appearances and perhaps even open doors to new venues and opportunities.
EDIT: Commenters rightfully point out that I forgot the King’s Heralds, who are now starting to move into the Southern Gospel market, and the group Valor before it broke onto the national scene. I stand corrected. Nevertheless, among the big-name national groups that have led the genre over the past few decades, Palmetto State may well be the first traditional male quartet to integrate.