Friday News Roundup #225

Worth Knowing

  • Wilma Shaw, wife of former Blackwood Brothers tenor Bill Shaw, has passed away (link requires Facebook login).
  • Ellen Gerig’s Bass Singers Quartet video has passed 1,000,000 views on YouTube. That’s a milestone that very few Southern Gospel videos—and even fewer non-early-Gaither-Homecoming videos—have ever passed.
  • Chris Conover, an Assistant Professor of Theology at Campbellsville University-Louisville, is conducting a survey on the demographics of Southern Gospel, here.
  • Worth Reading: Tim Challies on why good doctrine leads to good songs.

One more thing, for those who have asked: I plan to post announcements of any new books or other writing projects at danielmount.com.

Worth Watching

To come full circle: Here is the group and the song that made me a Southern Gospel fan:

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Friday News Roundup #224

Worth Knowing

Worth Watching

Matt Fouch, known for both his On The Couch With Fouch series and for singing bass for Legacy Five, recently launched a podcast and video blog. In last week’s episode, here, he mentioned that he will include a news section each week. This provides one more option for fans wondering where to keep up with the latest news once this site retires.

Also worth watching: This the first video I’ve seen of the Down East Boys with new bass singer Joe Brinkley:

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Friday News Roundup #223

Worth Knowing

  • The Old Paths announced that their current radio single, “Long Live the King,” written by Dianne Wilkinson and Chris Binion, is going to be a #1 hit on the Singing News charts.
  • The Collingsworth Family announced last Sunday (Mother’s Day) that Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair and her husband, Will, are expecting their first child in November.
  • Leslie Taylor Perkins of The Taylors gave birth to her first child—a son, Isaiah—on May 14. Leslie, her husband Aaron, and Isaiah will return to the road after several weeks of maternity leave.
  • Singing News announced the top five nominees for the 2014 Fan Awards.

Worth Watching

An early look at the Perrys with new lead singer Andrew Goldman:

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Friday News Roundup #222

Worth Knowing

  • Former Brian Free & Assurance drummer Ricky Free, son of group skipper Brian Free, has accepted a position as drummer for Dove Award®-winning CCM artist Matthew West.
  • Songwriter Daryl Williams has announced the return of the Daryl Williams Trio. He will be joined by lead singer Shannon Knight and tenor Brent Mitchell. (This configuration has already been performing together for several months, so it’s not exactly new news, but an official announcement is at least worth a News Roundup mention.)
  • Songwriter Ricky Atkinson & Compassion announced that he will be going on tour with two different Ricky Atkinson & Compassion lineups this year. The official current lineup is Atkinson, Greg Cook, and Loren Harris. He will also do some dates with a second lineup, consisting of pianist Nathan Rogers and returning members Samuel & LaBreeska Atkinson.
  • The Allen Family will be the focus of a new reality TV series on TLC.
  • Worth Reading: Danny Jones’ column, If You Really Want To Do Something (Pray).

Worth Watching

This “Confused Quartet” features every member out of their usual position: Triumphant Quartet baritone Scott Inman on tenor, Legacy Five pianist Trey Ivey on lead, Greater Vision tenor Chris Allman on baritone, Legacy Five baritone Scott Howard on bass, Hoppers alto Connie Hopper on piano, Legacy Five lead singer Scott Fowler on bass, and Greater Vision lead/pianist Gerald Wolfe on drums.

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Friday News Roundup #221

Worth Knowing

  • Tribute Quartet bass singer Anthony Davis is graduating from Bethel University in Mckenzie, Tennessee, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Notably, he maintained a 4.0 GPA through his baccalaureate studies.
  • The McKameys were scheduled to appear at Oak Bowery Baptist Church in Saltillo Community, Arkansas on Saturday, May 10th. That church’s sanctuary has suffered tornado damage so severe that the concert has been postponed to February.
  • Old Paths tenor Jeremy Peace and his wife Jennifer welcomed their third daughter, Elizabeth, yesterday morning. Mother and baby are both healthy and doing well.

Worth Watching

To commemorate Mark Trammell Quartet bass singer Pat Barker’s final weekend on the road:

Also worth watching: Matt Fouch interviews Ronnie Booth.

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Friday News Roundup #218

Worth Knowing

  • Longtime Diplomats bass singer Joe Brown has returned to the group.
  • Blackwood Quartet member David Mann is coming off the road due to voice issues. In an open letter, he commented: “My windpipe was full of mold that, I later found out, I had been breathing in from a mold infested vehicle. This problem had collapsed a portion of my airways, and prevented me from using more than 1/3 of my lung capacity.” On doctor’s advice, he has decided to pursue non-musical lines of work, at least for the next several years.
  • Roger Talley entertained the audience at a recent Talleys concert in Norway by coming on stage dressed in the costume of their Olympic curling team.

