CD Interviews: Scott Fowler (Legacy Five) on Great Day

CD Interview with Scott Fowler

In the CD interviews column, instead of sharing a reviewer’s thoughts about a project, we interview the artist to get the artist’s own thoughts. Our family has taken the structure and adapted it into a 8-1 format: a question from each member of our family for one singer. In this edition, Scott Fowler of Legacy Five shares some insightful thoughts about their upcoming album, Great Day.

David: What is Legacy Five looking for when you go to Lari Goss to produce a project?

Scott: I’m looking for the very distinct “high church” sound that Lari Goss produced music gives.  Big orchestral ballads especially.  Nobody does those like Lari.  You need certain songs and certain arrangements at certain points in your live performance.  When you need a big, moving ballad…Lari is the man!

Kris: Being a Lari Goss project, did that make recording vocals for Great Day more intense?

Scott: ABSOLUTELY. He makes you sing STRING parts much of the time.  I always hear, “Ok Fowler…now your going to be a viola on this part”. It’s a very different approach to vocals….and it is very hard, which is probably why most groups don’t even attempt it.  Every time we do a Lari recording, I promise myself I’ll never do it again…..then a few years later, I return back to the torture chamber to take my medicine.  

Ben: Who picked out the songs for your CD?

Scott: I did.  I probably listened to about 200 songs looking for the ones I felt strong about.  That’s pretty typical on most every recording.

Taylor: How do you see the songs — particularly “He Heals” and “Only the Living” — ministering to your audiences?

Scott: It’s interesting that you ask about these two songs in particular.  They are the “heaviest” songs on the entire recording, that’s for sure.  It’s always hard to know how folks are gonna embrace these kinds of songs.  

“Only the Living” is a song about the subject of dying.  Obviously not a fun topic to think about.  But, it’s the one thing every person at every concert has in common.  We have all had or will have to say goodbye to someone that we love.  But as this song says, if we are saying goodbye to a Christ Follower, then “only the living regret the leaving.  It’s only the one’s left behind who cry. Only the living, no shadows of grieving, but there is joy on the other side.”  So, I think this song will do great and will encourage our audience as it reminds us that the dearly departed are not crying….unless it’s tears of JOY!

 Concerning, “He Heals.”  Everyone needs to go to our blog  and read the story behind this song.  It will shed great light on these amazing lyrics.  Suffering, questions, doubt, resentment, anger….these are emotions we will all likely encounter at some point in our walk with God if we live long enough and experience enough heartache.  One of the most challenging issues is how to reconcile great suffering for the believer.  Especially when it comes to health related illness or accidents that adversely alter our lives forever.  That’s exactly what the writer of this song was challenged to do when her 20 year old son, Joey fell asleep while driving one day.  The resulting crash and devestating injury relegated him to a vegetative state that continues to this day.  Joey is now 27. Joey’s dad became angry with God wondering why He was just letting Joey “lay there.” His mom, in an effort to encourage her husband, penned these lyrics . “I know you’re hurt, I know you’re angry, I know you don’t understand. Why you’re here, How did this happen, How can this be part of his plan? Well, I don’t know what he knows, So I can’t tell you why. But I know the love He shows, And His ways confound the wise…and…He heals, broken hearts, broken bodies, broken minds. He heals, by His blood, by His love and in His time.”  

You see, Taylor…many of us never see the healing in the sense of a miraculous healing or reversal of the damage done as a result of debilitating sickness or injury.   My dad died of cancer when I was 19 years old. My best friend, Roger Bennett died from Leukemia.  The list is almost endless, the number of funerals I have attended of people dying before “their time.” Sometimes, God does heal miraculously.  But when He doesn’t…..what then?  What does that mean?  That’s where most of us live.  This song addresses that head on.  And I think it addresses it in a significant and realistic way. So to finally answer your question…I hope this song will bring enough of an answer to these difficult questions so that the listener trusts God….and doesn’t blame Him when we have to endure the unthinkable.

Leesha: Are there any songs on this project you personally identify with? 

Scott: Yes.  I really, really identify with “So Many Things To Thank Him For.” Let me tell you a quick story. One night recently, I laid awake in bed and couldn’t seem to fall asleep.  As my mind wondered aimlessly, I found myself thinking, “man….I’m laying in a king-sized sleep number bed.  I have a wonderful wife next to me.  I have two amazing, healthy, happy boys upstairs and they are sleeping soundly in a warm, dry non-sleep-number bed.  I have a great “job” doing what I love to do with guys that are incredible to walk thru life with.  My tummy isn’t growling.  My car runs.  My bills are paid.  I was born in America. I have great family and wonderful friends.  I go to a fantastic church.  Most of the food in my fridge still has a valid expiration date.  My family are all Christians….man, I’m blessed!  This song challenges me to stop concentrating on what I don’t have and focus on being grateful for what I DO HAVE!

Sam: Your Kickstarter campaign was a great success.  Could you tell us how it came about, and if were you ever concerned that the funding wouldn’t come through? 

Scott: Well Sam, I had been contemplating this concept for quite a few months. I’m not even sure how I stumbled on to kickstarter a few years ago, but I have been “milling” it around for quite some time now.  Recording a CD like “Great Day” is very, very expensive.  You have a full orchestra to pay.  Having a full orchestra means you spend an enormous amount of time mixing which means lots of extra studio time and engineer time.  You have to hire a producer to write every single instrument’s part in the orchestra.  Lari Goss writes his charts the old-fashioned way…by hand, on staff paper.  Then, you have to hire a copyist to put it all in a computer program and get it readable and printable for the players to actually read like a normal piece of music. Then, we wanted a choir, so Trey had to write all the choir parts.  He wrote two soprano parts, two alto parts, two tenor parts and one bass part.  Lord knows Trey ain’t cheap!  Plus you have all the typical expenses of photography, graphic design, mastering, manufacturing the final product, marketing, etc.  Another reality is CD sales in every single genre of music has fallen drastically.  So, it’s much more difficult to warrant making these expensive CD’s because you can’t sell enough these days to ever recoup your costs.  So, I decided to see if the people who love Legacy Five and love our music would want to partner with us to make this type of recording a reality for us.  I didn’t really know what to expect.  But what I soon found out was that people were loving being a direct part of the process.  So for different “pledge” amounts, people got different “rewards.”  The L5 choir was a BIG hit and it turned out fantastic!  Folks can go here to learn more about what we did on Kickstarter.  The money we raised didn’t pay for the entire recording budget, but it sure did help get us a long way down the road!

