NQC 2008 curtain raiser

This is NQC’s 51st year, and for the student of gospel music history and culture, it’s hard not to wonder what the next 50 years will bring for this event. Looked at one way, it’s a remarkable testament to the enduring appeal of gospel music as a mass-cultural form of religious experience and expression that the event has sustained itself for half a century with comparatively little change to NQC’s structure and style. True, conservative crowds don’t like change on the whole, so to some extent it’s important to acknowledge the work of inertia here. Lots of folks come to NQC because they always have, and lots of what goes on NQC happens the way it does because it’s always been done that way.

Still, it’s not nothing that in this the 51st year, with the economy in the tank and all those V8 Crown Vics, Towncars, and Coupe deVilles you see in the Freedom Hall parking lot sucking up $4-gallon gas, you gotta admit NQC does something right if, as I am led to believe, advance sales are “substantially up” over recent years and trends.

So from one angle, NQC looks pretty strong. From other view points, though, it’s hard not to marvel at the hidebound reluctance of NQC owners and management to reimagine the event in ways that retain its core appeal - the evening parade of stars in the round - while capitalizing on the substantial shifts that have taken place in mass-market entertainment and event programming  in the last 50 years.

But I’m just a guy with a computer and lots of gospel cds, so I’ve been asking around to see  how far off base I am here in thinking that the NQC approach may be showing as much as age and wear and disrepair as Freedom Hall.

If you could make any changes to NQC, without roadblocks or obstacles, what would they be, I asked a few people who (because I’ve been wanting to use this line forever) I’ll call sources close to the NQC president. And I gotta say, I was surprised by how immediately and unreservededly the dissatisfaction poured forth. A representative response:

1. Fire Clarke Beasley
2. Leave Louisville
3. Relocate the event in July to a place like Sieverville, TN, and sell bundle deals with Dollywood passes etc targeting families with kids.
4. Sell out the smaller concert venue multiple times daily instead of watching the crowds dwindle down in the monstrous Freedom Hall space.

It’s not really surprising that Beasley’s leadership has generated controversy. First of all, the whole American Gospel Music debacle, an NQC-backed misadventure spearheaded by Beasley, has not endeared him to the money men and other gospel-music luminaries whose interests he manages as NQC’s executive vice president. Secondly, there’s nothing illegal about his cozy relationship with the Louisville visitors and tourism bureau, but it rubs a lot of folks the wrong way, since it gives the impression that NQC continues to return to the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center, and especially the antiquated and unacoustical Freedom Hall, for reasons that don’t have to do with how well the venue matches the demands of the event. Upgrades and expansions to the expo wings have helped … a little. But none of the KFEC spaces were designed for musical performance or concert experience, as anyone who’s ever had to sit off to the extreme side of the stage in one of the expo rooms for a showcase can attest.

So while it’d be a huge gamble to implement items 2-4 on my source’s list of recommendations (or any other similar reform agenda), it’s also easy to see that NQC squanders a lot of programming and event opportunities during the morning and afternoon because there are only so many people who want to go watch and listen to music in a straightback chair in a rectangular ballroom with an ungraded floor. And in turn there are generally only certain types of (often desperate) groups who will agree to perform at such events for more than a few minutes. Thus the festival of mediocrity that most afternoon programming in the expo wings of NQC turns out to be. The events that tend to succeed are, not surprisingly, the headliner showcases that warrant being moved to Freedom Hall.

I’m not sure the Dollywood/Sieverville angle is the right one (for one thing, it’s not entirely clear that sg has ever had or will ever have the kind of appeal that will be a “bring the whole family” sort of draw; then again maybe if kids had access to the diversions of a theme park, that might make a gospel music event seem more appealing to whole fam damily). But the country-themed theme-park approach to staging a series of professional-grade shows in small- to medium-sized theater venues at regular intervals seems to have a lot of possibilities for an event like NQC, whose appeal is, first and last, the ability for fans to see all or most of their favorite performers, with time in between to get some concession-stand junk food and buy some trinkets and souvenirs all within a reasonably walkable (or Lil’ Rascable) distance.

In the meantime, assuming Hurricane Ike doesn’t get in the way of my travel plans, I’ll be in Louisville for NQC, as per usual this year: Thursday through Saturday. I won’t be arriving in time to hear the big Gaither/EHSSQ showcase Thursday, but I trust there will be plenty of freelancers who will send their thoughts along. And as for the rest of it, warts and all, I can’t wait.

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Trackbacks & Pings

  1. Musicscribe Blog » NQC 2008: Monday Via Solid Gospel, Part 2 on 08 Sep 2008 at 9:08 pm

    […] good at math, but several have referred to this as the 51st year of NQC (both on the air and on the internet). I’m nit-picky…I […]

  2. Musicscribe Blog » NQC 2008: Aftermath on 16 Sep 2008 at 11:02 am

    […] The video work done by the supposedly inadequate crew looked […]


  1. Trent wrote:

    I also am very much looking forward to NQC this week. Talk of moving the event from Louisville to another venue comes up from time to time. However, not everyone wants so see it leave Louisville (and I’m not even sure that idea is on the table). Here’s why I think it should stay in Louisville:

    1. Easy access….Freedom Hall sits practically in the median of I-65. It’s very easy to get in and out of. No downtown traffic, no people missing the turn. This is particularly important with the older set of fans who attend…they wouldn’t want to contend with downtown traffic or an off-the-beaten-path locale.

    2. Improvements. The new wing for the artists’ booths will be open this year; supposedly it’s much improved from what’s been available in the past. It will be interesting to hear artists’ and fans’ reactions to it after they’ve test-driven it this week.

    3. Is Freedom Hall really the cavernous, musty, non-acoustic behemoth that some people make it out to be? No, it’s not. Of course there are often problems with the sound–because whoever typically is running the sound at NQC acts as if they’ve never sat in front of a board before. If Monday night is the typical first night of NQC, they should have the sound lined out pretty well by 10:30 or 11:00 pm. However, I wouldn’t blame that on Freedom Hall; I’d blame it on poor preparation by the sound guys.

    4. A lot of people attend NQC from up north. Louisville is centrally located. The farther south the event is staged, the more alienation of people from states north of the Ohio River.

  2. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    Regarding suggestion 3:
    There’s a Six Flags right next to Freedom Hall. If the event were moved to summer, you’d have your family diversion right there. Of course, you’d be competing with the ordinary Six Flags traffic.

