Could They Make It? Entry 7: The Cactus Cuties

Two years ago, several friends sent me a link to this viral video of a group of young vocal students called the “Cactus Cuties” singing the National Anthem.

I recently noticed that last year, Bill Gaither invited them to appear as guest performers at a Homecoming concert in Texas. I remembered the name from that 2008 video clip, but they had completely fallen off of my radar screen. After noticing the Homecoming appearance, out of curiosity, I checked their website and other videos, and found numerous references to faith in Christ (particularly when discussing the death of one’s mother from cancer, and the recovery of another member from a broken neck.)

Then I came across this video of them singing what they term a “southern gospel style song.” Since that’s our genre, this was naturally quite intriguing. Here’s the video:

Setting aside the group’s 2008 viral popularity, should they decide to sing Southern Gospelโ€”at any rate, more than one songโ€”could they make it in this genre?

(Side question: Has anyone heard this song before, or is it perhaps original to the group?)

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31 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. I’ve heard it before. Not sure who sang it though…. sorry for not helping.

    • Actually, knowing it’s been done before is worthwhile. Thanks!

  2. I think I liked ’em better when they sang the National Anthem. ๐Ÿ™‚ This video and others from when they got a bit older just don’t seem to really…click. I think they should

    1. Lose the c. 2007 EHSS moves. ๐Ÿ˜‰ They didn’t fit when EHSS did them, and they’re not fitting for these girls now.

    2. Go back to the straight-forward purity of their younger singing style. These days they’re changing it up just a wee bit much. They obviously have lots of talent and lovely voices…I’d like to just hear what *they* sound like sans extra stuff.

  3. The Three Bridges recorded “I’m Gonna Wait.”

    • Fascinating. Any clue whether they were first?

  4. Comments so far are focusing on their talent and not taking Southern Gospel audiences into consideration.

    They’re kids. Of course, they could make it in Southern Gospel. Southern Gospel audiences will applaud for anything involving kids. The talent level isn’t part of the equation.

    • That made me laugh out loud, and not too many comments do that!

      I’m not going to name names, but I think they are more talented / better singers than some kids I’ve seen on Southern Gospel concert stages . . .

      • I would like to see what they could do in SG. They’ve got “the chops,” so to speak, now I’d like to see them refine their approach. Their harmonies have a strong country flavor, which could work well in a gospel setting. I think they could make it, there’s no question they have the talent.

      • Yes, I’ve also noticed the country influence – there are an interesting series of videos of them first backstage and then singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at an Oak Ridge Boys concert. Not sure the boys could have done anything that got the same level of reaction that the girls got! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • In terms of vocal talent, I’m thinking the boys should open for the girls rather than vice versa. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Ouch! Hope there aren’t any vocal ORB fans nearby! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

        But still . . . ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

      • Perhaps I should post an old clip of “Elvira” to back myself up… ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

      • ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Stop Stop! Enough!

        Maybe we should ask: Do these girls WANT to sing southern gospel, or more pertently, do they want to sing southern GOSPEL?

        We should be careful in looking for ‘new’ talent in SGM that the abiltiy TO sing does not supersede the, “reason why we sing”, to quote a late and often missed SGM stalwart.

      • David: If we stuck to “want to,” I would have to do away with the series.

        Previous entries have included 4Him (general consensus: they could), Susan Boyle (general consensus: she couldn’t), and Steve Green (general consensus: he could).

        But each of those three – as well as, I think, everyone else on the list – doesn’t necessarily want to.

        So this is, of necessity, a series posing a hypothetical question. My view is that there’s really no harm in discussing a hypothetical question – even knowing that, whether they’re 4Him or the Cactus Cuties, they aren’t trying to make it into the genre presently.

      • David, have you seen the previous entries in Daniel’s series? (This is number 7.) It’s not about recruiting talent or something, just a chance to compare styles and talk about what vocal ability is needed or desired in SG singers versus other genres.

        That said, I don’t care enough/am too out of touch about what’s going on outside SG to even participate most of the time! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Amy, it appears as though we cross-posted and made the same point!

        This series is, of necessity, hypothetical, since it is just as true that 4Him isn’t trying to break into the genre as it is of the Cactus Cuties.

      • Daniel, I must have missed the Susan Boyle and Steve Green entries. Can you give us links to those?

