Quote of the day

A reader writes:

Greater Vision - aka Gerald Wolfe - is very smart. They cover up their vocal inadequacies with stacks and orchestrations. If they’re not singing with stacks and orchestration, then they key it down and try to let the nostalgic nature of the “good ole hymns” keep them in the fans’ favor. Southern Gospel music is backed by older people for the most part. It’s incredibly intelligent. It’s just playing off of everybody’s ignorance (at least at most fans’ inability to look past the obvious). Gerald Wolfe is too good. He thinks one step ahead all of the time. GV is not even near the best trio in the business. They’re still one of the most popular though. Credit Gerald for that. I wonder how much longer they can hold on to that. The next genius idea needs to come along soon.

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  1. Eric Kaunitz wrote:

    You are very good writer. It takes alot of skill to shread someone and at the same time, make it appear that you are being ever so gracious.
    We get it…OK? You have a beef with Gerald Wolfe. But then again, who do you NOT have a beef with.
    I think it’s sad that some people get their feelings hurt when God blesses someone with success. But I guess that’s what’s wrong the this country anyway…I guess we should ask Gerald to spread his SUCCESS around.

  2. SM wrote:

    That technique isn’t necessarily isolated to GV or southern gospel in general. Even beyond stacks and orchestration, most artists have the autotune set so hard that you can hear that tool catch their voices and pull it back in tune. But with an outrageous amount of delay or reverb, it sounds “cool.”

    A friend of mine works at a recording studio and lovingly referred to both as the suck knobs. If under-performing artists wanted to record, he’d delicately turn the suck knobs up to compensate for their lack of talent.

  3. C.W.G. wrote:

    It is a good thing that we are all different ,and that we appreciate the differences in style and presentation by groups. In my opinion, Gerald does everything in a professional and dedicated way - from grooming, to recording, to live presentation. He does not spare any expense to produce the very best in recoring. This quote of the day, in fact backs up these facts.

  4. Just a Spectator wrote:

    IMO-Gerald needs to listen to his Cathedrals records and remember what a real tenor sounds like. Right now, we could probably see Gerald singing Tenor, Rodney on Lead, and Jacob on baritone or bass. They need to get a solid tenor whose voice doesn’t embarrassingly crack when attempting to reach the high notes. I saw them in November last year and he (Kitson) sang “Little Is Much.” When it came near the end where he sings his “high” note, his voice cracked Guy Penrod style. I wanted to laugh, but people around me would have gotten mad.. haha

  5. Joy wrote:

    I think people don’t see the big picture. This is about saving souls, inpsiring christians, making you walk away and think about something said or sung. Perhaps, (If you go to a GV singing) its about proving that christians can walk around with a smile on their face and smile. Geralds voice, with no music, just him and the piano are beyond words.

    There Is A River was written for him. He brings it to life, makes you see the story of the woman at the well unfold in a way no one else does. There are no tracks or music to HELP him there.

    I love their music. Personally, I have never gone to a singing in hopes of hearing vocal perfection. What I want to see are people standing on the stage with a message. People who have a real love for God and want to share it. That is what christians are suppose to be doing.

    Not to mention that Eodney writes some of the strongest songs around. His songs make you think, make you cry, make you feel the spirit welling up within.

    I’ve not heard the new guy, but Jason wasn’t the highest tenor in the business, but he had an honesty in him that people fell in love with. When we go to singings and expect a concert, then you deserve to walk away untouched. When you go and expect God to be there, that’s when the words touch you, regardless of how high someone sings. Fans need to remember the reason for this music

    I get tired of people being fans of singers and groups. If we are fans for God then things would fall into place. I don’t think groupies have a place in southern gospel music. We are different than other genres. We are all about God and hearing a message in a song.

    Come on people.

  6. Scott wrote:

    Oh heck…people have been compensating for their vocal problems for years…Billy Sherrill notoriously amped up the strings when Tammy wasn’t going to hit a note…and buried it all in background singers…. We just have more sophisticated measures to take now to compensate for such things. Really no different than my touched up facebook photos….

  7. redhead wrote:

    Oh come on, everyone uses stacks, and how would a ballad sound without orchestrations? As for vocal inadequacies, Rodney and Jacob may not be “incredible” singers, but they’re definitely as good as most gospel singers (but we can’t all be David Phelps). Gerald, though will give you a run for your money, he is definitely incredible.

  8. Help pls. wrote:

    Just curious as to which of the biblical texts is deemed here as the absolute inerrant TRUTH. Aramaic texts, Hebrew, Greek, or one of the 50 some odd english language translations now existing. Need to make sure I’m living according to the right one. Wanna make sure the hand of man ain’t in there nowhere.