    Regarding showcases in the past:
    They’ve been using five conference rooms, creating a loooong rectangular room. This year, many of the showcases are moving to the East Wing, which is closer to square in shape with seats for more people.

  3. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    I’m fairly certain this is the 52nd NQC. 2008 minus 1957 does equal 51, but you have to count the first year too.

  4. Baritone77 wrote:

    I think the biggest change needed is to move the event to the summer when more people can attend (especially those that work during the “school year”. It would only make sense to make the even accessible to the most people.

    The event is big enough that the board should be accepting bids from different cities annually and awarding based on those bids. Moving to different cities would help grow the genre through increased exposure.

  5. SGfan wrote:

    I have always felt that Nashville, TN would be a better fit for the event. After all, it is practically a days drive from over half the countries population, the center of the music industry, has more venues to work with, and in my opinion a much nicer city than Lousiville. Just my opinion.

  6. scope wrote:

    I’ve been discussing this quite a bit lately. Most of the people I have talked to can’t come because their kids are in school. The dates of the NQC really need to be revisited.

    I have heard more mumblings this year of the poor job Clark is doing. For example, INSP didn’t get the video contract this year. That means that instead of a crew of twenty taping the awards show, many of the afternoon showcases (Pianorama, etc) as well as three complete nights on the main stage; we will have a crew of two taping 12 hours of main stage performances. Period. What was Clark thinking?

    I know a lot of people (especially industry people) would like to have the NQC back in Nashville, where so much of the work gets done.

    If it were moved to the Sevierville- pigeon Forge area, they might be able to tie the SGMA awards into that week. That would be a plus to me.

    Although I would like to see changes, I probably will go whenever and wherever the NQC is held.

  7. Joe wrote:

    I would echo the sentiments of Doug and others who would love to see the NQC move to the Smokies. Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge…anywhere there would be great in my estimation.

    Besides- if it were in Sevierville, you could visit the Smoky Mountain Knife Factory every day!

    This area is one of my favorite places- I’m heading back on my motorcycle soon, for my 4th bike trip there.

    As well, moving it to the summer would be a real positive move. My wife cannot take off from her job in September, and she would love to go.

    One more plus: The Inspirations, Kingdom Heirs, Triumphant Quartet, Hayes Family, and many other groups (including the FFB’s) would have very short travel times!

  8. Music Chick wrote:

    I agree with almost everything! Move it to the summer so I can go and take my whole family to have this amazing experience! As far as things not being for kids. . .make some events for kids! Have someone like Tim Lovelace come in and do a comedy routine and twist some balloons to make dogs or something (does he do that?) Have a kids play area. Have a meet and greet with some of the artists for kids ( my 5 year old would LOVE to have the undivided attention of the Booth Brothers.) Have some of the artists lead a Kids chapel like the Big people’s chapel. OR is NQC when it is to discourage this very idea!?!?

    Also, move it closer to “the Quartet Capital of the world” ala Paul Heil. NC or TN is a great choice!

    Either way, I’m there!

  9. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    One thing for certain…..we will see an endless parade of overhyped groups go across the stage. Instead of real quartet singing at the QUARTET convention…..we will see trios and mixed groups.

    I am so tired of groups that have a tenor who can barely sing a b flat, a baritone who thinks his hair is pretty and a lead singer who thinks he is Elvis ….win awards and get all the attention that the traditional quartets are not getting.

    Just because “daddy” knew about singing does not mean the sons do. I am tired of groups that have obvious financial backing and deep pockets being able to buy their way into the upper ranks of Southern Gospel.

  10. BUICK wrote:

    These suggestions are worthy of full consideration.

    My suggestion will certainly not be popular but I recommend TRUTH IN ADVERTISING.

    It is called The National Quartet Convention and is replete with trios, a few duets, small ensembles, etc. As it was conceived, it was a convention of male quartets. If I remember my history correctly, JD Sumner only VERY reluctantly agreed to include mixed and family groups for the sake of folk like the Weatherfords and the LeFevers.

    It would actually narrow the appeal (but sharpen the focus) to limit the NQC to “Qs”. Or change the name to something that more accurately reflects the event.

    It would be difficult to rename the NQC since it now contains Christian Country, Bluegrass, Contemporary Christian, etc. And, oh yes, a handfull of male quartets.

  11. Chris wrote:

    Sevierville? Where the heck is that? It doesn’t sound too convenient to fly into. The current location is just fine. In fact, it’s great. It’s close to an airport, hotels, and a CrackerBarrel - hard to go wrong with that.

    I think it would be better if it were moved to the summer. You would see more kids there - and since they’re the next generation of ticket buyers, it would be wise to get them there early in life. It may interfere with other big events around that country, but that’s what WalMart does - interfere with the little guy. Everyone will work around it. The best way to get more seats filled is to fill them with the kids and grandkids of the people who are already there.

  12. Chuck Stevens wrote:

    Anyone know if they will have the stage feed from NQC on Solid Gospel this year?

  13. thom wrote:

    Not Dollywood. If you have ever sat in traffic for an hour trying to get in or out of Sevierville you too would cringe at that idea.
    Too dad-blamed crowded.

    Moving the dates to the summer months seems like a good way to attract more families and having events for children as “music chick” suggests is a great idea. Since Six flags is just across the parking lot, as DBM pointed out, you could coordinate some events with the Six Flags folks and have some things going on inside the park during the day as well. One afternoon you could use one of those huge areas at the expo center ( or a venue at Six Flags if they have one - I;ve never been and dont know what facilities they have) to have some of the most popular artists come in and do a Nickelodeon (how do you spell that) style game show or something really crazy and then sign autographs and make pictures etc with the under 12 crowd. Maybe have some free hot dogs.

    I like the Ky expo center and agree that the central location, easy access, huge parking lot, and renovated exhibition areas are a big plus. I think Freedom Hall works fairly well for the evening concerts. Sure, it was designed for basketball but the crew last year seemed to have taken the production quality up a notch and the evening I was there I only heard a few minor problems with the sound.

    I disagree with the “all male quartet only” crowd. Our genre has grown to include some great mixed groups and trios who sell lots of records and are very popular with the fans. Not allowing these groups to perform on the main stage would actually hurt the attendance.

