Personnel notes from all over

Tony Peace to leave the Kingsmen? And be replaced by Brian Hutson, who already had the job once? Indeed, … perhaps. And just in time for the KM’s 50th Annivesary bonanza. Thankfully the KM have a long history of riding their talent hard, putting them away wet, and then replacing them with fresher (or in this case refreshed) stock, so if Peace leaves no one should be too shocked.

And from the “surely not?” department: Gene McDonald to leave the Florida Boys? Babbling brooks and whispering pines have it that Les Besley is already phoning around for replacements, even as the FBs stay quiet on the matter. Why on earth any of this would be true is beyond me, but then among my many superpowers has never been the ability to divine the ways of gospel music personnel management.

Immediate update: I forgot to note, as CG does in comments and Daniel Mount did a day or two ago, that Keith Plott might be leaving BFA. For what that’s worth.

Later update: All kidding aside about the KM’s revolving door of personnel, Peace’s departure is remarkably crummy timing. Not only is the 50th anniversary of the KM approaching, but the KM are getting ready to release a project with Peace on it, and the KM are featured on the March cover of the Singing News. It makes you really really wonder who’s asleep at the switch here. Something couldn’t have been worked out for him to stay a little bit longer, at least to see the group through the taping of the anniversary recording in early March?

Even later update: reliable sources say Peace actually wanted to stay a bit longer to work through the big March events but that Hutson was hustled back on board and that was the end of that. I have no idea why Peace left, of course, but a good place to start in all these kinds of things is money: as in, not enough of it to live on. Someone Hutson’s age is much more likely to work for longer on a Kingsmens wage than someone in Peace’s position.

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  1. » I Can’t Believe what I missed… on 08 Feb 2007 at 11:38 pm

    […] From reading AveryFineline, it looks like Southern Gospel is going through a big shake-up right now. First Keith Plott leaving Brian Free and Assurance, then Tony Peace leaving the Kingsmen, now maybe Gene McDonald leaving the Florida Boys. Of all the proposed changes, the one I would least like to see is the proposed Florida Boys change. I doubt they’ll be able to top McDonald. […]


  1. CG wrote:

    Keith Plott is leaving Brian Free & Assurance. Coincidence?

  2. JG wrote:

    It would be too good to be true that Gene would be coming on board with BF&A. Wouldn’t it???

  3. glc wrote:

    Tony Peace has already turned in 30 day notice a few weeks ago

  4. Geno wrote:

    I am not trying to stir up any contraversy, but could it have anything to do with Ray Reese?

  5. RF wrote:

    I find it interesting that these changes in personnel are coming now. Peace’s joining of the Kingsmen was heralded as the one element that they were missing. A strong baritone with a personality. Just like he left Palmetto State, he was gone in a flash for no apparent reason. You have to wonder where he will end up next and for how long.

    Plott is a bigger mystery. If ever a bass singer was suited for a group, it was Plott with BF&A. In listening to their latest album tonight, who else can sing those songs as well as Plott? Chris West? Some say Bill Lawrence is going to join them. Can’t see him singing “Jesus Will Lift you Up”, can you? Gene McDonald? Nah. Solo ministy? Sounds like a good way for a good bass to supplement his ministry by working at the local Advance Auto store.

    But, why now? It used to be the changes were made in the Fall, and now it doesn’t matter when people decide to move.

  6. thom wrote:

    agreed that Plott was a great fit for BFA, sorry to see him go. McDonald was also a great fit with FB. Peace on the other hand ….

  7. thom wrote:

    p.s. - not really excited about Hutson returning to KM, but to each his own.

  8. chuck stevens wrote:

    i look forward to Hutson returning to the Kingsmen, i only wish he had come back as the lead singer and Peace would have stayed, then we might be getting back to the Kingsmen of yesterday.

  9. NG wrote:

    Jonathan Sawrie (former lead singer for the Melody Boys) says in his SGM Radio column that he recently played with the Blackwood Gospel Quartet and that “Brian Hutson is still learning how to sing lead, but ya’ll can’t believe how much he’s come along since his days with the Kingsmen.” The comment might have been made tongue in cheek or maybe not.

  10. crazyjoe wrote:

    The KM move makes no sense to me. Brian Hutson is the prime “high” lead the KM are accustomed to. What is Phillip Hughes going to do? Hutson is by far the better singer. Are additional moves in the making? It’s kinda like when Tim Surrett re-joined the group.

  11. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    If Sawrie said it, you can be 99.44% sure it was tongue-in-cheek.