Jayme: Who came up with the idea for a choir composed of fans on “Christ is Still the King”?

 Scott: Well, I actually came up with the idea when I was brainstorming on different creative pledge rewards to offer.  I remember thinking how cool it would have been when I was a kid, if I had had the opportunity to sing on a southern gospel recording with my favorite group.  So, I decided to find a song on the CD that would work well with a choir and “Christ Is Still The King” is perfect! The choir MADE this song!

Caleb: What was your first impression when you heard “That’s a Hallelujah”?

Scott: The biggest challenge for me when I am listening to songs trying to find 10 to record, is frankly the up-tempo ones.  It’s kind of hard for me to find up-tempo songs that actually “say something.”  I don’t like songs that are filled with predictable cliché’s.  So when I heard, “That’s a Hallelujah” I thought….”yes, here’s a good up tempo song that say’s something.”

TGF: Are you up for a bonus question? We sure hope so! Here it goes:

Caleb: If you could be anyone in the studio but the singer, who would you be?

Scott: I would either be the piano player or the producer.  Both seem super fun to me!

David: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about Great Day?

Scott: When you’re down and out, lift up your head and shout, it’s gonna be a great day.

Angels in the sky promise that by and by, there’s gonna be a great day!

Gabriel will warn you some early morn’ you will hear his horn.  Rooty tootin’.

It’s not far away lift up your head and say, it’s gonna be a great day!

Thank you so much for making time out of your busy week to answer our questions, Scott!  You will be able to order Great Day though Legacy Five’s website, www.legacyfive.com, when it is released.

Editor’s note: If you’d like to hear one of this album’s songs for yourself, Daywind is holding a giveaway: The first 1,000 to email legacyfive@daywind.com will receive a free mp3 of “Christ is Still the King,” the song with the Kickstarter Choir! 

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CD Interviews: Jodi Hosterman on Love Came Through (Skyline Boys)

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In the CD interviews column, instead of sharing a reviewer’s thoughts about a project, we interview the artist to get his own thoughts. Here, Skyline Boys tenor Jodi Hosterman—whom many of you will also remember from his time with the Inspirations and with the Kingdom Heirs—shares his thoughts on his current group’s latest release, Love Came Through.

Daniel: What would you name as the project’s strongest song? If it’s a different song, do you have a personal favorite?

Jodi: First of all, let me start out by thanking you for the opportunity to highlight our music to your audience. One of the strengths of the Skyline Boys is our diversity of music. We cover a wide range of styles from progressive to a little country and our fans have come to expect the unexpected from us musically. That being said, all of our songs will appeal to a wide audience. If you don’t like the song that just played, that’s ok because something totally different is coming next. I’m going to pass on naming a strongest song but I will pick a favorite. “Sing It Brother, Sing It” has been a real crowd favorite for us. It’s a fast song that our crowds are really enjoying and when the people are enjoying a song, it makes it that much easier to sing.

Daniel: There are a few songs on this project that readers might have heard before. One of them is “Makes Me Wanna Go,” written by lead singer Brian Alvey when he was with Tribute Quartet. Can you share a little about what Alvey brings to the group, both as a singer and as a songwriter?

Jodi: Brian has been a very good addition for us. He is a supremely talented singer. He rarely misses a pitch and has the ability to sing a fast song or a ballad with equal sensitivity. Aside from the song you mentioned, we haven’t explored any of Brian’s other songs. This song made it onto the album due to the fact that our song selection leaned a little ballad-heavy. During tracking, Brian pitched this song to us and we all immediately loved it. It was just what the album needed—an up-tempo, quartet song.

Daniel: One of your feature songs is “He’s All I Need,” a Kingsmen classic that has become a tenor standard. Whose idea was it that you do the song?

Jodi: This question has an interesting answer. Before I rejoined the group, the recording cycle was already in motion. Meaning, the songs had been selected and the dates were set for the studio. I came on board and found out that we were cutting this song. I’ve been singing professionally for 15 years and tend to shy away from tenor “standards.” I’m of the opinion that these songs are already being sung by every tenor in the country, so folks don’t need to hear one more guy singing them. But this particular song I had never had the opportunity to sing. I’d heard it a million times but had never sung it. We sang it in rehearsal before my first concert back with the group just to make sure we were all on the same page. I immediately fell in love with this song!! The lyrics are incredible and it fits me vocally like no other song ever has. It’s like it was written just for me. We use it for our invitation song in concert and it sets the tone for the message the Skyline Boys deliver every night.

Daniel: Has the first radio single been picked yet?

Jodi: The first single is “Makes Me Wanna Go.” It is already at radio and is just starting to pick up some momentum. We had a little difficulty in picking the first song to release as we have 4 songs that deserve consideration for release as singles. This is a great problem to have!! It means that folks can anticipate a lot of great music on the horizon from the Skyline Boys.

Daniel: When will Love Came Through be available?

Jodi: Love Came Through is available right now. You can get it off our table at concerts or through our web site, www.theskylineboys.com. This is our best album to date and we are excited for folks to hear it. It has already been featured on Paul Heil’s The Gospel Greats radio program. Paul has been a big fan of the group for some time and we are grateful to him. There are a lot of great things in store for the Skyline Boys and we are anxious to discover what God has in store for us next!

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CD Interviews: Bryan Hutson (Soul’d Out Quartet) on Soulace 3

CD Interviews: Bryan Huston of Soul'd Out Quartet

In the CD interviews column, instead of sharing a reviewer’s thoughts about a project, we interview the artist to get the artist’s own thoughts. Our family has taken the structure and adapted it into a 8-1 format: eight questions from each member of our family for one singer. In this edition, we spoke with Bryan Hutson of Soul’d Out Quartet about their most recent release in their unique Soulace series, Soulace 3.

David: Soul’d Out’s latest project is number three in the Soulace series; would you tell us about the Soulace series and its unique title?

Bryan: When I first came with the group, November 2011, we wanted to do some songs that were recognizable to the typical Southern Gospel quartet fan/concert goer. One of the guys said, “How about if we take the word soul as in Soul’d Out and kind of put a twist on it.” Well, the word solace means comfort. So we took the word solace and put our twist on it and made it soulace with the first CD coming out in January 2012.

Last year, we did Soulace 2 in which we did some old Imperials songs, because we had a new bass singer, Ian Owens, who had spent some time early in his career as part of the Imperials. We grabbed an old Imperials song, The Old Gospel Ship, put our twist on it, added some older songs, and some hymns. We find that we enjoy singing them because we grew up singing those songs in the church and listening to other groups record them – groups like the Statesmen, the Cathedrals, Kingsmen, and Gold City. That’s what the Soulace series is all about.