    There should be a way to pay the groups a little something for performing. Maybe give the ‘headliner’ groups a big discount on their booth rental or some other incentive to be sure you can book the top groups in the industry every year.

    The afternoon showcases need corporate sponsors. The sponsorships could finance contracting with some professional production companies to come in and put on some great shows. Allow the production companies to be creative with what those shows look like and consist of. (with nqc approval of the material of course)Professional staging, lighting, writing, sound, would take these up a huge notch.

    I would not just do new artists showcases, but would have top tier groups doing 45 - 60 minute ‘concerts’ during the afternoon. Many time people come to NQC to hear their favorite artists and then only get to see them on stage for 18 minutes.

    SO to summarize: I would move the dates to June or July, plan more children’s activities, negotiate discounts with Six Flags, have some special programming for the kids, give the top groups some financial incentives, get some sponsorships for the afternoon showcases, and have headliner artists doing concerts in the afternoon.

    Then looking ahead - once Nashville ever gets around to building the new state-of-the-art convention center that is being discussed I would negotiate a package with the city of Nashville and move back here.

    Meanwhile - will there be a tribute to Jim Hammill this year? He was totally overlooked in the 50th anniversary thing last year.

    ANd, from what I understand there will NOT be a live audio feed from the mainstage this year. Is that correct?


  14. Brian wrote:

    #13 said “There should be a way to pay the groups a little something for performing. Maybe give the ‘headliner’ groups a big discount on their booth rental or some other incentive to be sure you can book the top groups in the industry every year. ”

    Groups that appear on the main stage are paid.

  15. RK wrote:

    NQC has had a long and mostly successful run in Louisville, but there is little-in my opinion-to justify it being the permanent home of the event. Louisville is not deeply rooted in the history of the genre. It sits on the northern edge of what is by-and-large a southeastern U.S. fan base. The facilities (though somewhat improved) continue to show their age. It is not a metropolitan area that continually adds new things to see and do that attract new visitors.

    Most comparable large-scale events such as this rotate their site on a regular basis. NQC could find similar, adequate facilities in places like Memphis (the original home of NQC), Birmingham, Atlanta, Charlotte, or Orlando.

    While a theme-park destination might be attractive to some who do not currently attend, I don’t think Sevierville (or Branson, for that matter), has the facilities situated in such a way that would allow NQC to function as we have known it. Disney World in Orlando could pull it off, but that could be too far south and too secular for many tastes.

    If the desire is for a quasi-permanent or long-term home, my vote has always been for Nashville. It is the center of the music industry, both financially and creatively. The variety of venues (many are historic, all with better acoustics), availability of artists (from backup musicians to cross-over stars), and glut of industry energy could create countless new and innovative showcase opportunities.

    The Saturday night drop-off issue could be solved with a Grand Ole Opry or Ryman tie-in that could pique some new interest while avoiding the “ghost town” feel.

    The location would be central to the fan base and could appeal to all but those who live significantly north of Louisville.

    Simply put, Nashville could deliver to NQC a variety of new attractions and possibilities unmatched anywhere else. That’s probably why it won’t happen, sadly.

  16. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    As long as they get rid of certain trios that are way overhyped I will be happy.

    “smooth” singing my foot!

  17. Jim2 wrote:

    I’m staying at home again this year - can’t wait to read your input, comments, critique, et al from this years really big show. I’m wondering what the GVB influence will have on attendance this year.
    It was your intrepid reporting from NQC several years ago that got me hooked on your blog - can’t wait to hear more of the same!

  18. Charles Brady wrote:

    The whole Gatlinburg/PF deal is not even close to being a possibility. The largest venue in that area might seat 3000 tops.

    Myrtle Beach would be great but they along with Branson and several others just don’t have a large enough venue to make it work.

    I did like that Charlotte suggestion! : )

    Nashville would be a nightmare……

  19. jgurnett wrote:

    To NotABoothBrotherFan, you know nothing.

  20. Diana wrote:

    Thom - #13 - there is a video feed this year and it’s supposed to include the big showcases that will be in Freedom Hall. There’s a link for registration on the natqc.com site.

  21. Leebob wrote:

    #19 ditto on your comments to #9.

    There is a reason that Booth Brothers are winning fan awards. I don’t expect that everybody will be a fan of any one particular group but gheesh!!!!! Even as much of a non-McKamey fan as I am, I can at the very least acknowledge the fact that they have a very large following.

    On the otherhand, NBBF, I for one am tired of the screaming tenor and the burping bass. I would like to see more quartets with an emphasis on smoother harmonies and less emphasis on extremes bring the chords back together instead of seeing how far apart they can get them.

    To return to the subject and away from my ADDness…I would like to see the NQC move locations each year. A change in scenery is not a bad thing. The lack of moving around is yet another indication that the music we love is way too regional. I don’t disagree that Charlotte, NC would be a nice change except for the fact you are moving it farther away from the center of the country.

    I think the change in the time of the year would be the biggest factor to maybe consider to enhance the dwindling crowds. The third week of September pretty much guarantees that it will be the retirement community in attendance which only furthers the image that our audience is passing away in front of us. BTW, this is one more reason that NBBF is straight up wrong!

  22. NonSGfan wrote:

    Charles Brady is right, my church has been looking to relocate it’s annual assembly in Pigeon Forge, and the Grand Hotel has the biggest seating for a venue which is about 4,000 (Maybe). Seveirville and Pigeon forge are only about 20 minutes from Knoxville, which has an airport. I live an hour from Pigeon Forge, Traffic is terrible in the summer, a little better toward fall, and awful again around Christmas. Moving the event every year would help exposure. Nashville is genious. It would pull those country/gospel music fans, plus…the people that have been going to NQC for years, arent going to STOP going….EVER, not even if you move it to Hawaii. It’s in their blood. You could move it to Mars and they would go.

  23. HUGEboothbrofan wrote:

    NBBF is entitled to thier own opinion just like everyone else, however I don’t understand how you are tired of these people you have described winning awards. They had never won a single award until a couple years ago and they have been singing for over 10!! I’m glad there is a mixture of mixed groups, trios, and quartets on main stage at NQC. Frankly, there aren’t enough good quality showmen or singers in quartets anymore to fill an entire week worth of southern gospel music.

  24. Trent wrote:

    I wonder if the rotating stage returns this year with the Gaithers.

