NQC 09: Friday Night

There’s always at least one night like this. The night when at some point you just have to leave because too much music is just too boring, and you start fearing that if you don’t get out of there immediately, all traces of individuality may be sucked out of your identity and you will turn into a gospelbot. Used to be, before the Fan Awards moved to later in the week, Saturday was That Night. This year, it was Tonight.

Partly this feeling is the inevitable comedown effect of tonight’s lineup including the Gaither Hour. Whatever night it falls on, the rest is prelude and postlude. I’ll parse the sets below, but even allowing for an element of self-parody that’s creeping into the Vocal Band at this point, from the 30,000-feet level, Gaither is still a caliber of performance and ability unto himself. Pretty much everything else is, by definition, going to miss this mark.

Then again, another way to look at it is that the contrast helps bring into focus the epidemic lack of originality or imagination in so much of what’s going on in mainstream, allegedly top-notch acts. Sure, sure, nobody likes it but the people, but the Signature Sound/Vocal Band set sort of puts the lie to that line inasmuch as Gaither is the only artist left in gospel music that can pull a majority of ticket-holding conventioneers to the main auditorium at the same time. And while Gaither is not shy about sticking with what works, one can hardly accuse him or his shows of being unimaginative retreads. 

Sooooo …. best of times, worst of times etc.

Enough preamble. Here we go:

 

THE BIG STUFF
To the Constant Talkers in Section 315: yes, everyone heard you, and yes, those were dirty looks everyone was giving you. I left my WWJD bracelet in the hotel room tonight, but the woman in front of me stage-whispered to her husband that she wished you would SHUT UP! 

Signature Sound: the first 1/3 or ½ of the SSQ set was pretty much what you’d expect. The choreography and the breathy, cloying emcee work, the well-sung, smartly arranged, beautifully orchestrated neo-classical quartet music, and lots of talk about living the quartet dream, etc. But then after “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” something happened. The group seemed to go off script for most of the second half of the set. Haase called an acoustic encore of “Reason Enough,” which had started things off for them, and Doug Anderson, the vibrant vocal center of the group and an astute showman, reprised a few very lovely lines from the chorus of that song. At this point, in some palpable, if immeasurable way, the flow of feeling perceptibly shifted. It’s probably a coincidence that at about the point when all this was starting to happen, I was jotting a note to myself that the rendition of “Wonderful Grace” for the first time sounded more genuinely like theirs, rather than primarily a knock-off of the Cats arrangement (like they’re beginning to feel its musical relevance to them, separate from the original’s sentimentality or the brand value of hearkening back to the Cathedrals). Still, this line of thought – that maybe SSQ is beginning to move out from under the shadows that were necessary during the group’s formative years – converged with a departure on stage from the usually scripted set in a timely fashion. Haase seemed to be picking his way rather carefully through a series of audibles, tring to find the calls that would most effectively rally the crowd around them (given the rather ho-hum response to SSQ’s first few songs), and after a truncated “What a Savior,” the set ended with a really savvy use of the thousands of music fans in the room, whom Haase deployed as a mass choir backing the group in a few choruses of “Amen.” This part was most likely in the plan, but that only reinforces how successful the right balance of script and spontaneity can be. It wouldn’t be a big surprise if SSQ was by default uncomfortable with more free-form sets in this sort of space. Haase’s formative years as an emcee and group owner have been under Gaither, who is the master of copiously planned spontaneity. But we all have different gifts, and not everyone can make the rote seem relevant, real, and ever new. In SSQ’s case, it was interesting to watch some of the affectations they tend to rely on fall away, to see a less contrived set of personalities emerge in the second half of the set, and to find the NQC crowd warm up nicely to them.

Gaither Vocal Band: Perhaps the best way to describe their set is to tell you about the guy sitting a few seats down and to the right of me. The moment Michael English’s microphone started up toward his mouth, this guy started screaming. Not whoop-whooping. No macho-man sports yawp. A primordial, full-on fanboy scream. Ditto, his wife. This happened more or less regularly throughout the set. It other words, it was already a house-afire success pretty much before it even started. Which makes commentary on the sonic experience somewhat pointless, I guess. The semi-short version, fwiw, is that the new Vocal Band Quintet creates the effect for the listener of walking into a wall – nay, a propeller – of sound. Sometimes Wes Hampton is doubling Phelps. Other times it’s about thickening the bottom of the harmonies for whatever fireworks are going on above. But always, when it’s time to close the deal, an unrelenting, towering, architectural onrushing sound.  They still do nuance, or maybe more correctly, they do stuff that reminds one of when the Vocal Band really did nuance with … well, nuance. But this is not primarily a subtle act, and perhaps an attempt at balance explains the comparatively quiet ending to the set – the Homecoming Finlandia adaptation (with those cringy self-help lyrics about relationships demanding commitment and the need to be there and follow through), which concludes with a simple amen. And with they left. And my neighbor a few rows down wailed in delight and grief.

 

BONUS STANDOUTS AND OTHER THINGS WORTH MENTIONING
The Booth Brothers:
  Hard to say when it happened, but at some point in the past few years, the Booth Brothers passed that difficult-to-discern but very important line that distinguishes top-tier talent from the rest of the major players by becoming one of the artists who has to do nothing more than walk on the stage in order to command the attention of the room (of course it doesn’t hurt to have Stan Whitmire at the piano either). No small feat tonight, coming in the wake of the cognitive dissonance created by the Gaither hour and the Dove Brothers back to back. Tonight, though, the Booths seemed to struggle a bit. Their endings were a lot more splattery than normal for them and their entrances were not always very certain. At times, the ensemble felt noticeably uneven. At some point, the crowd’s initial attention started to drift. Maybe Ronnie Booth noticed this toward the end of “He Saw it All.” At any rate, just before the tag he blurted out words to the effect of, neither Buddha nor Mohammad could claim to have risen from the grave, and then they tagged the song: “ask the blind man, he saw it all.” Okey dokey. Of course the crowd pulled themselves back into focus at the mention of eastern religions, and gave the BBs a rousing send-off. Which is interesting, because just this afternoon, a friend of mine was positing a theory that in southern gospel, a sure way to turn straw into gold on stage is to associate any song – whatever the lyrical idea or musical point, whether the tune is a dog or a ditty or just failing to launch – with some sectarian or ideological wedge issue (rival faiths, school prayer, one nation under God, whatever), and voila: the song stops being mediocre and suddenly becomes a rallying cry for God’s persecuted remnant. This requires more  - or maybe different - thought than I give it right now. In the meantime, just ask the blind man.

