Friday News Roundup #212

Friday-News

Worth Knowing

  • A fundraising campaign has been launched on Indiegogo (a site similar to Kickstarter) to fund a CD celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Company. The CD should contain forgotten gems from the Stamps-Baxter catalog.
  • The Woodsmen Quartet announced that lead singer Jim Hutson will be rejoining the group, and Daniel Rivera (who has sung with Blackwood Legacy, Promise, and The Toney Brothers) will be coming on board as tenor.

Worth Reading

When discussing the possibility that the Gaither Vocal Band could be working on an album of classic songs with new vocals, reader Joseph submitted this Letter to the Editor:

That seems to be a pattern for Gaither. He introduces new groups singing the cornerstone GVB songs to let the fans compare the new to an established standard. Then, he pursues the new stuff and explores different direction that highlight the talent.

I for one love that approach. My wife doesn’t understand why I have so many GVB albums. “They’re all the same songs” she says. But I say that even though they may be the same songs, they are unique in that each iteration of the group has offered it’s own special sound to the songs.

Bottom line, Bill Gaither is a genius!!

Worth Watching

Worth Discussing

Are there any other significant Southern Gospel news stories from the week that we have yet to cover?

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Friday News Roundup #205

Worth Knowing

  • Last weekend, Jared Stuffle sang bass with The Perrys for the first time. He will be the Perrys’ regular bass vocalist as his father, Tracy Stuffle, continues to recover from a stroke. Tracy sings selected features on programs where he is healthy enough to make the trip.
  • Congratulations to Rodney Griffin, who just passed the twenty-year mark with Greater Vision.
  • Tim Lovelace’s mother Louise has passed away.
  • Songwriter Marty Millikin has passed away.
  • Colbert Croft has passed away. He had been married to Joyce Croft for 49 years. They wrote songs like “I Can’t Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand),” “I Believe When He Died He Died For Me,” and “Is That Footsteps That I Hear?”

Worth Watching

Here’s a video of The Old Paths’ debut performance of their new radio single, “Long Live The King”:

Greater Vision sings the Booth Brothers’ signature song:

Probably the best part is the reaction from the Booth Brothers. Michael: “Never sounded better!” Ronnie: “We’re doing ‘Lazarus’!”

Worth Discussing

Are there any other significant Southern Gospel stories from the past week?

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NQC 2013, Day 5: Live Blog

Highlights of the Night

The evening kept getting better and better; it is safe to call the five-song finale the strongest part of the evening. 

  • Greater Vision kicked it off with “I Know a Man Who Can.”
  • Karen Peck and New River followed it with “Four Days Late.” It’s one of the strongest renditions I’ve ever heard them offer.
  • The Booth Brothers sang “Still Feeling Fine.” 11 PM or not, I’m not sure the audience will sit down at all between Greater Vision and the final notes! (Was that Gene McDonald who came up by the end? I had to look away for a couple of minutes.)
  • Mark Trammell Quartet, “I Want to Know.” I was surprised they didn’t sing it earlier; this was why!
  • To top it all off, there was an unannounced appearance by the Gaither Vocal Band, singing “It is Finished.” Wow! Talk about a strong ending!

Other highlights, in reverse chronological order:

  • Gold City’s set: Three classics and a recent favorite that unleashes the greatest legend amongst current Southern Gospel bass singers makes for a strong set! (And a cameo appearance from Jonathan Wilburn is never a bad thing.)
  • “The King is Coming,” Mark Trammell Quartet. A rousing standing ovation!
  • The Booth Brothers brought Bill Gaither up for the final song of their set, “I Played in the Band.” Before the final encore, Gaither had everyone who had sung in a choir, driven a bus, and done several other specific things he acknowledged, stand. Most of the room was standing.
  • “He’s Alive,” David Phelps with the Gaither Vocal Band. It deserves its own mention!
  • The Gaither segment. (Of course.) “That Sounds Like Home To Me” was particularly strong.
  • Canton Junction’s surprise appearance at the start of the Gaither set was very well-received.
  • The entire Karen Peck & New River set. It’s been their strongest of the week. They started with their current, catchy single, followed with two of their #1 hits, and left the audience on their feet with “We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown.” They did their two biggest hits (“Four Days Late” and “Last Night”) earlier this week; that they could do a set without either song and still turn in their strongest set of the week speaks both to their ability as performers and to strength of their repertoire.
  • “If That Isn’t Love,” Isaacs, with Bill Gaither on the piano. We’re used to the Isaacs with Bluegrass arrangements; it’s nice to see them with Southern Gospel accompaniment once in a while.
  • “The Living Years,” Isaacs. As Bill Gaither walked on stage for the next song, he talked the Isaacs into doing an acapella chorus and tag of this one. Nobody can touch Gaither’s masterful touch at making a good moment unforgettable.
  • “Something’s Happening,” Hoppers. It was good throughout, but kept getting better and better. Then, when TaRanda Greene walked over to Kim Hopper and started singing a third above Kim’s soprano part, the raw musical power was simply too much for even Freedom Hall to contain.
  • The Nelons’ entire set was incredibly strong. They started with their recent radio single, “Excuse Me, Are You Jesus.” Then, they took the daring and risky move of singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” a cappella. The set just kept getting better and better; song 3 was the Sandi Patti song “More Than Wonderful.” Soprano Amber Thompson nailed Patti’s high ending, hitting notes I’ve never heard her hit before. Then, with the Gaither band backing them up, they pulled off an energetic rendition of “I’m Going Home With Jesus.”
  • Freedom’s Showcase Appearance: If this is any indication, John Rulapaugh’s new lineup is off to a spectacular start. But get Rulapaugh, Dale Shipley, and Burman Porter all into one group, and what do you expect?

Live Play-By Play

This post got so long that we’ve hidden the live play-by-play from the home page. Click “read more” or the post title to read the complete coverage.

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NQC 2013, Day 5: NQC Music Awards

Daniel is at work, so Daniel’s Siblings are live-blogging the afternoon showcases.

For all those who signed up, remember the Friday NQC coverage is free!

3:25 Favorite Male Group: The Booth Brothers. Ronnie: “This is called a Quartet Convention award…” Michael, “We did a quartet album this year, so we’re okay.”

3:19 Les & Clarke Beasley brought on stage to explain that a CPA firm validates the results. They introduced the individuals representing the firms. The Southern Gospel Music Guild chooses a business who has made an impact on Southern Gospel. This year’s winner of the Les Beasley Impact Award is Herschend Properties, the parent company of Silver Dollar City and Dollywood.

3:16 Favorite Song: “I Played in the Band” by the Booth Brothers. Michael Booth talking about Bill Gaither believing in the body of Christ and each person doing there part to honor the Heavenly Father.

3:12 Booth Brothers singing “I Played in the Band.”

3:07 Favorite Album: Through the Night! The Perrys.  Libbi, “I’m totally blown away.” David Ragan has his baby on stage with him! Bryan Walker and Leah Page are up there with Libbi. She is saying how Tracy usually is the one who accepts the awards and has something to say. She never dreamed they would live every song of the album. Every song needs to have a message and say something and be scriptural. Someone will need it. This year she was one of those people who needed the songs (and songs from other artists). Libbi thanking Leah for helping and being her right arm and doing an incredible job. She’s thanking the guys in the group and is asking for prayer. Libbi said “Next year, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Tracy Stuffle will be there.”

3:05 Radio Stations of the Year: WGUS & FWFC.

3:05 Promoter: Landon Beene.

3:05 Producer of the Year: Ben Isaacs.

3:04 The Hosts are introducing Autumn, the award girl.

3:00 Favorite Songwriter: Dianne Wilkinson…and the feed went down! She didn’t expect it. She is saying how she feels such a responsibility. “Sinners need to be saved. Christians need to be encouraged, The Church needs to be awakened, and God needs to be Glorified.”  Thanking the singers and studio players, who do her songs. She is overcome!