Worth Reading

On Monday’s “Creating Trends” post, Pat Barker posted insightful thoughts on the relative merits of gimmicks and the songs to back them up:

I was told by one of my managers in the early days of me traveling that most Gospel music fans were also wrestling fans. In those days I was still trying to be “High Church” in my presentation because that is how I was taught. The problem was that it wasn’t getting past the first row. His point was that most of the fans want a gimmick. They want something they can identify with every time they see you. That is true.

The dilemma is presenting the gimmick with class so it doesn’t come off as hokey or “local group” for lack of a better term. A gimmick can be anything from an old man to two microphones. It can also be a white flag or a passionate piano player. There has to be something that brings the people to the concert night after night.

Here, in my opinion, is where many groups miss the boat. YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE SONGS TO BACK UP THE GIMMICK! Glen was always the old man, but they didn’t have their greatest success till We Shall See Jesus. Brian Free was always precious, but Midnight Cry was their launching pad. Gerald has always made fun of Rodney, but Lazarus, to this day, has to be sung night after night. Thank God that at the end of the day, whether you like wrestling or not, It’s all about the song. That’s the way it should be and I hope that’s the way it always will be.

Worth Watching

One bass singer, Legacy Five’s Matt Fouch, interviews another, the Mark Trammell Quartet’s Pat Barker:

Also of note: Reality TV stars The Duggar Family attended a recent Collingsworth Family concert. They invited the Collingsworth Family over after the concert, and filmed and posted a video of the Collingsworth Family singing “God Bless America” a cappella in the Duggar’s living room:

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Friday News Roundup #216

Worth Knowing

  • Gerald Wolfe has been undergoing physical therapy on his neck and shoulders. On medical advice, he has taken the last three weekends off from singing; Brian Alvey (Lauren Talley Alvey’s husband) has been filling in. Wolfe has been at each date, playing piano and emceeing. This setup with Alvey filling in on lead and Wolfe on piano is expected to continue for three more weeks.
  • Phil Cross’s father passed away on Wednesday evening; on the same day, his mother was hospitalized with extremely high blood pressure and concern about possible blood clots.
  • Primitive Quartet guitarist Mike Riddle suffered a severe injury to his left ring finger on Wednesday. His finger was broken in multiple places. He visited a surgeon on Thursday to discuss surgery options.
  • The Old Paths are recording a live DVD next Wednesday at Sagemont Church in Houston, Texas. The taping will be free and open to the public.
  • Daywind announced a date and location for a Nashville-area memorial service for their recently-deceased former A&R Director, Norman Holland. It will be from 1-3 PM on Monday, April 14th at Christ Church in Brentwood, TN.

Worth Reading

Yesterday’s discussion on radio chart speed prompted some thought-provoking letters to the editor.

From Josh:

I’ve been thinking about the difference between SG and other genres in other areas of the industry, but it has an effect here too. Its widely understood that a major difference between our industry and others is our motives.

In other genres, chart success is what drives their success on the road. If you don’t have a chart-topper, its very difficult to get your foot into the industry. In southern gospel, while chart success is important, I’m not convinced its what drives a group to continue on the road. If it does, maybe they should check why they are in this industry to begin with. Groups will (should) continue to travel if they don’t have a chart-topper. That’s not what this industry should be based on. The importance needs to be placed less on the chart-toppers and more on the lives saved.

Could the charting process be sped up? If its a core part of the industry and why groups continue to travel, go right ahead. But I won’t be hurt if it stays the way it is because I hope groups would realize that they don’t travel for chart-topping success or the royalties they could earn.

An excerpt from Kevin Kreuger’s letter:

If we look back in history from the 50′s, 60′s and in the 70′s, all formats (country, pop, etc) had songs that dominated the #1 position on the charts for months. Now that we’ve become the instant everything culture, we see songs rise and fall in a quicker manner. I think another thing that comes into play is that we have more ‘national’ groups than we did in prior decades. With more groups clammering for airplay, I see songs coming off charts sooner because we have to make room for the new addtions to the chart.

I like Absolutely Gospel’s weekly chart (disclosure: we are a reporting station to this chart) versus a monthly chart, but I believe the charts are for industry professionals. Nobody walks up to a product table and says, ‘well this CD has one number one song, a top ten song and a three top twenty songs, but that one had only one number one song and one top fourty song. I’ll take the first one’.

 

And, finally, an impressively lengthy one from Tony Watson:

I’m of the school that says the charts have much less impact today than they did 20 years ago. Honestly I subscribe to Singing News but I seldom ever look at the chart anymore and I don’t look at any other charts at all. I was in radio for a few years in the late 80′s-early 90′s so I looked at it then. Now with so much instant access to songs through websites, YouTube, iTunes, social media, etc. the need for charting is lessened for the consumer. It’s still a measure for the artist of what the buying public is listening to, but I think other factors have bit into that as well.

Services like Enlighten, iTunes Radio, Pandora, etc. have had a very positive effect in getting the music by the top groups “out there” more. Sure there are still some quality issues, but it’s still better quality than was demonstrated on much local gospel music radio before these were available. The push-back is this . . . artists are seeing that people are buying fewer and fewer CD’s. They either buy it on iTunes, with many just buying the songs they like, or due to the exposure with these web and satellite-based services, people don’t feel like they need to buy the CD’s/songs because they get to hear the top songs for free or for a monthly subscription.

