Gold City vs EHSSQ

Maybe this video clip is already making the rounds (I haven’t looked to see) and is old news by now. But still … what thuh…?

I mean, I know Wilburn and Ladd are trying to be funny and “just joshin with Ole Ernie … we love i’m.” But don’t you think some of the other guys seem a bit uncomfortable (look at Daniel Riley, for instance)? And with good reason. I’d be uncomfortable too if I were on camera and Jonathan Wilburn was speaking on my behalf. There’s something about this schtick … a not-entirely-joking quality, or a thread of contempt to the aggressiveness of the humor. Something that makes this hard to watch. But then I don’t find Wilburn to be a very funny guy in the first place. So maybe it’s just me.

Post Script: I honestly can’t tell if this was intended for mass consumption or not. It looks like an out-take, which could mean they thought it’d get edited out. But surely no performers in the age of the internet are unaware that anything recorded can end up online. Surely?

Update: Commenter dd helps out with some context:

it has been out for little bit and it’s actually on their myspace site. But boy Danny does look miffed and uncomfortable at the same time. But probably if he didn’t want it on there it would not have been posted. At the same time these guys see each other all the time and have known each other forever. I’m glad Jonathan can sing……

Later update: Commenter Big Ken turns up the volume on the clip and notices something I’d missed the first time round:

It’s obvious that Ladd and Wilburn have watched a lot of professional “wrasslin’” from the way they challenged Haase and his crew to a steel cage match in Madison Square Garden. What really cracked me up, though, was Aaron McCune’s almost inaudible comment at the end. After Wilburn said that he loved Ernie, Aaron said, “I don’t.” Priceless.

Even later update: Jonathan Wilburn writes:

Hey everybody! Ernie is a friend of mine. Has been for many years. There are friends I can cut up with and they know it is just good ole fun. I had no ill will in my heart for this great bunch of guys. Do any of you remember when George and JD went back and forth? Man the memories we would have missed if they had kept all that private! As far as what I do on stage. NOT GOING TO CHANGE!

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  1. » Duane Allen on Signature Sound on 02 Mar 2007 at 11:01 am

    […] The members of Gold City have gone on record saying this was all a joke in good humor, but their much-discussed video clip on Signature Sound could easily be interpreted by an average fan to be such a criticism. (I refer especially to the part where Jonathan Wilburn says he loves Ernie, and Aaron McCune replies that he doesn’t.) In fact, that was my initial reaction when I saw it, though I have been glad to read their public statements since that it was all in good humor. But whatever you may make of this particular video clip, which may have indeed been in good humor, Signature Sound has drawn quite a bit of criticism from their peers–and from people who wish they were their peers. […]


  1. dd wrote:

    it has been out for little bit and it’s actually on their myspace site. But boy Danny does look miffed and uncomfortable at the same time. But probably if he didn’t want it on there it would not have been posted. At the same time these guys see each other all the time and have known each other forever. I’m glad Jonathan can sing……

  2. HHE wrote:

    Below is an email that I sent to Daniel Riley regarding what I witnessed during a Concert on Feb. 3, 2007.

    Hey Danny,

    I was in Chattanooga Saturday. Ya’ll did an awesome job!

    First, I want you to know that I love ya’ll and what you are doing for God. However, I really have a problem with Jonathan’s behavior on stage. His antics are not very becoming for Gold City. If it looks fake, If it smells fake, Hey, it’s probably fake…Right? It seems to happen right on cue.

    Prior to Jonathan’s “Holy Ghost Experience” there was such a sweet spirit looming about the stage, of course, ya’ll were edifying the Master then.

    Jonathan appears to be imitating Glenn Payne…Only thing is Glenn had class. Jonathan seems to be attention starved.

    Danny, I really had to fight myself to complain…I’ve been a fan since the days of Jerry Ritchie. I believe that your current line-up is one of the best ever. You just need a “Stage Hook” for Jonathan.

    Thanks For Reading,

  3. LSJ wrote:

    I noticed the same sense of uneasiness on Daniel’s face…like he was ready to break out the duct tape the moment the camera turned away. I’ve had similar sentiments in the past with wordy, tangent-traveling co-singers.

