Group Lineup Changes

For about a month after the Quartet Convention ended, there were no lineup changes. Now it seems like they are happening all at once.

Almost precisely a month ago, Monument Quartet split into two groups, the Monument Quartet and the Tribute Quartet. Monument’s Marshall Pugh kept the bus, the tour dates, the association with Aaron Minick, and the record deal; Tribute’s Gary Casto kept baritone Josh Singletary, bass Dennis Dugger, and the association with Beckie Simmons and the Beckie Simmons Agency.

Now, interestingly, both groups chose the same date to announce their new plans. As a matter of fact, Singing News posted the stories within five minutes of each other.

Tribute Quartet has lined up a new tenor, Jacob Kitson, and is working on their first recording for BSA World Records. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.]

The Monument Quartet announced a completely new lineup. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.] For whatever reason, tenor and group owner Marshall Pugh has evidently moved to the baritone position. He is replaced at the tenor spot by Matt Felts, who previously sang with several local groups, as well as the Skyline Boys, and the Blackwood Gospel Quartet. Former Stamps Quartet pianist Lucas Case, and Hovie Walker has joined at the bass position. Walker previously sang with Willie Wynn and the Tenesseans and the Thrashers and was leading a trio that included his wife at the time he accepted the offer to join the Monument Quartet. Aaron and Johnny Minick are filling in at the lead position until Monument finds a permanent lead singer.

As if that wasn’t enough for one day, it looks like the Mike Bowling Group is being totally revamped. In a concert appearance this past weekend, Mike Bowling was the only member of the group to take the stage. He was accompanied by three people filling in, one of whom was Amanda Crabb from the Crabb family. Chuck Peters has the story, which for now is more speculation than fact. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.] Jeff and Kim Bowling were off the road, but whether temporarily or permanently is something he did not know. He also speculated that Kelly Crabb Bowling (Mike’s wife) might join the Mike Bowling Group within the next few months, perhaps even before the Crabb Family comes off the road. But that is speculation; all we know for now is that the group appears to be undergoing changes.

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Pianist Tim Parton to fill in with Legacy Five

Roger Bennett, pianist for Legacy Five, will be spending several months off the road while preparing for, undergoing, and recovering from his stem cell transplant. Legacy Five announced in their most recent e-newsletter that Tim Parton will play piano for Legacy Five until Bennett comes back on the road.

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Listen to “The Gospel Greats” online

Paul Heil’s weekly program The Gospel Greats has been voted the favorite syndicated radio program in the Singing News Fan Awards for years. Unfortunately, no stations in my area carry the song, so I listen online. Here’s a link to a station that plays the program on demand.

About 44 minutes into the second hour of this week’s program, Paul Heil plays Signature Sound’s new radio single, “John in the Jordan.” This was a good pick for a radio single, because it accurately captures Signature Sound: Quartet music that is different than anything you’ve heard before while still having an unmistakably traditional feel.

The song, incidentally, features Ernie Haase on the first verse, but Ernie and lead singer Ryan Seaton trade off lines on the second verse. Bass Tim Duncan is featured on the chorus. After two verses and a bridge, the song transposes from G to A, permitting Duncan to hit a low A.

The song is quite enjoyable and should do well for Signature Sound. The chorus leaves no question that it’s classic quartet music, but it’s both traditional and innovative at the same time. It takes a quartet of Signature Sound’s stature to pull that off.

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Steve Ladd Hospitalized

Singing News is reporting that Steve Ladd, tenor singer for Gold City, has been hospitalized with a high fever. Keep him in your prayers. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

Edit 10/21/06: In an email from Gold City, they mentioned that Kingdom Heirs tenor Billy Hodges filled in for their Renfro Valley, Kentucky concert last night. Additionally, those who live anywhere within reasonable driving distance of Dacula, Georgia will get a real treat: Jay Parrack will fill in at tonight’s concert.

Edit 10/23/06: Gold City’s most recent email update announced that Steve is recovering, on his way home, and should be back on stage soon.

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Southern Gospel Website Updates

As I mentioned earlier this week, Gold City launched a new website. I returned for a second visit this week. A few questions present themselves. Why do they only post a discography back through 1984? [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

They have one of the most professional websites in Southern Gospel. With that in mind, why in the world would they choose for the header a picture where the tenor’s eyes are nearly closed and the lead singer (who is also the most senior member) is standing so far back that he appears to be in the background, fading off into the distance? [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

Let’s turn our attention to another website. Legacy Five’s website is finally back up, but only if you know the password. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.] It is possible to work around this if you close the password box and click on a page quickly before the page opens back up, but even then it’s a major irritation. Some of the pages are up (i.e., schedule, which was what I wanted to check, and photos), but others (i.e., store, which I also wanted to check out) do not work.

The Mark Trammell Trio has posted more NQC photos of appearances by their group and by the Perrys (with Nick Trammell). Eric Phillips’ impressive ability to hit super-high notes without the slightest appearance of strain is demonstrated in this picture. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.] (One does wonder why he would have brought a cell phone on the stage with him…it is improbable that he would have answered it in the middle of an appearance, and it is equally improbable he would have brought it on just because he looks better wearing one!)

Finally, The Perrys are preparing a new site design, but they do have a new welcome screen while that is in the works.

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Adam Crabb and Terah Penhollow seek lead singer

Last month, I mentioned Adam Crabb and Terah Penhollow’s plan to start a new group. Plans are evidently progressing, as they announced on their website today that they will be seeking a lead singer. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.] The announcement states in part:

Adam and Terah will be launching their new group in August 2007 and are looking for someone who can sing both lead and harmony. They are praying that God will send the right person, and that person could be you! If you are interested, please send a bio/resume, letter of interest, photo and demo to crabbdemo@yahoo.com.

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Singing News opens website to non-subscribers

There was some commotion a few years ago when Singing News made many sections of their website subscriber-only. They announced yesterday that they are opening all of their website to non-subscribers on a temporary basis. This could be a temporary move to boost subscribership, or it could signify the new Singing News management testing the waters for future changes in the concept behind their Internet presence.

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Ball Brothers launch Message Board

The Ball Brothers, who toured with Signature Sound this summer, officially launched their message board this evening. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]

Stop by and check it out; it’s really quite fun to browse. All the members of the group active in answering fans’ questions. Daniel Ball is the most active of the brothers, followed by Andrew and Josh.  Stephen drops in every few days. They don’t just limit their activity to answering direct questions–they participate in the games, the prayer requests, and the general discussion.

But that isn’t all. There is an added bonus: SarahJ89, an active board member, is one of the Ball Brothers’ younger sisters. She said she likes coming on the board to see what people say about her big brothers. She even has a few stories she could tell on them if you ask nicely enough!

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CDs: New songs vs. classic

The Dove Brothers posted audio from their new project, Never the Same, yesterday. It seems like an excellent project, but appears to feature David Hester much less than their other recent project, Shout it Out.

That does not come as any surprise. A project of new songs rarely features the bass singer as much as a CD of classic songs. On a project of classic songs, the bass is featured on the verses or chorus for somewhere near half of the songs. But on a project of new songs, the bass singer is usually fortunate to get one or two solos (unless, of course, he happens to be the group manager).

These are just simple facts that most fans of Southern Gospel know. But one thing that’s not as often addressed is why. Why do the projects of classic songs feature the bass singer more often than the projects of new songs?

Perhaps it is because the classic songs became classics because they feature the bass, and that’s what the fans like to hear.

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