Tribute Quartet signs with Daywind

Daywind announced yesterday that Tribute Quartet will be joining its roster. Daywind President Ed Leonard said, “Tribute has rapidly ascended to prominence in the Southern Gospel industry, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with such young, enthusiastic men and look forward to having the group as part of our growing roster of artists for a long time to come.”

Tribute Quartet co-founder and lead singer Gary Casto commented, “Tribute Quartet is thrilled to be joining the Daywind family. At this season in our ministry, after just celebrating our seventh year together, we are excited about the opportunity to work with this award-winning team as we continue to make great music for years to come.”

Fellow co-founder and pianist Josh Singletary added, I am tickled to be a part of the Daywind family and anticipate a bright and productive future!”

The group’s first Daywind release will come out later this year.

It has been an especially busy week for Tribute Quartet tenor Riley Harrison Clark; his wife Megan gave birth to their first child, son Colbin Harrison Clark, just before midnight last night.

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Saturday News Roundup #202

Worth Knowing

Worth Watching

Here’s Wes Hampton singing a song introduced by Travis Cottrell, “Jesus Saves”:

Also worth watching: On The Couch with Fouch: Matt Fouch interviews Scott Fowler.

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday–you decide!

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Saturday News Roundup #201

Worth Knowing

  • Tribute Quartet was in a bus accident last weekend. They posted: “Hi, folks. Ok, it’s been posted that we’ve been involved in a wreck. It is true. We are ALL ok. It is a FOGGY night in Oklahoma. We were making a right-hand turn. The driver hit us passenger side. SO, the bus needs a LOT of work over quite a bit of time. We envy your prayers and we are GRATEFUL to those who are in continuous prayer for us. It’s because of you we are all fine. Thank you!”
  • The Crist Family was also in a bus accident this week. (If two in a week doesn’t serve as a stark reminder of praying for the safety of our genre’s groups, nothing will!)
  • Last week, Tracy Stuffle marked another milestone in his ongoing stroke recovery: He was able to give his testimony during communion at his home church last Sunday. He has also been able to stand on his own for several minutes at a time.
  • Freedom Quartet posted a free live stream of a concert last weekend where they introduced their debut CD here.
  • Speaking of Freedom, their tenor/manager, John Rulapaugh, has announced plans to get into politics. He will be running for County Commissioner in Sevier County, Tennessee. Since Freedom tours with a limited schedule, it is not anticipated that this will impact his performances with the group.
  • Former Brian Free & Assurance baritone Craig Singletary owns a deer processing facility. Yesterday afternoon, a smoker blew up and injured him, requiring treatment for non-life-threatening burns.
  • Tenor Jonathan Price has left the Dove Brothers; they are seeking a replacement.

Worth Watching

The Hopper clan’s musical genes continue to run strong. Here’s little sister Lexi singing a song at a Hoppers soundcheck. (Don’t leave before the end; the spinning high-five is priceless!)

 

Direct link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=605210489528858&set=vb.387945604588682&type=2&theater

Also worth watching: Matt Fouch interviews Jim Brady.

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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NQC 2013, Day 6: Live Blog

If you’re at NQC in person or watching on the live webcast, jump in and join the discussion in the comments area!

Highlights

In reverse chronological order:

