GMA Week: Harmony Honors

If Tuesday night’s Southern Gospel Music Guild’s revamped Harmony Honors were, as we were repeatedly told, a showcase and celebration of sg’s best, then it’d be difficult not to wake up this morning thinking southern gospel music is a creatively impoverished genre populated at most levels by overgrow amateurs.

I don’t believe this is true (at least not entirely), but that brings us to another problem: if the raft of performances that, with a few exceptions, ranged from ok to subpar to unspeakably bad does not represent the best of the genre, what are these acts doing on stage at an event that’s supposed to make the case to the wider world of Christian music for the genre’s value and relevance?

To be fair, the concept of last night’s event was not bad. Honoring important contributions to the industry and showcasing top-notch talent in a hybrid awards-show/concert format. It has a lot of potential. But the execution this year? Not so much.

First the good news. The Isaacs played their set like Charlie Daniels wished he could when he sold his soul the devil. It didn’t hurt that theirs was the only performance that didn’t rely on tracks of any kind. But even surrounded mostly by canned mediocrity, the Isaacs still looked and sounded like a million bucks (though really, Lily Isaacs can stop making “Jew from NY” jokes).

And Mike and Kelly Bowling (which refers both to two real people and to a trio comprising said Bowlings and an unnamed third voice) sang with the kind of self-possession and command that almost every other performance lacked. The song – “Your Cries Have Awoken the Master” if I recall rightly – was just right for the room and the event (even though a fierce debate broke out in the group of people I went out with after the concert over whether “awoken” is a word … it is … and whether or not Jesus needs to be awoken or awakened or roused from sleep or whatever by human cries if he was God incarnate … about which I have no clue), and their harmony was tight, controlled, and smartly arranged to play to their strengths and complement their voices together and alone. I want to hear that modulation again.

After that though … well. … here are some of the Disharmony Honors I left the evening wishing I could have doled out.

The “Some Performers Just Have a Bad Night” Honor: Brian Free and Assurance. They performed about 45 minutes into the show and were received quite enthusiastically. But they were a mess musically. I think the response is more of a comment on the rank amateurism of the show up to that point than much else. BFA sang as bad as I’ve ever heard them, but they looked great – like real headliners (even if Brian Free looked creepily like Joel Osteen) – and the audience may have just wanted something to relieve the pall of unprofessionalism that already hung over the room. I know I did.

“The Most Manifestly Absurd Claim” Honor: that the honorees were chosen on the basis of “objective and observed measures” of excellence, including sales, charts, and airplay. This according to the guild president. Some choices were no-brainers: Bill Gaither, EHSSQ, Mark Lowry (none of them bothered to show, and after seeing how unprofessional it all was, I can’t really blame them). But what commonly applied “objective and observed measures” could end up honoring both Lily Knauls and Lari Goss? It’s not that someone like Goss doesn’t deserve to be honored (though there are sg producers out there who, confined strictly to this year, since this is an annual awards show, would appear to have achieved a lot more). And it’s not that the guild can’t honor Knauls if it wants to. But next time, either expose your criteria and use the introductions to specifically explain the factors contributing to each honoree’s selection, or just dispense with the pretense of this being anything more than a laundry list of names chosen for a variety of less than objective reasons.

The “We Can’t Miss You If You Won’t Go Away” Honor: The Crabb Family, sans Jason (hat tip, J). The CF had their 15 minutes, but at this point they’re just mocking their own long goodbye, performing stuff like they did last night that’s beyond the pale of anything remotely like gospel and much closer to … what? I see in my notes I scrawled “bad Santana.”

The “Spread Too Thin” Honor: The Easters. Though they were double-booked across the street at the Ryman at 8 p.m., the first 45 minutes of the Harmony Show (which started at 7) could easily have been The Jeff & Sheri Show: cohosts, presenters, performers, players, singers, accepting by proxy for other groups. They were everywhere. Perhaps being spread too thin accounted for their problems during “Life Is Great.” Young Morgan Easter, who has – I don’t know how else to say this – taken Charlotte Ritchie’s place (at least she’s singing that part) deserves some time to get used to the bright lights and the big show. But I hope she hit more of her notes at the Ryman than she did at the Hilton. And in general, I hope Jeff & Sheri use this transition in the life-cycle of their group to self-assess a bit. Despite the fact that their (arguably) two biggest hits, “Praise His Name” and “Roses Will Bloom,” were serious songs, they keep gravitating to novelty diddies like “Life is Great” as if they’re worried people will forget the group’s aw-shucks appeal. They won’t, at least not as long as Jeff Easter is emceeing. So more “Over and Over,” please.

Best Costume Honor: Joyce Martin, for what looked like a neo-Roller Derby outfit.

The “How to Dishonor your Honorees” Honor: each honored artist was introduced with sky-high praise, received a statuette, and gave an acceptance speech. And the songwriters? Their names were flashed up briefly on the screen while the announcer stumbled through a recitation of writers and publishers. The artists themselves were hustled on the stage to receive, with their backs to us, what looked like (as a friend of mine put it) a VBS certificate for most bible verses memorized. Unlike most artists, who were seated front and center within easy access of the dais, the songwriters were buried in the middle of rows in the middle of the room, so that they had to fumble and lurch their way to the aisle, only to be herded like cattle across the stage. The impulse to honor songwriters is right and extremely decent in an industry that has historically crapped on its lyricists and composers. But if it’s worth doing …

The Most Cringe Inducing Performance: Three Bridges. I gather they were trying to be high energy with their performance of the increasingly distant hit, “Feel a Little Song Comin’ On.” But mostly they just came across as three guys having a midlife crisis on stage. Wearing silly bling, shouting their lines, running around the ballroom gladhanding the audience during the song, … at one point, the short little older fella on the left did what looked like a cross between the splits and a herky (it made the McCray Dove NQC high-jump incident of 2004 look tame and restrained). Oh my. I felt a little something comin’ on alright. Ugh.

Unintentionally Funniest Comment: Lily Knauls, exclaiming her surprise at being honored … even though the honorees were announced some time ago.