  12. Youngbass wrote:

    Don’t understand why Bryan Hutson would be replacing Tony Peace? He should be replacing Phillip Hughes, if anyone. Phillip is a super nice guy, but Bryan is a much better lead singer. Tony is an awesome baritone and was the best thing the KM had at the time! Hate to see Tony go and curious to see what happens in the KM. Would not be a bad thing to see Tim Surrett return in the baritone slot, but then that hangs Phillip out to dry.

    As for Bryan Hutson still “learning” to sing lead - give me a break! He is the epidemy of a KM lead singer - all singers get better and learn, but to say he is learning to sing lead is far-fetched and proposterous!

  13. Youngbass wrote:

    BTW - Gene MacDonald leaving FB’s is a huge surprise, but maybe he has bigger and better things lined up. I have always wanted to see him step up to a group that had the kind of recognition he deserves. BTW, the FB are the best ever right now with Gene - hard to imagine they can find a replacement as competent - he is the finest in the business right now!

  14. Grigs wrote:

    Kinda off topic, but I heard the Blackwood Quartet back around Christmas. Mark Blackwood was the baritone, Sawrie was lead/piano, Burman Porter sang bass, and Hutson was singing tenor. I’m not sure who was filling in for who, but quite honestly, just singing standards with a piano, they were as good or better than 80% of the “big time” groups.

  15. JG wrote:

    No way is Hutson a better lead than Hughes.

  16. NG wrote:

    In a response to a query from me, Les Beasley emailed me Gene has decided to get off the road. That part is true. The Florida Boys getting Brian Free’s Bass is not true.

  17. Montana man wrote:

    Grigs (No. 14) you heard Burman Porter singing bass with Mark Blackwood’s group in Dec? I thought he had left them for Palmetto (and Mark got rid of him as soon as he heard that was going to happen when McCune was leaving for Gold City), and I heard Burman singing bass in October with Palmetto State. So who’s Burman Porter really singing with?

  18. Montana man wrote:

    Blackwood Gospel quartet website lists Brad Smith as the bass. I don’t understand the Burman Porter thing…

  19. quartet-man wrote:

    I know someone who was once related with Bryan. He had told me recently that he suspected Bryan wouldn’t be with the Blackwoods much longer, but would look for a job with a bigger group. I never cornered him and asked, but maybe he knew more than he was letting on. :)

  20. mythbuster wrote:

    I can explain the Burman situation. He had the time off, Mark needed the help, and finding ways to get extra $$ in SGM is always a good thing.

  21. quartet-man wrote:

    I forgot to mention, but Kingsmen having high leads? That is true with more recent incarnations, but Hamill (the lead during much of the successful years) was not a high lead, per se. Bryan can sing a good high lead though. He can sing tenor, just not consistently enough to do sky high tenor for someone like Gold City, but he has the range to do it some.

  22. djf wrote:

    Yes I second the Burman filling in. He went to help Mark out since Brad had left.
    With Bryan gone Mark is back to a duet unless Jonathon is on the road then it will be a trio…..

  23. Youngbass wrote:

    JG - you heard it right buddy…Phillip Hughes was good with Anchormen and Melody Masters, but not necesarrily good enough for the Kingsmen…Bryan Hutson is remarkably better than Phillip. It is almost like comparing Gene MacDonald to Keith Plott…let’s see what fire that starts.

  24. Revpaul wrote:

    I think Gene McDonald is going to be managing a department at one of the bus companies. Maybe he will have an even better gig if Gaither retires from the Vocal Band. Ya never know . . .

  25. Ben wrote:

    Youngbass…. When it comes from Hamill himself that Hughes is the best lead the Kingsmen have had since he retired, then you can put money down on Phillip Hughes.
    If Phil wasn’t good enough to sing with the Kingsmen, then how in the world did he get the job? HUH???? Wasn’t cause he couldn’t sing… thats for sure. Phillip has more to offer in the lead position than Hutson ever had! Phillip has power, finesse, dynamics, you name it, Phil’s got it. So in the scheme of things, why don’t you keep your small minded opinions to yourself and keep singing with the local minded group of yours and let the pros do what they do best while you guys practice really hard for 3 weeks so you all can open for the next pro group coming thru town.
    By the way… This officially put out the little fire you started. Sorry. When you can sing and do as the pros do, then you can talk about them and critize them. Until then, just enjoy the music.

  26. Chuck wrote:

    I heard something mentioned about “the money not being good in Southern Gospel”. Do your top quartets (Gold City, Kingsmen, Legacy Five, etc) pay their singers a salary, a % of sales, or something else? It seems like most of the groups that are willing to work with Gaither are more financially successful. (Not that financial success should be used as a measurement of God’s blessing or spirituality) Thanks to anyone that can shed light on my questions.

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