  • “Till We Meet Again,” Legacy Five. It was fitting that the final full set at NQC was by the group that came directly out of the Cathedrals at their retirement.
  • “Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary,” The Collingsworth Family. There aren’t many singers or songs that could follow the emotional moment Freedom Hall just experienced. Perhaps the Collingsworth Family themselves, as good as they are, would have struggled prior to starting to sing this song earlier this year. But the song and the moment came together!
  • Freedom Hall came unglued again at the end of the Perrys set. There was an emotional and prolonged standing ovation for Libbi Perry Stuffle as she walked off stage. It’s one of the longest I’ve heard in convention history. Then, Libbi held up a cell phone with Tracy Stuffle on FaceTime, watching live; when the camera picked up Tracy live, there certainly could not have been a dry eye in the house.
  • During the Perrys’ set, the video crew played a video greeting from Tracy Stuffle, thanking everyone for their prayers. He closed with, “I’ll see you next year in Pigeon Forge. I love you!” At that, Freedom Hall came unglued.
  • The Mark Trammell Quartet’s entire set was perfectly paced. This time, it wasn’t a song that stood out—it was Mark Trammell’s classy and elegant introduction to “Too Much to Gain To Lose.”
  • “Movin’ Up to Gloryland,” The Voices of Lee. Verse one was performed like you’ve never heard it before; a young African-American man delivered the solo as a slow, jazzy, spectacular high tenor solo. The tempo kicked into the familiar high gear for the chorus and second verse. Another young man (this one Caucasian) did verse 2 as a bass solo. After a medley segment with “Just Over in the Gloryland,” the young man from verse 1 nailed the classic “Mo-ooo-ooo-vin” tenor feature on the final chorus. This young man, who was also featured on the following song, has a tremendous vocal talent and on-stage charisma. It would be an unexpected move, but it sure would be nice if one of the genre’s leading quartets hired him on board as their tenor after he graduates college.
  • The Kingdom Heirs’ set was strong beginning-to-end, with three recent #1 hits and the strongest slow song on their latest CD. They ended with all cylinders firing—the sort of ending that the Kingsmen loved to pull off when their live band was at its very finest.
  • After The Talleys’ set, Roger Talley stayed at the piano as Michael English walked on stage, singing “Going Home.” Dean and Kim Hopper walked on stage for chorus harmonies. After verse and chorus 1, Michael talked about losing his father three weeks ago, and how much the song meant to him at that point. He then sang verse two, going through the roof on the verse ending. 
  • The Talleys’ entire set. After one song with tracks, Roger Talley went to the piano for the next three. The piano-and-vocals-only portion of the set was a welcome change of pace from the rest of the evening. The high point of the night was “The Broken Ones,” The Talleys. Lauren Talley introduced it with an incredibly moving story a fan told her this week of how the fan shared it with a girl in an abusive situation, and how that girl learned the song and even sang it for her church.
  • “All is Well,” The Whisnants; Melissa shared how, about the same time the Whisnants recorded it, both her parents were diagnosed with cancer. The song came full circle, as the Whisnants’ version ministered to her. (Thanks be to God, both her parents beat cancer.) Melissa sang the song with them.
  • The Taylors’ set was strong beginning to end. It takes no small level of vocal confidence to attempt a complicated acapella arrangement to kick off an NQC set, and no small level of vocal talent to pull it off.

Live Play-by-Play

11:38: Dean Hopper closes by saying: “We love you very much. All these artists love you very much. Keep us in your prayers. See you at Pigeon Forge in 2014!” And with that, the Louisville era of the National Quartet Convention is in the history books.

11:08: The Finale begins with The Talleys singing “Testify.” Song 2: The Mark Trammell Quartet, “I Want To Know.” Song 3: The Perrys, “I Wish I Could Have Been There,” with Libbi FaceTiming Tracy as she sang. Guests, including Jeff Chapman, joined in by the end. Song 4: The Kingdom Heirs change up the pace completely with a piano-and-vocals rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” featuring Arthur Rice doing his signature hold-a-note-forever ending to the final verse. Song 5: “Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness,” Collingsworth Family. Final song: “Statement of Faith” (Hoppers, Greater Vision, Booth Brothers, Legacy Five).

10:50: Legacy Five begins their set with “He Loves Me So.” It’s a good choice; after the emotional high point we’re still on after the Perrys moment and the Collingsworths’ solid set, most songs would have been jarringly out of place. That one fit. Song 2: “Ask Me Why.” Song 3: Scott Fowler shares memories; he was on the main stage (with the Cathedrals and then Legacy Five) at every single Louisville NQC. He uses those memories to introduce “Till We Meet Again.” Song 4: “Boundless Love.” And Michael Booth is on drums, which means things are about to get really good. (Let’s revise that. They were already really good. They’re about to get better.) They did.

10:50: We’re fourteen minutes behind schedule at this point, but given the sort of unforgettable moments that led to the delay, I doubt anyone minds.

