I have just returned home from my first night of NQC 2012. I have been coming every year since 2006, at least one night each year. Some years every night, some just one or two. This year it will be a two day event for me. As I stated last night I got a little burnt out after a full week last year, so I am glad that I had to scale back this year. Now without further ado I bring to you my highlights and low-lights from the nights festivities.
ruppesSisters never ever cease to amaze me. They were pitch perfect on the two songs they did tonight. I could have listened to quite a bit more from these ladies. My fiancee’ who was with me tonight hadn’t heard them before, and she was pretty much slack jawed throughout both of their songs. That to me summed up the quality of their performance (my fiancee was a music major).
- Gaither Vocal Band: other than poor David Phelps forgetting some words to his feature “Glorious Freedom”. The Vocal Band’s performance was probably the biggest highlight of the night for me. They had a solidly paced set that went over extremely well, though I believe they should have switched their final two songs around. Michael English was so amazing on “Winds Of This World” the other guys had to try and keep up. They closed with a slow song “Sow Mercy” which is a great song featuring Mark Lowry; but didn’t really fit after their blow the roof off renditon of “Winds Of This World. Back to the Phelps feature, they had some breath taking vocal inversions on that one. Similar to what they did on “Please Forgive Me”; but with this song they have taken it up another notch. I was pretty well gobsmacked throughout that entire song, once David got things figured out. I will say though that David has had a tough week, his sister is entering the final stages of cancer and is in hospice, so keep them in your prayers for sure!
- The Mark Trammel Quartet was quite good tonight, Mark only seems to get better every time I hear him sing; and Pat Barker, WOW what a singer. He isn’t just a bass singer, he is a singer who happens to sing bass. Eric Phillips has also gotten better since I last heard him, he isn’t over singing his notes nearly as much as he used to, which is a very good things and something that others could learn from. Highlighting their set was Mark knocking the ball out of the park with his spot on rendition of “Too Much To Gain To Lose”. This quartet is going places trust me on that one folks.
- The Perry’s had a decent set, I missed their first song and apparently so did Joseph Habedank. Their set was highlighted by “When He Spoke”. I am still amazed at Josephs progression as a singer since he joined the group nine years ago. He always had potential, and he is just really starting to take a hold of that potential and build on it.
- The Nelons knocked it out of the park. Amber Nelon proved tonight that she belongs in the conversation as one of the best female singers on the road today. She beat the tar out of “I’m Going Home With Jesus'”. To be honest Jason and Kelly had trouble keeping up! I am looking for great things out of Amber Nelon over the next few years
- Tribute Quartet was a highlight for me this year, their sound has really evolved into something really worth perking up and listening to. “The Song Of Heaven” and “Good News From Jerusalem”were the big hits from their set. The former really gave Riley Harrison Clark a chance to really shine. Josh Singletary has, like the group evolved as a singer. His solo on “Good News” was spot on and well done. I look for big things in the future for this group.
- First lowlight of the night was when I found out my “media” identity had been stolen! I got to the media booth and gave the kind lady my name, and she said someone had already picked up media passes under my name. I have to say that I was floored to learn of this. I then proceeded to show her my ID; and she obliged by giving me another set of passes. I later learned that Daniel Mount had the same stolen identity issue. I would encourage NQC to tighten up on this, by simply requiring ID before any passes are handed out!
- The crowd was pitiful at times tonight. Not to mention the fact it was probably the lowest crowed I have ever seen at an NQC on a friday night. They two upper sections closed off with a large black curtain. I hope it picks up next year and beyond, because if this year is any indication then the NQC could be in trouble down the road somewhere.
- The Exhibit Hall was an absolute ghost town. I haven’t ever seen so many empty booth spaces on a friday night. Though the flea marketers still seemed to be out in full force peddling their garbage. A lot of the groups booths had already been tore down and gone. I can remember days when groups stayed the entire week, now due to the economy alot of groups have to schedule dates on Friday and Saturday to pay the bills. I hope things get better; because what I saw tonight really bothered me regarding the future.
- The sound was pretty solid most of the night, until the gaither show started, they had more than one instance of some really awful feedback coming through the speakers. It ruined what would have been a decent sounding night.
Overall I came away pleased with what I witnessed. Sure there were performances that fell short of what should be a high end standard at NQC; but I can’t really complain to much about night as a whole. I had a good time. On another note I thought the first NQC awards show was tastefully done and it was good to see some winners that don’t ever win though they deserve to in the singing news awards. Dianne Wilkinson was a very deserving winner of songwriter of the year, and Kim Collingsworth was very deserving of her musician award. Also it was nice to see David Phelps win favorite tenor, and the Collingworth Family win favorite mixed group. As I stated already I had a good thing, and tonight left looking forward to tomorrow night. I can’t say that has always been the case at NQC.
I am heading down to the granddaddy of all Southern Gospel events today, the National Quartet Convention. I will be covering the first ever NQC music awards, and of course the nightly festivities. To be honest last year I was there the entire week, and to be frank I got a little burnt out. My blogging has been spotty ever since. I am hoping these next two days will rejuvenate my deep affection for all things Southern Gospel.