Chutzpah Honor: whoever had the audacity to describe the Tribute Quartet as a group staffed by singers who have been recognized as among the “best” “in their position.” More like, “their booking agent was a platinum sponsor of the event.” In any event, theirs wasn’t the worst performance of the night (see Bridges, Three), but it wasn’t for lack of bad singing and even worse stage presence. The tenor singer, Jacob Kitson, seems to think that prowling about the stage in a half-crouch, wagging his finger at us for emphasis, and generally behaving like a cross between an overheated televangelist and Cat woman makes for good sangin’. It doesn’t. Perhaps Josh Singletary senses this. At any rate, he seemed to be trying to smile himself senseless through the whole ordeal. And why where they all shouting? Have these guys ever watched one of their own performances?

The Self-Sabotaging Honor: the guild for its (dis)organization of the show. Long, dead silences while groups waited for their tracks to cue; a teleprompter that was positioned so that presenters and hosts had to physically turn and look away from and above the audience in order to read their lines; a nearly unreadable and often incomprehensible script drowning in manifestly absurd superlatives (if everyone is the best, no one is); cold mics, missing spotlights, predictably crummy sound; and, evidently, the cameraman from Blair Witch (never mind that in a room that small, a gi-normous projection screen was at best redundant and often distracting).

By itself, any one of these things wouldn’t necessarily be a big deal, especially in southern gospel which sometimes seems almost eager to sabotage its own high-stakes events in order to reinforce the self-styled image of homespun authenticity, as though professionalism runs the risk of being mistaken for impious contrivance. But taken together and added to the performances, the combined effect of these infelicities was a concert that felt like a grab bag of awards show clichés, accompanied by singing that often felt not much better than your average NQC talent show, even if that probably wasn’t objectively the case. It was almost as if the guild got together and said, “hey let’s put on a super slick awards show concert,” and then nobody started really thinking about how to pull it off until last week.

Update: David Bruce Murray helpfully juxtaposes my take on the show with Allison Lynn’s.

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  1. Musicscribe Blog » Harmony Honors on 23 Apr 2008 at 3:15 pm

    […] Doug Harrison’s account of the Harmony Honors showcase and then read Allison Lynn’s…or vice […]


  1. Casual Observer wrote:

    I was at this even last night…and lived to tell about it. What a hot mess. I totally agree that the most painful moment of the evening came when Three Bridges leaped off the stage and into the audience. It was nothing short of frightening. Prior to this antic, they were stomping and snorting like wild men. The enthusiasm they hoped to project as was read as rabid and uncontrolled snarling (ala Howard Dean’s famous concession growl). To say they were a little too self-aware, while being totally unaware of how bizarre they appeared, is putting it kindly. When one of the guys hiked his leg and started doing the twist, my jaw dropped in disbelief - I knew I was in for a freak show, so I just sat back and watched them bury themselves. I had never seen 2 of the 3 “Bridges” before - had no idea who they were - which made their leap into the audience all the more absurd. Did they imagine that the “fans” would be electrified by the chance to shake their hands? Did they stop to consider that the people (especially on the front rows - thank goodness I wasn’t) were all peers and industry types who couldn’t care less about shaking the hands of people they don’t even know? It was, at once, awkward, embarrassing and the height of presumption on their part. I just can’t imagine thinking that would work. Maybe if the “fans” were all standing by the footlights with hands desperately reaching toward them - MAYBE then they could saunter over and tag a few of them - but this choreographed moment was an all-out assault.

  2. KDM wrote:

    Oh, man, I LOVE this blog. I can practically hear the righteous anger of the church ladies boiling onto their computer keyboards.

    Round one. FIGHT.

  3. Shamika wrote:

    I choose to believe that we’re better than we were last night as a whole…I have to believe that, because if that really was our best, then it is humiliating and SG needs to clear the slate and just start over. And, hopefully, God had enough grace to not let anyone wander in accidentally during the horrifying spectacle that was “Three Bridges.” There’s no excuse for anyone who gives that kind of unexplainable mess a platform. Shame on the SGMG. I don’t care who pays for what or who knows who–someone needs to draw the line. The Isaacs…Mike and Kelly Bowling…and KP & New River (minus the oddly hopeless images on the video while they sang a pretty hopeful song)–at least there were a few decent things about the evening. Still not worth the $14 parking, though. You’d be hard pressed to get me to go again.

  4. Dee Dee wrote:

    So like were you and Alison at the same show???? As much as I hate to admit, your discription is probably much more accurate. I’ve only seen 3 Bridges once and I wanted to jump off a bridge. I have 2 words for them ‘Grow UP!’. You are not 19 where acting like an idiot can be a bit endearing! You are grown, closer to old than young men, please out of respect for yourselves and those watching you - act at least like reasonable adults if you can’t stand to actually act your act.

  5. Ruth wrote:

    I was glad to read the complimentary things you had to say about Mike & Kelly Bowling. They have been one of my favorite groups since they started. I also love the Issacs and Karen Peck & New River band. I wish there were more like them. Southern Gospel music would be worth listening to.

  6. 1 old fan wrote:

    I agree with parts of both these reports. The sound was AWFUL!!! As much as I love The Crabb Family, Jeff & Sherri Easter, and Austins Bridge (no apostrophe, please, SGMG), their sets were pretty bad. And I don’t blame the singers — it was the fault of the sound folks.

    The sound all evening was uneven, and not good, with a couple of exceptions. I thought KP&NR sounded good; BF&A and The Isaacs sounded good; Lillie Knauls and Gordon Mote were GREAT; Mike & Kelly Bowling were good. Tribute Quartet and Three Bridges were obnozious to watch (those 2 old fat men in TB need to stop trying to dance)– they’re all just a little too full of themselves!.

    I agree, Allison must not have been at the same show, ’cause a lot of her info is WAY out of synch with what I witnessed.

    Oh, and Allison, the Crabb family sang anything but traditional. It was a song from their last album “Letting Go”, which is far from traditional, or anything else the Crabb Family had ever done before.

    It was a fun show (especially if you enjoy picking apart bad shows), but all-in-all, it’s 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back.

    I will have to say, though, I did enjoy meeting up with industry friends and former neighbors.

    My wife should be glad she couldn’t make it.

  7. Italian Ice wrote:

    Responding to comment #5. There are quite a few groups out there that are a class act like the ones you mentioned, they are just never given a chance. It is to bad that many times money speaks louder than talent.

  8. Aaron Swain wrote:

    Mike & Kelly Bowling’s “unnamed third voice” is Jeff Snyder, former baritone for Crystal River.

