Cathedrals Family Reunion expands beyond initial date

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:

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Pat Barker leaves Mark Trammell Quartet

Pat Barker exciting the audienceIn 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 mark@marktrammellministries.com.

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Friday News Roundup #218

Worth Knowing

  • 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.

Worth Reading

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.

Worth Watching

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:

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Friday News Roundup #213

Friday-News

Worth Knowing

  • Brian Free & Assurance lead singer Bill Shivers and his wife Michelle had a son, William Brent Shivers III, on Wednesday.
  • Daywind and Greater Vision held a preacher appreciation contest to accompany the Greater Vision single “Preacher, Tell It Like It Is.” They have announced the winner.
  • On Wednesday, Mansion Entertainment announced a name change to Mansion Entertainment & Marketing. They also announced that they have moved into a new facility that includes label offices (they’re still the label home of Triumphant Quartet and Three Bridges), an audio studio, and a new High-Definition TV studio. They posted a two-minute video tour of the new facility here.

Worth Reading

This week’s most thought-provoking Letter to the Editor comes courtesy of my siblings:

Dear Editor,
Groups often do Christmas CDs, but have any groups ever done Resurrection/ Passion Week CDs? It would seem so ideal, because there are many songs about the cross, blood being shed, the resurrection, etc. Groups could do songs in any order or they could proceed chronologically through the week with songs about the various Passion Week events.
Unlike Christmas albums which are usually only played between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a Resurrection CD would have year-round appeal to Christians.
It would be nice to see Southern Gospel groups come out with some Resurrection albums!
Sincerely,
Daniel’s Siblings

The Paul Heil interview featured a number of tributes to the impact he has made on the genre. This one, from the Garms Family, was especially thoughtful:

On behalf of the family, I want to share a few words about the impact that Paul Heil and “The Gospel Greats” have had in our lives, particularly my own.

Our discovery of “The Gospel Greats” came after we discovered Southern Gospel music in 2005. One summer day, I was tuning the radio to a Contemporary Christian station that we occasionally listened to, and something surprising caught my ear. Yes- it was Southern Gospel music! I couldn’t believe it. A man’s voice came on after the song and proceeded to give the latest news in Southern Gospel. Another shock! This radio station gave Southern Gospel news instead of world news at the top of the hour! I was ecstatic, to say the least. :) As we continued to listen to the radio station, we realized my naive mistake, but fell in love with the show “The Gospel Greats”.

Saturday afternoon at 4:00 PM found me (and any other siblings who wanted to join me) in front of the radio for those precious two hours of Southern Gospel music. We listened faithfully week after week, getting to know artists and becoming familiar with the current music. Sometimes we’d occupy ourselves with drawing or writing in tablets as we listened; other times we would be busy cleaning with every radio in the house blaring so we wouldn’t miss a single note! :)

When we subscribed to Singing News later on, we would refer to the latest issue whenever Paul had a new feature artist. (“Oh, so that’s who the Booth Brothers are!”) Springside catalogs were also my favorite items to receive in the mail, as I’d pore over them and study CD covers and song titles. (I still have nearly every one I ever received.)

I will never forget listening to Paul interview Dianne Wilkinson and Barbara Huffman. Hearing these two sweet ladies talk about songwriting inspired me greatly to write songs that would encourage, uplift, and teach people. I wanted to be just like them! :)

Many times Paul would play songs that blessed us at just the right time. For example, one time after Ben had learned of a fatal accident which claimed the life of a young church member, he turned on “The Gospel Greats”, and right at that moment The Talleys’ song “Life Goes On” was playing…exactly what he needed to hear.

Oh, the stories could go on of how “The Gospel Greats” were such an integral part of our lives, and how much they impacted and inspired us. Regrettably, we don’t get to hear Paul’s familiar voice each Saturday anymore. Both Minnesota stations that played “The Gospel Greats” ceased to feature them (to our huge disappointment), and besides that, we are often too occupied with our own singing ministry each weekend. But the memories we have of sitting glued to the radio, listening intently to every song, are irreplaceable and so special.

Thank you Paul (and Shelia!) for your ministry through “The Gospel Greats”! We appreciate it so much (and have friends that do as well). May God continue to bless your work and faithfulness. Also, thanks for the great interview, Daniel!

“Keep looking up!” :)

Blessings and Joy in the Journey,
Taylor for TGF

Worth Watching

Also worth watching: Matt Fouch interviews Scott Inman.

Worth Discussing

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

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Friday News Roundup #210

Worth Knowing

  • Congratulations to Nick and Jessica Trammell, who announced this week that they are expecting their second child.
  • Joseph Habedank and Ricky Free announced this week that Free will produce Habedank’s solo mainline debut project for his new Daywind contract.