  9. Videoguy wrote:

    Is this really a surprise?

    I subbed for the tenor of a high-profile group a few years back. This particular group had the capability to mix the individual stacks in a live performance.
    Except for solos, the audience was looking at me, but hearing another tenor.

  10. John wrote:

    This topic never ceases to amaze me. Let a SG group use the latest technology, and he is covering for bad vocals.

    On the other hand, let a secular artist use the same technology, and we will praise them to high heaven. No one thinks a thing about a secular artist using any and all thechnological advances to his advantage, except in the most extreme cases.

    I know this next part will get me ridiculed and made fun of. I am fine with that. But…

    The best singers are in SG. I listen to some of the secular artists and wonder what the excitement is all about. Most of them stink.

    I have seen American Idol once or twice this season, and wonder what every one thinks is so great about those singers. They would not make it in SG. Talk about pitch problems…

    In country, Kenny Chesney is bad, period. Nasal, off pitch. Tone deaf, it seems. Yet he is considered top tier.

    Garth Brooks would not know what the center of a note looks like in a million years. Sings flat all the time. Bad. And yet, he has sold more albums than Elvis.

    Speaking of Elvis, whatever it was that Hammill said to him was correct. I know I am in the minority, but the man was not a great singer. Take away the swivelling hips and the jumpsiuts, and he was nothing if not ordinary.

    No one knows harmony like SG. No one.

    Harmony? None better than the Booth Brothers.

    Pitch? No one better than Arthur Rice.

    Blend? Greater Vision knows how to make 3 voices work in ways few secular acts have ever known. Is Gerald what he was when he was with the Cathedrals? No. But he still sings with passion, with correct breathing, with pitch control, and yes, with some awsome orchestral arraingements. Some great production, that if it were missing from a secaular artist, we would wonder what happened.

    Mastery at taking an audience with them where ever they wanted to go? No one was better than George Younce and Jim Hammill. No one is better today than Gerald Wolfe.

    I have posted this before, but it bears repeating: I am tired of the inferiority complex that so many in SG seem to have. We have nothing to hang our heads about. We have the message, we have the voices. Whe have the best of the best, and yet, it is STILL cool to bash SG and shoot our own in the foot.

    Give me the SG of today over any thing else, thank you very much.

  11. gc wrote:

    Great Post

  12. redhead wrote:

    totally agree john

  13. Leadsinger wrote:

    I could not have said it better John well done :)

  14. Markp wrote:


    That is without a doubt the BEST piece of writing this site has ever seen…site owner included!

    Doug…take note my friend.

  15. quartet-man wrote:

    John said: “I know this next part will get me ridiculed and made fun of. I am fine with that. ”

    John, remind me not to take advice on stocks from you. The accuracy of your predictions seems to be off. ;-)

    Come on people. Let’s not let John down. :-)

    Just kidding, John. :-D Well written post, by the way.

    I will say though, there is talent in secular music too. Both Christian and secular music have good performer and those who really shouldn’t be on stage.

  16. Robert wrote:

    I agree with John and the original post. Secular artists these days (some who have talent and some who do not) cover vocals with effects that double their voices or process them so much you can’t tell the difference between who can sing and who can’t. People love them just the same.
    Stacks with SG? It is nothing new. Some people act as if it is something that was started by GV. Does GV overdo it with stacks sometimes? I think so. If stacks are used in a tasteful way they only add to the sound and save the singers’ voices for those 300+ concert years.
    As for autotune. I personally would never use it onstage. In the studio you would be stupid not to. Autotune can only do so much. You can’t be a monotone and autotune make you sound like a great singer. It comes out more like Darth Vader if you are too far off pitch.

  17. Linda Dillon wrote:

    You go John! Well said!

  18. Yeah... wrote:

    Well said, John. Great post, and what you wrote about is often forgotten here, it seems. I would part with you slightly on some secular performers. Not the names you mentioned, but some have amazing talent. That said, we have some of the best voices in music in sgm. I agree with you completely that some high-profile secular folks would never be hired in sgm, let alone make a great living. Well said, John.

    And Robert, kudos to you for your post as well. Very true. Autotune is a tool, no more and no less. And we agree that it’s a studio tool, not a live one.

  19. welcometoreality wrote:

    I believe that my post came across far more negative than it was intended. I was just stating what I thought would be obvious to many once it was pointed out. It may be just one, but somebody thought the points made were valid. Oh well, me and evil Doug are probably in cahoots, right?