  9. RANDOM wrote:

    You (AVERYFINELINE person) should grow up and get a REAL life. You spend all of your time (and money) to go to these events, just to come home to your computer (probably alone) and run down everyone but your personal favorites. The joke is on you. You love to address the “issues at hand”, IN YOUR OPINION, of certain groups. Yet you, and so many others just like you, fail to mention the REAL issues of this industry. While certain groups are ridiculed for their song choice, style of music, and appearance, lifestyles such as adultery, homosexuality, jealousy, and greed, are all to often over-looked. ANY group taking the stage as a “Christian” group should be nothing less that just that. This SHOULD be about ministry, not being money hungry divas that do not strive live a Christ-like lifestyle. To act like a diva in an industry that is 2% of Gospel Music, which is 2% of music as a whole, is a flat-out JOKE. Give me a break.

  10. LW wrote:

    Glad to here that the Isaacs were not a disapointment. I have seen them sevral times and I am always impressed with their playing and singing talents. They are just stellar. And I know they are true Christians. Maybe their jokes could use updating but, overall when you see them it’s always good.

  11. Mickey Gamble wrote:

    Re: The Cringe Factor.
    Last year when the original Three Bridges split up, we (Crossroads) made the decision to split with the reformed version. Seems now to have been a good choice.

  12. studio chick wrote:

    The Three Bridges review is accurate! GO AWAY!! Austin’s Bridge wants to grow up and be the Crabb siblings. GO AWAY. Isaacs are always on it. Watch Mike and Kelly Bowling. They appear to know how to choose material and it doesn’t hurt that they sing very well.

    Brian Free peaked two years ago.
    The Crabb kids are sweet no matter what they sing.

    No comment on the more delicate people that were criticized. I know that criticism of the young can leave scars. Morgan Easter is going to be fine.

    Overall, the opinions voiced on this blog reflect what happened. The Allison review is syrup.

  13. jgurnett wrote:

    Re: Three Bridges, it never ceases to amaze me how some SG acts are just clueless. Rule #1 in performing live: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

  14. A. Nonemus wrote:

    If I had read this before anybody ekse posted, I woulda borrowed a line from the announcer guy on WWE with the cowboy hat and said “It looks like business is definately about to pick up now”

    Its a shame how some groups and their agent (the un-named sponsor of the event) don’t realize the level they are lowering southern gospel music to.

  15. BB wrote:

    I had hoped that young Miss Easter had resolved the pitch problems of her youth. She’s attended singing school (Stamps? Hurst?) in the past. But she’s been on the front line only a short while, so there’s still time, as #12 has already suggested. We’re so used to kids coming out of the gate impressing (Lauren Talley, Amber Thompson, Jordan Wilburn) upon promotion. But for every Jordan Wilburn, singing circles around his grandparents, there’s a Christy Steele who has to work a little harder to achieve a sound that’s saleable.

    She’s cute, she’s genetically predisposed… she can get there.

  16. Madison E. wrote:

    Morgan did have a rough time last night on our song at the HH, but I honestly believe that anyone that has seen us live in the past 4 weeks (how long she’s been singing with us) can tell you that her performance last night was not very accurate in showcasing her talent and what she has done with the part. I’m not going to make excuses for her, that’s not my place. I just wanted to say that she has done unbelievably well and I can only expect better.

    I’m very proud of her.

  17. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #14: Tell that to the people on TBN too. Other than Gold City and Mike & Kelly Bowling, that was just painful to watch.

  18. CWB wrote:


    I have loved your entire family as long as I can remember, and your defense of your sister shows me that what I have loved in your great grandparents, your grandparents and your parents has been passed down to you and your sister.

    Well said.


    P.S. Criticism can be constructive, even if it isn’t meant to be, but remember the only criticism you really have to worry about is the criticism from those who sign the checks for your flats. I’m quite certain that nobody who has posted anything above has ever done that.

  19. Trent wrote:

    I’m sure Morgan will be fine. Her Mom is an exceptional singer, and will bring her along vocally with some seasoned advice. Madison, you are a class act posting on here in support of your sister. I wish you guys all the best.

  20. Steven wrote:

    I’ve seen a few mention Jordan Wilburn…who does Jordan sing with?

  21. DK wrote:

    Nice review compared to last year’s reviews of both the Harmony Honors of ‘07 and the GMA Week Southern Gospel Showcase ‘07. Seems that MR. Avery has witnessed some progress…”To be fair, the concept of last night’s event was not bad. Honoring important contributions to the industry and showcasing top-notch talent in a hybrid awards-show/concert format. It has a lot of potential.” stated Avery.

  22. responder wrote:

    #9, if you’ve ever been to this site before, you ought to know what to expect. don’t take things so personally. it’s his opinion, and he can share it as he wishes. obviously people agree and like to read or else this site wouldn’t still get all the responses.

    and if you want to tackle other issues… i happen to agree that tribute qt. sounded horrible not only at the HH, but even on cd. there’s just something about Gary Casto, and especially Josh Singletary that makes me sick at my stomach to watch. the way josh prisses around on stage, makes me wonder when we’ll ever hear of a resemblance to kirk talley if you know what i mean.

  23. Terah P wrote:

    Im a big girl I can take some criticism, but Morgan (a kid) that’s just WRONG!! P.S. Also they asked our family to sing (Crabb Family) we didn’t ask them if we could (that was the to the how can we miss you if you don’t go away comment) and THEY picked the song too. Not one we would have picked for that setting but we did what we were asked!

  24. Terah P wrote:

    Im sorry if that message I sent sounded snappy, I just don’t understand the putting people down thing! We are the body of Christ!

  25. Wade wrote:

    To bad the Oaks were not there…

  26. Random wrote:

    To AVERYFINELINE person….
    I would like to apologize for pinpointing you out in my previous comment.

  27. seth wrote:

    I agree with poster #14. It’s everyones loss when an agent or record company (ha) ram-rods bad talent into the “spotlight” in the tiny fishpond of SG, by simply sponsoring or buying the spot. The cost is passed on to that particularly bad artist that works 40 hours a week at Wal-Mart so that they can pay to play!

    Is anyone out there???? CAN ANYONE hear me? Have we let people that have no idea what talent, or hit songs are,destroy the thing that made us real??? We always had talent and amazing songs. Is that now compromised by these buddy systems, uhm or maybe a sponsorship?

    Has conflict of interest situations become the norm. Is it acceptable to do the things we do?

