NQC 2013, Day 2: Live Blog

Are you watching in person or online? Jump in; join the discussion and share your thoughts in the comments section!

Highlights

In no particular order.

  • The webcast quality was greatly improved from last night. There was only one point where there were any significant interruptions—though, sadly, it was…
  • The Cathedral Family Reunion appearance—Danny Funderburk, Ernie Haase, Gerald Wolfe, Mark Trammell, and Scott Fowler, joined by guest bass Paul Harkey—singing their new radio single, “We’ll Work.” I could only catch a few seconds here and a few seconds there, but it was enough to confirm that it was one of the evening’s highlights.
  • Even though Legacy Five’s set had the somewhat odd pacing of three bass solo songs to open, it showcased Matt Fouch’s growth into his role as a Legacy Five-style bass singer within the past year.
  • I was prepared to describe the Kingdom Heirs set much like I described one or two sets from yesterday: Solidly paced, and so great as a whole that it deserved mention here, even though there wasn’t one song that stood head and shoulders over the rest. But then they closed with their current #1 hit, “Just Beyond the Sunset.” They gave it the all-our barn-burner treatment that they’ve given to previous favorites, “He Locked the Gates” and “I Know I’m Going There.” 

Highlights of their respective sets include: “Homecoming Day” (Tribute Quartet), “Searchin'” (The Talleys with Jason Crabb), “When He Spoke” (The Perrys), “That’s What The Blood is For” (Jason Crabb), “Calvary Conquers It All” (Gold City), “Goodbye World Goodbye” (Penny Loafers), “When We Meet to Part No More” (Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver), “When I Wake Up To Sleep No More” (Inspirations), “Reason Enough” (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound), “What Remains of Me” (Dixie Melody Boys with The Isaacs), “Hold On” (The McKameys), “Four Days Late” (Karen Peck and New River), “I’ll Trust The Potter’s Hand” (The Whisnants)

Live Play-By-Play

Click “Read More” to read the live blog; it is hidden from the home page for space considerations.

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NQC 2013, Day 1, Live Blog

Highlights of the Night

In no particular order:

  • “My Jesus, I Love Thee” – Collingsworth Family. (See the live blog, at 8:40).
  • “I Know a Man Who Can” – Chris Allman with Greater Vision. (Is the man incapable of having an off night?!) (See 9:30.)
  • Triumphant Quartet’s set. There wasn’t a single moment that stood above the rest, because the entire set was so solid. (See 7:59.)
  • “When I Wake Up to Sleep No More” – Eagle’s Wings. (See 9:01.)

Webcast Quality

As always, the camera work was exceptionally strong. Thinking back to the endless primary Presidential debates last year, I doubt if a single network crew doing one of those events could top the NQC crew in this setting. The audio work was also fairly good; there was the occasional soloist buried in the mix for a few notes, but the audio team did a fantastic job, overall, of keeping the featured soloists prominent in the mix and the harmony vocals blending in smoothly.

The website serving up the video feed, though, had a number of issues through the evening. The live feed went down in seven or eight of the evening’s twelve multi-song sets, making it all the way through four or five. The website itself went completely down at a couple of points. But to their credit, the customer service agents @NQCOnline on Twitter put in a valiant effort to check in one-on-one with fans reporting problems. They also posted a “Thanks in advance for your patience” message on Facebook here.

Live Play-by-Play

Due to length, we’ve hidden the complete play-by-play from the home page. Click “read more” to read the complete play-by-play.

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Tracy Stuffle Benefit Concert: Live Blog

As we discussed this morning, many of Southern Gospel’s leading artists are putting on a benefit concert this evening for Tracy Stuffle. Video is streaming at www.tracystufflebenefit.com; an audio-only feed is also available at www.southerngospel.com. Let’s discuss it live!

7:08: The evening begins with a prayer, introduction of hosts Jason Crabb and Joseph Habedank, and with all participating artists singing “We Need Each Other” together.

7:16: The concert is being hosted at Christ Church Nashville; its pastor, Dan Scott, is singing several songs. He’s a surprisingly good singer.

