Thursday Roundup

  • As Chuck and DBM have already noted, the NYT ran a piece yesterday saying that Sirius (home to, among others, Howard Stern and the sg enLighten channel - yes, you’ve got to figure out for yourself which is the flagship station) is probably headed for bankruptcy. I’ve seen or heard nothing from Marlin Taylor or other enLighten types so far on the potential effects, but given how vociferously enLighten flakked the Sirius/XM merger a while back to insist there was nothing to see here, perhaps no news is not necessarily good news?
  • Via Kyle, the trailer is out for the Oaks Gaither video. Your reaction will probably track closely with your opinion of the Oaks in general. For me, they’ve never really been a gospel group, but that’s because my earliest exposure to them was as a child when “Elvira” and “American Made” were all the rage back in Iron County. Consequently, I tend to think of their gospel side not unlike the gospel side of Elvis: real, abiding, endearing enough (and a little misleading, however inadvertently), but not nearly as good as the other stuff. And what’s up with the miniaturized set Gaither is using these days? Like the GVB reunion video, the Oaks video uses a drastically downsized sound stage and much smaller supporting cast of Homecoming Friends. This new set not only looks like someone tried too hard to be hip (the spaceship lighting and sleek club chairs remind me of one of those VIP lounges the airlines maintain for first-class passengers and rewards-club members). It also has a diminishing effect on the whole production, as if visually reinforcing the reduced scale of the Homecoming franchise these days. I know, I know … if Gaither does it, by definition it’s successful. And of course I have no reason to think this video will be any different. But still …
  • Not to be outdone by their Crossroads cousins, the McKameys announced a big personnel change this week. Carol Woodard is retiring after a little more than a quarter century with the group. Woodard always seemed miscast to me as an sg alto (a role in which her blend brought to mind nothing so much as gravel in a running sink incinerator In-sink-erator). It really always seemed like she was meant to be a bluegrass singer - a style for which her voice is remarkably well suited. Perhaps in retirement she will be able to explore vocal opportunities that are not quite so color coordinated, assuming she’s not sick to death of the whole thing by now.
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  1. DMP wrote:

    I thought the same thing on the soundstage. And why do a reunion video on a soundstage at all? It really seemed as though Gaither missed the boat by not doing the GVB reunion in a huge venue with a live audience. I think he could have sold quite a few tickets to that…

  2. Glenpaynerules wrote:

    Elvira is opne of the top 10 records of all time. Period. Any Genre. Before you loose it, I didn’t say song, I said record. Go back and listen to the original for the vocals, tracks, arrangement and production. It’s a pop-country masterpiece.

  3. Glenpaynerules wrote:

    sorry. “one” and “lose” Where’s an editor when you need one?

  4. quartet-man wrote:

    I think they are attempting to recreate the earlier Homecoming that was done in Gaither Studios. Bill made a comment about how well people still speak of those. I would have loved to have gone to concerts of each, but they are different beasts. These are more like guitar pulls in a way. Maybe all day singin’ and dinner on the ground. :)

    I would think you would have more practice and a more slick performance than at least the GVB Reunion could have had. With the setups as they are now they can redo, edit etc. In a concert setting not so much.

    With that said, I would have loved to have been at both, even as they were.

  5. WA wrote:

    The day Sirius announced the Howard Stern program was coming to them, I canceled my subscription and pulled their equipment from my car. If they go bankrupt, they have no one to blame, in my mind, anyway.

    As for Carol Woodard, I can’t blame her. I don’t know her age, but she has to be at least close to a normal retirement age. I never minded her voice, though. I thought she fit in well, and sang good harmonies with the McKameys. I always felt sorry for her, though; every time she sings a solo, Peg’s stealing all of the limelight, waving her hankie around, and generally being (to me) a real nuisance. Putting up with that for 25 years should earn her some award!

    As for the Gaither set, I find that my favorite videos and DVD’s are the non- concert ones. To me, they become more of a worship experience than just a performance. Many might disagree with me, and that’s fine. If Mr. G’s new set is an attempt to recapture some of that early magic, I can’t blame him at all.

  6. RK wrote:

    The problem with Sirius XM these days has far less to do with the merger or any other perceived shortcomings than it does with pure supply/demand economics: 1. Their business model depends on new subscription growth; 2. Most new subscription growth comes from the sale of new cars equipped with satellite radio; and, 3. Obviously, people aren’t buying new cars these days.

    That’s been the problem with both Sirius and XM from the beginning: for them to attain sustained profitability (in the fact of the ridiculous contracts they’ve agreed to), they’ve always needed aggressive subscriber growth.

    However, don’t expect Sirius XM to go away. Given the robust cash-flow from existing subscribers (10 million+ at over $10 apiece per month) and the infrastructure in place (both the satellites in outer space and the radios in people’s cars), somebody will take the reins of it (once bankruptcy court has voided or reduced the bloated contracts with Stern, Oprah, the pro sports leagues, etc.), trim costs, and keep it rolling.

    The fact the enLighten is such a low-cost offering but yields subscribers who otherwise wouldn’t pay for SatRad means it probably won’t go away.

  7. RF wrote:

    I loved the concert videos/CD’s (New Orleans Homecoming, etc.) and I loved the non audience homecoming early (Revival, etc. early and Passing the Faith Along, etc. late) equally well. I have to admit the older ones seemed to be more genuine and we saw more variety, but that’s just one person’s opinion.

    I imagine that economics plays a part in this. Everyone is seeing a lessening of cash these days. Those of us who have jobs or are retired, tend to think everyone is doing the same as last year, but it’s not true. Delete 20-30 Homecoming “Friends” and your budget might be manageable. I enjoyed the 1st volume of the GVB Reunion because it brought familiar faces and voices back to my consciousness regardless of the polish of the performance. Wasn’t that the point of the earlier Homecoming videos?

