Soul’d Out Welcomes Ian Owens

Soul’d Out Quartet announced the addition of Ian Owens as their bass vocalist yesterday.  Owens is replacing Matt Fouch, who left recently to join Legacy Five.  Owens comes to the group with an impressive resume, having sung with the Cumberland Quartet, the Imperials, and most recently Ernie Haase and Signature Sound.

I mentioned when Owens announced he was leaving EHSS that I always thought he fit better with the Imperials than he did EHSS.  I expect that Owens will fit with Soul’d Out quite nicely.  Quietly, this quartet has assembled quite a vocal lineup.  With Dusty Barrett, Matt Rankin, Bryan Hutson, and now Ian Owens, these guys can really stand toe to toe with the top tier quartets in this industry.  I’ve been a fan of the group for a while now, and they have a bright future ahead of them.  You can find the press release with quotes from both the group and Owens here.

Congratulations to Ian and Soul’d Out!

Matt Fouch Joins Legacy Five

Legacy 5 announced yesterday afternoon that Matt Fouch, formerly with Soul’d Out, would be their new bass singer starting September 1.  Fouch is an incredible bass vocalist that will serve Legacy 5 well.  He has great depth with a nice cut and can sing solos extremely well.  The press releases that hit the blogs yesterday were extremely classy, and I have to say that it serves as an example of how these changes SHOULD be handled.  I hate to be late on this stuff, but I’m on a business trip in Florida, so you’ll excuse my tardiness.  Congratulations to Matt and Legacy 5, and best wishes to Soul’d Out as they begin their search for a new bass singer.

NQC Announces Evening Concert Schedule

The NQC just sent out a press release with the evening concert schedule for this year.  The King’s Heralds are no longer given the acappella breaks, having been replaced by Sisters.  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound is also nowhere to be found on the schedule.  It is good to see the Dixie Melody Boys back on the main stage after their controversial absence last year.  Also Soul’d Out and the Down East Boys are making appearances as well.  I really don’t have many qualms with the presence and absences after giving them a slightly more than a casual glance, and I’m pleased to see the return of Quartet Night.  The NQC hasn’t been all about quartets in many years, but I think reserving one night for the heritage of the event is fitting and proper.  You can find the schedule here, what are your thoughts?

2012: A Look Ahead To The Year In SG

First let me say that I hope you all had a very happy New Year’s celebration.  As we begin 2012, let’s take a look ahead at what is awaiting us in the SG world in this new year.

Several groups are making a fresh start in 2012.  The Kingsmen, The Lefevre Quartet, and Soul’d Out Quartet all experience personnel changes over the past couple weeks.  The Kingsmen have a new lead singer in Bob Sellers, and are currently without a tenor, so their sound will undoubtedly change a great deal this year.  The Lefevre Quartet added Harold Reed to the tenor slot, after just recently adding Jordan Lefevre to the lead slot of their group, so it will be interesting to watch and see how this affects the group this year.  It could become quite a catalyst for them.  Soul’d Out is also poised to make waves with the addition of Bryan Hutson as baritone vocalist.  Hutson brings a top notch voice to a quartet that had been quietly making strides, and as recently as yesterday made news as a new Crossroads artist.

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound are due to release a new CD next month called Here We Are Again.  There have been discussions surrounding the group over the past few months regarding their regression of sorts to a retro-music themed group, so this new studio album is garnering anticipation to see if the group becomes trendsetters again as they were with projects like Dream On.

Gold City finally released Somebody’s Coming late last year.  While reviews have been glowing thus far, a lot of eyes will be on the group to see if they finally can achieve some stability and build on what is most assuredly a good foundation with the latest recording.  I’m anxious to see what they come up with next, and am very anxious for a stable lineup and a studio album with songs selected for said lineup.  There is a world of potential still remaining for the group.

Last but not least, will this be the year that someone FINALLY covers the song “Lucas McGraw”???  :-)

Bryan Hutson Departs Kingsmen, Joins Soul’d Out

Bryan Hutson has announced his departure from the Kingsmen, and will be joining Soul’d Out Quartet.  Here is an open letter from Bryan:

I want to thank the many friends that I have made while being involved in Gospel Music as well as Worship Ministry. You have embraced me since I began singing with my brother in “The New Generation” in 1985. I started traveling fulltime with “The Heartland Quartet” in 1993. Your continued support, love and encouragement through both my tenures with “The Kingsmen” is deeply appreciated. In early November, I decided to follow God’s leading and give my resignation with “The Kingsmen.”