7:21: The first headliner artist up is The Bowlings. Mike Bowling sings a classic, “I’ll Be All Right as Soon as I Touch Calvary.” It looks like group’s vocal lineup now is Mike and Kelly, their daughter Hope, and Troy Peach. Mike and Troy are both Perrys alumni.

Kelly shares some heartfelt testimony about how the same community on stage and in the audience rallied around them in 2010. (If you weren’t following the genre then, here are two posts about their bus accident.) She uses this to set up “Your Cries Have Awoken the Master.”

7:34: Gold City is up next, singing “Cast My Bread Upon the Water” and “I’m Not Giving Up.” Jerry Pelfrey is singing lead, Danny Riley is on baritone, and Tim Riley is raising the roof on bass. I’m assuming Bryan Elliott is on piano, though I haven’t seen shots with the piano in view yet. Is that former Palmetto State Quartet tenor Robert Fulton on tenor?

7:45: Karen Peck & New River starts off with “Four Days Late,” and the place comes unglued pretty much instantly. She goes down into the audience to sing “My God Will Always Be Enough”; her delivery is so heartfelt that she chokes up at several points. She nails the ending and gets a standing ovation.

7:56: An unusual configuration of The Hoppers takes the stage. Kim Hopper is on bed rest for several weeks with sinus issues so bad that she may face surgery, and her husband Dean is at her side. So Claude and Connie are holding down their usual parts; TaRanda Greene is pinch-hitting for Kim Hopper, and, none other than Joseph Habedank is filling in for Dean! Claude is featured on “If I Could Help Somebody”; Connie and (oddly, given the earlier announcement) Jason Crabb provide harmonies. Claude takes a drink in the middle of his solo; is it an intentional Marco Rubio moment? Is that why it gets the response it gets?

Connie is up next, singing “I’ve Come Too Far to Look Back.” Trust Connie to tear up the building, with testimony and singing alike! “God has never seen a hopeless case.” Tim Riley comes up for the encore.

8:15: The Booth Brothers kick off their set with an exquisite piano-and-vocals-only version of “I Will Serve Thee.” It looks like their erstwhile producer Nick Bruno is sitting in on piano. After the song, Michael Booth takes a minute to testify to God’s faithfulness in our storms. Jim Brady sings the group’s second song, “Every Cry is Heard,” another exquisite piano-and-vocals version.

8:27: Libbi Perry Stuffle is welcomed with a prolonged standing ovation. She gives a heartrendingly powerful rendition of “Through the Night.” The audience is to its feet by the bridge. This is easily the moment of the evening.

Former Perrys pianist (current Gaither Vocal Band pianist) Matthew Holt is filling in on piano. He plays a soft musical accompaniment while Libbi testifies to God’s faithfulness and gives a current update on Tracy’s health.

Then, Libbi, Joseph Habedank, and Perrys baritone Bryan Walker sing harmonies with a track of Tracy’s pre-recorded voice on “Plan of Salvation.”

8:39: Looks like this crashed the servers for the live stream again.

8:42: Looks like the traffic from Libbi’s surprise appearance was enough to crash not just the stream, but the whole site. I did get the feed back for about three seconds, to see that Leah Page (Libbi’s fill-in for the last two months) was on stage, and that the intro to the track for “If You Knew Him” was playing.

8:45: The stream is back up.

I’ll mention, in passing, that I had the chance to catch the Perrys live two days ago, last Sunday evening. Two things struck me, in particular: First, Joseph Habedank exceeded my expectations as an emcee. Though there was humor, there was maybe a little less than Tracy would bring to a live program. But, on the other hand, Joseph brought a unique songwriter’s perspective, sharing insightful insights about songs he’d written and songs he didn’t write when setting songs up. Second, the implications of the Perrys’ 2010 Song of the Year win for “If You Knew Him” had blessings for the group far beyond what they could see at the time. Since Joseph Habedank co-wrote the song and sang the feature vocal, the win for this—as well as Joseph’s other #1 hits and radio hits—gave Joseph a stature in the industry that enables him to carry the group forward in a way that someone who had just joined the group couldn’t do.

