“Silhouette” is Still Rolling!

Those who had the opportunity to see the legendary Cathedral Quartet in the 1990s will remember the quartet’s famous black Silver Eagle bus. Many were privileged to see this special coach sitting outside churches and auditoriums when the quartet toured across the nation, but not as many were able to view the inside. Recently, Sam, Jayme, and Caleb Garms (along with big sisters Taylor and Leesha and a few other little friends) had the memorable opportunity to tour the grand old “Silhouette”.

The original owner of the bus was Bill Gaither and he sold it to the Cathedrals in 1991. After the Cathedrals retired in 1999, the bus eventually came under the ownership of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound when the group formed in 2003. When Signature Sound upgraded their transportation, they sold the bus to the Forgiven Quartet from Oklahoma.

The Garms family met up with Forgiven Quartet at the Floyd Gospel Sing in Floyd, Iowa, September 2011. Stanley Johnson of Forgiven offered to give the Garms kids a tour of the inside of the Cathedrals’ former bus and we eagerly accepted. Not only was it a tour of the Cathedrals’ bus, it was also our first tour of any entertainer bus!

Caleb describes the bus tour this way:

“Well, the bus was black and it had swirls on the sides. First we went up the steps – the door was really heavy. Then we came into the living area with a kitchen, a couple couches, and chairs. Then we went to the bunk place; you go into this tiny hallway and there were bunks on each side and red curtains on all the bunks. There was a tiny, itsy-bisty bathroom. Then he showed us where all the clothes were stored; it was a big bus actually! It was really exciting being in that bus because it was the Cathedrals’, Signature Sound’s, and Bill Gaither’s bus! I can’t believe George, Glen, Roger, Scott, and Ernie had actually been in there. It’s something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life!”

Jayme’s thoughts:

“It was cool, but a little cramped. I felt a little nervous because I didn’t know what it was going to be like. My favorite part of the bus was probably the back lounge; it looked comfy. 🙂 It was weird to be in the bus the Cathedrals had traveled in.”

Leesha commented on the experience,

“It was pretty amazing. I had always wondered what the Cathedrals’ bus actually looked like and I finally got to see it. I kept expecting Glen and George to appear around a corner!”

The funniest part of the whole tour was when a man’s face suddenly popped out of one of the bunks. One of the group members had retired to the bus to rest and he was just about as surprised to see us, as we him!

Sam summed up the experience this way: “It’s not the bus which makes the bus special; it’s the persons who lived in it.”

Here are exterior photos of “Silhouette” by the Garms Family:

And here is a video tour of the bus’s interior hosted by Ryan Bilby of the Forgiven Quartet (aka The Man We Woke Up On the Bus):

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYf02KqI-bc]

The Garms Family thanks Stanley and the Forgiven Quartet for the chance of a lifetime. It was an honor and special memory we treasure!

Have any of you been on the Cathedrals’ bus or a different Southern Gospel group’s bus? What was your experience?

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Video: A Choreography Lesson with Ernie Haase

Have you ever tried to emulate Ernie Haase and Signature Sound’s choreography?  Sam (11), Jayme (9), and Caleb (8) Garms have often been seen around the Garms home practicing EHSS choreography moves after watching movies such as “Get Away Jordan”.  

On September 8th, 2011, the Garms Family attended a Signature Sound concert in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and the Lil’ Adventurers (the LAs) had the opportunity to talk with Ernie Haase about the group’s choreography…and even learn a few of the moves!

Here is a photo gallery:

We very much appreciate and thank Ernie for his time and his graciousness to share so candidly with three lil’ adventurers (who were so nervous they could hardly speak, let alone move! 🙂 ).

To read a transcript of the video, click more.  