Kris: For readers who have never heard your music, describe your sound in five words.

Bryan: Five words? Wow! I’m going to say fresh, exciting, harmony, ministry and camaraderie. When my wife comes to a concert, she can tell we all get along, we are all equally minded, and that our hearts are all in the same place. We’re about ministry, we’re about making music, and we’re all friends.

Ben: Who arranges your music? It’s very diverse!

Bryan: I think with the backgrounds we all have, we all just kind of jump in and say, “You know, this would be cool here, this would be a neat inversion here, let’s invert the parts here, let’s try this.” So we take our own thoughts and ideas and incorporate them into our music. I like harmony, so any time there’s a soloist who does a little vocal move, I say, “Let’s put the parts around him as he’s doing this really cool vocal move.” We’re all pretty good at knowing what we can do vocally, what is going to add to the song or take away from the song. I guess we all contribute the best we can and pray it turns out good.

Taylor: Being newer to the quartet, what does Ian Owens bring to the group sound?

Bryan: Ian has a very distinct vocal range. A lot of bass singers, all they can do is sing low and they don’t have a very good solo voice, to me. Ian is much like a George Younce (of the Cathedrals); where he can step up, sing a solo, and sing it in a register that is mainly for a lead singer. He can step up and perform it flawlessly. I think vocally, that’s what he’s brought to us where he can sing the low stuff, hitting ultralow notes and rattle the walls when we need him to, but he can also sing a melody and a solo so we can build parts around it with a great blend. Plus, he spent some time with the Imperials (like I said earlier) and Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, so he had a lot of experience when it comes to singing harmony songs. He hears harmony parts really well. 

Leesha: Noting this is the second time you have recorded “When God Ran,” would you tell us what that song means to you?

Bryan: “When God Ran” is my testimony song. The song was recorded originally by Benny Hestor in the early 80’s. You could really tell he was an 80’s type of rock gospel singer – real raspy sounding voice. Then Phillips, Craig, and Dean recorded it in the late 90’s, and that’s the version that I heard first. I was a prodigal. I had grown up in church and I let things happen in my life and I got away from God. It was only by His grace and His restoration that I was able to come back and able to be completely restored. I’m so thankful that He loved me enough to welcome me back home.

When I went back to the Kingsmen in 2007, that was the song that I took to the group and to the record company. They could not hear a quartet singing it. They heard a really Contemporary trio – Phillips, Craig, and Dean – and they really couldn’t grasp a quartet like the Kingsmen doing this song. I said, “Listen, people will be blessed by this song – people will be encouraged by this song.” They finally agreed and we recorded it. Night after night, when I was with the Kingsmen, people would come up and say how much the song had ministered to them and helped them.

We recorded it for Soulace 3. The first time we did it was New Year’s Eve, and we’ve sung it every concert since. I have had countless people already come up and had never heard the song with the Kingsmen, but are being blessed once again. I just feel like it’s a message, not just for Soul’d Out, or the Kingsmen; I feel like it’s a message that all Christians should tell – that we do mess up and we make mistakes, but God is faithful, God forgives, and God restores. We need to get that message out because there are so many people in churches all across America that feel like they’ve messed up so badly that God won’t forgive them. That’s why I’m passionate about it, because I know that I was there; I was in that far country like the prodigal. Thank God, that He ran out to us, ran out to me, and I’m eternally grateful.

Sam: How much practice does it take to prepare for a new album?

Bryan: Well, honestly, we don’t rehearse a whole lot. A lot of times, if it’s like the Soulace project, we found demos of the groups we liked. We didn’t learn it exact before going into the studio, because there’s a lot of things that can change in the studio. When you get into the studio and the track is a little bit different than the original; then you’ve got to relearn it, and you’ve got to get your mind to work to match up with your voice. It’s sometimes difficult. Once we get in the studio and get it all worked out; then it’s almost like we take the CD home and learn what we did in the studio.

Jayme: Which song was hardest to record and why?

Bryan: Probably, on Soulace 3, “Arise My Love.” It was the hardest one to record because it was a track that the Imperials had, so we had to match what they did. I had heard different versions of it: New Song, (the Contemporary group) who wrote it and recorded it first in the early 90’s; the Southern Gospel group The Greenes, had recorded it also years ago – so I had their versions in my mind. But we really had to stick with what the Imperials did, because we used their track. Plus, it is very vocally taxing. It starts in a one key and changes keys. We have sang it out in concert about four or five times, and get great response.

Caleb: We asked Matt Fouch, bass singer for Legacy Five, host of “On the Couch with Fouch,” and formally of Soul’d Out, if he had a question for you concerning Soulace 3. Matt asks, “With as many albums as you’ve recorded on, what stands out to you as the being the best feature of Soulace 3?”

Bryan: Wow! That’s a great question! That’s surprising because he’s not usually that smart. Well, I would have to say a song called “You Were There.” Dusty Barret, our tenor singer, recorded this. Dusty, in my opinion, is one the best tenor singers I’ve ever sung with. The best way for me to describe Dusty is he has music in his voice. He’s not a screaming tenor, and he’s not concerned about singing just the high notes. He has just a beautiful, beautiful voice. The song, “You Were There,” talks about God is always there in the midst of the unknown and amidst the things we’re going through. Dusty just executes it, to me, perfectly. If you see Matt, tell him that that was a good question, and ask him how long it took him to come up with that question. 

David: Well, you made it through all eight questions! I have Jayme standing right next to me and she is just itching to ask a bonus question. Are you ready for it?

Bryan: I’m ready.

Jayme: Do you guys fix your hair to go into the studio?

Bryan: I do not. Because you have to wear the headphones, okay? So if you fix your hair, then you have to worry about headphone-hair. I learned my lesson the hard way. Now this was back in the day – you know, I’ve been out here for twenty years professionally – and I think the first real professional recording I was going to do, I fixed my hair and I wore a really nice shirt. Now I’m thinking, “I’m gonna be standing for seven or eight hours today, and I’m gonna have headphone-hair – no, I am not going to do my hair.” So I always wear a ball cap or some kind of hat, and I get as relaxed as I can with a good pair of tennis shoes or something comfortable. You’re going to be standing and then sitting, and then standing and then sitting, and then standing, so I do not fix my hair. But I do any other time. I make sure I fix my hair, but not in the studio. That was a great bonus question!

David: Bryan, is there anything else you would like to share about Soulace 3 and what you guys have going on that we can share with the readers?

