Last year, Ernie Haase, Gerald Wolfe, Mark Trammell, Scott Fowler, and Danny Funderburk held an event they called a “Cathedrals Family Reunion” in Fort Worth, Texas. Yesterday, the event’s promotion team, IMC Concerts, posted a video to YouTube, announcing that four more Cathedrals Family Reunion dates have been added: Akron, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and, Orlando, Florida.
The video is also worth watching for a memory Ernie Haase shares about being there the day that George and Glen decided to retire the group:Read More
- Freedom has a new pianist, Cody McCreary.
- Joe Kitson has left Paul’s Journey and plans to finish his college education. He will be replaced by Dennis King.
- Marshall Hall’s younger brother, Matt Hall, passed away. He had cancer.
From the “take it from someone who knows” department, this week’s Letter to the Editor is from legendary tenor Ernie Phillips, reflecting on Pat Barker’s decision to come off of the road:
I got acquainted with Pat while Eric was singing with the quartet. A great talent and sweet spirited man. I know how hard it is to have to come to a crossroads in life, and having to leave a ministry that you love and have a passion for. I also know that there are priorities in life that the Lord expects us to be aware of, that being immediate family. Been there, done that. The Lord always opens other doors of opportunity. Although he will be missed no doubt, I’m sure Pat has prayed about his decision and will be at peace. Let’s just pray for him during this transition. God Bless you Pat, and hope to see ya down the “Glory Road.”
This was particularly neat, because Phillips and Barker made very similar impacts on the genre in a very similar period of time (around 7/8 years). They are two of a very small handful of individuals who will still be mentioned as legends decades from now despite spending less than a decade in the genre’s leading quartets.
It’s Good Friday. Southern Gospel is filled with songs perfect for the day, but this old Mosie Lister song is one of the best:Read More
Jordan’s Bridge has signed a recording contract with Mansion Entertainment. Pianist Joe Lane comments: “We are so thankful to have been able to get with a great record company like Mansion Entertainment. Phil and I had worked with Bill Traylor in the past and he was always been so good to the quartets we were in and a great Christian man. I never would’ve dreamed that a group that has been together a little over a year would have gotten a break like this. … We have had a great time and look forward to a long relationship with Mansion.”
Mansion President Bill Traylor adds, “Our paths with Jordan’s Bridge crossed due to a long friendship with Joe Lane and Phil Barker. After learning of this new group’s endeavors they were pursing, I was personally excited about the opportunity to work again with some old friends. As I anticipated, the sound, the blend and the extraordinary talent of these four men called Jordan’s Bridge, set them in the ranks of Southern Gospel’s best. I’m grateful for the association and expect that all who hear them on radio, see them on TV and experience them in concert will agree with me that Jordan’s Bridge is destined for success.”
John Mathis first met the group while engineering their Mansion debut. He said, “Right away their experience and knowledge of Southern Gospel Music was evident. That’s when I get excited for the artists I work with, when I see first hand that not only are they talented but they know the music they want to sing, they know the songs they want to share and they know who they are and how to present that. They have all the right elements to make some great strides this year.”
The group’s debut single is “All Who Call,” a song penned by Rodney Griffin. Griffin comments on the song: “I really believe the heart of God was shown when He had Paul to write in Romans: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. I’m honored that Jordan’s Bridge is singing the song that I wrote after reading this scripture all those years.” The song was originally recorded by the Mark Trammell Trio in 2003, on their first project of new songs. It can be previewed on the group’s website, jordansbridge.com.Read More
Stow Town Records announced yesterday evening that they have added The Taylors, a rising Southern Gospel family group, to their roster. Stow Town co-owner Ernie Haase commented:
To see these brothers and sisters—all in their early 20’s—perform together is something to behold. I think everyone will hear what we first heard in The Taylors—passionate, tender voices blending into glorious overtones of a heavenly sound. You are going to love The Taylors!
Jonathan Taylor added: “We’ve been so impressed by Ernie always wanting to do his best in everything he’s been called to do. We look forward to seeing how God uses this new relationship to spread our music to unexpected places!”