8:51: Phil Hoskins came forward to anoint Libbi and pray for Libbi and Tracy. Libbi shared that a nurse told her that, amidst all the health crises Tracy has pulled through so far, most people don’t make it as far as he has. Within a few days, the doctors will determine if Tracy will need a permanent shunt. The procedure to implement it would be very high-risk; prayer is requested that it will not be needed.

9:09: Libbi is leading the audience in “‘Tis So Sweet.”

9:15: Phil Hoskins gives an altar call.

9:23: Jason Crabb shares Perrys memories and encourages donations to help with their expenses. Online donations can be made here: http://www.tracystufflebenefit.com/donations.html

9:31: During the offering, Matthew Holt plays “Great is Thy Faithfulness” while a slideshow of classic pictures of Tracy plays on the screens. 

9:40: The Isaacs kick off their set with “Walk On.” Rebecca Isaacs Bowman introduced their second song, “Waiting in the Water.” Song 3: “I Will Praise Him,” acapella.

9:55: The Collingsworth Family begins with “Fear Not Tomorrow.” They used to stage this as a ladies’ trio of Brooklyn, Courtney, and Kim Collingsworth; since the last time I saw the group stage this song, Olivia has joined to make it a foursome. If I’m not mistaken, Olivia is doubling Brooklyn’s part. Song 2: Phil Jr. sings the lead on “Just Another Rainy Day.” They closed their set with “The Healer is Here.” Though it’s an older part of their repertoire, it is such an obvious thematic fit that it made sense to pull it out for the occasion.

10:10: Dailey and Vincent brought out a special, surprise guest for their set: Ricky Skaggs. They started with “Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord.” Christian Davis was on bass. Song 2: “I Believe He Gave His Life for Me.” It’s a little weird to hear a bluegrass band with an electric bass guitar and a piano.

10:21: Ricky Skaggs testified about his faith, and then sang “A Work of Love.”

10:25: Dailey & Vincent close out their set with “The Fourth Man.”

10:29: Mark Lowry takes the stage.

10:30: I stand corrected. Due to a broken femur, he’s standing in front of the stage. He sits on the stage stairs and launches into a comedy routine. He has a talent for making even the jokes we’ve heard a half-dozen times funny again.

He introduced “Mary, Did You Know” in a way I’ve never heard him introduce the song before. He said that one day, his mother shared with him that one of the greatest proofs that the Gospel story is true is Mary’s silence at the cross. His mother told him that if Mark’s hometown decided to crucify him, she’d be raising a storm. If Mark was claiming to be God, his mother said, she’d be the first out there to say, “He’s a liar! He might be a lunatic, but he’s not God! Don’t kill him!” But when Mary stood at the foot of the cross, as Jesus was being crucified for being God, she didn’t say a word—even if it would save His life, spare the cross—because she knew it was true. She, of anyone on this planet, was the one in a position to know the truth of the virgin birth. And she stayed silent.

He closed out with “Mary, Did You Know,” and got a standing ovation.

10:56: Clarke Beasley (NQC Executive Vice President) and Jackie Patillo (head of the Gospel Music Association) shared heartfelt words of encouragement for Libbi.

10:58: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound started their set with “Someday.” Song 2: “Glory to God in the Highest.” They must have figured out that the program needed some energy at this late hour. Song 3: “Get Away Jordan.” Lots of energy here. Signature Sound doesn’t do a huge number of dates with other Southern Gospel groups; this could be the first time that a fair chunk of the industry has seen this lineup live. I think their set tonight will help the buzz spread that this lineup has something special going.

11:09: Les Butler came up on stage to give Libbi gifts from the Predators sports team to pass along to Tracy for his birthday tomorrow.

11:11: The Oak Ridge Boys kick off their set with “Where the Soul Never Dies.” Song 2: Farther Along.

11:26: Jason Crabb began the final set of the night with his new single, “That’s What the Blood is For.” It’s a very strong song, and got a standing ovation at least from his fellow artists. Then he sang another new song, “Love is Stronger,” another very strong song.

He closed with “Through the Fire.” He stopped halfway through the chorus to preach a little. What a closer for the night! Karen Peck & New River, Joseph Habedank, and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound joined him for the closing. Libbi Perry Stuffle also came up on stage to sing it with him.

