NQC 08: Saturday night

I will keep this brief, at least by my standards. Saturday night was something of an experiment insofar as the Fan Awards were moved from Thursday to here at the end of the week and though the Awards Show itself was nothing new, a Saturday slot for it definitely changed the feel and pace of the evening’s performances. To wit, I’m departing from my usual format and will just note some things I heard and saw, in no particular order, and let you make of them and the evening in general what you will.

THE FAN AWARDS, IN TWO PARTS
Part I:
You might recall that last year, the Fan Awards show was vastly upscaled to look and feel and run much more like the Doves or other televised awards shows. This year, the show felt much more modest – whether downscaled or more intimate will probably be a matter of opinion, but it was much lower keyed, to the point that often if felt almost sleepy, the applause of the sort that’s heard on golf courses during the PGA. To its credit, the show moved quickly and was mostly free of the shenanigans and antics that had amateurized  it for so many years before last year’s revamp. Maybe the fast-paced discipline of the show accounted for the energy level being down, I’m not sure. But except for the Booth Brothers, fans responded to artists who won won or performed with more or less polite applause. A newcomer who missed the title of the show wouldn’t have known most of these winners were fan favorites, judging by the fans’ tepid response on the whole.

Part II: It was, of course, the Booth Brothers’ night. They didn’t win every category where their names – whether individually or collectively – were on the ballot. But they came close to it. Many groups have won numerous awards before and last night the Hoppers, and/or mostly Kim Hopper, won multiple awards in addition to the Booths, but there are fan favorites and then there are fan favorites. And the Booths are clearly fan favorites. The energy level spiked conspicuously whenever they won, sang or were mentioned. I don’t remember this kind of reception since the Perrys were sweeping their categories a few years back. It’s nice to see. The noticeable lack of enthusiasm for the Hoppers’ wins, on the other hand, was curious. Assuming people who bother to travel to NQC are also committed enough to vote in the Fan Awards, you’d think they’d show more love for a group and its dominant personality if fans saw fit to repeatedly honor them (and yes, I have received your emails about the Mixed Group award being fixed because the Hoppers were tired of being bested by the Perrys, and I agree that there is a disconnect between the way the crowd responds to the Perrys and the Hoppers and the group which the fans designated as their favorites, but gospel audiences are a study in paradoxes and inexplicability, and absent any compelling evidence of fraud, this seems like a fairly unproductive path to go down). The bigger question is whether Fan Awards stay on Saturday night. A couple of folks I talked to liked the idea of making them an afternoon weekend showcase, which sounds good, except it leaves Saturday anchorless unless Gaither could be convinced to forego his own gig that night – and I wouldn’t bet it on it (The Gaither tour was in Canada last night, though I’ve heard from various sources that the energy level wasn’t much better there than in Louisville, so maybe everybody’s just a little tired right now).

Summary of the Marvin Norcrosse Award: Maurice Templeton has made a lot of money in sg and for this, we honor him. All Hail, MT. Perhaps I’m not fully appreciating the importance to gospel music of Templeton’s 9o-odd trips to Israel, but did anyone else find it hard to believe that the hagiographic video tribute to him explicitly ranked his influence and importance in gospel music as equal to James Vaughn and J.G. Whitfield?

STANDOUT PERFORMANCES
Gold
City
: Steve Ladd and Bruce T’s voices tonally match one other quite well. There’s a lightness to BT’s style that isn’t immediately clear in his solo work but in the ensemble with Ladd they create a deep, wide, expansive upper-middle range for the group. When Riley joins them, in the way he does on “Talking about my Lord,” it’s a symphonic triplet of focus and tight harmony. Aaron McCune has loosened up a lot on stage, is more playful and less inhibited, and this is nice to see. But at times his vocal work was a bit sloppy and disorganized. Ladd’s verses on “Preach the Word” are defined and authoritative and the song really does suit them well, with all those nice intervals that he and the group knows how to make the most of, especially at the end. A real pleasure. The jury’s still on the quartet equivalent of the Booth Brothers’ popularity, and maybe gone are the days when any one quartet dominanted the way Gold City of old and the Cathedrals did (indeed, there are almost as many styles of male quartets today as there are quartets on the road and that stylistic variation makes it hard to compare apples to apples in this category), but if there is to be a contender, Gold City seems to be consolidating a sound that could set some kind of standard or pace for others to strive for.

Perrys: Hard to watch their performance of “Holy Shore,” compare it to the Hoppers’ set, and figure how they ended up out in the cold for favorite mixed group. “Holy Shore” has always struck me as Kyla Rowland caricaturing herself lyrically, and the orchestration is flamboyantly over the top. But the Perrys sell the song masterfully, especially Libbi Stuffle, who has the aura of a great character actress or grand dame about her on stage. This works well with the melodramatic aspect of “Holy Shore”; the effect is of a kind of Broadway for Christians, and I mean that complimentarily.

Booth Brothers: It’s heartening to see and hear an acoustical song like “Look for Me” win Song of the Year and be the backbone of the Booths’ sweep of the awards show, and even more remarkable given the song’s age (it was first released in the late 70s). I’m not sure fans were necessarily using their choice to repudiate the overproduced style that’s come to dominant contemporary sg, but it’s not for nothing that fans chose a song staged at NQC at least with just piano and vocals and that even with a track still eschews the orchestral bigness of a song like, say, “Holy Shore.” And of course it doesn’t hurt that lyrically “Look for Me” was probably the strongest of the songs up for SOY. Decide for yourself how much of a comment that is on the state of gospel songwriting today. And what to make of the Booths’ ascendancy? One way to read it is the rise of a new or next generation of pace setting talent. I was talking to a friend of my parents’ who I ran into this weekend and he remarked that the last several years the convention has felt listless. So many of the old guard have died and the space they created went more or less unfilled by any clear heirs or benefactors in the fans eyes. Maybe the Booths are emerging as one of the dominant voices from the jostling and competition for prominence of place among the remaining A-listers, in ways that may realign things considerably. Certainly Michael Booth seemed to at least suggest as much when he mentioned the Couriers and Greater Vision as groups that had pioneered the path of the Booths’ success as a trio. Whether intentional or not, Greater Vision came off looking and sounding like an antique that’s been overtaken by a new, improved, and younger model.

Talley Trio: their best set of the weekend. They went acoustical early with “Too Much to Gain,” which was delightfully simple and suggested the direction in which their greatest potential and appeal may be. They closed out with “Orphans of God” and bridged quickly to “Testify” and the crowd got invested, responding warmly for once.

Scott Inman: His solo work in the verses of Triumphant’s Award Show performance was just really quite nice. Like a lot of male quartets in the bidness right now, Triumphant has a tendency to oversing as a group, which covers up a lot of their better singers’ best features individually, so it’s nice to get to hear a pleasant, warm voice like Inman’s uncovered and freed up from the calcifying effects of the ensemble.

L5: They did “I Have Been Changed” for the Awards show and it was by far the best three minutes they’ve had all weekend. The song grows on me the more I hear it live, and though I wish they had tagged it the way it’s recorded on their most recent live album, last night’s performance managed to remind us what they are capable of.

KPNR: They’re song selection left me cold, but Devin McGlamery is a pleasure to listen to. I assume he gets more face time of his own in their full concerts, but even in the harmonic mix, last night it was clear how much he continues to improve and how gifted and capable he is as a vocalist. There were so many nice little things he did harmonically that probably few people notice – grace-noting the II before landing on his final III note on the ending of “Four Days Late” for instance. But it’s the kind of work that rewards close inspection even or especially when you think nothing special is going on.

