Friday roundup

Some stuff that might be of interest but doesn’t really warrant its own post:

-This time of year is when I get really behind on a lot of things that aren’t absolutely necessary. Which means, among things, I have a growing stack of music I need/want to listen to, including but not limited to the Childress Family, EHSSQ/GVB Together (video and audio discs), GV Everyday People (and their hymns project which I haven’t heard in its entirety yet), Booths Harmony, and Ronnie Booth’s solo cd. I also want/need to listen more closely to the Talleys Stages, Perrys Look no Further and Gold City Revival. Any suggestions on what should move to the top of the stack and, for that matter, what else I should add?

-Speaking of the GVB album … There seems to be a bit of a spat over what, precisely, is the latest Gaither Vocal Band radio single. The following was in Thursday’s SG Show Prep:

In an email labeled: “Urgent Radio Information” record promoter Rick Hendrix says a Gaither Vocal Band single sent to DJs should not be added to stations’ play lists. Rick told SGSP: “A single has surfaced at radio by Gaither Vocal Band.. ‘My Journey to the Sky’ It was our mistake. Please do not add this song. It is not from the new project and is not going to be promoted.”

Hendrix goes on to say that the current GVB single is “Love is Like A River” from the “Together” CD with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. Rick adds: “I apologize for the error.”

And then, this afternoon, this message made the rounds to radio types, from Jeff O’Neal of Heritage Communications:

The new single you received from me [“My Journey to the Sky”] WAS approved by BILL GAITHER to go out. He told me he wanted that song to go out before the new project was done. So just in case you’re getting some other kind story from another promoter.

Presumably this all has something to do with a disagreement about exclusive promotional rights, but still, it seems like the left hand fighting with the right hand to me. Hard to tell, especially with no more understanding of radio promotion than I have. Anyway, it’s still amusing enough to be a decent distraction on a Friday.

-I’ve heard the Ball Brothers, a young and B-side family quartet with a funny name, may have caught the attention of Canaan Records. I’ll be interested to see if a deal actually happens (for that matter, I’ll be interested to see if Canaan is going to announce ANY deals besides their Hoppers arrangement from what seems like long ago). The Balls certainly have the look (think a slightly wholesomer EHSSQ), but if their last project was/is any indication, Canaan may want to hold off for a bit, unless they’re ready to invest heavily in these guys (which they may be … that is, after all, how labels are supposed to operate even if it’s mostly unheard of in southern gospel these days). You can hear a few songs from them on their website home page. “Mercy Said No” is a good example of their strengths (tight harmony, assuming they can pull it off live) and weaknesses (pitch control and breath support issues that create nasality and some thinning out of the sound).

Anyway, it would take some investment to get the Ball Brothers to sound as good as they look. The difference between the two right now doesn’t really matter on a night-to-night basis and won’t for quite some time, since gospel crowds eat up young artists. But in the long run, there’s enough vocal instability there to give a label pause (plus, I guess you’d need to weigh whether the EHSSQ phenomenon is a genuine style that can be piggybacked on with a SSQ lookalike/soundalike group or whether it’s just a fad … which would be a tough call to make). That said, Canaan/Word would be in a position to invest what’s needed. So yeah … we’ll see, I guess.

Update: Just one last item. From longtime reader JG, a youtube clip of what looks like a version of Mercy’s Mark (with Chris West and West’s brother) covering “Midnight Cry.” Whatever else one has to say about it, Josh Feemster pretty much takes over complete ownership of this song, as far as I’m concerned. Ivan Parker might have nostalgia in his favor, but he’s never sang it anywhere near this well. Plus, I think we can officially say that southern gospel has now discovered youtube.


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  1. Brandon Coomer wrote:

    I’m a huge Gold City fan, so I’d say move Revival to the top of the stack. I’d also highly recommend the Perrys’ and the Booth Brothers’ projects.

  2. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    I’d say to move the Perrys’ Look No Further to the top. :)

    By the way, the background on that YouTube video of Midnight Cry is that those four friends (Brent Mitchell, Josh Feemster, Chris West, and Chris’s brother Craig) got together with Garry for a few songs at the one concert Garry performed in the last three months of ‘07.

  3. Revpaul wrote:

    I would also suggest The Imperials “Back to the Roots” album, three cuts especially — “More Than You’ll Ever Know”, “Water Grave” and maybe “No Shortage.”

  4. RF wrote:

    I think the Gold City project may have been the best project of 2007 overall. The Perrys CD has a few good moments on it. Both Booth CDs are wonderful as is the GVB/SSQ colaboration. I might do them in that order.

  5. Matt G. wrote:

    Move the Perry’s to the top of your list, I think this album is much better than “Come Thirsty.”

  6. christy wrote:

    Definitley put the Perrys at the top. The Grip of Grace is awesome. The Holy Hills isn’t bad either. Mike and Kelly Bowling’s new cd is really great too.

  7. Steven wrote:

    Interesting blurb on the Ball brothers…i’m not sure when they became a quartet…maybe a trio with piano playing brother?? I saw them, its been over a year ago, when they went on tour with EHSS…they were just a trio. Any one know how the lineup? I thought they were pretty good…didn’t knock my socks off, but they are starting off much better than alot of groups

  8. CVH wrote:

    I saw the Ball Brothers (with Triumphant) last fall and I agree - there’s quite a bit of work to be done before they rise, assuming they can and want to, to A-level status. I spent some time talking with them and they seem genuine and earnest, and they are talented. But their quasi-a capella style made them come off like lightweight inspo-SG crossovers. No strong lead, nothing distinctive in their performance. Of course I understand they’re still in development but they’d really need more distinctives and energy in their performance if they’re going to win audiences over. The applause was more than polite but not quite enthusiastic.