The Taylors’ national debut release, Measure of Grace, is scheduled to come out on June 10.Read More
- Songwriter Arthur Smith, who wrote songs like “I’ve Been With Jesus,” “The Fourth Man,” and “I Saw A Man,” passed away on April 3. He was 93.
- Carolyn Reese, wife of Kingsmen Quartet bass singer Ray Dean Reese, has had several medical concerns over the last few months. Earlier this week, she was in ICU, with tests being run; the Kingsmen posted earlier this week that she has been doing well enough to be moved to a regular room. They will post the latest updates at their Facebook page.
This week’s Letter to the Editor: Among the many responses to Pat Barker’s decision to come off the road, this one stood out:
I still recall my disappointment following Tracy Crouch’s departure from the Dixie Echoes. I thought no one could ever fill his shoes. By the time Pat Barker left, I realized that he had left them larger than he found them. Throughout his time with the Mark Trammell Quartet, Pat Barker has not only been my favorite bass singer, but also my favorite artist in the genre. While I will greatly miss him, I admire his willingness to put his family first. – Michael Mount
Worth WatchingRead More
In a statement posted on Singing News, Mark Trammell has announced that bass singer Pat Barker is leaving the group.
There are some things in life that you just can’t imagine ever having to do. What I’m about to say is one of them. After much prayer, fasting, and seeking the mind of God, our beloved bass singer Pat Barker has tendered his resignation. He is much in need of being at home with his precious family. While it grieves our hearts, we must honor his decision and begin the process of moving on with God.
We are once again reminded that the only thing that doesn’t change is Jesus. A new chapter in the life of MTQ. And, a new chapter in the life of the finest, most Christlike man to ever travel on a quartet bus. Pat has stated that he will be with us until early May and then will be going home. I would ask that you not only pray for us as we begin the process of looking forward, but also pray for Pat, Kesha, and their three sweet children. Pray that God will give them direction, peace, and spiritual strength.
Bass singers interested in auditioning for the open position can email a resume, recent photo, and two songs to firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
- Longtime Diplomats bass singer Joe Brown has returned to the group.
- Blackwood Quartet member David Mann is coming off the road due to voice issues. In an open letter, he commented: “My windpipe was full of mold that, I later found out, I had been breathing in from a mold infested vehicle. This problem had collapsed a portion of my airways, and prevented me from using more than 1/3 of my lung capacity.” On doctor’s advice, he has decided to pursue non-musical lines of work, at least for the next several years.
- Roger Talley entertained the audience at a recent Talleys concert in Norway by coming on stage dressed in the costume of their Olympic curling team.
On Monday’s “Creating Trends” post, Pat Barker posted insightful thoughts on the relative merits of gimmicks and the songs to back them up:
I was told by one of my managers in the early days of me traveling that most Gospel music fans were also wrestling fans. In those days I was still trying to be “High Church” in my presentation because that is how I was taught. The problem was that it wasn’t getting past the first row. His point was that most of the fans want a gimmick. They want something they can identify with every time they see you. That is true.
The dilemma is presenting the gimmick with class so it doesn’t come off as hokey or “local group” for lack of a better term. A gimmick can be anything from an old man to two microphones. It can also be a white flag or a passionate piano player. There has to be something that brings the people to the concert night after night.
Here, in my opinion, is where many groups miss the boat. YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE SONGS TO BACK UP THE GIMMICK! Glen was always the old man, but they didn’t have their greatest success till We Shall See Jesus. Brian Free was always precious, but Midnight Cry was their launching pad. Gerald has always made fun of Rodney, but Lazarus, to this day, has to be sung night after night. Thank God that at the end of the day, whether you like wrestling or not, It’s all about the song. That’s the way it should be and I hope that’s the way it always will be.
One bass singer, Legacy Five’s Matt Fouch, interviews another, the Mark Trammell Quartet’s Pat Barker:
Also of note: Reality TV stars The Duggar Family attended a recent Collingsworth Family concert. They invited the Collingsworth Family over after the concert, and filmed and posted a video of the Collingsworth Family singing “God Bless America” a cappella in the Duggar’s living room:Read More
- 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.
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.
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.Read More