10:29: The Collingsworth Family begins their set with “Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary.” See the highlights section! Song 2: “The Lord’s Prayer,” featuring Phil Jr. It was wise to do another piano-and-vocals song, I think, before bringing the energy level back up. Song 3: “At Calvary.” Another standing ovation! Song 4: “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” A Kim Collingsworth piano solo was listed in the schedule for the start of the set. But it just didn’t make sense to put it there, so it was moved to this slot. Song 5: “Hallelujah Chorus,” a piano solo; part of a medley with the previous song.

10:06: The Perrys start their set with “If You Knew Him.” This is their first time to stage at NQC after Joseph Habedank’s departure. Well, they pulled it off to a standing ovation! Song 2: “I Know It Was The Blood.” Song 3: “Celebrate Me Home.” Libbi Perry Stuffle nails her feature, as always. Then, there’s a video clip from Tracy Stuffle, thanking everyone for their prayers, and closing with “I’ll see you next year in Pigeon Forge. I love you!” That video clip got a standing ovation! Song 4: “This Old Sinner Testifies.” Leah Page, who has been filling on alto all year, came up for the final chorus. There is an emotional and prolonged standing ovation for Libbi as she walks off stage. See the highlights section!

9:48: The Mark Trammell Quartet begins their set with “How Long Has It Been.” Song 2: “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” Song 3: “Way Past Ready.” Song 4: After some heartfelt testimony and recollections, song 4 is “Too Much to Gain To Lose.”

9:47: Clarke Beasley pays a heartfelt tribute to NQC’s twenty-year run in Louisville, mentioning some of the greatest moments in Convention history.

9:21: The Voices of Lee start their a cappella set with “The Old Rugged Cross.” A young African-American man offered an excellent solo on the final verse. Song 2: “Movin’ Up To Gloryland”; see the highlights section! The choir director shared that the young man who sang the first verse lost his sister to brain cancer recently, introducing him on another song, the Chris Tomlin top 5 CCM radio hit “I Will Rise.” He did an excellent job on both.

9:16: Showcase winners: The Stevens Family, singing “Unclouded Day.”

8:59: The Kingdom Heirs begin their set with “Tell Me Why.” Song 2: A second #1 hit, “Just Preach Jesus.” Song 3: “That’s When I’ll Know I’m Home,” one of the strongest songs from their current CD. Song 4: They close with their current #1 hit, “Just Beyond the Sunset.” Watch for a big ending! Afterwards: The video cutaway to Josh Singletary absolutely beside himself in excitement at the power ending was really neat.

8:58: Clarke Beasley came on stage and noted that attendees of the 2012 NQC reserved 2,600 hotel rooms that week for NQC 2013. He said it would interest anyone wondering if the move would be a flop to hear that, this year, over 5,000 rooms were reserved for NQC 2014!

8:52: See the highlights section!

8:35: The Talleys begin their set with “The Promise.” Song 2: Debra Talley sings her signature song, “Thinkin’ ‘Bout Home.” Roger Talley went over to the piano for this one; it’s a simple piano-and-vocals-only rendition that’s a welcome change of pace. In fact, it’s been two hours since the last piano-and-vocals-only song (and I’m not even really sure if we should count that one, since it was Susan Whisnant singing “Happy Birthday” to her son!) Song 3: “The Broken Ones.” (See Highlights section.) Song 4: “Orphans of God,” performed as a medley with “The Broken Ones.”

8:31: A video is played of highlights from the week. At this point, it looks like we’re now seven minutes behind. (A video clip from a past NQC, scheduled for 8:06, was bumped to bring us closer.)

8:17: The Down East Boys start their set with a medium fast song, “Every Word in The Word.” Lead singer/manager Ricky Carden has the solo. Song 2: “I’ve Got That Old Time Religion.” Song 3: Tenor Tony Jarman is featured on a strong slow song, “I Won’t Trade My Crown.” Song 4: “Waiting For The Day.”