    Why not have the goal (at the respective companies) to promote talent. Anointed talent would be better, but at the very least TALENT!

    SOMEBODY stand for excellence. Please?

    There isn’t a successful company anywhere that would allow these bad decisions.

    The HH has been reviewed correctly. There were a few times that talent was the “star” and a few times that “Jesus and talent” were the stars, and a few times when the clowns were the stars!

    Do clowns jump around and sing “I feel A Little Song Coming On”??? These clowns did.

  28. Terah P wrote:

    P.S.S. We (Crabb Family) were very honored that they would ask us to sing and the award was very sweet of them to give us! Thats my heart and my last thoughts!

  29. gc wrote:

    With the success your family has had in gospel music, you should not waste your time responding to critics. Most of these comments are made to incite reaction. The Crabb Family has earned the right to do what each of you feel is right for you and your family. God has blessed your ministry and you helped encourage many young people to SG..There are songs that I don’t especially listen to but the body of Crabb Family projects is impecable.
    Three Bridges? name one member in that group that people would recognize.. go see..or care..

  30. FormerDJ wrote:

    Terah, calm down a bit. There comes a time when the word no needs to be used. It appears it is time for someone in the Crabb organization to say no to requests for reunions. It’s also not unheard of to say no to the song requested. You are all professionals. If you didn’t think the song was the right one, you should have told them that.

    SG music will never get recognized as anything more than the soundtrack of the trailer park if people do not start acting professionally both on stage and off. Remember the words of Dr. Jerry Falwell, “if it’s Christian, it ought to be better.”

  31. Tom K. wrote:

    Three Bridges wants to be a broadway - or night club - act. Austin’s Bridge wants to be what????? Need to add to this list - what is Crystal River and Palmetto State trying to accomplish? They all need help; however, let me add not mine.

  32. Tom K. wrote:

    Let me add that I saw the young Ms. Easter at a Gaither gathering recently and she did an exceptional job. Of course, she’s not Charlotte Ritchie yet but give her a little time and she will do quite well. Also, I’ll take any of The Crabb Family for a performance anytime.

  33. Rita Stacy wrote:

    Terah, your family doesn’t need award
    shows,your faith and ministries are all
    the love you need!! The Crabb Family
    and ALL the groups are the mold every
    one in Souther Gospel needs to follow,
    but doesn’t not have the brains or the
    talent to do so!!! KEEP ON KEEPING ON!

  34. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #31: Although there was no press release, Crystal River has disbanded. Their tenor, Dusty Barrett, is now singing with Soul’d Out Quartet.

  35. Eric Melton wrote:

    I have an idea. Why don’t all of those that think they can be so qualified to be a critic start their own company and do something to try to bring fix things?

    Instead they would rather be like those that many in the churches that I have served on staff in the past. Complain about everything being done, but refusing to get involved and do work for the kingdom.

    While I will admit there were a couple of performances that we not my absolute favorite, I enjoyed the program. I will say that Tribute Quartet impressed me the most and it is good to see Tribute Bass Dennis Dugger adding so much depth to the sound of the group. I remember Dennis from years ago when he sang with a regional group from AR called Velvet Ridge. Dennis Dugger, Zane King(SGMG President) and myself are all from the same hometown. I appreciate my friends from my childhood being involved with me in gospel music.

    Furthermore I enjoyed getting to briefly visit with some that I don’t get to see much throughout the year. There have been a few saying things about the Guild President. That would be Zane King. If you really knew this man’s heart maybe you would see a different story. To go through what all he has been through and still like myself have a passion for this music, and we could be in something else that is much more lucrative, we choose to stay involved because we love God and love this music that he has blessed us with. I also will say like them or not I still love and appreciate all of the Crabb Family. I worked with them in 1995-1996 on their first 3 Top singles before they ever had a number one. I am no longer involved with them as working with them, but it still means much to me to see one of them in the grocery store away from Gospel Music and just have conversation. They could look the other way but instead reply to me how much they still love me and remember the early days that I spent with their ministry working on promotions and traveling with them from time to time and emceeing their monthly concert series at the Executive Inn in Owensboro, KY during 1996.

    If I could give an award for friends that care, (and whether you like her or not) Karen Peck Gooch and Ricky Gooch are some of the best friends anyone could have. For a short time that I spent away from this business Karen and Ricky are 2 people that stayed in touch with me when no one else did. When I was hurt, and felt betrayed by some many that called themselves Christians, broke and did not even know how I could afford to even feed my family they were true friends.

    I have blessed to work with many in this business that I so love. I get to come of a peaceful environment every day and have adjoining offices with some of the most talented men in this industry Nick Bruno, Garry Sheppard, Bill Traylor and Bob Jones. I get to see smiling faces and have a fun. It beats what some people have to do every day.

    Do I agree with everything in Gospel Music know? Is every artist my favorite? No, but I will choose to love and not to hurt. I think Christ would do the same. As the title from the movie a few years ago I will give back as I have been given and “Pay It Forward”. I enjoyed the Harmony Honors Tuesday night and I am looking foward to the So Gospel News Awards this coming week to be blessed again with the music that I love best.

  36. Jim2 wrote:

    Just my opinion, and I was not there to see Austins Bridge, but from accounts of their performance at Winter Fest, awesome potential, just need the proper direction and production. They have all of the intangibles - with the right focus they’ll outshine a lot of today’s big names.

  37. CVH wrote:

    I wasn’t at GMA this year so this is all interesting to read. What DBM refers to as Doug’s cynicism is what I’d call a reality check. Perhaps the event was a good idea but it’s obvious that it was ill-planned and poorly executed. And that’s just the logistics of the show itself, nothing about the groups that performed.

    I couldn’t help but laugh at this quote from Allison Lynn’s blog:

    “In his speech, choral genius Lari Goss remarked that Southern Gospel is so unique because it’s lots of fun, yet it deals with serious theological themes like the cross and the blood. It’s sometimes hard to define Southern Gospel to people who’ve never heard it, so I think I’ll be adding this point to the description from now on.”

    I have tremendous respect for Lari Goss professionally and I’m not sure if this is an accurate portrayal of all his remarks, but I don’t know which is more absurdly obvious - the comment itself or the fact that she’ll be “adding this point to the description from now on.” I don’t know Allison Lynn from Adam and I’m sure she’s a wonderful person but please…

    I remember being at the CMA (Christian Booksellers Association) convention in 1976 when Benson hosted a concert one night and they trotted out all the top artists on their roster then. Bob Benson was the M.C. In his gentle, self-deprecating way, he started things off by saying something to the effect that if a speaker blew up or a light fell on somebody they’d “know they were at something Benson put together.”