January of 2012 will mark a new chapter in my gospel music career. I will be joining one of America’s best new groups, “Soul’d Out Quartet”. In fact, the group was awarded “Horizon Group of The Year” (Favorite New Group) in the Singing News Magazine Fan Awards in 2010. Matt Rankin (lead), Dusty Barrett (tenor), Matt Fouch (bass) and Michael Howard (piano) make up “Soul’d Out Quartet”. I will share lead vocalist duties with Matt Rankin. SOQT is a solid quartet who sings straight ahead Southern Gospel Music with a progressive sound. I’m very excited to see what God has in store for our future! Over the past several years, I have developed a friendship with members of the group. I believe the men of “Soul’d Out” are men of integrity and have a heart for ministry that mirrors my own passion. I know my friends and family will love the music and ministry of “Soul’d Out” as much as I do.
My wife, Yvonne, and I have been seeking God and wise counsel about this decision and feel that this is a door God has opened. The tour schedule for “Soul’d Out” is a better fit for me as a husband and father. This opportunity will also allow us to reach our long term goals as a family.

I joined my all time favorite group “The Kingsmen” in 1996 under the late Eldridge and Greg Fox. The 5 years that I spent learning from the Fox’s, the late Jim Hamill and Ray Reese were some of the best years of my life. Upon returning for my second run with “The Kingsmen” in 2007, we have seen lives changed through our music. I want to thank Ray and Brandon Reese and “The Kingsmen” for allowing me to be a part of the continuing Kingsmen legacy.

I would like to ask for your continued support, encouragement and prayers for my family and both groups. I am looking forward to seeing each of you at upcoming “Soul’d Out Quartet” concerts. Please check our website for upcoming performances www.souldoutquartet.com .

In His Will,
Bryan

Brandon Reese of the Kingsmen has sent out this press release as well:

Bryan Hutson will be leaving the Kingsmen this December and will be joining Soul’d Out Quartet.

Brandon Reese states, “In November Bryan came to me and stated that he felt it was time to make a change in his professional career. He also told me that he had been seeking God’s will in an opportunity to stay home more with his family. I commended him for letting the Lord lead in his life. The door opened for Bryan to join Matt Rankin and the rest of Soul’d Out (who are based out of Columbus, OH) and as many of you know is only an hour or 2 from where Bryan grew up in Batesville, IN. Bryan stated to me that joining Soul’d Out is perfect for the long term goals of his family and until then will maintain his residence in Asheville, NC with his wife Yvonne and four children Alexa, Jake, Bailey and Jordan. I, along with the other Kingsmen members, wish to thank Bryan for his two tenures here and his continuing friendship.”

While I hate to see Bryan leave the Kingsmen, as I’ve always loved him in the lead singer position with the group, Soul’d Out is one of the top up and coming quartets in Southern Gospel today.  The arrival of a vocalist with the talent and reputation of Hutson may be just what  sends them over the top into the upper tier of quartets.  Prayers and best wishes to Bryan, Soul’d Out, and the Kingsmen as they begin the search for a new lead singer.

NQC Schedule And Controversy

In recent news, the NQC has announced their main stage schedule here.  This has sparked some pretty heated discussion, as the Board cut down the number of artists on each night, and in doing so, eliminated some artists from the main stage altogether.  By far, the elimination causing the most controversy has been the Dixie Melody Boys.  Complicating matters is the fact that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Dixie Melody Boys, and the group had hoped to stage a “mini-reunion” with their set.

A few of the other omissions are notable to me as well: Soul’d Out, Liberty Quartet and the Ball Brothers.  I really feel like the Ball Brothers represent the future of SG music, so it’s a shame that they won’t be appearing this year, Liberty is the best quartet the average SG fan has never heard, and Soul’d Out is the reigning Horizon Group of the Year.  The 50th Anniversary of the DMB is the most unfortunate situation though, and I hope that the NQC Board will find some way to get them a slot to allow them to celebrate such a milestone.

That being said, look, the NQC Board is also really in a no-win situation here.  Every year we hear complaints about how attendance is dwindling, and how the evening concerts continually run into the wee hours and are way over the scheduled time.  The “stop light” and fines have helped some, but the concerts still seem to run long.  Credit the NQC for trying to address the situation.  The only real way to do so is to cut back the number of artists on the main stage each night.  In doing so, someone is by necessity going to have to be left out, and the artists and fans be upset by their omission.  If it’s the DMB, their fans would be upset, if it’s the Pfeifers, their fans would be upset, or the Primitives, or whoever it is.

My suggestion somewhat dovetails with Kyle’s above, but I’d suggest setting aside 2-3 slots that are reserved for a single slot for the “second-tier” artists, and let them rotate years.  Maybe one year you have the DMB, Primitives, and Chuck Wagon Gang, then the next year you have Liberty, Ball Brothers, and HisSong.  You could even merge the two suggestions and allow the groups without a prime time slot to have the “opening” slots that year.

Either way, the NQC Board is at least trying something, and there’s something to be said for that.  I’d rather see them trying new ideas than to be content to turn a blind eye and let the status-quo continue.

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