    Still, I love Jonathan’s voice and stage presence, which are typically (here in WV, where uncouth stage presence is largely and visibly looked down on) sane.

  4. Sandy wrote:

    I have enjoyed listening to and watching Gold City perform since their beginning. Yes, there are some personalities that my personality doesn’t “agree” with, however, each person has their own personality. That is what makes the world go ’round. Otherwise, it would be a boring world.

  5. Vicki wrote:

    I suggest those critical of this video get a grip! Anyone who has followed Gold City for some time knows that Jonathan is crazy and is apt to do most anything to get a laugh! But I have also seen his testimony through my years of being a fan and know how sincere he is about his faith in his Savior. He is also very kind, and I don’t believe his cracks toward Ernie and Sig Sound were at all negative. What I find today is that the Christian community quite frankly “eats its own.” As a pastor’s wife, I’ve seen the church nearly destroyed from within via the comments and criticisms of its members. Let’s thank God for GC’s wonderful witness and faithful service.


  6. quartet-man wrote:

    I saw it some time ago, and at first was a little shocked, but then I realized what he was doing, and it was funny. I think Daniel might just be shocked to being with, and maybe tired. I imagine, as the manager of the group, Daniel was thinking “oh my, someone may get upset at the joke and I will have to deal with it.” :)I think they even had the video linked on their site, though.

    As far as Jonathan’s Glen Payne take off. He may very well have been imitating Glen. Glen was a hero to him, and maybe he is doing it as a tribute. I have (in my opinion) seen another person who looked up to Glen (Rodney Griffin) do the same thing.

    It would be interesting to see what Daniel said about the email someone left and about the video. I know he stuck by Jonathan when he “preached” at NQC a few years back.

  7. smells wrote:

    Get a grip avery. Daniel was looking at him like, “your such an idiot” and it probably wasn’t the first and probably won’t be the last. They’re friends joking around. Do you have any friends that you joke around with? It must be slow in the sg world, or else DBM hasn’t written anything interesting enough for you lately.

  8. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    I’m for anything that gives me a chuckle. The video is just a joke…

    HHE’s letter to Danny Riley, on the other hand…

    Reminds me of what Wendy Bagwell said…
    “I guess we’re a little bit different from any other kind of music in the world. The people much own you, and the people pretty much tell you how it is.”

    I wonder if I could talk myself into believing I know the spiritual condition of a gospel artist by just observing them on stage…

  9. Former SGer wrote:

    Whether people want to believe it or not, there is competition in SG. There are groups that, while waiting in the wings want the other groups to fall on their face. Not saying this is the case with this video clip, but the SG world is not always squeaky clean and lovey dovey between groups. If you watch close enough you can see it at a multi-group concert

  10. Karalyn wrote:

    I agree with HHE. Jonathan needs to tone it down. It gets annoying.

  11. KB wrote:

    Apparently the days of competitiveness are long-gone…

    Does anyone remember a Dixie Echoes live album from the mid-70’s? Dale Shelnut broke into “In The Prayer Room.” He started singing, “I REMEMBERRRRRRRRR….when I was a child….”, after which you could hear someone scream “Sing it honey,” from backstage (which many believe is Jim Hammill, as the Kingsment were also on the same bill). Next was, “SETTIN’ o-ow-OW-ow-ow-ow-on…MY MAMMIE’s knee….” Another pause, then, “EAT YOUR HEART OUT, JIM HAMMILL!!”, which the crowd loved. The song then continued.

    I guess so many people are so hung up on the “spirituality” of a group (and their uncanny ability to judge the spirituality of a group based on a few jokes), that they have no room for light-hearted competition. I, for one, am all for competition, especially in SG music. It makes for better performances (yes, I said PERFORMANCE, not praising, not worship….PERFORMANCE).

  12. Steve wrote:

    Wow, if I had to doubt the spirituality of any artist, Jonathan Wilburn would not be it. Honestly, get a life people…

    It was a joke.