    I think I - somewhat like Doug - claim to be more than just a fan of Southern Gospel music. I’m very critical of a genre of music that I really enjoy. I want it to be great. Maybe that makes me overly critical at times.

    John, well where to do I begin, first of all, it’s not a Southern Gospel versus contemporary debate (nor versus Elvis, Garth, country music, etc.). Why turn it into one? Can we all try to stay on topic if possible please, unless it’s something relevant being brought to the table?

    I wouldn’t say that GV is using the latest technology. GV does what it does, hasn’t changed very much over the last 10 years or so. They’ve done some different things project wise (a great Live in Atlanta project and a unique and highly-marketable “Quartets” project), but it’s relatively the same sound.

    It was said how intelligent that Greater Vision is. However, if it is perceived that anybody attacks Greater Vision (or insert your favorite group here), people feel as if they have to come to that artist’s rescue. I wish I were as smart as Gerald Wolfe. I’m not. However, I can see some of the ways in which he makes his act come across as better than it actually is. That’s smart. I commend him. I think he’s great. In the few times I’ve spoken with GW, he’s been super.

    Why is it so often assumed that there is jealousy involved simply because someone looks beyond the obvious? Gerald Wolfe is far more than I will ever likely be. I concede. He wins. You know what though; we’re not in competition. He’s doing what he does for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God (and I’m trying to do things in my “little” world to do what I can for God, whether it’s publicly seen by any or not…my God knows and sees all, including my heart). However, Gerald is also trying to produce the best possible product he can in what he does for a living. That’s awesome. I’m happy for him and appreciative that he does what he does (in an effort to reach lost souls and also in an effort to produce quality music). I believe in the lyrics of one of his old hits, “if just one more soul were to walk down the aisle, it would be worth every struggle, it would be worth every mile, a lifetime of labor is still worth it all, if it rescues just one more soul.” I buy it. I’m in. I actually like Gerald and can handle GV in small doses. I’m actually happy that GV has so many fans. It’s good for the fans. It’s good for the group. It’s good for the industry. That’s awesome. That doesn’t make me feel the need to constantly look the other way though and simply not question them because they’re “sangin for the Loawrd.”

    I simply attempted to look past the obvious and bring something that even most intelligent Southern Gospel fans overlook. I would love to get some feedback so that I can increase my level of knowledge in regard to this genre of music. However, many individuals simply want to get on this site and complain via their posts instead of share what knowledge they have. If you don’t like what Doug discusses, don’t visit the site. It’s really simple in order to avoid what so many of you all of see as negative.

    The only thing in my initial post that I actually don’t fully agree with - and should retract - is that Greater Vision is not near the best trio in the business. GV is still one of the top five trios in the business. However, vocally, I’m not sure that the Mark Trammell Trio is not better. The Booth Brothers are tighter without near the amount of stacks and may be at the height of their popularity right now. Karen Peck and New River is growing quickly in industry prominence and in quality. The Talley Trio is a major player. All of that is just talking aloud. I like them all to some extent.

    I wish all of the groups in the Southern Gospel industry all the best. Believe it or not, I actually pray for them on a regular basis. But because I don’t want to stick my unquestioning head in the sand and do in fact want to look past the obvious - out of my own curiosity, or nosy nature as some of you would probably choose to see it - it comes across as tearing somebody down. I don’t agree.

    I enjoy chatting with you all though. You knowledgeable insiders simply hiding out and reading what is posted, please share with us from time to time.

    Robert…not sure that anybody sings 300-plus dates per year.

    Markp…best post this site has ever seen…come on now.

    Blessings to all.

  20. Donna wrote:

    John — wonderful post. I can’t even think of anything to add to it!! Thanks!

  21. Ron F wrote:

    Hey John, You are Dead on it. I wish I could add to your comments but you nailed it. WOW!!!!

  22. Ron Hostetler wrote:

    For those who are tired of hearing stacks, wait until you hear the “Live At Oak Tree” projects GV, L5, & BB recorded last month. No stacks, and very little tracks. What did have tracks was augmented with live band.

    GREAT STUFF, but audio and video. Watch for in time for NQC.

    Also, Austin’s Bridge, Crabb Revival, and Aaron & Amanda Crab have already released projects in that series. You get to learn a lot about their music and their hearts. Not just hear the songs and watch a performance.

  23. Videoguy wrote:

    An Autotuning analogy: A coat of paint won’t fix a busted barn door.

  24. Leadsinger wrote:

    22. That sounds interesting about L5 GV and BB’s were they all old songs??? or are there some new ones sprinkled in. You would think these groups would be advertising this in advance, ala Bill Gaither.