2:55 Hoppers singing, “He Didn’t Just Carry the Cross, He Carried Me.” Claude was absent, but Mike and Karlye were singing, making the Hoppers a five part group.

2:53 Video of the Year: “I Wanna Be That Man” by Brian Free and Assurance. BF&A were not in town, touring in North Carolina. The producer accepted the award for them.

2:50 Presenter Gordon Mote brought on and said his trick worked. “I swapped glasses with Kim Collingsworth and it worked!” referring to when she said she couldn’t see to read what was on her card. They continued with a series of humor as would be expected from Mote, Williams, and Easter. The crowd was laughing!

2:46 Favorite Bass: Eric Bennett. Says he’s amazed. Every bass loves to do what he does. “All of them deserve to be up here.” He hopes to never let the fans down. He’s thankful for his wife, the super guys he travels with, and to God.

2:43 Kim Collingsworth’s card didn’t say who was to sing next, so she said, “Whoever is supposed to sing now, come out and they’ll welcome you.” Greater Vision appeared and sang, “He Didn’t When He Could Have Passed By.”

2:41 Favorite Lead:  Ronnie Booth. He said, “I don’t know what to say.” He talked about growing up in Florida, hearing his dad sing for the Rebels Quartet. He talked about the day when there will be an award show like no other and we will lay our awards at Jesus’ feet.

2:40 Presenter Kim Collingsworth introduced. She will be presenting the Favorite Lead award.

2:36 Triumphant Quartet singing “Take it From Me, Meshach.”

2:32 Favorite Tenor: David Phelps. “I’m just amazed by this.”  He’s thanking the fans. “I have nothing other than great appreciation for this.” He loves singing for the people in the seats.

2:29 Legacy Five singing “I’m Still Amazed.”

2:26 Favorite Soprano: Kim Hopper. Saying thanks to the fans. It has been a wonderful year, but one of the most trying years of her life. She was sick at the beginning of the year and enjoyed being at home with her kids, but became homesick for being on the road, doing what God has called her to do, encourage the Christians. She is thankful for God’s sustaining grace.

2:24 The Hosts brought up Josh Singletary as the next presenter.

2:14 Favorite Musician: Kim Collingsworth. Kim’s says she’s at a loss for words. Before she is a musician, she is a wife and a mama. Thankful for parents who introduced her to music and taught her to love God with her heart, soul, and mind. Thankful to her visionary husband. Matthew Holt asked her to play a song.  Kim played “His Eye is On the Sparrow” with just the piano–no tracks! She got a partial standing ovation.

2:09 Kingdom Heirs singing “Just Beyond the Sunset.”

2:07 Favorite Baritone: Jim Brady. “This music is all I ever wanted to sing.”  Psalm 37:4 is true. He is doing the desire of his heart, singing for the Lord. Thanked Booth Brothers, his wife, Melissa Brady, and NQC.

2:05 Presenter Matthew Holt introduced.

2:01 Favorite Alto: Sheri Easter. Sheri saying how she watched Libbi and was thinking of the Grace of God that it takes to sing on stage after 30 years of it being different. “We are blessed.” Sheri thanking fans.

1:57 The Perrys sang “I Got A Hold of God.” (Libbi Perry Stuffle, David Ragan, Bryan Walker)

1:53 Favorite Mixed Group: The Collingsworth Family! Phil Sr. saying 10 years ago, they never envisioned standing here.  He thanked fans for their support and prayers.

1:49 Presenter Jeff Stice brings on the Gaither Vocal Band to sing their top ten nominated song “Glorious Freedom.”

1:47 Favorite Soloist: Guy Penrod! Guy Penrod is in Canada so Jeff Easter held his award for him.

1:45 First hosts: Kevin Williams and Jeff Easter.

Dixie Stampede sponsored the Gaither Sing-a-Long, and it looks like Dollywood is sponsoring the Awards show.

