MLQ signs with Canaan
My first reaction? After months of nothing,
A prominent label like Canaan with the allegedly deep pockets of a powerful parent (Word) could have signed just about any talent out there in sg – the Martins, Lauren Talley, Jason Crabb (with or without partners), Austin’s Bridge (assuming they could be lured away from the Daywind deadend), even the Ball Brothers seemed to make more sense than the Lefevres (I say allegedly because for all the hype and hope surrounding Canaan’s resurrection, so far it’s been pretty weak tea from them). But to sign a second-tier quartet with no franchisable talent and only one recognizable name?
Then I thought about it a while and asked around a bit and maybe it makes more sense than might at first appear. True, the group hasn’t really produced any music that you immediately and indisputably associate with them (here’s the only clip I could find of them on youtube … rather predictably covering a song from Lefevre’s alma mater, Gold City, and not doing a very good job of it at that).
Still, it’s not nothing that Canaan sees potential in them in the A&R sense of the word, which you don’t see much anymore … someone willing to look beyond the current mediocrity and imagine the group as it could be if someone finds them some good songs, helps define their sound, shine ‘em up a bit, make them lose some weight, and do something about David Staton’s ridiculous haircut (and yes, I’m still assuming that Canaan is/will be A Different Kind of Label and that the up side of all the silence is that they’re taking their time and slowly identifying only those acts they really believe in and want to invest in over time … but you wouldn’t be out of bounds to question my optimism).
If you’re Dave Clark running Canaan and you really want a male quartet you can work with, which I assume any southern gospel label would, then you’re not going to look at known quantities like
What they do have that’s important to a southern gospel label is, first and foremost, Mike LeFevre. Indeed, he’s pretty clearly the most bankable asset for the group. A storied name in gospel music history and a nice guy, LeFevre is the kind of performer people see on stage and like instantly – you’d buy a car from him, or maybe let him babysit your kids (a friend of mine compared him to Steven Curtis-Chapman in this regard). He has that quality. Plus, and this is no small thing, he has not only a name but the
That doesn’t mean I’m still not a little skeptical. Male quartets may be the nostalgic core of southern gospel, but they are not on balance where the best and freshest work is being done these days. In fact, I’d wager to say short of EHSSQ, there isn’t a male quartet on the road today that smart money would bet on increasing its market share in the 3-5 years (assuming GVB can’t go on forever).
Nor does any of this change the fact that Canaan really must sign a Lauren Talley or an Austin’s Bridge if they’re going to be known as more than a label of updated throwbacks (and this reminds me: does anyone know if the Hoppers deal included any of the group’s catalog for re-release?). But despite (and because) some of these reasons, the Lefevre quartet could - if it works out - really help round out the label.
PS: Kyle Boreing follows up an interesting sidebar question that this deal brings up: what’s happening with Song Garden, the label that Staton was/is purportedly running?
Update: David Bruce Murray provides another possible dimension to the discussion of why MLQ? Short version: it’s all about Urias and Eva Mae.Email this Post