  25. Chris wrote:

    To #10 BUICK-
    I agree for truth in advertising. Perhaps “Southern Gospel” should replace “Quartet.” BUT that’s not the truth in advertising I want to pick on.

    Can you think of a group on NATIONAL Quartet Convention stage that is based east of the Mississippi? The only group I know of is the Lesters - and they barely make it (being in St Louis which sits on the Miss). How about they call it the EASTERN Quartet Convention since they’ve not chosen a single West-States group.

  26. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    Ok….to all of you who are so quick to jump on me and say I know nothing…

    Explain to me how a group gets all the nominations they got this year if they are not buying it. I could understand if it was a group with nicer personalities or more talent but the Booth Brothers? They are shams.

    I saw them recently in a concert and I was appaled. Ronnie and Jim both had chains around their necks and looked like vegas lounge singers. Michael calls himself a tneor but is more interested in dancing around and trying to be funny. He was in the back of the church writing down the opening groups jokes so he could steal them. Bush league!

    They are marginal , part time, talents that must have a big money pimp daddy backer. I heard from a friend that they have one supporter who gives them $30,000 a month to run their business.

    They have such big egos too. They don;t care about the other groups on the program ….it is all about them. Probably the rudest people I have ever met.

    Not a booth brother fan….

  27. DRL wrote:

    Well I’m not going regardless, but …

    The advantage of Louisville is that everything is right there. Someone talked about Nashville’s multiple venues, which sounds nice on the surface, but who wants to be traveling all over the city to attend different concerts? With Louisville, it’s all right there, you can walk or take a shuttle and see all the concerts. There aren’t a lot of places that have the flexibility to have booth space, a 18,000 seat concert hall, and smaller venues for afternoon showcases that close together. Then try to find another place that has all the surrounding hotels for the unofficial showcases. It’s not easy.

    Apparently, in the early years, they tried moving NQC around to different cities and it was a nightmare. They almost went broke! Add in all the old folks who like consistency, and the annual seat contracts, and you’re just creating a recipe for disaster.

    I like the idea of the full length concerts in the afternoon, but I suspect the reason they don’t do that is that they’d have to displace the showcases. They can cram a lot of artists into afternoon showcases, which gives the artists the hype to say “we performed at NQC.” They’ve got to include those groups somewhere, and that’s where they do it.

    I understand there are a lot of changes that could be made. I can guarantee a lot of them have been discussed, but the solutions aren’t as easy as they look on a blog. Everything you add, you have to subtract something. There’s only 24 hours in a day and 6 days of NQC.

  28. SGfan wrote:

    Just to educate the Nashville “nay sayers”.
    We obviously hold much larger events here than NQC, including GMA week and Country Music Fan Festival. We have a stadium, Sommet Center seats just as many as Freedom hall and we have better venues for showcases that include the Ryman, the Symphony hall (Shmemerhorn not sure of the spelling on that), The Opry House, The Roy Acuff theatre, City Auditorium, and many more. The old convention center is just across the street from Sommet Center and would probably be more than adequate for booth space along with the concourses in Sommet. The idea that Nashville would be a nightmare is hillarious. There is plenty of room downtown for such an event and all the venues downtown are within easy walking distance.

  29. whitenoise wrote:

    You sound so petty and jealous. Come up with something that isn’t a put down, that is a legitimate reason you have taken your position and you might be taken seriously.
    A friend of a friends says that a friend told them isn’t anything but gossip and the Bible is clear about that.
    Time to grow up. I have met them SEVERAL times and we have talked to them at length. They are genuine, you are the one who isn’t.

  30. Chris wrote:

    OK, I gotta respond to #26 SnotaBBF.

    Just like everyone on this site, you are certainly entitled…to be wrong. Ever since This Stage of Grace, I’ve been a fan. Not every album was my cup of tea until they hit The Blind Man Saw It All. After that, every album, and I mean EVERY album, has been incredible. They are extremely innovative and have a cutting edge to their music that SG sooooo desperately needs.

    I’ve met them several times and they have been nothing but personable and kind. Jim will talk to anybody, Micheal is always funny, and I’ve seen someone hand Ronnie a guitar and he just started playing and singing.

    At a big event on the West Coast, I stayed in the same hotel as them and got to talk to them a ton. They were great in all aspects. And their singing was fantastic to boot.

    And to say that they paid for their award? You’re dumb, man. They are on top of their game right now, and the whole world knows it. It may not last (just like EH&SS), but they are the best right now. And by the way, that’s quite the libelous thing for you to say. I suggest you lay off that language before someone outs you.

    I don’t suppose you used to sing for Naomi?

  31. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    Whitenoise……obviously you are either a booth brother or someone who works for them.

    I call a spade a spade. They are very overrated and rude. They survive on good looks and moving around a lot on stage.

    Jim Brady is a top songwriter and get a sn fan award nomination? Please. My 9 year old daughter writes better stuff than Testify and Welcome To the Family.

    Throwing sweet tea into a song does not make it a good lyric.

    My friend knows what he is talking about. He knows people who have done concerts with the Booth Brothers and been to dinner with them.

  32. jgurnett wrote:

    NotaBoothBrothersFan, you’re making some wild assumptions. I’ve worked with the Booth Brothers on a couple of different levels (as an artist and as a promoter) and I can tell you they were as professional and sincere a group as I’ve come across. They were incredibly helpful and willing to do whatever was asked of them to make the gig a success. When given the opportunity to backbite and render a negative opinion about another group, they refrained and took opportunity to change the subject. They took every opportunity to encourage and pray with those who needed it. They’ve taken a very smartly managed approach to business, putting away $$ in case of hardship and while other groups are now struggling financially, they have weathered these tough economic times just fine.

    Simply put, your misguided opinions are completely unfounded and downright ignorant.

  33. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    You all sho w alot of christian love in calling me ignorant. I have tried to not give too many details but here theyare…..]

    My group sang recently with the Booth Brothers. They got 4 standing ovations that night. My group did not get any even though wee outsang them from the first song to the last.

    The reason for that is we do not encourage the crowd to respond loudly. We sing strong ministry minded songs. we dont sing about sweet tea and green bean cassarole. We want to see souls saved. The booth brothers dance around and jiggle their legs and spend hours combing their hair and call that ministry.

    If we wanted to act like that we could have wiped them off the stage but we chose to minister. we may not have sold as many cds but we took a stand for Christ.

