News Roundup #8

There are several interesting stories in Southern Gospel today.

  • Karen Peck & New River’s Devin McGlamery was featured in his hometown paper, the Valdosta Daily Times, a few days ago. The article contains a good summary of his background, his advice to young singers, and his thoughts on a Grammy nomination. (Hat tip, DA.)
  • Idaho’s Liberty Quartet will be featured on Rob Patz’s Southern Styles show this Saturday, Feb. 2, at 5 PM Eastern, 3 PM Mountain Time.
  • Last August, the Dixie Echoes bus caught fire and was totaled. They replaced it in November, and things were humming along nicely until January 25, when it died on the way to a concert. The mechanic determined that the engine was completely blown and would need to be replaced. On top of that, while they were parked in a Wal-Mart parking lot, trying to determine what to do, the driver of an 18-wheeler semi ran into their bus and left significant damage to the back of their bus.
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News Roundup #7

Ever since before Christmas, it’s been pretty slow in Southern Gospel, at least as far as news stories go. Now, within the last day or two, things have started happening.

1. Greg & Charlotte Ritchie left Jeff & Sheri Easter. It’s one of those things that was bound to come sometime–since nobody stays with a group forever–but the Ritchies stayed so long that it can’t help but be a big story.

2. The Dixie Echoes are still looking for a tenor vocalist. In his most recent email update, Stewart Varnado of the Dixie Echoes said:

As you may know, December 9th, 2007, was Dallas Rogers’ last concert with the Dixie Echoes. Dallas and his wife have moved to Nashville, TN, where he accepted a bus driving job. We wish him the best. For the past two weekends, and this coming weekend, we’d like to thank Wesley Smith (former tenor for the Palmetto State Quartet) for filling in with us. Wesley has done a great job. Just wish that we could hang onto him. ha!

However, we are still searching for a tenor vocalist. If you know someone that would be interested, have them email their bio, a photo, and an mp3 demo to me at

Although there had been some indication that the former members of the Palmetto State Quartet (tenor Wesley Smith, baritone Rick Fair, bass Burman Porter, and pianist Bryan Elliot) were going to start a quartet of their own, several appear to already have other plans. Word has it that Elliot and Smith will be announcing joint plans soon, while I believe Fair is now working with Ron and R.W. Blackwood’s Blackwood Quartet.

3. While no official plans have been announced yet, once Mercy’s Mark temporarily(?) disbanded, Garry Jones did retain one date on his calendar for the rest of the year. At this date, he accompanied a quartet made up of two original MMQ members (Josh Feemster on lead and Chris West on bass), as well as Chris’s brother Craig singing baritone and MMQ 2.0 member Brent Mitchell singing tenor. Could MMQ 3.0 be in the works?

4. There’s an interesting story over at Burke’s Brainwork. Wes Burke was listening to a copy of Canaan’s new Canaan Revisited album for Christmas and noticed something interesting. The Cathedrals’ original rendition of the song “Statue of Liberty” was on their 1974 Canaan release Statue of Liberty. But instead of that rendition, this compilation appears to have inadvertently used their later 1985 Especially For You version of the song. Since Especially For You was released by Riversong / Benson and not by Canaan, it seems Canaan might keep busy untangling a legal mess for a while.

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News Roundup #6

Well, for a second day straight there are so many stories that I’m going to put them all into one post.

  • Gene McDonald is back on the road, as the driver / product table manager for Gordon Mote. Interestingly, that moves him back into the Gaither Homecoming sphere; I wonder if Bill Gaither will let him be part of the choir at Homecoming events.
  • Greater Vision is planning to release their newest DVD, Chicago Live, at NQC. They taped this just three weeks ago; I don’t know if this is a record turnaround time for a Southern Gospel group, but it has to come pretty close.
  • Previews have been posted of the new Gaither Vocal Band/Ernie Haase & Signature Sound live CD/DVD, Together, here (audio) and here (video). [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.] I’m especially pleased to see their cover of “Heaven’s Joy Awaits,” using the arrangement on the Cathedrals’ farewell studio project, Faithful. What makes it a particularly good pick for a joint project is that the Cathedrals’ version had the Gaither Vocal Band as guest artists and built the arrangement around Guy Penrod’s and Ernie Haase’s voices. Since those two vocalists are also featured on this arrangement, it comes off very well and promises to be a highlight of the final product.
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News Roundup #5

There has been enough in the way of news over the past day or two that I decided to put it all in one post.