1:42 The NQC Music award show was kicked off by Gordon Mote. There was no microphone at the piano and he shouted something about someone saying he didn’t need a microphone. A microphone promptly appeared at the piano and he started with “Ain’t It just Like the Lord.”  As long as the feed stays up, we plan on bringing you play by play coverage of the award show!

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NQC 2013, Day 4: Live Blog

Highlight of the Night

The Perrys’ set was one of the strongest sets of the week. They started with “Blue Skies Coming,” a song with an incredibly timely message given their struggles over the last eight months (as bass singer Tracy Stuffle recovers from a January stroke and five cerebral hemorrhages since.) Things got even better with another song appropriate for this trial, “Through the Night.” I was prepared to note that song as one of the highlights of the night, but the Perrys were just getting started.

Libbi told David Ragan and Bryan Walker that she was going to throw them a curveball and change up the program. She spent the time frame that would normally have gotten allotted to song three testifying to God’s faithfulness during these last eight months. She then talked about how the two most important things in our lives are God and our families, and offered a sharp rebuke to people who put expensive cars, houses, and boats at higher priorities. It was a passionate and timely reminder.

Libbi said that as she was leaving Tracy’s side this morning for the drive up to Louisville, she told him that they would use FaceTime to show him their set live. She asked if there was a song he wanted them to sing. He asked them to sing his all-time favorite song, “I Rest My Case At The Cross.” They did, and Louisville came unglued.

These are the sort of moments that capture the essence of the National Quartet Convention, the moments that make it feel more like a family reunion than just a big concert or a trade show.

Other highlights

In chronological order:

  • Southern Raised was one of the best performers in today’s showcases. Their rendition of “Angels, Swing a Little Lower” was incredible, both instrumentally and vocally.
  • “I’m Winging My Way Back Home,” Dixie Echoes, featuring Andrew and Alex Utech. Andrew was singing lead; Alex was singing bass. The audience responded with an enthusiastic ovation.
  • “He Ain’t Never Done Me Nothin’ But Good,” The Isaacs. 
  • “He’s Alive,” The Talleys. (The whole Talleys set was strong.)
  • “Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin,” The Hoppers.
  • Triumphant Quartet had an all-around solid set, with moments of heartfelt testimony, humor, and no-holds-barred big endings.
  • “We Believe,” Booth Brothers—both the song and how Michael Booth used humor and serious exhortation to introduce it.
  • “Tradin’ The Old Cross,” Booth Brothers. The Collingsworth Family, who also recorded the song, came up on the encore. Great energy late in the night!
  • “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” The Collingsworth Family. An acapella highlight!
  • “Oh, Holy Night,” Kim Collingsworth piano solo.
  • “Hope Has Hands (Grace Has a Face),” Greater Vision. Subtle brilliance; a highlight of the Christmas section.

Play-by-play highlights

We’ve hidden the complete play-by-play from the home page for space considerations; click “read more” or on the post’s title to read the detailed coverage.

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NQC 2013, Day 4: Gaither/Gatlin Showcase

Daniel’s Siblings caught the Gaither/Gatlin showcase and offer their thoughts. Daniel himself was at work and didn’t catch it.

The showcase started with a Gatlin Brothers song–”Alleluia,” followed by the Booth Brothers singing “Castles in the Sand.”

Gaither Vocal Band (excluding Mark Lowry) sang an A Capella rendition of “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.”

“Corner of Heartbreak Ridge and New Hope Road”–All Three Groups and Gene McDonald (Mark Lowry came up for this one.) They encored it twice.

All the groups did “Swing Down Chariot”–featured Michael English and Wes Hampton.

The Gatlin Brothers then did several country songs.

Then, Bill Gaither and Larry Gatlin told the story behind and with the Gaither Vocal Band sang “Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored.”

Michael English was featured on what we call the “Chiropractor Song” (“I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted”).

David Phelps sang a song that may or may not have been in English. It may have been titled “Come to Jesus.”