Libbi testified about how much the song had been ministered to her recently: “This too shall pass. We’re just going through the fire. It didn’t come to stay.”

Jason closed in prayer.

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Concert Review: Legacy Five with Matt Fouch (Baxter, MN)

The lobby of Heritage Assembly of God was filled with people and questions. “Where’d the old bass singer go?” “Who’s the new guy?” “What does he sound like?” Speculations hovered around Legacy Five’s product table as devoted fans milled about on the evening of September 21st, 2012, anxiously waiting for the doors to open. Everyone was saddened by the departure of Glenn Dustin, but filled with excited anticipation about his replacement. “Shh, here he is now,” said friends to each other as Matt Fouch, Legacy Five’s new bass singer, appeared in the lobby and began to strike up conversations with the concert-goers.

By the time the concert was over, Matt Fouch had won the die-hard Minnesota fans over.

With his casual, friendly manners and warm bass voice, Matt adds an unique aspect to Legacy Five. His voice at times resembles Glenn Dustin’s, though his tonality is smoother and fuller. For being only his seventh or eighth concert with Legacy Five, he fit right in with the group!

The other members of Legacy Five were in true form: Scott Fowler sharing his passion about political “incorrectness”, Gus Gaches masterfully handling his smooth tenor licks, and Scott Howard…well, let’s just say, he was just Scott Howard! 🙂 Trey Ivey also continues to impress us with his piano prowess, and even surprised us when he carried the lead on a verse!

Each time we see Legacy Five, we are reminded once again why the polished quartet has made such an impact on Southern Gospel music. Their cohesive blend, spontaneous humor, uplifting songs, and the way they share the Gospel of Jesus Christ on stage and off has made them a fixture in this genre.  

Pictorial Concert Review

Photos by Taylor and Jayme Garms; captions by Taylor, Leesha, Sam, Jayme, and Caleb Garms.

Song List and Comments

A Wonderful Life
God Cares for Me
I’m Still Amazed
I’ve Been Changed (first feature of Matt Fouch)
Had It Not Been (featuring Scott Howard; he carried the simple arrangement of this powerful song with heartfelt emotion.)
I Found Grace (Gus took his verse into the clouds!)
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms (Trey Ivey piano solo, with plenty of crazy humor intermingled, as usual; standing ovation)
Life Will Be Sweeter (this was one song Matt was still learning, but they all pulled it off well; encore of Trey’s piano solo)
Getting Ready Today (Trey was reluctant to carry the second verse, but did a great job on this catchy tune.)
Truth is Marching On (such a majestic song which garnered a standing ovation)

Product Pitch/Intermission (This was Sam’s favorite part of the whole concert – don’t ask us why!)

Destination Known
I’ve Got a Newborn Feeling
Strike Up the Band (This happy song is always a favorite with the Baxter crowd.)
For What Earthly Reason (Legacy Five sang it by request, and what a moving effect it had on the audience; it too also had a standing ovation)
There’s Something About That Name
The Patty and Hanna Story
Ask Me Why (with an a capella reprise)
Living in the Palace (Jayme’s favorite)
Boundless Love (with Caleb; standing ovation and reprise)
Champion of Love (again, a prolonged standing ovation)

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NQC 2012, Day 4: Live Blog

Our NQC live blog posts take shape through the evenings.

Highlights

Greater Vision. Rodney Griffin kicked off the set with “No Longer Chained.” By the discussion in the webcast’s live chat, it appears that the video feed cut out for most or all users for a good portion of the song. It had returned (for me, at least) by the second song, “When They Ring the Bells of Heaven.”

Gerald Wolfe introduced song three by saying that Jack Campbell’s widow was in the audience, and she came all the way from Mississippi or Louisiana to hear a song her husband wrote. He apologized to the team in the TV truck for changing the program on them, but he said he simply had to have Chris Allman sing “I Know a Man Who Can.”

Gerald Wolfe bought up a trio of a brother, sister, and another young lady who sang up sang a unbelievably amazing rendition of “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”—an arrangement at least inspired by the Martins.

Wolfe took his time setting up the final song, “Faces,” telling stories of people who had inspired him and helped him in his life.