The Lowry Vocal Band: This was Mark Lowry’s joking name for his joint appearance with LordSong, but its apt, not because LordSong can’t sing in their own right (they can, as well or better than anything on the stage last night) but because Lowry makes music a function or a musical comment on the larger theme, ideas, and dramatic arc he’s spooling out in his comedic monologues. I’ve rhapsodized before about Lowry and Friends, about how impressive he is as a showman and how masterful LS is as a group of vocalists (I agree with DBM though about Stan Whitmire’s occasional “bass” work; less of this is more). You can go back and read my earlier thoughts on all this for the fuller version. Suffice it to say he’s the closest thing to a countercultural celebrity that there could be in a highly orthodox culture like southern gospel. I don’t know how closely most people really listen to the content and structure of his routines, but they work in the space between orthodox doctrine and unorthodox experience in a way that is as much a critique of standard issue pietism as it is a celebration of orthodoxy. “I’ve never learned anything about God on a good day,” he says, and most people hear in this a fairly typical restatement of old ideas about trials by fire etc. But listen and watch where this goes in Lowry’s mind and hands. Slowly he works toward the idea that the struggle to believe becomes a kind of working substitute for the thing itself. Lowry is a struggler (he doesn’t joke about all the crosses he has to bear for no reason) and in his comedy, striving after faithfulness, even and especially when it’s hardest to hold, is the best evidence of faith itself. Thus most of Lowry’s jokes work by exploiting the difference between what you’re supposed to feel and what actually ends up happening. “I need you [God] to make it real,” he sings at the end of one of these struggler/striver monologues. It’s a deeply affecting song lyrically and musically, sung masterfully and backed up deftly by Whitmire’s incomparable accompaniment, and its achievement is only deepened by the fact that at its core, it’s as much a comment on the degree to which religion has obscured – made unreal – religious experience itself as it is a plea for divine assistance. No need to ask for God to make it real, after all, if ordinary religious culture didn’t cut the individual off from original religious experience. And Lowry reinforces this idea with jokes that tweak the dogmatic tendency of contemporary Christianity: in heaven we’ll all be just like Jesus, Lowry says, reaching the center of the show, and just as the crowd is about to sigh in self-satisfaction (he may be kinda sassy but he knows what’s right), he adds, in full-on deadpan: “33 and Jewish.” Who or what, precisely, are we laughing at here? Oh, I think it’s funny, for sure. But just as it would be most certain professional death for most gospel performers to walk out on stage at the National Quartet Convention and just start talking for five minutes, or ten, sans music, so too would it be suicide professionally for most mere mortals to make a conservative Christian audience the punch line of Christian comedy, because the 33 and Jewish payoff only works if you tacitly acknowledge the illogical extension of the Biblical literalist worldview. Jerry Goff makes jokes about Christian culture and its foibles, of course, but those old sprinkling Methodists one-liners and in-one-accord puns are the equivalent of your Uncle Bob pointing at a button on your shirt and then twitting your nose when you look down … he kids because he loves. The gag reinforces the solidarity of family ties, just like Goff’s jokes remind us that though many members, one body. Lowry, on the other hand … his jokes don’t so much reinforce as deconstruct, while the music meditates on the deconstruction, consecrates its celebration of the struggle. Like all great comedy, it surreptitiously smuggles in a fairly substantive comment on contemporary mores, and though this would be deeply satisfying and gratifying to watch from any comic, it’s especially captivating coming from a Christian artist who understands how to inhabit the impressario role of master showman and bend conventional audiences to his very unconventional will. And there are just far too few of showmen of this caliber around anymore in gospel music. My only complaint with the set was the ending – a cotton candy confection of heaven hymns that for much of the time sounded like a cross between a Christmas cantata and polka music and concluded with “When We All Get to Heaven” in the style of Rent. More Broadway for Christians! you say, and perhaps, yes. But in this case, an oddly mechanical choice that had a distancing effect on Lowry’s presence.

LOWLIGHTS
The Kingsmen:
Was there a clause in Harold Reed’s contract with the Florida Boys that required him to leave his voice with the group when he left? Oh my. He wasn’t the only problem with the KM’s set (Bryan Hutson’s nasality and harshness rivaled Billy Hodges and David Sutton for most unblendable voice this weekend), but he was maybe one of the worst. What a debacle. If they hadn’t put together a pick up band to take them out on an upbeat note, they might have just dissolved under the force of their own mediocrity.

The Pfeifers: They may be the most unlistenable act in gospel music. Honestly. Say what you (or I) will about a group like the Inspirations (and I’ve pretty much said it all, three or four times), you can’t walk – or even run – away from their sets without admitting that they go all-out, full tilt, doing everything they know how to elicit the desired response. It may sound horrendous most of the time, but if and when they know how to do better or different, you’ll hear it. With the Pfeifers on the other hand, you get the sense that this worn out show of theirs – the horns of praise and the phony baloney falsetto “opera” singing by the soprano, the hyperventilating patriotism – it’s all just a collection of set pieces that people mistake for a style or a brand simply because the group refuses to get better, go away, or at least get some new material. It’s not so much a question of whether they mean it (I’m sure they do). It’s that they’ve been doing these same bits and using the same moves for so long that their sets practically dismantle themselves. Oh here’s the part where he tells us about playing in bars, and being alcoholic and yup … now he’ll do “Amazing Grace” on the trumpet, or maybe it’s “He Looked Beyond My Fault,” but in any event, he’ll aim for the Doc Severeson note and miss it, badly, and repeatedly, and then the tall one will do that head-tone thing with her voice that sounds like something off the Carol Burnette Show. They’ve never had more to recommend them than the horn playing – and maybe the way they all sorta look like each other and so may  have inadvertently appealed to the sentimental family types as a ful-on sibling act if you didn’t pay too close attention (only two of them are related, ftr). And the horn playing stopped being even remotely novel long, long ago (not to mention they are average horn players at best … I mean, you’d think he’d figure out that instead of trying to jump a full fifth to the high note in “He Looked Beyond my Fault,” he could run up to it so that if he overshot it or went flat, and he almost always does, he could play if off as an idiosyncratic riff or an improvisation instead of just having to eat the flubbed line). As it is and has been now for so long, it’s just a terribly unfunny literalization of the old axiom about tooting one’s own horn. I think I can understand what their initial appeal might have been however long ago it was that started appearing at NQC, but I’m still wondering about their return appearances. Since no one took me up on my offer to explain their continuing appeal (might it be that they don’t really have one?), I’m going to hazard a guess that Legacy 5’s patronage (the P’s appear at almost all L5 destination events) accounts for the security of their presence on the NQC mainstage.   

Mark Trammell: There’s a longstanding tradition of good-natured ribbing that happens on stage between colleagues and peer performers. And lots of people make jokes about Michael Booth. His self-styled ADD persona invites it. But amidst the Booth-a-thon Awards Show last night, Mark Trammell told a joke (or was it a “joke”?) about Michael Booth being good evidence why some animals eat their young, and that felt like it crossed a line of some sort, even for the alpha-male sucker-punch brand of comedy prevalent in the southern gospel boys club. He was smiling when he said it, sort of, but it looked like a ghoulish grin.

Technical difficulties: the mikes weren’t on for BFA when they stepped up to sing the opening song of the awards show and the track had to be restarted. The stationary microphones centerstage that artists use to announce and accept awards were never hot enough to make people clearly audible in the nosebleeds. Instruments weren’t on in the house mix for long stretches of several sets last night (this happened all weekend). And a Bill Gaither video that was supposed to introduce an artist presenter was soundless, so we stared at BG’s silent talking head for a while before the screens went dark and the show quite literally stopped. Dead. For a long while, at least on showbiz standard time. Finally Gerald Wolfe did a bad BG imitation, read some of the script Gaither would have been heard reading had the video worked properly, and things stumbled along. And this doesn’t even begin to address the persistent issues with the remote feeds on Solid Gospel and NQC tv. As DBM notes, “The fans who PAID a $59 fee to NQC directly [for NQC tv] should bombard the NQC office next week with demands for a partial refund at the bare minimum.” Last night, of course, the more the tech and sound crew screwed up, the more Jerry Goff, who was a mercifully minimal presence this year thanks to the joint-appearance transitions the NQC used to bring one group off and another on, insisted we thank them all with handclaps of praise for their hard work and excellence … blah blah blah. People clapped but at least a few were justifiable angry and heckled the sound crew during the awards show. Good for them. More people – especially artists – should follow suit. Because it doesn’t really matter whether you make a joyful (or any other kind of) noise, if no one hears it.

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Comments

  1. BUICK wrote:

    I was not able to attend the NQC this year. But did I see that Brian Lester was one of the MCs? If so, how did he do? For a man singing with a group that has a somewhat limited “national” presence, he seems an interesting choice. Someone else must have seen something I’ve not seen in BL.

  2. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Contact information for the National Quartet Convention.

  3. jj wrote:

    It was good to hear Ronnie and Michael Booth point out how their producer, Nick Bruno, kept trying to convince them to record the song and how they are so thankful they finally listened. Nick has got to be one of the nicest guys in SGM and I wonder how the producer of the Song of The Year and The Album of the year doesn’t come in to the mix when discussing the how’s and why’s of the Booth Brother’s success.

  4. Chris wrote:

    I agree that the sound was bad, but it always is. The 2 times I’ve been there, I’ve sat amazed that some idiot behind a sound board thinks it makes his job more important by muting mics. How stupid is that. Does any group hit the stage with their own sound equipment and mute the mics while one guy is singing? I just don’t get it. I say set the mics even and let the singers work it.

