Southern gospel and the big tease
Like Mercy’s Mark, Troy and Katie Peach debuted as a vocal team with no little promise a few years back – initially as First Love (with JP Miller) and then, minus Miller, as half of TK&McRae(s). And also like Mercy’s Mark, the slow dissolution of the Peaches’ force and presence (albeit on a smaller scale) over the last few years has been painful to watch but, now that it’s finally come, not that surprising either.
As you may have already seen or heard, the Peaches (that’s funny to write and read) have – according to Chuck Peters’ ShowPrep – split with the McRaes and gone home and have no announced plans to sing (they say they want to stay home and raise their twins, but that makes it sound like they were just gigging it on the sg circuit for fun and don’t really need to, you know, make a living). They only put out one real substantive project (First Love’s debut album) which was notable more for what it suggested might be to come than what it accomplished on its own. So however much the Peaches’ exit may cost the McCraes, who struggle on a good day by themselves much of the time (the Judds they ain’t), this is not a huge loss to gospel music. But Katie Peach’s voice is a wondrous thing of beauty to encounter, which makes it frustrating and sad to see that of all the voices in that mix, the only real bankable talent is the one coming off the road.
We shouldn’t be surprised, I guess. That whole TK&McCrae merger smelled from the first of small-timerism, a union built on a burst of BFF4VR enthusiasm that was sure to burn out sooner, as it happened, than later. Mostly, I suspect, it had to do with what one reader called, in an email to me earlier this week about the group, “the obvious difference in level of talent” between Katie Peach and … well, everyone else in the group. Well said, SG.
Still, telegraphed though this collapse may have been by the illogicality of it all, it’s disappointing all the same to see yet another promising young voice fizzle out before ever really achieving in full the kind of luminosity that has shone through in fleeting bursts of brilliance (go watch the Torch video from NQC a few years back or listen to that First Love album).
This is a chronic problem in sg that I’ve hammered on and on about before: the absence of any infrastructure for artistic development in sg. I’ve brought recording companies and labels in for enough grief in the past, and they deserve it (mainly for thinking that A&R involves telling young talent how unimprovably perfect they already are).
But there’s just as much culpability to lay at the feet of these artists who seem to be more interested in making a big show of talking about how they just “let go and let God” or have given it up to the Lord in prayer or are trusting Jesus to work it all for out his glory or whatever (Garry Jones was “prayerfully weighing” all the “exciting possibilities” for his group even as he spoke from amidst its smoldering ruins), while failing to attend to the foundations of a successful career in professional music.
In the end, the only cliché that comes to mind is that God helps those who help themselves, and in sg there’s a marked poverty of insight and strategic thinking and planning. Far too many people like Mercy’s Mark and “TK” appear to be out there winging it gig to gig, making payroll with rolls of quarter or off high-interest credit card advances or whatever and assuming that as long as they have sufficient desire and a big enough bus mortgage, things will work out. Plah.
For those of us who get all twitterpated by the debut of young talent full of promise (see here and here for Exhibits A and B of yours truly in full swoon over Mercy’s Mark and First Love), we might be forgiven for looking with an evermore jaundiced eye at unproven acts. We’ve just been teased one too many times, alas.
PS: Consider this your space for a Festivus Airing of Grievances about any and all of the Southern Gospel Big Teases that have led you on … and then let you down.Email this Post