A Quick Update On N’Harmony

A few weeks ago, N’Harmony held their debut concert, and several impressive videos from that appearance made their way on to YouTube.  I spoke briefly with Brent Mitchell, N’Harmony’s tenor, about what has been going on with the group since that time and about what the group has coming down the road.  Brent told me that things had gone very well on that first weekend, and he was quite excited about the prospects for the group.  Brent also stated that they will be starting work on a new recording of fresh material sometime after the first of the year.  The group will not have a booth at NQC this year, but to quote Brent, “You may see a few of us walking around NQC.”  While they will not have a booth, Brent did say that the 3 recordings they do have will be available at the Dominion Agency’s booth.  Thanks Brent for the update on N’Harmony!

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SG News Bits, Or My Feeble Attempt To Play Catch-Up

First of all, thank you all for the outpouring of love and sympathy in the wake of my grandmother’s death.  She had lived here near us for the last 8 years, and before moving to TN we lived next door.  To say we were close is an understatement.  However, she was more than ready to go.  The trip went well, under the circumstances, and yes MG and RC, the kids did unbelievably well.   I’m humbled by all the prayers and comments from all of you out there both on this blog and on facebook.  Thanks also to my most astute colleague Nate for keeping things rolling while I was away.

Aside from the untimely passing of Eva Mae Lefevre, there are some other interesting goings on around the SG world:

  • The Kingsmen have hired a piano player, Cody McVey.  (hat tip, AS)
  • The Lewis Family announced their retirement.  (hat tip, DM)
  • Young Harmony’s bus was firebombed (!).  (hat tip, DBM)
  • Poster (and reader of this site) Dinana over at Southern Gospel Forums has uploaded several clips from the new N’Harmony in concert.  Be sure to check these out, they’re great!

New Lead Singer For N’Harmony

According to a press release from Shane Dunlap, Josh Feemster has joined N’Harmony as their new lead singer. Shane Dunlap is moving to the baritone slot to replace the departing Chris Whitaker. Feemster’s first concert with N’Harmony will be in April. This is really lining up to be a powerhouse of a group. With Dunlap on baritone, Feemster on lead, and Brent Mitchell on tenor, I’m expecting to hear some incredibly high harmonies. Be on the lookout for these guys, I fully expect them to make some noise this upcoming year! Here’s the full text:

N’Harmony Announces New Lead Singer
Nashville, TN – N’Harmony is pleased to announce the addition of fan favorite Josh Feemster as the new lead vocalist for the group. “We are honored to have Josh joining us in our ministry”, states Shane Dunlap. “He is one of the finest singers in gospel music today and we look forward to working and traveling with him.”

With the addition of Josh at the lead position, Shane Dunlap will be assuming the baritone vocalist position.  Feemster’s first concert with N’Harmony will be held at Temple Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC on Good Friday April 10, 2009.

To learn more about N’Harmony’s touring schedule, please visit
www.nharmonymusic.com or www.dominionagency.com.

Top 10 Songs Of 2008

I’ve taken the opportunity to revisit the albums that I’ve personally heard and/or reviewed this year, and compiled a list of the top 10 songs that were released on albums this year.  This list has NOTHING to do with chart action, or albums recorded in 2007 or earlier, but is solely a list of the 10 best songs I’ve heard on albums this year.  I’d dare say this list makes a pretty decent compilation.

  1. “When God Ran” – Kingsmen
  2. “Glorious” – Mike Lefevre Quartet
  3. “Holy Of Holies” – The Dills
  4. “Hallelujah Praise The Lamb” – Talley Trio
  5. “He Loves Me” – N’Harmony
  6. “Welcome To Heaven” – Triumphant
  7. “I Cast My Bread Upon The Water” – Gold City
  8. “The Blood On My Hands” – Skyline Boys
  9. “I Will Sing Of My Redeemer” – Talley Trio
  10. “Love Like The Sun” – Prophets

It’s hard to narrow down these songs, but these 10 have all stood out to me as songs that have knocked my socks off when I heard them.  I could very easily come up with another 5-6 that are probably just as deserving to be in this list, but this is my personal top 10 at this point in time.

Review: N’Harmony – Favorites

This is the first release from the newly reformed N’Harmony.  Personnel are Brent Mitchell – Tenor, Shane Dunlap – Lead, Chris Whitaker – Baritone, and Will Van Wyngarden – Bass.

