May 13, 2009 Leave a comment
Over the past year or so, I’ve been trying to expand my horizons a bit and listen to some of the newer groups that are “paying their dues” in the SG industry. A frequent topic of discussion on these blogs is the future of our genre. Well over the past year or so, I’ve found several groups that reassure me that SGs future is in good hands. This is not to knock any others, but these four groups especially give me great hope for the future of the music that we all love.
- The Crist Family – This mixed group just has it right. Their latest CD, Declaration, is phenomenal. They’ve got good material, great arrangements, incredible talent, and dedication to their craft that is unparalleled. No one takes the musical risks that these guys take, and their style is fresh and innovative. They are the real deal, and should be one of our top mixed groups for years to come.
- The Ball Brothers – What the Crist Family is to mixed groups, the Ball Brothers are to male quartets. They have a sound all their own, with incredibly tight harmonies, and a polish to their sound that a lot of groups that have been on the road for much longer don’t. I’m anxiously awaiting their new disc, Breakthrough, to hear what kind of inventive sounds they come up with this time. These 4 young men should make an indelible mark on our industry for a long time.
- The Dills – Another mixed group that has an incredibly smooth blend, and show an amazing amount of versatility. Their latest CD, Story Of A Lifetime, is a big step forward for them, both in the strength of their material and in their arrangements. “Holy of Holies” is an absolutely incredible song that could become a sugar stick for them. They’re young, they’re talented, and they are dedicated to constantly improving their overall sound and presentation. Shawn Dill is one of the most underrated vocalists in SG today, what a great voice. They’ll be around for quite a while.
- Mike Lefevre Quartet – OK, so calling them a new or up and coming group is a bit of a stretch, but they’ve really started picking up since signing with Canaan. Again, these guys are on the cutting edge of male quartet music. Stacey Bragg isn’t a subsonic bass, Gus Gaches isn’t a screaming high tenor, but they are flat-out good. These guys perform some of the smoothest vocals you’ll ever hear, the material on their latest CD, Nothin’ But Good, is incredibly strong, and I rated that CD the top CD of 2008. These guys are just starting to make their mark on the quartet world, and should become one of the major influences in SG.
There are other great newer groups out there like the Collingsworth Family, the Browns, Tribute, and Brothers Forever, but these four deserve special mention. At least, they do in my opinion. So to all four of these groups, keep doing what you are doing, stay the course, and Southern Gospel music should thrive for years to come with these groups taking a greater and greater place on the scene.