Legacy 5 and Triumphant: Here’s a question for you. What’s the marketable difference between these two groups? Not what is different about them. But what are the marketable differences. What sets them apart. Watching and listening tonight, it was not immediately clear. I know how to answer that question for the Kingsmen (in a word: sforzando … plus Hamill), and for the Kingdom Heirs (Dollywood), and for DBQ (if you have to ask …), and Gold City (not your father’s quartet, but he’ll like it). But I can’t really answer that question for L5 and Triumphant. Both of them are obviously going for the classy, but not quite classic, quartet. Both have good to great pianists (one tends to overplay and the other recedes too easily into the background). Both have guys named Scott (one of them is centering his pitches much better and the other is growing into quite a fine baritone/lead). Both do a mix of song styles but drift toward ditties by nature. You get the idea … Besides the Cathedrals (and that may difficult to understate), the only thing I can come up with is that they have distinctly individuated fan bases, for lack of a better phrase. That is, each group seems to have a strong, mostly non-overlapping core of diehard fans who follow the group reliably (I’m making this determination in part, though not solely, on the very unscientific process of watching where the clusters of fans are who stand up for each group the fastest … in this case, not the same places in the room). Whatever “it” is, it’s obviously enough, for the industry clearly supports two groups that could easily swap spare parts in a pinch. But these are the places my mind wandered during their sets, which didn’t always hold the attention. Even though Frank Seamans was basically bidding adieu to NQC, and sang “I Stand Redeemed” in farewell, the whole thing had the feeling of easy come easy go (partly this was a result of the intentionally low-key way Fowler set it up, but still). And Triumphant had some nice moments, especially Eric Bennett’s verses on “He Loves Me,” the best bass solo I’ve heard in a long time. But then David Sutton came into the ensemble nearly two steps under his pitch and then they segued into that song whose title has never been clear to me (“everybody’s gonna have a wonderful/terrible time up/down there…”). And, well … Meh. It was at these points I began to wonder what these groups want us to see in, take away from, their performances. I’m really actually wondering.

McKameys and Inspirations: trans-Appalachia’s favorite sons and daughters were not well received tonight on the whole, at least not until Peg had her fill of it. It started with the Inspirations, sans Archie Watkins for the first time in who knows how long. They dutifully worked their way through a typical Inspirations’ set, including several a cappella encores … and the crowd more or less just sat there. So Martin Cook walked away from the piano and tried to whip up some enthusiasm while the boys toiled away at “I Have Not Forgotten.” But this no-Archie-havin configuration just got no love from Louisville. Next up, the McKameys. First peg gave us some hanky waving, you know, that thing she does where she jerks her handkerchief in a whirling circling in front of her face as if waving the holy spirit in for a revival landing. Nothing. Then she went over and got her Bible and waved it around when the song mentioned the holy word. Still not much. And then… you knew this was coming. The shoes came off, at which point things livened up. Podiatric shrapnel will do that.

Hoppers: They opened with “I’ve Come Too Far,” and it was a classic arrangement with live enough band, reminding us why we fell in love with them in the first place (and have mostly stuck with them through their Paula Stefanovich phase). But let’s speak plainly here: coming on at 11:15 p.m. on a Friday night and opening with a prosy ballad, classic arrangement or not, is blunderous. Yes, “Jerusalem” is a bit more uptempo, but it has a driving beat whose effect at this hour is to induce a kind of highway hypnosis. I don’t think the Christmas-to-Easter song (complete with monologue!) whose title I forget is actually that bad, but in tonight’s context, it dragged on ponderously. Cap it all off with “Shoutin’ Time” and the effect was one of a vanity set.

 

GRAB BAG
Poundage:
The piano in the main hall was noticeably out of tune tonight, thanks, no doubt, to the relentless beating it’s taken all week (except from Stan Whitmire and Tim Parton!). Perhaps Kim Collingsworth and the Dove Brothers’ pianist can split the tuning bill?

Calling Cody: a friend had joined me in the nosebleeds when the Diplomats were doing their micro-set (they covered “This Is Just What Heaven Means to Me”) and he leaned over about halfway through and said, “Somebody needs to find that kid from last night.”

Quote of the day: “I’ve always found a way to attach myself to the happening thing … first the Cathedrals, now Greater Vision and the Booth Brothers.” Scott Fowler, talking about his brainchild album, Jubilee, which combines the three groups on one project.

To Sharon K. King: My mother emailed me today and told me she just loves your song, “God’s Been Good.” (Hi mom!)

KPNR: “Four Days Late”

Greater Vision: “He’d Still Been God”

Tomorrow: I’m getting an Erhler’s Ice Cream Cone.

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Comments

  1. David Grant wrote:

    Was really looking forward to hearing the “new” GVB lineup tonight. I was very under-whelmed. I just felt like it didn’t go anywhere. No real stand out performances for me tonight. It was all good. Just not great. I had skipped NQC for a couple years and am really glad I went tonight. It made me a little home sick for the old days of being on the road. Enjoyed visiting with old friends. I really liked “Between 12 and 33″ despite the deliverance.

  2. Alittlecloser wrote:

    Even with having to see him hurting, I felt a ton of admiration/compassion for Jeremy Lile tonight. “Save Me a Seat at the Table” was obviously not an easy song for him to deliver after his father’s funeral earlier today, and though I’m not the most mushy guy in the world, it shows a lot of character to drive that many hours and arrive at NQC 45 minutes before your group is about to step on the main stage and perform…and Jeremy seemed to be the consummate professional, putting a smile on his face as he stepped on stage. We’re praying for you Mr. Lile and wish you professionally nothing but the best and personally a comfort and peace during this time.

    1 Thessolonians 4:13-18 (13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.).

  3. d wrote:

    Hey David….since you were “underwhelmed” by the new GVB lineup… you might like to know that Guy Penrod is singing today (Saturday) on the “regional” stage.. His Facebook page says at 1 PM.

  4. Nashville Phil wrote:

    Doug, I hate to disagree with you.

    However, the real “Quote Of The Day” should be:
    “Podiatric shrapnel will do that”.

    I spewed Coffee all over my Puter screen. Great line!

  5. Gospel Has Been wrote:

    Amazing how much better Gaither’s sound guys do with the sound than those guys the NQC has. The sound all week has been horrible but Gaither’s people had them and EHSS down pat. It will be interesting to see how bad the sound can be during the awards show tonight. What a shame gospel music has to take a back seat to rock & country and everyother kind of music when it comes to sound.
    I was also surprised no one has commented on Matt Debler singing with the Diplomats have ever no longer then they were on people may not have noticed.

  6. Bryce wrote:

    The final evening!

    Saturday 9.19
    05:45 Talent Contest & Regional Artist Showcase Winners
    05:59 Singing News Fan Awards
    08:15 Intermission
    08:35 Isaacs
    08:52 Frick & Frack – Les Beasley & Claude Hopper
    08:56 Primitives
    09:13 “Thanks For The Memories” - Rebels Quartet
    09:17 Dixie Melody Boys
    09:28 The Hunters
    09:32 Janet Paschal
    09:46 All-Star Male Quartet
    09:50 Brian Free & Assurance
    10:05 Talley Trio
    10:20 Kingdom Heirs
    10:35 Reggie Saddler Family
    10:50 Perrys
    11:10 Grand Finale – Hoppers, Booth Brothers, Greater Vision & Legacy Five

  7. Bobbie Wiseman wrote:

    Reply to Gospel Has Been:
    Watching on my computer from home, I was thinking that it was Matt Dibbler singing with the Diplomats, but wasn’t really sure. Thanks for confirming that!!