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Creative Ways to Get to NQC: Part Three

Jayme-Stickhorse

Third “Creative Way to Get to NQC”:

STICK-HORSE

Length of Trip: 191 hours at 4 miles per hour – an estimated nonstop gallop of 7 days

Jayme Garms (age 9) enlisted her stick-horse, Thunderbolt, to be her means of transportation for the trip of 766 miles from Braham, Minnesota to Louisville, Kentucky.  

Jayme’s packing list:

  • I should bring an extra cowboy hat just in case I’d go so fast I’d lose my first one;
  • and I wouldn’t bring much.

Jayme’s food for the trip:

  • Reese’s Pieces (but those might melt);
  • and five apples, because they have some water in them and they’re something to eat (and my horse would like apples).

The people Jayme is most looking forward to seeing:

  • First of all, Daniel J. Mount…if I get there.
  • Once all my family gets there, I’d want to set up a booth by the Booth Brothers.

Jayme’s message to all 2011 NQC attendees:

“If I make it, I’ll see y’all at NQC.”

 

For a gallery of more “Creative Ways to Get to NQC”, click more. 

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Creative Ways to Get to NQC: Part Two

Dad and Mom Garms - Tractor

Second “Creative Way to Get to NQC”:

LAWN TRACTOR AND TRAILER

Length of Trip: 85 hours at 9 miles per hour – an estimated nonstop drive of 3.5 days

Dad and Mom Garms chose the family’s lawn tractor and trailer to be their means of transportation for the trip of 766 miles from Braham, Minnesota to Louisville, Kentucky.  

Dad and Mom’s packing list:

  • a suitcase full of shoes for Mom;
  • a suitcase full of hats for Dad;
  • Good Sam Roadside Assistance Membership card; 
  • a road map;
  • “Deep Woods Off” bug spray;
  • two toothbrushes and one tube of toothpaste;
  • 14 gallons of water (one a day for each Dad and Mom; the rest to barter with Caleb for gas);  

Dad and Mom’s food for the trip:

  • plain M&Ms for Dad;
  • peanut M&Ms for Mom;
  • trail mix;
  • and carrots.

The people Dad and Mom are most looking forward to seeing:

  • The kids, if they make it.
  • All the Cathedral Quartet alumni and their groups.

Dad and Mom’s message to all 2011 NQC attendees:

“If we don’t make it, we either took a wrong turn, got stuck behind an Amish buggy, or were waylaid mowing lawns to fund our trip (i.e. buying gas from Caleb).”

 

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Creative Ways to Get to NQC: Part One

Caleb-Wheelbarrow

First “Creative Way to Get to NQC”:

WHEELBARROW

Length of Trip: 383 hours at 2 miles per hour – an estimated nonstop walk of 15 days

Caleb Garms (age 8 ) selected a wheelbarrow to be his means of transportation for the trip of 766 miles from Braham, Minnesota to Louisville, Kentucky.  

Caleb’s packing list:

  • a couple books;
  • extra clothes (like my suit); 
  • four pairs of shoes; 
  • some money to buy CDs and just to get there, like for gas; 
  • some pictures of my family;
  • and some magazines like the Singing News.  

Caleb’s food for the trip:

  • beef sandwiches;
  • carrots;
  • and apples.

The people Caleb is most looking forward to seeing:

  • The Mark Trammell Quartet
  • The Booth Brothers
  • Legacy Five
  • The Ball Brothers
  • Triumphant Quartet
  • The Blackwood Brothers Quartet

Caleb’s message to all 2011 NQC attendees:

“If you see me, you’ll know I made it.  If you don’t see me, you don’t want to know what happened.”

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3:1 Review: Twenty-Five Years – Pressing On (Ernie Dawson and Heirline)

Our family has developed a new way to review CDs along with SouthernGospelBlog.com’s new album review format: we gather together and analyze the CD over popcorn.   🙂  We launched this routine as we sat down to review the latest release from Ernie Dawson and Heirline: Twenty Five Years – Pressing On.