  25. Really? wrote:

    Am I the only one reading this?

    Fine argument John… But what does that have to do with the comments made by ‘welcometoreality’? His comments were concerning Greater Vision not Elvis.

    You’re right about Southern Gospel having some of the greatest talent in music, but wrong about shooting ourselves in the foot. No one is hating the music or the group (most of the time) by pointing out tricks or bringing up relevant issues. Just because you understand it, doesn’t mean you automatically hate it.

    You attacked because he mentioned what was being used by GV and everyone else who can afford it. Any genre of music uses available technology to “fix” things, but when it’s mentioned here then we’re awful because “they’re doin’ it for the right reasons”.

    I’m sorry to go early 90’s, but DUH! If you have to yet again bring up what the ‘message in the music’ is on this website to prove your point, you don’t have one. On another website maybe, but here you don’t get a Jesus pass because that’s what the whole blog is about.

    And by the way…Gerald Wolfe is my favorite in the business. He has never been anything to me, but exactly what he portrays on stage. His wisdom has been beyond his years since his early time with the Cats. Plus, there is nothing anyone can say against his voice…Incredible. I say that so you understand that just because I may see what’s behind the curtain, doesn’t mean that I don’t still enjoy going to Oz.

  26. Tim wrote:

    Why be so concerned about canned vocals (stacks) when we sit and listen to canned music supporting the vocals all night long?

  27. CDB wrote:

    Very interesting conversation. I personally do not love the stacks in a live performance but I understand their use and I certainly won’t fight it. I know they are trying to put forward the best product they can, which has already been said.
    As far as Southern Gospel having the best vocalists I really can’t say, but I’d put the Isaacs up against any vocalist I’ve ever heard!

    As for possibly nobody doing 300 dates a year…you might be surprised. There are several families out on the road approaching that number. We did 315 in 2008 and have averaged 300 the last six years. We do it because we love it…

  28. hey... wrote:

    #27…CDB- I tried to pay attention to what you said, but I went straight to the Charlie Daniels Band when I saw your posting name.

  29. Ron Hostetler wrote:

    Leadsinger– I wasn’t there for the entire taping, so I can’t be sure. My understanding is that they mixed old and new songs.

    There will be publicity and advertising as the release gets closer, and you can expect to see the videos on cable.

  30. Irishlad wrote:

    John,crap secular artists? Are you including Tom Jones, Tony Christie, Barbara Striesand, Randy Travis, Martina McBride, Josh Turner,Michael Bubble, Celine Dion,Frank Sinatra,Mario Lanza,Josh Turner, Karen Carpenter,Bing Crosby, my my i’ve just run out of breath.

  31. John wrote:

    Irishlad, most of the names you mentioned are familiar to me. Some are not.

    You, and at least one other person, missed my point entirely. Sure, you can name some very, very good secular artists. So can I.

    But, I can name many more bad secular artists than you can name good ones.

    My pioint is, 1. that this constant hand wringing about SG using newer thechnolgy wears thin after a while. And, 2. We have the best of the best as far as singers go. No one does harmony like SG. No one.

  32. Robert wrote:

    Like someone said, you would be surprised how many people in SG do close to 300 to 300+ per year. They have to in order to make a living. If I’m not mistaken, Gold City is real close to 300 per year.

  33. CDB wrote:

    #28 ha ha! I wish I could play the fiddle like Charlie Daniels but I wouldn’t want to sing any more “pitchy” than I already do in order to burn that fiddle up. Great example of a super entertainer in secular music who’s singing isn’t all that wonderful…In my humble opinion…

  34. quartet-man wrote:

    #31 John, part of that might be that there are more successful secular entertainers than Christian. Sure there are tons of SG wannabes but they aren’t know much beyond their general area. I do think though that oft times the secular bases it on look, and the ability to sell it even if the talent isn’t as good.

  35. SDC wrote:

    Kiss my lilywhite tuckus. Gerald Wolfe is one of the finest, most highly trained vocalists your crap SG music has to offer. He’s as classy as he is talented, and I’ve known him personally over 20 years to know he’s more than this fakejaker industry deserves.

    I grew up in this industry and have very little to do with it or Christianity now due to all the two-timing, double-tongue/minded a-holes I grew up around that were so full of themselves and their piddly-anty little puffed-up world just the thought of it makes me want to vomit.

    Gerald and his carefully selected friends and crew could properly sing anyone under the table, anytime. And at least he has a REAL heart for the people he sings to, which is not something you could say for 97% of the well-known artists in your genre.

    Get your facts straight or kick rocks.

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