  8. dipfan wrote:

    Hey, the only difference in the Diplomats and the kid that sounds like vestel is. That is actually the Diplomats sound, the kid is just a novelty act and one day when he hits puberty his voice will change, and no one will know who he is. The Diplomats had the best one song set at NQC this year, and they used a complete live band. My compliments to the dips, and you can tell that dude that wanted to see the kid, the Dips are for real. not of novelty. I could see that kid at the state fair in one of those trailers that say, For only 50 cents you can walk up and see a young boy that sings like an old woman. God bless Vestel!!!!

  9. Jason wrote:

    I enjoyed the Diplomats’ one song. It was the first time I’ve heard them. I would have liked for them to sing a few more to see if I still liked them!

  10. James howell wrote:

    Trust me. One song from the diplofats is all you need. Mama screams and they are very sloppy in appearance and their singing is regional quality at best, save their son who is talented.

  11. Tommy wrote:

    Last night was the first time I had heard the diplomats live. I had heard they were a new Happy Goodmans. VERY wrong. They were sloppy in appearance and sound. The woman screamed the whole song, mostly off pitch. They would have been poor quality even for a regional showcase. The NQC board should apologize to the many deserving groups that should be on mainstage. I guess if you’re friends with Les and Clarke Beasly you get to be on the mainstage. We already have one group living off of the Happy Goodmans (the Perrys) we dont need another. I’ve never had one song make me consider getting up and leaving. It was horrible.

  12. Tjeerd wrote:

    I just got home from seeing “a time that remains” by Palestinian directer Eia Suleiman at TIFF.
    http://www.tiff.net/filmsandschedules/films/timethatremains
    Having spent 6 months in Israel working in a Kibbutz-Moshov some years ago, is was an excellent film.

    Triumphant and L-5…agree, two interchangeable quartets.
    Eric Bennets “He loves me” is sung very well. “terrible time down there” is a terrible song and should be retired.
    I have the CD and always skip the “terrible” song. I am surprised they still sing it in concerts.

    If Matt Dibbler has a job with the Diplomats, then SG has been upped in the grace department- a good thing.

    As a side note, I as a Canadian Evangelical and lover of SG and Southern Culture (Smoked Ribs, SEC Football, SG Music etc) do not understand the opposition to health care reform. We Canadians have a decent medical care system that will not bankrupt you. It cares for everyone, regardless of income. If you polled the Canadian Evangelical-Fundamentalist it would be supported by 90%. In light of what medical costs bankrupted SG artists such as Eldridge Fox and Big Jim Hamill, I think this needs to be examined.

  13. Tjeerd wrote:

    I find the Inspirations and the McKameys a little hillbillyesque, maybe the Inspirations without Archie is less so, I still have to hear them.

  14. dbjga wrote:

    I am still laughing (twelve hours later) about Peg’s hanky. Great writing! I have also witnessed Peg “having her fill” of a less than enthusiastic crowd. She is (like Hamill and Younce) an incredible emcee/performer.
    Thanks for your blog. I look forward to your NQC reports every year.

  15. NG wrote:

    Thanks to all those at the NQC for their comments. Wish I could be there.

    #12 Never thought I see the day when someone attending the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) would be commenting on SGM. It’s just more evidence the SGM fan base is wider than I realized.

  16. CDB wrote:

    Partial list of winners @ 7:30

    Musician. Jeff Stice
    Horizon Individual. Jacob Kitson
    Baritone. Jim Brady
    Bass. Eric Bennet
    Young Artist. Joseph Hadabank
    Lead singer. Ronnie Booth
    Soprano. Kim Hopper
    Tenor. Michael Booth
    Alto. Libbi Stuffle

  17. Kevin wrote:

    I’m starting to get addicted to checking this blog for entries. It’s nice to see more of people expressing opinions lately, and not attacking each other’s perceived sins. :)

    I was at the NQC the last two nights. I think the moderator’s synopsis of the evenings is pretty dead-on correct! And, a joy to read.

    I thought I’d add in my two cents. One of the best moments for me was hearing “Why Can’t All God’s Children Get Along” by Karen Peck & New River. They’re a group that I, honestly, never paid much attention to. I always thought they had one big song (Four Days Late), and every year since it came out, it’s what they do on the NQC stage that gets attention. But don’t you know I had to go buy their CD with “Why Can’t…” we all just get along. What a perfect message, in my opinion.

    Even though the Gaither segment wasn’t awesome, having been to probably 25 Gaither Homecoming concerts (I should get help, I know), I was still in a bit of Gaither bliss. I just wish David Phelps had gotten more mic time. But, it seemed it was more about the southern gospel world welcoming Michael English back to the fold. That made me feel warm and fuzzy a bit, too. :) I still play some of the old Singing Americans LPs he was on. His voice is different now, but I’m still a fan.

    I miss Carol with The McKameys. :( No offense at all the Sheryl. I just LOVED Carol’s voice. For me, SHE was The McKameys’ sound. Peg is in a whole category of her own.

    #12 - Good point about healthcare. Unfortunately, I would guess that the majority of southern gospel fans have never stepped foot out of this country to experience the goodness/culture of other places — Gaither and Singing News cruise ships don’t count. :) It’s all politics. It’s very sad. No one should be without healthcare. A lot of these singers grow old and run out of money — and healthcare in your final years can be super expensive. :(

    I’m bummed I miss The Diplomats hooplah, too. :( I had stepped out to walk around — those seats at Freedom Hall are not comfy!

  18. Sissey wrote:

    I have not heard much about Song of a Lifetime. Did anyone attend this showcase?

  19. billy wrote:

    who placed where in the groups talent showcase..anybody tell me? thanks

  20. CDB wrote:

    Winners 2009

    -Musician. Jeff Stice
    -Horizon Individual. Jacob Kitson
    -Baritone. Jim Brady
    -Bass. Eric Bennet
    -Young Artist. Joseph Hadabank
    -Lead singer. Ronnie Booth
    -Soprano. Kim Hopper
    -Tenor. Michael Booth
    -Alto. Libbi Stuffle
    -Norcross/Templeton Award. Jerry Kirksey
    -Promoter. Twila Rhoer?
    -Male Singer. Ronnie Booth
    -Horizon Group. Crist Family
    -Song Writer. Rodney Griffin
    -Mixed Quartet. Hoppers
    -Album. Room For More-Booth Brothers
    -Trio. Booth Brothers
    Quartet. Triumphant Quartet
    -Song of the year. What Salvations Done For Me-Booth Brothers
    -Artist of the year. Booth Brothers 

  21. DRL wrote:

    I often wonder who puts the nightly schedules and orders the groups @NQC. Why would they put the Inspirations & McKameys on “Gaither night?” Talk about a contrast in styles and (arguably) quality! No wonder the McKameys wouldn’t get any response. The contrast to this was in 2003 (?) when they put the Martins on directly after the McKameys and about 1/3rd of the audience walked out as the Martins were taking the stage. (And we wonder what’s wrong with sg?)

