SG’s Most Technically Gifted Singers

I happened to notice a Twitter conversation between two SG artists last night, one of whom is a Gold City alumnus.  In the midst of making a joke over the post by humorously tweaking the lyrics to GC’s song “Pray”, the conversation turned for a moment to Tim Riley.  The former member said that they could work hours on a song, then Tim would come in and be done in 20 minutes.  This isn’t the first time I’ve heard such stories.

I go to church with a gentleman who played guitar for a regional group around Memphis that included Dale Shipley, and this gentleman told me that when they did a recording, the other members of the group had to redo their vocals several times to get them right, but Dale came in and sang every song perfectly in one take.

My dad used to sing on concerts fairly frequently with Squire Parsons during Squire’s days with the Calvarymen in WV, before he joined the Kingsmen, and Dad has said that he never heard Squire miss a note.

Who are some of the most technically gifted singers in SG today?  Do we still have singers that can nail an entire album note perfect in one take?

About Wes Burke
I'm a .NET developer and Southern Gospel music fan. Married with a wonderful family.

16 Responses to SG’s Most Technically Gifted Singers

  1. I heard Squire last year at the Ernie Haase & Signature Sound taping, and I think the cancer treatments have taken a toll on his voice and energy level. I hope he can recover and come back in a big way!

    Right now, Chris Allman would have to be on that short list. He might do a few takes to get the perfect feeling or to perfectly match the nuances of someone else’s lead part, but he can nail his parts incredibly quickly.

    • Brian Fuson says:

      I just had Squire for a concert this a couple weeks ago, July 9th, and he sounded tremendous! He sang for about an hour, and was awesome. I also agree with you completely about Chris! I love Jerry Martin as well.

  2. Yes, I was going to mention Chris Allman. I think Jerry Martin, Bill Shivers, Jim Brady, and Doug Anderson all belong on that list as well.

  3. Oh duh, and how could I forget Terry Franklin? The ultimate studio singer!

  4. Brian says:

    I don’t know very much about what goes on in the studio, but I’ve heard it said in several places that Mark Trammell doesn’t miss notes. I’ve never heard a bad one when I’ve seen him.

    I second (or third) Chris Allman. You would have to put Guy Penrod and David Phelps on any list talking about being technically gifted. If they do happen to not quite hit a note, it’s probably because it’s a note others wouldn’t even attempt.

  5. Keith Waggoner says:

    Sonya Isaacs

  6. PhilonSouthernGospel says:

    I’ve seen Doug Anderson live with EHSS about 4/5 times and i don’t think he missed a note.

    David Phelps is another very technically gifted individual live, I’ve even heard him sing with an infected vocal cord and i think he just missed one note. An incredible feat! I’m sure he’s just as talented in the studio context as well.

    I think it’s fair to say that whilst other genres of music have very talented people, SG has to have the most talented? Especially when it comes to singing live!

  7. Brian says:

    I think SG has, on average, better harmonizers than other genres of music, except something fringe like barbershop. As far as vocal talent in general, I think they’re right up there with any other genre.

  8. And Pavarotti isn’t Ernie Haase…by a long shot.

    • Well hey, it was a joke. Of course I’d much rather listen to Ernie. But Pavarotti is obviously the greater singer, as are many classical singers when compared with southern gospel singers, if we’re talking about sheer technique. Obviously technique isn’t the only factor, but it was the topic at hand.

      • “obviously” …

        Oh, dear.

        Well, if classical operatic technique is the sole measure by which quality in music is to be determined, then maybe obviously. But it’s not.

      • Well anybody can try to use operatic technique, but sometimes it’s a disaster. Using it well is a different matter. You can’t top the level of control that a professional classical singer brings to the table.

      • Precise control and singing every note precisely correctly is a virtue in classical music. In Southern Gospel, though, the ability to focus on conveying the passion and heart of the lyric is a virtue, albeit one not recognized by classical technique.

      • Well then I think we agree. I already said that I’d rather listen to Ernie Haase than Pavarotti any day, for just that reason. All I was saying is that from a purely technical perspective, classical singers naturally take the cake.

  9. spiderchocolate says:

    Eric Bennett is excellent at placing notes on pitch, and doing it quickly. he doesn’t miss a beat, quite literally, unlike some bass singers.

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