Back to the future

So the Gaither Vocal Band is sending Marshall Hall packing (kinda surprising), making Guy Penrod’s hiatus permanent (no surprise there), and bringing back Michael English, Mark Lowry, and David Phelps to sing with Gaither and Wes Hampton. It’s being billed as revolutionary (a gospel quintet!), but it sure looks like an attempt to reboot an earlier, more successful version of the group, with Hampton kept on to justify the quintet line and distract from the idea that all this amounts to a kind of gospel-music revanchism. I mean, they’ve basically been test-driving this “revolutionary” new format for months now. And anyway, with Bill Gaither as a voice in both versions, it’s no more going to be a quintet in this new form than it was a quartet in any of its earlier configurations. As this commenter suggested, the really revolutionary thing to do would have been for the Gaither to have replaced himself.

From what I can gather, the real unexpected move here is that Hall is out. No one who knows anything about the Penrod situation thought he’d be back, even if he does sort out his personal issues. But Hall seemed like a mainstay, not to mention far more vocally capable than, say, English is now in later life (Marsh has the better of Lowry vocally too, but it’s hard to compete with Lowry given the comedy stuff).

At any rate, I still say this is all just more of the beginning of the end of the GVB. On the bright side, the return of some GVB personnel from the “Few Good Men” era ought to just simply enrage this guy (trust me; you’ll wanna click through), and that’s a really satisfying thing to know (h/t, DA).

PS: So does this mean Jason Crabb’s days with the GVB are over?

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  1. Musicscribe Blog » Immediate Thoughts On The Reorganized GVB on 13 Jan 2009 at 11:21 pm

    […] wasn’t too surprised that Doug Harrison quickly pooh-poohed the news of the Gaither Vocal Band’s unheaval. I do agree with Doug to a certain degree, […]

  2. The New Perfect Heart « Coomer Cove on 14 Jan 2009 at 12:18 pm

    […] New Perfect Heart Well, since I cannot find anything newsworthy in the world of southern gospel music to blog about today, I think I’ll post about what I found in my inbox this […]


  1. DMP wrote:

    I still have no idea what to say about this. Very exciting in some ways, but very odd in others…

  2. Steve wrote:

    I wonder if this is the transition period where BG begins his exit and Mark Lowry
    starts fill more of the Gaither emcee role at
    HC concerts

  3. quartet-man wrote:

    Wow, I thought this was an April Fools joke. I almost went to today, but never got around to it, so this is the first I heard of this. I have mixed feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited in many ways as English’s, Lowry’s and Phelps times in the Gaither Vocal Band are included in some of my favorites. English in his prime is one of my all-time lead vocalists they had, if not so. Lowry was one of my favorite baritones (first or second choice I would say.) Phelps is my favorite tenor although there are others they had I liked for other reasons.

    With all that said, I feel bad for the other guys. Not if they wanted to leave on their own. I mean I understand Guy has been there many, many years and I understand that the Vocal Band has lost popularity for several years. I get that and a business owner or group owner can make changes they deem fit. However, I still feel bad for the others if they were “let go.”

    I am happy as far as the contributions Lowry, English and Phelps will make. I have to wonder about the combo of parts and how they will work. Especially with the older material. Will they trade off? Will they cover for each other and have some combo of four some of the times? I do have to wonder how many more years Bill will keep at it. If nothing else, it should be interesting. I wonder how long it will be before we see an album or clip.

  4. DMP wrote:

    It would seem as though Gaither is planning on sitting out at times. why 5 parts?

  5. RF wrote:

    I’m a bit confused. If this is a quarter (er, quintet), do we have 2 tenors and 3 baritones these days in the GVB? Boogles my mind on several fronts.

    We were led to believe that Phelps was having such a strong solo career, but it appears it wasn’t so. Same with Lowry. Why the return? As for Hall, why the abrupt flight? Reminds one of Russ Taff’s departure a few years ago. And Hampton stays. Can Phelps and Hampton exist in the same group? We’ll see.

  6. RF wrote:

    I’m a bit confused. If this is a quarter (er, quintet), do we have 2 tenors and 3 baritones these days in the GVB? Boogles my mind on several fronts.

    We were led to believe that Phelps was having such a strong solo career, but it appears it wasn’t so. Same with Lowry. Why the return? As for Hall, why the abrupt flight? Reminds one of Russ Taff’s departure a few years ago. And Hampton stays. Can Phelps and Hampton exist in the same group? We’ll see.

    It’s time for Bill to take a cue from JD with the old Stamps, Elvis era. Get a young bass. Still be there and do some songs, but not all songs.

  7. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    No surprise that it didn’t take Doug long to pooh-pooh this idea. I tend to agree with Doug on one point, though. It probably is the beginning of the end for the GVB.

    If the group does retire, say, in six months, though, wouldn’t this be a great group of guys for people to remember as the final version of the GVB?

    If this did turn out to be the last version of the group, it has to rank right up there alongside of George, Glen, Roger, Scott and Ernie.

  8. noah vaughn wrote:

    surprising how much you seem to think you know about southern gospel music. gaither is the forerunner of it, and has obviously done some things right over his career. so quick to judge on something. typical critic, never agrees with popular opinion.