Bryan: Well, I am excited about Soulace 3, it’s full of great songs, it’s very diverse. A lot of people label our music progressive Southern. We’re a quartet, yet we don’t do songs that are typically done as a quartet. So we do some things I think the young people who really enjoy Contemporary music are gonna like. We also do quartet songs that people who are die-hard quartet fans will like. I feel like there’s songs for everybody. We like to be diverse and this CD showcases that – our diversity, our vocals. We try stuff that sounds neat, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t – and I feel like this CD really showcases that.

Thanks Bryan for sharing about Soulace 3 with us!  You can pick up your own copy of this CD on Soul’d Out Quartet’s website: www.souldoutquartet.com.

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CD Interviews: Ernie Haase (Ernie Haase + Signature Sound) on Oh, What a Savior

cd-interviews_Ernie-Haase

In the CD interviews column, instead of sharing a reviewer’s thoughts about a project, we interview the artist to get the artist’s own thoughts. Our family has taken the structure and turned it into a 8-1 format: eight questions from each member of our family for one singer. We recently asked Ernie Haase some questions about Ernie Haase + Signature Sound’s recent CD and DVD project, Oh, What a Savior.

David: Oh What A Savior is a live album. What prompted you to do another live recording?

Ernie Haase: Well, EHSS has always taken to the philosophy that all that REALLY matters is the 2-3 hours you spend with your fans in concert.  Everything we do is with that in mind.  So, it was natural to finally release a live recording…to capture the true spirit of what EHSS is all about.

Kris: How long does a typical live recording take versus a regular concert?

Ernie: It actually takes twice as long.  There are so many factors to consider.  The controlled room of a studio allows us to fix things much easier.  A live show is much harder to control.  But, having said that, the live element cannot be duplicated at all in a studio and that makes it worth the extra time.

Ben: Was the live recording venue specifically selected, or was it a part of your regular touring schedule? What do you look for in a venue for a live recording?

Ernie: I picked it on purpose.  We have played this venue (The Carson Center in Paducah, KY) before and we recorded the Get Away Jordan DVD there, too.  So we knew the venue and it helped make the decision easier.  It has a great room, great memories and is relatively close to Nashville, TN were the production crew is located. 

Taylor: What was the most memorable moment of the night?

Ernie: There were many! The energy from my alma mater (Castle High School) was amazing — the choir and cheerleaders came to support me.  They are big Sig Sound fans and wanted to be there.  Then there was the performance with J. Mark McVey on “Climb Every Mountain”.  Mark is a Broadway legend and has played many leading roles (Jean Valjean of Les Miserables is most recent).  That performance brought the house down!  The tender moment of “Sometimes I Wonder” took my breath away.  And then, of course, the title song “Oh, What A Savior.”  I never tire of singing that song.  But on that special night, the crowd took the song away from us and lifted their voices together with EHSS and the magic of the night was reflected back to the Father.  It was a worship experience that I will never forget.

Leesha: What is the hardest aspect of a live recording? Easiest?

Ernie: Well, the hardest part is being at ease.  So much effort and money has been invested at this point and your mind is consumed with having your A-game.  So finding the sweet spot in your mind and spirit and trusting your training and feeling the prayer support is a must.  But I will not lie to you – being at ease is the hardest thing to overcome. The easiest thing about a live recording for me is smiling.  I don’t ever have to remind myself, “Smile, the camera is on you.”  With all the pressure that a live CD and DVD bring, that pales in comparison to the absolute JOY I feel when I am on that stage making a major production for our fans.  I am in my happy place…my Disney World if you will.

Sam: You’ve brought back a lot of familiar songs such as, “When the Saints Go Marching In”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord”. Could you tell us the thought process behind your song selections?

Ernie: These kinds of songs are time honored.  People know and love them.  When we bring back those kinds of songs we want to breathe new life into them and preserve the great American songbook.  We always try to give the song our own arrangement…a Signature Sound.  Plus, not all Southern Gospel songs translate to the international crowds and to the American Performing Art Centers that we play.  These songs help us make friends everywhere really quickly.

Jayme: Is it easier to record “Oh What A Savior” in front of a live audience, or in front of a microphone in the studio?

Ernie: LIVE, by far.  Technically, it is easier in the studio because I can hear better and there is less strain on my voice.  But I never feel the heart and soul of it like I do in a live setting.  However, I think I did come close to it one time recently (in the studio) on our Cathedrals Family Reunion CD.  I felt as if George and Glen were putting a good word in for me as I recorded it.  I felt something extra special in the studio that day!

Caleb: What do you want the listener to come away with after hearing the new album?

Ernie: I want them to know that everything is going to be ok.  One of the songs we performed is a new song I wrote with Joel Lindsey and Wayne Haun called “Shh, Be Still.”  I know we live in troubling times.  But honestly, times have always had their share of challenges.  The believer who trusts in God can relax in the midst of it all.  It’s not that we never feel the pain and never have worry. What I do want people to know is that you are being held by the Sovereign God Almighty and in the end we will always be taken care of.  So: SHHH, BE STILL and relax.  God is in this place.

TGF: Are you up for a bonus “off-the-wall” question?

Click “read more” to see the bonus question!

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CD Interviews: Roger Talley (The Talleys) on The Test of Time

cd-interviews_Roger-Talley

In the CD interviews column, instead of sharing a reviewer’s thoughts about a project, we interview the artist to get the artist’s own thoughts. Our family has taken the structure and adapted it into a 8-1 format: eight questions from each member of our family for one singer. In this edition, Roger Talley shares thoughts about The Talley’s most recent release, The Test of Time.

David: Your latest CD is The Test of Time. Did you have the concept of “the test of time” in mind when you started selecting songs or did it just develop as you brought those songs together?

Roger Talley: We did a record a few years ago called Songs You Know by Heart, and some of those songs have been some of our best songs. We had done three or four more projects of new songs and felt like it was time to do a project of classic songs again, that we loved, but had already been cut. We decided to do a couple of new songs on the project, that would allow us to have a little more options as far as radio singles. We recorded a song that won the Singing News Songwriting Contest called “Hidden Heroes” and another new song titled “What You Leave Behind”. It is kind of a story song about someone who was left certain things by his father after he had passed away. I heard it immediately after my father passed away. That song really spoke to me. One of the lines says, “Stuff will rust and turn to dust, but it’s love that will stand the test of time.” I think it sums up the project well, because these are all songs that have stood the test of time. So that’s how the two things fit together; a line from one of the new songs that it describes all the classic songs.

Kris: Is there any song on this new project that needed to be recorded because it was a real personal song for The Talleys?

