What’s going on (II of II)

Given that GC, once the most logical quartet to take over the Cathedrals’ dominance of the male-quartet category, finds itself essentially a new group with a storied past (rather than a group full of tenured performers easily filling the vacuum left by the Cats’ demise), a great deal more expectation and pressure surrounds what’s going on around GC: The rise to prominence of EH&SSQ in the last year, the stunningly quick formation of Mercy’s Mark’s impeccable sound, the in-process emergence of soon-to-be-renamed-Integrity (and by necessity of STBRI’s creation, a radically remade Kingdom Heirs), and the unveiling of yet another version of the Anchormen. All these developments put a lot of unknown factors in play. At this point, I’m not sure there’s much else to say, other than that it would be a huge mistake to underestimate how quickly GC may be able to line out the issues with Steve Ladd’s voice and pick up where they left off with Parrack, Trammell, Wilburn, and the Rileys. It would probably only take one break-out song. The other thing to say is that everything I said here is subject to one huge caveat: all these young groups full of so many talented young performers will no doubt struggle to keep a single iteration of any one quartet together long, since better offers may easily entice one or more members away at any time. This is my greatest fear about MM (though if Garry Jones is smart, he’s paying those three boys well, very well), and it’s obviously a risk that Roger Bennett and Scott Fowler have smartly managed, keeping the revolving door from spinning in all but one of their spots. It’s hard to believe Bennett and Fowler didn’t learn the value of holding down personnel changes from George and Glen, who owned the 90s primarily because, unlike GC, they kept a coherent, stable group and sound together and burnished the Cats’ reputation on the basis of that fixity. Toward the end, the Cats coulda played kazoos and sang advertising jingles and still packed most of their venues, because George and Glen perfected a marketably superior product that only partly included the music and relied very little on the quality of any given performance (though the quality was often quite high, if not as high as it had been in the 80s). Which means The Next Great Quartet may not be decided so much by who sings the best at any given moment but by who has the smartest managers and best business minds running the show.

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