Peg McKamey sustains head injuries in serious fall

This afternoon, The McKameys and their booking agency, The Harper Agency, announced on Facebook that Peg McKamey Bean suffered head injuries in a serious fall on Wednesday morning. This weekend’s concerts have been postponed. Prayer is requested for Peg and for her family.

UPDATE (2/14/2014): The McKameys posted on Facebook: “Peg is doing much better today and may go home tomorrow,thank you for the prayers!.”

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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 2: Live Blog

Are you watching in person or online? Jump in; join the discussion and share your thoughts in the comments section!

Highlights

In no particular order.

  • The webcast quality was greatly improved from last night. There was only one point where there were any significant interruptions—though, sadly, it was…
  • The Cathedral Family Reunion appearance—Danny Funderburk, Ernie Haase, Gerald Wolfe, Mark Trammell, and Scott Fowler, joined by guest bass Paul Harkey—singing their new radio single, “We’ll Work.” I could only catch a few seconds here and a few seconds there, but it was enough to confirm that it was one of the evening’s highlights.
  • Even though Legacy Five’s set had the somewhat odd pacing of three bass solo songs to open, it showcased Matt Fouch’s growth into his role as a Legacy Five-style bass singer within the past year.
  • I was prepared to describe the Kingdom Heirs set much like I described one or two sets from yesterday: Solidly paced, and so great as a whole that it deserved mention here, even though there wasn’t one song that stood head and shoulders over the rest. But then they closed with their current #1 hit, “Just Beyond the Sunset.” They gave it the all-our barn-burner treatment that they’ve given to previous favorites, “He Locked the Gates” and “I Know I’m Going There.” 

Highlights of their respective sets include: “Homecoming Day” (Tribute Quartet), “Searchin’” (The Talleys with Jason Crabb), “When He Spoke” (The Perrys), “That’s What The Blood is For” (Jason Crabb), “Calvary Conquers It All” (Gold City), “Goodbye World Goodbye” (Penny Loafers), “When We Meet to Part No More” (Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver), “When I Wake Up To Sleep No More” (Inspirations), “Reason Enough” (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound), “What Remains of Me” (Dixie Melody Boys with The Isaacs), “Hold On” (The McKameys), “Four Days Late” (Karen Peck and New River), “I’ll Trust The Potter’s Hand” (The Whisnants)

Live Play-By-Play

Click “Read More” to read the live blog; it is hidden from the home page for space considerations.

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Saturday News Roundup #164

Worth Knowing

  • The Library of Congress has selected the Blackwood Brothers’ recording of “Crossing Chilly Jordan” as one of the 25 annual selections added to their National Recording Registry of historic audio recordings. Other inductees in this 2012 class include the first recording from space and Jimmie Davis’s 1940 recording of “You Are My Sunshine.”
  • The Gaither organization has launched Gaither.tv. It’s a monthly subscription service ($4.99/month) that offers, among other things, access to the complete library of Homecoming TV specials, certain complete concert videos streamed each month, and other exclusive footage. The idea has merit, but also offers great potential for confusion; after all, the annual Gaither.com site memberships ($34.95/year) are also still available. Will content that was previously exclusive to Gaither.com members now also be made available to Gaither.tv members, cutting down on the value of the new subscription? Will it be Gaither.tv exclusive, cutting down on the value of the old subscription? Or will it be made available to both, cutting down on the exclusivity of both subscriptions?
  • Southern Gospel record industry veteran John Mathis has launched a new blog, southerngospelindustry.com.
  • Songwriter Ricky Free has signed with Daywind Music Publishing.
  • The Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards ceremony returns to Nashville.
  • James Lawson, promoter of the long-running concert series at the Canton Palace Theater in Canton, Ohio, is retiring from his promotion of the series. Quite a bit of Gospel Music history went down at this theater, including the taping of Legacy Five and Greater Vision’s classic Live at the Palace video.
  • Brian Free & Assurance baritone Derrick Selph and his wife Jennifer are expecting their second child.