  5. David Stuart wrote:

    I disagree with you about Bryan Hutson and the Kingsmen. I think his voice was great, and so was there set, except it was way too short.

  6. Carol wrote:

    Negative Paragraph ahead: 1. I didn’t see the Kingsmen, but if the tenor was worse than the tenor for the Kingdom Heirs, then God help you all. I guess the KH’s tenor serves the theme park crowd, but I was amazed that he had a paid position in professional music. 2. Phil Cross is one of the most arrogant people I’ve ever been around–all under the fascade of “I’m so humble about what the Lord has done for me, but, just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a list.” Who would really get up in front of people at his age and tell people that his high school was honoring him as one of the FOURTEEN notable(can’t remember the title) people who had graduated from there? FOURTEEN? And then wait for people to clap? My husband fell out of his chair laughing. But, whatever, I guess. I fully concede that “Champion of Love” was a great song. 3. And for the love of God, why won’t the NQC board stop punishing us with the Pfeifers? Hear us: we, as a crowd, are SORRY for whatever it was that we did. Now, PLEASE make them stop.

    All in all, I thought NQC was good this year. The Talley Trio was really great last night and while I’m not an EHSS fan, per se, they were terrific Friday night considering what they do. NQC may not hold the same electricity it used to for me, but it was nice to have some reminders over the past 4 days as to why I tuned in the first place.

  7. Carol wrote:

    Oh, and hat’s off to Legacy 5 for handling the unfortunate situation of the mentally ill man jumping on stage dancing. It was awkward and no one obviously had a manual for how to deal with that, but it was handled as well as it could have been. And, if anything, it was kind of fun to be reminded that the joy of the Lord knows no bounds.

  8. Shirley wrote:

    How did Triumphant sound last night? They are my favorite group but on the radio feed they sounded really really bad

  9. gh wrote:

    Just wondering…did the Pfiefers fly to Louisville or are they still collecting money for their airplane fund?

  10. Trent wrote:

    Did Ivan Parker actually clap for himself at the end of “I Choose”?

    Where did Kim Hopper get that dress? But just remember, Dave Clark made her feel like a princess on her recent recording with Canaan. What a line.

    I saw several people sleeping with their eyes open during Maurice Templeman’s synopsis of his life in a nutshell, which seemed to take about an hour and 45 minutes.

    Avery, you are right about the Perrys. They are vocally hot as a firecracker. And what stage presence. They are going to need some great new material soon, but honestly they are cooking with gas right now.

    Once again I ask: Does Lauren Talley’s stage attire take away from the group’s effect on an audience?

    The Scott Inman assessment is right on. His solo part on the bridge on “The Great I Am Still Is” smokes. He’s a great singer. You’ve got to love Triumphant’s “The Old White Flag” routine, but if you stop and listen to the lyrics, they are quite serious and don’t match the stage antics.

    The Booth Bros. caught fire with “He Saw It All” in ‘06 and are still ascending in popularity. Ronnie Booth has a Johnny Mathis element to his voice, smooth and soothing. Jim Brady’s presence in the group has a lot more to do with their success than people realize. He’s a great vocalist.

    The McKameys did a song called “From 12 to 33″ that I’ve never heard before. I assume it’s on their new CD. I leaned over to my wife and said, “That’s a hit song.” My McKameys discography knowledge is almost nil, so maybe this is an older song. If not, you will see it high on the charts. Soon.

    I thought the Kingsmen did OK. Hutson’s rendition of “When God Ran” was much improved from when I heard him Monday night.

    I agree that L5 did great on “I’ve Been Changed”. That was a tremendous performance and refreshing to see them relax on stage; the crowd picked up on it and got with them.

    Avery, I do think you’re being a little too hard on the Pfeiffers. I’m not a fan either, and I’d really like to see them on only once during NQC….but they really weren’t THAT bad were they?

    I thought the Mark Lowry deal was much more bland and commonplace this year compared to last year. He used tired jokes from his live DVDs….he’s entertaining 15,000 to 20,000 people, which is one of his biggest crowds of the year, and he’s got nothing fresh to say? Also, did you notice that he introduced Stan Whitmire as Stan Mitchell (a preacher friend of Lowry’s)…then he corrected himself as they led into the first song and said “Whitmire!” quickly.

    How about that talent contest winnning group who sang before the awards show (I think they were called the Taylors). Pretty impressive.

  11. Glenn wrote:

    Wow Doug, this is the reason I love your blog. For one thing, where else can you have a PhD expose you words like “hagiographic”? This was a great analysis of the impact that the night had. It also is an extraordinary perspective on the entire issue. For those who don’t think that you really love Southern Gospel music and want it to survive, they should read this posting in detail.

    I was also impressed by the discussion of Mark Lowry. The countercultural comment was especially insightful. He probably does not appeal to 80% of those who post regularly on your blog. If it were not for his association with Bill Gaither, he would not have had the stage to provide us with his perspective. This is just another thing for which I give Bill Gaither credit.

    I think most people will narrow in on your comments about which ever group they are supporting at the time or have always supported. It is a shame that they don’t look deeper.

    By the way and you will love this. The people who provided the simulcast sent the following message: ” I can only wonder who the devil is trying to prevent from being blessed from this years event. I’m so glad we have a God who is always in control and gives victory. I was made aware that some of you might have had an issue with the first 45 minutes of broadcast. . . We are watching it very closely and action will be taken right away. Please keep this broadcast in your prayers. I really feel in my heart Satan is at work here and doesn’t want this wonderful Gospel to get out. You may beat it down, but the Gospel will live on. Please enjoy!

  12. NS wrote:

    #8 Triumphant sounded pretty good live but there were a few problems. Sometimes I think David Sutton has a hard time finding his place in any given song he is not a bad soloist but his ensemble work needs some help. He needs to take notes from Frank Seamans (From L5) on how to blend with a group and make them better, in ensemble work. That is my two cents worth, I really like Triumphant though.

  13. fromthenosebleeds wrote:

    The producer of the SN fan awards - and the “voice” of NQC - Phil (Brower?)…what is his connection to Southern Gospel music?

  14. fromthenosebleeds wrote:

    One more try…

    I have several questions, and I’m hoping somebody can educate me.

    Are artists (and musicians as well) no longer require to wear ties on the main stage?

    How far does a group have to go over its time limit in order to get fined? Is that really the case for all (even the ones who are really in the NQC clique…like the Hoppers)?

    When did the Gaither Vocal Band only start appearing in the exhibit hall sporadically during NQC? I mean, did that start after the homecoming videos took off in the early to mid-90s (the GVB only coming out for brief periods of time)? Most artists are out there at their booths quite a bit. That is not the case with the GVB and EH&SS? I’m rarely out at the booth area when the GVB is, but I hear that it’s a frenzy out there when they appear.

    If an artist has multiple individuals running their booth throughout the week, is that a direct indication of how successful (monetarily) that group is? The Hoppers aren’t at their booth much. Multiple others run it.

    Who are the elite pianists in Southern Gospel music? Doug has made it known how he feels about Wayne Haun? For example, are Roy Webb and Tim Parton in that elite status (with Haun, Whitmire, etc.)?

    Where would Tim Duncan be if he had stayed in more of the mainstream Southern Gospel instead of opting to sing with EH&SS? Would he be with a Gold City type of group now? He’s really good, but it seems like he’s gotten a lot better in the past couple of years. Do you believe that’s due to vocal lessons, or is that not something typically done by bass singers?

    Was SSQ’s 20 minutes a point-making set? I mean, do you believe they tried to prove that although they dance and attempt to entertain that they can just stand still and sing quite well also?

    Does anyone know if Roy Webb stuck around after Brian Free and Assurance’s set for the SSQ set? It was right afterwards, with just one Gordon Mote tune in between.

    Why doesn’t Brian Free and Assurance catch that big break and ascend to the level that the Perrys were at for a couple of years and that the Booth Brothers are at now? What do you believe is holding them back? They’re continually improving and producing quality music. Vocally, they are way good and bring good energy. It’s like there is come small missing ingredient that just isn’t in place. Since 2000, it’s always a Daywind artist that sits on top (went from GV in the Lazarus-through-Quartets era to a couple of years of the Perrys atop the SG mountain to now the Booth Brothers at the helm). BF&A could be next in line, but like I said, I believe there’s something missing.

