Open Thread

Sorry to have left you hanging so long with that airplanes post (for the record, I don’t really care how the Pfeifers get from point A to point B, but making the purchase of a plane a ministerial priority strikes me as way too Oral Robertsy). I meant to follow up sooner and got waylaid by … stuff.

I still don’t have time for anything of much substance, but feel free to talk amongst yourselves. Charlotte Ritchie has a new single out. Yay. Has anyone heard it? Is it any good? I heard the Mystery Men have disbanded experienced a period of intense upheaval in the group (including personnell changes, which seems to be the subtext of Ed Crawford’s comments on loyalty here … or not, hard to tell) and left one church where they performed in an uproar, according to a few accounts I’ve received from people involved (and I guarantee if I were to tell you why, the gossip-police would swoop in, scripture quotin’ and tongues tsk-tskin’ … isn’t it interesting how stuff that people don’t want to hear is often called gossip and innuendo?). Everybody gets to win something again (sometimes more than once) now that the SN fan awards have reinstated a bunch of old categories (too bad). And as a parting thought: Don’t you think the Martins would have a decent shot at being signed by Canaan … if they can get (and keep) their act together?

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  1. RT wrote:

    It’s great for taxes. Pfeifer, Go For IT.

  2. Candid Shots wrote:

    The new single by Charlotte Ritchie is being promoted and handled by none other than Rick Hendrix. Wonder if she will be up for Song of the Year at GMA this year? With RH behind her, I am certain that she will. Has anyone heard when we find out just who has been nominated for a Dove? Will it be as exciting as last year? Rigged again, maybe?

  3. Aaron Swain wrote:

    The Mystery Men disbanded, eh? What a shame…

    Now, as to the Martins question, I think so. But, like you said, it’s a matter of solidifying their act. Wouldn’t mind seeing them get signed, but it would be a waste if they called it quits again.

  4. jb wrote:

    Glad to hear that Charlotte has a cd out. I’ve always thought she was better than just a back up singer. I for one am happy about the fan awards. As far as the Martins, when they first started, I was a fan. With the things that have happened, I have a hard time jumping back on the fan wagon. I am glad Joyce has found the Lord, at least that is what a previous post had said.

  5. Ed Crawford wrote:

    Just for the record as this blog seems to indicate. I agree this should be a persons opinion and nothing more. We never know all the facts and we merely (and in some cases barely ), are able to intelligently articulate our own opinion much less interperate what someone else thinks. Having said that let me clear one point. N ot hearsay or opinion but fact as of today. The Mystery Men have not disbanded or quit or even contemplating it. They are very much going strong with a great start on 2008. This year was a transitional year with new personel. But rest assured they have not disbanded if it were true I would stop spending money, paying salaries, or even reading articles like this. Going forward as I said in the beginning we are intitled to our opinion but shouldn’t we at least attempt to make it truth.
    I welcome comment. Ed Crawford

  6. Ed Crawford wrote:

    On another note, why is it in our business that loyalty and/or respect are not something that seems to be prevelent in our business. I have been in this business a long time and it seems that more today than ever before singers go from group to group, groups let personnel go, record companies dictate what must happen to different singers and it just seems strange that no one cares about loyalty.

    I understand that people make mistakes and our business is without reproach, (yea right), occasionally a group may need to make a change for the image but for the most part it seems change takes place because one person wants a dollar more than they are making with no consideration for what has been done for them, monies spent on them, and etc. What happened to I just want to sing with this group because we like each other and we want to make a living at it. Not just a hand out but work for the boss (whoever that may be), do all necessary to help this oppurtunity become all it can be instead of standing there waiting for a handout just for singing. I am grateful that I have a bunch of guys now that understand that it is difficult to make it all happen and are willing to put forth the effort to help. Maybe others should take a hint.

  7. Jennifer wrote:

    Is Charlotte going to do solo work now that they are leaving Jeff and Sheri?

    Was there a post or article somewhere about Joyce Martin finding the Lord???? I am confused…

    I see where Troy Peach joined the Perrys. Is Katy going anywhere? She is SOOOOO talented.

  8. Karen Young wrote:

    RE: The “rumor” that The Mystery Men have disbanded. I have been the Booking Agent for Ed Crawford & The Mystery Men for over two years and I can assure you that THEY ARE NOT DISBANDING!!! As a matter of fact, 2008 is gearing up to be one of our most successful years ever. Granted, there have been several personnel changes within the last year and much to the chagrin of our critics, these changes have been without scandal, rather the changes have been business decisions or for personal reasons on the part of the departing quartet member.