    You mentioned they could not buy awards and they have saved money. I doubt it. I think they have a big rich pimp supporter and that is why they seem like they are so big time.

  34. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    I have nothing to hide…..let them sue me. They can’t because I could show a judge video of their concerts and he would see the truth. They will stand before the ultimate judge someday!

  35. Dread Pirate Roberts wrote:

    ….and what about the gall of MLB calling it the “World” Series? when was the last time you saw a team from anywhere but North America….

  36. jgurnett wrote:

    NotaBoothBrothersFan - Wow. Just wow. Your arrogance is UNREAL. Comments like “we outsang them from the first song to the last” or “we could have wiped them off the stage” show very clearly the focus of your “ministry-minded” group. You should be embarrassed by your comments.

  37. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    There is a difference in arrogance and truth. The problem in Sg is ministry minded groups don’t get the recognition they deserve because people are so tuned into their ministry. It does not change the fact that we out sang them all night long.

    I get it that people like the booth brothers flash in the pan style but they will never last long term. Trust me, my group will be doing true ministry long after the booth brothers are gone from SG and driving delivery trucks or something.

    Ministry trumps flash every time.

  38. SGfan wrote:

    #33 notaboothbrotherfan

    Apparently you did not sing them off the stage. A crowd does like a good show, but a crowd also recognizes talent. If you did not get the response you wanted, then you need to look at what you did or did not do and learn from it instead of insulting those who obviously did connect with the crowd. I gather from your own remarks that you do not have very much asthethic appeal nor does your music connect and your personality on stage is bland. That is a quick summary of your comments bashing the Booth Brothers for their looks, stage presence, and audiece response. You will never get anywhere until you learn from others instead of feeding off jealousy and bashing others. Maybe you should take a little time and observe others and then video yourself (your group)and observe yourself (your group). It will tell you a lot if you approach it willing to learn how to be a better communicator from the stage. Good luck.

  39. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    SG fan

    I will have you know that we made a DVD in nashville so I know all about that. we choose not to tell corny jokes and dance around. If you think the booth brothers are great because of that then you must be very carnal minded.

    We DID outsing them BIG TIME. But we choose not to dance around and hop the crowd all up. at the end of our songs we bow our heads in reverence. we don’t high five, adjust our neck chains, push our hair back, yell GOOD CROWD, shake our legs or any such tom foolery.

    Dont presume you know anything about our group. Keep the focus on the fact that the booth brothers are wood, hay and stuble.

  40. gribblja wrote:

    In reference to 39, how can we compare your group to the Booth Bros. if you do not say who your group is. I am missing the “ministry minded” in your posts. You too will stand before the ultimate judge someday, so maybe you should think “am I making a very good ministry statement with my posts?”. We understand you do not like the Booth Bros., and it is okay to say that. But lets get serious, the more you post, the more it sounds like arrogance, jealousy, and slander. Take a biblical approach to your posts, and let the ultimate judge do His judgement, He does not need our help.

  41. DRL wrote:

    SGfan, just for the record, I didn’t say Nashville would be a nightmare. I said, in the early days they moved NQC to different cities and that was a nightmare.

    I don’t have anything against Nashville. Like I say, I’m not going regardless. :-P But, there are a lot of things to consider. In Louisville, they are the only game in town. In Nashville, they’d just be another music event.

    Just curious, would downtown N-ville be able to accommodate parking for all those buses and motorhomes, not just for the big groups, but all the regional groups, plus the fans who come to camp? What about tickets going from venue to venue? You think NQC would really go for the booths set up across the street? There were huge complaints last year when the display area was in a different building, that the walk was just too far. I can’t see them permanently moving to a facility where you’d have to go outside and cross the street to buy a cd.

  42. SGfan wrote:

    #39 notaboothbrotherfan

    LOL!!!!!! I don’t care if you did a DVD in Nashville New York, or London. You obviously did not pay attention enough to learn from anything I said. It is my experiece, grant it I have plenty, that a crowd will respond to talent just as much if not more than they will to antics. If you connect to them and deliver a song, then it will make itself evident. It seems from your post that you are the one making all the presumptions. Ex.
    “We DID outsing them BIG TIME”
    Then why are you complaining about crowd response?
    “we choose not to tell corny jokes and dance around. If you think the booth brothers are great because of that then you must be very carnal minded.”
    Maybe you should develop a sense of humor because Christians deserve to laugh and have fun too.
    First of all, you have no clue how I think and what I think. You do, however, do a lot of complaining in your posts about how the Booth Brothers got a better response and better audience participation while your group “outsang them BIG TIME”. First of all, that is a symbol of the carnality you just tried to accuse me of.
    “Keep the focus on the fact that the booth brothers are wood, hay and stuble.”
    If that is true, then what are you, lighter fluid? You are making a bold step in trying to devalue someone’s ministry in return making yourself look like a jealous, competitive, self centered person who has no clue what it means to take self out of the equation and point everyone’s attention to God. That should be your goal if you are a ministry, not trying to “outsing” the Booth Brothers, Signature Sound, Gaither Vocal Band, or anyone else. In the end, why do you care how the Booth Brothers perform? What is it to you? If what you say is true, then it will not last, however they have been around for a while so I suspect you need to take a look inward before you start judging others.

  43. PutUp wrote:

    not a booth brother fan, why don’t you post your best song on you tube and show us how much better you are? We could do an American Idol vote.

  44. Amazed wrote:

    Is the smash and bash session over yet…..Almost enough to make a person wanna quit singin’ and pickin’ for the Lord and go back to the honkey tonks and take cover. Just kidding, someone needs to lighten up………

  45. Wayne Kerr wrote:

    To: notabootbrothersfan
    Please send me an e-mail at my address below. I am constantly looking for ministry minded groups such as yours to minister in the concerts that I promote in my area. I have dealt with many of the bigger names in SG and I have found that many of them are “true blue”, but some aren’t. I have made the decision to focus more on the ministry of the concerts rather than the hype.

    Please e-mail me at a_wayne_kerr@yahoo.com

    This invitation is open to all ministry minded groups.

  46. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    You all can laugh, scold and mock if you want. I am becoming sick and tired of being in the SG industry and watching true groups that focus on Minstry get laughed at.

