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
-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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