Concert Review: The Debut of Legacy 5’s New Lineup

Change, they say, is inevitable. Few genres of music experience the turnover in personnel that we see in Southern Gospel. But sometimes, change is a good thing. Sometimes it can bring a new direction, a new energy, and a breath of fresh air. This is what we experienced tonight with the debut of Legacy 5’s new lineup. Lee Black is the new tenor, Scott Fowler remains on lead duties, Bryan Walker is the new baritone, Matt Fouch continues to hold down the bass part, and Josh Townsend on piano rounds out the new lineup of the group.

Set List:

  • Who Is This Man?
  • A Comfort to Know
  • I Found Grace
  • I Stand Redeemed
  • Getting Ready to Leave This World – piano solo
  • Love Pure Love
  • The Book
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness – Bryan Walker solo
  • God’s Been Good
  • Champion of Love

Intermission

  • Well Done My Child
  • God Bless the USA
  • I Made It To Arlington
  • Hallelujah Chorus
  • In the Hands of a Carpenter
  • When the Saints Go Marching In

First of all, though I REALLY wanted to do it, it was requested that no video be taken. So pictures are all I have. I talked with Scott before the concert, and he told me the record labels are going to try and crack down on videos and especially Facebook Live during concerts due to copyright laws. In this YouTube world, I’m pretty skeptical, but we’ll see how this goes.Legacy 5 took the stage tonight with a lot of energy. The excitement of finally getting on stage with the new guys was palpable. “A Comfort to Know” really set the tone for the night, as they inverted the last vocal chord up from the album cut, which helped the energy of the song immensely. This is as good a spot as any to brag on Lee Black. We already know he’s a fantastic writer, but he’s got a nice clear tenor voice and is likely their highest tenor since Frank Seamans. Just his range and clarity alone being a fresh sound to the group, and he did a masterful job on “I Stand Redeemed” and his own penned “In the Hands of a Carpenter”, which featured him moving to the keyboard and singing it as a duet with Fowler.

Both of the new songs that the group performed on their announcement video were performed, and “Love Pure Love” is especially catchy, while “The Book” is very strong lyrically. Bryan Walker then sang a verse of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” acapella, as he used to do with The Perrys. Bryan had been off the road for a few years now, but his voice is as strong and expressive as ever. His voice is so vastly different than Scott Howard’s, but with the brighter tenor tones of Lee Black, Walker fits like a glove. That combination has a world of potential. If you’ve never heard Josh Townsend’s testimony and heard him sing “God’s Been Good”, you need to do so as soon as possible. What a touching an encouraging message. The first half closed with a good rendition of “Champion of Love”.

After intermission, the group hit the stage with the old convention classic “Well Done My Child”. After a comedy bit, Josh Townsend took over the lead from Scott Fowler, but featured some of the highest harmony I’ve heard out of Legacy 5 in years while Matt Fouch rattled the walls with his bass note on the end and the crowd absolutely loved it! The concert ended with a rousing, New Orleans jazz inspired take on “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

For a debut of a new lineup, with 50% of the vocalists changing, the concert could only have been considered a rousing success. It sounds cliche to be sure, but the really was a renewed sense of energy and an enthusiasm in both the crowd and group that was easily felt. Vocally, these guys have a great blend and it will only get better with time to really gel. I’ve not said much about Matt Fouch yet, but this was my first opportunity to hear him and I came away incredibly impressed. He really kicked in the subs several times last night, but did so seemingly effortlessly and without even a hint of vocal fry. He’s got a really full, resonant bass voice that is very pleasing to the ear. Scott Fowler did a great job as lead singer and emcee. It was very obvious that he was excited to kick off this new era of Legacy 5, and mentioned several times that it was a historic night.

Replacing a founding member, especially after a long tenure, is always a challenge. Bryan Walker is definitely up to the challenge. He is so much opposite of Scott Howard vocally that I think it will work in his favor. There’s really no way to compare them as their voices are so different. Lee Black is a very big change at tenor, and it’s definitely a good change, especially with Bryan Walker’s lighter tones at the baritone spot. Having a songwriter of Black’s caliber in the group is also something to watch for, as I expect their material to take a huge leap as well, even as strong as it already was. The future for Legacy 5 looks extremely bright, and I’m excited to see how their sound evolves in the future. This was a great start.

Concert Reminder: Greater Vision

Just a quick reminder for any readers in the Birmingham or Montgomery area that Greater Vision is singing at my church, East Memorial Baptist in Prattville, AL tomorrow evening. Concert starts at 5:30. No admission, a love offering will be taken.

Everything Changes, and an Upcoming Concert

Greetings from the great state of Alabama! It’s been quite a while since I posted anything here, so let’s catch up!

You will of course notice I said the state of Alabama, and you may recall from previous concert reviews that I lived in the Memphis area. That all changed late last year as I took a new job and moved my family from the Memphis, TN area to the Montgomery, AL area.

New job, new house, new church, but through it all God has been faithful and blessed us beyond what we deserve. We miss family and friends in TN, but we are very happy in our new home.

As a means of getting back into this thing called blogging, any of my readers in the Montgomery or Birmingham areas, let me invite you to a concert this Sunday night at our new church. Greater Vision is in concert at East Memorial Baptist Church in Prattville, AL at 5:30 PM this Sunday evening, August 5. A concert review will follow on the blog for the first time in quite a while. Come out and enjoy a night of gospel music!

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. 

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. 

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