Open thread

I’ll be away from ye olde writing deske until early next week. Talk amongst yourselves.

Jason Waldroup’s last concert with Greater Vision is coming up and the NQC 50th Anniversary video is re-airing on TBN just in time for the run-up to the convention’s 51st year, and evidently Gaither flopped in Branson way back when? Oh my.

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  1. Leebob wrote:

    Okay, this I gotta hear. The Gaither flopping in Branson story. Somone in the know enlighten me.

    I remember watching the first Homecoming video and thought it was a nice nastalgia thing but it would not last and it would not have had it not been for bringing in some of the newer groups and intermingling the old with the new. Pure genius!

  2. Kyle wrote:

    Leebob, I entirely agree. Let’s have the kids sing a new song, followed by an old classic, and to thrill everyone, we’ll have Vestal sing a verse. Brought the house down EVERY TIME.

  3. FW wrote:

    Oh, yes. There was no bigger thrill in SG than watching that enormous kimono(muumuu?)-clad figure hoist itself out of her special wingback chair(throne?). Priceless.

  4. Anonymity wrote:

    Can someone explain Mike & Kelly Bowling’s #1 Song, “Your Cries Have Awoken the Master”? I’ve tried to reason it out,but I am clueless…

  5. terry wrote:

    what needs to be explained?

  6. Dean Adkins wrote:

    Re Gaither - Branson:

    “[G]ospel is hard to sell in Branson,” says Phyllis Gotrock, director of the Branson Gospel Music Association, who ought to know. … the Collins Family’s program of entirely religious music ran only four years in Branson, and the all-gospel Blackwood Singers failed to draw big crowds. Bill Gaither opened a 2000-seat theater, and closed it before two months were out. (It seems that folks like gospel music, they just don’t think of it as entertainment, something you ought to pay for.)

  7. Grave Digger wrote:

    FW, your post just killed me!

  8. Chickadee wrote:

    Was FW trying to be funny? I failed to catch the humor.

  9. Janet wrote:

    I just love how these open threads seem to always be recycled Gaither-bashing. Sigh… I would tread lightly on the Sister Vestal comments, though. (thunder, lightning, very, very frightening)
    I, for one, am very bummed to learn that that the GVB reunion dvd won’t be released until Sept 2009. Come on! I could die before then! I mean, really - what’s the delay?

  10. Anonymity wrote:

    Terry-it’s the fact that it talks about a “Master” needing to be awakened..and God/Jesus never sleeps…so who could it be?

  11. Diana wrote:

    There are comments from attendees of the Greater Vision concert Saturday night on the Singing News forums and I did a write-up on

    It was such a nice way to honor Jason’s 13 years with the group. You can always count on Gerald Wolfe to produce a very entertaining event!

  12. Kyle wrote:

    Where in the world is Terry Franklin?? The biggest reason I would be interested in a GVB Reunion DVD would be to see Franklin, English, Lowry, and Gaither nail “I Bowed On My Knees” or maybe have Lowry goof off with “Jesus On The Mainline.”

    Oh well….at least I still have my “Live at Praise Gathering” video….

  13. insider wrote:

    Word on the street is that a group of local singers from Georgia have been named the new crystal river. They were formally an ac cappella group called Chosen. They are in the studio right now re-recording all those great old crystal river songs. From my understanding, they don’t want to just be a typical ordinary sg group though. But it seems to me the last group that made that statement, and went against the grain, well they went under and disbanded. I’m trying to remember their name….oh wait…yea…it was crystal river…… So everyone be on the look-out for the 2.0 version of this group and lets hope their owner is able to recoup the money they lost the first time around. here is their old myspace address so you can get a good look-see of what to expect…

    Melodyne works wonders

  14. FormerDJ wrote:

    I thought FW was funny. I did love seeing Howard and Vestal in their big front row chairs.

  15. cynical one wrote:

    Janet, and if we die before that dvd comes out, it won’t matter, anyway.

    It might take that long to do all the added tracking and stacking, not to mention the tuning.

    Anyone know why Terry and Jonathan weren’t there? “Previous commitments,” is the official story, but “inquiring (nosey) minds want to know”.

  16. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #13: Part of the reason Crystal River went under is because they lost their bass to BFA. They were good as a trio, but sort of lacked the punch they had as a quartet. Now, tenor Dusty Barrett is with Soul’d Out, baritone Jeff Snyder is with Mike & Kelly Bowling, and lead Zack McGill is not in a group.
    I’m sort of anxious to hear Crystal River 2.0. They’ll have an interesting sound, that’s for sure.

