Saturday Selections – January 5th

Wow, has it really been almost a month since my last post?! My apologies…

Without further ado, here are my Saturday Selections for this week.

1. Remember the Music

Lynn has been one of my go-to’s lately for fresh YouTube videos. Here’s another great one, taped at the Great Smokies Praisefest. It features in my opinion the best tenor today, the best baritone all-time, the best bass today, and the lead from one of the best groups on the road today.

2. Wedding Music

This was from the New Year’s Singing that MTQ and GV did together on 12/29. I believe the lineup is Allman, Trammell, Trammell, Barker.

3. Soul’d Out

If Soul’d Out keeps pulling out material like this, look out!

4. Dan Keeton

With the announcement of Keeton’s resignation from Gold City, I thought it pertinent to highlight Keeton in one of his final performances. Here he and Gold City share the stage with a young group from Georgia called Appointed Quartet at a New Year’s Eve concert.

5. Simply the Best

This is an old video, but I just came across it recently. With 3 of the videos so far being Cathedrals’ songs, I thought it was fitting to end this post with the legendary quartet. This is from 1991, and George is just showing off here…

Hope you enjoyed my first Saturday Selections of 2013!

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Saturday Selections: December 8th

Saturday came so fast this week that I forgot to put a thread up. Here we go.

1. Josh Horrell of Declaration Trio

2. A Duel of the Basses

I love it when two singers have a sing-off, and that’s exactly what happens in this clip. L5 and Greater Vision were in concert together. Matt Fouch dueled in this clip with 17-year old Avery Wolfe (Gerald’s son).

All I know is, I hope Caleb Garms is reading this and learns this song so he and Matt can have a sing-off the next time Legacy Five is in Minnesota. Ha!

Now for some Christmas selections…

3. Collingsworth Family DVD Preview

4. Riley Harrison Clark sings “Mary Did You Know”

Riley is one of my favorite young tenors. The pacing and vocal control in this video is strong throughout.

5. Mark Trammell

Saturday Selections: December 1, 2012

New series I’m starting today. Saturday Selections will be a compilations of some of my favorite videos of the week that may not have been big enough for a stand-alone post, or ones I simply didn’t get posted. Here we go:

1. The Garms Family interviews the legendary Daniel J. Mount

I know this was over a week ago, but I just never got around to posting it. I’m extremely jealous that they got this insider access.

2. The Collingsworth Family sings At Calvary

Its an old song…that never gets old! The Collingsworth Family might be the best in our genre at taking old hymns and songs and making them sound fresh without eliminating any of the song’s integrity. This version gives me chills!

3. Ian Owens with Soul’d Out Quartet

Footage has been circulating over the past couple weeks of Soul’d Out Quartet with their new bass Ian Owens. Since I haven’t shared any here yet, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. Here he is introduced by Matt Rankin, (who said he “wasn’t expecting [Ian] to be this good”) singing The Old Rugged Cross.

4. “Uncle” Pat’s Biggest Fan

File this one under the cuteness category. Here are two videos of Pat Barker’s nephew listening to his favorite song sung by his favorite group. The first video he’s listening to a CD, in the second video he is at a concert. I absolutely love seeing little kids who grow up on this music!

youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpvAbWUXBzE

5. The Latest Southern Gospel Concept Video

Brian Free & Assurance is the latest to jump into the music video scene, and this might be my favorite one yet! Here’s BFA and their music video of I Want To Be That Man, along with a video of behind-the-scenes footage.

The Under-Rateds: Pianist

The pianist is sometimes the forgotten 5th-wheel of a group. In these economic times, a number of groups either don’t have a pianist, or they have one that doubles as a vocalist as well. When it comes to Southern Gospel pianists, Jeff Stice is arguably the most popular and well-known. However, here’s a younger pianist that is becoming more popular at a young age.

Trey Ivey, Legacy Five: Even at just 22 years old, Trey is no newcomer to Southern Gospel music. His first SG gig was with Mike LeFevre Quartet, beginning in 2006 at the age of 17. He also played for The Old Paths before joining Legacy Five.

Here’s a great clip where Trey shows of his appreciation for both southern gospel and classical music.