    Your L5/Triumphant comments are exactly what I’ve been saying for several years now. There’s really very little distinguishing about any of the groups anymore. There aren’t a lot of “larger than life” characters around, and most of the individuals are just spare parts that would fit into whichever group is paying the highest wage this week. In the good ol’ days (ya right) you could go to a concert with the Cathedrals, Hinsons, Nelons, Gold City, Kingsmen, Singing Americans etc, etc and, even if you were blindfolded or out in the product tables, you KNEW exactly who was performing from the first bar. Now, there’s 65,283 mixed trios that are indistinguishable from each other, and another 23,982 quartets that have zero personality whatsoever.

    @#12 : I too am “a Canadian Evangelical and lover of SG and Southern Culture” and you are absolutely correct about health care. Our system has its flaws, but it is infinitely better than what the Americans have! My mother passed away this year, after living an incredibly healthy life for 80+ years. However, had she been in the US, her life savings would have been completely eaten up by paying for her health care costs in the last 2 months of her life. Private insurance sounds better than gov’t insurance, but so many ppl simply cannot afford it. If you lose your job, you lose your insurance. If you get sick, they cancel your policy. And talk about killing the entrepreneurial spirit … how many americans would love to start their own business but simply cannot do it because they would lose their health insurance. I can’t believe how 3rd-world the US in some ways.

  22. CG wrote:

    #21,

    Thank you for your positive comments on my favorite music in the world. I agree with most all you said.

    In regards to your opinion on your Canadian healthcare, I’m glad you’re pleased with it. I guess if we US citizens who are having our entrepreneural spirit/dreams shattered by our fears of not wanting to pay for what we receive as individuals were as intelligent as some of our neighbors to the north, we would probably understand how superior your country’s healthcare policies are. Guess that-s why so many of your country’s GP’s have abandoned their practices to specialize in cosmetic procedures so they can earn enough to actually pay their mortgages (not to mention PST/GST - what are those sales taxes now, about 21% total?). Here’s to your health…

    In regards to you referring to the USA (you know, your neighbors to the south to whom your nation looks to for protection from hostile nations), as “3rd-world”, I’ll be more than happy to meet you at the Peace Arch in Blaine, WA sometime so you can kiss my friendly, Georgia born, Gospel Singing Jubilee raised rear.

    Blessings on you!!!

  23. Gospel music fan Dan wrote:

    #18 Sissey - I was at the Song of a lifetime showcase. It was ok. I had high expectatiuons after last year but it was kind of a let down. I left after about 45 minutes into the show. The ringing of the michrophones started giving me a headache.

  24. matt wrote:

    #22, PST/GST where i live is 12%, not 21%. #21 said the US was 3rd world in “some ways”. Which nation isn’t in one way or another? First you want your butt kissed, then you offer blessings on all?? Nice.

  25. quartet-man wrote:

    #22 You go, CG. My insurance is pricey (I have to pay half of it) and I have long thought it wrong that insurance it attached to work and that that you can be dropped if you need it too much (I am sure most, if not all insurance companies would LOVE to only have people who paid in and never needed it.) However, although there are problems that need addressing, government run health care is not the answer and will make problems worse (as will most things government does.) There are far too many people who can find wrong with systems elsewhere and prove so by coming here AND paying instead of getting it free over there. So, there is no perfect system. There might be some things good about it there, but not all (nor is everything good here.) Besides, the ones the government are already running here are on the way to bankruptcy (as is social security) and there is already much abuse as far as financial and to top it off doctors have so much red tape to deal with and many won’t take patients on them (or control the amount as much as they can.)

  26. RF wrote:

    Doug:

    Thanks for your intelligent reports on what is going on at NQC. It’s the only place we get honest evaluation of the event (I think everyone knows what I mean). And thanks to you who are there and give your comments. Maybe someday I’ll be able to attend in person.

    It’s easy to hate any healthcare reform if you have good coverage. I understand that, but to tell someone who doesn’t understand why we are the only civilized country in the world who doesn’t take care of its sick to kiss your backside is typical of the attitudes of those who call themselves Christians and who refuse to act like they are followers of Christ. Shame on you.

  27. CG wrote:

    RF (#26),

    Shame on you, my brother, for speaking untruth. It is simply not true that the USA “doesn’t take care of its sick”! There are rules (Federal law) that prohibits medical providers from providing proper medical care to those in need! Grant it, we might not have a perfect healthcare system, and government reform is needed (without doubt) within the industry, but shame on you for for aiding and abetting the untruth of this great nation turning its back on the infirmed!!!

    Now, how about we stick to the original topic?

    Whew, I feel better now…

  28. quartet-man wrote:

    #26 Admittedly, it is easier for someone with good coverage to not know the needs or the bad, but it is also easier for those without it to not see the good and many to want it “free.” Of course in Econ we learned there is no such thing as a free lunch… someone has to pay for it. So, with that in mind if they aren’t paying for their own (let alone others’) it is easy to say give me give me. However, if they start taking your money to give to someone less fortunate (or in some cases lazy, irresponsible etc.) then maybe you would feel differently. The government’s role is not to play Robin Hood. First of all, when it is someone else’s money they don’t exactly care to get the best deal or be frugal, they aren’t paying for it. Second, they don’t expect accountability from those getting it so much because that might cost them a vote, so they give give give so that they can buy votes. It is our place as Christians to help people who need it. However, if the government takes all of our money, they take away our ability to do so. Also, if we give to help someone and then see them abuse it, buy big ticket items instead of necessities etc. we would shut it off. The government doesn’t, the money just keep being given to them.

    I know of people who wouldn’t pay prescription copays ($.50 - $3.50 each at the time) and had thousands upon thousands of dollars in these. They “couldn’t afford” it. Then, they went to the front of the pharmacy and attempted to buy cigarettes and expensive toys. These same people also went to the ER when they had the least little problem because they weren’t paying for it. Why would they wait and get into the doc or try OTC first? That is one example of what we are in for and the abuse already happening as well as the lack of governmental oversight. It also shows that we do take care of sick people without insurance (some at least) and we also do the same for illegals. If they had better oversight for some of these things, and corrected other things, prices would go down which would help with the problem of out of bounds cost.

  29. CG wrote:

    My post in #27 should read “There are rules (Federal law) that prohibit medical providers from not providing proper medical care to those in need!”

    BTW, well said quartet-man!

  30. Kevin wrote:

    Has this site/bloggers ever discussed The Hoppers? I just did a search and only see something about Dean Hopper finding his voice. I’m curious to read how others view their vocal abilities - minus Kim Hopper.

    Also, Ernie Haas & Signature Sound are the premier quartet in Gaither concerts, but how come the fans don’t seem to fall in love with them (according to the fan awards)?