Tracks:

  1. Step Into The Water – Fairly straightforward, though slightly faster, arrangement of the Cathedrals’ classic song.  There is a slight change in the harmony on the choruses after the key change that really helps the arrangement.  Solid opening cut to the disc.  7.5/10
  2. Old Time Religion – Nice soulful rearrangement of the old spiritual that features Chris Whitaker, Shane Dunlap, and Brent Mitchell, respectively on the first verse and chorus, second verse and chorus, and key change then a repeat of the chorus.  The instrumentation is just a piano, which puts the vocals out front.  I love this, great arrangement!  8.5/10
  3. The Blood Will Never Lose It’s Power – Chris Whitaker gets the lead on the verses to this classic song, and really does well on it.  Whitaker replaced Clayton Inman with Won By One, and his first verse really reminds you of an Inman vocal.  Whitaker takes the second verse into a higher key and shows some impressive range.  Very solid cut.  8/10
  4. He Loves Me – This is an absolute gem.  Once again with this song the instrumentation is sparse, with only a piano and some light keyboard strings, and they have rearranged the song into a tenor ballad featuring Brent Mitchell.  Brent knocks this song out of the park.  His vocal perfectly expresses the sentiment of the very strong lyric.  This is the best arrangement of this song I’ve ever heard.  10/10
  5. Run On – This is an uptempo bluegrass influenced song that I’m honestly not familiar with other than this recording.  It’s a great song, with some challenging “spiritual-style” lyrics that is performed very well by the group.  This song really fits Shane Dunlap’s lead voice.  It’s sometimes hard to find radio friendly songs on a “favorites” type album, but this is one.  9/10
  6. It Is Well – Nice ballad style arrangement of this hymn featuring Chris Whitaker.  Whitaker has a very big voice with a nice range, he does well with these big ballads.  Very solid here.  8/10
  7. I Can See The Hand – Another classic Cathedrals’ tune that has been updated with a more driving 4/4 rhythm that replaces the bounciness of the original.  Both Brent Mitchell and Will Van Wyngarden perform their respective solo parts well.  After the key change, this song really pushes these guys into the stratosphere.  I’ve always liked this song, and this is a good solid version of it.  I really like the updated rhythm.  8.5/10
  8. Lord Feed Your Children – This song is performed in a ballad style by Shane Dunlap, who does a great job on it.  A lot of people would succumb to the temptation of trying to do a copy of Michael English’s soulful version of this from his GVB days.  Dunlap gets points for resisting the temptation and putting his own spin on the song.  Once again only a piano is used for instrumentation.  8/10
  9. Life Will Be Sweeter – Fairly straightforward version of the Cathedrals’ jazzy classic.  Piano only accompaniment once again.  The performance is great, the only thing I miss is that they end on a straight 1 chord instead of adding the 6th like most other versions of the song.  I like the fact that they tried something a little different, but I just miss the jazz chord on the end.  They also sped the song up a bit, which does work well.  7.5/10
  10. Beulah Land – Acappella rendition of the chorus to Squire Parson’s classic.  8/10

Overall: 8.5/10 This is a good solid CD, albeit of covers, that should do well in introducing N’Harmony back into the SG world.  These guys all have tremendous talent, and have meshed together very well in a relatively short amount of time.  The instrumentation on this CD is really pretty sparse, if you’re looking for full orchestrations and big brass driven songs, you won’t find it here.  The benefit of the understated instrumental tracks, however, is that the emphasis is firmly placed on the vocals with this album, and that is where these guys shine.  This is a good way to welcome N’Harmony back into the fold!

N’Harmony Revisited

N’Harmony has now posted 6 full songs on their MySpace page.  These guys are really sounding good, and are very reminiscent of Mercy’s Mark, enough to wonder if Garry Jones produced these songs.  “He Loves Me” in particular is stunningly gorgeous.  I love the understated instrumentation with just piano on the slower cuts.  It really pushes their vocals out front, and lets you get a feel for their incredible talent.  These songs are nothing really flashy, but incredibly solid singing.

N’Harmony Returns

It’s turning out to be a busy day.  Daniel Mount has the scoop that N’Harmony is returning.  Personnel are Brent Mitchell – tenor, Shane Dunlap – lead, Chris Whitaker – baritone, and Will Van Wyngarden – bass.  They are currently working on a new project.  This is exciting news, and hopefully Shane will be able to rerelease or reorder some of the original N’Harmony projects as well.  I will be looking very much forward to see what comes of this reformation.

Their myspace can be found here.

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