+1. Consistent Country Gospel Style: Heirline has a consistent country gospel sound. For those who enjoy slide steel guitars, ballads, and Southern slurs, this is a CD for you! Ernie and his sons Eric and Landon – the only other featured vocalists – handle the country styling well with their voices and communicate their song selections soulfully.

+2. “Spiritual Medley”: This medley of “Send the Light”/”Unclouded Day”/”Leaning On the Everlasting Arms”/”He Set Me Free”/”Jesus on the Mainline” is sure to be a toe-tapper and “brighten your day” song! Heirline presents these familiar hymns with a Southern Gospel/bluegrass twist and it definitely was a highlight on the album.

+3. “Here Comes the Lord”: This is probably Heirline’s strongest song on the project. A slow, but powerful ballad, “Here Comes the Lord” directs the listener’s gaze to the sky in joyful anticipation of Lord’s return. Ernie, backed by his son Eric and tenor singer Jackie Lamb, delivers this song well with feeling and encourages the church to keep “pressing on” through these troubled times. The arrangement lends itself more toward the Southern Gospel ballad style than country, and is enhanced by pleasant strings and horns.

:1. Lack of Other Vocalists: As we began listening to the CD, we immediately noticed Eric Dawson and Jackie Lamb were mixed way too quietly when they joined Ernie, which gave the impression of background vocals on a solo CD. We would have enjoyed hearing more of a “group sound”. Also, it would have been nice to hear Jackie featured on a song; we saw Jackie Lamb several years ago with the George Amon Webster Trio and know he has an excellent tenor voice. Eric and Landon’s solos on (Eric on “The Man Upstairs” and Landon on “Sometimes You’re Daddy”) do break up the repetitiveness nature of Ernie’s vocals, but our family would have liked to hear more of the other  group members.

Traditional or Progressive?

Definitely progressive country gospel.

SouthernGospelBlog.com’s Radio Single Picks

Here Comes the Lord, Absent from the Body

SouthernGospelBlog.com Ratings

Average song rating: 3 stars. Overall album rating: 3 stars.

Credits

Executive Producer: Bob Jones • Produced by: Nick Bruno and Scott Godsey • Group Members: Ernie Dawson (Lead), Linda Dawson (Management), Jackie Lamb (Tenor), Eric Dawson (Baritone/Sound), Landon Dawson (Lead) • Review Copy Provided • Song List: Press On; Brand New Things; The Man Upstairs; God Still Dries Our Tears; Old Filthy Rags; At the End of the Aisle; Sometimes You’re Daddy; Absent from the Body; God’s Children; Spiritual Medley; Here Comes the Lord.

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Concert Review: LeFevre Quartet (Baxter, MN)

Our family trooped into the bus, all smiles and excited to experience some great Southern Gospel music on a Sunday evening, May 8th, 2011.  The destination?  Baxter, Minnesota.  The group?  The LeFevre Quartet.  (Or as nine-year old Jayme innocently called them: “The LeFeather Quartet” and “The LeFever Quartet”. 🙂 )

Seeing the LeFevre Quartet’s bus sitting in the church parking lot several hours later heightened the excitement, and we all hurried into the church and claimed our favorite front pew spot.
The Minnesota crowd was excited to welcome this group from the deep South, and did they fall in love with this powerful quartet!  Mike LeFevre, David Staton, Mike Allen, and Jeremy Easley started out with several upbeat songs, showcasing their smooth, strong blend.  Their song selection and confidence on stage warmed up the audience, as well as their easy smiles and interaction with the people.

To be honest, we were expecting a more progressive feel to their songs, and while they do have a more modern flavor to their tracks (but nothing different from many current groups), we were pleasantly surprised to hear all the wonderful “old songs” they presented in their special way.  Mike LeFevre drew from his rich heritage in Gospel music (being the nephew of Alphus LeFevre, an original member of the LeFevre Trio) and brought the audience back into Southern Gospel history with the songs from the past.  The songs they featured from their recent New Gospel Singing Caravan: Keeps On Rolling CD with the Blackwood Brothers and The Chuck Wagon Gang were very well received, and their a capella versions of many classics were a gentle relief from this age of big tracks and large orchestrations.