  31. quartet-man wrote:

    Thanks CG. I also forgot to ask where we draw the line? People shouldn’t starve to death, they should all have a place to live and of course having transporation for everyone would be nice. So, do we start having all of those be given out to? It sounds wonderful until you realize that you are costing someone else. (But then again some don’t care as long as they get what they want.) For instance, if everyone is given a car either the manafacturer loses out, the workers who build them might not get paid because there is no profit made on them anymore) and then if you take from the “rich man” who worked hard you are stealing his labor, education, hard work etc. (or someone before him.) Where does it end? If you take too much of the prosperous people’s money to give to others why would he want to keep working and furthermore how could he afford to pay people working for him? He’ll just close up shop and either start a business outside the U.S. or just live off the rest of his money, or invest or something.
    This isn’t Heaven, we can’t right every wrong or split everything up with everyone regardless of whether they work for it, or not. To do so is called theft.

    Lest anyone wonder, I am not even close to rich. My insurance is a large portion of my wages. I don’t have much back for retirement. I have medical bills to pay etc. However, I know right and wrong and stealing is wrong. Someone helping someone less fortunate is great and what God expects, but isn’t also funny that they government who wants to do all these things are among the worst at giving to charities themselves, but the evil “rich men” give far more? I believe they call that hypocrisy.

  32. quartet-man wrote:

    #30 Absolutely. Avery (Doug) started a thread about one of their albums and they have been mentioned quite a bit. Here is my run down.

    Kim is one of the best female vocalists in SG.
    Dean is a very good tenor harmony singer (not to be confused with first tenors in male quartets) and does well at short leads within a song (like his part of Marriage Supper of the Lamb.) However, his doing full solo’s while okay, are not spectacular.

    Connie is a very good alto harmony singer and the occasional lead from her is fine too, but that isn’t her strongest gift either,.

    Claude - hard to hear him. :-) I am sure he is a good businessman, he is likeable and occasionally he will have a short part you hear, but not so much.

  33. LaShay Bankston wrote:

    You Diplomats haters are awesome. Really. You should be proud. Great type-o there, James Howell. Let’s everyone give him a round of applause for being the biggest @$$ EVER. Sometimes I wonder why every SG group/family even bothers leaving their home(s) on the weekend. I mean, why even mess with it? With fans like you guys showing up at concerts and convention who would want to stay home?!

  34. quartet-man wrote:

    Sorry for the typos I was in a hurry because I was out of time.

  35. RF wrote:

    No.’s 27 & 28…

    There are always abusers. There will always be, but those folks are not the problem. The problem is the good folks who are left without coverage because they lost their jobs or changed jobs out of necessity. The problem is folks who, through no fault of their own, can’t get coverage because of health problems they have or people who refuse to go to the doctor because they can’t afford it–and have no coverage because they work in a job that doesn’t offer it. The vast majority fall into this category. But this is not a forum for that and it was only brought up because our Canadian brother brought it up, so I stay quiet.

    Back to discussing the music, which is what this site is all about anyway. Please forgive me for getting away from that.

  36. HP wrote:

    I promise if they would try out a Kawai digital grand, no one could hear the difference. No tuning needed. I had the responsibility of selecting a piano once and demoed 15 acoustic pianos and 10 digital. I guarantee no one would notice.

  37. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    #36,
    I agree those digital Kawais are very nice and they sound great, but the sound crew at NQC would still manage to generate feedback even from a direct connection.

  38. RK wrote:

    I didn’t get to see the GVB set at NQC this year, but I’ve seen the “new/old” GVB twice in its current format. All the “most amazing collection of talent ever assembled on one stage in one group” and “we may never see anything like this ever again” superlatives are true.

    I think the best way to describe this most super of supergroups is “sound porn”. So much talent, delivered in so much excess, with a sound so bold and abundant that there’s little need for creativity, fresh material, or–as Avery said–”nuance”. It’s like skipping the drama and intrigue of the World Series and just having another All-Star Game, or–more aptly–a home run derby.

    I’d compare them to Elvis’ early 70’s performances, before the physical and vocal decline he faced later on. Vocally spectaular (even if slightly less magnificent than years earlier), soaring oversized (even if uncreative) material, and a can’t-blink-or-look-away stage presence or aura (even in self-parody).

    To me, it also conjures up images of Southern Gospel’s last all-star group–the Old Friends Quartet notwithstanding–the Masters V. The current GVB is certainly more in-their-prime vocally than JD Sumner, James Blackwood, Jake Hess, and Rosie Rosell were, even if Michael English is no longer in Singing Americans-era form. The lesson here is that it wasn’t for M5, and isn’t for GVB, about breaking any new ground creatively or stylistically. It’s about delivering a quality, a talent level, and an image to the stage that was lacking as lacking in the early 80’s (M5’s era) as it is now. All with a heaping dollop of self-parody and nostalgia…

    The critical question here is, what does Gaither has in mind or in store for GVB? Certainly, the current lineup has and will continue to spike ticket sales and spawn compelling new video material to sell. And in this recession-stricken economy, Gaither can make the case to his “guys” that this package of talent on one stage can do more at the box office for each member than they could do individually.

    Is this a victory lap or a farewell tour as Gaither exits the stage and retires GVB? Or will he ride this pony as far as it goes, continuing to revive old GVB material? Or will he take a step back (either in the group or stepping away from it) and unleash the considerable creative talents of his four superstars (and maybe a new bass)?

  39. donna kenchel wrote:

    who is this creep that keeps bashing everyone in SG. he has nothing good to say about anyone. i would hate to see him run NQC for one year it would be a disaster.Triumphant and L5 and BB are some of the finest in the business. there are some i really do not like, but that is my business.talk about comment moderation this bashing person needs to be banned from forums

  40. James howell wrote:

    I’m not bashing anyone. I’m just speaking the facts. I’m Bo trying to condemn any group. The Dips should just learn their place and sing at local churches. I would never imagine a group like theirs getting to have a slot on main stage, especially when there are sooo many other deserving, quality groups out there that should be on stage long before the Dips should have a chance. I won’t pay to see fat sweaty people like that get up and scream off pitch for a full concert. And as mean as it sounds, I’m not the only one who feels that way about them. Groups like that really cheapen our industry. I’m sorry if I offended you, but that’s how most folks feel. It’s not just me.

  41. James howell wrote:

    Typo: I’m NOT trying to condemn…

  42. Ashley Franks wrote:

    What you feel….well, that’s what you feel. But when you speak it, you become responsible for it. What happened “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” !!! I have been good friends with the Diplomats for a long time, and there aren’t any better people or singers in our industry. God Bless Them!

  43. quartet-man wrote:

    #35 RF I understand that, but the point is the abuse now causes the price of health care to rise which makes the insurance companies less profitable which makes them cover less AND will become worse if there is a public option. This will make the whole thing go belly up and more people will suffer because money doesn’t grow on trees and health care is not free and a plentiful resource.

