Creating Trends

Every good group needs great vocalists and great songs. Great groups have one more thing: They either do something nobody else does or do it better than anyone else. Many of these can be described in ten words or fewer. Four examples:

  • Statesmen (50s/60s): Modern harmonies and an energetic live delivery
  • Isaacs (90s/00s): Gospel bluegrass with tight family harmonies
  • Bill Gaither Trio (60s/70s): Group members writing enduring classics for every record
  • Gold City (80s): Cutting-edge progressive Southern Gospel

The point isn’t to be unique for the sake of being unique; those acts are novelty acts.

If a group does something innovative and is successful, others will eventually copy the unique factor, and perhaps even the songs. Regional groups, and sometimes a few groups on the national scene, are content to jump on the bandwagon of the currently successful trends. The great groups create those trends.

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Friday News Roundup #217

Worth Knowing

  • Old Paths bass singer Daniel Ashmore got married last Sunday. The Old Paths posted a photo gallery of Daniel and Katelyn Ashmore’s wedding here.

Worth Reading

On Wednesday’s post, several artists left their thoughts about the value of meeting fans at the table before a concert:

Pat Barker (Mark Trammell Quartet):

When I went to see the Cathedrals, most of the artists were at the table before the concert. If they can be at the table, then anyone can be at the table. George was the only one who stayed backstage. It did make it exciting to see him for the first time on the stage. My point? Both sides are right. It comes down to fan perspective.

When we do multi artist dates, we are usually the only ones at the table minus Mark. I hear it more times than not, “Where are the other groups? Are they too good to come in”? I think 30 plus years ago the groups were seen as stars so it was ok to stay backstage because that’s what stars do. Now, the artists are see as family. If you don’t come to the table, you’re seen as too good to shake hands with the “regular people.” Plus groups are missing a great opportunity to sell. We do alot of product sales before the concert. These days, when it’s hard to get people to the table, every little bit helps.

Matt Fouch (Legacy Five):

Most of L5 is at the table at least 45 minutes, usually 1 hour, before the concert begins. It give people an opportunity to stop by and chat for a few minutes. Intermission is usually too busy to hold a conversation. After the concert, most of our guys are headed to the bus to get changed to start tearing down equipment. Like one other person said, it really is what the artist wants to do. We choose to be available pre-concert and intermission. So, come early and say HI 🙂

Several other artists and fans offered thoughts, here.

Worth Watching

Bluegrass band Balsam Range—the current home of Kingsmen/Isaacs alumnus Tim Surrett—takes on the Kingsmen classic “When I Wake Up To Sleep No More.” Of particular note is a hilarious comedy bit at the 3:15 about what bluegrass bass singers have to do to sing low.

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Peg McKamey’s grand-nephew passes away

Peg McKamey’s grand-nephew (her brother’s grandson), Will McKamey, was a freshman at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, and played on their football team. Several days ago, he collapsed during a practice, and was in a coma for several days. He passed away on Tuesday; he was 19. Prayers are requested for the immediate and extended families in light of this sudden loss.

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When should artists be at the product table?

When you go to a concert, do you expect to see artists before a concert, at intermission, or afterwards?

At intermission and afterwards are fairly standard practice. Before a concert is a little more complicated. Hovie Lister and the Statesmen would not stand at a product table before a show; they believed that there wouldn’t be the same excitement and aura around a live appearance if fans had been talking to the artists at the product table beforehand. There is also the issue of artists not wearing out their voices before concerts.

There’s a great case to be made for artists not manning product tables before concerts. But, on the other hand, enough artists do come out before concerts that artists who don’t would be wise to prepare accordingly. Perhaps a volunteer or a bus driver could man the table before the concert, or perhaps artists could place a cover over the product racks to signify to fans that the table will be closed until intermission.

(Hat tip to an anonymous artist for the post idea.)


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