Roger: We recorded “Serenaded By Angels,” which my brother Kirk wrote several years ago and was also his signature song. A lot of folks come up and ask questions about that song. They want to know, first of all, if we sing it, and then they want to know the story about how it was written. We just felt like that was a song that had not been sung a lot lately, and had a personal connection to us.

Ben: As a producer, what stands out the most on The Test of Time? What did you enjoy the most about the project from a producer’s perspective?

Roger: I felt like this project allowed us to go back a little bit to a sound we had a few years ago. To me, this project is a little more like the old Talleys. I hear a lot of elements in this that remind me of things we recorded maybe ten years ago when Lauren was younger; when she sang a little different style then she has been singing lately. This kind-of harkens back to a sound that I missed and I’m really glad that we got it again on this CD.

Taylor: You mentioned “Hidden Heroes” earlier, in your first answer. Could you tell us a little bit more about that song and how it came to be on your CD through the Singing News Songwriters Contest?

Roger: The Singing News Songwriting Contest is sponsored by Crossroads, which is our recording company. This year this song was chosen as the winner. Chris White had it sent to us and said that he thought of us when he heard the song, and he wanted to know if we would be interested in doing it. I told him, “Well, I’m sure it’s a good song, but we’re doing a record of classics this time, so it’s probably not going to fit with that CD.” To be honest, I didn’t even listen to it for a couple of weeks. We were in a meeting one day, and somebody asked what I thought of the song. I said, “I have to be honest, I didn’t listen to it because I didn’t think it was something we’d do this at time.”

When we listened to it, Lauren said, “Oh, this is a great song. We need to do this song.” It speaks to us on such a personal level, for a couple of reasons. The first verse is about a mother who cares for her special needs child. She is the hero to that child. But nobody sees— I mean, caregivers give all their time and they take care of people, and nobody sees, but God. Those people are heroes in His eyes. We have a friend, a very close friend in Nashville, who has started a ministry called the Veranda. It is like a daycare for dementia patients. It gives that healthcare provider, the caregiver, a day off. My wife, Debra, is on the board of directors of that facility, so we have a real soft spot for that.

The second verse talks about a husband and wife who have been married for fifty years and she has Alzheimer’s. It talks about how he faithfully cares for her, even though she doesn’t even know who he is. My mom and dad were married sixty years and my mother died of Alzheimer’s about two and a half years ago. My father had cared for her for the past ten years before she died, day in day out, and he went to the nursing home every day after she had to go there. That verse just was their story.

Leesha: How many projects does this make for the current line-up of The Talleys?

Roger: Now Leesha, you have asked me a question that I’m not even sure I know the answer. I was going to try to sound intelligent on this interview! To be honest, I would have to go back and count. [count CDs] If I am looking right, I think there’s sixteen, and the first one, I think, with Lauren was in 1996. I guess the average is one a year.

Sam: What was it like to record vocals in your own studio, Summit Recording Studio?

Roger: Oh, it’s great! We are fortunate to be home here; that way we can go in and if someone’s not feeling good, the others work a while. One will say, “Well, I’m going to the bank and the post office, so you finish your verse and I’ll be back in a little bit.” We end up taking twice as long as we should because we’re all trying to do something else at the same time. It’s better than having to drive somewhere a long way away and stay at a hotel —to be able just to do it at your own pace. At Crossroads, they always want to know when I’ll have it finished, and I’ll say, “Well, whenever we all get enough time to get in there and do it, I’ll let you know.”

Jayme: Where there any special memories made while recording?

Roger: I think there are always special memories made when we record. I think the thing that made this one a little special was the fact that we were recording those two new songs I talked about. We had such a personal connection to them. I’ll be honest, when you’re recording you aren’t always able to sing on an emotional level. You’re usually thinking on a technical level of “this is the note I’ve got to hit” and “I hate the way my voice sounds right there,” and “I cut off before you guys,” and all that. But we were actually able to feel some good genuine emotion in recording those two songs, “Hidden Heroes” and “What You Leave Behind”, because of the close family connection with them. So I would say that would be the special memory from this project.

Caleb: Was there anything different for The Talleys musically on this project?

Roger: We always try to be diverse and interesting musically. A lot of times it’s really hard to find songs that fit a mixed-group, with women in it, because a lot of songs just seem too masculine, if that makes any sense. It’s a different type of song usually than what a quartet would pick. Now there are some songs that are universal. But since we weren’t finding new songs, we were able to take some that were sung by female artists already. Songs like “Holy Ground”, “I Go to the Rock”, and “I Ride on Wings of Love”, we knew already worked with a female singing them. And a song that I had just loved forever, an old song recorded by the Speer Family called “He’s Ever Interceding”, we recorded that song as well. Debra sang it and it just gives me warm goose bumps; I know goose bumps are usually thought of as cool, but it just gives me a warmth every time I hear her sing it.

David: Well, that covers the eight questions that we have. But Caleb is still standing right next to me and he’s just busting to ask a bonus question.

Roger: Ready, go for it!

Caleb: What is your favorite snack food to eat in the studio?

Roger: Well, I am the cookie monster — that is my nickname. I never met a cookie I didn’t like at all. If anybody knows we’re going to be around, they know that cookies are always a plus. So that’s my favorite snack food, and if I had to pick a flavor: oatmeal raisin.

David: Well, Roger, just one other thing, is there anything else that’s on your heart or mind that you want to say about this project, The Test of Time?

Roger: I never know when we finish a project whether or not we hit the mark we were aiming for. I think we get too close to the songs and especially going over every little detail trying to make it the best we can, just trying to achieve perfection — which we never will. Sometimes you never know how it’s going to be received. We got our CD just a little over a week ago from the manufacture, and two or three of my friends got a copy and listened. It’s been really exciting to hear their responses. They say that it’s exactly where The Talleys need to be as far as songs and style-wise. And so that gives me a good feeling and a good barometer that hopefully we’ve achieved what we were going for. We sang a few of the songs this past week and they got a really good response. We sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”, “When He Calls (I’ll Fly Away)”, and “Isn’t the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful” — an old John W. Peterson song — and the response was really, really good. I am optimistic and I am happy that we were able to, I think, achieve what we were going for. I hope everyone else enjoys it.

Thank you, Roger, for taking the time to talk with us!  You can get your own copy of The Test of Time at The Talleys’ website: www.thetalleys.com.

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CD Interviews: Doug Anderson on Drive

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In the CD interviews column, instead of sharing a reviewer’s thoughts about a project, we interview the artist to get the artist’s own thoughts. Doug Anderson’s second solo release, Drive, comes out today; he graciously agreed to share some insight into the project.