  13. thom wrote:

    that’s just Jonathan’s personality. he was making a joke.

  14. Big Ken 54 wrote:

    It’s obvious that Ladd and Wilburn have watched a lot of professional “wrasslin’” from the way they challenged Haase and his crew to a steel cage match in Madison Square Garden. What really cracked me up, though, was Aaron McCune’s almost inaudible comment at the end. After Wilburn said that he loved Ernie, Aaron said, “I don’t.” Priceless.

  15. T Miles wrote:

    I’d like to see Ernie’s response. Only then we’ll see if the one dishing can take a bit of his own medicine. I didn’t take it as offensive but good clean ribbing.

  16. HHE wrote:


    I never claimed to guess the “Spiritual Condition” of Jonathan. I didn’t see you at the Concert in Chattanooga. If you had been there, perhaps you’d have seen exactly my point.

    I think Jonathon can sing as well, if not better than most Leads.

    When the Spirit is moving in a Service, I think it is self-serving and insincere to put on a well rehearsed rant. Perhaps Jonathon was jealous of another Artist on the program, giving an Altar Call that filled the front of the Auditorium. Who knows?

    I certainly believe that Jonathon wants all of the limelight for whatever reason.

    I’m done,

  17. Popsky wrote:

    Jonathan Wilburn lives by Christian principles and has deep-rooted convictions, and when you’ve followed Gold City for as many years as I have, and you’ve seen them in concert over and over again, you realize that he is simply having fun, while growing in the faith. Hey, Christians can have fun too, can’t we? By the way, the overused term “glory days” to describe the Gold City of the 1980’s and early 90’s should really be used the describe the current group. They have NEVER, absolutely NEVER, sounded better!

  18. gc wrote:

    Johnathon wilburn might be annoying on stage to some.He might say more than he should sometimes. He might wish he had not done the video clip.Competitive? yes..flawed? yes…Saved? without a doubt! Get over it…

  19. Youngbass wrote:

    That video is hilarious - you know there is a saying that like 99% of what people saying in joking manner is what they really feel. Yes, there is competition in SG, for sure, but this was all done fecitiously and meant no harm. It was a joke, for crying out loud - I know these guys would never intentionally, or publically at that, harm another group or artist. Danny does seem a little startled at the beginning and looks at the interviewer like, “Can he say that?” Be assured that Danny knew Jonathan had something up his sleeve, though. I would like to see an EHSSQ response, though - that would be hilarious too.

    As for Jonathan’s stage, it is outdated, repetitive, and bugs me, but I would never email GC and tell them that…unless they asked that is. If Jonathan was imitating Glen Payne with the Holy Ghost experience, then obviously he wasn’t feeling that sweet spirit you thought was looming around the stage…you may have been the only one feeling it - get over it. It was all in good nature and for entertainment purposes and probably was on cue - yes, SG groups entertain too! A lot of the stage you see from groups are cues that have become a part of the groups performance - you can’t expect everything to be genuine - altough, Jonathan probably was genuinely excited.

    Lighten up and laugh, why don’t you?

  20. LSJ wrote:

    >>KB Wrote: Does anyone remember a Dixie Echoes live album from the mid-70’s? Dale Shelnut broke into “In The Prayer Room.”

  21. Gold City Girl wrote:

    Listen Here!! I was behind the camera watching this interview. My Mom is the host of this show. I was just watching the whole interview with no editing and they said that they always joke around so they were JUST JOKING!!!! And I, Gold Citys Biggest Fan and one of their friends do not appreciate this AT ALL!! They are great people and would never mean to hurt anyone!!!! Laughter doeth good like a medicine! SO ALL I GOT TO SAY IS……GET OVER IT! Got It Get It Good!
    ~Mandy Harrell

  22. Felicia wrote:

    It’s funny how some people think you can say anything and it’s acceptable as long as you say, “aww…I’m just joking.” And it’s also funny how those kinds of jokes are always at someone else’s expense. I thought it was tacky, especially Aaron’s comment at the end. (He certainly did not look like he was joking.)

