The day in numbers

Then there were two: Crossway is now a duet? Alrighty then. At the rate they’re shedding personnel, this group (that showed great promise not so long ago as a quartet) is one departure away from a solo career.

For whatever reasons, duets have never really worked in sg (or in many other genres for that matter). Perhaps it’s because, from the perspective of staging and performing a show, a duet is really the equivalent of two soloists at work at the same time, and gospel audiences and culture seem to prefer clear hierarchies and divisions of labor that allow them to assign clear roles to each performer. A duet, on other hand, really requires a more or less equal sharing of the vocal and performantive burden, and so makes it difficult often for audiences used to seeing a group with a clear leader/emcee (the Judds weren’t a gospel act, but it strikes me they provide a useful example here; they were able to address this problem of who’s-in-charge by letting Naomi’s maternal function stand in for the kind of authority usually attributed to an emcee in a larger group). This is a challenging dynamic for experienced performers to manage in the best cases. To wind up in a duet by attrition … not good. Unless of course you prefer professional death by slow hemorrhage rather than, say, Crystal River’s more or less quick-collapse approach to decline and fall.

Many are called, four three are ChoZen: Speaking of Crystal River … while I’ve been waiting for someone to explain to me how a group can dissolve so utterly over the departure of a guy who wasn’t the emcee or the center of the sound harmonically, I recalled that a while back, this commenter said a group called ChoZen was going to be “the new Crystal River,” whatever that means. So I zipped on over to the group’s MySpace page (note to groups: MySpace pages may be great community builders but they aren’t substitutes for stand alone websites) and noticed that the group describes itself this way:

No embellishment, no instrumentation, no distractions. Just the pure beauty of four distinct voices converging into one seamless blend where the songs and the harmony take center stage………

Which sounds fine, except that unless I’m missing something, there are only three guys in the group, no? Make your own joke/wry comment about tracks and overdubbed voices here.

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  1. Leebob wrote:

    We just became a quartet because Chris and I wanted to do a little more musically. Besides, we did the math and 3 people cannot do 4 parts, especially acapella, unless one of has a SERIOUS sinus problem.

  2. Leebob wrote:

    Oh yeah…I enjoyed Crossway immensely when they were here as a QT but I came away, as did much of our audience, that they were, for the most part, a soloist with a guitar and three back ups. I hope they can find at least a third part and will work toward incorporating more of the group.

  3. Aaron Swain wrote:

    I believe the story on Chozen is that they were a quartet, but one guy left. And they just haven’t bothered to change the description.

  4. wackythinker wrote:

    Well, a couple of years ago the McRaes (sister duo) lost a McRae and became a trio TK&McRae. Then they lost T&K and became a female trio The McRaes (with only one McRae). Then they lost one non-McRae and gained 2 new McRaes and became a female quartet (of sorts) with the same name, The McRaes.

    Mike Bowling was a solo act (and part of the Crabb Family for a while), then added some family members to become The Mike Bowling Group. Then dropped the family members to add his wife and a hired hand, and became Mike & Kelly Bowling.

    I’m sure there are other examples of this kind of confusing movement, but these came to my mind.

    By the way, who put the Zen in ChoZen?

  5. SgFan11 wrote:

    ChoZeN was a quartet when they recorded there music, they lost there lead singer when they got the crystal river deal! so therfore there are no overdubbed or stacked vocals.. and here is there new crystal river page

    and you can find them at

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