    I never said we TRIED to outsing the booth borhters , or any other group. It simply happens. We seek to convey the ministering messages of the songs we sing. we canot help it if we do that in a way that is superior to most groups.

    We sing songs that minister like Champion Of Love, Midnight Cry, I Rest My Case At The Cross, Four Days Late, Let Freedom Ring, I Can Pray, Truth Is Marching On….we don;t focus on fast songs that make your foot tap and butt jiggle.

    Let me give you an example of the Booth Brothers mindset. We sang Look For Me At Jesus Feet in our opening set. Michael got up and sang it after we did! That takes a lot of nerve. The crowd responded by jumping to their feet screaming. This was because he puts all the hysterics into his performance.

    Some of you seem like you would rather have that.

    Too Sad….Carry On

  47. pastsupporterofsg wrote:

    After reading everything on this web site, it sure makes you doubt when you go to a concert. Maybe I lived in an unreal world before when I thought someone was anointed, were they just acting. Makes me hesitate to support anyone now. When they say Praise God, are they just throwing out what they THINK you want to hear? Maybe, I’ll just stay home and not bother seeing anyone.

  48. quartet-man wrote:

    NABBF, I cannot be sure if this is true, but here are my perceptions. Your posts seem to indicate jealousy in not getting the recognition you feel you deserve while someone you feel deserves it less gets it. Although that can be a human emotion, the way you keep putting them down so harshly seems to demonstrate bitterness that is not good or healthy.

    It is easy for someone to rope God into something to make their wrong stance seem justified. I had a relative who did just that as a teen. As I recall, he was upset because of a wrong or perceived wrong done to him by the music director at church and got on the soapbox about the style and beat of the music the teen choir was doing and chose to in essence go on strike by standing in the back of church (but within sight of the director.) I believe it was planned before we ever got into the church and in retrospect, he sure seemed to decide how “bad” the music was pretty quickly before hardly hearing any of it. I believe he used that as an excuse to cover or in his mind justify being upset. Perhaps you are doing the same.

  49. HUGEboothbrofan wrote:

    I think it’s kind of funny that NBBF makes a comment about Jim not being able to write, yet they sing Truth Is Marching On?? And why would a group choose to sing “Look For Me At Jesus Feet” knowing they are going to be sharing a stage with the Booth Brothers??? Duh! They are the ones who made popular on radio and yet it’s them who are the egotisical ones to sing their own song??? If you are tired of the way SG fans choose the groups they like based on being able to actually sing, then let me give you some advice……get out of the business.

    I do not work for the Booth Brothers, nor am I related to them, but I have experienced first hand many times in my life the kindness and generosity these guys show on a daily basis. And I can guarantee that there is no “pimp” as you so elequantly put it, backing them with thousands of dollars each month. These men have sacrificed years being away their families and have worked extremely hard to get to where they are. And with the grace of God and the blessings that he has given them, they have become one of the top groups in SG today. Get over it NBBF!

  50. SGfan wrote:

    #47 pastsupporterofsg
    Sadly to say, there are a lot of groups in SG that have no clue what they are singing about, but there are many groups that are very sincere and their goals are not trying to be in some sort of competition where they “outsing” each other. Bottom line, don’t let the idiocy of a few keep you from eperiencing the enjoyment and uplifting you get from those that are singing for the right reasons. In other words, don’t stay home, but do pray for discernment so that you will recognize the trees by the fruit they bare.

    #46 notaboothbrotherfan

    I imagine southern gospel is getting sick and tired of self righteous, egotistical, and blind leading blind singers that think just because they sing the covers of other groups that happened to be big hits that they are doing some kind of great ministry and their solemn presentation that is as dry as desert sand is some sort of Mother Theresa moment. You said, “we don;t focus on fast songs that make your foot tap and butt jiggle.” Might I suggest you add some fast songs to your list. That will add some variety and keep people from getting bored by the same old presentation on every song. Plus, there are many fast songs that minister as well. Finally, you said “We sing songs that minister like Champion Of Love, Midnight Cry, I Rest My Case At The Cross, Four Days Late, Let Freedom Ring, I Can Pray, Truth Is Marching On”. Maybe you would like to add “The Blind Man Saw it All” since every other song is a cover and is not original. In that list, you had covers from the Cathedrals, Godl City, Perry’s and Signature Sound, Karen Peck and New River, Gaither Vocal Band, and Dove Brothers.
    By the way, sounds like Michael outsang you on your song and that made you mad. Try crying a little less and focusing on making you ministry effective instead of tearing down others.

  51. Chris wrote:


    OK, now I get it. You’re a cheap version of A League Groups. You have no original music to call your own. I’m guessing you even use the same tracks that these songs were originally recorded with. I see groups like yours all the time. And I even know people like you who think they sing the songs better than the original artist. I lump you in with the rest of them…IG-NO-RINT (complete with accent). Seriously, you’re the kind of person I use all power to avoid because you are stuck on yourself. All you can talk about is “how good you do your MINISTRY songs.”

    Just so you know, people come to concerts to be entertained, and in the process they are ministered to. The Booths don’t rip off other peoples hits…LIKE YOU DO. The Booths never bore a crowd…LIKE YOU DO (how many slow songs can you list in one post).

    If I wanted to hear some of the songs you listed, I’d go here it from the original artists - not a bush league group like yours. But maybe I’m wrong. Do us all a favor and post a link to your Nashville video so we can see how much better you are than the rest of us.

  52. Kevwom wrote:

    WOW! What an exchange this has been. Something tells me that NotaBBfan can not be for real. At least I hope not.

    Nonetheless NotaBBfan, rule number one of a “regional” group, never, ever open a concert for a full time professional artist and sing one of their songs. NEVER! It’s tacky, tasteless and ultimately rude. I wouldn’t even do it if I had written the song.

  53. Leebob wrote:

    NBBF, the arrogance that you have shown on this thread is unlike any I have ever seen before. I have seen them numereous times and never have I found them to be arrogant, selfish, prideful, o reven close to what you have described. On the other hand, I have found all the attributes you described within your own post. You best remain annonymous because you will never get another booking with that kind of arrogance if you are found out.

  54. Wade wrote:

    Come on folks don’t ya know that NBBF is really Michael Booth and y’all have all fell for it. This situation did really happen. There was a concert where the OPENING LOCAL GROUP came out and sang 30 minutes of SLOW COVERS one was “Look for Me…” but they just stood there with the mics on the stand and barely looked like they were breathing while they read scripture between songs.