The Booth Brothers sang “If We Never Meet Again” in a Gatlin-inspired style.

Bill Gaither told the story of how he and Larry Gatlin wrote “I Played in the Band, Wrote a Few songs, and Sang in the Choir,” from a Henry Slaughter line. The Booth Brothers sand the song and were joined by at least two Gatlin Brothers for the last chorus and encores. Following a Gaither “Why Not?” they encored it again! Matthew Holt was “tearing up the piano!”

Ben, Sonya, and Becky Isaacs came up and sang “Healin’ Stream.” Larry Gatlin seemed genuinely surprised and excited, like he had not expected to see the celebrity Isaacs.

Ronnie Booth sang “Through.” Michael and Jim joined him by the chorus. Bill Gaither led the crowd in “Through it All.”

Michael English sang his current radio single, “Stubborn (Psalm 151).”

Booth Brothers–”Let the Healing Begin.”

The Gatlin Brothers with another song Larry Gatlin wrote, “Help Me.”

David Phelps & the GVB sang “Glorious Freedom.” They were joined by everyone on stage by the end. They continued with “The Winds of the World” and the Martins, Isaacs, and Charlotte Ritchie came back out on stage. The crowd was on their feet, singing and clapping along.

Matthew Holt did a piano solo “Goodbye World, Goodbye.”

After Kevin Williams’ sales pitch for the Gatlin-Gaither music pack, Mark Lowry and the Booth Brothers and Bill Gaither did a song we presume was a love song. It may have been titled “Maybe.” Lowry & the GVB then sang “Sow Mercy” by Reba Rambo.

All the singers on the stage joined in closing with “I Then Shall Live” and “Greatly Blessed.” The crowd was on their feet long before the song was over!

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NQC 2013, Day 3: Live Blog

Far and away, this evening’s program has been the strongest so far. In fact, this evening has had so many highlights that it will be rather hard for the days later in the week to top it.

Perhaps a much better attendance has energized the performers. @jon_leighton posted this picture on Twitter, commenting: “ironically,  a huge crowd on quartet night at quartet convention!”

I missed the first three hours; I was at my church’s Wednesday night service. My siblings, who live across the country and don’t have a midweek service, provided our coverage of the first three hours. 

Highlight of the Night

The moment of the night was the retirement performance of The Couriers. It was the final time most of the people in the audience or watching the webcast will see these legends live and in person; they have announced that their final performance is later this year.

One song into their set, the Mark Trammell Quartet sang one of The Couriers’ signature songs, “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.” Mark then talked about how he had seen the Couriers for the first time at NQC 1974, and talked about the impact they had on their fellow performers, on the fans, and on his life.

Then Mark said that the Couriers—Duane Nicholson, Neil Enloe, and Dave Kyllonen—were there, and he was going to call them up on stage. The artists in the artist circle, surrounding the stage, stood for a standing ovation.

If the audience had any clue what was coming next, the audience would have joined them.

Gerald Wolfe and Jim Brady join Mark to present The Couriers with plaques from the National Quartet Convention thanking them for their years of faithful service and integrity and commemorating their retirement, coming later this year.

Mark Trammell introduced “Statue of Liberty” with these words: “As we pay tribute to the fallen heroes tonight on 9/11, I want to pay tribute to living heroes who show us how to do what we do with grace style character, and integrity.” The Couriers sang most of the song; the Mark Trammell Quartet joined them for the dramatic final choruses.

The audience stood throughout much of the song. Based on the video feed, it looked like there wasn’t a person in Freedom Hall still in their seat by the midpoint of the song. After the song, the standing ovation was enthusiastic and prolonged. It was as if the audience didn’t want to sit down because they didn’t want that moment to end.

Mark Trammell deserves credit for giving up most of his set for this moment. The Couriers deserved this moment—their NQC retirement, and probably their final appearance at a major venue. (Their retirement concert is in two or three months.) It was the final moment most of the people in the room and watching the webcast will get to see them live, and thanks to this, they went out in grand style.

