Legacy Five launches Kickstarter Campaign

Over the last two years, a number of Southern Gospel artists have launched and completed successful Kickstarter campaigns. Artists like the Ball Brothers, Union Street, the Browders, and Steve Ladd successfully funded albums through Kickstarter campaigns. But even with these four successful campaigns, Kickstarter has been a cutting-edge tool for up-and-coming artists in this genre.

As of this week, it’s relatively safe to call Kickstarter mainstream. Legacy Five launched this Kickstarter campaign to fund their upcoming, Lari Goss-produced album. Here’s how they explain it, in their own words:

Normally, record companies fund an artist’s recordings, but this time, we are responsible for finding the funding ourselves.

Recently, someone told us about kickstarter. When we checked it out, we thought this would be a great way of involving our friends in the process of making our new recording a reality. You have the opportunity to partner with us and be a very real part of our new CD.

We’ve been busy for the past several months selecting songs for this new project. We have found 11 great new songs. We have chosen legendary gospel music producer Lari Goss to produce, arrange and orchestrate this CD. The studio and the musicians are ready to go. We only need one more piece of the puzzle….YOU!

Legacy Five has recorded with Daywind for a decade. It’s not clear from the description above whether this will be a completely independent release, or whether Daywind will distribute it despite not funding it. Either way, just a couple of days into the project, the project is already around 1/3 of the way funded, with a healthy 73 contributors.

There has been some question over whether Kickstarter campaigns are a tool that will only be successful for an up-and-coming group either recording their first album or recording their first national-quality release. Some have wondered whether this can be a method used release after release, by groups that are already well established. Legacy Five’s success so far puts them well on pace for hitting their goal, and would seem to indicate that the answer is yes.

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StowTown signs The Perrys

The Perrys sign with Stow TownStowTown Records, Ernie Haase’s and Wayne Haun’s label, announced this afternoon that they have signed a recording contract with The Perrys. The Perrys’ debut Stow Town release will come out in March 2014.

The press release included one other newsworthy tidbit: Alto Libbi Perry Stuffle, lead singer David Ragan, and baritone Bryan Walker were all listed as members; Tracy Stuffle was listed as bass singer for “selected dates and featured songs,” and Jared (JK) Stuffle was listed as “assisting on bass vocals.” This is the first public discussion of JK’s new vocal role with the group.

Ernie Haase commented: 

I have known Libbi and Tracy for about 20 years now. They are my favorite kind of people — humble and full of the love of Jesus. It is my honor to finally get to work with them. I believe the best is yet to come!

Tracy Stuffle added:

Lib and I, along with our guys, Bryan, David, and JK, are so excited about our joint venture with StowTown Records and Provident/Sony Distribution. We look forward to many years of a lasting relationship with both companies. We have always had a wonderful relationship with our long-time producer Wayne Haun, and are excited that this new chapter will still include him. We are very much looking forward to what the Lord and the future is gonna hold for The Perrys.

The Perrys were with Daywind since 1997, nearing and then reaching the top of the genre. This is their first label change in roughly a decade and a half.

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Random Biblical Group Names: The Winner

Last week, I asked:

It appears that, in other genres, picking rather random group names is currently considered to be cool, and has been for quite some time. What if Southern Gospel groups were to use the idea, but use Random Biblical names? (In all seriousness, this will probably never happen, and it might not be a good thing if it did. But mentioning ideas for random Biblical group names could make for a fun discussion.)

There were so many great suggestions that we ended up having a contest to pick favorites. Despite voting being far down from the normal thanks to one of the biggest news stories of the year bumping it within a couple of hounrs, the results are in!

We actually have a tie: Floating Axeheads (submitted by Slade Adlay) and Five Smooth Stones (submitted by David Bruce Murray) are the two winners. Honorable mention goes to two more names tied for second place, Malchus Ears (submitted by Brian) and Rent in Twain (submitted by Daniel’s Siblings). I will be contacting Slade and David shortly regarding their prizes.

Thanks to everyone who participated in all stages of this contest!

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Michael English and Mark Lowry to leave the Gaither Vocal Band

Last week, news circulated that Mark Lowry was leaving the Gaither Vocal Band. Lowry confirmed the news in a video posted yesterday morning. Lowry indicated that a press release would be forthcoming. What Lowry didn’t add was that Michael English has also decided to leave the Gaither Vocal Band. 

In the official announcement, Bill Gaither commented:

I am grateful that we have had five bonus years with these incredibly talented artists. Thank you, thank you to Michael and Mark.  For those of you who have followed the Vocal Band for the past 25 years, you know that I have worked with some of the most talented male vocalists in our field, and I promise you we are not going to let that standard down in this transition. I am sad to see Michael and Mark leaving, yet I am so excited about the new possibilities we are considering.  So stay tuned for an exciting voyage in 2014!  We will update you when we have made final decisions.

While Lowry will fill all remaining 2013 dates, English’s departure is effective immediately. English’s departure comes as a surprise, and not just to the fans; in the Gaither tour’s concert schedule, posted last week, notes on each Gaither Vocal Band 2014 concert indicated that the 2014 dates would be filled by a four-man lineup of Wes Hampton, David Phelps, Michael English, and Bill Gaither.

While the replacement vocalist(s) have not yet been announced, there are evidently finalists in mind; the Gaither organization announced yesterday that there would be no open auditions.

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