Dixie Echoes hire Trent Adams

The Dixie Echoes just announced that their new bass singer will be Trent Adams. Adams is nineteen years old and hails from Ashland, Alabama. He’ll start with the group next Thursday, February 11, in Baton Rouge, LA.

The press release stated:

We believe that Trent is one of the best young bass singers and we are excited that he has accepted the offer to become part of the Dixie Echoes. Trent is an exceptional young bass singer, and we feel that our fans will love his smooth bass voice and friendly personality.

Since the announcement of the departure of Pat Barker, we have been overwhelmed with the response we have received. While we auditioned several fantastic bass singers for the position, we truly feel the addition of Trent to the Dixie Echoes is the right choice. We would like to thank everyone for their interest.

Joining the Dixie Echoes family along with Trent will be his wife, Jessica, and their daughter, Anzlee. Please join us in welcoming this young family. We are excited to see what the Lord has in store for the Dixie Echoes in our 50th year of ministry. Please remember to keep us in your prayers.

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Christian Davis joins Dailey & Vincent

Yesterday, bluegrass group Dailey & Vincent announced that Christian Davis would be joining their group as second guitarist and bass vocalist. [EDIT, 2/21/13. Broken link removed.

It’s quite a change for Davis. Not only is it a different genre (though their fairly high ratio of Southern Gospel cover songs helps ease the transition)—it will also be his first time, at least since hitting the Southern Gospel circuit, to be playing an instrument on stage. Despite knowing him for several years and even doing a feature interview with him a little over a year ago, I still had no idea that he played guitar (though, as that interview indicated, he does play trumpet.)

Even more so than for Davis, it will be quite the change for Dailey & Vincent in particular, and bluegrass music in general. From my limited exposure to the genre, it seems they are not accustomed to bass singing as low and as resonant as Davis’s. So his voice, while excellent in our genre, will really stand out in theirs.

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LeFevre Quartet returns

Last year, the LeFevre Quartet announced that at the request of LeFevre family members, they were dropping the name LeFevre. For several months, they went under the name Priority.

They have since received the blessing of family members to use the name, and so, according to this press release, they are once again the LeFevre Quartet.

This is a good thing for them and for the family; a LeFevre has been on the Southern Gospel circuit pretty much ever since the genre started, and Mike’s group is certainly the best known and perhaps the only group carrying that legacy forward right now.

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Pat Barker joins Mark Trammell Quartet

Mark Trammell announced yesterday that the first bass singer for the Mark Trammell Quartet will be Pat Barker.

He could not have made a better pick.

(There were a few others who may have been as good, if they were interested, but none better.)

Barker can rattle the subwoofers, but he is primarily a singer’s singer. The bass richness into his tones carries fully into a high baritone. As discussed here, when he recorded “It is Well with my Soul” with the Diplomats, he carried the melody all the way through the song—and keyed it only one note lower than the hymnal standard. Just by way of comparison, Barker recorded it in B-flat, while Triumphant Quartet’s lead singer Clayton Inman recently recorded it one key full step higher, in C.

Besides his incredible singing voice, though, Barker is simply a great guy. It was a lot of fun to watch him cheering on other groups at last year’s National Quartet Convention; one of his group mates described him as the biggest fan there, and that was pretty accurate.

Via the Dixie Echoes’ press release:

Pat shares, “My years with the Dixie Echoes have been some of the greatest years I’ve known in ministry.  I have met some of the most wonderful people on the Planet.  No one has shown me more kindness than Randy, Scoot, Stewart, Wesley, and the Gospel Music family as a whole.  I am very sad to be leaving, but excited about the new ministry opportunities that await me.  My prayer is that God will bless the Dixie Echoes more this coming year than He has in all 50 years combined.  I never imagined my time with the Dixie Echoes would have been so short, but I also never imagined almost 3 years ago that I would get back on the road, leave my hometown, and start a new life in Pensacola, FL.  The Lord moves in mysterious ways.  I love you all.  Continue to lift up the Dixie Echoes in your prayers.  And please say a prayer for me and my family as we continue to follow God wherever He leads.”

“Members come and go in every group. This was an unexpected change for us, but I know Pat’s heart, and if there’s one thing that I can tell anyone about him, it is that he lives what he sings about,” shares Stewart. “We will miss Pat, his wife Kesha, son Andy, and daughter Breelyn. They have become our extended family, and I wish him the best. Mark Trammell and I have been friends for many years and I know that Pat will be working with a great guy.”

The Dixie Echoes will be accepting auditions at auditions@dixieechoes.com.

And from Trammell’s release:

George Younce said it best: Mark Trammell is a “quartet man” period. And after two years of soul searching and watching the craft of the traditional gospel quartet become scarce, Mark has decided to move from trio status to realizing his life long dream of having his own traditional style all male gospel quartet.

“This is not a decision that was made flippantly,” Mark states, “and all I’m really doing is simply returning to my roots. I was trained by some of the greatest men to ever take a quartet to the stage and I’m very excited about MTQ endeavoring to raise the bar when it comes our music and being able to minister to, as well as entertain our friends and fans.”

For any who wonder how Barker might sound on the sort of song the Mark Trammell Trio sings, here is a good taste:

Other videos:

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Shaye Smith returns to Chuck Wagon Gang

Shaye Smith, grand-daughter of original Chuck Wagon Gang alto Anna Carter Gordon Davis, is returning. She sang with the group from 1993 through 2006 or 2007, and will be back on the road with the group as of Thursday.

Smith started as the group’s soprano singer, when her grandmother’s sister Ruth Ellen Carter Yates was still singing alto; she moved to alto about ten years ago.

After Smith’s departure, Penny Greene sang with the Chuck Wagon Gang for about two years, through last year’s National Quartet Convention. She was replaced by Kelly Jennings, who toured with the group for about four months and was asked to step down so Smith could return. The CWG is to be commended for being so forthright in their press release, cutting off rumors before they start (“Kelly Jennings, of Kingsport, TN was asked to step down so that Shaye could return.”)

Also from the release:

“Truly, I’ve missed singing, the many fans and friends I’ve met along the way, and I have missed continuing the heritage and legacy that my family started over seventy-four years ago,” stated Shaye from her home in Hertford, NC. “I knew I would be back with the group, I just did not know when and how the circumstances would unveil for my return. I am just so happy to be returning!”

“Shaye’s return is a wonderful blessing to begin the New Year,” said Dave Emery, manager, emcee, and guitarist for the group. “I’ve looked forward to this time ever since she left, but I never thought it would be this soon. Favorable circumstances just recently developed to make this possible. With the Diamond 75th Anniversary of The Chuck Wagon Gang just a year away, the timing could not be any better for the co-owner of the group to return! We’re already working on a documentary for our 75th anniversary, and her input as a family member is essential.”

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Archie Watkins launches group

Last year, Archie Watkins left the Inspirations to launch a solo career. But you can’t be a quartet tenor for 45 years without quartet singing in your blood—and he’s launching a new group, Smoky Mountain Reunion. From the announcement on Watkins’ website:

During the 45 year span that Archie was with the Inspirations Quartet, he had the privilege of sharing the stage with some men who’s names and voices you will no doubt recall.  So for 12 dates or so a year, beginning in March 2010, some of these men will be joining Archie onstage for a night in concert as ‘Archie Watkins & Smoky Mountain Reunion’.

Among those who will be performing with Archie are Marlin Shubert, Jack Laws, Troy Burns and Eddie Deitz.  There are many treasured songs, now considered classics, featuring these men that have been recorded over the years.  So, the group will be performing these classics in concert during these limited appearances together.

Thanks to Robert York for the tip!

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