He’s back on the road with the Old Paths Quartet, “and we don’t know why.” That last bit of barbed wire is from Chuck Peters over at southerngospelreporter.com, who appears to relish sticking it to Jeremy Peace just a scosh too much. But there is something admittedly strange about the way this has all played out.
When Peace left the Kingsmen in April, he went out with a gust of hot air – his own:
Being on the road, and dealing with other recording studios and the business as a whole, has brought a lot to my attention. Southern Gospel is not exploding, but simply imploding on itself. Do you realize that our only media outlets for information and marketing are the Singing News, a handful of AM radio stations that will play ANYTHING, and various internet web sites that seem to scramble for any tid-bits of news information so that they can play news reporter and release the news first? Some say Southern Gospel is the best kept secret … its true, because we keep it that way. Let’s think out of the box here. Fox News doesn’t report us, Wal-mart doesn’t carry most of our stuff, churches have moved past our style of music and into other forms of worship. Lets let the world know about this great music. Lets be honest here, and rid ourselves of the mom and pop groups that can cut a record at joe blow studio and get on their label for $10,000, and release a single to the 200 AM stations that will play everybody, that nobody listens to. If you can’t sing or play, then the truth is, you can’t go to Nashville to get a record deal, so you shouldn’t be able to get one in Southern Gospel!
Erm, ok. Strip away the ax-grinding (did Peace get burned by an AM station once or what?) and the overheated rhetoric of disillusionment here, and he has a decent point about the erosion of artistic standards and ability. But it’s stuff that’s all been said before and more eloquently, persuasively, and less shrilly elsewhere. Perhaps Peace missed these discussions whilst he was obsessively monitoring those 200 AM stations that nobody listens to (except for him?).
So minus the bluster and bombast what’s left? It seems pretty clear that something painful and difficult pushed Peace from the road originally. He seemed genuinely torn at the time anyway, if he did perhaps overindulge his inner pontificator (and yes, I know whereof I speak here). But it’s forgivable, if only because it’s understandable for someone in Peace’s situation then to try to make the best of a bad situation by spinning a potentially embarrassing departure into a PR occasion to strike a pose of wisdom and plain-spokenness born of whatever trial or struggle forced him off the road.
And then lo! a chance to get back on the road. In the Singing News, Peace says of his joining the Old Paths:
I am excited about this decision, and after spending some time with them on stage, I know that they are real about their convictions and seeing lost souls saved. Their touring schedule allows me to continue my education, and to keep a full schedule here in the studio. But most important, they are only a short drive from my home, which allows me to have the best of both worlds…my family, and my love for Gospel music.
Translation: Erm, all that stuff about imploding? Yeah, maybe not so much.
I’m not sure this makes him a hypocrite or any of the other brands of fraud that Peters seems to be trying to make him out to be with his barbs (evidently Chuck took Peace’s bit about scrambling for crumbs of news personally, and thus shows us another patch of his ever thinning skin). But unfortunately Peace does look a little foolish in hindsight dispensing lectures about singing ability. Because “lets [sic] be honest here,” Peace surrendered the high ground of music criticism when he decided to take his place in the long gospel tradition of KM tenors screaming and cat-calling for Christ with Ray Dean and the Boys. And now he’s joined up with a group that – were you to do the old music-school needle-drop randomly on one their records – might easily be mistaken for one of the “mom and pop groups that can cut a record at joe blow studio.” So yeah, Peace might want to see if any of those AM stations has a cooking show or recipe hour with Sister Shoemaker that might offer suggestions about how best to prepare and serve himself some crow.
But no matter. Peace may well be at a place a lot of young guys end up when they “make it” (or so they think) into what they thought was a BIG group: their expectations get shattered. They leave the road, stay home for a bit, and then get back on a bus with a lesser group and justify it by convincing themselves that this new place is truly all about God and the ministry and saving souls. And so the implosion continues, one self-embattled singer at a time.
Update: A response from Jeremy Peace here.Email this Post