GMA Week: Ditching the Doves

Since they’re both among the hippest things going in sg right now, I was curious to see if EHSSQ and Austins Bridge would show up at the Doves. As it turns out: no, on both counts. And that’s too bad, but for different reasons in each case.

EHSSQ was up for multiple Doves, and though I don’t know for sure, I’d be shocked if they weren’t offered or couldn’t have gotten a chance to perform and/or present. Given the marked increase in sg’s exposure during the Doves this year (which in turn was an improvement on last year – a development I assume must be attributable at least in part to Daywind’s Ed Leonard ascending to power in the GMA … he’s next in line to be the GMA board’s head honcho), one has to think EHSSQ chose not to come. Which makes you wonder why? I have no idea, but perhaps Ernie Haase’s reluctance, a la the NQC, is a “we don’t need no stinkin’ Doves” kinda thing. And if this is the case, you can’t really blame him up to a point. But GMA is not the NQC Board and the Doves is not NQC.

EHSSQ is attracting the kinds of audiences that suggests some portions of a GMA audience that might not otherwise take the group seriously would be inclined to honestly listen at an event like the Doves. So it would seem like a missed opportunity, but then I don’t view the world from Ernie Haase’s bus seat. Anyway, from a purely self-interested standpoint, it was a shame they weren’t there on stage. Especially since they might have supplanted any one of the show’s several down-market CCM up-and-comers with ironic hair and a guitar case bestickered with world-weary tokens of a young soul reeking from deep thoughts about Life and Spirituality, but not too Jesusy, in case the guys at Clear Channel are interested.

Speaking of Austin’s Bridge (just kidding!) … the group played the SGMG Harmony Honors the night before the Doves, but since their vocals were almost completely missing from the house mix and the kick drum pretty much overpowered everything else, I can’t say much about their sound. They look great on stage and though I’d have picked a different song that showcased their harmonic dexterity more (they did “Dry Bones”), they’re obviously a hot ticket.

And evidently they think so too. They ditched the Doves for their previously scheduled gig. They gotta eat like everybody else, I know. And granted if they had showed up at the Doves they would have only gotten the 40 seconds that every other group nominated for young artist of the year received during the show’s opening medley (plus the acceptance speech for Bluegrass Song of the Year). But they’re act is as good or better than most of what they would have been paired with at the show (drawing from all of Christian music), and that comparable superiority would have been obvious … and on live television, to say nothing of the pulsating heart of Christian music listening from seats at the Opry. By what calculus is it wiser to sing for 200 sg insiders who already know you the night before the biggest evening in Gospel Music, and skip the big night itself?

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  1. Shamika wrote:

    I wonder–Ernie wants to distance himself from the NQC and Doves, so why put yourself out there for the award if you don’t even care enough to show up to accept it? Why put your machine to work for something you’re too cool to care about? There were nominees who really did feel honored to be nominated. It’s kind of a slap in the face to the others when you take the award, but you’re too “busy” to even show up to accept it. Like it or not, a Dove Award is gospel music’s highest award (besides the eternal stuff and changing lives, I know, I know–take this post for what it is), and it seems kind of gross to be too cool for it. Again, there were people who really were proud to be there. It kind of belittles everyone else when you can’t be bothered to show up. Or, maybe it’s hard to care about how anyone else feels when you’re on top of the world? I don’t know. I’ve never been there.

  2. quartet-man wrote:

    Maybe Ernie had flashbacks to his predecessor’s last Dove performance with the Cats.

  3. C.W. G. wrote:

    And, maybe he was just to busy - why read into everything that is poted?

  4. john masters wrote:

    Hey “Shamika”
    What quartet are you with, and why hide behind that fake name to take a swat at Ernie? Or, are you really one of the “Singing Shamikas” from First Church of the Sham I AM?

    If EH and the SSQ boys had been there for the photo op and glitz, you would probably have suggested their crucifixion for being opportune.

    Those boys are hot as a pistol, like ‘em or not. Bitter folks, get in line. It is likely to be that way for a long, long time!

  5. Shamika wrote:

    #4-You’re really clever.