Worth Reading

Insights from this week’s Letters To The Editor. From John Situmbeko, in response to “Songs From Numbers: High And Lifted Up“:

There was a time I used to wonder why God instructed Moses to lift high a bronze serpent to symbolise Jesus. Why not lift a bronze lamb to represent the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world? Further study of the word revealed to me such texts as 1 Cor. 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Then I understood that when Jesus, “the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world,” was lifted up, in the likeness of sinful flesh, He was made to be sin for us as every sin on Him was laid. The bronze serpent was therefore a sound representation of Him at the cross. This also serves to show just how dreadful the load He bore was; so dreadful that a serpent was fit for His representation. No wonder He felt the heavy weight of separation and bitterly cried out to His Father. And how sad that it was our sins that put Him there, but how amazing that grace will always be greater than sin.

No wonder such songs as High and Lifted Up never fail to command praise from my heart each time I listen to them.

From Greg Bentley, in response to “Southern Gospel’s Most Successful Soloists“:

Coming from the side of traveling with Squire for 10 years, one of the benefits I see as a soloist who writes their own music is the interaction that it gives them with the audience. Let’s face it, one person standing and singing with soundtracks can be, well, not very entertaining. But when that person can say, “I wrote this song after I …” helps to pull the audience into the life of the writer and gives them a more personal concert experience. I’ve seen this happen with Mark and Kirk as well. Writer / artist don’t have to search for songs that speak to them that they can try to convey to the audience, they have the advantage of being able to write their story and then sing it. I know Joseph will be very successful with what his track record of writing has been to this point!

Worth Watching

Also worth watching: Southern Gospel Journal’s youngest contributor, Caleb Garms, is a fine singer in his own right, as he shows on “He Pilots My Ship.”

Worth Discussing

Were there any other Southern Gospel news stories of significance this week?

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Friday News Roundup #208

Friday-News

Worth Knowing

  • Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Tracy Stuffle’s stroke. The Perrys posted a note of thanks here.
  • We learned earlier in the month that Jared Stuffle would be singing bass for the Perrys until his father was able to return full-time. A press release with a few more details has now been posted.
  • AbsolutelyGospel has announced the nominees for their annual awards.
  • The Mark Trammell Quartet held a blog tour to promote their new release, featuring four simultaneously posted interviews with group members here, here, here and here. There’s also a contest open to win a copy of the new CD here.

Worth Watching

Here’s a personal testimony song that Joseph Habedank wrote and has been singing in his solo concerts:

Worth Discussing

Were there any other significant Southern Gospel news stories this week?

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2013 SouthernGospelBlog.com Awards: Best On-Stage Video: Voting

Quite a few Southern Gospel magazines and websites offer “best of” contests and awards shows. But they often cover much the same ground: Favorite artist, song, album, musician, singer at each vocal part, and the like. Let’s do something different. Let’s honor the best Southern Gospel videos—concept videos, behind-the-scenes videos (including studio videos), and live concert videos. For each category, we’ll do a nominations post and a follow-up post with a poll featuring the top nominees.

You’ve already selected the best concept video and the best behind-the-scenes video. You’ve also nominated and seconded the finalists for this final category, best on-stage single-song video, here. It’s time to vote!

[UPDATE, 1/27/2014] The results are in! Here are the final vote totals and percentages:

  1. 42% / 1,313 votes: From My Rags to His Riches – Devin McGlamery – http://youtu.be/LC0B7idut00
  2. 33% / 1,036 votes: He Broke The Chains – Inspirations – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7clxQv-uRZ8
  3. 8% / 239 votes: Long Live The King – Old Paths – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bW-t09L4kk
  4. 4% / 132 votes: Thanks To Calvary – Pat Barker at the Cathedrals Family Reunion – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cnp8azmLVQ
  5. 3% / 83 votes: I Rest My Case At The Cross – The Perrys – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wozmtqhEfA4
  6. 3% / 80 votes: While I Still Can – Devin McGlamery – http://youtu.be/wi2CWLFEInE
  7. 2% / 52 votes: Glorious Freedom – Gaither Vocal Band - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qzxv8EYGCM
  8. 2% / 47 votes: Light a Candle – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound – http://youtu.be/sWvLdgG2RQk
  9. 1% / 44 votes: He Loves Me – Chris Allman, Gerald Wolfe, Mark Trammell, Pat Barker – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3z-vIVdoeE
  10. 1% / 43 votes: All Bass Quartet at NQC – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSBYqFdeKo0
  11. 1% / 28 votes: Something’s Happening – Hoppers with TaRanda Greene – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhTXW0Q8s5U
  12. 1% / 16 votes: All is Well – Whisnants with Melissa Brady – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw7u9F1-n7k

Total votes: 3,115.

