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

NQC Announces Evening Concert Schedule

The NQC just sent out a press release with the evening concert schedule for this year.  The King’s Heralds are no longer given the acappella breaks, having been replaced by Sisters.  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound is also nowhere to be found on the schedule.  It is good to see the Dixie Melody Boys back on the main stage after their controversial absence last year.  Also Soul’d Out and the Down East Boys are making appearances as well.  I really don’t have many qualms with the presence and absences after giving them a slightly more than a casual glance, and I’m pleased to see the return of Quartet Night.  The NQC hasn’t been all about quartets in many years, but I think reserving one night for the heritage of the event is fitting and proper.  You can find the schedule here, what are your thoughts?

NQC Coverage, and Day 1 Summary

Once again, the NQC train is passing me by.  However, I was able to catch a couple of hours of the broadcast via enLighten.  Those of you who follow the blog on Twitter will notice I was doing some tweeting as I was listening.  I will attempt to continue to do so the rest of the week, though most likely not Wednesday or Thursday (church and my son’s soccer practice, respectively).  If you’d like to follow along, you can get to the blog’s Twitter page here.

Of the limited sets I heard last night, the highlight was definitely the Perrys, and specifically Tracy Stuffle singing “Plan Of Salvation.”  What a touching tribute to Tracy’s hero, George Younce, and Tracy more than held his own singing George’s bass lead.  I’m glad I was able to hear it.

The next best set I heard was the New Gospel Singing Caravan.  You can really tell those groups are having fun on stage doing their set, and they were joined in a surprise appearance by the Nelons.  My wife made the statement while we were listening to their set that the Caravan CD was probably her favorite of the CDs I’ve forced her to listen to while I was reviewing them.  🙂

Greater Vision had some sound issues, at least over the radio feed, but once they got them done they turned in a very credible set, with one outstanding performance: Chris Allman singing “I Know A Man Who Can.”  Chris has made that song his own and he absolutely nails it.

Highlights that I didn’t hear personally, but have noticed on Twitter include Karen Peck and New River singing “On The Banks Of The Promised Land” and Karen’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner”, Gold City’s set overall and debuting a new song “Peter, James, and John”, and the sets of the Collingsworth Family (again, they were the major buzzworthy artist last year as well) and Brian Free and Assurance.

That’s about it for day 1.  Follow along on Twitter tonight, I’ll do my best to post some more comments.

If You Can’t Laugh At Yourself: National Pop Convention

It has been said that if you can’t laugh at yourself, you shouldn’t laugh at anyone else.  With that being said, Madison Easter has started a “National Pop Convention” series of tweets that are poking fun at the goings on at NQC and SG artists using secular pop artists.  Several others, including yours truly, have caught on and have started posting our own thoughts.  Here’s a sampling of a few tweets that are pretty funny:

MaddyFatty Card found on floor shows two guys with cheesy smiles and reads: “Look us up, before you Go-Go! Booth #401!”-Wham #NationalPopConvention
MaddyFatty “…No, Phil Collins was first with Genesis, THEN Bee Gees, then Metallica, then Savage Garden, and now he’s solo.” #NationalPopConvention
WesDBurke  Where can you find Steven Tyler, Beyonce, Peter Cetera, and Rebecca Black together? Waffle House after the concerts. #NationalPopConvention
ChristianMBooth  Don’t forget to stop by Brett Michael’s booth #560 to pick up some afghans and some snake skin boots. Two for one! #NationalPopConvention
jeffgsnyder I just passed by Boogie Wilson and the Gang’s booth…good news…they’re going full time next week!! #NationalPopConvention
natesings  If you sign up for Rolling Stone at The Foo Fighters table, you get a copy of their latest cd! #NationalPopConvention
zacknudsen heard the boys from Maroon 5 are heading to Value City to pick out some matching get ups. #NationalPopConvention
If you want to try and see all of the tweets, you can check them out here.  Funny stuff!  I don’t think any popular stand up comedians are feeling threatened by any of us though…..

Update On The 100 Year Celebration Of SG DVD

On his latest open thread, AVFL asks why there hasn’t been a DVD release of the big 100 Year Celebration showcase from NQC last year that featured reunions of many popular groups (Gold City, Singing Americans, Downings, Nelons, etc.).  I’ve been wondering the same thing myself, so I asked Daywind about it, as they were the label that had rights to release the video.

In response, I have learned that the DVD is due to be released at NQC this year, and will be titled 100 Years: A Celebration of Southern Gospel Music.  So there you have it.  Be looking for the DVD at convention this year, and of course if anything changes, I’ll keep you updated as best I can.

John Ashcroft To Appear At NQC

According to a press release just sent out by the NQC board, former Senator and US Attorney General John Ashcroft has been confirmed as a keynote speaker at this year’s NQC.  You will remember the uproar caused last year by former VP candidate and Gov. Sarah Palin’s appearance.  Senator Ashcroft’s appearance strikes me as a bit less controversial, as his affinity for Southern Gospel music is well known, he has attended NQC before, and even performed with a group of other Senators in the past at the event.  In an interesting twist, he will also be singing this time, accompanied by Greater Vision.  Here is the text of the press release:

Former Missouri Governor, U.S. Senator and U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft, has been confirmed as a keynote speaker during this year’s National Quartet Convention.  He will speak at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 15th.  He will be delivering a speech focusing on the value he places on his Christian faith and how it has guided his life and career. In addition, being a noted singer and songwriter, General Ashcroft will also be performing some of his original gospel songs accompanied by Greater Vision.  His keynote address is part of the Thursday Showcase Spectaculars.   To order showcase passes or to find out any other information about the National Quartet Convention, just visit www.nqconline.com

An NQC Christmas?