  9. Just_pete wrote:

    This reminds me something that happened a few years ago when Kiss was nearly the end of their run. The brought back the make-up, the brought back the costumes, the brought back the “old-timers”. They toured for a few years but the magic of yester-year just wasnt’ there and it didn’t work the 2nd time around.

    There came cds, videos and merchandise and it made Kiss a few million dollars, but at the end of the day the soul of the music wasn’t there.

    I’ll sit back and wait to hear the music and see if I can feel the magic from GVB this time around.

  10. Just_pete wrote:

    You’d think I could type. LOL. I guess I could blame the keyboard and say the “y” was stuck but I want. I just don’t know what happened. LOL

  11. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    #8 I think this group is going to sound great.

    English has noticeably slipped vocally, but he’s the only one. He can still sing a strong baritone or lower lead line and his harmony has always made a group sound better. English also brings his vocal arranging skills back to the studio.

    Lowry was never shabby though underrated. He has improved as a singer over the past seven years he’s been away. Lowry is likely to be slower with a fresh witty comment vs. ten years ago. He’ll still be quick, though. He’ll just be pulling material from his past or using pre-rehearsed material more often than creating something new on the spot, I think.

    Phelps really hasn’t slipped at all vocally. He still has a dynamic range with the power to thrill. Now that he’s going to be underpinned by harmony again, the old magic should be back. They just need to keep him away from songwriting and arranging…not that there’s anything wrong with his abilities in those areas…but the GVB core audience didn’t really seem to go for stuff like “Second Fiddle” or the A Cappella CD.

    Hampton will be there to tone the energy down when it needs to drop to a level where Phelps can’t go. He’ll be a nice contrast to Phelps. I just hope he doesn’t get dejected at all the attention the others receive when they return. His role will continue to build in the future when/if Bill retires and the group carries on.

  12. Joshua Cottrell wrote:

    I am both elated and disappointed. When Marsh entered the group I really didn’t think I would like him, but I have never heard a better version of Jesus Loves Me. I will greatly miss Guy Penrod, but he didn’t seem to be the major player in the last cd, like he did a few projects back. Never really did like Michael English even before his indiscretion. He had a great voice but he just didn’t seem like he meant what he was singing. I guess David’s 10 cd deal with Word, has run out. Will Mark have to give up his place in Texas, and move back to TN? I am sure the new lineup will be fine, I just hope it’s GREAT.

  13. quartet-man wrote:

    Here is a more detailed release per Michael English’s site.

    January 13, 2009

    Meet The Brand New Five-Member
    Gaither Vocal Band!

    Today Gaither Music Group announced plans for a radical transformation of the Gaither Vocal Band, including the departure of long-time GVB lead singer, Guy Penrod, and the group’s baritone since 2004, Marshall Hall.

    As Gaither has stated at various times of transition, “You never replace a group member� you simply find a fresh, new direction.” And with that philosophy at heart, Bill Gaither has gone far beyond simply replacing his long-time lead singer. He has completely recreated the Gaither Vocal Band, now expanding the size of the group from four members to five and bringing back an all-star cast of voices from the Vocal Band’s rich legacy of talent.

    Effective immediately, the new roster for the five-member Gaither Vocal Band will be: Bill Gaither, David Phelps, Wes Hampton, Michael English and Mark Lowry.

    Bill Gaither states, “I am so excited about the sound that this particular group creates together. There are few groups, if any, that have the advantage of having two fine tenors like Wes Hampton and David Phelps at one time! Their sound together is like liquid gold� truly stunning. Together, they will share the demands of the high tenor part and offer a sound we’ve never heard from any previous Vocal Band. David has been extremely gracious to rejoin the group while also pursuing his solo career, and I have to say that I am enjoying his contribution more than ever.”

    “Having Michael English join us is also very exciting for many reasons. Today Michael is a very different individual than the young man who traveled with us back in the early ’90s. I am seeing a grateful, restored individual who had every reason to believe his singing days were over a few years ago. Throughout his recovery, I have watched him grow healthier spiritually, emotionally and physically� and I now firmly believe his best days are yet to come. What a joy to welcome him to this powerhouse line-up.”

    “And Mark Lowry� what a defining influence he has been! It is impossible to imagine bringing back an all-star group without Mark. His energy and his unique gift for communication really round off this new direction for the group. Audiences love him and we love him.”

    “This line-up has energy and vocal power that will blow your mind. And the most exciting part is� their hearts are in this. This announcement grew out of unexpected change, but I’ve learned to pay close attention when God starts shaking things up. He always has plans that are better than our own.”

    During this transition Michael is committed to fulfilling as many previously scheduled solo appearances as he possibly can and will do whatever possible to make sure everyone is satisfied. He will continue to do solo dates in the future as his schedule allows.

    The public’s overwhelming early response to the January 20th release of The Gaither Vocal Band Reunion DVD, as well as the group’s 2009 Grammy nomination, has already begun what could be the group’s most unforgettable season yet.

    The first live concert of 2009 will take place January 29 in Huntsville, Alabama, and tickets are still available. For more 2009 concert dates visit and click on the ‘Tickets’ banner.