I will also be picking up some of the new albums that various groups have out currently. I am hoping to get some reviews done (I know, I know, you’ve heard that one before) shortly after NQC. I will see you all on the other side! I might be doing a live blogging from my phone if it will cooperate with me. I will also try and tweet some updates throughout the day/night. Twitter Link
Glenn Dustin left Legacy Five a little over a month ago, and now his replacement has been revealed. After a long search and auditioning several guys Legacy Five has announced that Matt Fouch formerly with Soul’d Out Quartet will be joining them. His first weekend with the group will be the weekend before NQC. I personally feel that this is a great move for Legacy Five. They needed to make a big splash, and they have done so with hiring Fouch. He is one of a best young bass singers on the road today. He is a great fit personally, and vocally. Glenn Dustin left some big shoes to fill, but if Matt will just be himself he will do very well with Legacy Five. As for Soul’d Out they are going to be just fine, they are one of the best quartets in the business, and they will draw another terrific talent to step in for the loss of Matt.
Here’s a video of Matt singing with Soul’d Out.
According to the Lefevre Quartet’s website bio page they have hired Paul Harkey formerly of Chrystal River, and the Anchormen Quartet to fill their bass slot. I have heard rumblings of this move for a little while now, and it is now official. Though they have not released an official press release yet. I believe this is a great move for these guys, Paul is not only one of the best young and up and coming bass singers out there, he is one of the best bass singers out there period. This is a home run hire for Mike Lefevre. (H/T Aaron Swain)
I got pretty excited when I received the press release about Dianne Wilkinson’s upcoming autobiography. If you know anything about Dianne then you know that this book will be well worth the price, trust me on that. She is a wonderful lady, and in my humble opinion one of the best songwriters of all time in any genre. Below is the press release:
The autobiography of beloved Southern Gospel songwriting legend Dianne Wilkinson will release next month. Dianne Wilkinson: The Life and Times of a Gospel Songwriter it will chronicle her life story and the stories behind over 150 of her best-known songs. Wilkinson wrote the book in conjunction with SouthernGospelBlog.com editor Daniel J. Mount.
In 1974, Wilkinson—already a church pianist and Sunday School teacher—realized that she was still unsaved. Her salvation prompted a period of serious doctrinal and theological study which provided a foundation for her songwriting career.
She began writing songs when touring with her family group in the 1970s. Her career took off in the 1980s, in parallel with the group with whom she became closely associated, the Cathedral Quartet. Songs she wrote for them include “Boundless Love,” “Homeland,” “Jesus Has Risen,” and lead singer Glen Payne’s signature song, “We Shall See Jesus.”
She has become Southern Gospel’s most recognized non-performing songwriter. Virtually every major Southern Gospel artist has recorded her songs. Around fifty of her songs have been charting singles on the industry-standard Singing News monthly radio charts; seven have reached #1. Her songs have also received multiple Dove Awards® nominations, over a dozen Singing News Fan Awards nominations, and multiple Singing News Fan Awards for Song of the Year.
Dianne Wilkinson: The Life and Times of a Gospel Songwriter will be available for physical purchase from Amazon, and for digital purchase for the Amazon Kindle®, the Barnes and Noble Nook™, the Apple iPad® and iPhone®, the Kobo™ e-reader, and several other formats and venues. A book signing is also planned for the National Quartet Convention.
If you haven’t met Miss Dianne, then you need to find a way to get to NQC and get your book signed by this wonderful lady.
Once again it has been a long time since I have posted anything on this blog. I mean for that to change starting this week! There has been a lot of big news in Southern Gospel over the last few months I will hit on the biggest along with some thoughts on each.
- Dustin Sweatmen left the MTQ as I’m sure you were all aware. I would say that this is a big loss for them; but the fact that they replaced him with no other than Nick Trammel, negates any negative impact Sweatmen’s departure would have had on the group. All they need now is a pianist and they could well be the strongest group out there.
- Glenn Dustin resigned his spot with Legacy Five- I was shocked to see this come about; but not totally surprised, I have always felt he would eventually leave the group. Now for replacements I have heard people mention almost every name under the sun, from Justin Terry to Gene McDonald. I will be praying that L5 finds just the right person to fill the big shoes that Glen left behind. Personally I would like to see them hire Randy Byrd if they wanted a seasoned older bass singer, or Paul Harkey who is one of the best up and coming bass singers on the road today. Paul currently sings for the Anchromen. There have been a lot of great bass singers come through that group including Jeff Chapman (which is who Paul reminds me of) Aaron Mccune, and David Hester.
Alot of the other bloggers are doing it so I will post my votes from the NQC awards:
- Bass Singer – Paul Harkey (Anchormen)
- Baritone Singer – Jim Brady (Booth Brothers)
- Lead Singer – Bill Shivers (Brian Free & Assurance)
- Tenor Singer – Gus Gaches (Legacy Five)
- Soprano Singer – Judy Martin (Martins)
- Alto Singer – Libbi Perry Stuffle (The Perrys)
- Soloist – Jason Crabb
- Male Group –Legacy Five
- Mixed Group – The Collingsworth Family
- Musician – Trey Ivey
- Album – Somebody’s Coming– Gold City
- Song – Ask Me Why– Legacy Five
That’s it for now, I have started on a couple CD reviews (Jubilee 3, and Nothing But Love-BFA) that I really hope to have up soon!
Its been a very long time since I posted anything on this blog. I have honestly meant to; but it just has not happened for one reason or another. Any way I thought this would be a good first post back. Legacy Five shot a concept/music video for the first time in their career, and they picked a terrific song to do it with, Ask Me Why. That song features all of L5’s strengths in one song. It also is a great song, with a terrific and timely message.
As for the video itself it was very nicely done overall, with good camera shots, and good production as a whole. The blonde lady in the video is Patty, who is the mother of the little Hanna, and who the song is dedicated to. If you don’t know their story you owe it to yourself to find out. The story is in the latest Singing News magazine, you can also find it on L5’s blog.