    Nothing blew up or fell down and the concert was decidedly marginal, but I’m sure the mom and pop bookstore owners from Bozeman, MT were thrilled to hear Paul Downing ingest his mic while trying to hit a low F.

    Who knows what the point of these things really is? You can’t rely on the southern gospel fans to demand higher quality; a certain percentage would show up for Uncle Flapjack playing “I Saw The Light” on his musical saw. The standards have to be set at the top, in the organizations, promoters and groups that are the hub of the southern gospel music business. Until that happens, stuff like this will be par for the course.

    Doug’s original question is the first one that needs to be answered: “if the raft of performances that, with a few exceptions, ranged from ok to subpar to unspeakably bad does not represent the best of the genre, what are these acts doing on stage at an event that’s supposed to make the case to the wider world of Christian music for the genre’s value and relevance?”

    The case for the genre’s value and relevance won’t be made until the people who are charged with making it so take their roles seriously.

  38. cdguy wrote:

    I was at the event, and I will say the problems with the program were primarily with the sound. It was NOT (for the most part) the artists’ fault. That is, MOST of the artists.

    J&S Easter, Austins Bridge (please, people: no apostrophe–even SGMG got it wrong), & Crabb Family did not get their due. BF&A and KP&NR did wonderfully, in spite of the techs — both showed they are class acts. So did Lilly Knauls, Gordon Mote, and the Isaacs.

    I sat near the front, and the people around me all thought the sound was bad. However, I talked with people who said they sat in the back, and didn’t think it was that bad. So, maybe it depended on where you sat. I don’t know. I only know what I saw and heard.

    By the way, if you’ve never seen Austins Bridge in full concert, you’ve missed a treat. No, they’re not trying to be anything they’re not already. They are great young men who, in my observation, have a heart for God, and express it well through their brand of music. Is it straight-up s/g? No. Is it rock? No. Probably more like contemporary country. And in person, with their own (or better-than-they-had-Tuesday) sound tech, they sound great. Wanna be’s? No, they already are!

  39. T wrote:

    I personally think that the comments about Morgan are fair game. Once you step out and start to sing with a group that has a reputation for being very good, you are going to be judged on your musical ability. You say that “oh she’s a little girl and you shouldn’t say bad things about her.” Well if she is too young to take criticism of her singing ability then maybe she is too young to be out there singing period.

    I agree that SGM is one of the only music genres where you can have singers and groups that are terrible and still travel full time as a career.

  40. Tom wrote:

    I hope people don’t to live concerts SG or otherwise to hear note for note perfection in the songs. I would want to go to hear human beings sing and a few clinkers adds to the charm. I wouldn’t want to see a train wreck however. I agree that criticism, even of Morgan Easter, is good provided the criticism is taken in context (4 weeks performing at that level), and the criticism is not mean spirited, or personal and isn’t meant to change her to become a “fake” performer meaning she’ll stay an artist and not performing “machine”. Kudos to her brother for sticking up for her.

  41. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Shame on some of you!
    I been in the real world of politics up here in the conservative state of Massachusetts.
    I never seen in the public domain what I have seen posted on this blog the past few days.
    Whatever happen to the higher standard of the Christ we sing about?
    We read the Singing News and suddenly we all become experts in southern gospel music.

  42. irishlad wrote:

    random. Avery is Doug Harrison you spoon.

  43. gc wrote:

    SG has tremendous talent in several areas but it always amazes me how little thought goes into these types of programs.
    The modern Church does a much better job at presenting the gospel thru music than 95% of SG artist (artist would mean artistic so let’s change that to sangers).Most events have little or no lighting, mediocre sound at best and very little thought about time, group selection and quality.
    From a spiritual standpoint it leans more towards hype and arousal than true worship that honors God. I am not being judgemental, I like some of it but the entire industry is swimming in mediocrity from the labels promotion of artist to the projects that they release. I am a music director at a fairly large Church and I can only think of 3-4 groups that our church as a whole would really enjoy and be blessed by the music presentation..
    The Isaac’s, Booth Brothers and Talley Trio are the three that I would feel very comftorable introducing to the Church.They are all different but unique and confident in their presentation.

    “Let The Games Begin”

  44. apethetic wrote:

    Terah P.

    I didn’t get to see your performance at this event. However, I did catch your concert in Winchester, VA last Saturday night. You guys are great. Don’t listen to the critics on this site. They are old cooters stuck in the past of what SG used to be. They have no vision for the future or for development of the genre. They think SG should still sound and look the way it did 20 years ago and should never change with the times. You guys are fresh in both your sound and your look. But most importantly you are annointed and genuine (and generous). You have a true heart for ministry. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in Cincinnati, Fenton, Hamilton and Kenton. ;)

  45. apathetic wrote:

    Terah P.

    I didn’t get 2 see your performance at this event. However, I did catch your concert in Winchester, VA last Saturday night. You guys are great. Don’t listen to the critics on this site. They are old cooters stuck in the past of what SG used to be. They have no vision for the future or for development of the genre. They think SG should still sound and look the way it did 20 years ago and should never change with the times. You guys are fresh in both your sound and your look. But most importantly you are annointed and genuine (and generous). You have a true heart for ministry. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in Cincinnati, Fenton, Hamilton and Kenton. ;)

  46. jb wrote:

    ARe there any pictures posted of the awards show. I’m interested to see J. Martin’s attire…

  47. Brittni wrote:

    T - I know Morgan and I know that she’s quite capable of taking criticism. If you’ll look back through the posts you’ll notice none of them are from her making her case as a “little girl.” They’re from other people. And in Madison’s case, he’d be insane not to defend his sister. She’s his sister!

  48. Zane King wrote:

    I had a good friend today encourage me to view the comments posted here regarding the Harmony Honors. I am not much of a blogger and since being blasted on this site a year ago I chose not to view this site. However, I am glad I did read the comments today regarding our show. WOW! Great feedback on our SGMG’s latest effort during GMA Week. I think for the most part your criticisms are helpful and might prove to be useful going forward. It is unfortunate however that some choose to personalize their attacks. That’s a little hard to identify with in my opinion. If you keep the criticisms constructive and offer ideas on how to improve and enhance our music folks with listen and change will take place.