  14. Dexter wrote:

    You don’t have to worry about Michael…he’ll get his chops back once he gets busy again.

  15. joe wrote:

    So, with a hat tip to the group’s original name, perhaps they should now be known as the Old Gaither Vocal Band.

  16. Janet wrote:

    I’m not surprised about Guy - just disappointed. Marsh leaving was unexpected; I think there’s a story there, if you read between the lines of Bill’s statement, as well as Marks. We’ll probably never know…
    As far as the return of Mark, Michael, & David - yippee! Wish I lived closer to Huntsville - this I wanna hear! Yes - they’re all older than they were in the first go-around with the VB, but this group is not a repeat. It’s new, therefore the sound will be a new one (especially with David’s stellar arranging talents!).
    IF Michael English was insincere 15 years ago - and only God knows the answer to that - he certainly is sincere now. Life experience has a funny way of deepening one’s appreciation for faith & salvation. Amen?

  17. NorthernIrelandgirl wrote:

    I’m really sad to see Guy Penrod go he is a very genuine man with a terrific voice and lovely personality. We’d really got to like Marshall Hall too and I’m so shocked he has left too he had such a great voice. Best wishes to them both and they will always be welcome in Northern Ireland.

    Went to hear live in Bangor (Northern Ireland) in November he has the best voice I’ve ever heard. Loved his time with GVB, (not too keen in his pop songs - sing gospel David - please).

    I wish them all well - and please hurry back to Northern Ireland where you ARE appreciated.

  18. southern gospel musi wrote:

    I rarely agree with any thing written here about the GVB but this is right on target.
    Bill has done great things in the past but why bring back the past.
    Michael English on lead his voice is about as weak as Bill’s.
    Smart thing would have been to get a bass singer and another lead and keep Marsh.
    He was keeping them together as a great group on the last CD and the last time I saw them in person. Singing his and Guys part.
    Guy will be missed by me but I expected that.
    Must say dropping Marsh was a shocker.
    Wes best start looking for another job. Wait until David fills his already scheldued dates afraid it will be bye-bye Wes.
    Guy-Marsh and Wes needs to pick up Mike Allen and form their own group.
    Now that would be a quartet with a bass.
    Gene McDonald comes to mind also.
    Oh well Bill has made wise moves in the past,praying this doesn’t back fire on him.
    They had good comedy at the HC with Kevin Williams and Rory Rigdon.
    Mark is a great guy but not the Baritone Marsh hall is,sorry Mark thats the way I hear it.

  19. M Rushlow wrote:

    The comments here are ridiculous! This is the best quartet ever assembled hands down. You people only wish you were as talented as this lineup. How could you be anything other than elated about this. The people that rip and tear down others like this really need to get a hobby. I’m sure Jesus would be ripping this idea also…

  20. quartet-man wrote:

    I see a lot of people said things I was thinking last night but didn’t take the time to type. Bill said that they chose the Gaither Vocal Band name so they wouldn’t necessarily be locked into 4 parts.

    I got an email from Gaither sending the press release at 5:35. Then Phelps at 7:09. Then later still Mark Lowry at
    10:19. Mark said he only knew about it for a few days which sounds like a quick decision. I had figured it was in the works longer than that. It does seem odd about Marsh and what was listed, but perhaps we are reading too much into it. Getting those emails is what prompted me to Michael’s site to see what he had to say.

    Wes does seem a bit like a fifth wheel. Everyone else has a longer history there and having two tenors seems strange, but then again Michael probably wouldn’t be able to cover some of Guy’s higher parts anymore. Michael’s range would be closer to Marsh’s anymore and he would probably be good at covering those. Nonetheless, Wes has a wonderful spirit and I am glad he wasn’t shoved out the door. He is also such a fan I don’t know if it will bother him to be the odd man out in a way.

    This does sort of remind me of Russ Taffs change a few years ago. I like Russ a lot, but his time with the Vocal Band wasn’t quite as good a fit as he was in the Imperials or solo career. Perhaps Bill is not only shaking up the GVB, but if he is able to keep Marsh and Guy as soloists in the Homecoming stuff, he will have additional talent to replace some of those who went on.

    I also thought that Marsh, Guy and Wes together with a bass would be interesting. In fact, I also thought that the GVB could have gone wild and kept the current five, but put Bill on lead, Get Lee Young and Jon Mohr back in and add an eighth on lead with Michael such as Jason Crabb, Jonathan Pierce or even get Larnelle back. Or there are others from their history. Imagine an eight member GVB. Of course sometimes with stacks they may sound like that already. ;)

  21. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    It looks like Jason Crabb’s days are over with GVB.
    Looks like Jason is doing just fine as God is blessing Jason’s ministry of singing and preaching the Word of God.

  22. brad wrote:


  23. NotAfanOfAVFL wrote:

    I am saddened to see Guy and Marsh go HOWEVER this is the most excited I’ve been about the GVB group in a LONG time! I’ve always been a fan of Michael English’s an David Phelp’s so to see them back again - I’m speechless. And to have Mark with this group again - AMAZING! Bill definitely knows what he’s doing. And whoever said the Gaither Vocal Band had to be 4 singers? They should have kept Marsh and made it 6! I’m all for this change! Bring it on Mr. Gaither! I’ll be seeing you in a town near me real, real soon with this lineup! Yeah!

