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.

Thoughts On The Tracy Stuffle Benefit

I watched the large majority of the benefit concert for Tracy and Libbi Stuffle online last night. What a tremendous outpouring of love and support by our fellow SG artists. I thought Jason Crabb and Joseph Habedank did marvelous jobs hosting the concert, and there were a lot of highlights. Former Palmetto State tenor Robert Fulton was singing with Gold City, and they sounded pretty solid.

There was quite a unique lineup of The Hoppers last night as well. Kim is very ill with sinus problems, and may even be facing surgery, sloshed and Dean were at home. Taranda Greene filled in for Kim, and Jason and Joseph alternated filling in Dean’s part. “I’ve Come Too Far” was fantastic, Connie and Taranda both nailed their parts of the song, and on the encore, Tim Riley supplied some incredible bass vocals.

The Booth Brothers did their two songs with only piano accompaniment from Nick Bruno, and it showcased their amazing blend and harmonies. The Collingsworth Family did an exquisite version of “Fear Not Tomorrow”, with Olivia joining what was a trio of her mom and sisters. I’ll disagree with my esteemed colleague Daniel Mount, as to my ears it sounded like Olivia was doubling Courtney, not Brooklyn. Mark Lowry was hilarious, and Paul Harkey was impressive with EHSS. The Oak Ridge Boys also sang with only piano accompaniment as well, and they were very genuine in their love and support for Tracy and Libbi.

More important and significant than all of this, though, came with The Perrys set, and the surprise appearance by Libbi, who sang a heart wrenching performance of “ThroughThe Night.”. After the set, Dr. Phil Hoskins took the stage and had a time of anointing and prayer for Libbi and Tracy. Seeing all of the artists in attendance gathered at the altar with their arms outstretched toward Libbi in prayer was the single most powerful moment I’ve witnessed at a concert. After several minutes of prayer, Libbi began singing “‘Tis So Sweet” from the midst of the group, and the rest of the artists and congregation joined in singing acappella. It was an incredibly sweet moment.

I have no idea how much money was raised last night, but judging from the crowd it had to have been a significant amount. Even,ore important though, 25 or so people rededicated their livestock Christ, and 8 or 9 were saved when Dr. Hoskins gave an altar call. This is what Southern Gospel is all about, and it made me proud to be even peripherally involved with this industry. All in all, a great night, and I was thankful to be able to watch the online stream.

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The Booth Brothers Quartet?

You read that right.  According to a press release from the Memphis Quartet Show yesterday afternoon, the Booth Brothers are going to be present for a Thursday afternoon matinee with Gene McDonald filling in the bass part.  From the press release:

The Memphis Quartet Show is excited to present an incredible matinee featuring one of Southern Gospel Music’s favorite trio performing a one-time-only full concert as a quartet. The Booth Brothers will be joined by bass vocalist Gene McDonald to create an this exceptional quartet!
Michael Booth shares, “For those of you who have wondered what we’d sound like as a quartet, we’re about to find out at the same time! This is gonna be fun!”
This combination will only happen once, and it will be at the Memphis Quartet Show on Thursday, June 20, 2013, in Memphis, Tennessee. Visit www.quartetshow.com to purchase tickets.
Now THIS is something to see!  Stewart Varnado and his supporters have really been ambitious in what they are wanting to pull off during this multi-day event, so make plans to come to my home city for the concerts!

NQC Final Round Ballot

Here are my votes for the final round, with necessary changes listed.  I had a hard time choosing a soprano last round, so I switched votes on that category so that I have voted for each of my choices once.  I know the results don’t work that way, but it eases my troubled mind.  I honestly couldn’t just choose one or the other, I think both are deserving. 🙂

  • Bass – Tim Riley
  • Baritone – Mark Trammell
  • Lead – Joseph Habedank (Bill Shivers not in the list)
  • Tenor – Brian Free (Gus Gaches not in the list)
  • Soprano – Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair
  • Alto – Libbi Stuffle (Courtney C. Metz not in the list)
  • Soloist – TaRanda Greene (Steve Ladd not in the list)
  • Male Group – Booth Brothers (Gold City not in the list)
  • Mixed Group – Collingsworth Family
  • Musician – Jeff Stice
  • Album – Let It Be Known, Booth Brothers
  • Song – “Blue Skies Coming”, Perrys (“On The Banks… not in the list)

There you have it!  Mileage may vary….

NQC Awards Ballot: First Round

Since several others have posted their ballots in the first round of the NQC awards voting, I will do the same.

  • Bass: Tim Riley
  • Baritone: Mark Trammell
  • Lead: Bill Shivers
  • Tenor: Gus Gaches
  • Soprano: Karen Peck Gooch
  • Alto: Courtney Collingsworth Metz
  • Soloist: Steve Ladd
  • Male Group: Gold City
  • Mixed Group: Collingsworth Family
  • Musician: Jeff Stice
  • Album: Let It Be Known – Booth Brothers
  • Song: “On The Banks Of The Promised Land” – Karen Peck and New River

YouTube Killed The XM Star

An intriguing phenomenon has been slowly materializing recently in Southern Gospel: concept videos.  The Ball Brothers did one for “About The Cross”, the Booth Brothers just released one for “She Still Remembers Jesus’ Name”, the Dills had “God Is In Control”, and Red Roots also released one fairly recently for “Double Wide Church.”  There are probably more than this floating around on YouTube, these are just the ones I could think of in a pinch.

Those of you who are of my generation will probably recognize the title of this post as a play on the rock song “Video Killed The Radio Star”, which came out shortly after the rise of MTV.  It seems there is truly nothing new under the sun, as the YouTube concept video phenomenon is seemingly a return of the music video, just on the net instead of over the cable “airwaves”.  Of course, this is also not an entirely new phenomenon, YouTube has been creating celebrities for a while now.  Justin Bieber, Rebecca Black, and the entire premise of the Nickelodeon show iCarly (which my 6 and 4 year olds LOVE) have gotten their notoriety due to the influence that YouTube has had on our culture, among others.

During the music video TV heyday, the phenomenon really never took off in Southern Gospel.  I remember watching GMTV on my cousin’s satellite a few times, but it never became readily available, and the quality of videos shown, especially in the early days, left a lot to be desired.  So call me skeptical in the ability of the YouTube concept video to catch on and have any staying power, but you never know.  Maybe the fact that some better known artists are participating this time will create more sticking power.  What do you think?

Thrift Store Finds

I had 45 minutes or so to kill Friday afternoon before I met my wife and kids for a birthday party for one of my son’s friends.  Down the street from where the party was being held, I came across a thrift store that had a name like “Hands of God Thrift Store” or something similar.  I figured I could look around for a while, and I’m glad I did!  I ended up walking out of the store with the following:

  • Booth Brothers – Harmony still sealed CD ($1)
  • Brian Free and Assurance – Requests cassette (the ultra rare original trio project, $0.50)
  • Gold City – Requested Hymns vol 1-3 cassettes (Brian Free/Ivan Parker/Steve Lacey lineup, $0.50 each)
  • Imperials – Now LP ($1)
  • A various artists LP from the early – mid 60s ($1)

The various artists LP is a bit intriguing, it’s a HeartWarming album, but on an early budget label.  It includes songs from Ira Stanphill, Dottie Rambo, The Gospel Echoes (Rambos, I’m guessing), the Imperials, the Plainsmen, and several other well known names.  More on that album when I get a chance to rip it to mp3.  Thrift stores have always been good to me!

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