News and Notes For 8/13/2013

Yes, I’m still here, though life is insanely busy these days with an 8 year old starting soccer next week and a 6 year old that has started competitive cheerleading.  🙂  There have been several stories that have made the rounds lately that I really shouldn’t, and cannot, ignore.

  • Tracy Stuffle is back in ICU.  He has several challenges ahead of him, not the least of which is a so-far completely drug-resistant infection.  None of the antibiotics they have tried have worked.  There is an infectious disease doctor coming in to advise on how to treat further.  The infection has greatly reduced Tracy’s kidney function as well.  PLEASE be in fervent prayer for Tracy, Libbi, and Jared Stuffle, and for the rest of the Perrys.  Libbi has shown incredible strength throughout this entire ordeal, pray that God will continute to grant her that strength.
  • Josh Garner has departed Freedom and joined the Dixie Melody Boys as their new lead singer.  Garner has an incredible lead voice, and gives the DMB what is sure to be a fantastic vocal lineup.  I’ll be interested in hearing their first CD together, as it should be very, very good.  John Rulapaugh has every intention of keeping Freedom going, though as has been the case until now, on a very limited travel schedule.  Pray for John as he searches for a new lead singer.
  • Burman Porter announced last night that he was leaving the Dove Brothers due to health issues (hat tip, DJM).  Burman indicated that McCray has a replacement lined up already, so be watching for that announcement soon.

I’ve got several things coming up for the blog, including a review of the latest CD from the Old Paths, These Truths and I’ll revisit those Blackwood Brothers 78s I told you about a couple of months ago with a Classics Corner post. Finding blogging time has become challenging, but maybe the posts will be worth the wait!

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The Definitives: “If That Isn’t Love”

This is one of Dottie Rambo’s most popular songs, and it has been recorded countless times by numerous artists.  When the song was current, there were several great versions, not the least of which was done by the Rambos themselves.  The Downings also had a great cut of the song on This Is How It Is…Live.  In later years the song has been recut by the Brian/Ivan/Mike era Gold City, and John Rulapaugh recorded a fantastic version with the Dove Brothers.

The definitive version of this song, however, comes from this classic 1970 live album by The Imperials.  Jim Murray, Terry Blackwood, Roger Wiles, Armond Morales, and Joe Moscheo on piano created an arrangement of this song that has not been equaled.  The song starts with a guitar dominated intro before the group enters on the first verse singing the first line or so in two part harmony.  The group splits into full four part harmony on the phrase “lonely hill of Golgotha” and the cascading harmonies just sweep you away.  The key changes and Jim Murray takes the second verse as a solo, with the quartet rejoining him on the last line of the verse.

The arrangement of the chorus is what really sets this version apart.  The first line contains an echo of the first phrase, then the chord progression on the phrase “the ocean is dry” is unlike any version you’ve heard.  Armond walks down the scale repeating that phrase.  Then there is a thrilling cascade downward of harmonies on the word “sky” in the next line.  The second half of the chorus repeats this pattern, before the group tags the song with some beautiful vocal work repeating the phrase “It had to be love” twice.

My suspicion is that Joe Moscheo Terry Blackwood was responsible for this arrangement, and it is the most exquisite, creative arrangement that I’ve heard from him.  If you have this album, listen to this track again and try not to be wowed by it’s splendor.  If you don’t have this album, find someone that does and have them play this song for you.  It’s magnificent, gorgeous, shimmering, and any other term denoting beauty you’d like to use.

Keith Casstevens Joins Dove Brothers

Daniel Mount and David Murray have the scoop that Keith Casstevens, formerly of the Anchormen and Chapter IV, has joined the Dove Brothers as their new tenor vocalist.  Daniel has a concert review up as well with some photos of Casstevens with the group.