    Wayne Haun has worked so closely with so many Southern Gospel artists, like the Perrys, Greater Vision, etc. He seemed like he fit more into the mainstream world of Southern Gospel? Is it surprising that he’s now playing with SSQ? What is his connection to SSQ?

    Was it just me or did the crowd seem kind of cold to SSQ?

    The Isaacs are not my cup of tea, but they’re wonderful. They are separate from the NQC regulars, at a higher level. Most of the Gaither artists are. Why though? The Isaacs weren’t that great when they first caught on with the homecoming regime. SSQ has improved greatly too. What happens when you join the Gaither regime that gets your potential to that next level?

    Here’s a few personal observations from Friday night:

    The Perrys were just electric. Nick Trammell had one of his better nights. His voice sounded more full than normal. That’s what is great about the Perrys. They don’t do anything but just stand around and sing. Tracy is a decent emcee; Libbi has some down-home charm, and Habedank does provide a little youthful energy. However, for the most part, they just stand and sing. But the combination of I Rest My Case and I Wish I Could Have Been There was just an electric few minutes for the Perrys. That’s magic. It’s why the Perry’s are one of the best. They don’t require Gerald Wolfe’s charisma or SSQ’s dancing to be great.

    The Gaither Vocal Band was not electric, but they were captivating. That is the most full I have ever seen Freedom Hall for NQC, and people were coming and going all night. However, when the SSQ and GVB came to the stage the movement considerably dwindled. It was almost like it ceased and that every eye was on the GVB. It was as if the audience was in awe.

    While BF&A were singing “Long As I’ve Got King Jesus,” SSQ stood and clapped. I was impressed that they would do so. Regardless, the GVB and SSQ are great for NQC, but they just don’t fit in.

    Sheri Easter’s voice doesn’t do it for me, but she’s a great vocalist. She has wonderful control. I was stunned that her daughter is only 14. She could be really good.

    Wes Hampton showed out. His control and delivery was great. He doesn’t try to be David Phelps. He knows he’s not. Who is though? Regardless, Hampton is a big-time vocalist.

    The Hoppers have been kind of blah all week. I’m not sure how good they were on Friday night, but they definitely tried to dial it up a notch. That’s typical Hoppers though, doing something “big” one their final stand of the convention. It has been Kim Hopper overkill this year though. She’s been all up in NQC, everywhere you turn. She’s my favorite female vocalist, but yeah…the too much of a good thing scenario.

    Wayne Haun sang at times during the early portion of Get Away Jordan. Don’t know if anybody else saw that. For some reason, it kind of surprised me.

    Vocally, it was nothing great, but I loved Tim Parton’s song.

    The crowd wasn’t as giddy over the Kingdom Heirs this year as it usually is.

  15. RANDY JONES wrote:

    Why cant you just enjoy the music as it is and quit picking everyone apart by using your big fansy words . Next year why dont you get up there and sing so we can hear how perfect you sound. HYPOCRYTE

  16. Derek wrote:

    Phil Brower is the host/co-host of “Bill Gaither’s Homecoming Radio” programs that air on stations. Other than that, I know nothing about him. I’ve never heard his name elsewhere…and was not aware of his involvement with NQC.

  17. nonSGfan wrote:

    I think the Mark Lowry delusion was so off base….reading WAY too deep into a shallow man. Mark Lowry doesn’t believe the bible is the final authority, he makes jokes that make eevvveerrybbbooooddy laugh about how other people believe. He makes a mockery of OLDline traditional pentecostals or southern baptists because he cannot stand the standard they live by. He has openly endorsed homosexual musicians proving his lack of biblical standing.
    “MAke it reaL” is the dumbest song in the world. If it’s not real, you’re not saved. “He that comes to God MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS”. Period.

  18. GC11 wrote:

    #14…I agree with your comment about BF&A. The group is lacking something…could it be personality?? They’re a tough group though. When I last saw them on GMC, I thought they lacked that realness that the Booth Bros bring to the stage.

  19. gc wrote:

    Where would Tim Duncan be if he had stayed in more of the mainstream Southern Gospel instead of opting to sing with EH&SS? BROKE!

  20. onemadeupmind wrote:

    Probably belongs in another thread, and I don’t even know if he was nominated, but JEFF CHAPMAN of the Kingdom Heirs is by far the best bass singer in the business. his tones and placement are second to none! Every time I hear him, all I can say is, “WOW!”

  21. George wrote:

    After 51 Years of doing NQC. They still cannot get the sound right. I’m not sure who is in charge of the sound. But he would be out of a JOB. It was not only bad the first night, it was bad every night.
    LEAVE THE MICS ON AT ALL TIMES IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO RUN A SYSTEM.
    Sorry I will not be back

  22. Observant dude wrote:

    Here’s my little rundown of NQC:

    The Booth Brothers are one of the best things about SG music right now. Good singing, songs, and personalities are what make people want to come back to an SG concert. We should be proud to have them represent SG music.

    The Dixie Echoes tie the Booths for the other best thing going in SG. Their set on thursday was near flawless, and with no trax and around 2 old microphones. They were the buzz of NQC this year, and rightfully so. It is a travesty that Pat Barker did not win Horizon at the fan awards. What a singer…and Avery…I didn’t mind his “sign language” at all. haha

    Brian Free and Assurance do a good job singing…but not much else. Like someone said before, their lack of personality is the difference maker here. Bill Shivers is one of the best singers on the planet. The bass singer is an ok singer, but has the personality of a tree stump.

    Mark Trammell Trio was excellent as always. If I’m not mistaken, I think I even heard Mark hit Libbi’s note on the end of the song they sang together with the Perrys.

    The Kingsmen’s set saturday night was their best of the week. This lineup is growing on me a little bit. The live band with Brandon Reese, Tim Lovelace, and the Shelnut boy really helped though.

    Other Notes:

    Kingdom Heirs had some sound issues the first night. I thought they handled it well though.

    I love how different musicians played with different groups all week. It’s amazing to see guys like Tim Lovelace, Scoot Shelnut, Stewart Varnado, Mike and Dean Hopper, Michael Booth, and others, who know all the songs of OTHER groups besides their own. They must be true fans also. The guys with the Primitives also sat in with the Dixie Echoes, and were incredible.

    Inspirations sounded like usual, but with a new lead singer.

    Why are the Chuck Wagon Gang, Blackwood Brothers, and Melody Boys NOT on main stage? Who in the world are the Crist family, and why ARE they on main stage?

    The fan awards are almost to the point of being a complete joke. The ones that arent the same winners every year are the ones that leave you scratching your head. I mean, Tribute for Horizon Group over the Crabbs? What the? The Crabbs arent really my cup of tea, but they are waaaaaaay better than TQ.

    Why is Dino within 20 miles of NQC?

    I don’t know why anyone else hasn’t said this…but when EH&SS did Get Away Jordan…the 3 other guys in the group were all knelt down at Ernies feet. Now maybe I’m just picky, but that’s taking the showmanship a little too far. It probably isn’t meant to look like their worshipping at Ernies feet, but It DOES, and friends, that aint cool.

  23. Stephi wrote:

    One note: You forgot to mention the “accidentally” (I HOPE!) unedited video of Janet Paschal announcing the nominees for one of the awards!!! That was stinkin’ hilarious!!!!

  24. Eric Melton wrote:

    Hey I have got a great idea for the first reality show for The Gospel Music Channel. It would take those of us in the industry away from our offices and families for a long while and cost a lot of money to rent the KY Fair and Expo Center for this long of a time period and would cost everyone in Gospel Music a lot of personal appearances but how about this.

    The show is set up with the beginning of quartet convention. We are all locked into the KY Fair and Expo Center and cannot get out except one group per week. Plus you may all eventually get tired of eating Centerplate catering for lunch, and the KY Pork Producers BBQ, Catfish, Funnel Cakes, Ehlers Ice Cream and Papa Johns Pizza for lunch every day.

    But each week a everyone votes and a different gospel group, for soloist is evicted until their is one last group standing and they win all of the proceeds from the NQC for that year. The remaining groups who got voted out come back on finale night and cast their vote on who is the best of the final 2 groups left standing. And who better to decide who wins in case of a tie. Doug of Averyfineline. He seems to know everything and the according to him the rest of us don’t know anything. We have given our lives to this music and yet you know we all still do a medicore job at best.

    I can hear it not from Dr. Jerry Goff or Brian Lester. “XYZ Quartet you are evicited from NQC.” Gospel Music Channel should look into this. Survivor or Big Brother wouldn’t have a chance! Talk about ratings. Julie Chen would be envious of such a great idea.