Their current radio single, “Jesus Saves” was a powerful closure to their first half of the concert, and received a standing ovation for the strong message as well as their emotive performance.  This song has to be one of the  greatest message songs currently singled, and deserves to be played on radio stations across the nation.

Each vocalist had a unique styling to his voice and stands out in a crowd of gospel singers.  David Staton handles the lead part extremely well and is very versatile with his voice.  Jeremy Easley has one of the smoothest tenor voices in the genre (you can’t even tell he’s from Texas when he sings!), and easily hit the high notes on songs like “Little is Much” without any vocal strain.  He is the perfect replacement for former tenor Gus Gaches (who left to  join Legacy Five two years ago).  Mike LeFevre still has one of the most distinctive baritone voices in gospel music, having won the award for Favorite Baritone three times, and equally matches David’s and Jeremy’s power.  And of course, Mike Allen’s well-known, country-style bass voice was clear and deep, and supported the group well.

The LeFevre Quartet’s solid gospel message was well presented and passionately proclaimed from stage.  In a time when churches today are preaching to the “itching ears” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4) and “saying, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14b), the LeFevre Quartet boldly stood for the inerrant Word of God and plainly laid out the salvation story.  This was appreciated by our family and many others.

On a side note, it was interesting to note Jordan LeFevre, Mike LeFevre’s son, ran the sound from the center aisle.  We haven’t seen too many groups run the sound from this position, especially the large groups.  This avoided the distraction of a group member fiddling with the equipment during the middle of a song.

Again, what we greatly appreciate about this genre of music is the personal interaction and connection with the artists who present the gospel in song.  We very much enjoyed conversing with the quartet members after the concert and their friendliness and genuine interest in our family and other concert attendees.  This treasured interaction between “artist” and “fan” is what make Southern Gospel music so unique and creates special memories.

Our family is grateful for groups like the LeFevre Quartet, their devoted families, and their commitment to their ministry which the Lord has given them.  Remember to keep your favorite artists and their families in your prayers, especially as they travel long distances and are separated sometimes for many days from their loved ones.  This life on the road is a walk of faith, a dependence on God’s provision, and a total commitment to God’s call of service.

Overall, we had a wonderful time, and cannot wait till the LeFevre Quartet returns to the North country.  If you hear of the LeFevre Quartet coming to your area, be sure to go and see them!  You will be blessed and glad to experience this powerful quartet.

Here’s a photo gallery featuring several snapshots from the concert (click on the pictures for a larger view):

 

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CD Review: Give the World a Smile (Legacy Five)

We recently sat down with Sam, Jayme, and Caleb (ages 11, 9, and 7, respectively), our youngest Southern Gospel fans, to hear their thoughts on Legacy Five’s recent CD project, Give The World A Smile.  Enjoy their candid opinions interspersed with Ben and Taylor’s “technical” review!  -The Garms Family 

Give The World A Smile was released in 2010 as Legacy Five’s latest table project, and is reminiscent of the Know So Salvation album.  The 10 songs, which were suggested by readers of Legacy Five’s blog, will be recognized by most Southern Gospel listeners. The fact that the entire album was only accompanied by piano, drums, bass, and some strings is noteworthy; it has a very full sound that does not leave you wanting for anything.  It comes somewhat as a relief when most albums gear toward over-the-top arrangements.  Tim Parton’s production and arrangement style combined with Steve Mauldin’s orchestration produce a classic Legacy Five sound.  Parton’s versatile, yet distinctive piano playing was a highlight throughout the album.  It is also interesting to note that as this is Gus Gaches’ “first” (with the exception of the re-release of Just Stand) recording with Legacy Five, it is also Tim Parton’s final album with the quartet.

