Mark Lowry Departs Gaither Vocal Band

Yes, I know, I’ve been gone far too long.  Life has kept me away….a new job, 3rd grade homework (why don’t I remember doing this much homework in 3rd grade?), and life with kids who are growing up far too quickly has kept me away.  And yes, I still owe you guys a review of the latest Old Paths CD, I’ll get to it.  THIS news, however, is enough to bring me back.  As was speculated on Daniel Mount’s blog late last week, Mark Lowry announced via Facebook this morning that he is indeed leaving the Gaither Vocal Band at the end of the year.  Lowry cites the need to slow down and a desire to focus more on his solo career as his reasons for leaving.  He will still appear at some of the larger Gaither events, like the cruise and FamilyFest, and will finish out the year with the GVB, but will be embarking on a solo tour with the Martins after the first of the year.

This is interesting.  The five man, all-star GVB has been the talk of the SG world since its inception.  Also, Lowry was the true baritone vocalist in the harmony.  It will be interesting to see how the voices stack now back at a more traditional 4 part lineup.  My gut feeling is that Hampton and Phelps will alternate on the tenor and lead parts more frequently, and that English will assume more baritone duties, with David or Wes stepping to the baritone part when English is featured on lead.

Best wishes to Mark, and to the GVB as they enter their new phases.

From The World Of Twitter

Sorry for my lack of blogging lately, but things have gotten a bit busy in the real world here recently.  I thought I’d give you all some quick hits from Twitter and Facebook…

  • The Perrys are in the studio cutting vocals for their newest project.
  • Tracking has begun at Crossroads for a new Talley Trio CD.
  • Wes Hampton is continuing work on his solo CD, and has just recorded a choir for one of the cuts.
  • The Lefevre Quartet is recording a live DVD here in the Memphis area on Sunday night.

Hopefully we can return to our regulary scheduled blogging soon, including a review of the Gus Gaches version of Legacy Five’s Just Stand.

Wes Hampton Recording Solo Album

Wes Hampton has announced on his blog that he will be recording his first solo album this summer.  All is well with the GVB, he is just doing this as a little side project.  It will be produced by Gordon Mote with as much assistance from Marshall Hall as he has the opportunity to give.  It will be interesting hearing what style Wes takes on with his effort.

SG News Roundup

A couple of stories have gone around over the past few days that bear mentioning:

  • SG Artist/Blogger Allison Lynn and her husband Gerald were involved in a serious car accident.  Both were unhurt but their vehicle was totaled.  Read her entry about it here.  Thank God for his protection, but continue to pray for them.
  • The Kingdom Heirs received a BMI award for “The Rock’s Between The Hard Place And You” as the Most Played Song in Southern Gospel.
  • Ed Leonard of Daywind Records was elected as the new President of the GMA during GMA Week.  Hopefully this will help give SG a much greater presence in the larger genre of Christian music.
  • Wes Hampton has a blog post that details the next two GVB album releases.  The first will be a “best ballads”, the second will be new material.  (Hat tip, DJM)

    Wes Hampton On The New GVB

    When all the changes in the GVB happened, I sent Wes Hampton a few short questions regarding the changes.  Here are his replies.

    WB: It was mentioned that Guy was going solo, but what is Marsh going to be doing?
    WH: Marsh will be leading worship somewhere.  He has many options at the moment and is excited at the possibilities.

    WB: With moving from 4 to 5 voices, how are the arrangements going to be changing?
    WH: Any kind of new arrangements will most likely have five parts so it will be interesting to see what’s ahead!

    WB: Will all 5 members sing all the songs, or will we see quartets of varying combinations of the 5?
    WH: Depending upon what song we are singing will determine who sings on it.  Right now everyone is singing on about every song.

    WB: Are there plans for a new CD with the new configuration any time soon?
    WH: We do have plans to record a new album in the near future.  We are very excited about what God is doing with the group!

    Thanks Wes, for taking time from your definitely hectic schedule right now and answering some questions about the GVB going forward.