    The BB HAD to go on and do something radically different to WAKE UP the crowd.

    Y’all all have fell for it… good job Michael you got’m good.

    Could ANYBODY REALLY be that STUPID??

  55. David wrote:

    #54: I was thinking the same thing. That would be typical of Michael Booth’s sense of humor!

  56. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    I got news for you…..I am not Michael Booth. I can put my hand on the holy word of God and promise you that. For one thing all of this was going down while the booth brothers were at nqc singing on Monday night so nice try.

    My group is nothing like all of you are saying. We are first class quality. We dont use the original artists tracks…..we have a PIANO and BASS player!

    I did not know Jim Brady wrote Truth is Marching On. we have that song on our cd. I will give him credit where it is due and say THAT is a good song.

    I still think they are full of it.

  57. SGfan wrote:

    #56 notaboothbrotherfan

    “I did not know Jim Brady wrote Truth is Marching On”

    Then who did you pay royalties to on that song and who did you list as the writer on your CD? If you have not paid royalties, then you are in lawsuit territory. If you do not list him as writer on that CD and do not pay royalties, then you are not giving credit where credit is due. Sounds like you may be the one full of “it” whatever that is supposed to be. By the way, put song titles in “” when you right. You scolded me earlier for spelling so I wouldn’t want you to have too many grammatical errors.

  58. Chris wrote:

    C’mon. Where’s the video, NBBF? We wanna see!

  59. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    SG fan. If you are going to scold me about
    about grammatical errors…..maybe you should learn to spell “write” when you do it.

    Too Funny

  60. nonSGfan wrote:

    Leebob and I agree again. I know the rapture is soon to come.
    We should recognize that this person is OBVIOUSLY a disgruntled FORMER member, or somebody FULL of jealousy and envy over a group who OBVIOUSLY has much more success than his. This is funny.

  61. SGfan wrote:

    #59 notaboothbrotherfan

    First of all, that was not a mispelling, but a grammatical issue of using the wrong right. I’ll admit my mistakes when I find them, but you still have yet to answer the questions. To whom did you pay royalties for your CD? Who do you have listed as the writer for “Truth is Marching On”? If you did not give credit where credit is due and pay to use that song, then you have a case of copyright infringement. Now that my friend is Too Funny!

  62. Wayne Kerr wrote:

    #46 notaboothbrothersfan

    I certainly hope and pray that you didn’t take it that I was making fun of you or being sarcastic. I am very serious about promoting SG music, and more importantly, supporting ministry. I sincerely request that you contact me via e-mail to discuss the possibility of using your group in my concerts.

    I have checked my e-mail over the last couple of days since I left the message on this board, but I have not received any response from you, notabootbrothersfan.

    Please e-mail me at a_wayne_kerr@yahoo.com. God bless you and your group.

  63. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:


    I will not be sending you a message. I am sorry if your offer is truly sincere but after the way I have been treated on here I am skeptical. If you had my email you might track me down and smear me if you had a mean spirit. You probably do not , but I will not be sharing it.

    SG fan……copyrights are not important in gospel music so I dont pay attention. You cannot charge for the word of God. We sing and sell cd’s for love offerings only so we are not liable for copyrights.

  64. buttercup wrote:

    Wayne, (#62)
    Don’t hold your breath. NBBF is obviously very interested in keeping his anonymity intact, and rightly so.

  65. Chris wrote:

    #63 SnotaBBF


    You are nothing more than a petty thief. There are laws in this country that protect something called “intellectual property.” When a writer pens a song, it is his/her property and you have to ask permission, and in this case, pay for the use of that property. It’s like living in a rental house. You didn’t build it. You don’t own it. But you have to pay to use it and live in it. It’s the same thing for ALL music. “Render unto Caesar” pal. You have to pay to use it.

    You are truly pathetic. You’re worthless. You come on this site with an “I’m-a-better-singer-than-you-and-more-spiritual-too” attitude, yet you’ve proven in all your posts to be a hateful and jealous song-copying hack who steals money from songwriters and then justifies it with the word “ministry”. It’s “ministers” like you who turn people AWAY from God, not to Him. You should be ashamed. You should never post on this site again. Go back to your den of thieves and find another group of people to tell how much better you are than the reigning GROUP OF THE YEAR.

  66. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    “group of the year” only in the eyes of people who place their eyes on the man made, lust of the flesh type of things.

    The day I pay someone for use of a gospel song is that day that hell freezes over. The gospel should be free.

    Back to topic…..the booth brothers are a sham

  67. quartet-man wrote:

    #63 NABBF said “SG fan……copyrights are not important in gospel music so I dont pay attention. You cannot charge for the word of God. We sing and sell cd’s for love offerings only so we are not liable for copyrights.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong. The songs are someone elses’ property whether they are used for ministry or not. You are stealing from the writers maybe even food out of their mouths. How would you feel working at your job and being told when pay day rolls around that they aren’t going to pay you because they were providing services and products to people? How would you like it if someone used your vehicle, house etc. for God’s work whenever they wanted and refused to pay rent, for gas, wear and tear etc? How about someone taking all of your CD’s for no money and selling them and keeping the money? The ministry thing whether true or just a workaround does not work. You are making money off of those CD’s and even if you weren’t the songs aren’t yours to give away. If you want to do that, then record hymns that are in public domain and go to town.

    your argument for use in the ministry would be like a pastor stealing Bibles to give away. It doesn’t fly. Even excluding the moral issues mentioned, the publishing companies and performing rights organizations can sue you. If you are recording with tracks instead of the band, and don’t pay mechanicals you are stealing too.

  68. SGfan wrote:

    #63 notaboothbrotherfan
    Copyrights are important in any type of music, book, or any other form of itellectual property. You are guilty of copyright infringement (theft) and subject to very heavy penalties with the possibility of jail time. This proves that you are no more than a fraud and you have no right to be lecturing anyone on what constitutes ministry. It does not matter if you sing and sell CD’s for love offering only, that will not hold up in court. The fact is you are exchanging a product for money. No one is charging for the Word of God. You are free to read scripture to your listeners all day long if you want. These songs are BASED ON THE WORD OF GOD, but they are not THE WORD OF GOD. Copyright royalties are a process for leasing someone else’s work, kind of like the example given by Chris of renting a house. The fact is, by not paying royalties for the right to use the song, you have basically invaded that house and stolen everything. You are not giving credit where credit is due, and you are no more a ministry than Jingle Bells is an anthem of the church. It is a good thing you have remained annonymous, because you need to rush out and pay the royalties on all those songs you recorded (about 9 cents per song per copy) so that you will be able to re-establish some sense of credibility. Until you do that, you are no more than a THIEF.