Jason Crabb. Jason started his set with a classic, “Who Am I,” before launching into the first Crabb Family single that featured him, “Still Holdin’ On.” He kept the Crabb Family theme going with “The Lamb, The Lion, and the King.” He switched to his solo repertoire on his fourth song, “Sometimes I Cry.”

National Quartet Convention or not, it’s not NQC unless Jason and his sisters break out “Through the Fire” at least once! Talk about ending a set on a high note!

Whisnants. Susan Whisnant introduced “I’ll Trust The Potter’s Hand” by talking about how much she loves the Lesters’ song “He Doesn’t Throw the Clay Away,” and how this song is in a similar vein. They launch into their second song, “I’m in the Gloryland Way,” by noting that Gerald Wolfe is filling in on piano.

The Whisnants have been through an incredibly tough year! Jeff’s father is in his fourth week of chemo, and they got a call this week that his brother has been hospitalized. She introduced their third song, “All is Well,” by sharing how her mother was facing a cancer diagnosis last year.

They wrapped up their set on an uptempo note, with “New Day Dawning.” Members of the Mark Trammell Quartet came up on stage to join them for an encore.

Tribute Quartet started with two up-tempo to mid-tempo songs, “Thank the Lord” and “Homesick Angel,” both from their new album, Our Anthem. Tenor Riley Clark was featured on a passionately powerful rendition of “Homecoming Day.” They wrapped up their set with “Good News From Jerusalem, featuring Josh Singletary. This is the most animated and enthusiastic I’ve ever seen Singletary during a vocal solo; he has come into his own as a quartet vocalist.

Booth Brothers. They lined up a special treat for the audience, getting legendary pianist and producer Nick Bruno to fill in on piano. Song 1: I’m Free.  Turns out that wasn’t the only special treat they’d lined up; they brought Bill Gaither on stage as a guest bass vocalist for their second song, “Joy in the Camp.” He introduced their third song, “Let the Healing Begin,” before walking off stage. He came back onstage for the third and fourth encores of their closing song, “Played in the Band.”

Live Blog

10:41: Kingdom Heirs. Song 1: “Ever Since That Wonderful Day.” Song 2: “Hit the Ground Running.” Song 3: “He Locked the Gates.” Strong response from a tired but enthusiastic crowd. Song 4: Jerry Martin sang his signature song, “I Can Pray.” Song 5: “I Never Shall Forget the Day.” This late at night, it makes sense to end the set on an uptempo note. The ending on the encore is classic Kingdom Heirs—exactly what Southern Gospel is supposed to be. 

Sorry the notes are cursory at this point. I’m heading for Louisville early tomorrow morning, and I’ll have to call it a night within a few minutes. I had to stay up late enough to catch the Kingdom Heirs’ set, even with how far behind schedule I am. After all, I’ll be at their booth for the signing tomorrow—4:30, right after the NQC Music Awards—and I dare not tell the host group that I slept through their set! That would be like apologizing to a preacher for sleeping through his sermon!

10:19: Talleys. Song 1: “Surely.” Brian Alvey is back on stage with the group tonight. Song 2: “Broken World,” their current radio single. Strong, strong, strong song. Alvey introduced the third song, “That’s Why I Love Him So,” by talking about his time of running away from God, and how Gerald Wolfe’s witness was part of what brought him back to God. Song 4: “Great Love,” featuring Debra and Lauren. They close with a quick chorus of “He’s Alive.”

10:11: Mark Bishop. Song 1: “Listening for the Call.” Song 2, after a well-spoken introduction, “God Builds Churches with Broken People.” He only did two songs; not sure if that was scheduled or if he gave up some time since the program is twenty-five minutes behind (after only two songs!).

9:27: Isaacs. They started with the energetic “It’s Gonna Rain.” Sound issues persisted through the first song or two. Song 2: “Why Can’t We.” Interestingly for a bluegrass group, they took the stage with a pianist (Matthew Holt) and drummer. Song 3: “Four Men Walking” (guess on title). Becky Isaacs Bowman testified before her solo on “Waiting in the Water.”

9:25: Sisters sang an incredible acapella rendition of “It is Well With My Soul.”