    SG Insights: Wes Hampton – Gaither Vocal Band

    I have had the opportunity recently to speak with Wes Hampton via email and to ask him a few questions about the new Gaither Vocal Band Christmas CD, Christmas Gaither Vocal Band Style.  Here is the text of the interview.

    Wes Burke: This Christmas CD is very different from the previous Christmas CD in it’s approach, focusing on standards rather than original material, as well as a laid back approach to the arrangements instead of staying “in your face”.  Was this intentional from the start?
    Wes Hampton: Yes, I would say it was.  The last Christmas CD (Still the Greatest Story Ever Told), in my opinion, is one of the greatest GVB CD’s of all time.  It’s impressive on so many levels.  Bill wanted something that was light, easy to listen to, and something that went a totally different direction that the last.  Plus, it just says “Christmas” to me.

    WB: It’s been remarked that this CD would make for a good soundtrack that would be playing at Christmas parties.  Was there discussion about its intended use?
    WH: Not necessarily, but as we got further along in the process, we soon realized that this was a very laid back, easy-listening CD that you could play in the background.  We also believe that, even though it has many standards on it, it still clearly states why we did this CD.

    WB: There are some very lush, complex harmonies on this disc.  Who was primarily responsible for the arrangements?
    WH: Russell Mauldin is the man responsible.  He is so amazingly talented and has done many of the string arrangements you hear on GVB albums.  It was an absolute blast working with him.  It was a different process for me because all the vocals were sung by chart.  We usually just go in and everything kind of falls in to place.  Not so on this one.  If you weren’t singing what was written out in front of you, you were singing the wrong part!

    WB: Which song did you personally find the most challenging to sing?  Which one seemed to be the most difficult to get right overall?
    WH: I would say the a cappella songs were the hardest for me.  Everything is so exposed, plus I had to sing to a click track/piano track that would “pigeon hole” me at times.  It was very easy to sing everything straight and mechanical.  The hard thing was to stay with the click track while still trying to emote and allow the song to breathe at times.

    WB: Which song was the most fun to record?
    WH: I particularly loved recording “Winter Wonderland” and “White Christmas.”  The harmonies were so lush and satisfying, so it was a very enjoyable process.

    WB: You will be celebrating this Christmas with a newborn son.  How has his arrival changed your perspective toward this Christmas?
    WH: Every one of my sons has given me a different perspective on how God loves me.  The one thing I can’t get over is how much of a miracle a baby actually is.  I am blown away every time I watch our home videos of our boys being born.  It is such an inspiring, overwhelming experience for me.

    Be looking for a review of Christmas Gaither Vocal Band Style in the next day or so.  Thank you Wes, for graciously agreeing to do this interview!

    Phelps And Hampton: A GVB Question Answered

    I was curious enough about how the vocals would be stacked when D. Phelps sings with the GVB whilst Guy Penrod is on his leave that I emailed Wes Hampton and asked him.  Wes sends the following reply:

    Good question.  I actually just got off the phone with Bill discussing this very thing.  When David is out with us, we two will actually switch parts, depending on what the particular song is.  For instance, if Bill calls “Let Freedom Ring,” Dave will take the tenor while I take the lead.  Bill’s asked me to be prepared to sing tenor on other songs as well, so Dave will sing lead as well.  It will make for a fun time, that’s for sure.

    This makes for some interesting food for thought.  Those of you who happen to catch them in concert, try and let us know how the stacking breaks down, if you can.  I would love to hear both inversions, but Hampton on tenor and Phelps on lead is just really intriguing to me.  Thanks to Wes for his answer!

    GVB Reunion Recap

    If you haven’t seen it already, Wes Hampton has posted a recap of the GVB reunion taping on his blog.  It’s a bit lengthy, but definitely worth a read, and there’s even a potential song listing there as well.  Release is slated for fall 2009.  This will be one of, if not the most anticipated Gaither release in years.

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