Palmetto State Quartet ends, Glass Temple begins

In May, the Palmetto State Quartet announced that they would be retiring the Palmetto State Quartet name and holding a contest to find a new name. According to a press release distributed this morning, plans have changed slightly; bass singer and manager Larry Strickland will join the group name in retirement. Lead singer David Staton states: “I have never met anyone who loves to sing and has a passion for this music like Larry does. We are going to miss having him on the road, but if it’s at all possible, you may just see Larry show up at some of our dates. Larry is one of the few true living legends in gospel music and we have been honored to stand next to him and sing.”

Existing Palmetto State Quartet members Jeremy Easley, David Staton and DaRon Maughon will continue performing under the group name Glass Temple. This new group name will take effect on October 1st; Glass Temple’s debut recording will come out later this year.

Glass Temple dates can be scheduled by contacting David Staton at david@songgardenmusicgroup.com or 615-385-4166. Ext. 22.

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Harold Gilley passes away

Former Palmetto State Quartet bass singer Harold Gilley passed away yesterday. He had been in declining health for some time. A visitation and funeral service will take place on Saturday in East Stone Gap, Virginia; a graveside service will take place on Sunday. An obituary posted on the Kingsport Times website offers details.

Many of his fellow performers posted tributes on Facebook, including these:

  • “What an incredible voice and was a very kind gentleman. My prayers go out to his family.” – Pat Barker
  • “I loved Harold as a friend and bass singer . . . we laughed a lot.” – Duane Allen
  • “We have lost one of the greatest talents Gospel music has ever known. Like the many individuals he imitated, Harold was a unique character! Some of my favorite quartet stories are either about or were told by Harold. For whatever reason, his time in the spotlight came later in life and was far too brief. I had the pleasure of traveling and singing with him on two different occasions, once when he filled in with the Florida Boys and later for a brief time with the Blackwood Quartet. … Praying for the Gilley family tonight. You will be missed, my friend!” – John Rulapaugh
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Song Snapshots #22: We’ll Meet Again (Palmetto State Quartet)

Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.

In the 1990s, Ray Scarbrough was a member of the Southern Gospel group The Supernals. He left the group at one point; when he returned, they had nearly completed a new album, but were still one or two songs short. He brought “We’ll Meet Again” to the group, and they recorded it.

“We ended up having some minor charting success,” he recalls. But the song’s biggest success was yet to come; the Palmetto State Quartet recorded it on their 2004 album It’s Settled.

Palmetto State’s version featured the group’s baritone singer, Tony Peace. “Tony’s rendition of it knocked it out of the park for me. I’m humbled by it.”

Incidentally, “We’ll Meet Again” wasn’t Scarbrough’s only cut on It’s Settled; the group also cut “I’m On My Way.” “I’m not the song factory yet that other people are,” he notes, “but when I get my cuts, usually I get multiple cuts on an album somewhere. I’m honored to say, if there’s one Ray Scarbrough cut on there, there’s usually another one on there!”

It’s Settled came out during a period in Scarbrough’s life when he had walked away from any active involvement during Southern Gospel songwriting. One day, a lady showed him a polaroid picture of a tombstone. “The headstone read, ‘We’ll Meet Again,’” Ray recalls. “She said, ‘My daughter passed of leukemia, and that was her favorite song ever.’”

“If I never got a trophy, but if I had that polaroid picture, what I wouldn’t give…that means as much to me as anything.”

“It’s strange,” he adds; “it’s one of those little lures that God uses to bring you back. That happened to be one of those things that God was using to bring me back to the music that I love.”

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Palmetto State Quartet to retire group name

Larry Strickland, Palmetto State Quartet bass singer/manager, has announced that the Palmetto State Quartet name will once again be retired. The group is running a contest and accepting replacement name suggestions at NameTheGroup@gmail.com. The winning entry will receive a $500 cash prize, the first copy of the group’s next CD, front row seats to any upcoming concert, and assorted other prizes. The group intends to announce the replacement name on June 3rd.

The quartet has been based out of Tennessee, not South Carolina (the Palmetto State), for a number of years, so the change only makes sense.

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Saturday News Roundup #133

Worth Knowing

  • Beyond the Ashes officially announced their new lead singer, Dustin Doyle, on Monday. Doyle is a graduate of Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee—the college where Matthew Holt is a current staff member and where Dustin Sweatman is heading this fall.
  • Palmetto State Quartet has signed with Song Garden Music Group. They have started work on a new project which will release this fall.
  • Mike Speck has accepted a staff position at First Baptist Church, Indian Trail, North Carolina. This is the church which hosted Tony Greene’s memorial service. (Hat tip to Greg Cook via Carl Holmander.)
  • According to this photo caption, Signature Sound taped a video in India last night.
  • Guitarist Jacob Danielly has left the Dove Brothers Band. He has been replaced by Bub White. 

Worth Watching

Here’s a recent video of Barry Rowland and Deliverance singing the song, “But He Did,” that won them such high praise here. (It seems my prediction, “If this song doesn’t get audiences shouting ‘Glory,’ nothing will!” was accurate!)

