A Day of Changes

Today has certainly not been without its share of news, and in fact marks a surprising end of a couple of eras. 

Several years ago, Bill Gaither made waves by forming an all star version of the GVB when Guy Penrod and Marshall Hall departed by convincing Mark Lowry, David Phelps, and Michael English to return and join with Wes Hampton and Bill. Today, the last of those all star returnees left when David Phelps announced his departure effective April 1. Taking his place is Reggie Smith, who has been around the GVB for quite a few years now and is a fine tenor in his own right. 

The most surprising change today doesn’t originate in Alexandria, Indiana, but rather in Bryson City, NC. The Inspirations have announced that Martin Cook, long time owner, manager, and pianist of the group, has resigned all of those responsibilities and that long time and beloved tenor, Archie Watkins, has returned to manage the group. This weekend, Watkins announced, the current members of the group will be joined by several past members. Cook’s departure is most certainly the end of an era in SG,as he has been a fixture since day one of the group’s history. 

Both of these groups certainly will bear watching in the weeks and months to come, as especially with The Inspirations the changes are probably not over. 

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The Old Paths Return

News broke today that The Old Paths are returning to the road, albeit with a much reduced schedule. The press release reads they are appearing on “select dates.” Since Jeremy Peace is now singing with The Lefevre Quartet, and doing very well there I might add, the group needed another tenor. They found a good one in Steve Ladd. I am really excited to see Steve back in a quartet setting. I honestly don’t know I can name a person that has grown as much as a singer over the course of his career as Ladd. If you listen to his early Anchormen albums and then to his solo material, he almost seems like a completely different singer. The group will be releasing a project with Crossroads later this summer. I for one will be looking forward to hearing it! 

Mark Bishop and Forget the Sea

One of the projects that really caught my attention during my extended hiatus was this project with Mark Bishop and his kids/in-laws. I may go back and do a more formal review of this album sometime, but I was extremely impressed with it. Mark brought a truly new and fresh sound to SG with this effort. I remarked to a friend that it was “hipster gospel”, a sound that you would expect to hear at a small coffeehouse somewhere. 

However, things just have never seemed to take off with the group. A quick glance at the website shows one date scheduled in August. It looked with product bundles and their website in general that they were really trying to make a splash. 

This saddens me. Maybe other things have unavoidably gotten in the way, but I was excited to see something truly new and unique in SG. Either way, it’s a sad comment on our industry that innovation so rarely seems to be encouraged and pushed to the top. I hope that they haven’t given up and will keep trying. I for one appreciate the creativity and willingness to try something new. 

New Years and New Beginnings

Well dear readers (if any of you are left!), it’s been a long time since I’ve had an opportunity to write anything here. God takes each believer on an incredible journey that can only be seen looking back. Mine has been no less astounding. In the last few years we have seen new jobs, a new church family, new opportunities for ministry (I’m currently serving as the interim worship leader at our “new” church, though we’ve been there 2 years now),  and even a new baby boy last April!

I say all that to say that I’m going to make an attempt to get back to blogging here at least semi-regularly. I do still get new music, and lately the Collingsworth Family has really been impressive, and Triumphant is still putting out top notch stuff among others. The Ball Brothers have gone viral, Gold City keeps on rolling,  and life has gone on.  I’m going to be listening to Lauren Talley’s new project and will share my thoughts on it. So here’s to getting back to basics here on the blog. 

RIP Lari Goss

As busy as my life has been over the past year or so, it would take some huge news to bring me back out of hiding.  Unfortunately, the news of said magnitude is not good news.  It has been reported by many SG artist and industry types this afternoon that Lari Goss has passed away.  I’ve mentioned Lari on this blog many, many, many times, and I consider him one of, if not the biggest unsung heroes in Southern Gospel history.  Lari Goss was the most creative and innovative arranger the genre has ever seen.  He touched so many different artists’ careers that it would be impossible to name them all.  I will say that his fingerprints are all over the albums that were voted on this site a couple of years ago as the top 2 projects in SG: Pillars of Faith by Gold City and Symphony of Praise by The Cathedrals.  He was also a driving force behind the group I’ve long felt should have been more successful, Friends IV, whose arrangements to this day are unparalleled in gospel music.  In recent years, he produced the landmark recording Declaration by the Booth Brothers, which was met with much critical acclaim.  Lari was truly one of a kind.

Enjoy your much deserved reward, Lari.  Southern Gospel music will never be the same without your musical genius.

Meet The New Gaither Vocal Band

As had been speculated recently, Todd Suttles has been announced as the newest member of the GVB. Adam Crabb was announced a while back, and speculation about the last spot had swirled around several names. Like he has done several times before, Gaither had found a relative unknown in Suttles.I will be waiting to hear the new group and what Crabb and Suttles will bring to the table.

Oh, and yes I am still around!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Merry Christmas from Wesley, 8, and Erica, 6.  (And from Molly Cate, 2, too…but she didn’t sing, and yes, I am playing piano for them.)

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