  17. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #13: I believe Zack McGill owned Crystal River 1.0, so do you think he will take the lead position and make the group a quartet?

  18. Pedantic wrote:

    It may be because Mr. Gaither has more projects “in the can” that need to release before the GVB reunion gets it’s turn.

    I think it is referring to Jesus sleeping in the boat with the storm raging, when the disciples woke him he said “Where is your faith?”
    My interpretation of the song is that a lot of times we get stressed out over things that God has under control. When we cry out to Him, he comforts us and “calms our storm”.
    It’s not great theology, since Christ is no longer here in a physical body that needs rest, but there is a measure of spiritual truth there that we can take comfort from.

  19. Aaron Swain wrote:

    Word is that Gold City is bringing back the Band Of Gold, and GC has confirmed the rumor.

  20. Tim Maze wrote:

    Any idea who will comprise Gold City’s band?

  21. dd wrote:

    Thanks to Adam Edwards here’s a first look at the blend for GV.

  22. George Lane wrote:

    #9 Janet, I guess all of the Gaither bashing is just pure jealously. When if fact if it wasn’t for Bill Gaither revamping the market for Southern Gospel where would it be today. The talent isn’t any better than it was twenty years ago and the record companies do a good job but nothing much has changed. At least Gaither is opening the market to different age groups and expanding the base. If it wasn’t for Bill Gaither and his ideas the Southern Gospel fan base would soon die out. And you guys can argue until you are blue in the face but it is true and you know it.

  23. insider wrote:

    Crystal River was bought from Zach by their booking agent at the time, who still currently owns the group. Zack no longer sings. Losing their bass singer really didn’t cause the group to go under. Poor business decisions? Yes. Will it work? Yes, if they create their own idenity using this name. I don’t feel using a defunct name is a great idea, but there was a lot of losses to recover there, and maybe the owner can make a gain this time.

    As for GC band? Yes… only on a limited basis though…

  24. Jeremy Carter wrote:

    Aaron….Where did you see that?

  25. Brandon Coomer wrote:

    I’ve been told by someone going by the handle “insider” that Taylor Barnes (Singing Americans, Hoppers) will be the bass player in the new Band Of Gold.

  26. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #24: I read it in the SN Forums from user jchaz, and later read the same thing on Brandon Coomer’s blog.

  27. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #23: Is the new Crystal River going to be a trio or a quartet?

  28. Anonymity wrote:

    Has anyone heard Timeless Hymns & Classics II from BF&A? The clips I heard sounded good..

  29. music lover wrote:


  30. cynical one wrote:

    music lover — #29 — “to get real entertainment”? What? Entertainment in Christian music? We’re not supposed to admit we want entertainment in Christian music! Have you not been reading these blah, blah, blah, blah blogs? It’s supposed to be all about the ministry.

    But seriously, take off the Cap Lock. Most of us equate that with shouting. And NO ONE around here would want to be accused of shouting. WOULD WE?!?!?!?!


  31. Leebob wrote:

    Having fun on the quote of the day thread w/ nonSGfan. Ya’ll come join in on the fun.

  32. tommy boy wrote:

    I was at Gaither’s theatre in Branson the very first week it opened. Vestal was there with a pretty impressive line up. It was Franklin’s first week with GVB and was very cool to watch. He was still learning the material and at times, English would back out of his mike and sing the tenor part in his ear in the middle of an ending. They sang like there was 10,000 people there, but I was shocked to be one of about 50 people in the audience. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever watched. It was like an intense rehearsal. They really kind of had their guard down and laughed at their mistakes (which made it even more cool).

  33. tommy boy wrote:

    By the way, the fact that Gaither’s theatre was empty while Jim Neighbors, Mickey Gilley, Wayne Newton and the Baldnobbers were selling out, should give you some insight to the Branson crowds.

  34. quartet-man wrote:

    Ah, man, Tommy Boy, I wish I had been there. Thanks for sharing.

  35. SgDoc wrote:

    FYI - Gaither Celebration Theater in Branson was closed with no warning for the ticket holders or even the employees that showed up for work to find the doors locked. Gaither was connected by “Name Only” and had no connection to the business dealings.

    Yet, Gospel is represented in Branson by each and every theater in it’s two song “lets get this over with” rendition of “Amazing Grace” and “I’ll Fly Away” section of the show. Phillis “Rotrock” was a visionary and hard worker!