    I hope all of you are aware that being a part of the SGMG is something anyone can join if they derive a portion of their income from Southern Gospel music. Like Eric Melton stated earlier, we do this because of love and passion for the music. Like many others in our industry, we have found that joining together to create a cooperative environment for the purpose of encouraging excellence, education, and awareness is a pathway to enhance the state of our industry.

    May I also point out the SGMG is a volunteer organization. Efforts like the Harmony Honors take an enormous amount of time and energy. In addition, funding for such programs like GMA Week is a difficult task. I’m very proud of everyone who helped to make the Harmony Honors a success this year. I believe we are on the right path with the concept of the show and the GMA Week provides us a perfect environment (not necessarily the hotel). There is no doubt next year’s program will improve and I assure you we have learned much from this year’s production. Again, thanks to all of you for your comments and criticisms.

  49. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    CVH wrote:
    “I have tremendous respect for Lari Goss professionally and I’m not sure if this is an accurate portrayal of all his remarks, but I don’t know which is more absurdly obvious - the comment itself or the fact that she’ll be “adding this point to the description from now on.’ ”

    I think Goss’ statement is accurate if you take as an observation of the genre…no more and no less. I doubt he was saying SG makes sport of the cross. I think he means SG has that breadth.

    If you contrast a Gold City concert with a Mercy Me concert, you should notice that Mercy Me doesn’t horse around like Gold City. They may do a mildly humorous song, but they won’t make jokes about admiring scalps or looking like a man while sounding like a woman. They won’t sing a song like the Kingsmen’s “Excuses” or the Dove Brothers’ “Get Away Jordan.” It’s doubtful they’ll do any songs like “Hide Me Behind The Cross” (Gold City) or “It’s All About The Blood” (Brian Free & Assurance) either.

    Mercy Me will work themselves and the audience into a lather of worship…which is what they do best. Goss is simply drawing a comparison between what a typical non-SG group will do in a concert vs. what a typical SG group might do.

  50. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Eric Melton wrote:
    “I have an idea. Why don’t all of those that think they can be so qualified to be a critic start their own company and do something to try to bring fix things?”

    What sort of company have you formed to make this right?

    That is the criteria a person needs to meet before they have the freedom to criticize as you’ve just said…right?

  51. matureman wrote:

    “I agree that SGM is one of the only music genres where you can have singers and groups that are terrible and still travel full time as a career.”

    Uh…I think this is true of some Country and much of Rock and Pop.

    That said, I must be off.

  52. Al wrote:

    Intelligent people talk about the future. The average everyday person talks about current events. Only the ignorant have the need to talk about people in order to make themselves feel better. No one has forced you to go to these events. If you don’t like it and the music is so horrible do us all a favor and stay home….maybe pray for these people who are out singing the gospel. Your writin poison has no place in any industry let alone one that flys under the Christian flag. When one has the need to degrade, it only shows their own inadequacies.

  53. AAU wrote:

    To Morgan: I hope you don’t pay any attention to the green eyed monster that has reared its ugly head. You are doing what the people on this site wish they could do.

    To Terah: Thanks for being a team player

  54. AAU wrote:

    Intelligent people talk about the future. The average everyday person talks about current events. Only the ignorant have the need to talk about people in order to make themselves feel better. No one has forced you to go to these events. If you don’t like it and the music is so horrible do us all a favor and stay home….maybe pray for these people who are out singing the gospel. Your writin poison has no place in any industry let alone one that flys under the Christian flag. When one has the need to degrade, it only shows their own inadequacies.

  55. TJT wrote:

    In regards to # 11 Mickey Gamble.–
    All i can say about your comments,
    “TACKY, TACKY, TACKY”, Why would
    ANY artist want to be on your label/s?-
    if you make public comments like that!
    Isaiah 51:17 -No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

  56. not a grammarian wrote:

    T, (#39)
    Let’s turn it around-if you had a daughter Morgan’s age, would you expect her to be held to the same standard as professionals who have been at it for years? That is patently ridiculous. We have a soccer tournament in town this week, am I going to expect 13 year old boys to be playing like the Olympic Team or the Galaxy?
    2 other observations and I’ll let it go - 1) Where can I find pictures of this event online? and 2) Check out the closing moments of the Dove awards on Gospel Music Channel this weekend to see what can happen when the Southern Gospel, Bluegrass world truly does put it’s best foot forward. Ricky Skaggs and the Whites kicked off a fantastic finale that included the Hoppers, Easters, Isaacs, Charlie Daniels and Mac Powell from Third Day. Now that was a fun bit of music that properly showcased our genre.

  57. Edie wrote:

    Amen! Every year I go to the tuesday concert put on by SGMG at the Hilton Ballroom and every year I say I won’t go back. It’s always awful. But I end up going back because I so want it to be good, I want them to finally get it right. But, sadly, every year it’s usually worse than the year before. Maybe next year is the year I decide to skip it.

    A few observations:

    Jeff Easter is a terrible host. There is a difference between being country or southern and being a hick. I do not appreciate his overexaggerated accent or his redneck humor.

    Tribute Quartet. If you’re going to “spotlight” up and coming talent, then help guide them to songs that better show their vocal abilities and their song choices.

    Three Bridges. Enough has been said. (Yet somehow I don’t think it has.)

    Did anyone else feel duped by the list of “honorees” who were not present?

    The songwriting “honor” was certainly interesting in that the emcee spent a lot of time talking about how southern gospel is built around the song and how it all begins with the song and yet the honorees were given what looked like home-made certificates while the artists were given lovely glass awards.

    Lillie Knauls is southern gospel?

    Finally, if this event were ever done right, artists would be begging to be let on the program instead of (obviously) choosing to not attend. Let’s raise the bar, people.

  58. quartet-man wrote:

    To say someone has to be in professional music to be a critic is to say that a person has to be a professional chef to know if food is good or not. To take the analogy further, the person who said don’t go to the events. That is like saying quit eating out if you don’t like the cooking. Although there is something to be said about it if you hated food at a restaurant and kept going back year after year, but it is different if it is somewhere you haven’t been before, or have but heard has improved.