    It is quite disheartening that in the SG world so much time is wasted being critical of the people who are genuinely trying to promote and propagate the Gospel. Rather than spending our time trying to get the “scoop” or fueling the rumormill, why don’t we try working together towards the common goal of reaching the lost and encouraging the believers? Or at the very least, check the validity of the rumor before portraying it as truth. Karen Young, Galaxy Christian Entertainment - (615) 758-9003

  9. thom wrote:

    Jenn - if you will search this site you will find discussion threads and comments that will answer all of your questions.

    Let’s Catch up, girl! (joke) =)

  10. sockpuppet wrote:

    I’m pretty sure that the comment (on one of the threads here) about Joyce finding the Lord was meant as a slam about some of her choices in the past. Rather than cheering for her and encouraging her today, some would rather put her down for what God has already forgotten.
    I am happy for Charlotte Ritchie and her new single, but the comment that she has “landed on her feet” tied in with Hendrix promoting the single reminded me of an old joke about the guy who was allowed to choose his punishment in hell. I vaguely remember the punchline as a demon coming in and saying “OK folks, coffee break is over, get back to standing on your heads”

  11. Karen Young wrote:

    After reading your “modified” comment regarding The Mystery Men, I would love to know which church was left “in an uproar” after the guys performed. I’m certainly not aware of any who meet this description, rather, I can provide you with the names & numbers of the churches who have called me to reschedule the guys because their folks enjoyed The Mystery Men as much or more than any other group that has been with them.

  12. Ed Crawford wrote:

    let’s get it right! no upheaval, no one mad, all is well. Personnel changes yes. Show me onewho has not. If this were about the Kingsmen (which it is not) they have had much change but no word of upheaval or disbanding. I realize this article is about provoking conversation as did the banter between George Younce and JD Sumner did years ago but all knew I believe it was in jest. They were established people that could get away with such nonsense but let’s not make it harder for those who might be trying to do a great thing. Again I respect anothers opinion but lets try at least to keep it honest. Lets not make it look like something it is not.

  13. Revpaul wrote:

    I also notice that Joyce Martin’s current husband, Paul Sanders, is no longer with the Blackwood Gospel Quartet and Josh Garner has been added to the lineup.

  14. Grave Digger wrote:

    Revpaul, you’re a few weeks behind. Josh isn’t there any longer. Current group is Derrick Boyd, Mark Blackwood, Brad Smith, and Burman Porter.

  15. CVH wrote:

    Random thoughts…

    I’m not as ‘in the loop’ as some on this blog but for all the blather about The Mystery Men, I’d never heard of them until this post. But congrats on your (continued) success….I guess…

    Charlotte’s most recent record (prior to the new one) was a fairly strong crossover to Inspo radio formats, which is probably where her most receptive market will be found as she develops her solo career. And yes, it’s about time; she’s one of the most underrated talents in the business. Haven’t heard the new one yet but let’s just hope that her future career is carefully managed so she doesn’t marginalize herself with bad songs or tacky sounding production. Not that she has in the past but having a great voice to work with is no guarantee that everything else around it will be just as stellar. It takes focus, planning, a lot of hard work and critical choices, the latter not that common in the world of southern gospel music. I wish her the best.

    Again, I’m not up on whatever the actual meaning is behind the comments that ‘Joyce Martin has found the Lord’. Regardless, ‘finding the Lord’ or ‘knowing the Lord’ hasn’t always been a prerequisite for being part of a Christian group (SG or any other flavor). Didn’t Jim Murray sing with The Imperials for years before he really had a significant spiritual encounter?

    Regarding Ed Crawford’s comments lamenting the loss of loyalty, I agree, but it’s a reflection of the transitory, self-oriented nature of our culture. In a perfect world, values like loyalty would come into play more often. But in our (increasingly) fallen world, the self, in whatever form that manifests itself - a record company’s practices, a performer’s insecure and narcissistic nature, the “please me if you dare” attitude so many fans have these days - is predominent. Gospel music is not immune.

    The bottom line is, this is a business. Yes, it’s ABOUT the gospel but it isn’t THE gospel. It’s not perfect but it’s all we have. And being a relatively small fishbowl, it’s not uncommon for there to be gossip, sniping, innuendo and who knows what else.