  23. GC Fan wrote:

    This video was a joke!! I talked to Daniel about the video and he told me the whole story. As GC Girl stated, Gold City was doing an interview for a local TV show. At the end of the interview, Jonathan wanted to do something funny, so he asked if the camera was still on. A week or two later, the show sent them this clip. All the Gold City guys thought it was hilarious and wanted to share it with their fans.

    They never intended any harm. Daniel did not have any problems with the video. He allowed a link to it on their site, and it’s still on their Myspace page.

    Also, don’t read into Aaron’s comment too much. I’m sure if Gold City would not have wanted Aaron’s comment heard, they could have easily edited it out. It’s just Aaron’s dry sense of humor coming across.

    I don’t understand why Christians get so up-tight about a little humor. I could understand if it was something vulgar, but this is just good, clean fun. Loosen up and laugh!

  24. Felicia wrote:

    Well, if it was a joke, it would be funny. Of course the GC fans are going to defend it. Let’s hear from the EHSSQ side of things. Anyone?

  25. Ben wrote:

    Really… Who cares? People, grow UP!!!! 100 years from now, no one will remember any of this. Who are we to judge and say he is spiritual or not? Don’t give me the whole spiritual decernment or fruit inspection combacks either. We are NOT to judge Jonathan’s spiritualness or his walk with the Lord. This is Christian entertainment, and there is nothing wrong with that. If someone gets touched or blessed or saved at the entertaining event, then praise God. But, until then, just enjoy the show people, and SHUT UP!!!

  26. Daniel Riley wrote:

    Before this goes any further, I want to clear a couple of things up. I was not miffed. I agree that I look miffed, but believe me, I wasn’t. I am glad that not everybody thinks the video is funny. That would be boring. We have tons of respect for Ernie & Sig Sound and consider them our friends. As far as Jonathan is concerned, I love him like a brother and have never been around a more sincere person. He doesn’t have a fake bone in his body. Is he an idiot? YES!!!! My life would be boring were he not a part of it.

  27. Sandy wrote:

    Thank you!


  28. dd wrote:

    well, these guys ARE cramped in, on a bus, for hours and days at a time. Maybe their sense of humor is time delayed…LOL. thanks for saying SOMETHING Danny, we all talk about everyone but rarely hear from the actual people. Everybody, when you pray today, pray for Gold City and all the other sg groups that may need a touch of good old fashioned……sense of humor. Jimmy Dooley’s hair, now that’s funny. ok….next.

  29. thom wrote:

    I thought the video was funny. Like I said before , that is Jonathan’s sense of humor and he was just having fun. “Laughter doeth the heart good like a medicine.” The video of GC doing “The Truth is Marching On” that is on myspace was recorded at our concert with them by one of the fans present that night. What a great night of music. Can’t wait til the next time. Thanks guys, Thom Rawls

  30. Tom K. wrote:

    Just reading the Springside Music Newsletter and it appears that the “Get Away Jordan” CD and DVD by the aforementioned EH&SS are both in the top five (5) in sales. Didn’t see anything listed by Gold City? Hmmm!

    If Aaron McCune’s comment was a joke, please pray for me - I really can’t believe it - seemed very sincere to me. When he learns to sing bass as well as Tim Duncan, then he can talk Also, makes you question the validity of the other comments. Daniel, maybe you need to define “tons of respect”.

    You GC fans and fans of other groups who find it amusing to continually attack EH&SS better get a life. They are NOT going anywhere!!!!!

    It is totally disgusting to see these comments by one GOSPEL group against another.

  31. Matt wrote:

    Where were all these people a couple of years ago when Ernie cut Tim Lovelace’s and Tim Surrett’s ties at NQC? It too was a joke. Why do we spend so much time trying to make something out of nothing?

  32. Sandy wrote:

    Tom K, Did you ever watch Jackie Gleason or The Three Stooges and others in this category?

    Are you familiar with dry humor?
    What makes you laugh?

  33. KB wrote:

    Tom K,

    Someone get up on the wrong side of the bed??