Daniel J. Mount: Because it is a little unusual in this case, I’ll start off by asking how fans can purchase the project. I know some of my readers will have heard about the “Drive to Retail” campaign, but for those who haven’t, could you explain the idea?

Doug Anderson: Sure! The first two weeks of the release, they won’t be able to get it at Signature Sound’s table or my website; they won’t be able to get it anywhere but retail. Whether that be Family Christian, Life Way, Target, Walmart, they’ll just be able to get it at the retail stores.

The “Drive to Retail” campaign is about building a relationship with retail. Anybody that has ever made it in this business, whether it be Third Day, Michael W. Smith, or Toby Mac, has a relationship with retail. And that’s how they’ve prolonged their careers; people go to retail stores and buy their projects. That’s the way the secular world does it; that’s the way most of the major contemporary artists do it. I mean, they do sell projects at their table, but they really have a relationship with retail.

So what we did to build a future for myself, as Doug Anderson, is try to partner up with the retail stores and say, “Hey, this is good. We are willing to help you if you help us.” It’s just kind-of one of those deals where they win, and we win as well. Whether we win immediately, or we win in the future.

Southern Gospel has always made their money by selling projects at the table. We want to broaden our horizons and make our relationship with retail stores, and let them know we have good music out there. So it’s not only helping me personally, but I would like to think it’s helping Southern Gospel as a whole. So we’ve done the whole “Drive to Retail” deal just to kind-of do something different then what everybody else has done.

Daniel: One quick follow up to that: will people be able to purchase it digitally on release day, or will they have to wait two weeks on that?

Doug: They will. We’re trying to do a “Drive to Retail” to get them to go to the retail stores, but they can definitely download it immediately on iTunes on January 21st as well. Whether it be Internet or digital downloads, that’s kind of where things are going at this point. But we’re still trying to support the retail stores that are out there that support us.

Daniel: On your debut solo project, you had a couple of guest vocal appearances. Do you have any on this one?

Doug: You know what, we talked about that a lot. On the first one, people want to see what you’re all about, and we had guest appearances. But Wayne [Haun] and I talked, and Ernie [Haase] of course, and thought that on the second project, I needed to do everything myself. Of course I’ve got background vocals; Signature Sound is on there. Michael Passons from Avalon is on there, Ty Herman’s on there. They’re on there, but it’s not a big deal as far as a duet. We’ve got great background vocalists, of course, but they wanted to take a different route on this one. I don’t mean that to sound arrogant by any means. You know what I mean.

Daniel: I do, yes. Now for a random question: Who had the idea to convert a Dolly Parton hit song, “The Seeker”, into a baritone solo?

Doug: Well, you know what, that was about a three year old idea. We’d been kicking around songs, of course, for a year and a half, but when I started to record, throw out ideas for another project, Wayne said, “I’ve got a song for you. You did a Billy Dean cover on the first tune, and, you know, you’re basically a country music artist with Gospel roots, and things like that, and you like that. So how about a Dolly Parton tune?” He pitched it to me, and we just sat on it for about two years.

Man, I’m a huge Dolly Parton fan; when I was growing up, my parents, we listened to everything from Frank Sinatra and George Beverly Shea to Dolly Parton. And that was one of the songs I remember as a kid. So I put that song on there.

I read in her bios that it was kind of a prayer for her when she recorded it. So I fell in love with it back then and just to do it again was fun.

Daniel: Cool! Now, often when I talk with a singer, singers will tell me they are looking for songs that communicate truth in a way they never quite heard it put before. Of the songs when you were listening through the songs to pick for this project; of the songs you picked, was there one that most jumped out to you in that way?

Doug: Well, sure. I’ve never been ashamed of saying, I’ve always been myself, and never really tried to be any where or anybody else. You know, that’s probably hurt me. In many ways, if I had been a little more pushy in different areas, I’d probably been a lot farther in my career than I am; I’ve always just tried to be me. I figured if you record songs that speak to me, then they speak to other people. And after twelve years, I found that to be true.

There’s a song called, “Moment”; it’s written by Rachel McCutchin. It’s really getting big right now, people that have the record are responding to it. You know, my life has been a moment-by-moment grace process. I lived, and I’ve had a lot of successes and failures along the way as well, but God’s always been there to protect me and keep me on the right path whether I knew it or not. That’s probably one of the songs that will jump out on this record that people will actually love and relate to as well.

Daniel: Yes. Are you doing a radio single to Southern Gospel radio, and if so, do you have one picked out yet?

Doug: Yes, absolutely. I think it will go out this month. It’s called “Love With Open Arms,” written by Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey, and Jeff Bumgardner. When I talked to them about writing for the project, they all wanted to know what I wanted. I wanted fun and, to be honest, I wanted country. But I wanted a great message, and they kicked a song to me that was like the Keith Urban/Brad Paisley style. That was the song “Love With Open Arms.”

The title speaks for itself. It’s more that Phillip Phillips sound. People who have listened to it so far are digging it. So, you know, hopefully it will do well. We really love it, and the people at Signature Sound and StowTown Records love it, too, so hopefully it will go far.

Daniel: Cool. All right, so just for a fun question, what kind of car are you in on the cover, and did you get to drive it during the photo shoot?

Doug: [Laughs] Yeah, you know, that’s a great story. One of my best friends in the world, Frank Mills, is a friend with a guy that works for a company in Indiana called King Systems.” They have a mansion out north of town where we live, and had an eight-car garage. He had actually two Corvettes in his garage; he had an old ’68 pickup truck; he had, of course, a Suburban and things like that. But he had a old ’57 Chevy, bright red convertible. And so when we were doing the “drive” concept, which I thought would be a great to market it, we did a picture in a car. I mean, what else are you going to do with a CD called “Drive”?

So we found a guy that had great cars, and we went out there and spent the day, my wife and kids, and Glenda Mills, who was my photographer. We spent probably a whole afternoon out there shooting scenes in the cars, and I did get to drive it. I got to drive it down the road, and she shot a lot of photos. Actually, one of my favorite pictures is in the insert of the CD. He had two Corvettes, and we had them facing each other. Michelle and I got to lean out of cars and kiss. People are raving about that picture. I mean, not that means anything about the project, but it made it fun!

Daniel: A random question. Of all the songs that Signature Sound has recorded, but hasn’t sung within the last year, what would you say is your favorite? Do you have a favorite song that Signature Sound hasn’t been singing recently?