8:02: The Crist Family begins their segment with “Where it All Comes From,” from their CD that (officially) releases next Tuesday. Song 2: Their new radio single, “The Closer I Get To The Cross.” Song 3: “Great Beyond,” from their debut recording. Song 4: The Crist Family closes strong with “Lift Up The Cross.”

7:57: An ad for TBN. We’re now twelve minutes behind schedule.

7:53: Showcase winner: High Road III. This isn’t the first time they’ve been on the main stage; I seem to think they’ve been a showcase winner before, and they also provided instrumentation for the Grassroots Rambos set a year or two back. They’ve never disappointed, either.

7:34: Tribute Quartet takes the stage, starting with their signature song, “Good News From Jerusalem.” If this is the start, then they surely must have something pretty incredible planned for the ending! Song 2: They do their version of Greater Vision’s classic “God Wants To Hear You Sing”—but as an Anthony Davis bass solo instead of Greater Vision’s tenor solo. Song 3: “Outside the Gate.” They went into the audience for an a cappella encore. It was quite the challenge for the camera crew (filming in the dark) and the audio crew (avoiding feedback), but it was effective for the audience.

7:17: The Kingsmen start their set with “Meet Me At The Table.” Les Butler is making a guest appearance on piano. Song 2: “I Will Rise Up From My Grave.” Song 3: “Land of the Free.” Song 4: “Stand Up”; an energetic ending.

6:57: The Primitive Quartet starts with “You’ve Been So Gracious To Me.” Song 2: “God Can.” Song 3: “I’ll Be Waiting At The River For You.” Song 4: “I Wonder What They’re Doing In Heaven Today.” Song 5: They close strong with “No Longer an Orphan,” quite possibly their most-beloved song.

6:51: Penny Loafers sing “Ain’t Got Time to Die” (? on title). The Primitive Quartet evidently isn’t set up yet, so Dean Hopper asked for a second song, “That’s When the Angels Rejoice.” At this point, we’re about seven minutes behind schedule.

6:35: The Whisnants begin their segment with “I’m In The Gloryland Way.” Song 2: It’s Ethan Whisnant’s 16th birthday today; he stands as Susan sings “Happy Birthday” to him. Song 3: The Whisnants bring up Melissa Brady to sing “All Is Well” with them. (See the highlights section!) Song 4: “New Day Dawning.” Encore: Melissa Brady, Kim Hopper, and Jim Brady join on stage. The audience is on their feet!

6:33: Several minutes of recording audience applause for later editing. This always a fun segment.

6:14: The Taylors begin their set with “I Can Call on Jesus Anytime / Operator,” performed acapella. There were some microphone feedback issues; they worked past those flawlessly, like the true professionals they are. Song 2: “Oh, I Want to See Him.” The Taylors are performing a very strong set. Song 3: “I’m Gonna Make It.”

6:09: The Browns had another instrumental feature; they performed “I Sing the Mighty Power/Canon in D” with three fiddles. They have had a number of instrumental features this week in addition to their mainstage headliner slots, and I believe they have performed this in three or four of them. In past years, the instrumental showcase slots were spread between a half-dozen players, most of them pianists. Most of those slots were given to the Browns this year; perhaps it is because fewer groups carry a pianist than in past years?

5:57: 11th Hour starts their set with “Steppin’ Out.” Song 2: Outgoing soprano Candice Jordan, who recently announced her upcoming departure from the group, sings the solo on the group’s biggest song so far, “Room With a View.” Song 3: “Adam’s Fall,” featuring alto Amber Eppinnette. This was a professional, nicely-paced set; the group acquitted themselves well for their first headliner (i.e. non-showcase-winner) appearance on the mainstage.

5:55: Dean and Kim Hopper will host this evening.

5:51: Dean Hopper leads an audience singalong, with Gerald Wolfe on piano.

5:46: Greater Vision sings “My Name is Lazarus.”

5:39: Tim Lovelace talks with audience members via the fan cam.

5:37: Showcase winner: The Erwins are singing a song you may have heard the Kingdom Heirs do twenty years ago, “That Very Moment.” There are three brothers and a sister; the sister, who is the youngest, isn’t merely good for her age; she’s good, period, and exceptional for her age. Tim Lovelace talked with her after the song and found out that she was twelve.