      • Okay, never mind on Susan, found her entry, still looking for Steve’s…

      • Or maybe Steve was such an obvious yes that I’m just thinking I did him! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

      • I think you didn’t. Maybe you should, officially, even though you seem already to have a verdict. ๐Ÿ˜€

        If I can put in my .02 prematurely, I’d say Steve isn’t really the SG type. Certainly not a quartet singer, but I’m having trouble even imagining him as an SG soloist. But it’s an interesting question.

      • Based on his early work, knowing what he can do – even if it’s not exactly what he is doing all the time right now – I know he could do it.

        If he decided to give it a try, and recorded albums like the ones he did in the ’80s, I really think he would almost instantly become the most popular solo act in SG.

      • Even his early albums were more inspo than SG. No doubt he could be very popular, but I just think stylistically, even vocally, SG just isn’t *him*.

      • Well, his early albums were inspo. He practically defined the genre.

        But that genre (as it was defined then) has virtually disappeared, as far as CCM is concerned. And the genre occupying that area on the spectrum is now SG, as (largely thanks to Lari Goss) SG has moved into the spectrum formerly held by Inspo. Take a Triumphant Quartet album; they might have one or two convention-style songs, but most would have been more at home on a Steve Green project than on a pre-Goss SG project.

      • You have a point about Goss. The orchestral flair of his work would be at home in inspo as well as SG. I think a good example of this is the song “High and Lifted Up.” Stylistically speaking, that song isn’t particularly SG. In fact, it’s closer to the inspirational style of someone like Steve Green.

        I will say this though—I think we’ve seen a little revival of the old “inspo” style with groups like the Collingsworth family. For example, “Jesus is Still the Answer.” Pure 70’s inspo. Nothing even remotely SG about it. Yet the Collingsworths are an SG group. So maybe what we’re seeing there is a kind of fusion of styles.

      • Actually, sorry, I think that song was actually written in the 80’s. Pure 80’s inspo then. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • By the way, I’m pretty sure Goss has produced some bona fide Inspo artists along the way.

        And yes, the Collingsworth Family includes straight-ahead Inspo as part of their formula. Their concerts have something for everyone (except fans of bass singing, I guess, but maybe a son-in-law will change that someday).

  5. I am not as deep into Southern Gospel as you guys apparently are, but thought I would throw my two cents in since you are talking about the Cactus Cuties. As a fan of theirs, I can tell you that they sing more gospel songs then just this one, some are on line some are not. Not all are Southern Gospel, but all are beautifully done. These girls present their faith in all they do no matter what genre they do. At each concert they speak about their faith in the Lord and how important He is to them, pretty darn special for girls that age. They sing in several different genre and have the talent to pull it off no matter what they sing, country, gospel, pop, R&B, old or new songs, (and please God not rap, LOL). Their talent, training and flexibility would allow them to make it in any area they choose to sing in and concentrate on. I don’t personally expect them to go into strictly Southern Gospel, but love it when they do sing SG songs, and as you can see from the video comments, so do they. They love the Lord and do love singing gospel, and are good at it. Don’t agree with the comment about their movements in the video, I find it charming, entertaining, and just plain fun. Also don’t agree that they would make it in SG just because they are kids. Agree with the comment that they have the talent to make it there if they chose to. And as far as the comment about the ORB opening for the Cuties, I don’t think you have to worry about it offending the ORBs, and shouldn’t offend their fans, because if I recall right one of the ORBs made the same crack during their time together. The ORBs love the Cuties and made it quite apparent. All my comments are just my humble opinion. Enjoy your discussions, they are interesting to listen in on. God Bless you all. QB from NM

    • QB, thanks for stopping by! I didn’t realize that they talk about their faith in each concert – that is neat.

      You forgot to mention yodeling. Other than loving the Southern Gospel part – since, of course, that’s my background – I’d have to say that the yodeling is my favorite part of what I’ve seen online. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I don’t think the commenter above was saying that they would only make it in Southern Gospel because they’re kids – it was more a comment that he’s of the opinion that in this genre, a cute kid will get a good response, whether or not they have a good singing voice.

      I’m amused that the ORB’s made the same joke. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Actually, you know that sounds like the ORB’s. They’re good guys, so I could easily see them making a self-deprecating joke like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Q.,
      My observation is based on the tendency of audiences, particularly SG audiences, to applaud anything and everything a child does on stage. These kids have potential, but really, I wasn’t making any observation about their skill level.