Doug: Oh man, that’s a loaded question! I’ve been fortunate to sing a lot of great songs myself within Signature Sound, and, of course, you know, being politically correct, “O What A Savior” is still a hit every night we sing it, but a song called “Until We Fly Away” is a song that I sing, that Joel Lindsey wrote. We don’t sing it every night anymore, just because Signature Sound has so many songs. But it’s one of the songs I get asked for every night; and just because we have different repertoire now and we have a different program, we don’t get to sing it. But that is a career song for me, and I just love it, man!

Daniel: Cool! I’ll just close with this: was there anything else you wanted to bring up to make sure the readers knew about the project?

Doug: You know what, if I could just say something to my fans: Southern Gospel has the most loyal fans in the entire world. Just to get their calls and their emails and their Facebooks and things like that; you know, the fans that we have, they know me; I’m just who I am and I’m so grateful that they’re around.

Daniel: Thank you!

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CD Interviews: Jeremy Peace (The Old Paths) on These Truths

CD Interviews with Jeremy Peace

Daniel introduced this special CD Interview series with Gerald Wolfe and “A Jubilee Christmas A Capella” two weeks ago. He asked our family if we would contribute in this unique series, and we agreed. We have taken the structure and turned it into a 8-1 format: eight questions from each member of our family for one singer. Sitting in the interview chair for this post is Jeremy Peace of The Old Paths to discuss their recent release, These Truths.

David: In light of increasing national awareness, such as winning “New Quartet of the Year,” are you guys, Old Paths, ever feeling pressured to pick songs that might catch the industry’s attention but don’t share the message you want to sing about?

Jeremy: We’ve not felt pressured to do that. The songs that we have selected in the past and currently today, always represent Christ, the message of Christ. That is one of our strong points as a group; we’ve always made sure that our songs are scripturally sound and lyrically strong. We like some happy-go-lucky songs, some fun songs, but we want to make sure they’re correct before we release it.

Kris: Was there a specific reason you chose “We Hold These Truths” as your title song?

Jeremy: We’ve never recorded a patriotic song or even staged a patriotic song. There are many patriotic songs — wonderful patriotic songs — and we didn’t want to pick a song that had already been done, that is a crowd pleaser. So when we were presented with this song… because of our stance on the patriotic numbers, and singing that type of song, the Lord had to really show us within the song that He wanted us to do it. We gave it to our baritone singer Doug Roark to sing, and he just did an amazing job with it. We felt very safe that we could release that song onto a CD and it would show our heart that we’re still selective on the songs about Christ, and we can still show our respect to our country.

Ben: In Daniel’s review of the album, he highlighted the strong vocal performances on your project. What in your opinion defines a strong vocal performance for a CD?

Jeremy: Oh, now you’re going to get me into trouble. I teach and coach voice. There are many answers to this question, and mine isn’t necessarily the only one, but I personally believe that less is more, especially in recording. When you are singing your solo lines and doing your verse, you can add your character, add your own twist, express yourself vocally. But when you’re singing as a group, cut out a lot of the licks, and some of the “cool” moves. Sure, they sound good, but our average listener is listening to the message. So I’ve been making sure that each person is saying the word the same way, pronouncing the vowel sounds the same way, singing at the same time, coming in, coming out at the same time, those things create one voice during the chorus. Just keeping it simple and picking the places where the music builds, you build; where the music’s not building, don’t build. Follow what the music is doing. I think that creates a great vocal performance for a project. It’s easy for people to listen to, they can enjoy the harmony, they can enjoy the solo-work, and they can enjoy the unity of the group, and be able to understand the message of the song on the CD.

Taylor: Now that your project has been out several months, how have your audiences been responding to the songs you have been singing off the project?

Jeremy: So far the response has been really good. We’re singing “Love Them to Jesus,” “God Said I Love You,” “If It Weren’t For Grace,” and “We Are Those Children,” the first one off the album — that’s a fast, upbeat song; it’s fun, people really get into that one. “God Said I Love You” has really hit home for a lot of people; the first time I sang it, I could hardly get through it. I’m tearing up, the people in the audience are crying. And then we started singing “If It Were Not for Grace” two weeks ago. We were in South Carolina and people started flooding the altars. It’s kind of a huge song for Doug. It’s become a spiritually emotional song for people to look back and realize, “If it weren’t for grace, where would I be?”

Leesha: Your radio single, “Long Live the King,” is a powerful song. What were your thoughts when you first heard it?

Jeremy: Oh, I’m glad you asked that question. I’m not a cry-baby, but I had tears flowing down my face as I listened for the first time. We were all crying when we heard the song. Dianne Wilkinson wrote it, her and Chris Binion — they co-write together. They sent the song to us, and we knew as soon as we heard it — it’s one of those things that when you hear a song like The Midnight Cry or any huge, huge hit song, well, you just know that that’s one of those songs. So we’re sitting in the vehicle and listening to the song, and we’re like, “We could be completely wrong, but this could be the song of the century for us or for whatever group records it, if we don’t record it. It’s a huge song.” Obviously, we wanted to record it, whether it was a huge song or not. We were blown away just by the lyrics: “Long live the King / Where there’s no future / There is no past / He’ll reign supreme / As long as everlasting lasts.” It’s an amazing lyric, amazing song. That’s probably — not us singing it, but the song itself — it is probably my favorite song of all time. The greatest song I’ve ever heard.

Sam: Were there any different styles you tried on any of the other songs on this album?

Jeremy: To answer your question, yes, there was. What we’ve done is take several different styles of music and incorporate them into songs that we sing. We did do that on this album; like “Long Live the King” has a majestic sound. “If It Were Not For Grace” we kind of kept it more of a nice country feel. “God Said I Love You” and “We Hold These Truths” have an 80s feel to them. But we still stay true to the Southern Gospel mix as far as the quality and the overall feel of the sound of our style of music. The song, “We Are Those Children”— that’s pure Southern Gospel; we upgraded, obviously, the guitars and the piano licks and other stuff, but it’s a Heaven Bound song from the 80’s. The song, “Love Them To Jesus,” is more of a — not really an old-style country feel — it’s kind of like a Gatlin Brothers.

Jayme: How did you guys go about finding your songs, especially your solos?

Jeremy: Now that is also a really good question. We are still considered a new group. As we begin to grow into this side of the music business, more songwriters begin to send us songs. Crossroads Music has a lot of songwriters that send them songs for their groups that record with them, and so they pass their songs through us. And we have people that we know personally that send us songs. So we get a whole lot of songs that we have to go through and review throughout the year. And some we might pick for this particular album or we might wait for the next album to record.