  25. Southern Gospel Fan wrote:

    Ivan Parker must have done a (wow )set on Saturday Night.LOL
    Didn’t even mention him. Thank the good Lord for I know it would have been negative.

    Oh I know Soloist don’t count. Guess thats why he had to clap after he did I choose.
    Me thinks he was clapping because that song is very special to him.
    He has one there that equals Midnight Cry so far as Message.

  26. Tammy wrote:

    BF&A and Greater Vision are odd. Maybe not rude but impatient with their fans. Booth Bros are so amazing. I love them. Gaither seemed uncomfortable. And last but not least who determines the VIP’s at NQC. I noticed the man we all love to hate HAHA Rick Hendrix was on the floor wearing a VIP from the board of directors of the NQC. If its the same guy from the boards. He seemed nice but spaced out.

  27. Wade wrote:

    I don’t know what you were reading Randy Jones but 3/4 of what DH wrote was positive… and ahhh read the blog purpose on the first page.

    BFA… was recently at a local church on a Thursday Night. No self Professed GCQ fan can resist Going to see BFA when close. I have to say I expected a hohum Thursday Night Church concert where most groups with an entire weekend to go usually will not BRING IT ALL OFF THE BUS… THEY did!!! I could not believe it. It was so good that even my son who is a HARSH critic loved it.

    Brian even sang WHEN I GET CARRIED AWAY with a local group and did not cover them up like he could have.

    Brian went for notes I was really surprised he stretched to for a Thursday Night Concert.

    But clearly Brian is the Star. Bill is a great singer but not an Ivan Parker. Brian will never have any one on the group that could become a BIGGER STAR than he is. Brian is not very warm for the most part. Nobody with that kinda speaking voice will ever be considered a great MC. It’s just kinda annoying to have to listen to that tenor voice do a lot of speaking.

    So as long as that is a fact they might not ever get to the next level. There is still much GCQ junk that has not played out and as long as that is true also I don’t think the way can be paved to the next level. To many snakes in the head.

  28. Billy Hodges wrote:

    CAROL wrote—”I didn’t see the Kingsmen, but if the tenor was worse than the tenor for the Kingdom Heirs, then God help you all. I guess the KH’s tenor serves the theme park crowd, but I was amazed that he had a paid position in professional music.”

    Now THATS funny! Carol thank you for giving me another reason to practice and work even harder to be a better singer. I dont know why I get paid to be a “profession musician” but I am so thankful that I do. I guess I am so blessed that some very few people seem to enjoy my joyful “noise”.

    BTW, whats a “theme park crowd” anyway?

  29. norm graham wrote:

    #28 Billy Hodges: Thanks for posting. That tooks guts. If I was paid professional singer with one of the best jobs in SGM at Dollywood, I’d just igrnore posters who don’t like my singing.

  30. soundcheck wrote:

    #27 Wade wrote:”But clearly Brian is the Star. Bill is a great singer but not an Ivan Parker.”

    Wade could you explain more on this. I would really like to know your (vocal) view between Shivers and Parker. I have worked with both in the studio and concerts and have my own opinion also.

  31. Grave Digger wrote:

    Nice to see you here, Billy! You just never know who’s hanging around here.

    Theme park crowd . . . hmmm . . . interesting . . .

    Let’s just hope Steve doesn’t dress you up in a rat costume and ship you off to Orlando!

  32. jason wrote:

    Dean Hopper: handles the executive power over sound for NQC (Main stage and Showcase events). Hiring and Firing I guess you could say. I think he still handles this job.

    Phil Brower: The producer of NQC. Also has authority over the sound for Main Stage.

    Rob Snyder: (FOH) front of house engineer for NQC and has been for the past 5 years or more. He runs FOH for Carmen and has worked with many artists in gospel music.

    Rory Rigdon: Gaither’s fulltime monitor engineer that you have seen on recent videos has also been on the NQC staff for several years running the stage monitors and (IEM) in-ear monitors.

    Blackhawk Audio of Nashville: A major sound for tour company has provided the Meyer sound rig, Midas and Yamaha consoles for NQC the past two or maybe three years.

    Techs and Assistant engineers: most I could not name but are a valuable part of the NQC sound crew.

    All the above I know personally and are very professional. They are very competent for the jobs that they are hired to do. Muting mic’s is a normal process when working with a large sound system. Understanding the reason for miscues or other unforeseen reason(s) I cannot explain but Phil Brower is a very professional man and I’m sure those problem(s) were addressed. All above mentioned have worked in (southern) gospel for most of their lives and are known and respected by the main stage artist’s. They are not hired rock and roll engineers. They know and understand (southern) gospel music. The radio mix feeds are provided from a third party and are not controlled via main stage. Main stage has a multi split that provides raw audio to the mobile truck(s) that handles the video and audio for video. With more than 15 years in professional touring running FOH and Monitor’s and currently touring with a 13 time Grammy (secular music) award winning artist, I know the demands of a large format sound rig. These guys work their butts off all week long for a one of a kind musical event in an environment that was designed for sports and not concerts. I do not envy the job they do one week out of the year, but they do a great job anyway putting up with the artist demands, gray and blue hairs, and comments from wanna be soundmen (women) for all the wanna be (on main stage) groups that will never be.

  33. RF wrote:

    Wow. THE Billy Hodges responds. I’m impressed. Hey, Billy, don’t sweat it. Folks are folks.

    Regardless, I wish I could have attended, but it never seems to be possible due to the time they have it. Ever wonder why there are so many white heads there? Because they aren’t working anymore. Simple. As much as we have discussed this, it continues at the same time every year. I really don’t understand. Oh well.

    I have to make do with Avery’s excellent commentary, which is spot on almost always.

    And to “Randy Jones”–just remember, this site is dedicated to the criticism to the techinal aspect of the music, not the person for the most part. And calling our host a HYPROCRITE is just a little much. One can critique the music without being crude, which you were.

  34. Jesse wrote:

    Hey, I don’t get why anyone who calls themself a Christian would get on any web-site and just bash all these people like alot of you all do. We know who stinks and who don’t. We all know there’s wayyyyy tooooo much politics involved in who gets on mainstage and who don’t. We all know the Crist family had no business on mainstage, I mean good or not, they haven’t been around long enough, don’t have the fan base to deserve a spot on stage. And for that matter, niether do the Pfiefers or the Lesters, but it’s all politics. When a group like The Diplomats from Villa Ricca, GA don’t make mainstage, while these regional part timers like Soul’d Out does, I feel cheated. But there’s nothing we can do about it, so there ain’t alot of since in complaining about it. I would say this, I feel like if everyone on here who is blasting vocal abilities of professional singers were to go try out for American Idol, you would all end up like William Hung, the biggest running joke in the country. You may think you know good singing, but you obviously can’t do it, or you’d be singing instead of sitting on this web-site blasting people. Maybe, Billy Hodges ain’t the best tenor in the World, but I bet he could sing anybody who criticizes on this site under the table. I happen to think though that he is a great tenor, but what do I know, I’m just a professional in the music business. Not some disgruntled wanna be singer who can’t make it. It sounds to me like whoever runs this joint tried out for the Kingsmen at some point and couldn’t make it, and now you’re mad and exacting revenge. I almost wonder if it’s Zach Swain, who is about the worst piano player to ever sit on a bench, and didn’t get hired by the Kingsmen, and now he’s ticked off. Well, I’m about done, and this may not get posted, but You folks need to think like I use to, to keep me inline. Jesus is sitting right beside you, would He be happy with what you’re typing? Think about it.

  35. dan wrote:

    Was it just me or was it funny that when the booth brothers name was called out during the SO CALLED fan awards that the only people that yelled and clapped were old ladies???

  36. dan wrote:

    oh and i agree that the fan awards are becoming a joke kind of like Kim hopper is, her second speech was so bad that she should have just gotten the award and ran off stage…but then her dress might have got in the way

  37. Daniel J. Mount wrote:

    #28 - Billy, count me as solidly in the rank of your fans. :)

  38. Ron F wrote:

    Does anybody know why Mike Holcombe is the most unfriendly Bass Singer in Gospel Music.I saw him snub a seven year old kid. I was embarrased for the kid. This guy is supposed to be a Preacher.

  39. jbb wrote:

    Dan #36: I have to agree about Kim’s acceptance speach the 2nd time and the 3rd time. I thought she was very, well how do you say it,…arrogant. THe dress was too much, but, her producer or someone wanted her to be a princess. I thought that statement was a little “preschool” to me.