While the artists do get royalties from services like Enlighten, the impression I’m getting from the artists is it’s many times a lesser return than they used to see from CD sales just a few years ago.

Getting back to the issue at hand, I see there being fewer “landmark” songs” today than 20 years ago. I think it’s partially because of increased exposure, partially because there are more groups who have a “national” platform than there were. The internet and it’s related venues like YouTube, social media, artist websites, e-mail lists and the like make it easier for folks to keep up with and interact with their favorite groups and really not be as interested in the industry as a whole. Used to be, Singing News was the lifeline of information – now the information is 2 months old when you receive it and it’s greater value is the behind the scenes stuff with the artists, their at home visits and the stories behind the songs. Still a great value, but much different than grabbing it out of the mailbox and seeing what song is #1 this month.

Some may argue that there are MORE landmark songs than 20 years ago, but I would disagree. I think you get some songs with “definition” for a group from time to time but I don’t think they, overall, have the lasting impact as “Midnight Cry” or “We Shall See Jesus” or “Learning to Lean” or “Touring that City” or other songs that are instantly identified with a particular group from days gone by.

It’s the same thing in the rest of society. There are many other options for music, for entertainment, for pretty much everything these days. Overall TV ratings are down for particular shows because there are so many other options for viewing. Shows come and go much quicker because networks will not stick with shows to let them breathe.

The same reality exists in gospel music. The most successful groups in recent days have had a simple formula – good songs, good people skills, believability and very little personnel turnover – period. I tell people all the time, the key to being successful in gospel music comes down to 2 words “stay there”. The problem is now, economic issues are going to swallow more and more up and those who are in debt up to their eyeballs are going to be tempted to do some unethical things to try and stay afloat (some already have) and that’s a tough place to be.

With that said, back to the issue at hand (I keep chasing my own rabbits), who can name the “landmark” song of more recent groups? It often comes down to the song you first heard them sing or the song you like the best or the song that ministers to you the best. I’m asking some hypothetical questions now because I don’t want this thread to become a list of people’s choices for “landmark” song, but what is the “Landmark” song of Triumphant Quartet? Crabb Family? Collingsworth Family? Whisnants? Mark Trammell Quartet? Booth Brothers? Greater Vision? Tribute Quartet? I’m thinking specifically off the top of my head of groups that have come to more prominence within the past 20 years, give or take. If we were to list them, we couldn’t likely come to a consensus of what those were in many cases. In some cases it’s a little clearer, to be sure.

To summarize, I’m of the opinion that radio still has much value, but the charting impact has lessened significantly in gospel music and I don’t see it coming back.

Worth Watching

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Friday News Roundup #215

Worth Knowing

  • Singing News posted the 2014 Fan Awards top ten nominees here.

Worth Reading

This week’s featured Letter to the Editor is from J.E. Butler. Commenting on yesterday’s post, Doing the Little Things, he shared some stories of his own:

My son will soon be 35. When I was probably his age – 26 years ago, I purchased for him one of the green bus/piggy banks from the Cathedrals’ table during a concert. My son wanted to meet the bass singer – and he was carrying the bus/piggy bank when we went to meet George Younce. Seeing the bus, Younce reached in his pocket and came out with a $5 bill and put it in the bus without saying a word about it. I saw him do it – but no one else did. Legacy…which I think makes the name Legacy V so perfect…

On a night that Gus Gaches was traveling with L5 but not yet a member, my sister purchased probably $100+ from the Booth Brothers. After she had made her purchase, she noticed a CD by their dad, Ron Booth. My sister told Ronnie how much she loved to hear his dad sing. He reached over, grabbed his dad’s CD, and dropped it in her bag. Steps to a legacy – and a life-long fan not only of Ron Booth, but Ronnie and Michael.

Worth Watching

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Friday News Roundup #214

Worth Knowing

Worth Reading

In this week’s featured Letter to the Editor, reader JSR reflects on the importance of digital availability of projects:

Everybody in SG needs to get their music on iTunes. If nothing else, the ability to hear short clips is a good way to introduce your music. I don’t think the market for SG will ever go away, but a failure to have the abiliity for people like me (who don’t go to concerts and don’t buy a lot of complete albums) to have easy access to your music will jepordize the viability going forward. There are some SG artists that I’ve never bought any of their music in a store, but I have grabbed a song here and there off iTunes, or similar venue, after hearing it on Pandora or YouTube or on a SG blog. It needs to be that Daniel is soon forced to put a link to iTunes or the Google Play Store or Amazon for a digital download for every CD that hits the market.

 

Worth Watching

This has made the rounds, but in case you haven’t watched it yet, it’s worth watching: Kim and Connie Hopper missed a flight, so Chris Allman, Doug Anderson, and Tim Lovelace filled in on “What a Lovely Name.”

Worth Discussing

Were there any significant Southern Gospel news stories this week that we haven’t mentioned yet?

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