  6. Phil Boles wrote:

    i do believe EH&SS are shooting their new video on the 30th of April……They simply may be too busy getting ready for that….just a thought.

  7. Grigs wrote:

    Phil(#6), that’s a possibility. I remember Michael English and Bill Gaither not being there years ago because they were finishing up the Statesmen’s “Revival” project.

    My favorite awards story: Boris Karloff was up for a Grammy for Spoken Word Album. His agent badgered Boris to go to the awards program, but Boris had no interest and sent the agent in his stead. Boris won the award and his agent brought it to Karloff’s office.

    “It looks like a door stop,” Boris said in that wonderful British accent.

    Karloff opened the office door and propped it open with his Grammy award. The trophy remained there until after his death.

  8. john masters wrote:

    Sham… what’s next?? NaNaNaNa Boo Boo?

  9. Angie M wrote:

    “Too busy?” I dunno…seems this is the kind of thing you make time for, if you possibly can. Maybe it wasn’t possible. But the Doves are kind of a big deal.

  10. Chris wrote:

    I’m guessing they probably had a date and didn’t want to cancel. I mean, how many groups in SG actually take time off their schedule “just in case the Doves call.” I hate the Dove awards, personally. It’s a joke. They haven’t picked the best SG album correctly in decades, and you all know it. They mock us as the “embarassing uncle” of Christian Music. If Ernie actually gave a “take this job and shove it” to the Dove Awards (as many are alluding to), then I applaud him. We have our own awards, and they’re pretty accurate to the pulse of SG fans. The only reason the Doves are throwing us a bone now is that contempary CM is especially stinky this year.

  11. Shamika wrote:

    I don’t buy the too busy thing, but I’m not sure those were Haas’ words. I’m not sure he gave any excuse and he doesn’t actually have to. He’s far from the only one aligned with SG who doesn’t show up to accept. As for Gaither’s no-shows, busy doesn’t really fly when you have your private plane. SG never seems to have a great presence at the Doves and CCM does. Maybe that’s the way ‘we’ like it. They have theirs and we have ours? I don’t know.

    My mother actually made the comment about the people not even showing up to accept awards and I thought it was worth discussing. She said, “Do you think it makes people feel bad who are there and who are so excited about being nominated when the people who have these big machines behind them are working to take the awards, but they can’t even show up?” My reply was that I guess it depends on the person and then also that maybe the ‘machine’ is bigger than the artist in these cases. She said, “Well, sometimes when you’re on top of the world it’s hard to see how your actions affect others.”

    I realize going to Nashville and paying the $100 per ticket (yes, even the nominees pay) could be a bit much for an out of towner. I also get the gas price thing.

    I’m struck by the contrast, though, of wanting the awards and then at the same time not wanting the awards. Perhaps its all in that awkward place where art and commerce meet, and go on to meet the gospel.

    That’s the discussion I was looking for and was maybe typing too fast to articulate it–not immature name calling and 3rd grade exchanges, and certainly not the disgusting racist comment about my God-given name. It’s not that I’m shocked, but once again disappointed in some of the demographic. I realize, though, that it’s not everyone. On with the discussion, grown-ups only–

  12. Part-timer wrote:

    I for one was disappointed by SG’s representation at the Doves. When I took my seat and began flipping through my program, I was excited to see so many SG folks on the list of performers. How disappointed I was to see that they were all crammed onto the stage together right at the end! And what they were assigned to do — Wouldn’t Take Nothin’ for my Journey Now — I’ll Fly Away??! Really. Great songs. But they are not at all reflective of where SG is right now. Why not let Karen Peck & NR do “Last Night” or the Isaacs do one of any number of recent hits. That way folks that have little or no exposure to SG could actually have gotten a taste. Did love Charlie Daniels, though. He does no wrong.

  13. 1 old fan wrote:

    Shamika, I didn’t see anything racist in John’s play on your name. Go back and re-read it. and lighten up. It was childish, but I doubt anyone else read racism into it.