  24. Greg wrote:

    After having a day or so to digest this news I can say I am very saddened by this news. It really does appear to be the final chapter in the GVB book. I am a younger fan of gaither (29) and didn’t grow up with Mark or Michael. To be honest Mark never impressed me as a vocalist, although his comedy was amusing at times. Michael appears to be passed his sell by date. That said English, in his prime, was a fantastic singer and will no doubt fit in just fine. I just can’t get passed giving Hall the boot to bring in these two guys. Marshall, I would say, is definately a better vocalist and more techinically sound than either one of the fore-mentioned artists. Maybe things really weren’t going as well for the GVB as some of us thought. Phelps is in a class by himself, but I can’t help but feel badly for Wes Hampton. He had just started to carve out his own corner of the GVB and now comes back the guy who he was unfairly compared to for so long. Im sure the group will be good, but I certainly do not think they will be as good. The the younger sound Marshall brought was unique and perhaps the older fan base wasn’t on board. All I can do now is hope Marshall continues on in a solo career and accept the fact that the GVB is riding off into the sunset. If Wes ends up getting the boot…..I can honestly say, sadly, I won’t be buying GVB music anymore….. As far as Guy goes, I think we all saw this coming and having seen Guy perform last August (and even the year before last) his voice seemed to be tired. He’s got a lot of miles on that throat and so who could blame him for wanting to take a break from touring with Gaither and ultimately leave. Time for Guy to make his own schedule and do his own thing.

  25. NorthernIrelandgirl wrote:

    Ref 17
    OOPS Meant to say we went to see David Phelps in Bangor NI.

    You have such a wealth of talent in America - stop critisizing them, pray for them - God’s people are under attack enough!

  26. Aaron Swain wrote:

    When I heard Michael English on the “GVB Reunion” clip that was on here a few months ago, I was sort of disappointed with how he sounded. I have heard some recent concert clips of him, however, and he still sounds good. He really hasn’t “fallen” vocally as much as people claim.
    I agree with #14: He will only get better as this version of the GVB sings more.

  27. SG Obzerver wrote:

    “No one who knows anything about the Penrod situation thought he’d be back, even if he does sort out his personal issues”

    Ok…Inquiring minds want to know…what personal issues? Is anybody going to elaborate?

  28. Celia wrote:

    When I checked my e-mail this morning and saw this news in various postings, I was thrilled to tears. Michael English is my favorite of all Christian singers, and I’m partial to Mark also, and the GVB was never the same without them, no offense to the wonderful Guy Penrod. I don’t understand the strong criticism of Michael by some here. Have you heard him lately? It seems to me his voice is stronger at times than ever. And he defnitely shows he’s feeling what he’s singing. I haven’t seen him since his recovery in person, but have on concerts that were video recorded…such as a church concert and the TBN Christmas concert. He’s still amazing, and I hope the revival of the GVB will last a long, long time.

    I hate to seem unkind, but I do wish Bill would let someone else take over as bass. He wasn’t even all that good when he was young. Sorry, Bill…I love you and all the wonderful things you’ve done anyhow. :o)

  29. sg mark wrote:

    Didn’t Marshall just have a baby in the past year? I bet the home fires were calling or begging or crying for him to help more with the baby. He may have not had a choice to stay with GVB and I don’t mean Bill.

  30. DMP wrote:

    Bill has made a career out of making other people look good. Mark pointed this out on one of the videos. He really isn’t very talented at singing or piano, but knows who is, and gives them a stage. That said, I’m not sure how this group will be arranged. I’m assuming that Wes will take lead for the most part. But English and Lowry? With two tenors, the arrangements can be pretty high, perhaps making room for another part.

  31. Tom K. wrote:

    Sincerely Hate to see Marshall leave or be discarded. Michael English is not the singer he once was! David Phelps is awesome anytime! Hope Wes has some job security after Mark completes his previous obligations? Further, Jason Crabb was never interested in being a part of the GVB!

  32. quartet-man wrote:

    I do want to reiterate I am thrilled and excited for the Gaither Vocal Band of the future. I just can’t help but feel sorry for Marsh and Guy if this wasn’t their choice. They are human beings with feelings. From Bill’s comment about unexpected change on English’s release I posted last night though, it sounds like maybe Marsh left on his own and caught Bill by surprise. I don’t know, but the comment there and Mark saying that he only knew for a few days could mean that.

    Nontheless, I wish the GVB, Guy and Marsh all success. Perhaps Marsh and Guy can sing on the Homecoming stage and add some variety while still shaking things up for the GVB.

  33. nonsgfan wrote:

    people people people….the END of the GVB?? You’re Crazy. This is going to be ginormous (as the kids like to say). Michael English STILL has a HUGE fan base, (hence the reason he’s on TBN constantly) all of which will follow him to GVB. David Phelps solo career didnt do good because he didnt pick a genre’, not because people dont love him. He’s the best tenor in the business, and a great arranger and writer.