Worth Watching

The McKameys were in the studio this week; this video sneak peek was posted:

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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McKameys earn another #1 hit

Multiple sources (first The McKameys’ Facebook page, now Crossroads’ Facebook page) [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed] are reporting that the #1 hit on the January 2013 Singing News Charts will be The McKameys’ “Unspoken Request.” This song is one of the fastest-rising #1s in Singing News charting history; it debuted at #25 on the November 2012 chart, jumped to #9 in December 2012, and made an especially rare jump from #9 to #1 in the latest chart. I don’t have access to all the years of past charts to verify this, but it could well be the highest a single has jumped to reach the #1 spot. (Update: A sharp-eyed reader with a long memory notes that “God on the Mountain” jumped from #10 to #1 in 1988.)

Also notably, the song features a lead vocal performance from the McKameys’ long-time lead guitarist, Roger Fortner, who has never before been featured on a radio single. (This may actually be his first recorded vocal solo, period, but while I have many of the projects on which he appeared as a McKameys or Inspirations member, I don’t have every single one to verify this with absolute certainty.)

This occasion also called for a refresh of our assorted Singing News Chart Analysis posts. We’ve updated the list of Singing News #1 hits, and our analyses by Artist, Label, and Songwriter. The most notable movement is in the all-time artist chart. With nineteen #1 hits, the McKameys expanded their lead to five over the second-place Crabb Family (fourteen). Interestingly, the Whisnants remain strong, bumping the Kingsmen (eleven) out of third place with their twelve #1 hits.

Those are sheer numbers of #1s; in the months spent at #1 analysis, the McKameys again move into a tie position with the Kingsmen, both groups having spent thirty months at #1.

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3:1 CD Review: Precious Seed (McKameys)

Precious Seed (The McKameys)3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.

1: When He Speaks and I Am a Vessel. Both songs hit the stylistic sweet spot that has made many other McKameys songs live favorites and chart-toppers. Both are message songs—mellow, mid-tempo songs where the lyric is king.

2: Bearing Precious Seed. “Bearing Precious Seed” kicks off the album and is easily its strongest up-tempo song. In fact, it’s probably one of the strongest fast songs they’ve ever done. It comes from Psalm 126:5-6:

(5) They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. (6) He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

You can probably think of at least two other songs drawn from the same passage (“Bringing in the Sheaves,” “They That Sow.”) But there’s no question that this one has the coolest title!

The lyric uses the seed as a picture of spreading the Gospel, fusing the imagery of this Psalm with Jesus’ parable of the sower. The imagery goes one step beyond the first half of verse six, the challenges of going out to spread the Gospel, and focuses on the second half—the joy of the Gospel harvest.

3: Unspoken Request. When you listen to a McKameys CD, you may be used to hitting the skip button when you hear a male voice solo. (No, I won’t embarrass you by asking for a show of hands. You know who you are! :) )

Don’t skip this one.

This story song is a rare vocal solo from guitarist Roger Fortner. It’s simple—and that’s not a bad thing; it doesn’t need to be complex. The last two lines of the second verse are particularly well-crafted.

:1: More great songs: McKameys fans probably won’t have a single complaint about arrangements, tracks, or vocal performances. More great four- and five-star songs would have made this a five-star project.

Traditional or Progressive: Traditional.

Radio Single Picks: “When He Speaks,” “Bearing Precious Seed,” “I Am a Vessel.”

Album Rating: 4 stars.

Group Members: Connie Fortner (soprano), Peg McKamey Bean (lead), Sheryl Farris (alto), Ruben Bean (bass), Roger Fortner (guitar), Eli Fortner (guitar).

Song List: Bearing Precious Seed; I Am a Vessel; Nothing But Grace; This Blessed Old Book; When He Speaks; Story Untold; Unspoken Request; When I Think About Heaven; Some Morning I Shall Stand; The Touch; Finish Well.

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Saturday News Roundup #94

Worth Knowing

  • Kingsmen: Bass singer Ray Dean Reese had prostate cancer surgery last Wednesday. He took the weekend off to rest at home. His medical team is recommending further treatment of lymph nodes affected by the cancer.
  • McKameys: The McKameys’ hometown, Clinton, Tennessee, honored them with a recent Lifetime Achievement Award. The award commemorated their thirty-one years of full-time Gospel Music ministry.
  • Hissong: Baritone David Price has left HisSong. He has been replaced by singer/songwriter Michael Frost. [EDIT, 2/21/13: Broken link removed.] Frost’s five-year run at Pigeon Forge’s The Miracle Theater ended last month when it canceled its production “The Miracle,” a musical about the life of Christ.
  • Revelation: Revelation, the Southern Gospel trio from Northern Ireland, recently signed with Christian and Sophia Davis’s Adoration Agency for U.S. bookings.
  • Rambos: Dottie Rambo will receive a star in Music City’s Walk of Fame.