    By the way, EH might have had other family obligations. Perhaps a family member was ill or had a birthday. Sometimes there are more important things than work/career/awards shows.

    Dove awards are only important to people in the industry and the BIGGEST fans. Nobody else cares. And both tend to forget quickly. Unlike the Oscars for movies, Doves don’t affect record sales or concert attendance.

    That’s my take, anyway.

  14. wackythinker wrote:

    I’m sure, when Ernie is on his death bed, he’ll look back and say, “I sure wish I’d gone to more award shows.”

  15. Tim wrote:

    I saw just a portion of the Dove Awards on Directv. The part of the show I saw was well produced and was glad to see SG as well represented as it was. I hope the SG industry will get over sour grapes of the past and work to find ways to re-align itself more with the GMA and CCM. It will help SG if it can appear successful by association.

  16. John wrote:

    the following is a joke:
    maybe ehss couldn’t afford the $4 a gallon desiel??? :(

    Roy Webb co hosted Singing In The Sun- in Myrtle Beach this past week - he gave his testimony “his side of the story” on why he left ssq - it was amazing let’s just say Roy is sincere and people see that- he is going to be around along time and he deserves that.

  17. john masters wrote:

    Sham says . . . “My mother actually made the comment about the people not even showing up to accept awards and I thought it was worth discussing.”

    Tell yer mama nim that SG awards are pre-show and pre-telecast. Then ask her if she would want to accept an award given in a huge, empty room where the background noise of folks preparing for the real show is louder than the presentation. Maybe that will ease her mind a bit.

    Then remind her that popular groups like EHSSQ are constantly on the road. To take precious days off to travel to and from such a low fanfare event (20 seconds, tops) is not being a good steward of your family time.

    Just let them enjoy the award without the nay-saying. Artists miss award shows all the time!


  18. Richamania wrote:

    I actually think the “too busy” excuse is very valid. In Southern Gospel Music traveling from town to town and church to church is the business, in CCM it’s called touring. They’re not hitting the road 200 or 250 days a year, every year. Some of the more well-known Southern Gospel groups book ther dates a year ahead of time. So, in some cases, they’ve made a commitment to churches/promoters a year in advance. The Dove Award Nominees were announced in mid February, hardly enough time to cancel a date. I would not be too high on a group who’d ditch a date to go to an award show. If traveling 200-250 dates a year is your life blood, why slit your wrists? Wouldn’t take long to develop a bad reputation if you dump a date for a supposed better oppourtunity.

  19. Wade wrote:

    Hey John… Please enlighten us as to why Roy left?? We all could not get to Myrtle Beach cause of the gas prices!!! LoL

    I thought the reason why EH was not there was his Mary Kay lady was out of town and he could get his make up…lol

  20. j-mo wrote:

    John…what is “his side” of the story?

  21. Robert wrote:

    #10 Chris,
    Exactly what I was thinking about the Doves except for the “embarrassing uncle”. I would have said embarrassing grandfather for more effect.
    I couldn’t agree with you more.

  22. john masters wrote:

    Sham said - “the disgusting racist comment about my God-given name”


  23. Jake wrote:

    Since it is not uncommon for groups to be scheduled months in advance, maybe — just maybe — EHSS had a prior commitment. It would be worse to cancel a scheduled event, when publicity and planning have already gone into the event by the local promoters or church, than to skip an awards ceremony due to a previously scheduled conflict.

    To John (# 16) — don’t just throw us a bone. If you are going to tell us that Roy Webb said “something” then tell us what the “something” is.

    Just my two cents worth.

  24. John wrote:

    Roy gave an awesome testimony - Dean Hopper called him on in the last 10 minutes of one of the singing in the sun concerts-
    Back in May I asked Ernie why Roy was not with them that night and Ernie said “roy [edited] has some issues that need to be resolved.” ernie’s comment was misleading and now i’m glad i heard the following story-

    NOTE: this is not word for word.