    I TOLD YA he’d be back!! (reference earlier posts) I knew he was coming back from the very first time David “filled in”. I told you that they would make it look like the band wasnt doing good at all, and they DESPERATELY needed David, and thats exactly what they did..

    Wes will be gone in about 6 months, Bill is just giving him time to find a church that will take him as worship leader, or a label to sign him. He likes him too much to just throw him out there…

    Mark is one of the best baritones in the business and he fills seats.

    Bill aint goin nowhere….The GVB has always accented or focused on the higher ranged songs, it’s never been a “Bass” oriented group or sound…he’ll never higher another bass because thats not the sound he’s went for for the past 10000 years. Its a group focused on higher ranged music. Rarely do you hear a “True bass” song with the GVB.

    This is going to be one of the greatest GVB’s of all time….beginning of the end? noooooooo, the beginning of a new era.

  34. Martha wrote:

    I am very excited that Bill has brought back Michael and Mark . They are my all time favorites and for those of you who are putting them down, you just set back and listen! those guys STILL have it when it comes to singing the praises of our Lord!!!

  35. Chuck Stevens wrote:

    Could not believe when i got the a mail. In recent years, at least here in Oklahoma, Gaither events have been decreasing in size. Still better than any local promoted concert, but down none the less. This may be the shot in the arm the Homecomng shows need to stretch it out a few more years. They are bringing back star power with these guys. Lowry and his comedy were sorely missed on the live stage. I think that alone will bring back more people in the seats over the next year or so. Gaither needs to bring in some more groups from the Southern Gospel roster, i.e. Perry’s, Isaacs, Hoppers etc. I understand the latter two are making some appearances. The last Homecoming event i saw last may was great, it can only get better from here. It needed to be re invented. A little shocked with the Marsh thing, it made it sound like he was let go, not to read anything in to it, but it was a little like an office memo, without the we wish him well in his future endevors part!

  36. SM wrote:

    Maybe Gaither’s taking a page from Hank Steinbrenner, because this makes me think of the New York Yankees–everyone’s an All-Star, but collectively they may not play well as a team.

    This is probably the best quartet of 5 people (?!) money could buy, but part of me wonders how well they’ll really blend and what stage presence they’ll command with every member being a celebrity in and of himself. Guess we won’t know till the first concert on the 29th.

  37. NG wrote:

    That Gaither is so smart. When he created his group, he had foresight not to name them the Gaither Quartet. I’m sure he knew that someday he would have more or less than four members.

  38. Scott wrote:

    This is sort of like when Norman Lear brought back Esther Rolle to play Florida in Good Times the final season due to poor ratings.

    GVB “jumped the shark” a LONG time ago anyway .

  39. CVH wrote:

    It will be interesting to see what really comes of all this. Lowry back? Good move. As some have suggested, it could be the first step in having him MC more events. I know from talking with him the costs of keeping his own tour on the road in the current economy have made it very difficult. And he’s always said he’s only a phone call away.

    Phelps and English coming back? Again, two struggling soloists, neither of whom are at their prime. I’ve heard English in the last year and he’s still got some chops but will it work? And Phelps. Can he go from being The Voice to one of the voices? And that smirky conceit.

    Where I see potential is in recording. If they can develop some really good material (unlike their last two releases which were creatively lackluster), they could put out at least one really good record. Might be the last, who knows?

    At the least, they’ve propped up the franchise for another project or two. At worse, they’re circling the drain just a little bit faster. Time will tell.

  40. my2centsworth wrote:

    What’s with all the negative talk? For gospel music, this is like the Eagles reunion tour. Not many artists out there in SG that compare musically to secular acts, but this definately does. Why is it when something musically great finally happens within our genre, everyone wants to shoot it down and gripe. Shut up and be proud they are singing the kind of music we love!

  41. burt wrote:

    Bill Gaither has made a FORTUNE using gimmicks and this is no different. He’s run out of the old patriarch/matriachs of Southern Gospel which fueled his success in the early years. It’s sad to see that he had to pull this stunt with his own namesake, though.

    But…it oughta be a freakin’ awesome group.

  42. burt wrote:

    Side note….it’s about time Guy Penrod went solo. Cannot wait to hear that album.

  43. junie wrote:

    I agree with Burt that it’s time Guy Penrod went solo. For the past 14 years he has been the HEART of the group. For those of us who live in Nashville and “know” the score, we know that nothing that comes out of Gaitherland in the last several years has anything to do with truth or holiness. It has to do with Bill Gaither making money. It’s a business. Nothing more. Nothing less.
    Whatever Guy’s reasons, and whether he was fired or left on his own, the cream always rises to the top. He is a man who loves his family and the Lord. And personally, I believe, this IS the END of the GVB. All the life is leaving with Guy. The shell is there but the empty hearts will only be singing empty words. You go, Guy. don’t look back

  44. dd wrote:

    Aside from the older material, even with Michael’s revamped voice…. i don’t know that he can hit some of those notes Guy can on the songs they’ve made famous since he left. Which makes Wes the perfect replacement. Whether or not the songs will have the same feel to them will be interesting but with the talent in place…the sky will still be the limit on the range of songs they could do!