  • There’s an increasing amount of NQC-album buzz. From monitoring various forums, it looks like the most-anticipated albums are Legacy Five’s Know So Salvation, the Perrys’ Look No Further, Greater Vision’s Everyday People, and the Mark Trammell Trio’s as-yet-untitled DVD. Palmetto State’s new CD is also raising some discussion, but that is partially because early reports state that they are moving toward a more country song than before.
  • Speaking of Palmetto State, here’s hoping the rumor that Burman Porter is leaving Palmetto State is false, but he has had so many back problems that I could hardly blame him for coming off the road. [EDIT, 11/7/10: Regrettably, the link is broken, so it has been removed.]
  • It was a nice gesture for Signature Sound to send out an update to their email list about Roy Webb’s father passing away. Webb’s departure from such a high-profile group at the (or a) peak in their success inevitably aroused speculation, and hopefully this will quiet some of it.
  • The Dixie Echoes’ bus was destroyed by fire yesterday. Their suits, sound equipment, and product were all damaged or destroyed. I don’t know whether or not their bus was covered by insurance, but either way they will need a lot of prayer as they attempt to rebuild from this loss. Of particular concern are burns that Stewart Varnado received on his right foot and arm. Burns on a pianist’s arm–which needs to remain nimble–are not a good thing. A singer can sing without their arm fully functioning, but a piano player cannot play (well) after significant burns.
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News Roundup #4

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette has an interview with Bill Gaither on the Homecoming phenemenon. It seems that in every Gaither Vocal Band member interview in a local paper, there is always a fascinating tidbit, and this is no exception:

Last year the Gaither Vocal Band released “Give It Away,” and Gaither said his summer break, which begins right after the concert in Worcester, will likely include a little work in the studio for another project. And Gaither assured that his recording projects are much more than toss-offs to the faithful.

“I find it a challenge to be able to put something down on record that 40 or 50 years from now when a young person comes along and says, ‘Tell me something about this music,’ someone will pull out this record and say, ‘These guys were good,’” Gaither said.

Another article worth checking out is a Beckley, West Virginia story on Dennis Murphy’s impersonation attempts of Kenny Chesney. [EDIT, 11/6/10: Regrettably, the link seems to be broken, so it has been removed.]

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News Roundup #3

There are quite a few things worth checking out this morning. First would be Chuck Peters’ report on an upcoming DVD of Anthony Burger’s final taped concert appearance. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.]

Alan Kendall’s review of a Kingsmen/Gold City/Kingdom Heirs concert is worth checking out. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

In the roundup of Southern Gospel news articles from local newspapers, check out the Daily Citizen’s (Searcy, Arkansas) coverage of the Melody Boys, the Cleveland (Tennessee) Daily Advertiser’s coverage of Dottie Rambo, and an article in the Clanton (Tennessee) Advertiser on the Blackwoods returing to Clanton to do a free concert in the same town where a tragedy devestated the 1954 Blackwood Brothers. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

Finally, note this St. Petersburg Times coverage of Naomi Sego, identified as “one of five ladies being credited with being the “First Ladies” of gospel music.” This begs the question (not quite clarified by the reference to the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion) of who the other four are. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link no longer works and has been removed.]

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News Roundup #2

It’s been a few days since I caught up on Southern Gospel coverage in various newspapers. So I have some catching up to do.

First, and most notably, the Gaither Vocal Band made the London Free Press. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.] The Gaither Homecoming Tour will be at the John Labatt Centre in downtown London on May 5; artists announced as making the trip are the Gaither Vocal Band, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Jeff and Sheri Easter, Lynda Randle, Ivan Parker, Russ Taff, Gordon Mote, the Isaacs, Mike Allen and Ben Speer.

The Dixie Melody Boys were recently featured in the New Bern Sun Journal. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.] The article starts off with a memorable hook–“Spend almost 10,000 nights on the road and you’re bound to see the downside of singing for your supper”–and just gets better from there. This article offers more than the standard boilerplate press release, and appears to have been based off an interview with Ed O’Neal.

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver was recently featured in the University of Tennessee’s student newspaper, The Daily Beacon. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

The Harlan Daily Enterprise reported on the Southern Gospel Music Guild awards and other Southern Gospel news. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

The Booth Brothers’ successes at the awards got them a mention in the Christian Retailing Newsletter.

Finally, new Palmetto State Quartet tenor Wesley Smith was featured in his hometown paper, the Decatur Daily Times. [EDIT, 6/18/12: Broken link removed.]

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News Roundup #1

There were enough different stories out this morning that I decided to put them all in one post.

First off is Eric Phillips, tenor for the Mark Trammell Trio. He had an emergency appendectomy last weekend. I believe Nic Holland filled in for him last week. It was expected that he would be back on the road this weekend. However, he had some complications, and although the doctor expects him to recover shortly, he was in no condition to come out on the road for this weekend. Diana Brantley wrote a report on last night’s concert; at this concert, Eric’s father, former Kingsmen tenor Ernie Phillips, filled in and apparently did an excellent job. [EDIT, 11/6/10: Regrettably, the link seems to be broken, so it has been removed.]

Also, Martin Roth caught a story I missed on Guy Penrod filling in for Gloria Gaither at a singing engagement…though Penrod had such a bad case of laryngitis that he only sang one song. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.]

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