  40. Eric Melton wrote:

    Daniel Mount wrote:

    Billy, count me as solidly in the rank of your fans.

    Billy I second that motion! The Kingdom Heirs did a great job last week and you are a top notch tenor in my book! People can call it what they want as “constructive critisim”, however the Pharisees critizied Jesus too. We have a lot of Pharisees in Southern Gospel Music unfortunately. That is why it won’t grow any more than it does. There is not enough of a spirit of unity.

  41. jgurnett wrote:

    #30 Soundcheck said: “I would really like to know your (vocal) view between Shivers and Parker. I have worked with both in the studio and concerts and have my own opinion also.”

    I’d like to hear your opinion as well. I think Shivers is incredibly underrated and don’t remember ever hearing him hit anything but the middle of the note.

  42. skyline singer wrote:

    Hey Billy…don’t sweat it. Our voices are what they are, people are either going to like us or not, and there’s not a lot we can do to influence them one way or the other. Just remember this…we’re not singing for them anyway!!

  43. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #34: Jesse, Zack Swain does post on here often, but he always uses his name, so the badmouting is not coming from him.

    I saw him at NQC and talked to him about the Kingsmen thing. He’s not “ticked off” at all about it; quite the opposite. He accepts the fact that it didn’t work out and he’s just trying to be in the Lord’s will about it all.

    The “worst piano player to ever hit the bench” remark was totally uncalled for. He’s very talented, IMHO, and plays as well as the “big dogs” in the business.

    DISCLAIMER: I know our last names are the same, but we are not related. I’m just a friend of his. Thought I’d clear that up before anybody thought so.

  44. Faith wrote:

    Bill Shivers was awesome in Heaven Bound, and he is still an awesome singer. TOTALLY underrated.

  45. Wade wrote:

    # 30 Sound Check - Would love to hear your opinions too about many things I am sure if you work in the studio with these ppl you have seen them at their worst and best.

    What I was saying is that a few posters had ask the question about what kept BFA from getting to that NEXT LEVEL?? My perspective is from a promoter & fan who happens to also be a professional musician. So ALL of that being said…

    As a person I think Bill S. might be a more fun person to hang out with and is a great singer. While Ivan is a little bit of a baby to have to deal with. Always wanting the BEST SPOT on the concert… the BEST SPOT for a product booth and God help you if he does not get his way.

    But let’s face it Ivan works his butt off. He has went on to do much more than I thought he would do when the GCQ split went down. Teresa does a good job keeping him on the road and being the real brains @ keeping it all together.

    Ivan’s goes beyond just SINGING. He has a huge presence on stage. His voice is smooth. But it is not through the roof like maybe a Guy P or at one time Michael English. But he is pretty and fans love him as evidenced by the number of fan awards he has won since GCQ.

    Do you think if Bill S. went solo he would be as much of a force as Ivan?? Probably not. Which goes to my point that BF will never have any one on the group that could possibly be as big a star as he is. EGO kicks in here.

    I am convinced that if you took a vocal tract and let ppl only LISTEN to a tract with out SEEING the BOTH it might be a close draw as to who was the best. Especially if you ask ppl without a dog in the hunt or if they were not SGM fans and did not know the voices.

    Ppl say that Ivan was made because Bill G. put him on all those concerts and the exposure they bring. While that might be true that is a tough circuit. Bill does not pay them near what he should compared to what he gets from them.

    But if you work those concerts and then maximize the exposure from them from having someone like Teresa. Doing all the churches that are even tougher because of the microscope you sing under when in some of those churches. Then sing at concerts mostly with groups which is always tough. I admire Ivan for the work he has put into it.

    I also admire Bill S. for staying with BF all these years. That has to be tough too!! LoL;-)))

    So now SOUNDCHECK…what say YOU???

  46. AS wrote:

    Ok, so i just wanted to make a few comments, first of all i think BFA is an absolutely amazing group and are super talented!! They are very personable people, and have never been anything but overly kind to me. They are genuine artists that truly love the Lord, and are not up there singing to strictly entertain, they are up there to worship!! Bill Shivers is one of the BEST singers in the industry as well, and I too agree that he is underrated as a singer. He needs more recognition in this industry!

    Also, I think Billy Hodges is an amazing tenor! No he may not be a Brian Free, but why try to compare people. Everyone has their own sound and style of singing and I think Billy is doing an amazing job! I have liked the Kingdom Heirs for years and they have never picked anything but the best of singers!! Keep up the good work guys!!

  47. Southern Gospel Fan wrote:

    #30 Sound Check I would like to hear your views on Shivers and Parker also.
    I for one have loved Ivans vocals for a long time.
    He appears very considerate of his fans.
    Have heard he was hard to work with.
    Would like to hear from someone who knows.
    Thanks!!!!

  48. worthepost wrote:

    #34-You are being a little to aboslute with some of the comments you made. Saying “alot of you all” is kind of harsh to those of us who actually care and are concerned about SG music and where it’s headed. Not everybody’s bashing those who we spend our money to go see and hear, or that would make us even more ignorant than how we sometimes come across. Latley, it seems that some are getting way to personal with the commentary, but I think it’s obviously meant as exaggeration and not bottom-line truth.

    I say that to defend a great deal of the people who use this site to discuss and not to drag down those who have a harder job than many of us give them credit for. If we didn’t somewhat support SG we wouldn’t be on this site.

    BTW: I hear what you’re saying about the politics, but can you really include the Lesters with those comments. You might not have liked their set, but they’re quality. Maybe not big money awesome, but solid and have been for a long time.

    #28-I wouldn’t worry about it (though I’m sure you’re not). I don’t know if she was speaking on behalf of the radio feed or what, but I’ve heard you live several times and you’re good (radio feed wasn’t that good for you or anybody else, but free is hard to complain about). If you weren’t good, you would be sittin’ wherever she was. “Theme park crowd”…it sounds like a sorry excuse for a “Simon Cowell” comment. You get paid to sing, and you get to live in a house, not a bus.

    Definitely enjoyed seeing someone with first-hand knowledge making a comment though. Keep it up.

  49. ChrisHenry wrote:

    Hey! Where’s Notaboothbrotherfan? I figured we’d hear about how the Booths paid for 6 awards. Did we finally get that turd to flush?

    Hey Billy! Thanks for stepping into this nasty site. I know Doug and Carol don’t like you, but the rest of us do. You’re part of the best sounding group in SG right now, hands down. And I’ll never forget how friendly you were to me and my friend at the Great Western QC in CA back in 2003 (when you were with the DE). You’re top notch, dude.

  50. Tony Watson wrote:

    #34 Jesse - I beg to differ - the worst piano player to ever sit on a bench is ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Billy Hodges wrote:

    Thanks for all the encouragement. I dont normally post anything anywhere and I seldom look at this site but since I had the chance to meet Doug last week at NQC I decided to see what people thought about what he said and what others thought in general about the convention.

    Doug and I talked about 30mins and I expressed what I liked about his blog and what I didnt and gave him the chance to defend his stance and opinions. He was nice to me and I was nice to him. He explained that he calls it like he sees and hears it. He tries to separate the person from the profession. Personally, I dont believe its possible at least on this end of it.

    If you want my experience of things on NQC….

    The sound was bad….as it is every year. Thats why we brought our own sound man who still had problems. But we are so-called professionals and we make the best of it.

    As far as my peers and other singers….we know if we sing badly. As professionals we are taught to get past it. Its like golf to me…shank one, get past it, shank two in a row, hit the range and practice. Its whether you bring your A game or if you crack (no pun) under the pressure. Do we care what Doug or anyone thinks? Sure, we are human. Do we lose sleep over it? Not a wink. I respect Doug because he stood up for what he thinks. I dont respect how negative and insulting his remarks are and I dont care for his “delivery” but I also dont have to read or visit his site if I dont want to. Nor does the listener have to stay in Freedom Hall when we hit the stage.

    Barry Bonds hit 762 homeruns. But he struck out 1539 times. So even the best choke, crack, cave whatever you want to call it.

    In a perfect world everyone would love everybody and there would be no conflict or criticism. How boring would that be, besides what would Doug have to write about then?! Doug, shoot me an email when you get a chance.

    Take care everybody!

  52. stunned1 wrote:

    To Ron F: I’m sure if Mike Holcomb seemed to snub anyone it was because he had alot on his mind and didn’t do it intentionally.

    To Billy H: You’re a wonderful singer! The highlight of our vacations is going to Dollywood and hearing the KH’s!

