NQC 08

I’ve been traveling through most of the latest NQC developments, which means that much of the time I’ve had one eye on the computer and the other on the roadmap. At any rate, and perhaps needless to say given the boneheadedness of my remarks in the post below on the issue, I hadn’t looked closely at the new line-ups for NQC 08 until just now.

First, I’d note that David Bruce Murray HAS looked closely and has generated copious analysis of the mainstage schedule, complete with a legend and statistical summaries and everything. My reaction won’t be nearly as systematic or thoughtful and will be (shocking news this morning!) much shorter.

In general, the line-ups look much, much stronger for Thursday-Saturday, which (to be perfectly honest) is all I really care about. The only real puzzlers to me are the Pfeifers and the Skyline Boys (which isn’t to say they’re the only groups whose stands will find me doing something outside the main hall). But whatever. There’ll always be Ehrlers.

There are still some dead spots, naturally, but unlike recently, these are mostly isolated on either side by more or less bankable talent (and thank you thank you to whoever decided to put Mark Lowry and LS in the middle of the Saturday night line-up so those of us who are exhausted by that point can hear ML/LS without having to sit through every last other act on the bill). On the whole and purely in the abstract, this all looks quite well done.

I said something like this to a friend of mine in email late last night and she replied, “yeah, as deck-chair shuffling goes, it’s impressive.” Indeed, for those who see NQC as needing a more fundamental re-imagining, this will be probably seem like so many half-measures. The jury is (and will probably stay) out on this one for a while, but in the meantime, I wonder: how much of an effect will these recent changes collectively have on bottom-line ticket sales? I guess the answer depends in part on just how and where NQC is losing most of its customers: are people who used to stay the whole week leaving early? Or are people who used to show up only on weekends staying home entirely? Or both? Or something else? As per usual, I’m actually asking.

Update: David Bruce Murray has some details on showcase ticket pricing for NQC 08. He also has more details about the GVB/EHSSQ arrangement, including Clarke Beasley hinting that GVB’s and EHSSQ’s mainstage appearances won’t last more than 20-25 minutes. I gotta say, this seems like a strange place for an aristocracy like NQC to suddenly discover democracy. DBM is right: for every person who comes to NQC just to hear the Dixie Melody Boys sing forgettable songs with tracks that sound like they’re being spooled off a used cassette tape, there are a bunch more who come to see the proven best-sellers, and in this case, that’s Lowry and Gaither and EHSSQ. Let the clock run.

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  1. Aaron Swain wrote:

    Any word on another Blogger’s Roundtable this year?

  2. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Lowry/LordSong may or may not be in the middle of the lineup on Saturday. Right now, the groups are merely listed in alphabetical order. The actual order of performers hasn’t been revealed at this point…that’s how they get you to buy a program book.

  3. Ben Harris wrote:

    I was about to say that the current listing does not reflect the actual way they will appear on the program. I have mixed emotions about the later in the week programming, both good and bad. I was very disappointed that Gerald Williams and The Melody Boys were not listed any night. Gerald is still one of, if not the best bass in the industry, and he is the very symbol of class. There is not a finer man in SG today than Gerald Williams.

  4. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    With all these groups merging, a merger I’d love to see is Southern Sound plus Gerald Williams. I love his rich, full tone. I know you have an excellent bass singer right now, but if he ever leaves…it would be worth some serious consideration. With you and Trevor holding down the middle and Gerald on the bottom, you’d be the premier traditional quartet in the industry.

  5. joe wrote:

    Yes its shame that the Melody Boys are not on as of yet. I am glad to see Everyday Driven. The guys deserve to be on mainstage just for what they;ve done in their past. Why ARE the Skyline Boys on main stage? They have had very little chart sucess and are a regional group. I heard that the owner bought onto the board so they had to let the on. I agree with giving newer groups a chance but they had one last year…not very impressive. Very much like a local group trying to hard. NQC is the highlight of the year, well it used to be.

  6. skyline singer wrote:

    Ok Joe…so we didn’t impress you. I’m sure you aren’t alone in that opinion but that’s all right. I’ll now try to respond to all of your points. As far as our chart success, we now have had 3 consecutive Top 40 singles. Our last single was voted into the Top 40 Songs Of The Year by the Singing News. And the group has been charting successfully for years, just not in the Top 40. Our owner did not “buy on to the board.” You cannot but onto the Board of Directors you have to be voted on by the other board members. I’m sure that someone who is as informed as you are already knew that, but I will state it here for those less informed people who may be reading this. Our owner has merely invested into the NQC as anyone who has the financial means to do so may do.