8:37: Producer Phil Brower introduced David Jeremiah by showing a video with photographs and discussion of Jeremiah’s little-known college basketball career. He mentioned that there was going to be a basketball challenge between a team led by Jeremiah and a team led by Gerald Wolfe next year. It’s not entirely clear if he was joking!

8:11: Collingsworth Family. It’s been a while since Phil Collingsworth has brought out the trumpet on the main stage! He kicked off the set with “O Magnify the Lord,” while Kim played piano. After one uptempo vocal song, “I Know,” the lights dimmed and Olivia Collingsworth recited the Christmas story before Phil Jr. launched into “Silent Night.” As that track ended, they did an immediate segue into “What Child is This?”

After a moving video about how Phil Sr.’s father won a Silver Star in the Korean War, and how many servicemen the extended family has sent into the military, they sang a stirring acapella rendition of “God Bless America.”

Kim Collingsworth followed with a piano solo, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” that got one of the biggest responses of the night.

7:50: Jeff & Sheri Easter. Jason Crabb brought Jeff & Sheri Easter on stage by starting into a chorus of “Thank You, Lord, For Your Blessings on Me.” They joined him on the chorus before launching into their own first song, “A Little Bit of Sunshine” (? on title). Jeff Easter said that their second song, “I’ll Take It,” was written by Joseph & Lindsay Habedank. Their third song was a sad love song, “Sitting On Top of the World.” Son Madison’s wife Shannon joined Madison and Morgan for “Does it Make Him Cry?” Jeff Easter brought another guest—his father, James Easter—onto stage for “I Won’t Have To Worry Anymore.”

7:04: McKameys. The McKameys are introduced with a classic two-decade-old clip of them singing “God On the Mountain.” When they walk on stage, though, they’re a little more subdued, singing the convention-style song “Some Morning I Shall Stand.” Song 2: “Nothing But Grace.” After a track mis-cue, they moved into their third song, “Unspoken Request.” Peg sets up the fourth song, “Finish Well,” by noting that it’s the first time there has ever been a McKameys male trio. They end on a high note—literally and figuratively—with “I’ve Won.”

6:22: Lesters. They begin with “Revive Us Again.” Second: “I’m One of His Redeemed” (guess at title). Their third song, “Rocks Dropping,” had a cool concept and was well executed (lyrically and vocally). The high point of the set was their signature song, “He Didn’t Throw the Clay Away.” They closed with style and class, with a simple arrangement of “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.”

6:17: Kim, Brooklyn, and Courtney Collingsworth play “The Prayer.” They got a rousing standing ovation from the artist circle, and a partial standing ovation from the rest of the audience. (Worth noting: NQC audiences will almost never unanimously stand until later in the evening.)

5:58: Mark Bishop takes the stage as emcee. He’s off to a great start with some timely humor. He walks up as a choir walks off stage, commenting that he’s surrounded by Johnny Cash impersonators! He also wishes himself luck and mentions that he listened to rap music on the way over. He paused long enough for the crowd to gasp in horror—before clarifying that it was blaring from a jeep two blocks away!

5:44: The Hoppers come on stage to sing one song, “I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About to Happen.”

5:39: Penny Loafers. This inimitable group offered a highlight of the showcase spotlight segment, singing their signature song—their a capella  take on the Mosie Lister classic “Goodbye, World, Goodbye.”

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NQC 2012, Day 1: Live Blog

Our NQC live blog posts take shape through the evenings. Highlights and newsworthy tidbits are noted. There is also a live blog; click the post title or the “read more” link to see it. 

Moment of the Night

Matt Fouch’s mainstage debut with Legacy Five. It wasn’t Fouch’s first time on the main stage; he sang on main stage several times during his eight years with Soul’d Out Quartet. But it was the first time that many in the audience were paying attention to him—and their reaction showed that it was love at first sight.

He walked on stage with Legacy Five during the Jubilee set and was featured on three of the four Jubilee songs—”Sing Me a Song About Jesus,” “Wedding Music,” and “Beautiful Home.” The middle song, “Wedding Music,” though, was the show-stopper. When introducing him, Jubilee emcee Gerald Wolfe noted that he was the new guy on stage. It took him all of one line to win the audience over; at least judging from the live feed, the line of applause between the first and second lines of his verse was one of the heartiest of the night.