  59. RDB wrote:

    #44 - have you been around the ‘net much. You don’t know nothin’ about message boards (which is more relevant than vague comparisons to the “public domain” in my opinion).

  60. T wrote:

    to # 56

    If your 13 year old boys were playing in the same league as Olympians I would expect them to play on level with them.

    If she wants to go sing at her own church and all that, then good for her. But once she steps up to sing in SGM, especially with a group like Jeff and Sheri Easter, she should be judged against the other people.

    If not then everyone would be trying to sing SGM professionally… oh wait that’s reality.

  61. Chuck Peters wrote:

    OK.. Now I am wondering.. information from the PR people for the SGMG Harmony Honors event.. led me to believe,.. and even write news stories about the fact that these people would be at the shindig.. Who on this list did not appear:

    Gerald Wolfe
    Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
    Austin’s Bridge
    the Crabb Family
    Mark Lowry
    Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
    the Isaacs
    Jeff & Sheri Easter
    the Oak Ridge Boys
    Lari Goss
    the Hoppers
    Karen Peck & New River
    the Talley Trio
    Janet Paschal
    Brian Free & Assurance
    Lillie Knauls
    the Lewis Family
    Bill Gaither & Homecoming Friends
    the Dove Brothers
    the Whisnants
    Three Bridges
    Legacy Five
    the McKameys
    the McRaes
    Tribute Quartet
    Mike & Kelly Bowling
    the Collingsworth Family

  62. Trent wrote:

    I would like to see an event such as this that would highlight up-and-coming groups. I’m talking about the entire program being filled with GREAT newcomers to the genre. Is there any event in Southern Gospel music that allows fresh faces to be seen? How exciting that would be!

    Of course, there should be a filtering process beforehand….you can’t just let Johnny and the Harmonaires take the stage untested. Maybe new groups could send in a completed CD to the event organizers, then do a live audition for them. At that point, the people running the event could choose 5 or 6 groups to do 15 or 20 minutes each. There are a number of spectacular groups out there that haven’t really gotten a break yet….some of them could breathe new life into the genre.

  63. Tom wrote:

    Being as my whole musical talent is playing chopsticks poorly on a keyboard, I respect anyone who plays and sings genuine live music. No respect here for studio or live “tricks”.
    If you are genuine, you have my respect even if it may not be to my taste. Even if Ms. Easter is singing SG big time for all of 4 weeks, she shouldn’t be held to Kim Hopper standards………..YET.

  64. Casual Observer wrote:

    to Chuck Peters (msg 61) These artist, from that list, did NOT attend:
    Ernie Haas & Signature Sound
    Mark Lowry
    The Oak Ridge Boys
    The Hoppers
    The Talley Trio
    Janet Paschal
    The Lewis Family
    Dove Bros.
    The McKameys
    The McRaes
    The Collingsworth Family

    So ’bout half that list were “no-shows”

  65. Edie wrote:


    Gerald Wolfe did not appear.
    Ernie Haase and Sig Sound did not appear.
    Mark Lowry did not appear.
    The Oak Ridge Boys did not appear.
    The Hoppers did not appear.
    The Talley Trio did not appear.
    Janet Paschal did not appear.
    The Lewis Family did not appear.
    Bill Gaither & Friends did not appear.
    The Dove Brothers did not appear.
    The Whisnants did not appear.
    Legacy Five did not appear.
    The McKameys did not appear.
    The McCraes did not appear.
    The Collingsworth Family did not appear.

    Three Bridges, most unfortunately, DID appear.

  66. NoNamePerson wrote:

    edie: gerald wolfe did appear…

  67. NoNamePerson wrote:


    The ad for the show stated honorees and scheduled performers.

  68. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #55: If you want to talk about “TACKY, TACKY, TACKY”, look at how Three Bridges presents themselves on-stage now.

    I think Mickey Gamble’s comment proved that his company actually cares about having quality artists on their roster. I know that if I were running something like that, I’d be embarrassed to name that group among my list of artists.

    Something happened after the “original” group broke up, and I’m sad to say the change isn’t for the better.

  69. Grigs wrote:

    I have not seen the “TACKY,TACKY, TACKY” version of Three Bridges. Has anybody posted a youtube clip?

  70. Chuck Peters wrote:

    #67.. I don’t know about the ad.. but the press release sure suggested they would be there. Now.. I don’t know if it was intentional mis-leading.. or just poor news writing.. both happen so often in SG.

  71. Edie wrote:

    Oops…sorry, I guess I just blacked out on Gerald being there.

  72. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #69: Here’s their performance on TBN the other week:

    You’ll have to go to 46:33, because that’s when they are introduced.

  73. gc wrote:

    I feel a little something coming on….And you think Ernie has no rhythm…them 2 old guys are hilarious…

  74. Eric Melton wrote:

    David Bruce Murray wrote:

    What sort of company have you formed to make this right?

    That is the criteria a person needs to meet before they have the freedom to criticize as you’ve just said…right?

    David to answer your question and I don’t mean any disrespect, I have not owned my own company but I have spent over 10 years in gospel radio both as a personality and a programmer, and 13 years with 3 of the respectable companies in Southern Gospel Music. I am blessed to have worked with over 50 artists and in times past have been both with the SGMG, a member of the SGMA and spent years on the Dove Awards screening comittee. I have also been blessed to have spent many years learning from the leaders in our Southern Gospel. I could go on and list my accomplishments, but there are many artists that you could call that are good friends. I do this because I have had a passion for this music in my 36 years on this earth.

    I go to events because I still want to be a part and to help futher this music and the kingdom of God. I choose to receive a blessing instead of being critical. If I see an artist that might improve on something, I will talk to that group individually and make my suggestions instead of personally calling them out in front of everyone.

  75. gc wrote:

    I appreciate your credentials and respect your opinion.What do you see being the major issues in SG that are causing the downward spiral in sales, attendance, radio market and no major impact in retail sales.

  76. apathetic wrote:

    Wow, just watched the 3 Bridges clip referenced above. You gotta love the synchronized stepping back (to go with the lyrics “step back”) and the synchronized turning around in a circle (to go with the lyrics “turn around”) by all three members of the group. I thought they were playing Simon Says or doing the Hokey Pokey. GC in #75 asks what is “causing the downward spiral in sales, attendance, radio market and no major impact in retail sales”. GC take a look at the video, this type of thing is typical in SG music. This “Hokey Pokey” contributes to some of the issues you mention. The core audience in SG is dying off and a younger audience does not find synchronized turning, spinning, stepping or hand gestures entertaining. They find it “Hokey”.