    Roy’s parents are both hearing impared his mother only 40% but his dad was completely deaf - his parents got a divorce over 20 years ago- since then roy had only seen his father 5 times at most and this was just in passing- so in 2007 his dad was diagnosed with a powerful oral cancer- that caused him to have the whole lower portion of his face removed and replaced with titanium plates and skin from his chest and back-
    Roy sister had called roy and told him that she was bringing his dad to his (roy’s) house to meet him- when he arrived roy had forgotten most of the sign lanquage so they both showed the “i love you” sign to each other and then roy said “and there we began” starting from the beginning Roy said his dad jokingly signed to him “so… what’s your favorite color” — so going through all of that he decided he wanted to make up for that lost time…


    He just said I was “faced” with the decision to “leave” the road…

    So roy grew closer to his dad over his last few weeks…
    One day roys sister called and said come to dad’s house quick hospice called and something really unusual was happening- his dad was “crossing over” Roy explained how his dad would “fade in and out” and that his dad told Roy that he had talked to Jesus and that his dad said he could here in heaven and that it was really loud :) … Roy teared up and said so you see folks no matter what we face down here own earth one day we will make it to that holy city of Jerusalem- The Hoppers immediately stepped up and went into an encore of Jerusalem-

    the Holy Spirit filled that
    place - I was moved to tears.

  25. Faith wrote:

    Wow, john masters, you really sound like a winner. Move on and get over it already!

    About EH, I think Wade might be right. Can’t go without makeup! Or maybe he and the guys couldn’t go because they had a dance lesson. Or a hair appointment?…naaaahhhh.

  26. quartet-man wrote:

    #16, John. I too want to know what Roy Webb said. He put it out there and you brought it here. Even if you think you can’t do it justice, please try.

  27. john masters wrote:

    Faith says “Wow, john masters, you really sound like a winner.”

    Thank you Faith! The second part of your post shows that though your name is Faith, you have no hope or love. Asking me to move on while you swat at the Sigs like that? We could get you a gig in a Metro Chicago church with messages like that!

  28. john masters wrote:

    And don’t confuse me with “John # 24″ that ain’t me!

  29. Ethan wrote:

    Why do you care if EHSS did not go to the Dove Awards? Do you have a job that takes you away from home at a minimum 130 days a year? If you were gone 130 days a year, I bet you would like to be home as much as possible. I’m sure Ernie thought it was more important for them to be at their concert scheduled for the next night.

    It comes down to where would you rather be? Do you want to be at an award show that doesn’t care about your style of music and please a bunch of malcontents, or do you want to be in front of a packed out crowd singing to people who appreciate what you do? I think the choice is easy. Besides, if EHSS had gone, what would the detractors have to complain about?

  30. Leebob wrote:

    Truthfully, if I had some place to be as opposed to winning an award I would probably take it. Awards are nice but what did you do to earn the award. SG has pretty much been an afterthought to the Dove people for many years now so I am not too worried about it. If EH&SS choose not to go to an awards show it is clearly their decision. Between hotel costs and fuel, if they are not paid it may be simply a financial decision.

    What I find more interesting is our fascination of flash over substance. While visiting youtube and seeing EH&SS staging one of their songs they sound rather ordinary. To do all the movement that they do they have to stack the tracks so much that the appearance is they are more about the show and less about the singing, getting dangerously close to Vanilla Ice territory.

    Do not get me wrong, the whole lot of EH&SS are extremely talented. I also believe that in order to reach someone with the gospel there must be an element of entertaining (holding one’s attention). At what point have we gone to the other end of the pendulum’s swing? At what point do we become less genuine and more ego-centric?

  31. Grigs wrote:

    If somebody wants to know why EHSS wasn’t at the awards show, you can contact them through their website and ask. Probably the same for Austins Bridge.

    I’d do it myself if I thought it was worth the effort.

    John’s report is accurate. I’ve heard Roy Webb’s “side of the story” (I was at his first solo gig) and it’s all about forgiveness, hope, and love. It would severely disappoint those wanting a “Roy vs. Ernie” scandal. Sorry ’bout your luck.

  32. quartet-man wrote:

    Thanks for sharing about Roy’s testimony. It was far more important for Roy to make peace with his dad. It’s too bad he wasn’t able to take the needed time off and still do it, but God can still use Roy and the restoration he and his dad had greatly in other places.