    The reason the theater went down was due to poor management. They spent all the money in renovations and glitz. As well as paying acts way too much money for what they got. There is just too much competition in Branson for a “Gospel Only” Show.

  36. BaritoneBob wrote:

    # 35, Gaither’s name was plastered all over the advertisments about the theatre and SGM fans and visitors to Branson were clearly led to believe that Bill was in charge. See the May 1992 copy of the SN magazine. Bill was taking credit right and left but later, the moment Celebration Theatre failed, he was backtracking and stating that he was only a front man, not the man behind the venture.

  37. AnnD wrote:

    Hey #4 Anonymity….is “awoken” a real word?????? AD

  38. quartet-man wrote:

    Hmmm, DA, Historian, whoever could you be talking about? ;)

  39. quartet-man wrote:

    #12. Kyle, with all due respect, as much as I would have loved for Terry Franklin and Jonathan Pierce to have been there (and Lemuel Miller for that matter) there are other reasons. Other than their first song on a Gaither Trio lp in 1980, I haven’t heard the original group sing live. Both that group, the one with Mohr. then with Larnelle and later with English and Larnelle (although I have one song on video with this combo) these are the groups to see the most. It has been far longer since they have sung together and there is not really much out there in any fashion on them. I would like to see Lee and Jon and hear what they are doing and hear them reminisce.

    I would, however, have loved seeing and hearing Lemuel do a song or two (maybe they will show some archival footage) as well as Franklin with Buddy Mullins and even Pierce with Mullins. Other options would be mixing and matching members (although they did sub Wesley in for Franklin, so that will be cool.) I am super glad that Phelps was there as he is the best tenor they ever had and even though he is more recent, he was there for some time as well and was a big part. I hope they do Picture Of Grace live. :)

    So, although seeing Franklin back in it with Mark, Guy and Bill etc. at least we have footage of those times we can revisit. A lot of the others we do not.

    But, it will still be less than desirable with the three tenors missing. I am still looking forward to it immensely though.

  40. Anonymity wrote:

    AnnD.-The word,”Awoken”, is a word.It’s the past participle of the word awake. But no one still has answered my inquiry..

  41. BUICK wrote:

    QuartetMan wrote:
    “it will still be less than desirable with the three tenors missing.”

    “The Three Tenors”…now that has a nice ring to it. Crank up the GaitherCam, make a video and market the heck out of it!

  42. cynical one wrote:

    Anonymity — I’m not sure there IS an answer to your initial inquiry. Someone will probably attempt to offer one, now that I’ve said that, but I’m not sure it will really settle the question in most people’s minds.

    I’ve heard a couple of songs from M&KB’s new cd, and I think it all sounds too much like everything else Mike’s done for the past few years (except the Hinson tribute, of course). The one song’s intro had a great black gospel feel, but when the vocals came in, that feel disappeared. Even the choir didn’t have the same vibe. Just another Mike Bowling thing, to me.

    Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m sure they’re fine people, with lots of rabid fans who will disagree with me profusly in the days to come. I’m just saying, to me, this cd sounds too much like MBG and most of his other solo project. IMHO

    And after all, it IS all about ME! ;-)

  43. Anti-cynical wrote:

    Mike Bowling sounding like previous Mike Bowling stuff??? As opposed to what? Mike Bowling sounding like Jason Crabb. I mean really, what do you expect his stuff to sound like? He is Mike Bowling and he probably will always sound like Mike Bowling.
    On a second note, I am amazed that people pick a part a song like Your Cries Have Awoken The Master. You true blue SG lovers will listen to songs about Bottled Water and Singing for the Bus (which most everyone in SG does just that instead of Jesus) but let some one sing a song about waking up Jesus/God (who doesn’t sleep) and the rafters come off because no one gets it. Jesus was asleep in the boat. It is in the Book, read it. He may not sleep now but really you get the point. In reality, you really do get it you just want to be difficult and make a comment and try to run someone down. Very typical of SG fans. Everyone wants to know some dirt or drag someone down. Such a great industry, wonder why it isn’t more popular????

    Oh wait now I am not sure anti-cynical fits my name. Oh well.


  44. Leebob wrote:

    Anti-cynical…not a bad poiint on the first point.

  45. cynical one wrote:

    No, Anti, I didn’t mean that Mike should sound like anyone other than Mike. I just meant there doesn’t seem to be much variety in his sound. Nearly every song sounds too much like the last one. And he, of course, is not the only guilty artist. I just thought I’d pick on him, since others were talking about the project.