  77. RDB wrote:

    2 words - schmengi travel

  78. Sam wrote:

    I went because I had someone give me tickets. Lesson learned, if its free normally you dont want it. I was hoping to see the “BEST” Sg had to offer. Instead, it was the groups that are spoon fed to us as the best when in reality they are nothing more than a local group. I have had the belief that Three Bridges needs to grow up for a long time. They are not young guys and they made a fool of themselves. Tribute Quartet. Where to start? This is a glowing example of the spoon feeding. Becky Simmons pushes them into every event as if they are a top group. They were vocally the worst group of the night. Their lead singer sounds like someone strangled a cat. Their bass isnt a bass or a singer. Singletary would fit in well with a mixed group if you know what I mean. The way they hopped around with all their “Spiritualism in a can” was sickening. If this is the best SG has to offer than I should get money back on the free tickets. Where are the groups that can really sing? I dont care if they dont have a big name agent or label. If SG is to survive beyong being a novelty type genre then the “leaders” like Zane King need to buck the tide and put on only the talented groups and make some people mad by getting rid of the hype.

  79. Eric Melton wrote:

    GC Wrote:

    I appreciate your credentials and respect your opinion.What do you see being the major issues in SG that are causing the downward spiral in sales, attendance, radio market and no major impact in retail sales.

    GC to attempt to answer your question, I am not sure if there is any one definite answer. We could blame it on the economy and that is true to an extent. There still seems to be a large percentage of Southern Gospel Music Fans that do not live in high income situations. But they follow this music because like many of us and I have stressed again in this thread that we could be something else for a living that is much more lucrative but we have a passion for it. Let’s take NQC for example. Many of the groups I talked with and there were even some of the Top Names that did not sell what they had hoped. Think of a family of four that decided to take their vacation and spend the whole week. Tickets for each night at $27 per ticket, x4 x 6 nights is $648. Then lets say they drive from Orlando to Louisville. That is 860 miles each way, 1720 miles round trip. Their Tahoe gets 15 miles to the gallon. It would take approx 130 gallons of gas round trip at an average of $3.60 per gallon that is $468 in gas. Then a hotel room is an average of $120 per night. Another $720. Then an average of $80 (and that is a low figure) for everyone to each each day. Grand total for the family is $2316. Not counting any incidentals. Then the family if they buy any CD’s at all has to charge them on their American Express. Number one is the economy. You could ask the average family that loves Gospel Music and I would be willing to speculate that majority of them do not have an extra $2500 just laying around. I know that NQC offers packages (and they are great values) but some will still go this route. The same thing with many venues throughout the year. The fuel prices are difficult on everyone as well as utilities and food. This is affecting our industry both fans and artists alike. I was in Wal-Mart last night and ran into 4 people in Southern Gospel Music. Two industry people and 2 artists. Everyone is saying the same thing it is hurting us all.

    Number 2 I feel that in Southern Gospel that radio and retail have never truly been on the same page. There are a few exceptions. Case in point. in 2000 when I was at Spring Hill we had a song that you may remember from Karen Peck called “Four Days Late”. It was June of that year when the album first came out. We partnered with a local Christian bookstore in Winston-Salem and Rodney Baucom the general manager at JOY FM helped to sponsor the event. The station came and did a live remote and one of the local Christian bookstores set up a tent in the Parking lot. Karen Peck and New River gave a free concert to over 200 people that came out. While this number may not seem to be that large, nearly everyone came in the store, purchased a copy and had it signed by the group. If this was more of a normal some things would be different. That same year I went with one of our CCM artists to Minneapolis before Christmas. We did the morning drive with KTIS/Skylight Network and then a bookstore appearance in the afternoon and then a large church that night. The temp was only 2 degrees for the high and there was almost 3 feet of snow on the ground by nightfall. Still over 1000 people braved the storm and came out. As I emceed the concert that night I asked how many came out just because they heard us talking about it on KTIS that morning. Almost 70%. KTIS helped us partner with the Northwest Bookstore closest to St. Paul that also got behind the event. These type of things are key.

    Sevearl years ago Jim Black, sevearl radio promoters and myself attempted for 2 years to get Southern Gospel involved in the radio bootcamp that happens each year during GMA week. We had several meetings at the Salem offices and then launched the program and the first year 2001 suprisingly had a fairly good turnout. But like everything else there was the interest lost its momentum. If we continued to have things move forward instead of staying the same we would be in better shape.

  80. gc wrote:

    Great discussion and I agree with you on all those points. Thanks..

  81. Molly L. wrote:


    #1 you need to get a life your probably one of those fat ppl that sit on the couch all day making fun of ppl that really do work hard for a living.

    #2 if you just knew all the hard work the ppl in gospel music put into singing… and trying to lead lost souls to the LORD. They dont need pain in the butt like you giving your comments.

    #3 I happend to think that TRIBUTE QT is the best ((sangin)) group there is!!! and I dont care what your thoughts are and no one else will either when your in hell :-D

    THank you for reading.
    Tributes #1 fan

  82. Chris wrote:

    To #22 Responder & #78 Sam

    Everyone, please welcome Monument Quartet. Still got a chip, fellas? Go ahead - deny it. The truth is, whoever you are, you both simply have no idea what good music is. I’m Mr Picky on SGM and Tribute was the best qt I’ve heard in the last 12 months. Seriously, if you think they stink, your just dumb. And as far as making suggestions about the “preferences” of some of the members, again, your dumb. Course, it’s easy to sling the mud while you got downloaded pics of Hannah Montana on your other window. These men are gentlemen and Christians (more so than I). I’ve spent the time with them to know, and now come to their defense. Your inflamatory remarks have been punished. I’ll expect a weak response (if any). Please, no one else get your hands dirty on this one. These guys made it personal with me. Thanks for your consideration.

  83. Gospel Insider wrote:

    Just thought I’d let out a laugh at “RANDOM”s comment. Actually, the joke is on those who are out there proclaiming, “Ministry! Ministry!”. They’re also the same people who can’t keep their eyes off the SN charts and pay their members peanuts so they can afford to keep their “status”. That’s not to mention the groups that absolutely SUCK, but God bless em right? As long as their heart is in the right place.

    No, YOU give ME a break.

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