  33. Faith wrote:

    Oh my gosh, “john masters”, comparing me to Obama’s pastor??? PLEASE! Should I even dignify that with a response?

    It was a JOKE. You know, a joke? Oh, you HAVE heard of them? Yeah, I really think that EH and the guys had a dance lesson. Right. And because of a joke (and admonishing you to quit beating a dead horse), you say that I have no hope or love. Who do you think you are to say that to anyone? And why are you only comparing ME to a certain pastor, and not everyone else who has posted on here? I wonder.

  34. Realistic wrote:

    John and Grigs:
    Take into account that there are always two sides to every story, even a moving one like Roy’s. And be sure to give Ernie just as much grace as you’re giving Roy.

  35. Wade wrote:

    Hi Faith…nice to meet some one else here that has a sense of humor.

  36. John wrote:

    I fully respect Ernie and Roy-
    I simply said that Ernie had made a misleading comment to me-
    and now I was glad that I heard this “side” of the story.

  37. jb wrote:

    We went to Gaither Give it Away Concert over the weekend. We had free tickets we had won. They only had Janet P.Lynda R., The Easters, Joy G., GVB, EHSS. I could not believe the stacks that were used. The EAsters have never impressed me, they can sing, but, they aren’t great. Their daughter did an o.k. job. What amazes me is that when you look at the crowd, the majority of people think that these groups really sound like a 25 voice choir. They have no idea they are lip singing (probably misspelled) and using stacks over stacks. I was entertained and it was a nice Friday evening, but, would I pay $31 for a ticket…..NO. Maybe if there were several groups on the stage, but, I know they have other engagements. I know they use the same jokes, but, we really enjoyed the humor. Guess I was needing a good laugh that night and Kevin Williams was right on.

  38. Realistic wrote:

    An important point for John and all:

    The Roy testimony you retold does not necessarily discount what Ernie said to you. You may want to reconsider labeling something as a “misleading comment” that could also be quite true.

  39. Grigs wrote:

    Re: #34

    Huh? When did I say something “ungracious” about Ernie? I’ve read Ernie’s “side”: he basically said Roy had things more important than playing piano to take care of and he left the group to do that. When Roy told his story, he basically elaborated on what the more important things were.

  40. cynical one wrote:

    Actually, if I remember the original story correctly, Roy’s “side of the story” is not any different from EHSS’ press release. Only more detail.

    However, it would be interesting to know if there’s some reason Roy is not going back to EHSS. Does he just WANT to do his solo thing, or are we reading too much into all this?

  41. John wrote:

    when E. made the comment to me- it was in a tone that was “misleading” he made roy sound like a complete wreck.

  42. Jake wrote:

    In Ernie’s defense — because none of us can get into his head or heart — I am sure that, especially right after Roy left, Ernie and the others were undoubtedly asked over and over again, multiple times every day, for the reason. When you give the same answer over and over, trying to give out whatever information you can while still protecting confidentialities, it can get tiring — annoying — and unless you memorize a script (which everyone would jump on), sometimes it is going to come out better than other times. I agree with #40, it really doesn’t sound like anything “new” or juicy. And he probably didn’t know how long he would have to take off, because he didn’t know how long his dad would live — so rather than leave EHSS up in the air, either Roy or Ernie or both together decided together that it was better for him to resign. That’s my guess.

  43. Ron F wrote:

    Unfortunately, I was only able to watch the last portion of the live broadcast last Wednesday night. however, I did watch most of the program as it was replayed a few nights ago. The only performance I saw by southern gospel artist(s) was the joint performance of the hoppers, karen peck & new river, etc. And the joint performance by the Isaacs and Third Day. Was there any other southern gospel artist(s) performance? I was disappointed by the joint performances I saw - I felt that the southern gospel artist(s) should have been allowed to perform by themselves . . . in my view it was kind of like the southern gospel artist(s) were “thrown a bone” in being allowed to be on stage. I’d like to hear anyone else’s opinion on this.

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