BONUS: This song is actually off of the Jubilee 3 project, but Legacy Five is doing it in their own concerts as well. Check out the second verse!

It looks like Trey doesn’t feel comfortable as a vocalist, but I think he has the voice, and his verse was delivered very well. We might have another Roger Bennett on our hands!

The Under-Rateds: Bass

This was arguably the most difficult one to write. Not that I couldn’t find anyone good, but more that I couldn’t find many that you could consider under-rated. In this genre, good basses get recognized very quickly. Look at people like Matt Fouch, Pat Barker, and Paul Harkey for how quickly a bass can rise in recognition as one of the best. Here’s one that is known by a number of people, but is still young and a relative newcomer to the genre.

Daniel Ashmore, The Old Paths: Even though he’s one of my favorites, he’s still rather under-rated compared to some of the other bass singers on the road today. At just 21-years old, he’s got time to work on that. He has just been on the road with TOP for a little over a year, but he is sure putting together a number of strong performances.

Here is the song that introduced Daniel to the SG online community.

 

Daniel has that rare mix of being able to sing the low notes with a smooth upper range. Many basses either have one or the other, but only a few can do both. Here is a great example of that blend.

 

BONUS: In addition to his singing, Daniel also brings another quality to the group. Check this out!

 

Its clear that Daniel is on his way to becoming one of the best bass singers on the road. Others may get more recognition, but Daniel has a bright future. Remember: He is only 21 years old!

The Under-Rateds: Baritone

Despite being arguably the least glamorous position in a quartet, baritone might be the part that has some of the most popular vocalists in southern gospel. Names like Mark Trammell, Doug Anderson, Daniel Riley, Mark Lowry, Scott Inman are synonymous with the groups they are in. And yet, since the position is not glamorous, there are vocalists that get under-rated because they just blend in behind the others, just like this one.

Randy “Scoot” Shelnut Jr., Dixie Echoes: I don’t think he’s ever been mentioned among the best baritones on the road, and yet he’s one of my favorites. There’s nothing glamorous, but he has a smooth voice that is very easy to listen to.

In fact, he is so under-rated that it is very difficult to find videos of him being featured. Here is a clip of the song I wanted to feature, but the video and audio quality aren’t the greatest. However, it is the only version I could find online.

Are there any other Scoot features that you enjoy?

The Under-Rateds: Lead

The second installment of The Under-Rateds focuses on the lead singers. Lead is one of the easiest parts to recognize and learn in quartets, so they also get a lot of recognition. Some of the most popular lead singers on the road today are Michael English, Scott Fowler, Ryan Seaton, Jerry Pelfrey, and Clayton Inman.

Here’s one name that you need to be familiar with.

Devin McGlamery, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound: This one probably comes as a surprise that I would call him under-rated, considering he is part of one of the most popular groups on the road today. However, you rarely hear him talked about in the same class as the other leads previously mentioned, and you could even consider him under-rated within his own group as Haase and Anderson are usually the headliners.

Devin has really come into his comfort zone since he joined in January 2010. In a way, he came into a difficult situation. He was the first vocalist replacement since the group hit it big about 6-7 years prior. Also, he came while the group was preparing their Cathedrals’ tribute, which is not an easy task for a lead singer. Even when he had his biggest feature on that project, he was still overshadowed by the inclusion of Glen’s video in the background. It made for a great emotional moment on the DVD, but it didn’t allow Devin to really shine.

Since then, he’s started to get that chance to shine, as they’ve been featuring him on the entire song more and more. Here is a video of one of those opportunities from February 2011, showing what he’s capable of singing flat-footed.

On their most recent projects, Devin got the lead on one of the project’s most popular tracks. It was nominated for a Dove Award, and made it as high as #9 on the Singing News Top 80. Here is the version off the groups most recent DVD.

I love watching vocalists who clearly look like they enjoy what they are doing. Devin has a great personality, and it bleeds into how he expresses himself on stage. At just 30 years old, I hope we’ll be hearing him on stage for many years to come.

The Under-Rateds: Tenor

The first quartet position I am looking at is the tenor. This is one part that gets a lot of publicity, and rightly so. The stress that is put on their voice each night has to make this the most difficult part in the group, but yet it is often one of the most popular.