  45. M Rushlow wrote:

    Tom K, you are completely wrong. Bill’s press & promoter, who happens to be the most widely known & successfull promoter in the country, called us yesterday morning. He told us in no uncertain terms that Jason Crabb as of last December 1st was named the lead singer for the GVB. Hate to dissapoint ya, but you’re wrong. He also said that Marsh was not let go. He surprised Bill with his wanting to leave to devote his time to producing & writing.
    I love all you folks that are so excited about this whole situation. Makes me happy that people still practice the idea that if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything. Praise the Lord for real Christians that practice what they preach!

  46. ♥Guy♥Marsh♥ wrote:

    oh wow.
    I honesly don’t care about the GVB anymore! It’s just not the same without Guy and Marsh. I will miss Guy sooooo much. He certainly was the heart of the GVB! in my oppinion the GVB never took full advantage of what Marsh’s voice had to offer.
    I think It’s possible that Marsh left, because Guy left. I remember Marsh saying, Guy was one of his best friends.

    I’m just curious if there were conflicts back stage.

  47. brad wrote:

    people forget Michael Engish was the GVB in the 90s.Guy was singing bgvs in the studio.Guy is awesome but dont knock what Michael English has done.

  48. nonsgfan wrote:

    Hilarious to me that people like to blast Gaither for making money, then go and buy up his DVD’s, and watch his info-mercials..which lines his pocket. Hypocritical, i must say.

    What do ALL the other SG musicians and singers do? Free concerts? I think not. They make money. Bill Gaither is just brilliant enough to do it large-scale, while everybody else is peddling at the bottom.

    Guy Penrod is the “Heart” of the GVB? Give me a ridiculous break. If he were the heart of it, wouldn’t it be called the “PVB”??

    This is a great move, it’s going to sale records and pack seats.

    You’ll see. GVB will be bigger than ever.


  49. DMP wrote:

    I was thinking the same thing. They can’t drop wes as nonSGfan said, because English can’t take on a lead that high.

  50. american wrote:

    #25, thank you, I could not agree more!

  51. harmonyrules wrote:

    Check out Wes Hampton’s blog at I find it interesting that Hampton admittedly says that it will be difficult. Hampton is a happy-go-lucky kind of guy it seems. I hope that he really is able to cope with the changes well. I believe that he’s an ultra-talented vocalist, but GVB fans will likely be over the top in regard to the return of the GVB has-beens who are trying to be again. Lowry, Phelps and English are no doubt big names.

    Also, has it been stated whether Penrod’s solo gig will be tied in with the Gaither Homecoming Tour. I’m just assuming that it will be.

  52. rngfreckles wrote:

    I have mixed emotions about the announcement. I’m surprised at the sudden change but excited about what the future will hold for them. I saw a clip of Michael English singing with Mark on his Hollywood DVD. He really does have a great voice, even if he may not have the same range he did a few years ago. David can belt those high notes out, and Mark is a funny guy. Never really heard Wes as I haven’t followed GVB in the last 2 years. But I’m sure the quintet sound will great. Bill only gets the best for his group.

    My only question is what about LordSong and Stan Whitmire? I surely hope that they are not being left in the dust. They are so blessed with talent!

  53. Lonnie Hall wrote:

    Yes, but is the youtube video for real?

  54. nonsgfan wrote:

    I do not believe that Wes will be able to handle the “Diva”-ness of David. Wes seems to be a laid back guy with alot of work ethic and a “Sweet” spirit.

    Phelps is….


    a male diva……how’s my hair, by the way?

  55. Auke wrote:

    I had a few days to get used to the idea…i won’t voice any critique about this decision of BG.
    All i can say that i love quintets….lot of black groups had five singers…fairfield four had two leads, and others too.
    Mike and David would be great singing lead, Wes and David can sing tenor…man such possibilities!! I can’t wait to hear em…hope they’ll put out a new CD with more CCM kinda songs…a album like ‘Peace of the Rock’…of course some SGM must be included…to keep us happy..but make it better than ‘Lovin Life’…which wasn’t bad…but just not happenin’.
    I think a lot of y’all be surprised about Michael English.


  56. Linda Higgins wrote:

    For the life of me I wish Michael and David could realize how great they sound singing gospel music and comtemporary! If Bill goes to that sound he will lose alot of fans! I loved Guy Penrod with a sweet sweet spirit and remember Wes has to my knowledge been the only one from the GVB to be nominated in the Singing News Awards one year. None of the group has ever won that I can remeber but I could be wrong. May God Bless each of them

  57. Linda Higgins wrote:

    I’m sorry I meant to say I don’t like Michael or David singing comtemporary music. I hope and pray that it will be southern gospel!

  58. nonsgfan wrote:

    singing news….

    what a joke…

    but thats another story.

  59. quartet-man wrote:

    I managed to catch a picture of Bill and Wes when this was in the works. I haven’t shared it with anyone yet until now:


  60. quartet-man wrote:

    I liked GVB stuff from the beginning, middle and end. The earlier stuff was more whitebread, but there was still some good stuff. Some was inspirational, MOR, pop, etc. They got into SG and later with Guy country type stuff. There were some good things on the past two regular CD;s, but as far as the Christmas one, the song I really liked was the bonus one that wasn’t on the version most have. :-) It isn’t that the songs weren’t well done, but probably less good ones than some CD’s they did. Jesus And John Wayne was good, When I Cry really good, I Will Go On good and I am sure others I am not thinking of.