    I noticed Wayne Haun produced the one and only record they had on the table. I suppose there was a small budget and it was nice that he did it but the best word I can use to describe it is tepid. Sincere no doubt, and technically proficient, but no killer songs, no strong vocal standout performances and some weaknesses that need to be overcome. In fact, in the concert, “Mercy Said No” was their big closer and while it was a journeyman performance it was too understated and polite.

    I have no idea what their future is (for that matter, I have no idea what Canaan’s future is…so far it doesn’t look like Word is doing much with it). The brothers certainly have potential. But they need much stronger material and a more powerful presentation to be truly competitive and break out of the bland middle ground that encompasses so much of Christian/SG music today.

    BTW, the friends who went with my wife and I to the concert had never heard of the group. I barely had, but we were enjoying a little laugh about their last name. I had a sweatshirt made up that I gave him that night that read in bright red letters on a black background: I’M NUTS FOR THE BALL BROTHERS. He put it on as we were leaving and wore it through the auditorium and lobby, past their table, to the quizzical and somewhat astonished looks of many of the concertgoers. I’d say the ‘devil made me do it’ but that would be giving him too much credit.

    PS - got both emails about the GVB single last week. All you can do is shake your head. These guys need a bigger playground.

  9. Tim wrote:

    Canaan could have an announcement coming soon. Stay tuned.

  10. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    #7 - Andrew Ball sings tenor, Daniel Ball sings lead, Stephen ball sings baritone, and Josh used to run sound before they brought him on stage a few months back to start singing a fourth part. It’s not officially bass; they’re still basing their harmonies on a trio structure.

    Doug, it might be worth revisiting your analysis of their music keeping in mind that there’s only three voices on their home page sound clips. (It’s not like they have a very week bass or something like that.)

  11. D.J. wrote:


    I would love to see you review Josh Singletary’s new solo piano project. It would be interesting to hear what you think about it.

    I got the other day, and I love it.

  12. Payton wrote:

    I definitely would NEVER go as far as to say that Josh Feemster has “pretty much taken ownership” of Midnight Cry from Ivan Parker. Ivan will forever be remembered as the first and original singer of that song, regardless of whether you care for his voice or not. While I don’t think Ivan has got the same stuff he used to have years ago, I still never see a day coming where Josh Feemster would be considered a better singer from a technical standpoint, or better on stage in general. I’ve personally always thought that Josh Feemster has always had this back-of-the-throat Pee Wee Herman kind of tone…….Just my opinion…

  13. thom wrote:

    Ivan Parker will always OWN “Midnight Cry.” Like Michael English will always OWN “I Bowed on My Knees and Cried Holy.”

    The Ball Brothers are a great young group that are refreshingly real. Real brothers that have the same great looks and that wonderful tight family harmony that only siblings have. With the right opportunities and management they should be around for a long time.

    If anyone wants to hear them in concert you can hear them in Nashville on March 15th when they open for Ivan Parker at Grace Nazarene. - and YES you will get to hear why Ivan Still OWNS “Midnight Cry.”

  14. thom wrote:

    OH - and to your question about which CD to put at the top of your stack? “Look No Further” by The Perrys first, then “Revival” by Gold City. 2 great projects.

  15. Jennifer wrote:

    I love the Talley Trio, but I am NOT crazy about Stages at all….anyone else have thoughts about it?

  16. Lottie Squires wrote:

    Jennifer #15…

    I love “Stages!” It’s definitely my favorite CD from the Talleys.

  17. CVH wrote:

    OK, off topic again but has anyone heard the latest developments in the lawsuit between between Jason and Armond over the Imperials name? Don’t know if they’re going through with it or not. Too bad on many levels.

  18. Aaron Swain wrote:

    A lawsuit? I thought Armond had given it all to his son? Huh….

  19. Jennifer wrote:

    Lottie- My favorite was Hope for Tomorrow from a few years back- Stages is not a bad CD, just not my favorite from them….but they are an awesome group.

  20. Scott wrote:

    #15 - I have to agree about the Talley’s Stages CD. It is not their best effort. I consider the Talley’s among my top 5 groups, maybe because I usually find their song selection better than most. IMHO Stages is just average for song selection. In any case, I recently saw them and they seemed to struggle with pitch for the first two songs then got it together and the remainder of the concert was terriffic.

    New topic, another of my favorite groups was/is Lordsong. Has anyone seen them with the new lineup? I thought Amber was a perfect compliment to Kim and Mike, so I’m curious to see if they’ve been able to improve on the vocals. BTW, I have been impressed by their song selection as well and hope that doesn’t drop off.

  21. Mac wrote:

    It’s strange to me that Rick Hendrix can still be working in this town. How many aspiring artists/groups have hired him and paid thousands and thousands of dollars and have a signed contract that Rick will promote their songs to radio, submit monthly reports and then have absolutely NOTHING happen. No communication, no reports, no radio activity…nothing. Too many stories out there of people getting burned by him…them handing over thousands of dollars and he does nothing. It’s pretty sad that this goes on in the Christian music industry.

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