  44. SWhalen wrote:

    OK, I’ve read all the accolades about the new/old GVB and I just don’t see it. I just bought the new GVB CD, a collection of past favorites, and I find the harmonizing lacking. Maybe I just like the original versions of the songs but I think they’ve taken a step backwards with the loss of Guy.

    I’m still a fan and I’m sure there will be some new songs that will become the standard you judge against, but until then I look back to the best lineup.

    By the way, while Mark’s harmonizing is great, I do miss Marsh as well. Awesome, unique voice.

  45. weber wrote:

    #42, Everyone is the exception, everyone is genuine, oh i know them their great people who love the Lord,, they may, however Let me not mince words here, the Dips have no business on Main Stage. There are far more talented groups out there. The very best of our industry should only be presented on Main Stage.

  46. James howell wrote:

    My dear Ashley. The Diplofats have many friends who I am sure will come on here and defend this group we speak of. But rest assured, most fans will not accept this group. Main stage was a gesture to the Dips for all the years they provided a place for groups to come and sing. I may be wrong about that, but it’s the only reason I could think that Dips would be allowed on main stage. They definatly did not make on stage by their talents. And get this: they will be on the SN cover this December! I sure hope this is not what the fans accept as talent and quality. Good folks or not, they are a local group and that’s it!

  47. LaShay Bankston wrote:

    #40 - it sounds quite like bashing to me. And it is VERY offensive for you to speak that way of their physical appearance. You may not want to pay to hear them sing… and that is your right. I don’t care one way or the other if you go hear them. BUT, I do care that you’ve insulted them by calling them “fat”. It’s not necessary. Sometimes it’s best to keep that part of your opinion to yourself. If you don’t like the way they sound…fine. The trash talk about physical appearance needs to stop.

    I haven’t ever heard someone say that the Diplomats cheapen our industry. They are consummate professionals when they step off of their bus. They don’t think they’re better than anyone, and they don’t try to outdo anyone. I can honestly say that they are the NICEST group I’ve ever met in my entire time dealing with Southern Gospel music.

    I get it that people think there are more deserving groups that should be on stage besides them. I get it. It’s your opinion. The board puts the groups on the stage. If you want part in that decision, I’m sure you can offer to buy some stock in NQC and get in on that decision. Every single person that walks thru the doors of Freedom Hall is not going to be 100% satisfied with every single group that’s on stage… but hey, that’s why you have free will and you can get up and leave out if you don’t want to listen to someone.

    The insults just are not appropriate… they’re mean-spirited and cruel.

  48. yeah... wrote:

    DRL - #21: Can’t let this one go past. While I love your country, friend, after more than 100 visits to Canada, and while some of my dearest friends on earth live there too, your 3rd world comment needs a response.

    There probably are some benefits to your program of “free” health care, DRL. Things like wellness care, colds, flu, etc., and yes, prescription drug costs, are all nice benefits to you. But, there are costs involved, which is why your “free” system makes you pay nearly twice in income and progressive taxes there than we do here. Most of the disparity can be traced right back to your “free” health care. But how good is it, friend? Maybe you don’t know this, but studies show that if a person is diagnosed with any single type of cancer - prostate, thyroid, bladder, lung, name them all - they have a much better survival rate in the US than they have in Canada. Right across the board. Not bad for a Third World country, eh? Ditto for heart disease too, btw. Are you aware that our state of Wisconsin alone has more MRI machines than the entirety of your country?! Your system is fine for basic stuff, DRL, and ours needs some reform. But, if and when a person needs a specialist or faces a life-threatening diagnosis, every statistic shows where I’d rather be, and that’s right here in our little Third World country. And frankly, for as long as it will last before Obamacare ruins us forever, I’ll enjoy our maximum 28% tax rate, while feeling sorry for the 52% that you likely “invest”. Be well, eh?

  49. Bingo wrote:

    #30: Ernie Haase & Signature were shut out 2 or 3 years straight for a reason - they’ve sent a pretty strong message that they think they’re bigger than NQC or its fans.

    They show up and sing on Friday night and then split. If they don’t care enough about the fan awards to even show up at the ceremony - forget em. And apparently the fans have.

  50. Joe wrote:

    DRL- to follow Yeah’s post, let me add this.

    My local hospital, where I am a family practitioner, is the only hospital in our entire county. Less than 200 beds, but has state-of-the-art almost everything. And it averages 3 million dollars of FREE CARE given out every year.

    Several years ago, I got a call from a friend of mine, who lives in Ontario. OHIP is maybe one of the best of Canada’s healthcare plans. He is, for want of a better word. a “celebrity” preacher. He had a severely degenerated hip, that so badly needed to be replaced, he could barely walk. And he was facing a full international schedule. OHIP told him to be patient- it would get done somewhere within 2 to 3 years.

    Within 2 weeks of his call, I procured an orthopod who offered to do the surgery for free; the hospital and anesthesia team agreed likewise; a friend who sells ortho implants got a free total hip (10 thousand bucks) from his company, and I got free rehab care promised from our biggest nursing/rehab center.

    We were all set to make go-ahead plans, and he called me and said that because of his well-known status, someone in power went to bat for him, and they agreed to do it in 3 months, so he remained in Canada to get it done.

    But this is just one little example as to why this 3rd-world country is at least 2 worlds ahead still, of O Canada! Thanks- but we’ll stay here (and pray hard that ObamanationCare gets soundly defeated…)

  51. Soli Deo Gloria wrote:

    #44- The GVB’s new cd (of old stuff) is poorly mixed and seems slapped together. That said, they rock something fierce live.

  52. Kevin wrote:

    #21 — Political issues are pointless to bring up on this blog, I’m sure. I get what you’re saying. Maybe you could pray for the USA. And maybe one day healthcare needs of ALL Americans can be met. And maybe less fundraisers will be needed like when Rusty Goodman, Kenny Hinson, etc., were in the last days and in need of cash.

    Good info in this article too, if anyone is interested:

    http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel=health&category=doctors.hospitals&conitem=72387ea369683210VgnVCM10000030281eac____

  53. quartet-man wrote:

    #48 GREAT post, yeah.

  54. RA wrote:

    #47- ok. We get it. You’re the defender of all the local groups. You sing in one as well? Maybe the play on words using “fat” is a touch overboard. But at least the Goodmans could actually sing. Reason enough to look over their size.. But the dips don’t even have the singing ability going for them. I can see fat folks that can’t sing get on stage at my church and make a joyful noise. But don’t go on the road with it. Corey has loads of talent and if he were a smart man, he would use it elsewhere. But as far as nice goes.. It’s always nice when your music company (resting place) can finally get paid, your bus mechanic can get paid and your old record company can get compensated for all the CDs that were bootleged from them when it was under contract. Maybe the dips forgot to mention all of that to you while they were being nice. Ask the daddy how his prison ministry took off when he went in for money fraud. All of this is well know facts where they are from. Now can we talk about nice? That’s really nice!

  55. Lead1 wrote:

    I’m sure Ernie and the guys sell enough product via their concerts and website that they don’t need a week-long presence at NQC….when you only sing one day why pay the extra expenses….