Miscellaneous SG Notes

Here are a few notes from around the SG world:

  • The Dove Brothers have just announced the departure of Jonathan Price.  Price is leaving the road to deal with personal issues.  More here.
  • DBM had the scoop that the iconic album by the Weatherfords, In The Garden, will soon be re-released on CD.  You can find more information on Lily Fern Weatherford’s website here.
  • Morgan Easter will be releasing a solo album, titled Not Without Love,  on 11/11/11.  Produced by her brother Madison (who was busy with this album, serving as writer, guitar player, arranger, and vocalist) and mother Sheri, it also features guest appearances by Wes Hampton and Joseph Habedank.  It is available for pre-order here, and you can find a preview of the album below.

Jonathan Price New Tenor For Dove Brothers

Via a press release from Southern Spin, Jonathan Price, formerly of the Dixie Melody Boys, has been named the new tenor for the Dove Brothers.  Price is a good choice, I’ve been impressed with him when I’ve caught the DMB on Great American Gospel, and he should do well with McCray and company.  Here’s the press release:

Multi-award winning quartet the Dove Brothers are excited to announce the addition of Jonathan Price as the group’s new tenor vocalist.

“We auditioned Jonathan this weekend, and he brought the house down,” mentioned McCray Dove, owner/manager/lead vocalist of the popular quartet. “He’s got a different sound than any of our previous tenors, but it’s a good fit, and we’re excited about his future with our group.”

McCray continued, “I was taught a long time ago by a prominent member of the Gospel music community that you don’t go looking for a replacement when someone leaves your group. You have to look for someone who brings something fresh to the group. Jonathan brings that fresh sound to our group, and we know he’s going to do an exciting job in this post.”

Jonathan has a strong resume within the Southern Gospel music community. Price joins the Dove Brothers after a three-year tenure with the Dixie Melody Boys. Price sang with Paul’s Journey before the Dixie Melody Boys. Jonathan and his wife Vivian currently reside in Farmville, North Carolina.

Price will begin full-time with the Dove Brothers during the month of November. Price replaces long-time vocalist Jerry Martin who left the group to pursue other interests.

The Dove Brothers released their critically acclaimed album Unshakeable earlier this year. The first single from that release – “If I Knew Then” – just hit #1 on the AbsolutelyGospel.com (formerly SoGospelNews.com) Top 40 Weekly Chart this week. The song is also quickly climbing the Singing News Top 80 chart – coming in at #42 on the upcoming November chart in only its second month of charting.

More information on the Dove Brothers can be found at http://dovebrothersquartet.com

Ed O’Neal University strikes again!  🙂

Jerry Martin Departs Dove Brothers

According to a press release on the Singing News’ site, Jerry Martin has left the Dove Brothers (hat tip, Brandon).  This is the second major shakeup for a major group in as many days.  Perhaps AVFL’s statement about the boring state of affairs was a bit of a jinx.  McCray Dove promises to name the new tenor soon.

NQC ’10: Monday Recap

After scouring Twitter, Facebook, and various blogs, here are some of the top stories from Monday:

  • The Toney Brothers have announced that Jake Sammons and Derrick Boyd have joined the group as baritone/pianist and tenor, respectively.  Sammons will fill the baritone part while George Amon Webster is off the road recovering from his recent health issues, and will stay on as pianist when Webster returns.
  • Tracy Stuffle joined the Perrys on stage for their final two songs, setting up “If You Knew Him” with a moving testimony of what he’s been through with his health.
  • Speaking of the Perrys, Joseph Habedank is celebrating 7 years with the group this week.  Congratulations Joseph!
  • In an impressive show of class and support, Scott Fowler sat in the Artist Circle area during Gold City’s set to support Josh Cobb’s return to NQC.  You will remember that Cobb left L5 during (or immediately after) NQC 10 years ago.  (h/t, Nate)
  • The Dove Brothers seem to have replaced “Didn’t It Rain/Get Away Jordan” with “Hold On” as their encore demanding sugar stick.
  • Brian Free and Assurance were accompanied by a live band consisting of Matthew Holt on piano, Adam Borden on bass, and Ricky Free on drums.  They also debuted a new song from their latest CD that is releasing at NQC.
  • Buzz of the night Award:  The Collingsworth Family.  Several blogs/commentaries have mentioned the strength of their set and the more pronounced crowd approval of said set.

Stay tuned, I’m sure there will be more to come tomorrow.

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