  61. ♥Guy♥Marsh♥ wrote:

    I really really enjoyed the christmas CD!! This record is what a classic Christmas record should be. Smooth, old school.I don’t like that fancy stuff , not for christmas. I want to be reminded of the memories of the past.This record fits that bill. 5-Stars!

  62. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    #59, I thought the Photoshop work on the photo accompanying Gaither’s press release was bad, but I believe you’ve topped it!

  63. Steve wrote:

    Quartet Man: Priceless

  64. nonsgfan wrote:

    Totally off topic, but I hope this gets featured…

    I recently listened to the newest Taranda Greene solo album and realized how emphatically she is trumping Kim Hopper in vocal talent.

    anybody feeling the same?

  65. quartet-man wrote:

    #62 DBM, I expected someone to give a comment like that. The difference is I had to find pictures that would work, make them work, do so without spending a lot of time on it (I had better things to do) and I didn’t get paid. Were I a professional, had more experience, more de$ire and pre$ua$ion to do better, I would do better. You got this for free and it served its purpose which was all it was intended to do. :-)

  66. boothbro_fan wrote:

    Man, I am soooo disapointed!!! Marshall was the main reason I liked GVB. At least Wes is still there. I really couldn’t care less about Mark Lowry and Michael English. They were good… a long time ago. David Phelps is fantastic but his stage presence is… well, interesting. What I wonder is what Marshall’s going to do. He’s got too good of a voice to hide away. That guy can SING!!!
    Oh yeah, I totally agree with you nonsgfan. Taranda Greene has completely surpassed Kim Hopper vocally. I saw her at NQC this year… Anyone else catch her singing “O Holy Night”? WOW!!! She was fabulous!

  67. Wade wrote:

    Non …Taranda has been singing circles around KGH for years…glad you finally noticed!!! lol… Good to hear from ya!!

  68. nonsgfan wrote:

    Marsh was RARELY featured on any songs at all, which is a crying shame. But perhaps it is because his voice isnt LOVED by the majority. He is either LOVED or HATED. There is no in between with Marsh. For me, personally, I love his voice, but I have friends who dont like it at all. His voice is loved by singers and musicians primarily, and thats not Bill’s target.

  69. Pianodude wrote:

    I believe that Marsh was just kind of THERE. He didn’t help, nor did he hurt the GVB. I was not particularly crazy about his voice, but I sorta hate that the guy’s leaving so soon. Oh well, it’s for the best, that’s for sure.

  70. Lisa wrote:

    I have to admit, I’m surprised at the shake - up.
    Guy Penrod is a fine singer, and a good person, so I wish him all of God’s blessings as he moves forward.
    Marshall Hall had grown on me, and in record time. I wish him the same.

    The new / old folks:
    David Phelps: well, he sounds like few others. I am glad to see him back. Wes Hampton should balance him nicely–because Wes can blend, and even when singing harmony, David’s strength can blast folks out of a room.
    Mark Lowry: I love him so much. I have never laughed as hard as I do when I hear him start at Bill….he’s like Robin Williams– fast and loud –but clean. It will be good to see him back.
    Michael English: I’ve been a fan of this man since the first time I heard him sing. It is my hope that as he gets healthier and stronger physically, and sings more, he will rebuild the gift he has into a voice that matches what he now has to say about his experience with redemption. He’s gifted in a lot of different ways–production, arranging, technical aspects that a lot of the others don’t–and that will be an asset to the GVB as a whole.
    I’m going to wait though—til I hear them in April, here in NC. LIVE always tells the truth.

  71. Cindy wrote:

    Well, its hard to know what to say! I have to agree that Guy was the HEART of GVB.
    I’m sorry but w/o him it will never be the same. When he sang he didn’t sing about God, he sang TO God. He was the real deal.
    Never have felt that way about Michael,
    and definitly not David. They are just good voices singing, but empty… .

  72. ... wrote:

    that os so true!

  73. wackythinker wrote:

    Cindy, is it possible you just never got to know Michael’s or David’s heart? Michael, especially, has really been sharing his heart lately, and although he may not have ever been a pastor, nor maybe never will be, he still is showing a side of himself he didn’t show (perhaps couldn’t have shown) in previous years. Maybe, given the opportunity, David can show a side we’ve not seen before. Not that it wasn’t there, but just that we weren’t given the opportunity to see it.

    Acturally, Guy has only been showing more of that side in the last year or so. Does that mean it wasn’t there before? Probably not, just that either he didn’t feel comfortable showing it, or wasn’t given the opportunity before.

  74. Rita wrote:

    wackythinker, I have to agree with Cindy.
    Guy has always let his feelings show and the love of God has always shown in his face. I think David expressed his true feelings in the conversation with Bill Gaither on the Reunion video. When Bill was talking about the high notes that David can hit, David called them his “money notes”. That says a lot to me. Don’t know much about Michael since I only became a Vocal Band fan because of Guy. I do think that Wes, Marsh and Guy had amazing blending of their voices. I’ll miss them.