There are many individuals that come to mind when you think of southern gospel tenors. Ernie Haase, Eric Phillips, Brian Free, and David Sutton are just a few of the names associated with the tenor position today. But here’s one name that you might not be familiar with, but you should be.

Dusty Barrett, Soul’d Out Quartet: Soul’d Out Quartet is not one of the biggest “names” out there today. For that reason, you may not have heard of him (unless you are one of those diehard SG followers). He may not be the highest tenor out there, but he has a smooth voice that is very easy to listen to.

Here is a heart-felt version of a song he wrote called Maker of the Rain, performed earlier this year.

Another song I enjoy hearing him on was my first introduction to Soul’d Out, singing an old southern gospel classic Have a Little Talk With Jesus. I actually couldn’t find the original clip I heard, but this one will have to suffice.

Dusty brings a great balance of high notes and power, and delivers them almost effortlessly. Be sure to see Soul’d Out in concert if they are ever in your area!

How Important is Stage Presence?

stage presence (n.): the ability to command an audience with impressive style or manner

This is a question I have thought about quite a bit over the years. There are a number of ways groups embody these two words. Some groups are on one extreme, standing flat-footed for practically the entire concert. Other groups are on the opposite extreme, making use of every square inch of room they have on stage. Most groups are somewhere in-between.

More than that, I think stage presence also involves the energy of the individuals. If one individual has a foul mood going into a concert, it can drag the whole group down. I realize there are circumstances that cannot be controlled, whether its family trouble, bus issues, or whatever, you still have to put on a show for the audience.

Speaking of putting on a show, I think this is something that has a negative connotation in the gospel music field. Like it or not, artists are there to put on a show. You can hide behind doing it “for ministry” all you like, but you are putting on a show so that those in the audience will buy your products. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be on a bus most every weekend. But that’s not the point of this post.

Putting on a show does not necessarily mean running and jumping and dancing around the stage. You don’t have to do those things in order to put on a show. Some groups are able to pull it off in doses, and more power to them, but when I say groups need to put on a show, this is not what I mean.

There are little things that I can pick up on in and individual’s stage presence. I mentioned energy earlier. This is HUGE in my books. Once again, this doesn’t have to mean moving around, but it can show on your face how much or how little you want to be there. Also, if someone else in your group is singing a solo, don’t think that people in the audience aren’t watching you. In fact, this is one of my favorite times to watch people in a concert setting.

There are individuals that you can see on stage and it is very obvious that they LOVE what they are doing. The most obvious example of this is Matt Fouch. I’m going to post one clip, but there are more examples out there I could use. Watch him during Gus’ solo, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Also, if you purchased the NQC webcast, watch the Monday night Jubilee set, especially Wedding Music. You just couldn’t wipe the smile off of Matt’s face.

There are so many more examples I could go into, both past and present. George Younce and Glen Payne were two of the best, and they hardly ever moved around stage. They had an energy and a stage presence, and I believe that was a major factor in their popularity. Union Street and Canton Junction are newer groups that also have a great stage presence.

Personnel changes are something that can also alter a group’s stage presence. While an individual can be replaced vocally, groups also should take the collective energy of the group when making a change.

There’s one group in the 1980s and 1990s that was considered one of the best on the road. They had some personnel changes, but the group energy remained high over the balance of those two decades. But in the 00s, more personnel changes were made, and it was around that time that their popularity dipped a bit. Still popular, but not at the level they once were. I can’t pin-point which specific change was responsible because I wasn’t following southern gospel closely at the time, but there were three changes over the course of five years. The group is regaining some of its stage presence, but its still not where it was yet.

As I wrap this up, I want to go back to the definition I posted at the beginning, as well as putting on a show vs. ministry. I never want to question how much ministering a group is doing in their concerts, because that is not for me to judge. However, even in ministry, putting on a show is still important.

Looking at the definition of stage presence, it is “the ability to command the audience…” Without stage presence, it is more difficult to capture your audience’s attention. And without their attention, you can’t really expect them to be ministered to.

How important is stage presence? I’d say it is pretty important.

Note: I realize I rambled a bit, and may not have expressed myself clearly enough in some areas. If you would like further clarification on something, please leave me a comment below.