Worth Watching

When Sisters presented earlier this year at a Dove Awards pre-ceremony, they generated some buzz with a four-style take on a hymn. Though it’s not footage from the Dove pre-show, here’s a recent performance of that routine:

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

But this week, I’ll kick the discussion off with a question. I went to Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon and was astonished, as I am every year, at the sudden and stark juxtaposition of Halloween merchandise giving way to Christmas merchandise. Should Christians be more offended at our society’s widespread celebration and commercialization of Satan at Halloween—or our society’s widespread commercialization and trivialization of Christ at Christmas?

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Saturday News Roundup #93

Worth Knowing

  • Valor III: Long-time Blackwood Brothers bass singer Ken Turner has joined Valor III. The group will now be known as “Ken Turner & Valor III.” (An aside: Singing News states, oddly, that Turner spent 25 years with the Blackwood Brothers; he joined in about 1971 and left in about 1986, making it closer to fifteen years.)
  • Dills: The Dills are experimenting with a crowd-funding model for their new worship recording. Much like Kickstarter projects, there are different rewards for different levels of contributions. Check it out here.
  • McKameys: In the McKameys’ latest news update, posted on their website, they shared that their hometown, Clinton, Tennessee, presented them with a Lifetime Achievement Award on October 1. They commented: “What an honor! We were humbly surprised. A lifetime achievement award for 31 years of full-time and faithful service in traveling and singing Gospel Music and Telling the Story of Jesus Christ! What an honor to be recognized by your own home-town!”
  • Ollis Family: Former Whisnants / Dixie Melody Boys pianist Eric Ollis, his wife Laura, and their oldest son Payton have announced a family music ministry. Eric started accompanying Laura in her appearances at ladies’ conferences in 2008. The Ollis family will be scheduling conferences, worship events, and concerts. More information will be available at mountainridgeministries.com.
  • Plainsmen: Ernie Couch & Revival has posted an extensive history of the Plainsmen here. (Warning: There is a swear word in a direct quotation at one point.)
  • Weatherfords: The Weatherfords recently announced on Facebook that have finally gotten licensing clearance to reissue their classic recording, In the Garden (1959), on CD. It will be available for purchase here.

Worth Reading

Don’t miss Friday Night Revival’s piece on The Hair Piece.

Worth Watching

Here is what is likely the first professionally recorded video of Wilburn & Wilburn, from their recent TBN taping:

Worth Anticipating

Upcoming CD Reviews:

  • 11/4: Amen (Down East Boys)
  • 11/11: Everlasting Truth (Michael Booth)
  • 11/18: Songs from the Heart (Triumphant Quartet)
  • 11/25: Baptized on Sunday (Penny Loafers)
  • 12/2: American Christian (Melody Boys Quartet)
  • 12/9: A Country Campmeeting (Palmetto State Quartet)
  • 12/16: Step Up (Torchmen Quartet)
  • 12/23: Journey (Libbi Perry Stuffle)
  • 12/30: A Country Campmeeting (Three Bridges)
  • 1/6: You’ve Got to Believe (Homeland Harmony Quartet)
  • 1/13: A Wonderful Life (Legacy Five)
  • 1/20: A Country Campmeeting (Triumphant Quartet)
  • 1/27: Steve Ladd (Steve Ladd)
  • 2/3: God’s Been Faithful (Liberty Quartet)
  • 2/10: The Call is Still the Same (Dixie Melody Boys)
  • 2/17: Turn to the Cross (Sanctuary Quartet)
  • 2/24: Family Ties (Wilburn & Wilburn)
  • 3/2: Living in Grace (Cavaliers Quartet)

(Dates subject to change, if a really incredible CD comes along that we just have to bump up the line, or if a publicist bugs us enough that we bump a CD up and/or cancel the review.)