    Just so you can get an idea of how much you might owe on a 10 song project.

    1000 copies about $900
    500 copies about $450

    Plus a few processing fees.

  69. SGfan wrote:

    #66 notaboothbrotherfan

    You better hope that Hell starts freezing now, because as long as you are stealing someone else’s property you are putting yourself in danger of experiencing it first hand. Again, the Gospel is free. You can read and tell someone the story of The Bible all day long. The long and short of it, you are the “SHAM” (not the Booth Brothers). At least they pay royalties on the songs they use that others write. I believe that shows that they have at least some integrity and that is something you now lack.

    # 62 Wayne,

    I’m afraid our friend notaboothbrotherfan does not represent the type of group that you should want to have at any event of yours. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of good groups out there (including the Booth Brothers).

  70. SGfan wrote:

    #66 notaboothbrotherfan

    One final thought. Earlier you touted recording a DVD in Nashville. You have now negated that argument, because no reputable company will record you in Nashville until you sign a waiver stating that you are responsible for all the licensing and no reputable duplication company will duplicate the project without copies of the consent letters from publishers to use the material and/or copies of the licenses.

  71. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    SG fan. Shows what you know. No one asked me to sign waivers so quit acting like you know it all.

    You all are so stupid talking to me like I don’t know anything. I laugh at your ignorance. I am a 21 year Gospel Music Veteran. My ministry even had a write up in the singing news way back in 1995. We are not newcomers.

    I choose not to pay for the use of singing God’s word. I think that any song writer worth his salt would not accept money for the word of God.

    When we sing we sing only for expense monsy. We dont ask anything for our cds. People can take them and give us an offering if they want. We give many away.

    People like the Booth Brothers show up in a big white flashy bus with the NFL network booming inside (drowning out the noise of the hairdyers) and then have the gall to charge thousands of $$$ and then try and call it a ministry.

    and some of you want to judge me.

    This is why people respond to what we are doing. We are real….you are fake.

  72. Chris wrote:

    Darn it! Now we’ll never get to see a youtube video of this thief.

  73. rw wrote:

    I don’t think notaboothbrotherfan is a real person.

  74. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    and I think RW died in a plane crash a long time ago. Grow up.

  75. SGfan wrote:

    #71 notaboothbrotherfan
    You said, “No one asked me to sign waivers so quit acting like you know it all. ”

    Then you were not dealing with a reputable company. I don’t know it all, but I do live and work in Nasvhille and I have a degree centered around the music industry and have studied music industry law.

    You said: “I am a 21 year Gospel Music Veteran. My ministry even had a write up in the singing news way back in 1995.”

    That doesn’t change the fact that you are thieves and Singing News ads bought by the group or promoter don’t count as articles or “write up” as you put it.

    You said: “I choose not to pay for the use of singing God’s word. I think that any song writer worth his salt would not accept money for the word of God.”

    Yeah, you choose to steal. God did give us the free will to reject His commandments didn’t He? Again those songs you sing are BASED on God’s Word, but they are NOT God’s Word. That is two different things.

    You said: “When we sing we sing only for expense monsy. We dont ask anything for our cds. People can take them and give us an offering if they want. We give many away.”

    Even major nonprofits pay copyright royalties. The only way you can avoid it is to not accept anything for the CD. Present the CD as a demo, put them on a table and say anyone who wants them, take them. You can’t accept money for them, otherwise you are comitting copyright infringement. Even then you are subject to questions. You can’t recupe the cost of demos. By the way, it should have read expense money.

    You said: “People like the Booth Brothers show up in a big white flashy bus with the NFL network booming inside (drowning out the noise of the hairdyers) and then have the gall to charge thousands of $$$ and then try and call it a ministry.”

    Unlike you, the Booth Brothers have worked and paid their dues. They deserve every penny they get for their concerts. This is how they make their living. It costs quite a bit to be on the road full time (something you obviously wouldn’t know) and believe me, they are not getting rich off of it.

    You said: “This is why people respond to what we are doing. We are real….you are fake.”

    I believe your orignial post was complaining about the response of people. You complained about the Booth Brothers getting better responses than you. So which is it? Are people responding or are they not? You see, the only thing that is fake in this conversation is you holier than thou, self centered, egotistical, ignorant view of your own self. You claim to be representing God, yet throughout your argument, you have represented the opposite. I’ll pray for “ya”. After all, you need it.

  76. Leebob wrote:

    NBBF, it is people like you that will spell the end of the music as we know it. I am guessing your pastor preaches for free as well and he has the same suit that he wore in 1982, your music minister copies music without regard to copyrites, and you never have had to pay for a Bible. Dude, get a clue. People have been supporting their families from the gospel far longer than your outdated opinion.

  77. notaboothbrotherfan wrote:

    SG fan and everybody else.

    Sure….turn it aroun on me. I guess I cannot compete with the marketing machine of the Booth Brothers. They obviously have a bucnh of foolish drones on this site that will bang the company drum and attack anyone who would dare speak out against them.

    You can think what you want about me. It does not change the fact that the Booth Borthers are overhyped, under talented, over produced, stack reliant, pretty boys who could not survive in any form or genre of music except SG. They pretend to be spiritual and holy to make a living (off of the gospel!).


  78. SGfan wrote:

    #78 notaboothbrotherfan

    Bless your heart. I’ll pray for you. I pray that God will convict your heart and that you will repent and make restitution for the theft you have committed. I’ll also pray for your pastor’s forgiveness for making a living “off of the gospel!”

  79. Leebob wrote:

    (shaking his head in sadness for NBBF)

    Nuff said!

  80. Realistic wrote:

    #71 - notaboothbrotherfan:
    “I choose not to pay for the use of singing God’s word. I think that any song writer worth his salt would not accept money for the word of God.”

    So I guess that means you also routinely walk into a Christian bookstore, help yourself to a book, Bible, hymnal, or CD off the shelf, and walk out without paying for it?

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