  16. antipathy wrote:

    OK. Open thread. Let’s try a new subject. What happened to a real, FULL, band in Southern Gospel??? The performance fee from the groups didn’t go down when they got rid of their bands and started doing gospel Karaoke. Give me a break. We want to see live music, and adding a piano player or drummer here or there doesn’t count. I want to see a real piano player, bass, electric guitar, drummer, utility player doing steel or fiddle or both. That is one of the things that made the Crabb Family great to see. They weren’t doing gospel Karaoke. Step it up guys!!! Most of the times the church you’re playing in has a better band than the professionals you claim to be! Follow the Crabb Family/Revival/Jason example.

    “Oh, I want to do a reprise, let me rewind the CD!”

  17. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Good job, Poster #12.
    If that really happen, the host of this blog would have to find something else to do in his spare time.

  18. Tim wrote:

    Look for Canaan to announce another group soon.

  19. GB wrote:

    #17, but then what would all of you do in your spare time if he did?

  20. wackythinker wrote:

    antipathy #16 — I think this subject has been hashed and rehashed to death. It IS about the economics, even if the artists’ fees haven’t gone down. Gas prices, rent, etc, haven’t gone down, either.

    And don’t think the Crabb Family didn’t use tracks. They did/do. They just augment with live band, same as the quartets who augment with a piano.

    Why can’t we enjoy what we get, even if it isn’t what we want?

    HMMMMMM Sounds like life, doesn’t it?

  21. CDB wrote:

    #16: Yes, the Crabb’s traveled with a full band and yes it was great. But they were also singing with tracks and stacks at times. I never could understand why because in my opinion they didn’t need the extra help, but the fact remains they used them and evidently some did not even notice. You want a full band with no tracks? Check out the Isaacs!

  22. Practical Fellow wrote:

    re: #9, et al.

    There has been no official announcement or press release connected to this blog (to my knowledge) about Joyce Martin and a recent conversion experience. A few posters shared this information (Jay, for one), but it has not been substantiated.

  23. ACL wrote:

    Antipathy #16

    Please send a $25K to each pro group you know. They will field a band for a few months just for you! Make that weeks…..maybe make that days!

  24. Been to Philpot KY wrote:

    “CDB wrote:

    #16: Yes, the Crabb’s traveled with a full band and yes it was great. But they were also singing with tracks and stacks at times. I never could understand why because in my opinion they didn’t need the extra help”

    Here’s a clue: Stacks sing on key!

  25. Madison E. wrote:

    Charlotte’s new single/album is fantastic! We were all actually looking at possible covers for the cd last night, they’re all beautiful! The new album has, I believe, a perfect blend of SG and contemporary. I think everyone will really enjoy it.


  26. Ben Harris wrote:

    Well Doug, it keeps getting more strange by the minute. Like the old song “Strangers in the night, weirder in the day time…..” Well something like that anyway.

  27. KermitTheHermit wrote:

    I have never seen some much uproar about a group so few like/respect. The MMQ can have chicken for dinner or come off the road… Neither event is all that important or something I really want to discuss. But, I am astonished that Avery would even include something about them. However, this is HIS blog. He can post what he likes. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Bah Humbug.

    The amount of left-field (or should it be extreme right-field?) comments that this blog generates still amazes me. So many people comment about how this blog promotes gossip and all those who view/participate therein will be subject do a wrathful God. They seem to think that their statement will change the day-to-day subject matter of the MOST POPULAR WEBSITE IN SOUTHERN GOSPEL MUSIC. (my apologies to the Unthanks)

    On a lighter note, I love the Joyce Martin and her high-school-aged-hubby Paul comments. Did anyone else here that the two of them were booking dates as a duet? …or am I getting my information from the Day Old News and Behind the Times?

  28. antipathy wrote:

    I have seen the crabb family several times in concert and supplemental tracks were not used. There may have been occasions where certain players in their band may have not been available so they used supplemental tracks, but the five times I have seen them live they had a full band and no tracks were used. I just miss the good ole days when you had the Midsouth Boys and Karen Peck and New River with real bands that were amazing. I guess it is better in the long run. The guys who were playing in those bands have moved on to the genre SG wants to be when it grows up and they’re making four times more than they did in SG.

  29. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    Madison, thanks for your comments–it’s always nice to see one artist speaking highly of another.

  30. ST wrote:

    Concerning the Crabbs live band. The correct answer is that there were times in their career they used all live band and times they used filler tracks with live band.

    Back in the days “Rabbit” Easter played steel for them it was all live band. I asked him and he said so. I think he said they had one song they played with a track that provided the strings and horns - but only one back then.