The CD opens up with the easy-going song, “I’d Like to Say It Again” written by Joel and LaBreeska Hemphill.  “Bouncy and light, I’d say,” said Sam, age 11, commenting on the song.  “It started out with a nice, quiet starting, and then it goes to the deep bass voice of Glenn Dustin, and it ends with beautiful harmony and everything else.  I think it’s a really good song.”   Glenn Dustin is featured in a recitation portion two-thirds of the way through the song, adding a unique touch not heard very often on many modern arrangements.  “It was fun and enjoyable,” said seven-year old Caleb about the overall song.

Solid four-part harmonies abound in the well-known Otis Deaton and M.L. Yandell song, “Give the World a Smile”, and Legacy Five makes the title cut enjoyable for everyone.  “It’s happy,” the Lil’ Adventurers (LAs, for short) said in unision, “and joyful,” added Caleb. Sam, Jayme, and Caleb were thrilled by Tim’s fancy seventh chords and arppegios as the song started.  “It GETS you in suspense!” said Caleb while Jayme, age nine, exclaimed, “I like that first part!”  Caleb sat on the edge of the couch, mesmerized while he listened intently to Glenn’s rumbling bass on the chorus.  “I love that whole song; it’s a great song and has a great message, too.” Caleb remarked.

Legacy Five’s performance of the Diane Wilkinson classic, “Boundless Love”, was extremely well-received among the LAs; in fact, so much so that they insisted on listening to it at least three times during the CD review.  They especially enjoyed Gus Gaches’ tenor parts throughout the song.  “Whoa, that was awesome!” Sam exclaimed as Gus took off.  “Gus is a great singer!  We were all listening to him and shouting, “WHOA!  Oh wow!  He’s a great singer!” stated Caleb enthusiastically.  If there was any former doubt about Legacy Five’s newest tenor, it should be dispelled at Sam, Jayme, and Caleb’s warm acceptance of him – they are pretty critical when it comes to favorites!   When asked to compare Legacy Five’s remake to the Cathedrals well-known version of the song, Sam said, “Don’t even have us compare them.”  “We can’t!” Jayme quickly added. She did offer this opinion though: “I love the Cathedrals’ version; they’re so good.”

“We Shall See Jesus”, one of Mrs. Wilkinson’s most timeless songs, takes a different twist from the Cathedrals familiar version, as Glenn Dustin’s emotion-filled bass is featured through the first two verses of the song. “Nice blend…soft blend into a smooth harmony…then the rich deep voice of Glenn Dustin.  He’s going to hit a low note, listen!  That was a LOW note!” said Caleb as the song began.  🙂  “Glenn’s voice fits the song,” affirmed Jayme.  Scott Fowler’s powerful lead voice is then released on the last verse.  Other than the previously mentioned departure, the structure and harmonies of the song are very reminscent of the Cathedrals rendition.  “It gives you such a solemn feeling that fits the song perfectly,” said Sam.   “Oh, I just love the message of that song!  It gets you into a very sad feeling, [then] to the Easter-morning-happy-feeling.  I love that song and it’s message,” sighed Caleb in awe.  Tim Parton’s piano playing and Steve Mauldin’s string arrangements complement the song beautifully.  “The soundtrack was perfect, the singers were perfect,” Sam said confidentally.

The old hymn, “Search Me, Oh God” by James Edwin Orr is a wonderful way to bring down the intensity of “We Shall See Jesus”.  “I think they do a very good job.  I love this song so much I’ve memorized the first verse and hope to memorize the rest,” stated Sam as he drank in the song.  Glenn Dustin, baritone Scott Howard, and Scott Fowler are specifically featured as the background strings creates a smooth soundscape.  The entire quartet ends with the final verse sung a cappella, a captivating ending for the song.  Commenting on the a cappella, Caleb said, “I do like the a capella part.  It has a very nice flow, a very nice blend, and a very nice sound to it.” Sam was slightly disappointed Gus did not have a featured verse, “No Gus?  I love the a capella, but I miss Gus.”

