By now you’ve all doubtless heard about the most recent personnel changes:
- Derrick Selph leaving BFA, and Chris Cooper joining GC. Selph never really seemed to have found or hit his stride as a vocalist or a stage presence, and if we’re talking about the most sustainable careers for a young person to be in, Selph’s decision to leave the road and get some job training for a technical profession seems wise (Ditto Eric Phillips).
- As for Cooper, I asked around a bit about him, since I haven’t heard him, or don’t remember it if I did (Daniel Mount has some video). The general consensus seems to be that he’s a very good singer with excellent pitch placement (99 % of the time, one person told me). That same person suggested he didn’t have much “edge” to his voice. I’m not really sure what that means, but my contact wrote: “He’s got a raspy Sheri Easter voice. I like it but I like more bite to the voice that can really nail the note when a song calls for it.”
Blog chatter suggests more changes are coming, which may or may not involve Frank Seamans, given his son’s health situation (this seems to be what Daniel Mount was trying to say a few days ago).
Personnel changes always seem to get a lot of attention (perhaps because of the legend of the NQC personnel changes season), but the reaction to personnel never really made a lot of sense to me. I mean, I guess a sociologist might say change is always difficult for culturally conservative subgroups, but at an even most basic level, one doesn’t haven’t to be a trained observer to see that southern gospel is not a profession that breeds stability.
Except in a few very rare exceptions, gospel singers make next to a modern slave’s wage with little or no benefits. They sing to increasingly diminishing crowds in areas that may not be more far flung than they than ever were, but must surely seem more remote given the steady migration of the American population and zeitgeist to urban centers (where sg has, comparatively, virtually no presence). They have to be their own roadies and merchandisers in most cases, and only a certain subset of folks can consider all these deprivations of the road a ministerial pillow of stone for an entire career.
Given how many full time singers are at the height of their earning potential and/or spending the prime years of their careers in southern gospel, the real surprise is that there aren’t more personnel changes.Email this Post