    The McKameys are not my favorite group, but you have to believe they’re on their last legs. With the recent retirement combined with Peg and Ruben’s obvious age, the end is sooner than later. I saw them live recently, and even though I can’t say I really enjoyed the singing, they put on a good show. I won’t cry when it’s over, but I respect their commitment.

    Finally, early on, I bought XM stock in the belief that it would be a winner. They were making progess toward doing that when they decided to merge with Sirius, which was a company in trouble from the beginning. Regardless, everything in the NYT article is true, bankruptcy (chapter 11–reorganization) is nearly a sure thing, but service will not be interrupted. Enlighten is a bright spot as well as the Siriusly Sinatra channel–two of the few places where really good music can be found from time to time. I think they will survive (SiriusXM), but it may cost us. I own radios at home, in all my cars, and at my office. It’s the best choice in radio programming. The trouble was and is that people were are are willing to listen to less quality for fee rather than ante up ~$14 for better broadcasting. That may never change. I hope for the best.

    And, just as commentary, I don’t care what is on the other 100 channels, Howard Stern (a channel I have never listened to) will not keep me away from anything on SiriusXM. Different strokes for different folks. Far be it from me to deny the misguided their entertainment. Let’s just say that American was based on choice, not a command that we listen to certain things. Thank God.

  8. Kyle wrote:

    My biggest compliment to Gaither on the Oaks video is that he let them use not just a live band, but THEIR live band. That’s always been a big part of their appeal is their live shows and their band’s showmanship and talent. Not to mention they were among the first groups to introduce a full band to the gospel music industry (including a full-blown rock drummer as opposed to a brush on a snare).

  9. G. H. wrote:

    It does not matter if you love or hate the McKameys you must admire their many accomplishments. Carol Woodard has been a big part of this success. Many of their top songs have featured her lead vocal. It is a pleasant, sincere tone that always delivers the message without fluff.
    Carol has done some bluegrass vocals in the past. If you can find it, check out a Tim Surrett CD, “Mountain Home” released on Mountain Home (Crossroads) 1999. Carol is featured on two songs, “I’ll Wear A White Robe,” and “Haven Of Rest.”
    Carol will be missed, “Happy Retirement.”

  10. JimT wrote:

    Personally, I think Carol Woodard has one of the finest alto voices in sg. Everything is a matter of taste, I know, but I’m not a trained musician and just know what appeals to my ear. It always puzzled me that she would be nominated for favorite alto almost every year, but so far as I know she never won. I will miss her.

  11. gina wrote:

    I agree with JimT. Carol Woodard has a smooth alto voice and always turned in a solid performance. Actually, though she was probably not the most well-known of the McKameys, I always thought of her as the glue that held the whole group together. She will sorely be missed, and not only was she a good vocalist, she is one of the friendliest and most humble members of any group.

    Sheryl Farris had to be the most obvious choice for replacement and I think she will fill the spot nicely. She has some experience, though her earlier time with the group was before “God on the Mountain” and their exposure on the national scene. She brings a different dynamic to the group and has a unique voice. For a look at a video appearance by her years ago, see

    Even with the McKameys, I miss the band!

  12. Another G H wrote:

    I think folks will soon realize what an asset Carol was to the McKameys. They have such a devoted fan base that it may not hurt them, but GH is right. Most of their popular songs feature her and she is clearly a very talented singer. Pure, honest, believable vocals and she will be missed. The appearance on Tim Surrett’s cd a few years back really made me notice her for the first time. I think the McKamey’s sound tends to overshadow her talent.

  13. Steve wrote:

    In-sink-erator grinds up food scraps. Incinerator causes a kitchen fire.

  14. nonsgfan wrote:

    First of all DMP, I am sure that Bill isn’t getting on avfl every day looking for lessons in frugality and money making.

    Secondly, this video was nothing more than an artist seeing what paint he wants to use for his next masterpiece.

    What Bill wanted to do with this video, (reunion) is make everybody think he’s doing a “reunion” video, when in reality he was testing the waters to see what combination he was going to go with in the future. He was thinking “maybe Larnelle still has it, or Buddy…i’ll have to make it real, so we’ll call up some of the old guys…maybe Greene will come too”….THEN, after he gets them all there, he throws them together in various rotations and groups and see’s what hes gonna do for the future.

    It was aaaaallllll a plan from a brilliant mind. Figure out the future while making money in the present.

  15. JulieBell wrote:

    I think it’s a fair assessment that the end of the McKameys is near. Carol was the only decent singer in the group and with her gone, well…it’ll just be sad.

    Regarding the Oaks video…scaled back is an understatement. Gaither hasn’t done a video THAT scaled back since the first two. After that, they Homecoming crowd was at least larger.

    Curious as to why Ann Downing wasn’t invited (at least I didn’t see her in the trailer clip) since the Downings traveled and played with the Oaks many, many times.

    If Gaither’s gonna tone it down that low-key, it’d be better to have the “crowd” on one side or at least 1/2 moon rather than all the way around. It looked VERY sparse.

  16. american wrote:

    We received an email from xm radio, telling us that we had to pay for a year in advance if we wanted to continue their service. Since we pay $12.95 per month. My husband told them that he would not be interested because this is a sign that xm radio is in financial trouble. So I guess he was correct in his assumption.

  17. Kyle wrote:

    Julie, I DID see Joy Gardner there, so there was somewhat of a Downings connection.

  18. JulieBell wrote:

    Kyle, yeah, I saw Joy too. She’s always in the mix…sweet gal!

  19. dmp wrote:

    I think you might be shocked how often Bill and his pals are on sites like these. They are great puplic opinion gages.

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