Singing News Fan Awards to return to NQC

Singing News and the National Quartet Convention announced yesterday afternoon that the Singing News Fan Awards will return to the NQC mainstage this year.

Rick Francis, Singing News’ Operations Manager, explained that the details had been in progress for several weeks, adding, “It just makes sense for the Singing News Fan Awards to take place during the week of NQC, during a time when the entire Southern Gospel music community —fans, artists, and industry—is together in one place. We are very pleased about this agreement.”

NQC Executive Vice President Clarke Beasley added, “The Singing News Fan Awards and the NQC were inseparable institutions for decades, and we are delighted that the Fan Awards will once again call the NQC home.”

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Friday News Roundup #213


Worth Knowing

  • Brian Free & Assurance lead singer Bill Shivers and his wife Michelle had a son, William Brent Shivers III, on Wednesday.
  • Daywind and Greater Vision held a preacher appreciation contest to accompany the Greater Vision single “Preacher, Tell It Like It Is.” They have announced the winner.
  • On Wednesday, Mansion Entertainment announced a name change to Mansion Entertainment & Marketing. They also announced that they have moved into a new facility that includes label offices (they’re still the label home of Triumphant Quartet and Three Bridges), an audio studio, and a new High-Definition TV studio. They posted a two-minute video tour of the new facility here.

Worth Reading

This week’s most thought-provoking Letter to the Editor comes courtesy of my siblings:

Dear Editor,
Groups often do Christmas CDs, but have any groups ever done Resurrection/ Passion Week CDs? It would seem so ideal, because there are many songs about the cross, blood being shed, the resurrection, etc. Groups could do songs in any order or they could proceed chronologically through the week with songs about the various Passion Week events.
Unlike Christmas albums which are usually only played between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a Resurrection CD would have year-round appeal to Christians.
It would be nice to see Southern Gospel groups come out with some Resurrection albums!
Daniel’s Siblings

The Paul Heil interview featured a number of tributes to the impact he has made on the genre. This one, from the Garms Family, was especially thoughtful:

On behalf of the family, I want to share a few words about the impact that Paul Heil and “The Gospel Greats” have had in our lives, particularly my own.

Our discovery of “The Gospel Greats” came after we discovered Southern Gospel music in 2005. One summer day, I was tuning the radio to a Contemporary Christian station that we occasionally listened to, and something surprising caught my ear. Yes- it was Southern Gospel music! I couldn’t believe it. A man’s voice came on after the song and proceeded to give the latest news in Southern Gospel. Another shock! This radio station gave Southern Gospel news instead of world news at the top of the hour! I was ecstatic, to say the least. 🙂 As we continued to listen to the radio station, we realized my naive mistake, but fell in love with the show “The Gospel Greats”.

Saturday afternoon at 4:00 PM found me (and any other siblings who wanted to join me) in front of the radio for those precious two hours of Southern Gospel music. We listened faithfully week after week, getting to know artists and becoming familiar with the current music. Sometimes we’d occupy ourselves with drawing or writing in tablets as we listened; other times we would be busy cleaning with every radio in the house blaring so we wouldn’t miss a single note! 🙂

When we subscribed to Singing News later on, we would refer to the latest issue whenever Paul had a new feature artist. (“Oh, so that’s who the Booth Brothers are!”) Springside catalogs were also my favorite items to receive in the mail, as I’d pore over them and study CD covers and song titles. (I still have nearly every one I ever received.)

I will never forget listening to Paul interview Dianne Wilkinson and Barbara Huffman. Hearing these two sweet ladies talk about songwriting inspired me greatly to write songs that would encourage, uplift, and teach people. I wanted to be just like them! 🙂

Many times Paul would play songs that blessed us at just the right time. For example, one time after Ben had learned of a fatal accident which claimed the life of a young church member, he turned on “The Gospel Greats”, and right at that moment The Talleys’ song “Life Goes On” was playing…exactly what he needed to hear.