For better or worse, the NQC is trying to think a bit outside the box and get a little creative to keep the fans coming back to Louisville.  According to a press release sent out this morning, Tuesday is going to be Christmas themed at NQC.  Here are the details from the PR:

Christmas in September theme set for Tuesday, September 13th at the NQC


Tuesday, September 13th at NQC will be “Christmas in September” at NQC.  The day will start with a special “Christmas Morning” program at 8:30 a.m. hosted by Greater Vision and featuring Legacy Five, The Kingdom Heirs, Brian Free & Assurance, Sisters & Karen Peck & New River.  The Christmas theme will carry through the entire day and conclude with a special Christmas finale that evening.  It should be a lot of fun.

Never mind the fact that in early to mid September it’s still blazing hot outside in the south.  Come and sing “Jingle Bells” in your shorts and flip flops!  In all seriousness, I’m not real sure how well this will go over, as it just seems a little difficult to muster the “Christmas Spirit” right after Labor Day (even if Wal-Mart will be going all out in their Garden Center with Christmas decorations by then), but it’s an idea that’s worth a shot, and with the groups listed the music should be excellent.  Call me a bit skeptical, but in the now immortal words of Bill Gaither, “Why not?”

SN Fan Awards Remaining At Dollywood; SN & NQC Announce New Showcase

The Singing News just posted an open letter to readers on their site.  The Fan Awards will once again be held at Dollywood, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011.  Additionally, the Singing News is taking a larger role in sponsoring Dollywood’s month-long SG/Harvest Celebration during October.  The letter makes a particular emphasis that the SN is trying think more creatively, and use more “out of the box” methods to market SG to more potential listeners.

Also mentioned is an “olive branch” of sorts between the SN and NQC.  The two entities will be joining forces for a new showcase at NQC ’11.  The only details are the promise that it “will incorporate an exciting and unprecedented interactive element between Southern Gospel fans and their favorite artists.”  How this will come about isn’t mentioned in the letter, but details are promised later.  The NQC is also listed as a sponsor of the Fan Awards at Dollywood.

UPDATE: The NQC just sent out a press release that mentions that the new showcase will feature nominees from the major categories of the Fan Awards.  They will also be conducting a “straw poll” of NQC attendees regarding the Fan Awards.  How they will do it or what they will do with the results hasn’t been revealed yet.  Whatever comes of it, it’s going to be interesting.

There are some vague references to “other initiatives” that the Singing News will be spearheading through the year.  Could this be an attempt to drag the SG industry into the 2010s?  It sure sounds like the SN is trying to take the bull by the horns and bring this industry up to par with other music genres.  We will have to wait and see, talk is cheap, but it’s promising to say the least.

It seems to me that the new owners of the Singing News have been biding their time, and trying to build up as much goodwill as possible within the industry and with the fans before making major changes.  We’ve started to see them, with updated graphic designs on the magazine’s cover, a relaxing of the “standards” that kept groups like the Gaither Vocal Band off the cover previously, and most significantly, a move of the majority of the SN office folks from Boone, NC to Nashville.  I have to think  that we are going to start seeing more drastic changes as the “honeymoon period” of the ownership change winds down.  Whether all this works to expand and update the SG industry won’t be known for a while, but I’d rather see the attempts being made than to just be content with the status quo.

NQC Schedule And Controversy

In recent news, the NQC has announced their main stage schedule here.  This has sparked some pretty heated discussion, as the Board cut down the number of artists on each night, and in doing so, eliminated some artists from the main stage altogether.  By far, the elimination causing the most controversy has been the Dixie Melody Boys.  Complicating matters is the fact that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Dixie Melody Boys, and the group had hoped to stage a “mini-reunion” with their set.

A few of the other omissions are notable to me as well: Soul’d Out, Liberty Quartet and the Ball Brothers.  I really feel like the Ball Brothers represent the future of SG music, so it’s a shame that they won’t be appearing this year, Liberty is the best quartet the average SG fan has never heard, and Soul’d Out is the reigning Horizon Group of the Year.  The 50th Anniversary of the DMB is the most unfortunate situation though, and I hope that the NQC Board will find some way to get them a slot to allow them to celebrate such a milestone.

That being said, look, the NQC Board is also really in a no-win situation here.  Every year we hear complaints about how attendance is dwindling, and how the evening concerts continually run into the wee hours and are way over the scheduled time.  The “stop light” and fines have helped some, but the concerts still seem to run long.  Credit the NQC for trying to address the situation.  The only real way to do so is to cut back the number of artists on the main stage each night.  In doing so, someone is by necessity going to have to be left out, and the artists and fans be upset by their omission.  If it’s the DMB, their fans would be upset, if it’s the Pfeifers, their fans would be upset, or the Primitives, or whoever it is.

My suggestion somewhat dovetails with Kyle’s above, but I’d suggest setting aside 2-3 slots that are reserved for a single slot for the “second-tier” artists, and let them rotate years.  Maybe one year you have the DMB, Primitives, and Chuck Wagon Gang, then the next year you have Liberty, Ball Brothers, and HisSong.  You could even merge the two suggestions and allow the groups without a prime time slot to have the “opening” slots that year.

Either way, the NQC Board is at least trying something, and there’s something to be said for that.  I’d rather see them trying new ideas than to be content to turn a blind eye and let the status-quo continue.

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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