The reception Fouch received wasn’t lost on Legacy Five manager/emcee Scott Fowler. When Legacy Five’s own set began, he introduced him by quoting George Younce: “When you’ve got a good horse, ride him. And it’s obvious who our good horse is tonight!” He moves into Fouch singing “I Have Been Changed.” 

Even that wasn’t all! The show-stopper that Legacy Five used to close their set was “We Shall See Jesus,” featuring Fouch on bass. At least to the best I could tell from the live feed, it was easily the biggest response of the night.

Expect to see Matt Fouch welcomed with open arms—and expect to see him named Horizon Individual of the year in next year’s Fan Awards.

Other Highlights

The Booth Brothers. They didn’t close their set fast. They didn’t close it big. They closed with a song, “Let the Healing Begin,” that left the spotlight on the message. It might not have been huge or exhilarating, but it was fitting.

The Hoppers. Though my feed crashed for the first eleven minutes of their set, the remainder of their set was particularly strong. After a touching story from Claude, they launched into a new song, and followed it with a show-stopping rendition of “Yaweh.”

The Collingsworth Family. You can count on the Collingsworth Family to bring the house down, and they did not disappoint. Their final three songs showcased their diversity—a tight ladies’ trio on “Ever Gentle, Ever Sweet,” a piano solo from Kim on “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory),” and a showstopping version of “At Calvary.” There would be a riot at NQC if the Collingsworth Family did a set at NQC without unleashing Kim on the piano!

Jim & Melissa Brady. Apparently the Rick Webb Family had to cancel their appearance at the last minute, after the program was printed. Jim and Melissa Brady might have been pinch-hitters, but they hit a home run. They started with a standing-ovation-worthy performance of “No Wonder,” the best-remembered song from Gerald Wolfe’s solo career. Melissa then moved over to the piano to play “Master’s Table,” while Jim sang it solo. Often the unplanned (or less-planned) moments are the best, and that truism certainly held here.

Karen Peck & New River. They kicked the convention off with a welcome energy, closing out their set with the one-two punch of “On the Banks of the Promised Land” and “We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown.” Matthew Peck Gooch, Karen’s son, played electric guitar on several songs—and ukulele on one. Surely there haven’t been many times a ukulele has been played on main stage!

Also Newsworthy

Soul’d Out stepped on stage with Christian Davis filling in on bass. This makes sense in a number of ways. First, he has the incredibly low range that their arrangements demand. Second, he’s with such a high-profile group in his genre that nobody will be speculating that he’s about to leave his group to join Soul’d Out.

The Talleys performed their set with Roger, Debra, and Lauren. Brian Alvey is back in college, and had classes today; they’re expecting him on Thursday.

In the webcast live chat, the NQC Staff confirmed that the 2014 NQC will be at the Leconte Center, a convention center currently under construction in Pigeon Forge. It will seat about 12,000.

Click the read more button to read the live blog comments.

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NQC 2012: Live Blog coming tonight

This year, I will only be on site at Louisville for one day, Friday, for the Dianne Wilkinson book signing (4:30-5:30 at the Kingdom Heirs’ booth). For the rest of the week—Monday through Thursday, and Saturday—I plan to live-blog the evening’s festivities via the live video stream. The comments section each night will be somewhat of a NQC open thread, so if you’re also watching the live stream, or if you’re there in person and have Internet access on your smartphone or tablet, plan on joining the discussion each evening!

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Photo Gallery: Mark Trammell Quartet in concert

Editor’s note: My family saw the Mark Trammell Quartet in concert last weekend. Here are photos and a video from the event.

Video Greeting from Pat Barker

(Footnote for those who have no sense of humor or don’t understand his: This was tongue-in-cheek, and in light-hearted fun!)

Photo Gallery

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Concert Review: The Ball Brothers with Chad McCloskey (Buffalo, MN)

Despite a bus tire exploding, a car not starting, and a “late” leave time, our family was able to attend a Ball Brothers’ concert this past Sunday evening (May 6th, 2012) in Buffalo, Minnesota during Chad McCloskey’s second full weekend with the group.