    A few years later I went and heard them, and it was obvious they were using supplemental tracks. This was after Gerald and Kathy came off the road.

    The reason it was so obvious was the drummer had a 360 Instant Player sitting next to him. Second, when they did the song “You Let the Light Back In” there is a fiddle break that’s awesome. Well, the same fiddle break came in right on cue when they were live - yet, no fiddle player on stage.

    Here’s my take as to why there was a transition. Musician changes is the big reason. “Rabbit” taking fills on the steel, dobro, and banjo left a hole when he left. I know they did it before he came along, but they got used to it. Gerald left, and there went a solid rhythm player who would switch out and play bass when necessary. Third, Jason got more popular as a singer, and it was obvious that he did not want to play lead guitar and sing at the same time - not unless he was singing harmony on choruses. When he took lead on big songs, he did not play and they had plenty of utility players to fill the void in the early days.

    Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, Jason would only sing 3 or 4 lead songs without playing. Many times I remember Gerald announced that Jason could not sing as many on a particular night because he had no voice. So he stood back and simply played along on his lead guitar.

    Also, you must remember when Gerald left, Jason had to take up the emcee part of the program. This really made it where he could not play as much - he had to be the front man. Therefore, they later hired a lead guitar player.

    On top of that, Aarron and Adam spent less time on bass and harmonica to come up front and sell the songs. I think they wanted to be up front the whole set instead of in the background most of the night except on a song or two.

    So when you got big song productions on your albums with only piano, bass, drums, lead guitar on stage, they felt they need the tracks to fill in the holes. Plus, I think musicians get tired of the same basic sound on every song for 4 nights a week. When the tracks brought in the extra instruments there was a freshness to them in the sound plus it freed them up to do more on stage. Most people in the audience don’t notice the difference in sound or “live vs partial can” nor do they even care; but, when you are the group travelling with it every night, it can get important and in a rut.

  31. Leebob wrote:

    I have often found it interesting in one’s desire to propogte the gospel that a “known name” must be at the front of the group. Perhaps it is so the group can get established and develop a name for itself and then the “known name” will be dropped at a later time (i.e. Poet Voices dropped the Phil Cross name over time). With the exception of family groups (i.e. Easter’s, Hopper’s, Perry’s), it would be nice if groups actually had a name that exemplified what they were about rather than place a “name” in the front.

  32. Practical Fellow wrote:

    re: Kermit the Hermit

    I hate to comment on your post because it draws attention to it, so please understand that I’m going against my better judgment here…

    I don’t appreciate your flippant attitude and remarks. If you don’t have something appropriate to contribute - spew elsewhere.

  33. Jim T wrote:

    Regardless of economics or anything else I completely agree with Antipathy. What we have now is nothing more than karaoke and I for one don’t support it anymore. I have cancelled my NQC tickets after ten years of not missing, and I can’t tell you the last time I shelled out money to listen to recorded music in a live “concert.”

    It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg thing. Have crowds being smaller caused groups to let their bands go, or are crowds smaller because groups let their bands go?

    It wasn’t that many years ago the Cathedrals were filling venues with no band and no stacks; just great singing. I believe they would still be filling venues. That is what people want but no group I know of, with the exception of the Isaacs, provides it. Then they wonder why people don’t want to pay to hear them.

  34. DD wrote:

    We can all moan and complain about the state of SG music, but in reality it comes down to the fans. People who expect a group to show for “love offering” (and there is little love in it), but this same schmo will crab and complain when he doesn’t get his annual 3-4% raise at the five and ten where he works. Come on, simple economics have made this the kareoke industry that it is. You can call it ministry (it is), but the production level is no higher than kareoke at the local watering hole. The fans who will pay $40-80 to see Kenny Chesney or Hannah Montana but expect the Perry’s, Greater Vision or the Kingsmen to sing for a love offering are the reason for the state that it is in. Period. Give me Jesus, but make him cheap so I can still afford to get my groove on at the club later. (Tongue firmly planted in cheek)

  35. Jay wrote:

    I made the original comment about Joyce Martin’s recent conversion. Someone had told me that it happened at a recent revival where Jamey Ragel was ministering in the Nashville area. (I think it was at The Perry’s new home church in the Nashville.) I assure you that I meant nothing negative. If she was lost, and felt condemned, and repented, that is AWESOME– another soul won from the clutch of the enemy!
    I apologize if anyone took that post in any other tone than it was meant.