  53. onemadeupmind wrote:

    While sitting in the Steak n Shake in L’Ville, I overheard a conversation that Tony Green was having at his table about the Crabbs. Ms. Talley was commenting on how it was a shame that they weren’t on the main stage, and Tony replied, “They can thank their mamma for that. She’s a witch to work with, and I told her so myself.” I wasn’t intentionally eaves-dropping, but he wasn’t really quiet with his comments. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but wonder, is there much of this kind of backbiting that goes on in the industry? Even if every word was true that he spoke, if he wanted to share it, he should have done it somewhere privately and not in an eating establishment. I lost some respect for him that evening.

  54. Leebob wrote:

    Just a thought - perhaps there should be an outside producer, totally unassociated with SG that has absolutely no viable interest in who sounds better, totally free to hire whom he needs to hire for sound, and simply about nothing else but producing the best possible show that he can with what SG has to give him. OOOHHHH…that would mean spending some money instead of contracting it out to the connected peeps. My mistake for including my practical side.

    I have never gone to NQC and do not plan to go because…AGM (A Ghastly Mess) and NQC (No Quality Control) must be using the same sound people from everything that I have read and heard. The powers that be (Beasley and Co.) need to give a crap and hire quality people to produce a quality show, operate sound at a high level, and perhaps take a little less profit. Yes I am being harsh on the sound crew but hasn’t just about everybody when writing about NQC.

    This REALLY makes me appreciate my brother working with sound when we have multiple groups singing…and he isn’t paid to work his magic. I am usually a little more diplomatic than this but when everybody is hollering about what is wrong with SG and we are trying to put our best foot forward, there is simply no excuse for BFA walking up to the mics to START THE SHOW and having to restart their set.

  55. twomadeupmind wrote:

    In regards to #53… If Tony made that comment, he was actually paying Ms. Crabb a compliment. I’ve heard her described as much worse.

  56. Jerry wrote:

    I am so SURE that’s why the Crabb Family is not singing.LOL!!! I have reason to believe that the “mama” kept them together for a while after the dirt flew! Time has proven many things. That sounds like the comments that Tony is famous for against the Hoppers. Mama Crabb probably made Tony go last at CrabbFest.LOL!! Most of us know Tony pretty well. If you’re breathing, he’s talking about you.

    I am very sorry you heard that comment. It doesn’t reflect very well on SG now does it?

  57. Rick wrote:

    The Crabb Family are no longer a group. So, being on main stage was not ever solicited or in any of their plans. It is no secret other groups are jealous of the Crabb machine that was SO perfectly driven by one of the hardest, most loyal, business women of our era-Kathy Crabb. She remains a staple and blueprint for the development of artist, innovated ideas and true stamina in the midst of a storm. Certain individuals will always be at level three while tearing down level one. That’s business, that’s life and unfortunately that’s not Christian.But, for us to stop and focus on the details of others misfortune, prevents our own plans, ideas and dreams from being reality. I think the big story here is,fans should not have to hear this kind of jealous ,bitter and character assaults from within our industry.

  58. Larry S wrote:

    Billy! Man, I’ve been a huge fan of yours since Steve Hurst’s school in 95 - you ROCK dude…
    If you ever get near Columbia SC, give me and Alesia a buzz man.

  59. Carol wrote:

    #51 You’d be amazed what people overhear at NQC when you don’t even think its possible. It’s kind of like when you pass a trainwreck and you don’t mean to look, but you just can’t help it. Remember that. Sometimes people don’t care for one’s voice, but then, when they are accidentally privy to certain conversations, it makes the voice and the nasality even worse.

    However, congratulations on being moved to work harder and become a better singer. I’m sure that will make all the difference in taking you to the next level.

    And no. Neither me nor my husband has a terminal disease, in case you’re wondering. I’ll leave it at that.

    Like Doug, I’m taking some time away from this blog, too. I don’t want to be the person I’ve felt like for the past few days.

  60. soundcheck wrote:

    #45 “I am convinced that if you took a vocal tract and let ppl only LISTEN to a tract with out SEEING the BOTH it might be a close draw as to who was the best. Especially if you ask ppl without a dog in the hunt or if they were not SGM fans and did not know the voices.”

    Wade, I would have to agree with most of your view towards Shivers and Parker except the above statement, and maybe that Parker is not as a big of baby as you have him figured for, but of course you’re a promoter so I guess you have made that presumption from experience.

    Shivers will never be the “star” with BFA we all know that, he’s not supposed to be that’s why its Brian Free and (Assurance,) but Shivers is way more the vocal talent than Parker can or could ever be. This is not to take away from Parkers ability to sing, he is where is mostly because of one group and one song, and of course it did not hurt to get on the Homecoming wagon either, that’s where his star power came in, and Parker has that gift too. I do agree that Teresa has done a great job managing her husband and should be much credited for his success since his parting from Gold City. Shivers is where he is because of his vocal ability, not a past group, not a past song.(since some on this post has compared thier vocal ability to that of sports, im gonna say that Shiver is a hired gun, and he can shoot your eyes out), anyway… To sing lead with Free takes a singer that has the range and the ability to use that range and clearly Shivers has it like no other that Free has employed… bar none. There is a clear difference between Shivers and Parkers vocal abilities and I do not need a track to know. BTW Shivers and Parker both are great guys to hang with. I have enjoyed beef stew over at Parkers bus after a Gaither show many times and enjoy playing golf with Shivers about once a week. Neither has ever shown any ego except on the golf course maybe. lol

  61. Ed wrote:

    I for one would love to hear Doug (Averyfinline) stand in front of NQC and sing a song. But instead he stands back and uses big words and cuts down singers.
    Words are powerful Doug. The bible warns us to be careful about what we say about God’s annointed.

  62. George wrote:

    Dean Hopper: handles the executive power over sound for NQC (Main stage and Showcase events). Hiring and Firing I guess you could say. I think he still handles this job.

    I GUESS THEN DEAN HOPPER NEEDS TO BE FIRED OR GIVEN A JOB HE CAN’T MESS UP.

  63. George wrote:

    DOUG, (AVERYFINELINE) I agree with 99.9% what you have to say. Keep up the truth.

    And Ed he only being nice, the real dirt is not being talked about.

  64. Bryan Hutson wrote:

    I agree with my buddy Billy Hodges in a lot of ways.
    This is not “my first rodeo” and I know that not everyone will like me, or my singing. That USED to bother me. However, call it getting older or wiser, (hopefully wiser) but if you choose not to like me or my singing, fine.
    I can’t change either. I am who I am.

    Did I sound “Nasality and harsh” on Saturday night’s performance? Yeah, I probably did. All a singer can do, is work with the tools he/she has at the time. Like a muscle, sometimes the voice works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    For the comments that “Trent” made concerning my hair..
    I have decided to wear my hair the way I WANT to wear it. I don’t need permission from anyone! Maybe one day YOU (Trent) will be able to wear your hair the way YOU want to.
    Say, Trent..let’s see a picture of you and I will critique YOUR hair for free. When I finish critiquing your hair, I will tell you in person, not hide behind a message board screen name.

    I also would love to know what “Up and coming” group you sing with.

    To those who sing the gospel every week, whether on the regional or fulltime level, keep singing. Don’t let Doug’s or anyone else’s put-down’s discourage you. You are singing for the King Of Kings..He is our audience.

  65. MityCats wrote:

    A few observations …

    1. On Tony Greene and the overheard conversation — I don’t hold Tony to any higher standard than I hold myself. We’ve all said things on here about individuals and groups in the industry that were just as bad if not worse than what Tony said. If you heard him say “…and I’ve told her so myself…”, then I assume he’s at least already made his feelings known to the person he’s talking about. That’s more than I can say for myself a lot of the time.

    2. Brian Free — There are few in the industry I’ve spoken with that are as humble, sincere, and seem truly concerned about what they are doing as Brian Free. Every time I’ve had the opportunity to see Assurance and speak to Brian, he’s been more than courteous and attentive. I truly believe this man has a heart for the Lord and a desire to do more with his music than entertain. I think he gets it more than others. While it’s great to laugh and cut up and have a good time, what’s more important is the status of a person’s relationship with the Lord. I think Brian has a firmer grasp on this than some others I’ve met. I appreciate the seriousness he shows.

