Welcome back, Chris
The Gaitherization continues. Yes, Chris Allman is back with Greater Vision, it seems. Consider this your open thread to rejoice in whatever publicly appropriate way you wish.
Update: Here’s an idea: replace the Sarah Palin sideshow with a Welcome Back Allman showcase (and won’t it be interesting to see if this announcement upstages the NQC news involving our most famous half-term governor?). Because in addition to whatever GV does on the mainstage at NQC to capitalize on Allman’s return, it would be a delight just to hear the GV standards and classics from the Jason Waldroup era – “Just Ask,” “My Name is Lazarus,” “Soon We Shall See” etc – covered with Allman now back in the mix. Another way to say this is that I hope their first table project with Allman is a greatest hits album spanning the best stuff since he left.
Obviously this change is great news for faithful and former GV fans alike. Some of you seem to have taken my initial remark about Gaitherization as some sort of put down of Allman, but noting that the Gaither-established vogue for everything old being new again (most recently in sg personnel changes) isn’t a critique of Allman’s ability. Indeed, quite the opposite. Allman’s arrival may not fix all that’s gone wrong with GV in the past few years - particularly the stagnation of the Rodney Griffin songbook - but it certainly is the kind of new and compelling reason to listen that the group’s music has been lacking for some time now.
Waldroup’s role in the group was as much a function of his youth and the narrative Wolfe built up around him as the gospel ingénue (he stayed preternaturally young looking for a long time, which only reinforced the ingénue idea encapsulated in that story Wolfe told over and over about a wide-eyed young Jason auditioning in the concrete corridor at Freedom Hall) as it was about his voice, which was ever only ok, even at its best. As long as Griffin’s songs propelled the group along, what Waldroup lacked vocally as a tenor – staying power, consistent pitch, fullness of tone, lyrical expressiveness – was no big deal. But part of what has accounted for the group’s style going stale lately has been, I think, the fact that, as the material stagnated, Wolfe alone - both this voice and his personality - has had to fill a bigger and bigger part of the space in which GV has succeeded.
In other words, can you imagine Waldroup doing this? Clearly the intent was for Kitson to be the kind of figure who could stand and deliver in this way – note the way Wolfe tried to make Kitson alone doing acoustical renditions of “Little is Much” a signature solo for the new kid. But obviously that didn’t work out for a lot of reasons.
In Allman, GV gets (back) a grown up who can hold down his own end of the stage all by himself and keep the audience in the palm of his hand. This will, I trust, be a pleasure to watch and experience.Email this Post