This is one of those NQC moments fans will still be talking about in ten or twenty years.

Other Highlights

My siblings noted these highlights from the first three hours.

  • The Booth Brothers Quartet (see 5:56)
  • The Quartet Choir (see 5:53)
  • The Basses Quartet (see 6:51)
  • Quartet Gilead of Rio De Verde, Brazil (7:17)

I picked up around 8:30. These are the highlights from 8:30 on:

  • The Couriers’ final NQC performance (see above).
  • Legacy Five singing “We Shall See Jesus” (10:22). Of all the times I’ve seen them stage the song, this was easily the best. They had a tough act to follow—the moment of the night, the Couriers’ retirement performance. It’s hard to turn around from that into another evening highlight, but they pulled it off. For about a dozen years after Glen Payne’s death, no major group was willing to touch the song, but, as Fowler said, “the song is too good to die.”
  • The Confused Quartet (8:35): Jeff Easter on tenor, Scott Howard on lead, Arthur Rice on baritone, Mark Trammell on bass, and Gerald Wolfe on piano. This was a highlight for comedic reasons; Easter did a brilliant Kingsmen tenor impression.
  • All-Star Quartet (8:58): On the other hand, this was a highlight for musical reasons. Riley Clark, Clayton Inman, Mark Trammell, and Jeff Chapman did an outstanding rendition of “Glory Road.”
  • The Old Paths set: They’ve had two #1 hits within the last year, and those songs carried their debut NQC appearance.
  • The Kingdom Heirs set was perfectly paced.
  • Triumphant was a great pick to close the night. Their set just kept getting better and better, and they were tearing Louisville up by the last two songs. Clayton Inman reprised his classic Singing Americans feature on “Welcome to Heaven.” And when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they pulled their best fast song—a song a few too many fans have forgotten—out of their back pocket, “I Know I’m Going Home.”

Live Play-by-Play

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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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Saturday News Roundup #177

Worth Knowing

  • In case you missed it: The Perrys announced yesterday that David Ragan is their new lead singer.
  • Dominion Agency, the booking agency that represents Triumphant Quartet and The Collingsworth Family, has signed Red Roots to their roster.
  • Worth reading: Burke’s Brainwork interviews Steve Lacey.
  • Also worth reading: There was a fascinating discussion this week on the Gospel Music CSI Facebook group about singers who auditioned for the Gaither Vocal Band. Among the most intriguing names cited was Michael Tait, who auditioned for the tenor position in the mid-1980s before becoming a founding member of dc Talk. [UPDATE: See the comment section; apparently his audition may have actually been for baritone.]

Worth Watching

At this week’s Memphis Quartet Show, the moment that generated the most buzz online has certainly been the Booth Brothers’ appearance as a quartet with Gene McDonald on bass and a live band. Legacy Five bass singer Matt Fouch posted a video:

Also worth watching: Diana Brantley has the opening song of the Memphis Quartet Show, the Blackwood Brothers’ “How About Your Heart.”

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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Booth Brothers to release Quartet CD

This afternoon, in a 1PM matinee performance at the Memphis Quartet Show, the Booth Brothers will make a highly-anticipated appearance as a quartet with Gene McDonald on bass. In conjunction with this appearance, they will be releasing a CD with McDonald on bass. The CD will feature classic quartet songs—mostly well known, along with a rare and mostly forgotten Mosie Lister song. A title, song list, and other information on the release will be announced soon.

UPDATE, 6/28/13: Via a Facebook friend (hat tip, Brent): Title: The Booth Brothers With Gene McDonald & Nick Bruno…. Quartet Style. Song list: His Hand In Mine, Roll On Jordan, The Lovely Name Of Jesus, His Name Is Wonderful, I Am The Man, Good Ole Gospel Singing, Dear Jesus Abide With Me, I Want To Know, While Ages Roll and Sweetest Song I Know.

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