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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3:1 DVD Review: A Country Campmeeting (Palmetto State Quartet)

A Country Campmeeting (Palmetto State Quartet)3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.

1. Four-piece band: Palmetto State Quartet has a full-time pianist, Casey Martin. For this taping, they were joined by a drummer, bass guitarist, and electric guitarist. The full live band sets the video apart from videos recorded by tracks-only or tracks-dominant groups.

2. Stage presence: While one group member just stood and sang, the others provided welcome on-stage energy.

3. “There’s Something Going On at the Well”: This is a welcome reprise from a far earlier edition of the group, the Brion Carter / Jeff Pearles era. It is a perfect fit for their four-piece live band sound.

:1. One thing I would change: “Walk This Way.” A casual listener could be forgiven for assuming this song promotes a works-based salvation. The baritone singer and emcee introduced the song by saying, “If you want to get to where Jesus is, then you’ve got to walk the way he walked, amen.” The song does mention grace—”Just let God’s Spirit lead you by His amazing grace”—but the message could have been more clear. To his credit, emcee and former pastor David Darst did articulate the Gospel when introducing “No Place Too far from Grace.”

Traditional or Progressive

Middle-of-the-road with a distinct country influence.

A DVD rating factoring in “Walk This Way” wouldn’t be fair to the quality of the remainder of the DVD.

Credits

Producer: None credited on packaging. • Group members: Not credited on packaging (but introduced on the video as tenor Robert Fulton, lead Paul Lancaster, baritone David Darst, bass Larry Strickland, and pianist Casey Martin. Fulton has been replaced by Wesley Smith since the taping.) • Review copy provided.  • Song list: All Hail the Power; Walk This Way; Don’t That Sound like Heaven; There’ll Be No Dying Anymore; Good Morning; Rainbow Avenue; The Debt Has Been Paid; Something’s Going on at the Well; No Place Too Far from Grace; Moment of Grace; Holy Ghost Revival.

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Saturday News Roundup #82

Bus News

  • Beyond the Ashes tenor/manager posted the picture on the right on his Facebook early this morning, with the following caption: “God woke us up at 2:45 this morning and got us all out safely. Thankful for God’s protection.”
  • Kelly Nelon Clark posted earlier this week (Facebook login required) that the transmission went out on their bus, to the tune of $13,000. They are offering a limited-time $30 “Family & Friends Special,” here, to help cover expenses.
  • It has been a rough month on Southern Gospel buses, and the groups which try to keep one running! Five major bills have hit within the last month. Besides the two above, Jeff & Sheri Easter were in an accident with a drunk driver, the Ball Brothers had a $20,000 repair bill, and the Crist Family had a $22,800 bill

Other News

  • Triumphant Quartet will be releasing a project at NQC, From the Heart, that features two songs written by each member of the group. It’s a unique and intriguing concept.
  • This is Wesley Smith’s first weekend back with Palmetto State. Meanwhile, former Dixie Echoes tenor Gerry Stroup is filling in again until they can find a permanent replacement.
  • I am planning to catch one of Cody McVey’s first performances with the Ball Brothers on Tuesday. The Ball Brothers will be at Trinity Baptist Church in Asheville, NC at 6 P.M. (details here).
  • Front Porch Singin’ debuts in the Southern Gospel blogosphere with an important reminder to follow the law by paying song royalties.
  • Congratulations to Chris Allman’s son Dustin Allman. While Greater Vision was on their Alaska cruise, he proposed to his girlfriend, Amanda, and she said yes!

Video of the Week

Here’s our first look at David Mann’s new group, Promise. Mann takes the feature on a Greater Vision oldie originally featuring Mark Trammell, “He is Mine”—and owns it:

Toward the end of the second verse, his voice bears a striking resemblance to a young Gerald Wolfe.

Open Thread

As always, consider the comments section an open thread. Have a great weekend!

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Wesley Smith returns to Palmetto State Quartet

Wesley Smith’s first job with a professional Southern Gospel group was as tenor for Palmetto State Quartet. When the Kerry Beatty-led Palmetto State Quartet disbanded, Wesley landed a job with the Dixie Echoes.

Current Palmetto State Quartet manager/bass singer Larry Strickland just sent out a press release announcing that Smith is returning to Palmetto State. Smith commented, “I love Randy and all The Dixie Echoes. They are a great bunch of guys, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them, but I’m thrilled to be back with Palmetto State, and look forward to rekindling many friendships I made with their many friends and fans.”

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Palmetto State to appear on Oprah

According to a press release from Gospel Music Update, the Palmetto State Quartet will be appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show next Tuesday, November 24. They will be appearing as backup singers for Wynonna; her step-father, Larry Strickland, owns and sings bass for Palmetto State.

The quartet will also be backing Wynonna up on her Christmas tour, a  15 city tour this month and next. During that tour, they will have the chance to be featured on one song, the title track to their new Christmas CD, Lo and Behold.

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