When the Ball Brothers ran up on stage, immediately, the crowd was interested in this exciting group of five young men. As they opened with their signature “do-dos” on “Happy Am I”, we were instantly impressed with their cohesive blend. With each note precise and solid, the Ball Brothers have probably the strongest group blend we have heard live. And with their new vocalists, Andy Tharp and Chad McCloskey, they are on top of their game. They easily master intricate harmonies and send them hurling into the audience as a unifed wall.

Daniel Ball’s robust lead vocals provide a rich, full sound to the group, and Andrew Ball’s clear, silky tenor fuses their distinctive blend. Both of the brothers’ voices have matured since we first heard them on tour with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound in 2006, and they are some of the most polished vocalists in our genre.

Andy Tharp, who recently replaced Stephen Ball as baritone, has a very reliable, resonant voice and unassumingly adds greatly to their harmonies. The Ball Brothers made a fine choice for a new baritone!  Andy does well adding a country twang to his voice, as on “Walking in Jerusalem” and “I’ve Been Redeemed”.  

At 22 years old, the newest member, Chad McCloskey, has an exceptional voice and range. He sang “Beulah Land” with his own creative improvisations, and held down the low parts of the rest of the songs well.  He is a great addition to the group!  

Cody McVey, formerly of the Kingsmen Quartet, is a talented piano player and it was fun to observe his technique.

Enthusiastically diverse, the group offers a broad selection of music, covering their style of Southern Gospel, contemporary, jazz, country, bluegrass, and even a touch of classical. But each song was refreshing and filled with the message of Jesus Christ.  Their ending song of the concert, “It’s About the Cross”, defines their ministry and message, and they passionately deliver their now popular song with power.  (See below for a video.)

A particular highlight was listening to the story of their beginnings, which they shared candidly while sitting on the church’s stools (theirs weren’t as nice, supposedly). They also paid tribute to the Cathedral Quartet by singing “Plan of Salvation”, which was neat for our family to experience, as we were never privileged to hear the famous quartet share this touching song live. Daniel Ball carried the solo well and Cody McVey’s piano playing recalled Roger Bennett’s familar piano arrangement.  Also, they made a familiar Cathedrals’ song “Glory Train” their own, adding a humorous twist.  (See video below.) 

In 2006, when we first saw the Ball Brothers, Ben told one of the brothers that when they had their first stand-alone concert in Minnesota, we would be there. Amazingly, God graciously allowed this to happen, and are we glad to have been able to attend! The promoter told us that many people wanted the Ball Brothers back, and we’d encourage any promoter to have this 2011 Horizon Group of the Year at their church or venue.

Here’s a video of assorted song clips from the night:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcUz1AE9RzM&w=560&h=315]

 

“It’s About the Cross”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLinkohiPRg&w=560&h=315]

 

“Ride that Glory Train”

[youtube http://youtu.be/Tx_xYCeIFRI&w=560&h=315]

 

 

To read a list of songs from the concert, click “More”.  

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A Dixie Echoes concert: Three Thoughts

The other day—long after I had written and scheduled this morning’s CD review—I found out that the Dixie Echoes were going to be in the area last night. It was a splendid evening. A few thoughts, which I’ll put in a comment instead of their own post to avoid Dixie Echoes overload:

  1. Make no mistake, I love groups that can do great concerts with tracks. But still, there is something to be said for taking a few evenings a year and going out to see a group that does Southern Gospel in the way that our genre’s founders thought it should be done.
  2. Michael Helwig is a great addition on tenor, and Mike Jennings is every bit as good live as he is on CD. Somehow, the Dixie Echoes have managed, in five years’ time, to discover two of the five best bass singers in our genre. That’s no small feat.
  3. The Dixie Echoes have added a “true four-part harmony” section to their program, with Jennings singing a melodic bass part instead of merely replicating the root of the 1/4/5 chords on “If You Know the Lord” and “Roll On Jordan.” This alone is worth the cost of a concert ticket.

If you talk about live music, and wish more groups would do it, make sure to take a few evenings a year and support the groups that still do.

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