  36. antipathy wrote:

    You’re right on DD. Sixty dollars for a Keith Urban ticket, but only gives five bucks in the ‘love’ offering at a concert at church.

  37. Trent wrote:

    Back to the live music thing. We had massive amounts of posters on here a few months ago pitching for a live music night at NQC. But alas, apparently, NQC is not interested in this. One reason could be that not enough artists are willing to throw the canned stuff out the window for one night and do it real. I think some of them would like to do it, but it would strike fear in some of the other groups who tend to be pitchier without studio-tuned stacks backing their vocals each night. I believe a well-advertised “NQC Unplugged” night would practically sell the place out. If the promotion for it was done well, an all-live night would be a tremendous breath of fresh air for the convention with a nice turnout.

  38. adam wrote:

    I think most artist don’t want to go without their wicked heavy stacks…. so no live music, unless they can have a combination.

  39. Revpaul wrote:

    Now this Keith Urban (a country singer I presume), I doubt that he and his backup singers stand at microphones on an empty stage, singing to their tracks, for that $60 ticket.

    Why can’t SG have special lighting, special effects, live musicians, a couple of well-known guest performers, and some excitement on stage? Oh, I forgot, that would make it “entertainment” instead of ministry I guess.

    I’d love to go to a good, wholesome Christian “show” on a Saturday evening. It might get me wound up enough to really enjoy the worship and “ministry” on Sunday morning.

    But that’s just me.

  40. sockpuppet wrote:

    Jay #35,
    Thanks for clearing that up. I (harshly)misjudged you and I apologize.

  41. antipathy wrote:

    SG could really take a lesson from the likes of Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, etc. They can have the lights and production that competes with modern secular music, but still make time in every concert to truly worship. Without doing something I’m afraid SG is a dying genre, especially the Quartet aspect of it. How many young people do you see at NQC that weren’t forced to come with their parents or grandparents? It really needs to modernize it’s sound. it has become so predictable and ‘hokey pokey’ sounding. Nothing that appeals to a younger audience. In twenty years it will be gone if something isn’t done.

  42. jb wrote:

    So what you are saying is, the “live band” is what ministers to you??? That is sad, because for me, it is the words the singers are singing and their testimonies that minister to me. I don’t care if it’s live band or that so called “canned music”. I wouldn’t be singing if it wasn’t for the “kareoke”, but, we are just that part-time regional group.

  43. wackythinker wrote:

    Folks, don’t ever think the major country artists and CCM artists don’t use tracks in their concerts, too. Where do you think sg learned it? It happens in nearly every genre (with possible exceptions of the really hard rock stuff, and some classical). I’ve been seeing it for nearly 40 years, but most folks haven’t been paying attention until more recently.

    Sure, I miss the live bands, same as most of you, but I also miss nickel candy bars and 25-cent gas. McDonalds used to advertise 15-cent hamburgers, too. Are going to refuse to eat fast food next? I doubt it.

    Revpaul: you want a good gospel show on Saturday night, with lights and stuff? Special guests? Go see Gaither. But you’ll still get stacks & stuff.

    Antipathy: $5.00 in the offering? That’s more generous than most. I’ve seen MANY situations where love offerings average less than $2.00 per person. Often less than one dollar.

    It’s purely economics. You want a better show? Pay for it!

  44. cynical one wrote:

    Here’s an idea: If you see a group, and you don’t enjoy their presentation (tracks, live, combo, whatever), don’t go see them anymore.

    But don’t lump them all into the “bad karaoke” category. Some of that karaoke is pretty good stuff. Some of what is considered “bad karaoke” would be just as bad (or worse) with live band. So, maybe it’s not the track, but the singer.

    WHAT???? There are bad singers in sg? And some of them use tracks? WHOA!!! I’d never thought of that before!

  45. antipathy wrote:

    I realize that bands in all genres use tracks to some extent. It is necessary to some extent regarding drum loops and sequenced sounds. I don’t mind when a live band is using them to augment what is already there. What I do mind is when you go to see a “professional” group who uses nothing but tracks. It is glorified Karaoke. They can’t write their own songs, they can’t play their own instruments, they don’t have a band. To me it is not much different than just listening to a CD.