  34. jb wrote:

    Tom K: Aaron does sing as well as Tim Duncan, actually better because he sings without stacks. They may or may not be around for a while. I think it all depends on the personalities and egos and how long that all holds up. What about when Bill Gaither said “Mark Lowry, eat your heart out” on the Give It Away DVD. Everyone knows it was in fun just as J. Wilburn was having fun. Lighten up and stop being so defensive. Matt: Good point. I was there when Earnie cut the ties. Everyone laughed. My “thought for the day” is this ….If you can’t laugh at yourself……..I’ll be glad to do it for you. God Bless Us All.

  35. WBGV wrote:

    WHOA!! Somebody call the fire department, its getting hot in here!! Ya know, I’ve just never seen the fans of any other genre get so dadgum defensive about their favorite artist. And of all the genre’s that one would expect civility and certainly a Christ-like attitude it’s SGM!! Lets grow up people and take things as they’re worth. Daniel Riley has spoken for the group and as far as I’m concerned thats the official word. Quit trying to read into everything. Man, its a good thing there weren’t any blogs or msg boards back in the days when groups really picked on each other. Quartets picking on each other today is quite tame from what it used to be. This is all in good fun people, let’s all meet down at the cafe and take a chill pill together!!! Now, back to your regularly scheduled program!! ;-)

  36. Grigs wrote:

    Re: Ernie cutting ties at NQC in ‘04. Lovelace and Surrett came to Ernie before the awards show to ok the gag with him. Originally, Lovelace was going to cut the ties, but Ernie thought it would be funnier if he was in on the joke. Plus, he didn’t want anyone to think that there was hard feelings over the hair and tie jokes.

    As for McCune not loving Haase, it goes against the laws of nature for a bass singer to like tenors. I’d be willing to bet that even Tim Duncan didn’t like Ernie until he started handing out paychecks!

  37. SM wrote:

    Danny, Jonathan, Ernie or whoever can say anything they want, but nobody will know the true “spirituality” of either group until the AGM sends an official press release out on the matter =/

  38. BC wrote:

    I agree with everyone that says some people need to lighten up. It was a joke. Laugh or get over it.

    Tom K., I will be praying for you, because Aaron’s little “I don’t” was a joke. Have you ever seen Aaron at a concert? He is very deadpan like that when he speaks. If he was serious, don’t you think the video would have been edited? As for Springside’s top 5 in sales, “Get Away Jordan” was released fairly recently. Gold City’s “Revival” was released last year, at which time it was on Springside’s Top 5 in sales, without the Gaither marketing push. Hmmmm. Tim vs. Aaron? They are both GREAT bass singers. Who is better? Right now, I would say Aaron because he gets better everytime I hear him on a new CD. Don’t get me wrong, Tim Duncan is one of the best, but to me, he hasn’t improved much since he was with Poet Voices. Aaron on the otherhand, from the Anchormen to Palmetto State to Gold City, he sounds better every year.

    I bought “Get Away Jordan” yesterday and think that it is a great CD. The best EH&SS have recorded yet. I don’t think EH&SS are going anywhere. But the last few years in which Gold City has lost 3 vocalists that were the most popular at their position at the time and a key member to a car accident a little over a year ago shows that they are not going anywhere either.

    One thing that no one has mentioned is that there is proof of GC and EH&SS getting along. Long ago on GC’s audio blog, members of EH&SS called in and left comments. If groups didn’t get along and respect one another, I don’t believe that one would be giving the other access to their blog/website.

  39. Vicki wrote:

    Amen to the chill pill…When the time comes that I am capable of judging another’s spirituality by sense of humor, haircut, or whatever, then I take the place of honor at the right hand of God. And folks, THAT spot is already taken! Relax and pray for Gold City as we should all pray for one another.


  40. KB wrote:

    This is nothing…there is a story of Jim Hammill telling an entire audience, “Turn those lights up, we’re not a night club act. They’re on later!” and “I don’t know if you’ll still be here when they come on stage, but I know I won’t be!”, referring to another group on the same bill.

  41. dd wrote:

    i wouldn’t bet on anything, but the precious Holy Ghost showing us all who’s true and who’s not.