Oh, the stories could go on of how “The Gospel Greats” were such an integral part of our lives, and how much they impacted and inspired us. Regrettably, we don’t get to hear Paul’s familiar voice each Saturday anymore. Both Minnesota stations that played “The Gospel Greats” ceased to feature them (to our huge disappointment), and besides that, we are often too occupied with our own singing ministry each weekend. But the memories we have of sitting glued to the radio, listening intently to every song, are irreplaceable and so special.

Thank you Paul (and Shelia!) for your ministry through “The Gospel Greats”! We appreciate it so much (and have friends that do as well). May God continue to bless your work and faithfulness. Also, thanks for the great interview, Daniel!

“Keep looking up!” 🙂

Blessings and Joy in the Journey,
Taylor for TGF

Worth Watching

Also worth watching: Matt Fouch interviews Scott Inman.

Worth Discussing

Are there any other significant Southern Gospel news stories from the past week?

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Dallas Rogers, Melton Campbell return to Inspirations

Two months ago, the Inspirations announced that former lead singer Matt Dibler had returned. Yesterday evening, they announced that two more alumni, tenor Dallas Rogers and baritone Melton Campbell, are also returning to the group. In a statement posted to Facebook, the group commented:

Well it’s time to finally make the announcement… After much prayer and consideration, we can now announce the official 2014 lineup for The Inspirations!! We could not be happier to announce that Dallas Rogers is returning to sing tenor, and Melton Campbell is returning to sing baritone! That means the 4 singers will now be Jon Epley at bass, Melton Campbell at baritone, Matt Dibler at lead, and Dallas Rogers at tenor. The positive feedback and support from our fans has been AMAZING during this time of transition, but as Martin Cook stated, we are “excited beyond words” about this new lineup! We believe that God has worked in a mighty way to bring all of this together, and the new sound of these 4 voices is something you are definitely gonna want to hear! We can’t wait to hit the road this weekend and look forward to seeing all of you in the following months and years. Thank you all for the kindness and patience you have shown us, and we will do our best to continue on with this wonderful tradition of The Inspirations– good ole Southern Gospel Quartet singing! We love y’all!

Dibler and Campbell are cornerstones of the recent years of the Inspirations’ legacy; both were members for most of the 2000s, when the group rose back to the top of the genre. Dallas Rogers’ run at tenor in the late 2000s left a shorter but still significant mark.

It is heartwarming to see the Inspirations enter their fiftieth anniversary year with a vocal lineup that fully does justice to one of the greatest legacies the genre has seen.

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Friday News Roundup #212


Worth Knowing

  • A fundraising campaign has been launched on Indiegogo (a site similar to Kickstarter) to fund a CD celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Company. The CD should contain forgotten gems from the Stamps-Baxter catalog.
  • The Woodsmen Quartet announced that lead singer Jim Hutson will be rejoining the group, and Daniel Rivera (who has sung with Blackwood Legacy, Promise, and The Toney Brothers) will be coming on board as tenor.

Worth Reading

When discussing the possibility that the Gaither Vocal Band could be working on an album of classic songs with new vocals, reader Joseph submitted this Letter to the Editor:

That seems to be a pattern for Gaither. He introduces new groups singing the cornerstone GVB songs to let the fans compare the new to an established standard. Then, he pursues the new stuff and explores different direction that highlight the talent.

I for one love that approach. My wife doesn’t understand why I have so many GVB albums. “They’re all the same songs” she says. But I say that even though they may be the same songs, they are unique in that each iteration of the group has offered it’s own special sound to the songs.

Bottom line, Bill Gaither is a genius!!

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

Are there any other significant Southern Gospel news stories from the week that we have yet to cover?

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Kim Collingsworth recovering from neck issue

There has been a fair amount of concern in Southern Gospel circles over the last week over Kim Collingsworth’s health after she had to miss a concert last weekend. It was the first time she missed a concert in the fifteen years the group has been on the road. I had been asked if she was all right and how she was doing, but hadn’t heard anything until the Collingsworth Family posted this yesterday:

Many thanks to everyone that has prayed for and are asking about Kim’s condition. Over this past weekend, she had to be taken to the ER at St Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix to have a debilitating neck pain diagnosed. She missed her first performance in 15 yrs Saturday morning at the SWGF in Phoenix. She was diagnosed with acute Torticollis, which is a condition of the neck muscle contracting during sleep, then locking in place and not releasing. The doctor was able to treat it with meds and she was able to perform on Sunday at Skyline Church in San Diego. Again, thanks to each of you for your concern and prayers !!!