  46. Robin wrote:

    News Flash!! There is a relatively new but little-known group on the scene called The Leavells that has a full band. Yes, three front-line, hard-hitting vocals (ala Happy Goodmans) with piano, bass, drums, and occassionally lead guitar. The newest main vocal is also capable of playing several instruments…guitar, mandolin, bass, etc. Another vocal can also play piano. The pianist also puts a vocal in now and then. Now there’s versatility for you! Check them out:

  47. Revpaul wrote:

    Robin, #46.
    YES! I’ve had them Lavells at my church recently and they flat out rocked! Great band, great sound, and if ya like that Happy Goodman style, they’ve got it going.

    As long as they keep the live band, they’re welcome any time! Can’t wait to hear that “newest main vocal”.

  48. antipathy wrote:

    So the hottest new group out there with a full band sounds like the Happy Goodmans? Wow! Where can I buy a ticket? And we wonder why SG can’t compete with secular music on any level, we wonder why its audience is diminishing, why there are no young people in the audience and why the groups can’t charge enough to even pay for gas. The Happy Goodmans were founded in the 40’s. That’s almost 70 years ago folks. That would be like the newest country artist coming out of the gate with songs that sounded like Roy Acuff, Gene Autry or Ernest Tubb. That may appeal to some in assisted living facilities but it’s not going to speak to anyone without gray hair.

  49. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #48: I think by “sounding like the Happy Goodmans”, they meant they had a vocal style similar to theirs. Maybe they have updated the musical style to sound more like “modern SG.” If that’s the case, then I’ll be sure to be on the lookout for some great things.
    Shame that they don’t have any music clips on their site yet…

  50. Robin wrote:

    I beg to differ with you, Antipathy, but the 70 year old sound you’re dissing is actually going over very well. People tell this group everywhere they go how good it is to hear the classic sound again as opposed to the new stuff. The group has several young fans to be no more widely known than they are. And no one ever said this group is the hottest group out there. Just that there is a new group with a full live band. Anyway, who decided that SG must compete with secular on any level? Does that mean we need to conduct all of our business on a secular level? I certainly hope not. Personally, I have no desire to sound, look, or do business on a secular level. How many secular artists seek God’s guidance in their business decisions? For that matter, how many secular artists have God’s blessing on their business? I’ll go out on a limb and guess, very few. Maybe if SG artists tried sounding like SG and country artists tried sounding like country instead of rock or pop there wouldn’t be so many dissatisfied listeners. If you want to hear secular music, go listen to secular. If it’s SG you really want, then listen to the real thing done well. I don’t see the point in trying to fix something that wasn’t broken to begin with. But that is just my opinion. What is that old saying? Everything old is new again…?? Someone else said it better…”To everything there is a season..” and eventually, that season rolls around again.

  51. antipathy wrote:

    Sorry Robin. I wouldn’t have even started my initial response if I realized you were Robin Leavell from the band you are building up here and not just a fan of the band. I can see why you would take it personally. If you like old time music more power to you.

  52. Practical Fellow wrote:

    Robin (#50) - I’m not completely disagreeing with you, per se… but may I be rude and ask your age bracket (I am 33)? What age range do you consider the young people to be who are following this new group? I think Antipathy has some valid points, but I’d be interested in further clarification of your views. How are they like the Goodmans and how are they relevant to the SG of today? I’m not patronizing - I’m really curious.

    I don’t think it’s sinful or worldly to want SG to progress at a rate that is parallel to the progression of culture in our country. I think I understand your argument about remaining firm and steady in the good stuff that worked in the old days, but I don’t believe that is enough for this new generation who is seeing technology and knowledge/information advance rapidly. If SG is going to connect with another generation beyond the baby boomers, it’s going to have to connect with them by speaking their language and in terms and ways they understand. Sounding like a revival of an act from mid-1900’s may not be enough.

    Side note: I don’t know anything about this group other than what has been posted here. I’m simply trying to have a dialog re: the subject matter. I’m sure the group is talented and sincere enough.

  53. Cabell wrote:

    At the last Gaither event i attended, I was seated to the right of the stage behind the “guest choir”. I was behind the house speakers (due to the stage at one end instead of being in the round) and all i could hear was a monitor that was sitting on the stage. This monitor carried the trax, no vocals. So, the only time you could actually hear vocals was when the stacks would come on. I was amazed to hear the amount of stacks used by almost everyone. Gordon Mote and the Isaacs being the notable exceptions. EHSS was the worst. Every word of every song was stacked. I was ridiculous.