  56. Ed wrote:

    I’ll say this about the Diplomats, they have a great bass singer.

  57. sgfan wrote:

    Hey Diplomat haters, especially this James Howell idiot. Did you try to get a job with them and they wouldn’t hire you, or did you get kicked out of a concert of their’s for bring alcohol in or something. You make no sense. Who do you think is more deserving of mainstage? The Roarks? hahaha, yeah, get up and sing a beer drinking song, with a drummer who has tatoo’s up to his wrists.
    Here’s the thing, the Diplomats are not only on mainstage, they now work for every major promoter in the country, Bill Bailey, Ray Flynn, Frank Arnold, Harold Marshall, the list goes on and on. You know why? because, contrary to your idiotic ideas of what fans like, fans love the Diplomats. We love REAL, the Diplomats are real. How many, complete Live bands did you see on mainstage? I would venture to say less than 5, with the Dips being one. They sing at Dollywood, to resounding ovations, they sign at Silver Dollar City, with the same results, and the response at NQC was overwhelming as well. FANS LOVE THE DIPLOMATS!!! SO what if the mom looks like Howard and sings like Vestel, they’re real, and people love that. They’re on mainstage and the SN cover because people love them, and they bring fans in. The promoters use them, because they sell tickets. God Bless the Diplomats, and Diplomat haters, get lost.

  58. sgfan wrote:

    #49 Bingo. FYI, Ernie Haas is no longer a main liner on the Gaither tour. Gaither doesn’t need him any more, and if you didn’t know, they’re not on the tour at all after the Myrtle Beach fest. They’re already off the tour for next year completely, and the only reason they’re at Myrtle is they were already booked, before the monumental Gaither, Ernie split.

  59. LaShay Bankston wrote:

    #54 - Ricky Atkinson, right? Were you on the main stage this year? Yes? Congratulations. Hope you had fun with that. I’m glad to see that you think that you’re skinny enough and talented enough to make the main stage.

    I don’t need to know all that crap that you just posted… and neither does anyone else. Shame on you for dragging them through the mud. As if you don’t have a past. HA! So much for forgiveness.

    You sound really bitter about your business relationship with them… and maybe you have a right to be, but I’m pretty sure that it’s BAD business for you to get on a public forum and trash former clients. Probably didn’t accomplish a dang thing.

    BTW - I don’t defend all the local groups, nor do I sing in one.

  60. Ricky Atkinson wrote:

    This is my first post ever on this site, and I never feel the need to comment on what peoples opinions are, because I think even the ones giving their opinions knows what they are worth. : )

    There have been some funny post on this site, and I do get a huge kick out of the banter at times, some of you are real comedians. Really, good ones. However, since MY NAME is on this post courtesy of LaShay Bankston, I will clarify. I am only commenting to make those who read this blog, aware of the fact that the post using my innitials, and the other post by LB assuming RA is actually me, are simply not true, and unwarranted.

    To RA: Whoever you are, you are posting comments and making others think that Ricky Atkinson is making those comments. Not cool. You need to find another way to approach your issues with the artist you are trying to tear down…..Surely you can find another alias besides me? Please do. You dont have to come clean and appologize, but you really should just find another game. You dont wanta continue this approach. I dont even care who you are. Its irrelevant, outside of the fact that along with your grievances with ther Diplomats Qt, you choose to insinuate that I would be so shallow.

    To The Diplomats Qt: I am sorry that someone using the name Ricky Atkinson, decided to bash you all, for whatever reasons they have, and drag my name and record labels into their obvious jealousy of you guys. Im assuming they also have a problem with me, which is more than dandy, but for you all, I am sorry for such childish activity. Whoever this person is has a very humbling experience coming up in their life. Whats goes around, do come around. At least several of the other bloggers banging on you guys had the audacity to use their own name… or did they? You all know Ive enjoyed working with you all over the years, in promotions and also concerts with you. I love you all, and I can say that publicly, and I also think you all know that.

    To LaShay Bankston:You obviously dont know me. I dont suppose know you either, (at least I dont think I do), but I am sorry you were misled and misguided. I hate you had to post on a public site to someone who you obviously thought was,well…. someone else. That must be embarrassing. I want you to know personally, that those things are not being said by me, and I am sorry that you think Im naive enough to run my companies in such a silly unprofessional fasion. If you actually knew me, youde know better than to think Im like that.

  61. jbb wrote:

    #58: What’s the “monumental Gaither/Earnie split”?

  62. JW wrote:

    Before you start talking about people like the dips try to put yourself on the receiving end first. Im sure you wouldnt like people saying that about you. So do us all a favor and seal your lips because all im reading from the person that called them the “Diplofats” is trash. They are my friends and are great people.

  63. Just Me wrote:

    Ricky —- Mistake! they pulled you in. All your “politically correct” “nice guy” comments are about to be drug through the mud.

    Someone, please ask “Junior” Diplomat if he’s ever messed up anyone’s sound board after sound checks were done.

  64. Bingo wrote:

    #58 - All of which is completely irrelevant to the fact that they won’t dignify the Fan Awards by showing up.

    There was a Gaither/Ernie split? If so, it doesn’t really surprise me. Way too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.

  65. quartet-man wrote:

    #61 This was the first I heard of it too.

  66. burt wrote:

    Although Michael English and David Phelps are my favorite singers I think GVB is butchering alot of their old material. Yeah, the talent is there but, there is zero subtlety in the music. Of course, GVB has been evolving into this kind of “syrupy-ness” since way back…when Phelps didn’t have so much hair.

  67. Faith wrote:

    Roarks…freakin’ scary. I love how people want to look like the world because it helps them “reach others” (like Kenny Bishop going clubbing, etc.). The Bible doesn’t say to do that!

  68. Ashley Franks wrote:

    Ricky–BRAVO! :)

  69. Joe wrote:

    Ricky Atkinson- You still here?

    2 things, my friend.

    1.) Please don’t get too upset by the few idiots here.

    2.) You guys are making GREAT music! “Until The Day” is a fabulous song…then today, I heard your new (?) song about the Lord’s coming (forget the title)- It is absolutely excellent.
    Played on Enlighten XM34.

    Keep it up.

  70. RA wrote:

    Never said I was Ricky. But several of you sure told him how you really felt. Lol. Perhaps folks should get their stories correct before they go around talking bout how the dips owe em money then get on here with their Jesus caps on making it as if there are no issues at all. Perhaps you all would like phone numbers to contact to verify the things I say. [edit]

    No Ricky, I didn’t bait you to come on here. I have no beef with you. Just be careful about being vocal around others [edit]. As for me, I’m done here. My point was to speak the truth behind the madness and leave it up to the people to accept it or not. I know they won’t be at my church.

  71. Knows Nothing wrote:

    Where is the web site that says for sure Frank Seamans is leaving L-Five?

