Video: Ryan Seaton at TBN

Ryan Seaton appeared on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Praise the Lord program over the weekend (on the 20th). TBN has an archive up, where the show can be watched for a few weeks, here (hat tip, DL). [EDIT, 11/6/10: Regrettably, the link seems to be broken, so it has been removed.]

Seaton sings three songs off of his debut solo CD, The Stage is Bare: “Blessed Assurance,” “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and the title track. Host Russ Taff interviews him for several minutes before his final song.

Seaton comes on about 36 minutes into the program, and has about twenty minutes. While I did not watch the rest of the program, watching perhaps a minute of the female vocalist who preceded him prompts the observation that whatever one might think of his stylistic direction, he’s a far better vocalist than she was; she seemed to be struggling with several notes, and had a far less smooth transition into head tones/falsetto (both used it for effect on their final songs).

For more about —and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

23 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. That female vocalist is Ashley Cleveland, and I have never been a fan of her voice. If you want to hear “Kum Ba Ya” done right, check out Cynthia Clawson’s Prayer and Plainsong, where she combined hymns of the church with chant (like the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, etc.) It’s the sort of project that absolutely shouldn’t work, and yet it does, stunningly.

    • That does sound intriguing, I must say.

      • As a matter of fact, an interview she recorded shortly after the release of that album is available for free download at the top of the page here in two parts. Worth the half hour or so:

        Music from the project is interspersed throughout. It was recorded completely live at a cathedral in Texas and consisted only of Cynthia’s voice and the voices of two male backup singers doing the chant behind her—all acapella. Some cuts are just Cynthia, but the combined hymns/chants are where the magic happens. “Kum Ba Ya” is featured about 6:21 into Part 1.

    • I watched the program when it aired on Friday. The female vocalist preceding Ryan was Bonnie Keen. The guests appeared in the following order: Bonnie Keen, Ryan Seaton, Scott Jones, Ashley Cleveland; not in the order listed in the archives – just to clarify.

      • That’s good to know…I’ve generally enjoyed Ashley Cleveland’s music in the past, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Bonnie Keen.

  2. Russ Taff is such a great guy—I’ve seen few people so good at encouraging others.

    • I think more viewers of the Homecoming Videos liked him for his cheerleader attitude than actually liked his voice!

      • I dunno about his attitude, but I sure like his voice! I know it might be out of the ordinary for me, but I did. I like him on GVB’s “Low Down the Chariot,” and on a Homecoming singing “What a Wonderful World.”

        I consider myself to have a very eclectic taste in music until I consider how completely it revolves around SG!

      • His voice is a little gritty, but I like it. There’s an old clip of him singing “Farther Along” that I thought was very well done. And didn’t Glen Payne even compliment him on it?

      • I’ve always liked Russ Taff for his voice…the antics, I can take or leave. _The Way Home_ is one of my favorite CDs of all time.

      • Oh, and _Under Their Influence_ is right up there, too.

      • I’ll try this again. I almost had this done and accidentally hit a key that changed pages and lost the post.”The Way Home” was the first of his I heard. I heard “Father On” on a compilation and really liked it. If I recall, the compilation (promoting new CDs was the one promoting the Amiga computers. I also discovered a great song (that turns out to be the only one by Randy Stonehill that I heard and liked. That would be “Old Clothes”, but that is another subject. I also really like “I Cry” from that CD.
        I like the admittedly rugged “Russ Taff Quartet” song on “Under Their
        Influence” which is “Were You There.” There are others I am sure.

        After hearing “Farther On” and getting the CD, I heard “We Will Stand” on a various artists compilation and got all of his other CDs.

        I am going down his hits CD to get my other favorites: “Walk Between the Lines”, “Believe in Love” (I am a huge Michael English fan though I prefer him in groups. He might be my favorite overall male SG vocalist, but I think Russ nailed this one better), “Not Gonna Bow”, “Winds of Change” is another.

        I really liked Russ in the Imperials. Songs such as “Praise the Lord”, “Oh Buddah”, “New Creation”, and “Trumpet of Jesus” are great. That is the first version of the Imperials I heard. I do understand how it was very different than previous versions which had better blend and were more smooth.

        I like some things by Russ in the GVB, but don’t really think that was the best place for him.

  3. For anyone interested, the link below is a higher speed than those offered in the archives and thus a larger picture. Click the link and then click on the Aug. 20th box to the right to watch.

    [EDIT, 11/6/10: Regrettably, the link seems to be broken, so it has been removed.]

  4. I watched the video, and while admire Ryan’s courage in taking the steps he did, I must say that I didn’t particularly enjoy his set. He seems a much better fit for a quartet setting.

    • Yeah. Good voice, but it’s not a voice issue, it’s a style issue…

  5. I have to agree, SoGo. But, it’s not my place to determine for others where God may lead them. I totally admire him for the courage of his convictions.

  6. Is he trying to be the Michael Buble of Gospel Music? [EDIT] I laughed when Russ called him “Ryan Sutton” just before he went to complete his set after the interview. Hilarious.

  7. I loved his set. Some may or may not like his style. It’s just a matter of preference.

    In addition to the music, I listen to the words. I really loved the message and what the words conveye (sp?)

    • You are correct of course, Yolanda. But, in the Christian music field, style is paramount if you want to sell tickets to concerts, and especially copies of cd’s. I just don’t see SG fans rushing out to make purchases based upon what I heard.

      • I’m not sure if Ryan has a particular fanbase in mind. I think he’s just making the kind of music he likes, which I can respect, it’s just that I like other music better. I also agree that he’s at his best in a quartet setting, and I think that applies vocally as well, to be honest.

  8. I saw the interview and I just have to say I love his voice and the way he brings it on stage … calm and very intense.

    And I have to say I very much admire him for his trust and obedience to God. It’s quite a step, especially with a family to support. I’m very much impressed by it all.

  9. Never been a fan of Bonnie Keen (she sang for years with First Call – who was definitely ahead of the curve as far as vocal arrangements in Christian music). Love me some Ashley Cleveland though.

  10. I liked First Call or at least some of their stuff. (“Undivided”, “The Reason We Sing”, and “I’ll Always Come Back To You” are three that come to mind.