  54. Robin wrote:

    To #51: First let me clear up a couple of things. Yes, I am Robin Leavell of the Leavells. My initial post was not intended to “build up” the group as you say, but merely to state a fact: “There is a relatively new but little-known group on the scene called The Leavells that has a full band.” You asked, “What happened to a real, FULL, band in Southern Gospel???” and I responded. That’s what we have. Piano, bass, drums, lead guitar, and the ability to add auxiliary instruments when needed. Plus three strong main vocals and a back-up vocal. Its not so much that I took what you said personally, I just think you are wrong and apparently you just like finding fault with whatever, no matter what it is. We don’t want to be just another blue-jeans, shirt-tails, and scraggly-haired, teeny-bopper group trying to sound and look like secular music. We strive to be a classy, solid, quality group that represents Jesus Christ and southern gospel music with dignity. We want to present and conduct ourselves in a way that pastors and promoters don’t have to wonder what they’re getting. We don’t want to fit in, we’ve been set apart!

    To #52: I am 43, not hardly the geezer you might expect. We have kids as young as 10-12 up through their 20s and 30s who come to our concerts and tell us they enjoy what we do. And no, they aren’t our family members. (Note: I never said they tell us how GOOD we are. That is not the point.) But young people do enjoy the style of music we sing because it is real, the message is clear, and it is delivered with sincerity, passion, professionalism and respect. We are often compared to the Happy Goodmans by pastors, promoters, and concert-goers. Whether this is because of our appearance (go look at the pics on our website and you will understand) or because of the way we sing, or what we sing (yes, we do several Goodmans cover songs), I don’t know. But I can tell you that we sing hard, with joy, passion, and conviction much like the Happy Goodmans did. We have yet to pull up to a church or venue and be asked, “where is your lighting system and your fog machine?” We don’t need it. How many lives are really changed because of lighting, multi-media shows, and special effects? Its about the message not the method of delivery. If other artists are touching lives WITH it, then that’s terrific! But there are artists who are reaching people WITHOUT it. Could our group rise to the top of the charts or fill ten-thousand-seat auditoriums on our own merit? That remains to be seen. Are we entertaining? We’ve been told we are and we hope so. Are we ministering to broken lives and lost souls? You better believe it! Through the power of the Holy Spirit and a few moldy-oldie, out of style southern gospel songs that “nobody likes.. but the people.”

  55. antipathy wrote:

    Well Robin, #54 is the reason I stated that I wouldn’t have even posted #48 if I realized you were part of the group. You definitely do take it personally. But since you are continuing the thread, I’ll respond to some of your defenses.

    1. “We don’t want to be just another blue-jeans, shirt-tails, and scraggly-haired, teeny-bopper group trying to sound and look like secular music. We strive to be a classy, solid, quality group that represents Jesus Christ and southern gospel music with dignity”

    So, now we are going down the SG dress code road? Any group that is not wearing matching suits is not representing JC and SG with dignity? They are “blue-jeans, shirt-tails, and scraggly-haired, teeny-bopper groups”? Wow. I had hoped that the inner work outward appearance judgmental attitudes had subsided. I’m pretty sure Jesus wore a robe and sandals just like everyone else in his day. It’s what’s on the inside that’s different. God forbid a young group to be “in style”. Lord, that’s just worldly!!! The problem is, “worldly” is 100% subjective. The 3 piece matching suit quartets look like some “worldly” corporate salesmen I know who are devils. So who is deciding the definition of the term here? That’s why that argument is invalid. Jesus had long hair and a beard. He would have been termed “worldly” by the standards of most in the SG circles. If a pastor of a church questions a bands heart by a mere glimpse of what their wearing when they pull up to a church, he doesn’t need to be a pastor!

    2. “Could our group rise to the top of the charts or fill ten-thousand-seat auditoriums on our own merit? That remains to be seen. ” Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no single SG group filling ten-thousand-seat auditoriums. Look at NQC attendance dropping. And they have every SG group with a label performing under that roof yet attendance continues to drop. And unless they change their sound to keep up with the competition there never will be any one group filling 10,000 seats.

    3. You are correct on one thing. It is about the message. That’s a fact. However, the method of delivery determines whether your message reaches a few or a few thousand. You’re not still calling a long distance switchboard operator to make a call are you? You have a cell phone right? How many snail mail letters do you send compared to emails? Method of delivery definitely determines the number of people reached with your message.