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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

Click “Read More” to read the entire play-by-play; it’s hidden from the home page for space considerations.

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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 #188

Worth Knowing

  • 11th Hour soprano Candice Jordan has announced her engagement to Daniel Rogers, and that she will leave 11th Hour to work alongside her future husband in youth ministry. “I always knew from the beginning God had a special hold on Candice,” manager/alto Amber Eppinette said. “She has been with me from 11th Hour’s beginning and has been and will always be my best friend. It has been a honor to have watched her grow in the Lord and in her talent. Candice has one of the best, most innocent, anointed voices around and it’s been Mine and the group’s pleasure to share the stage with her over the past 6 and a half years. It’s hard to watch her go but I know God has placed Candice and Daniel together and I am excited to see the blessings from the youth ministry God has placed them. Pray for them and pray for 11th Hour as we seek a replacement for Candice.” Jordan was the lead vocalist on the group’s recent chart-topping hit “Room With a View.”
  • Wayne Wallace, who hosted “The Dixie Gospel Caravan” for WDJC / WXJC for forty-five consecutive years, passed away.
  • Riley and Megan Clark are expecting their first child. Riley sings tenor with Tribute Quartet.
  • Aaron and Leslie (Taylor) Perkins are expecting their first child. Leslie sings with her family group, The Taylors.
  • Amber Nelon Thompson is now engaged to longtime boyfriend John Risk.
  • In Tracy Stuffle’s ongoing stroke recovery, he was able to stand this week, with the help of a frame. It was the first time in some time that he was able to stand up.
  • An off topic link, though somewhat related to church music: What the Hijabi Witnessed (and What She Didn’t). Like the churches of most readers, mine is not liturgical. I’ll admit that, like the story’s author, I have had a somewhat dim view of liturgical services. So this story was quite thought-provoking.

Worth Watching

The Cathedrals sing the other “Going Home”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEYEpWkUR5o

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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Saturday News Roundup #176

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Worth Knowing

  • Tribute Quartet posted on Facebook that their song “Good News From Jerusalem,” written by Dianne Wilkinson and Jerry Salley, is going to be the #1 hit on the August Singing News charts. It is the group’s first #1. Here’s a recent video of them singing the song.
  • Liberty Quartet tenor Philip Batton’s mother passed away last Saturday afternoon.
  • Inspirations bass singer Mike Holcomb’s infant granddaughter was hospitalized with breathing issues.
  • Libbi Perry Stuffle posted an update about her husband Tracy’s stroke recovery yesterday. She said: “It’s all green lights to head back to rehab today for Tracy!!! Dr feels comfortable in letting him go today! All the blood counts look good and it’s full steam ahead in Jesus’ Name!!!! God is all powerful and merciful!!!!” 
  • She added another update last night: “Well here we sit in the ER in Lebanon! Yes, I said ER!! Tracy had done great all afternoon and evening until the nurse gave him his Meds tonight. About 20 mins later his heart rate dropped to 48. So after some major issues with the Health Care / Rehab center that WILL be addressed tomorrow, they sent him to the ER. They are keeping him overnight. They will run more test in morning. Dr said he could be over medicated. One test shows he could have a little bit of heart failure. They just don’t know at this point! His heart rate is slowly coming back up. We should know more tomorrow. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him! Job 13:15″
  • UPDATE (6/15/2013, 5:45 PM): Libbi posts: “Tracy is better today. His Heart rate is back to normal. Blood pressure is good. Dr said she thinks what happened last night was medicine related. She said his heart sounded good and strong. They put him back on antibiotics to finish clearing out the small amount of pneumonia in the lungs. They will keep him here for another day or two.”
  • UPDATE, 6/17: Tracy Stuffle is headed back from the hospital to his rehab facility.

Worth Watching

Here’s a video of the current LeFevre Quartet lineup taking on one of the group’s enduring favorites, “Jesus Saves.”

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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3:1 CD Review: Our Anthem (Tribute Quartet)

Our Anthem (Tribute Quartet)3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.