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Todd Suttles joins Gaither Vocal Band

Yesterday afternoon, the Gaither Vocal Band announced that their new baritone will be Todd Suttles.

Last week, we featured several videos of Suttles filling in with the Gaither Vocal Band. Here’s one more video, of Suttles joining Wes Hampton in 2010 to sing “It Is Well”:

(Yes, we know the audio is a little out of sync, but the performance comes closer than anything else online to showcasing Suttles’ potential.)

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Friday News Roundup #211

Worth Knowing

  • Rich Crist of the (retiring) Crist Family will be joining the staff of the Crist Family’s record company, Crossroads, in March.
  • Gaither Music is up for a small business award in its hometown; their small business profile contains a number of fascinating details about the company.

Worth Reading

From this week’s Letters to the Editor, here are reader Dustin’s reflections on Southern Gospel’s Most Successful Soloists:

I’m late to a good conversation, but there is a lot of merit about writing your own songs as a soloist. There have not been many successful solo artists in gospel music. Only a few. And I’d say while many of the successful soloists remained successful and have their core, reliable fans, it’s easy for the “momentum” to stale up a bit among premier quartet fans. Southern gospel is a quartet world. When somebody leaves a big named group, fans anticipate the new vocalist, compare a group’s current personnel with combinations of past personnel. When you get a CD by a quartet or trio, you’re hearing different voices. And each new vocalist can bring a different dynamic to the group’s overall sound. Not so with a soloist. Also, emcee work must be good…keeping the audience engaged for an hour or more all by yourself can be tasking enough for a preacher. So it really helps to have a dynamic personality, as well as being extremely ministry minded.

Everyone needs a few heroes. Squire Parsons is one of mine. It was a highlight of my week when he commented on the site for the first time, sharing thoughts and prayers on the post about Bobby Clark’s stroke:

I just found out about my dear friend Bobby. Bobby Clark is in a class all by himself in my book. I love him personally and admire him professionally. i have been singing his song “I Know” continuously for more than a month in my preparation for concerts; I even have my wife, Linda singing it. Please convey our love and prayers to him and his family. Squire and Linda Parsons

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

Were there any other Southern Gospel news stories of significance this week?

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Peg McKamey sustains head injuries in serious fall

This afternoon, The McKameys and their booking agency, The Harper Agency, announced on Facebook that Peg McKamey Bean suffered head injuries in a serious fall on Wednesday morning. This weekend’s concerts have been postponed. Prayer is requested for Peg and for her family.

UPDATE (2/14/2014): The McKameys posted on Facebook: “Peg is doing much better today and may go home tomorrow,thank you for the prayers!.”

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Videos of Todd Suttles with the Gaither Vocal Band

The Gaither Vocal Band has not announced a final decision on their new fifth member yet, but it seems the decision is nearing. One finalist, David Staton, posted on Facebook earlier this week that he had not been selected, commenting: “Bill contacted me today and told me that he has decided to go in a different direction.”

Todd Suttles has been filling in at a number of recent Homecoming concerts. Here’s a video of the ensemble—Bill Gaither and David Phelps on the solos, with Wes Hampton, Adam Crabb, and Todd Suttles—singing “Child, You’re Forgiven”

Suttles doesn’t have a solo, but it’s nice to see the enthusiasm and energy he shows during David Phelps’ solo.

Here’s a shorter clip, from the same user, of “Rasslin’ Jacob”:

UPDATEVia reader Jamie, here are two more videos including Todd—a comedy moment, and Heaven’s Joy Awaits.

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Bobby Clark suffers stroke

Original Cathedral Quartet tenor Bobby Clark suffered two strokes on January 27th and 28th. He spent about two weeks in intensive care. A family member posted to his Facebook page this evening that he is beginning therapy, adding, “We will not know the true damage just yet, but I covet your prayers for him.”

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