    4. “apparently you just like finding fault with whatever, no matter what it is.” I find fault in that statement. :)
    That is incorrect. I love The Crabb Family, Austins Bridge, The Isaacs and some of the Gaither stuff. But they are some of those “blue-jeans, shirt-tails, and scraggly-haired” groups. Just plain “worldly”. Check something out. Visit the Crabb Revivals website. Look at the number of lives that are being dedicated to the Lord. Their style of music and ministry is reaching the LOST. It’s probably not ministering to the “Happy Goodman” lovers who want a feel good blast from the past to reminisce about the “good ole days”. Who needs ministry the most? The LOST. The older style music doesn’t minister to the LOST as effectively. Same message, but the antiquated musical style and the synchronized hand movements, turn them off. They leave without even giving a chance for the message to be heard. I have seen it happen too many times to deny it.

  56. cynical one wrote:

    WOW!!! Let’s get out the boxing gloves. It appears to be a grudge match.

  57. cdguy wrote: reports Charlotte Ritchie’s new cd has been released, but I can’t find it. Anyone know anything about whether it’s available at retail?

  58. Montana Man wrote:

    When it came out that Robin was part of the Leavell group touted by Robin, I felt a little hoodwinked… the first posting was written in the THIRD person, as if observing, and then we get the FIRST person, that’s my group. Not very straight forward in my opinion. Which probably is worth what you paid for it, even if via “love” offering!

  59. Madison E. wrote:

    57- Char’s new single has been released but not the album. We don’t even have the album to sell on our table yet and we normally get it a few weeks prior to the official release. If I’m not mistaken the “official” date is around Feb. 15.


  60. doug wrote:

    I know this seems crazy, but did I see scott fowler last night on fox news at the state of the union speach?

  61. Gary wrote:

    I really enjoy the music by the Quartet. I used to have the Karoke song, “Jesus is coming for me” but my wife accedintally threw it away. I can not find it anywhere.
    Can anybody help me get this again. I will Pay for it
    please respond to my e-mail address

  62. Gary wrote:

    Looking for the Karoke song, “Jesus is coming for me”

    Mine was thrown away by accedient.
    I will pay for it if someone can help me get it again.
    Please respond to my e-mail address

  63. MichaellaS wrote:

    tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  64. Gary Frye wrote:

    I enjoy the quartet very much as they have blessed my life and other with music. I used to have the karoke song, “Jesus is Coming for me”, however during a move, it got lost. I have looked, everywhere I can think of and can not find it. Can ANYONE help me get it? I will pay whatever cost involved for shipping or whatever!! Please e-mail me if you can help at
    God Bless!!!

  65. D.S. Appointed wrote:

    Many in the Southern Gospel circle started out as a willing servant of the Lord. But somewhere along the way, the passion for a calling to a ministry moved from “serving the Lord” to “serving self”.

    It progressed from a calling to a business. And to support the “business” the spirit takes second place to the “performance”. They begin to add commodities to get bigger and better performances.

    Of course to fund the enterprise, Christians agree to pay to be religiously entertained. The bigger the venue, the bigger the payday. The service becomes a show. It is choreographed, scripted, comedy replaces testimonies, and the performers butcher those precious old gospel songs into screaming tenor voices or growling bass sounds in the microphone.

    Meanwhile, behind the scene, the calling drastically changes. Relationships fall apart. Integrity is compromised. The Christian “ministry” becomes a means for predators and charlatans to feed their “obsession” until it all crumbles into the ashes where it belongs.

    I’ve been told of one person in southern gospel music who boasts of years of ministry, claims to be an ordained minister, and an evangelist. But has been through more than one divorce and rumored to be a womanizer. The person telling me confided that she was openly propositioned by this “gentleman” under the umbrella of singing with him, on the road.

    Yet he has a website that boast of all his accolades, awards, and accomplishments; while asking for donations to continue funding his predator activity. I think this is a travesty!

    I thank God there are real “ministers” who are not “performers”. They go night after night telling folks of God’s love and uplifting the name of Christ. They will never share their accolades nor brag about all “they” have done for the Lord, but rather what God does through them.

    They do not desire the big stage to feed their egos. The don’t have a business. They live humble lives and simply just love the Lord.

    My prayer is that “entertainers” will return to what God called them out to do; simply minister the gospel. And if that calling isn’t lucrative enough, they need to shutdown and get a real job.

    I would love to see a forum where people would feel comfortable blowing the whistle on these charlatans; while at the same time, heap praise those who are truly putting the Lord first.

    There is enough fraud in this world. Why tarnish the name of Christianity by supporting these entertainers. It is time for Christians to defend what they believe to be holy, righteous and acceptable before God.

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