What to make of the Lesters and Wilburns

Probably not much in either case. The Lesters have struggled to keep a lineup in fixed position since Ginger and Dan Pitchers left the road a few years back. But anyone who doubts Brian Lester’s resolve to keep a family group on the road is or would be sorely mistaken to think these personnel instabilities somehow call the group’s future into question. That said, I do wish/hope things line out for the L’s soon. Just as the Lesters were reaching a kind of renewed prominence as singers’ singers, things sorta fell apart. I had really hoped the Pitchers daughter would join the group when she came of age, alongside Brian’s son Jonathan, thus reconstituting the true family sound the group does so well. But I guess that’s not to be. In the meantime, we can hope for the best from this new direction.As for the Wilburns morphing themselves into a husband-wife evangelism team with soundtracks, one can’t be too surprised by this. During their time in the spotlight (roughly since they started appearing on the NQC stage 15 years ago) they have mostly been known as the group people left if they wanted to succeed, which is what that line about “birthing” (ugh) many other groups was all about in their most recent press release, I suppose. The W’s sound has never risen about the rough-hewn and earnest, and their sets have always had a strong revivalist component to them. So the real question to ask is not why they’re going into evangelistic mode now, but rather, why they didn’t do it sooner. The two of them - Jackie and Elaine - can do better financially on their own and unburden themselves of the stress of having to make payroll and cover overhead in an economic climate that is - in sg anyway - less than robust at the moment. Jackie and Elaine have always been the main draw anyway, at least among those people who are drawn to the Wilburns in the first place. Maybe they’ll lose their NQC appearance and possibly another date or two here and there from promoters or venues that want music and not brush-arbor ministry, but it will all come out in the wash for the Ws, I suspect.

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