    3. The Pfeifers - Count me in as a fan of these folks. I know it may get tired to some, but those horns just do something for me. I first heard them in person at Dollywood a couple of years ago. When they were singing “We Shall Behold Him” and John started blowing that horn, I thought Gabriel was ready! There’s just something about them that is special. My favorite cuts of theirs are “Father’s House” (this is what my little girl calls church now), “Fighting On”, and “First Love”. I just hate I discovered them so late in their career.

    4. The Booth Brothers - From the first time I heard them at the Greenes’ homecoming in Boone, I went to their table and bought everything they had. I will continue to do so, I’m sure. These guys are genuine and I couldn’t be more tickled for them. LOVE that a great classic like “Look For Me” won song of the year. They should have released “I’ll See You In The Rapture”. I never cared for this song til they recut it. It could be a huge hit for them.

    5. NQC in general — I’ve only attended this event twice. I was there at the last one in Nashville and then a couple of year’s later in Louisville. The sound issues were there then; I think they will always be there as long as you have the event in a place designed for basketball and not music. I loved the atmosphere and just being amongst all the folks and the music I loved. Those of you who can afford to make the trip are blessed more than you realize - warts and all.

  66. Jesse wrote:

    # 7, Carol, just wanted to let you and everyone else know that, that man who jumped on stage is not mentally ill. He is a little slow, but he is a great friend to Southern Gospel. We all have a lot of fun with him. His name is Bryan Potts, or Pottsy as most of us call him. He simply didn’t realize that he couldn’t go up there. He spends most of his time in the exhibit hall anyway. I hate that happened to him, but he’s gonna be ok, cause he’s getting a cd recorded by a great company for free. At convention some musicians and the owner of a great studio got together and decided to give him a free recording because he is soooooooooo dedicated to our music, and he is such a great fan. Just wanted you to know, he’s not just a mentally ill man, he’s Bryan Potts, and he’s here to stay. You can look for him to have a booth next year probably.

  67. Eric Melton wrote:

    George wrote:

    I GUESS THEN DEAN HOPPER NEEDS TO BE FIRED OR GIVEN A JOB HE CAN’T MESS UP.

    That my friend was uncalled for. I could only guess that you might have not done everything on your job perfect either. By not only spending time with the Hoppers in the past but being their radio promoter for almost 3 years and having a song nominated for Song of the year with them, The Hoppers do everything they do with a touch of class. We could only hope that all groups would handle their business the way that The Hoppers do.

    George you also mentioned that the real dirt is not being talked about, but from what I have seen on this board before is some people just spreading garbage that they have very little facts or no facts to back up their statement. This industry is not as bad as it used to be in this in the early 90s when I started in Gospel Music almost every day I would get phone calls till lunch time, saying “You Know what I heard.” I think for the most part we over this pettiness. The real reason that those who stir the pot all of the time on this board are just mad because they want to be in the place where those are making a difference have been and are at this point. Do I know things about some, absolutely. And there are those that know some of my mistakes. I am transparent, I give my first and last name. If anyone wants to know something about me, they can ask. But a lot of what Doug says is not the truth. It is only his opinion and if he is the music scholar that he is, and if he really has a passion for this music, he should quit his trash talking, get in this business and do something about it.

  68. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #66: Thanks for clearing that up.

  69. George wrote:

    Eric, #67 I am not the only person talking about the Sound. Maybe get your head out of the sand of some of these gospel Saints. The sound was bad all week long. One day maybe two days, but not all week long.

  70. Mark wrote:

    #69 George, Don’t waste your time with them, your not going to change city hall. We all know the truth. The Sound sucks, (just plan talk) I know who Eric is and your being to nice.

  71. Mark wrote:

    Sorry should have sayed. # 62

  72. Trent wrote:

    #64, Bryan Hutson,

    You might be surprised to know that I think you are a fine singer and I like the Kingsmen, though I’m not a huge fan. I think the song “When God Ran” is tremendous, and I like your singing on it from the record. I liked your voice on the first go ’round with the Kingsmen and I like it now.

    This site is a forum to discuss SG music, performances, and performers. I know all too well how much of a Monday morning quarterback folks can be when it comes to seeing their favorite groups on stage and then having strong opinions to share. However, this site, which I know you frequent a bunch because you have commented on here a bunch, offers people the opportunity to have a very open and frank discussion regarding artists.

    I think it’s a healthy thing for the most part. I think the anonymity is a healthy thing for the most part. Why? Because it offers folks an avenue to be candid about what’s plaguing the industry and what’s to like and what’s not to like. Many, many artists read this site religiously and a lot of them have picked up some ideas about their singing and their appearance by having somewhat of representative well here to draw from.

    I thought your hair looked funny. Big deal. If you knew me, you would know that I’m a big cut-up and you would have laughed when you read it. I thought you were off Monday night and I said so. I also commented in post #10 above that I thought you were much improved Saturday night. Sorry I offended you.

  73. Ed wrote:

    Trent-
    Mr. Hutson sounded a little harsh and I can understand why. I wish I had half of his hair. However, HE posted on here using HIS real name. My name is Edward Golden, and many others post using their real names. I think if you are going to bash singers and musicians, or just offer YOUR opinion on how YOU think they should sing, dress or look, then be Man/Woman to sign your REAL name to the post.
    You still never answered the question “What group are you with?”

  74. Bryan Hutson wrote:

    Well, Ed, I may have sounded harsh, but I think people should really concern themselves with things that matter; Like how to introduce someone to Christ, how to be a godly example to their family and so on.
    What someone decides to wear on stage, how they wear their hair, etc..really is their preference. A lot of the young singers in our industry “take to heart” what these message board posters say, and when it’s damaging, it can really hurt their self esteem and confidence.
    We are all entitled to our opinion. I feel we should be VERY careful what we put in print and think about who you are typing about.
    Trent- I am a big cut up too. No hard feelings. Feel free to email me at vbryanhutson@hotmail.com.
    Maybe one day we can sit down over a cup of coffee and I can show you the proper way to use gel and hair spray.

  75. jean wrote:

    Does anyone know why there wasn’t a tribute to Dottie Rambo?
    I thought she had done so much for SG.

  76. abk wrote:

    Trent, with all due respect my friend, I join Bro. Hutson in saying that I would be kinda careful on your critique of singers. There are a lot of them that read this and there are some things that are said on here and on the boards (not necessarily counting you among them) that hurt their feelings. I’ve irritated a singer or two myself in the past when I used to putter around the message boards/blogs more, and I regret it to this day. I strive to make things right between me and them if I haven’t been able to already, as I prefer to build rather than tear down. It’s evident that you and Mr. Hutson have kindly agreed to disagree, and I’m happy for that.

    I’ve learned that most of the real criticism given in these forums comes from people who have never ridden a bus, never been away from home 200+ days a year, had to sing when they are sick, much less sing day in and day out. Therefore, they don’t leave much in the way of suggestions for improvement.

    Anyway, I’m saying this in all humility and with respect to you Mr. Trent and anybody else that my feeble words might possibly help out.

  77. Ed wrote:

    That’s where I am. I have traveled with some of gospel music’s greatest quartets as a merchandise handler, speaker toter and friend. I have seen these people be gone from their family for weeks at a time. I respect them and yes, even when they are sick or bad voice, they are expected to perform at 100%. Many feel they can’t have a bad night due to posters on message boards posting that “they are terrible singers.”
    Even at The Quartet Convention” people have trouble with their voice.
    Be careful what you say, and who you say it about.

  78. Zack Swain wrote:

    Jesse,

    Ok, 1st off I want to clear a few things up here. I just found this post online today and it seems that you have an issue with me and I’d love to know what I’ve done to you or to make you feel this way. 2nd off I have NEVER said a bad word about the kingsmen. I still have VERY much respect for them. I am not ill in anway. It was not a part of Gods plan for me. 3rd. If you think I am the worse pianist to ever sent on the bench I respect your opinion to think that. and I have no hard feelings at all. I know I’m not the greatest pianist out there and will never claim to be, BUT I do know God has given me this talent and I will use it for him and for his Glory no matter what anyone thinks. I’ve noticed that quite a few people have been trying to bring down my name around the industry. let me say this to anyone that is reading this. I could care less about ever stepping foot on to the political stage of NQC, or having a number 1 song or any kinds of awards or nomination. My Goal in life is to go from church to church and share the gospel and use the gift God has given me to bring Glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I can promise you that everything I have ever posted on here I have used my real name. I’m not scared to voice my opinions and I give out my private email address if anyone ever has an issue with me I’d be more than glad to discuss that with them. ( zackattack_2006@yahoo.com )

    Zack Swain

    by the way…Thank you for stick up for me to those who came to my defense.

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