But let’s say we already have nine songs, and we’re looking for one great fast one, or we’re looking for a good solo song, or a ballad or slow song. We might go through a hundred songs till we find that song we feel like the Lord wants us to sing. And it’s fun. We usually listen to songs together and are like, “That’s a great song. Daniel could probably sing that one.” Or, “Tim could sing this one.” We’re not very selective as far as “Oh, that’s my song, I’m going to sing that one.”

So we pick songs from great songwriters, and we take songs from songwriters that people have never heard, as long as the message is strong and is scripturally sound, and the words work together. We’ll pick those songs and we’ll rearrange them for the person that’s going to do that song.

Caleb: My question is: on “God Said I Love You,” you hit a really high note . . . [Jeremy: I knew this was coming. (Laughs)] We kept rewinding the song to figure out what note it was. Who’s idea was it to sing that note?

Jeremy: That was actually my idea. [Caleb: It was a good idea!] Why thank you! Generally it would have not been; I’m not one to push the limits on things like that, especially on a recording. Now I would do it live: When I was with the Kingsmen, I would go for just about any high note, because that was their style from the 70s and 80s; they were always known to have a real high tenor singer who would hit high notes. And so when I left there and went with the Old Paths… well, they kept wanting me to do it. I said, “No, I don’t want to do it anymore,” but they wanted me to do it. So I continued.

We recorded a song several years ago called “The I Of the Storm,” and it was just going to be a praise ballad basically. We got done with the song, and at Doug’s suggestion, I went back and, on the last chorus, I recorded an overdub and sang an octave higher, and then hit a high note right in the middle of the last chorus. So that has kind of become a signature thing with the audiences. On our last CD called Right Now, I didn’t do any of that, and I had a lot of people ask me, “Why didn’t you hit any high notes on this CD?”

So this time, I went in and said, “Okay, so obviously some people want to hear it.” On “God Said I Love You,” I went in and recorded three different takes on that particular end of that bridge where the really high note is at. There were three different takes of that section, and I picked the highest one, of course. That’s the one I liked, so I thought, “I’m going to do it and push the limits, and it will be the highest note I’ve ever recorded.” That’s why we did it; it was my fault, so I’ll take the blame for it. [Laughs]

David: Well, you know that makes the eight questions for us, however, Sam is standing next to me, he is just chomping at the bit to have the opportunity to ask a bonus question. Are you up for it?

Jeremy: I’m up for it.

Click “read more” to see the bonus question!

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CD Interviews: Gerald Wolfe on A Jubilee Christmas A Cappella (Booth Brothers, Greater Vision, Legacy Five)

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CD Interviews feature artist insight into their own new releases. Gerald Wolfe was gracious enough to share some insight into A Jubilee Christmas A Cappella, a new EP from the Booth Brothers, Greater Vision, and Legacy Five. (EP is an abbreviation for Extended Play, which, ironically, refers to a release that contains more music than a single but not enough to count as a full release.)

Daniel: Has this acapella project been planned for a while, or was it a relatively spur-of-the-moment idea?

Gerald: Actually, the idea for the A’Cappella project came about in much the same way as the original “Jubilee” recording. During last year’s Tour, we did “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” every night. It was one of the major highlights of the first half of the program. One night, during intermission, Michael Booth said “we should do a whole project of A’Cappella Christmas stuff.” That’s all it took!

Earlier this year, I contacted Lari Goss, set up the studio time, and told Michael and the rest of the guys when to show up. We spent two, very long days in the studio, bringing the project to life, in time to get it finished for this year’s Tour.

Daniel: Was the song selection a pretty collaborative process, or did each of the member groups bring a couple of favorites?

Gerald: Honestly, because of our schedules, it’s very difficult to get all of us together for pre-production meetings, so all the guys trusted Scott Fowler and I with picking the songs.

Daniel: Who did the vocal arrangements?

Gerald: Lari Goss did vocal arrangements, and Trey Ivey transcribed all the parts into print for us, plus he made a “rehearsal track” for each vocal part. There’s no way we could have recorded these difficult arrangements in two days, without Trey. He’s developing into a great Producer/Arranger with a great future.

Daniel: Most top five or ten all-time Southern Gospel a capella album lists include The Cathedrals’ A Cappella Christmas. Seeing the song selection and sequence, and hearing the arrangements, it seems as though there may have been a few little tributes to that landmark recording. Were these intentional?

Gerald: Of course! All of us agree the Cathedrals’ A’Cappella Christmas recording was one of, if not the best, Christmas recordings ever put together by a Gospel group. It would be futile to attempt a recording like this, without acknowledging and paying tribute to one or two of their masterful arrangements.

Daniel: Are there any plans for non-Christmas acapella material from the Jubilee team?

Gerald: We haven’t discussed anything like that, but if history has taught us anything, it’s taught us to be ready to try something different. After all, that’s how the whole “Jubilee thing” came about in the first place.

Daniel: How can this recording be purchased?

Gerald: The CD is available on any of the Jubilee Gang’s websites, and for a limited time, is FREE with the purchased of the new “Jubilee Christmas” DVD! It can also be purchased separately. It won’t be available on iTunes, or any other digital download site this year… at least it won’t be available that way legally. If someone sees it offered in digital format, it’s most assuredly pirated.

Daniel: Thank you for doing this!

Here’s a video preview with sound clips from the EP:

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Introducing CD Interviews

Several months ago, I did a reader survey. One of the questions was which columns you found most useful, and which you found least useful. There was a general consensus that most of the columns are interesting and useful. The one column that received a mixed reaction was CD reviews. Many readers don’t find them all that useful.

If you step back for a moment and think it over, it makes sense. In other genres of music, artists are coming and going constantly. This genre’s headliners are often constant for decades. When an artists comes out with a new recording, you don’t need a review to help in making a decision whether to purchase it.

One reader (hat tip, Dustin) suggested an interesting alternative: CD Interviews. These would feature an artist’s own insight into a particular recording—to quote from his comment, “an inside track on how groups select songs for their albums, why they chose them, what they were trying to accomplish, what they envisioned their music to do both creatively, spiritually, or if it was just time to bust out another project.”

This was too good an idea to let it slip by. So the column will launch tomorrow, with Gerald Wolfe’s insights into the new Jubilee Christmas A Cappella EP.

There is still merit to occasional CD reviews, perhaps to provide historical context for a new release or to highlight the significance of a landmark recording. There is also merit to a review when there has been a significant stylistic or personnel change in a group. So the CD Reviews column will not entirely disappear; reviews will just be less frequent.

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