  42. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    TomK wrote: “It is totally disgusting to see these comments by one GOSPEL group against another.”

    Nothing disgusting here. Watch the Oscar presentations if you want to be disgusted.

    It’s totally hilarious to see what was intended for humor taken so seriously.

    Christians are undoubtedly the most uptight people on the planet.

  43. quartet-man wrote:

    Geez, people. Come on. No wonder people look at some of us Christians and think they don’t want what we have. So much arguing over a silly joke. It is one thing to be concerned if you think it is real. It is another to think you know the spiritual condition of someone based on it.

    Something else that bothers me is how defensive some people are over gospel acts. It is good to be protective, but some people are smothering. They act like you can like no one else but the one act and if you don’t like them you are a sinner. I have liked Ernie since the Cathedrals days. I have liked Gold City longer. I have gotten the SSQ stuff from the beginning. I have my preferences over who I like the best (as far as musically, bass singer etc.), but that doesn’t mean I can’t like the other too.

    For the record. I will get on the record as saying that I think Gold City is one of the best groups out there, if not the best. Aaron adds a lot to their sound and stage presence. He is no Tim Riley of course, and Bill was good in his own way too. However, Aaron is singing great bass at an early age. He is likely making bass singers all over work harder and God willing has a long career ahead of him. Duncan is a good bass too. My three favorite basses are Richard Sterban, George Younce and Tim Riley (that is the order I first liked them, not necessarily in order of who is best.) J.D. is in there as far as lowness of notes, but not so much in cut. However, Aaron is good enough to be mentioned too. He may not be to the level of these three yet, but give him time. Tim Duncan and Glenn Dustin are two other basses out there that I think will be around for some time too.

    Now before any SSQ fans attack me for saying such heathenistic things, SSQ has been very successful and have broken down some doors in the industry. They are not everyone’s cup of tea, but even accounting for Gaither’s help, no one can really deny their success. They had it before Gaither and are more so now.

  44. quartet-man wrote:

    Oh, and in my ranting, I forgot to make another point. The boys were nice enough to share this with us fans and they end up getting raked over the coals for it. I hope they don’t let some of this keep them from doing so the next time. If I were them I would think twice after seeing how much trouble this has caused them. Daniel, I appreciate your guys doing so (and for you coming here and explaining things) and I hope that you don’t let this stop you from having fun or sharing it with us fans. Jonathan, I have never doubted your sincerity and I appreciate that you show that Christians are supposed to be joyful. Keep up the good work, guys.

  45. dkd wrote:

    You know what they say, “There is no such thing as BAD press” and this blog has certainly given both groups a lot of press if nothing else.

  46. Jonathan Wilburn wrote:

    Hey everybody! Ernie is a friend of mine. Has been for many years. There are friends I can cut up with and they know it is just good ole fun. I had no ill will in my heart for this great bunch of guys. Do any of you remember when George and JD went back and forth? Man the memories we would have missed if they had kept all that private! As far as what I do on stage. NOT GOING TO CHANGE!

  47. Vicki wrote:

    Thank you, Danny and Jonathan! Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, and DON’T NEVER QUIT!!!!!!!!!!!


  48. Thomas wrote:

    Jonathan, thanks for your addition to these comments.” I love your concluding statement, NOT GOING TO CHANGE…please don’t!!!!!!! We love you! Gold City is by far the best quartet on the road today! May God continue to bless you and all the guys as you continue to sing and spread the gospel message!

  49. jb wrote:

    Ditto to Thomas……..I also read a couple weeks ago where Jonathan led a young man to the Lord in the hallway. Why change anything????

  50. thom wrote:

    AMEN JONATHAN! Thanks for posting

  51. crowe wrote:

    Ernie can’t dance and you stink at softball..

  52. quartet-man wrote:

    I think it important to say that the link above to the post that Duane said about SSQ is only the place where the article took place. The thoughts shown here beneath are not his, but the writer of the blog.

  53. Jim Cheek wrote:

    Jonathan - don’t you EVER change!!!

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