    We do not make the decisions as to who is worthy to be on main stage and who is not. It was a great debate when we made it on last year as well. I remember the question was posed “What have the Skyline Boys ever done for gospel music?” I’d like to pose that same question for this years crop of new talent. Joe stated that Everyday Driven deserves to be on because of what they have done in the past. The real question is “What have they done as Everyday Driven?” What songs have they charted? What major venues are they singing on? You can ask the same questions of Tribute, Soul’d Out Quartet and the Hayes Family. Nice people all, but what are their great contributions to gospel music? And don’t give me the line that Channing, Buddy, Gary Casto, etc. have been on there with other groups. In all honesty, that doesn’t matter and should not weigh into the selection process at all. This is very much a “what have you done for me lately” question and the Skyline Boys legitimately belong on the main stage whether anyone agrees with that or not.

  7. Joe wrote:

    I would have to respectfully disagree. The past history of Channing, Gary, Buddy and others does matter. Having a few “hits” on the charts does not entitle one to be on main stage. If so then there are 25 other groups that have as much right if not more than the Skyline boys. I apologize if my term “buying” upset you. Thats just what I was told by another board member at NQC last year. Why is it that they were not on untill that happened? As far as Tribute goes, Gary and Josh sang with the Wilburns and deserve to be on mainstage. Why are groups more deserving left off like the Martins or the Ball Brothers? My question is “yes, what have the Skyline Boys..and others done for Southern Gospel music?” There are several groups that put out over produced cookie cutter music and we all know how gospel radio works. Shoot, I could probably get a song on the charts and I don’t even sing. Im sure the Skyline Boys are all really nice guys but that doesnt mean they should be on mainstage saturday night. Maybe monday to give them a chance. I was there last year, and it just seemed like any other local quartet. Im sure they have their fans just like other groups I dont enjoy… Inspirations, McKameys, Northmen, etc. so it just gives some of us a chance to go to the groups tables or grab a hot dog. I mean no offense, just stating my opinion. Ans since my opinion doesnt come with a vote, they will remain on NQC and I wish them well. Who knows, they might suprise me.

  8. cdguy wrote:

    Individual members’ past contributions to the genre is not supposed to be taken into consideration in selection for main stage appearance at NQC. If I remember correctly, one criteria is that a group must have been touring together under that name for a minimum of 2 years.

    In the not too distant past, The Carolina Boys could not appear until they changed their name back to The Kingsmen. Same with The Stamps, and whatever their name was for a short time after JD passed away (forgive my memory lapse, here). There have been several instances of singers leaving one group to join (or start) another, and they had to wait the obligatory 2 yrs.

    I know some of the groups mentioned have been together longer than that, but some have not.

    I’m not privy to the other criteria used to determine who is invited to the main stage and who isn’t, but this little bit has been talked about openly in the past. It might be interesting to know what process the board (or whoever makes that decision) goes through. I’m sure some of the decisions are made more objectively than others, but it still would be interesting to know what the official guidelines are.

    It may not be any of my business, though.

  9. joe wrote:

    I would agree with that. No matter the history of the members, a group shouldnt be on untill they’ve existed at least two years. Im sure its a very tough job to pick who gets on and who doesnt so Im sure there will be choices that all of us could disagree with. It really doesnt matter one way of the other if certain groups get on or they dont. I know of a few groups who are not on NQC but are drawing more than most all the other groups out there. Being on a concert one night of the year doesnt have the impact it used to. You cant jusdge whether a group has “made it” by NQC anymore. There are several groups on the lineup who are still doing love offering dates and begging for bookings. That would be my measure of sucess. Its all politics. Maybe they should let the fans vote. That would level the playing field. If a group has a following, it would be evident.

  10. HP wrote:

    I think ya’ll’s programs were printed several months ago, seeing as how Everyday Driven is not a group anymore. There will always be question marks for who gets main stage prowess and who doesn’t. I will say Everyday Driven when selected, I think would be a good choice given the individuals backgrounds and the fact there was nothing else on the program, musically, like them.

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