L5 keeps the gentle, calm feeling going with Ralph Carmichael’s “Reach Out To Jesus”.  Scott Howard’s distinct baritone voice carries the message strongly, encouraging you to keep reaching out to Jesus, for it’s Jesus who has reached out to you.  “I think Scott Howard fit that song,” commented Jayme.  The song also has some nice “candy coated” vocal arrangements by Tim Parton.

Speaking of vocal arrangements, “Headin’ Home” by Robert Prather brings out the bluesy side of Legacy Five, while at the same time revealing the first-class quartet they are, masterfully handling all their parts with power and zeal.  “Quite the arrangement!  Bouncy and jazzy,” was Sam’s opinion of the song.  Special touches here and there made this a very snazzy rendition.  The LAs especially enjoyed the “false” ending.

The album gears up with “I Always Have A Song To Sing,” written by Jerry Kelso.  His writing style blends well with L5’s arrangement. Scott Fowler takes the lead (“I love Scott!” said Jayme as she listened to the song), and the rest of the quartet pack plenty of energy in their delivery.

Glenn Dustin draws you into “Livin’ On The Sunny Side” with the ability to sing right to you.  It nicely features his higher range right along with his bass range.  He then falls into a supporting roll, and Gus Gaches’ silky and airy tenor takes precedence.  “It goes to lowest [voice] to the highest girly voice you could find!” laughed Sam. Scott Fowler and Scott Howard support both of these “freaks of nature” with the smoothness that comes with their experience.

And finally Roger Bennet’s “I’ve Read The Back Of The Book” closes out the album.  “It’s perfect for the ending,” said Jayme quietly.  Scott Fowler takes on the lead part as passionately as Roger would have done, and you can hear the joy that has really come upon these guys as the song builds into the final chorus.

Give The World A Smile is an enjoyable addition to anyone’s Legacy Five CD collection; the album’s familiar feel points to Legacy Five’s faithfulness to what they do.  In no way did it seem as if L5 was going after spot-on emulations of the Cathedrals’ familiar songs; they did a great job of making them their own.  Their smooth sound has matured to a polish of unbeatable gloss.  Though it probably won’t produce any chart toppers or record singles, Give The World A Smile gives you just as it’s title says: a smile.  As Caleb said, affirming this point, “It makes me just smile!”

– Submitted respectfully by Ben and Taylor Garms for the Garms Family

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Booth Brothers Concert Highlights – April 2nd, 2011

On April 2nd, 2011, our family loaded into the van and headed toward Maplewood, Minnesota to experience one of our “Most Anticipated Nights of the Year”: the Booth Brothers’ annual concert at Lakewood Worship and Community Center!  Each Southern Gospel concert we are able to attend is a special treat for our family, especially if it is by one of our favorite groups.  And the Booth Brothers are definitely in the top five category around our home.

But it wasn’t always this way…

In 2009, a friend told our family the Booth Brothers were coming to Minnesota, and immediately our interest was piqued.  We had heard this trio on the Gospel Greats (about our only source of current Gospel music here in our SGM-starved state!), and some of us had started to enjoy their musical style.  Ben, Taylor, and Leesha pleaded with Dad and Mom to let the family go and see them.  Mom especially was very apprehensive about attending the concert, for she did not appreciate trios for the obvious reasons: 1.) They do not have a bass; 2.) they do not have a bass; 3.) and they do not have a bass.  🙂  In fact, Dad and Mom had even seen them during a Gaither Homecoming concert several years before, and didn’t remember much about them!  But finally they decided it was worth attending the concert, and shall we say, the rest is history!

We put together a short video highlighting some special memories from the whole experience, and hope you enjoy traveling with the Garms Family!

For a transcription, click “more”…

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