  72. Menendez41 wrote:

    To james howell and to RA. WOW, What idiots. James you prob. thought pitch is something to do with baseball. and RA your name must stan for REAL@$$! I have been to see the diplomats many times and have their cds. Wonderful! That sums it up. They sing forereal. No Stacks to cover them up. I have heard them at Branson, in Penn. And in Dollywood……..! I wish more people were like them. The are very talanted people. I am sure Ricky Attkinson would not have worked with them if they were not. You go LaShay……..~|!||_

  73. Menendez41 wrote:

    RA and James Howell…..what do you know about music. What are your talents

  74. Corey Pearson wrote:

    To James Howell and RA! LOL! I had no idea we were fat. Thanks for letting us know about it. And as far as our ability, the things God has opened up for us should be proof! And RA, I dont know where you get you information but, wow, I wish I could make stuff like that up. If I could I would start writing fiction books. RA, that may be a business Idea. Maybe you and James could do that together. I am glad that you think I am talented. FYI, I have had many opps. to go elsewhere, but God has not allowed me to do so. You see, I speak with my Heavenly Father when it comes to doing things in my life. I love SG music, I love the people who sing. Even if they are talented or not. Sure, I have had conflict with people. But, I do pray for them! As far as messing with someones sound system, I dont know what you mean by that. I have always tried to help anyone I have ever sang with. This is the first time I have ever posted anything on here. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I have ever read this site. A friend told me about it and what was going on. I am glad you guys have opinions. Everyone has them! Blessing too you!

    PS. My mom ROCKS!

  75. Corey Pearson wrote:

    BTW Thanks Ricky Attkinson! LOVE YOU PAL!

  76. jim pearson wrote:

    Thanks Ricky for what you said
    I always heard when God opens doors satan cannot stand it and will do anything to tarnish it. This is the second time I have been on this website the first time was when a dear friend was bashed and his name smeared but God answer prayer and victory won the battle. Now satan is on the prowl again using his underminded people but thru God and his technoligy we know the real names of these people and maybe we can discuss these issue face to face. But until then we will pray for you. We the Diplomats will always try to Win the Lost at Any Cost, So satan look out here we come

  77. Heather Pearson wrote:

    I am Corey’s wife with The Diplomats. I heard about this site today for the first time. Is this a joke? I find it very silly and immature. My family is not only in it for the right reason (soul winning) but they are EXTREMELY talented. My natural response would be to RIP YOUR HEAD OFF for talking about them the way you did, James & RA, but WWJD. He loves the unlovable. I understand that this site is for you to be able to voice your opinions but why not put your REAL name. What happened to Matthew 22:39? Obviously some people are only hearers of the Word. When we can start acting Christ like maybe we will see more people get saved. The Diplomats have seen multitudes saved through their “ministry.” How about yours?

  78. Lacey wrote:

    I have had the honor of knowing The Diplomats for 5 years. They are my family! The Diplomats are the BEST Southern Gospel Group out there! They truly live what they sing! The Diplomats rocked the house that Friday night of the NQC and Saturday Morning during their showcase. They have touched many hearts and lifes through their songs and testimonies. Their main purpose is to win lost souls to Christ!

    My prayer is to all of those who have negitive things to say about them, GET A LIFE!! If you can’t say anything nice about anyone, keep your mouth shut!

    To The Diplomats I love you all very much and thanks for being a blessing in my life!! You are the greatest friends and family anyone could ever be blessed with having!

  79. Wanda Henderson wrote:

    I’m sorry for all of you bashing The Diplomats….maybe at some point in time you will be able to make it in the SG field…apparently it has not happened yet!!

  80. Wanda Henderson wrote:

    RA…I certainly hope you don’t represent the people at your church!!

  81. Pam Smith wrote:

    Well I guess I have seen it all today. Someone told me about this site. You know the scary thing is that you would think that Christian folks would only be on her but from the fruit that is showing up I guess I am wrong. People need to watch out when they start bashing people. I have know the Dips for a very long time and they are real. Hearing people like James Howell and RA make me understand why the world can’t tell the difference between lost people and the saved ones. It is time we stop going after other people and start acting like our Lord. To the Diplomats just remember you are in great company because look how they mocked Jesus and spat upon Him and many other things. The truth always wins. James and RA, you are both in my prayers and I pray that you will think about the things you have said. I am glad that God looks at the heart and not the outward appearance. What do you think He sees in your heart….I think He sees a lot of ugly!

  82. Regena wrote:

    RA and James Howell…..I see that you note the Diplomats don’t quite fit your expectations for the “industry”. I agree that they are different than many: They are always respectfully dressed in nice, matching suits and ties and dresses whether at NQC, at a church or cow pasture. Their great live band affords the spiritual spontaneity that most groups lack. Also, they treat their fans with love and are not too busy or pious to mingle with them. I see MANY groups’ concerts and enjoy something about each one, but NO group warms my heart to the Lord or stirs my soul to serve and witness like the Dips. I am still lead to tears every time I hear their testimony. They are not just a “cover” band. I know several great songs that have been pinned by the various members. ALL the members of the group have multiple talents that the NQC stage’s time restraint didn’t allow to be shown. Did YOU see their showcase? I spent at least 15 hours in there that week and never saw such enthusiasm and standing ovations from the crowd for any of the other groups. I think you are wrong about their ability and you obviously view the world through a “glass half empty” negative filter. Even though the Dips may be larger than some, for my “love offering dollar” that just means more spiritual bang for my buck !! Hey, don’t forget that little ditty your Sunday School teacher taught you - Red and Yellow, Black and White (skinny or fat), we are all precious in His sight, Jesus loves all His children in this world. Maybe you missed class that Sunday… Really surprises me, RA # 70, that you even have a church to not invite them to!! Live and Let Live, Dude. Don’t get above your raisin’. And don’t try to belittle the Dips or underestimate the fans and friends they have developed and those that are to come. Sorry, they ARE moving on up !!

  83. Alan Kendall wrote:

    Just now reading some of the garbage that has been posted against the Diplomats. Let me just say that I am appalled that such horribly distasteful comments would be made, especially against such wonderful people as the Diplomats. Sounds like pure petty jealousy to me.

    I am humbled to call the Diplomats my friends. They are some of the dearest and kindest Christian people in our business. I think the world of them. Not only are they some of the finest people in gospel music, they are giving the people exactly what they want to hear.

    About 5 years ago, The Diplomats came to my hometown of Hiawassee, Georgia on a very popular Sunday concert that normally featured The Isaacs, Chuck Wagon Gang, and The Spencers. The Spencers had recently retired and could not make the date, therefore The Diplomats came as a substitute group. They were received so strongly that the Fair kept them in the lineup, and now 5 years later, they are every bit as popular with those 3000 people as The Isaacs or Chuck Wagon Gang, if not more.

    Their songs, whether old or new, their stage presence, Jimmy’s fantastic emcee work, and their spirit all come together to make them a group that the people just fall in love with. They are favorites with the industry because they are simply likeable.

    They may be the kindest, most sincere people I know in the business, in addition to being one of the most enjoyable groups I’ve been privileged to watch. I love these people.

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