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Mark Trammell Quartet announces its own record label

The Mark Trammell Quartet announced this morning that, after spending their recording career to date in the Daywind roster, they are leaving to launch their own record label, Crimson Road Productions. Mark commented:

We feel it is time to yet again stretch our wings and accept the challenge of not only broadening our own horizons but also working toward helping others reach for their dreams. I have personally enjoyed almost two decades of being a part of the Daywind Family Of Artists and we leave them with nothing but thankfulness. After 40 years of being in the recording industry, I have some ideas of my own that I would like to try. Bottom line, we have peace in our hearts that now is the time to begin yet another new chapter in the multi-faceted life of this ministry.

The label will be run by Trammell and his longtime friend Jeff Haney. Susan Whisnant will do their radio promotion. Trammell’s comments indicated that it won’t be a one-artist label, though any announcements about which artists will be featured are presumably a little ways down the road.

Crimson Road’s first release will be the next Mark Trammell Quartet recording, Your Walk Talks.

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CD Review: Cathedrals Family Reunion

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Cathedrals Family ReunionIt was a historic occasion: Five alumni of a group many consider the greatest Southern Gospel group of all time—the two living ’90s alumni and the three living late-80s alumni—gathered together for the first time to do a recording together. Which direction should they take?

Should they record the greatest hits—the ones they’d already recorded on their groups’ individual tribute projects, but for the first time together?

Should they record great songs from deeper in the Cathedrals’ vast repertoire that deserve another hearing?

Should they record new songs in the Cathedrals’ style or update the arrangements?

Should they record songs with just their voices? 

Should they add in one or all of the three bass singers regularly touring with these alumni—Matt Fouch, Pat Barker, and Paul Harkey, because it’s difficult to play tribute to a quartet without a bass part?

Should they do an extended-family choir with all the current members of the groups that they currently tour with?

Should they incorporate old recordings of the three longest-running alumni—Glen Payne (36 years), George Younce (35 years), and Roger Bennett (18 years)—all of whom have passed away?

For better or worse, the answer they selected was “all of the above.” There are some songs with just their five voices, plus a bass singer. There are songs with a full male-voice choir with the voices of other members of Legacy Five, Greater Vision, the Mark Trammell Quartet, and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound joining the alumni. Glen Payne’s, George Younce’s, and Roger Bennett’s voices are also incorporated, courtesy of technology (on “I’ve Read the Back of the Book,” for Roger, and “Search Me, O God” for Glen and George). Each of the bass singers gets at least a few step-out lines; Pat Barker fans will be delighted to hear him nail the project’s most prominent bass solo, “Wedding Music.”

Some songs, like “Champion of Love,” “Oh, What a Savior,” “Wedding Music,” and “Somebody Touched Me,” are among the defining songs of their respective Cathedrals lineups. “We Shall Be Caught Up,” “O Come Along,” and “Blood-Washed Band” are welcome finds from a little deeper in the catalog.

Arrangements generally stay relatively close to the originals. “Yesterday” and “Blood-Washed Band” are both a little more orchestrated than the original performances. But it’s not distracting, because they’re no more fully orchestrated than quite a few of the Cathedrals’ own songs of the 80s and 90s were. It’s easy to imagine that an actual Cathedrals re-cut of either song in, say, 1995 would have sounded exactly like these. It made particular sense to update the arrangement on “Yesterday,” since it’s the oldest Cathedrals song revisited, and the only one from the ’70s.

Cathedrals Family Reunion succeeds in having something for everyone. For the most casual of fans, who don’t have any of the previous tribute projects, it contains a number of the all-time biggest hits. (Including this approach does make sense. Since this is released on StowTown records and has the marketing power of Provident behind it, it will undoubtedly reach many bookstore customers who do not have the other tribute projects.)

For more active fans who have the other tribute projects, it also has several tracks making it worth purchasing. But for active fans, it is perhaps less a full-course menu and more of an appetizer for what the future could hold.

What could this future hold? Well, take a look at the songs these alumni were singing at the reunion event earlier this month. One user posted five videos, “Movin’ Up to Gloryland,” “Into His Presence,” “Whosoever Will,” and two absolutely show-stopping performances in “Thanks to Calvary” and “What a Meeting.” None of these have been overdone; in fact, only “Movin’ Up to Gloryland” has appeared on a previous Cathedrals alumni tribute project. Could these songs be hints as to what we might see in the future? Could there be a Cathedrals Family Reunion 2?

One thing’s for sure: There will only be a chance at a volume 2 if this is a success. And the nice part about having something for everyone is this: It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for from a Cathedrals tribute project; there will be something here for you.

Traditional or Progressive: Traditional to middle-of-the-road.

Credits: This review was based off of a digital edition and, as usual, credits are only available in the hard copies. (Review copy not provided.) 

Song List (songwriters in parentheses): Blood-Washed Band; We Shall Be Caught Up; Wedding Music; We’ll Work; O Come Along; I’ve Read the Back of the Book; Yesterday; Can He, Could He, Would He?; Oh, What a Savior; He Made a Change; Somebody Touched Me; Search Me, O God; Champion of Love.

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