1: “Good News From Jerusalem”: Once every few years, a song comes along that is so big it simply defies comparison. Think “My Name is Lazarus” (Greater Vision), “Jerusalem” (Hoppers), “He Saw it All” (Booth Brothers), “Midnight Cry” (Gold City), or “God on the Mountain” (McKameys). These are the elite songs that groups talk about for years afterwards—”We want this song to have a ‘Jerusalem’ feel,” and the studio musicians know exactly what they mean. 

That’s the sort of song “Good News from Jerusalem” is.

The verses pulsate with the energy of a “My Name is Lazarus.” The choruses explode with the enthusiasm of a “He’s Alive.” Yet there is no frame of reference for Josh Singletary’s commanding solo, the shifts between minor and major keys, and the power group harmonies on the choruses.

We often say of groups in Tribute’s position and at their talent level, “All they need is that huge breakout song to really put them on the map.”

This is that song.

2: “The Song of Heaven”: On the album’s standout orchestrated anthem, tenor Riley Clark proves that “Homecoming Day” was no fluke.

3: Vocals: Tribute Quartet’s vocal performances have taken a sizable step in the right direction. An extra year of seasoning has done wonders for relative newcomers Riley Clark (tenor) and Anthony Davis (bass). Clark has retained the unique vocal texture that made his voice immediately unique, while adding an added degree of confidence. Davis, meanwhile, is starting to settle into his own sweet spot, sounding much like a young Glenn Dustin.

:1: Song Selection: Other genres have weekly radio charts; since the main radio chart in Southern Gospel is monthly, albums generally only have two or three singles. This throws a unique wrench into discussions of song selection for Southern Gospel albums. Take, for example, The Perrys; their 2007 Look No Further CD had no less than seven five-star songs, in our rating, while their 2009 follow-up, Almost Morning, had three. However, that quickly became a moot point when one of those three, “If You Knew Him,” became a breakout hit, their first Singing News Fan Awards Song of the Year, and their signature song.

The Perrys provide a decent frame of reference for discussing these last two Tribute Quartet albums. Granted, Our Anthem might have a couple fewer five-star songs. But that will become irrelevant if it has that one breakout hit which becomes a signature song, and it should have that song in “Good News From Jerusalem.”

Meanwhile, the vocals are stronger than on The Waiting is Over, so this album fully stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its predecessor. The Waiting is Over was their first album on one of the premier imprints of a major label (Sonlite, while the previous two were on the more general Crossroads label). It showed bystanders that they deserved to be taken seriously as a top-tier national group.

Our Anthem proves that it wasn’t a fluke. Tribute Quartet is in the top tier to stay.

Traditional or Progressive: Middle-of-the-road.

Album rating: 4.5 stars. Average song rating: 3.8 stars.

Credits: Group members: Riley Clark (tenor), Gary Casto (lead), Josh Singletary (baritone), Anthony Davis (bass). Produced by Roger Talley. Engineered by Van Atkins at Crossroads Studios, Arden, NC. Mixed and Mastered by Scott Barnett at Crossroads Studios, Arden, NC. Musicians: Roger Talley (piano, keyboards), Danny Crawford (piano, keyboards), Jason Webb (B3 Organ), Tony Creasman (Drums, Percussion), Jeremy Medkiff (bass guitar, electric guitar), David Johnson (acoustic guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle, resonator guitar, harmonica, banjo), Milton Smith (orchestrations).

Radio single picks: “Good News From Jerusalem,” “The Song of Heaven.” Both may spend enough time on the charts that a third single may be unnecessary.

Song List: God’s Gonna Send Revival; Thank the Lord; Good News from Jerusalem; The Song of Heaven; Homesick Angel; Leavin’ on my Mind; The Time is Now; With Just a Little; He Loved Me Anyway; Through Me, the Cross Lives On; It Always Gets the Darkest Just Before Daylight; Better Farther On.

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Saturday News Roundup #129

Worth Knowing

Worth Watching

Word has it that the upcoming Tribute Quartet will be their best yet. And if this is any indication…

Worth Discussing

It’s open thread Saturday—you decide!

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