  75. gvbfan wrote:

    Hey guys… I like the new pic of the group posted at gaither’s site. The photoshop thing should have never been released. Also, I just finished watching both vol.’s of the “Reunion”.. I enjoyed it greatly.

    I know 3 members weren’t there… Does anyone have any ideas why those 3 weren’t present???

    I know Terry Franklin is busy w/ his ministry and family. Jonathan Pierce is prepping for one more solo project and has an interior design business, and I’m clueless about Lemuel Miller.

    Anyway, I did feel that Bill made a big mistake when on the DVD he brought up the “Imperials” connection to the GVB. Mainly how Russ Taff, Jim Murray, Gary McSpadden… were former members of the Imperials and also became GVB members. Although that is true… I felt that it was wrong of him not to mention Jonathan Pierce as a part of that group. After all, Pierce was apart of the Imperials for 2 projects… “Big God” and “Stir It Up”.

    Also, I never see Terry or Jonathan at any Homecoming tapings since there departures… I’ve always wondered why?

    Anybody have any thoughts on this??

  76. wackythinker wrote:

    Rita — I’ve seen the new videos, too, and I didn’t come to the same “spiritualized” conclusion about David’s “money notes” comment. That’s a fairly common term among singers, especially those who singer either extremely high or extremely low.

    I think you’re reading too much into it.

    I agree the blend on the last group was great, but the blend on nearly every incarnation has been wonderful.

    IMO, making comparisons of the different gvb groups, trying to say which is best, primarily boils down to which one you heard first or most. It’s kinda like asking who’s the best classical composer: Bach, Beethoven, Brahams, or Mozart?

    Each had different nuances that can speak to your senses (or spirit) in different ways at different times. I might listen to one more than another, given the opportunity, but that doesn’t mean one is really better than another.

    But that’s just mho

  77. quartet-man wrote:

    I mentioned in my review that I suspect Pierce not being mentioned as a former member of the Imperials was either because he wasn’t there that day or because the guys there were all members of the Imperials BEFORE Bill started the GVB wheras Jonathan was years later.

    As far as the term “money notes” that is just a term. I don’t think he meant it as far as what got him the most money as much as just the ones that stood out, but were harder to hit all of the time.

  78. Wade wrote:

    QMan… many post here about NONtraditional ways to stack harmonies…please enlighten the peeps as to WHAT GROUP is MOST WELL KNOWN for doing this??? I know you know who they are!!

  79. Rita wrote:

    You’re probably right about David’s “money notes” comment. I guess that since I don’t like him anyway, it easier to find fault. I really shouldn’t do that. He has a wonderful voice when he sings but I just don’t care for a screaming tenor and I think he screams more than he sings. Just mho.
    I’ll see them in May since I bought tickets before the new group was announced. Maybe I’ll be converted.

  80. Wade wrote:

    GAWD… I am so glad some of y’all will not be judging me in heaven!!!

    RITA… if you call what David does as screaming…what dd you think about Garry Shepard, Ernie Phillips and the like??

    David could stand on any stage any where and sing with the best pop, rock, country & opera singers in the world!!! There is NO falsetto screaming in his notes.

  81. Rita wrote:

    I’m not judging, I’m expressing an opionion. And I don’t like anyone screaming a song at me.

  82. Rita wrote:

    I need to apologize. The comments I made were uncalled for. Some things are better left unsaid and I am truly sorry for the comments. God look at the heart and He knows what all of our motives are. Please forgive.

  83. Tom Kirby wrote:

    #45 M Rushlow, I may be wrong and confess that I probably was; however, it appears your information was wrong also. If you were correct, where is Jason? If he was named, what happened? Who blinked? I saw the GVB Saturday night and enjoyed it immensely. I will be seeing Jason in a couple of weeks and I know I will also enjoy him. I also have some pretty good info about what happened but was asked not to share and I will honor the request.

  84. Wade wrote:

    # 83… Yeah right Tom…give us a break!!!

  85. DMP wrote:

    Don’t be so fast to discredit Tom. I know some people close to the situation as well, and there seems to be a death grip on the info. What is shared comes with a begging plea to not share or tell where you got it. I think it may be a “fear of Gaither” and the backlash of spreading info…

  86. Wade wrote:

    DMP… yeah I know what ya mean I talked to some ppl today… it can be a scary thing… see my comments under the OPEN THREAD with 198+ post.

    Sorry Tom!!…(see who said I never said I was sorry for thingz said) even if you wrote it it might be moderated out because of the fear DMP talks about!!

  87. DMP wrote:

    I agree that an artist would fear backlash from Gaither quite a bit. I think there is a good chance we will never know what happened. Look at Terry and Jonathon… I think most would agree that those partings were not as pleasant as they were meant to look (as made evident by their absence on the reunion videos and homecoming videos and tours…). I think Gaither’s excommunication can be a scary thing…

  88. ForgottenSwampWorld wrote:

    #20 “such as Jason Crabb, *Jonathan Pierce* or even get Larnelle back.” I don’t think so. Jonathan Pierce has not been seen with Gaither in 12 years, and on top of that, he hasn’t even made an album in 6 years.

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