    And I do understand the philosophy that, if something works, you should stick with it. However, some variety would be nice, too.

  46. cynical one wrote:

    Oh, and I forgot to say that it’s the SONGS sounding so much alike I had a problem with. I hope that clarifies my statement.

  47. Anti-cynical wrote:

    Point taken. While you are probably right that new project from M&KB seems to be doing something right isn’t this Master song the 2nd number 1?

    I saw them recently and I really enjoy them and Jeff Snyder. He kills the Rusty Goodman song Who Am I.

  48. Pedantic wrote:

    I had a theory about why Mike Bowling songs sound like Mike Bowling songs, but when I went to check it out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
    Many artists fall into that trap because they (or their producers) want the publishing $$ as well as the performance or retail $$, so they only use songs that they or their relatives/labelmates have written.
    My conclusion, since there is a good mix of songwriters on the new (Street Date Aug. 12) album, is that they have found a sound that they like and it has become their (dare I say) “signature sound”.
    It kills me that some reviewers will bash an artist, expecting them to be innovative and take chances, but then complain if it doesn’t maintain their “sound”.

  49. quartet-man wrote:

    #41, Buick, I thought that after I typed it, but let it go. :)

  50. Anonymity wrote:

    Anti-You side-stepped the idea of the second verse and bridge where it refers to a personal talk to the listener.I really do not appreciate the way my initial inquiry for the song was attacked.It may appear to you that I’m trying to be difficult and make Mike & Kelly look bad. To be honest,I hold nothing against them and wouldn’t try in the least to make them appear that way.By the way,the songs “Bottled Water” and “Singin’ for the Bus” are “fun” songs-not necessarily anything from which to get a spiritual blessing;however, this song does.And all I asked in my original post was if someone could shed some light on the song’s explanation.So please,don’t target me personally for wanting to know an explanation for a song,when no one else can figure it out either. I would also like to understand how you can read my mind and think for me when I can’t think it out. (by saying I “get it” and I was using it to start an argument of some sort when I didn’t at all)

  51. studio chick wrote:

    Mike and Kelly Bowling have two #1 songs on a record that is still not released. I heard them perform last week and they gave that info during the product pitch. The release date is soon according to Jeff. I think they must have hit the jackpot on material and perhaps the performance in the studio. I have the record. It is amazing. I hear great music everyday, but these songs are way above average. Mike, Kelly, and Jeff Snyder are incredible talents. Buy the record. You will not be disappointed.

  52. Anonymity wrote:

    Thanks,Studio Chick,for making it clear that Mike & Kelly are a great group. My favorite of theirs is the first #1 they had,”We Have a Savior.” I also like the new single,”A Miracle Today.” The beginning of the chorus sounds nearly identical to the Crabb Family’s song “Please Come Down to Me.”

  53. Pedantic wrote:

    Sonya and Becky of the Isaacs are the songwriters of “Your Cries…” maybe someone could try to get their input?

  54. Barry wrote:

    Mike and Kelly are amazing people and are having a great year. But a lot of it goes to their promoter Rhonda Tompson Promotions. But, Cries to me was the best song from them and I dont feel they sound like the old Mike Bowling stuff too much.

  55. bradon wrote:

    Mike and Kelly’s radio promoter is Rick Hendrix Co. and has been for the last two years, They promoted Both their #1’s Rhonda although a great promoter didn’t promote these singles. if I’ve been told right Rhonda works for their label and not as Mike and Kelly’s primary promoter. just thought i’d let you know. By the way have you heard their new song ? Miracles it’s another hit , it has truly ministered to my family. God Bless, Brady H

  56. Tad Kirkland wrote:

    Does anyone know why Terry Franklin and Jonathan Pierce are not on the GVB Reunion? Back in the day, the word on the bus was Terry’s departure was unpleasant because of his vocal distaste for the Michael English situation. And Jonathan (Hildreth) Pierce was fired because he wanted more solos, so Bill suggested he go solo. But I don’t know if there’s anything to any of that.

  57. mp3guy wrote:

    wackythinker, wherever you are - I take back whatever nice things I ever said about you. Why, why, why did you have to rattle Harry’s cage?

  58. Wesley Vaughn wrote:

    Does anyone know the whereabouts of Chris Whitaker that I am assuming “used to” sing with Crystal River is? I traveled with him back in the early part of 2001 with a group in Alabama, but haven’t heard from him in about a year. Had no clue of the disbanding and reforming of Crystal River.


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