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday; you decide!

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National Quartet Convention 2011, Day 5

Moment of the Night

Collingsworth Family: Final three songs of set. The acapella encore to “That’s the Place I’m Longing to Go” was the night’s most exquisite moment musically. “Resurrection Morn” is a top-notch good-as-new big ballad. Kim Collingsworth’s closing piano solo, “Hallelujah Chorus,” received one of the most sustained and prolonged ovations I have ever heard at the National Quartet Convention—and perhaps the longest.

First runner-up: Greater Vision, “I Know a Man Who Can.” The fact that the Collingsworths had three songs equally deserving of making the list bumps them to the top spot, but even so, this is close behind. This song is to Chris Allman as “Oh What a Savior” is to Ernie Haase.

Second runner-up: Kingdom Heirs, “We Will Stand Our Ground.” Excellent and timely song, excellent performance.

Showcase Highlights

Intriguingly, of all the groups and soloists appearing at the Gaither Sing-A-Long showcase, the two who received the strongest and warmest applause of welcome were Mosie Lister and Ryan Seaton. The set had few standing-ovation moments, but the closing numbers of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (with the Nelons, Shame McConnell, and David Phelps) and “Worthy the Lamb” (Gaither Vocal Band) did bring the audience to its feet.

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National Quartet Convention 2011, Day 2

This live blog will be updated through the night.

Moment of the Night

Jeff & Sheri Easter, “Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me.” Jeff Easter’s mother passed away five weeks ago; it was already a special moment when Jeff dedicated the song to his father, but when his father came on stage to sing the second verse . . . there aren’t quite words to capture the moment. It takes a deep faith to sing those words in public just a month after losing a wife of more than fifty years.

Runner-up: Mark Trammell Quartet, whole set. A delightful and perfectly paced tribute to the Cathedral Quartet. Mark didn’t say it was a tribute, but he didn’t need to—it stood on its own.

Second runner-up: Chris Allman’s unflappability (see Christmas segment).

Christmas Segment (10:22)

Set List: Love Me Some Snow (Crist Family); It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Greater Vision); I Wonder as I Wander (Matthew Holt); Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child (Triumphant Quartet); Away in a Manger (Talleys); I Wanna Hear the Angels (Hoppers); Joy to the World (Legacy Five); Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel (Greater Vision); Hallelujah Chorus (Jeff Stice piano solo); Silent Night (audience)

Highlights: The gigantic red Santa Claus hat which one of Gerald Wolfe’s sons slipped onto his head mid-song! It was also amazing to see Chris Allman sing a pitch-perfect performance of his song despite holding a stack of brightly presents stacked so far above his head that one slipped off and hit his head toward the end. That’s how good he is.

The acapella rendition of “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel,” also by Greater Vision, was perfect.

Booth Brothers (10:02)

Set List: Look For Me at Jesus’ Feet; Welcome to the Family; She Still Remembers; Since Jesus Came; Trading This Old Cross for a Crown

Highlights: An all-live rendition of “Look for Me at Jesus’ Feet” with Whisnants pianist Eric Ollis on piano.

Whisnants (9:39)

Set List: King Jesus is Coming; Be Not Afraid; Ready to Leave; All is Well; New Day Dawning.

Highlights: Consistently strong throughout; it’s hard to pick a moment that stood head and shoulders above the others.

Showcase Spotlight (9:37)

Voices Won sang “I Was There When it Happened.” They haven’t had a breakthrough hit to move them into the top tier, but they have the tight sibling harmonies to stand out if they get that big song.

Mark Trammell Quartet (9:09)

Set List: Wedding Music; Old Convention Song; Gentle Shepherd; It’s Almost Over.

Highlights: They walk on stage to the strains of “Wedding Music,” and the audience goes crazy. Well, okay, this is NQC, and given the average age, they don’t go crazy, but they definitely welcome it appreciatively! Gerald Wolfe joins on piano for the set.

It was a brilliantly paced and delivered set of Cathedrals songs. Much like a Cathedrals set, almost all the songs were completely live; the closing song had a track. It left the audience on their feet.

(Pat Barker: As to your looks, you look better than I do, but you sing better than you look!)

Click “more” for the rest of the coverage:

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