Whiter than Snow
Via Adam Edwards, a clip of Triumphant covering “Whiter than Snow.” Take a look and listen:Some thoughts in no particular order.
1. David Sutton, I see from a recent press release, just celebrated 20 years in gospel music. The version of the release I read in the ShowPrep was pretty boilerplate stuff, listing every group Sutton ever sang with blah blah blah … except of course that there could be no mention of those wascally Kingdom Heirs by name. This phase of his career – perhaps the thing that put him on the map in a big way – is described as the time Sutton spent “performing with the resident gospel group at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge.” You’d think allegedly grown men would get over this stuff after a while.
2. I’ve given Sutton a lot of grief over the years for overdarkening his pitches and covering his tones so heavily, and to my ear his voice still often strikes me as what Johnny Cook would have sounded like as a second tenor. But Sutton’s not a screamer, not in this clip anyway. And in an industry peopled with cut-rate tenor singers masking their vocal ineptitude with falsetto ascents to the rafters, exceptions ought to be noted. At times here Sutton seems to be having trouble deciding if he wants to make an effect mainly by melodramatically singing way behind the pitch or ornamenting the end of his phrases with attempts at dazzling acrobatic vocal filigrees. By trying to have it both ways, his phrasing ends up rushed and his musical thoughts are truncated, the sound thin and whiny in several places. Still and for the most part, it’s a solid, full sound for a tenor, at its best in places echoing a little of Steve Ladd before he left GC, only warmer in his lower registers.
3. Finally, and surprisingly, this song seems largely to have been spared the hymnodic bridge we were discussing a while back. It seems like a no brainer for some formulaic arranger to splice in a few bars of the chorus from the old hymn by the same name as this song … “Whiter than snow, yes whiter than snow, now wash me I shall be whiter than snow … [big orchestral fanfare] … now my heart is filled with gladness and my life is all aglow …” And so on. I don’t know how or why this flawlessly banal move has never been inflicted upon us with this song, but thank Gawd for small miracles in this case.Email this Post