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.

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8 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Daniel, hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but you might wanna check out the Kings Heralds, in particular, Russell Hospedales….. [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed.]

  2. Well, duh. You’re right! Too bad I forgot that.

    Of course, they weren’t in the SG market until recently, but I guess they do count as SG now.

  3. You may also want to look at the Valor video of them singing “Satisfied” on Youtube. Chad Bahr was singing with them at the time, and he is African-American.

  4. If you use the more common definition of race, there are more than two races. The Kingsmen, Gold City, and others have had Native American members, for example.

    I think you meant to say this is the first example in a long time where a major group has a black member alongside whites.

    We have some all black groups in Southern Gospel such as the Reggie Saddler family and the Gospel Enforcers, but it’s like there’s was some unwritten rule saying a black man couldn’t stand on the same stage with white people. Good for Palmetto State Quartet…stepping out of that mold.

    One other example since the Imperials is the Gaither Vocal Band with Larnelle Harris. I’m not sure how many Southern Gospel songs they performed when Harris was in the group, but I’m sure they at least sang some Gaither classics that SG fans would recognize.

  5. You did mention the GVB/Harris. Sorry…I must have glazed over that bit when reading the first time. :o)

  6. Daniel,
    Did you ever hear of a group from your home state – The Gospel Reporters? The were based in Cincinnati and in the 70’s recorded on the QCA / Jewel label. They were also integrated.


  7. No, I hadn’t. Thanks for the information!

  8. Can I get a backup track for Holy Highway?