NQC 10: Curtain raiser

And so it begins again.

I’ll be arriving in Louisville in time for Thursday night’s concerts (sorry, Sarah!) but will be posting open threads daily here in the meantime for NQC related reports, comments, feedback and general chattery. Who lights up the stage? Who’s got a new toupee? Where are the longest lines in the Exhibit Hall (beyond the fried pork fritters, of course)? Just how suboptimal will the sound be on the mainstage?

Gospel citizen-journalists unite.

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Comments

  1. JROD wrote:

    What happened to the afternoon showcase? The Crist Family was MCing, but it was really dead in there Today. Just wondering…

  2. AG wrote:

    The audio quality on the live feed is garbage. Everything is balanced to the right.

  3. John wrote:

    AG, it’s not just the live feed. The entire NQC is leaning to the right. Just ask Sarah Palin.

  4. AG wrote:

    That’s a funny one John. Here I thought it was just mono vs. stereo.

  5. steven wrote:

    Yeah i noticed that the audio was only coming out of one channel also…got kind of annoying. Sound levels were clipping alot. However, it wasn’t as bad as i was expecting.

    My video was FAIRLY stable throughout the night, with a few freezes (not sure if that was just my connection).

    Anyhow - I thought Gold City did a great job. The perrys had some good moments (figured tracy’s return would have a tad more fan fare)
    BFA did a great, but usual set - loved seeing the band.
    Missed the doves set.
    I came away enjoying (surprisingly) the dixie melody boys set.

    Pfeifers - why?..just why?
    Mckameys - same ole thang

  6. copperhill wrote:

    # 2. That means I don’t need to get new earphones then. I thought mine had konked out during the McKameys set and switched them out for another pair and same problem! It never occurred to me that the problem was not with my earphones.

  7. justafan wrote:

    Triumphant has been growing on me for a while now, and without intending too, they were the group that captured my attention the most on Monday evening…of course there was some really good and then some perplexing attention-grabbing actions. I knew the evening was going to finish strong with Brian Free and Assurance, Greater Vision and Triumphant comprising the final hour.

    Some of you industry insiders, please educate me on this. I think it’s great that BF&A had a full band – Matthew Holt on piano, Adam Borden on bass and Ricky Free on drums – on Monday night. The band definitely added energy to the performance, especially on the song “Redeemed.” However, believe it or not, I actually thought they went relatively unnoticed on “Long As I Got King Jesus,” which needs to be put to bed. The group did a solid new song, “God Will Close The Door.” Brian Free…without having the sheer vocal “giddy-up” of David Phelps and Josh Cobb, he’s the best out there other than Phelps. He is singing up in the clouds and is uber-controlled while doing it. Impressive. I’ve always through Bill Shivers was quality, but who would really know. He gets lost in the shuffle. Brian Free makes that group. Without him, they are a Dixie Echoes-level group. But what I want to know is this…Holt and Borden are at NQC playing with BF&A…are they hired help? I mean, are they being paid this week to be there. If not, why are they at NQC? I’d love to know.

    Gerald Wolfe rarely misses the mark. He simply just “gets it.” However, he missed the mark on Monday evening. When you’re the next to last group on the lineup, you can’t start off your set with a snoozer like “We Are So Blessed.” That’s the song you start off with when you’re trying to vocally take command of the stage on a Friday night after Karen Peck and New River have sung “We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown” and gotten the crowd semi-frenzied. You start with that song to allow your group to create its own mood while everybody is still emotionally attached to the previous song. It’s simply taking advantage of the emotional moment by redirecting that moment, from an excitement to a moving sense of calm. However, that may in part be Brian Free and Assurance’s fault…since “Long As I’ve Got King Jesus” didn’t get the crowd response it has in past years. Again, “Long As I’ve Got King Jesus” needs to be sent off to that Old Songs Home to reside with “Get Away Jordan” and the like.

    Chris Allman…most of the people sitting in the audience have no clue how good he is. The second song that GV did was “I Could Never Praise Him Enough,” which Allman penned. It’s a great song. He delivers it like somebody who has been in the industry for the last 20 years. He communicates the message in the song well – carefully choosing where to pause, when to get slightly behind the melody, how to inflect at the proper times and using the power of the proper words. He’s really, really good despite not having the sheer voice of Phelps, Cobb and Free. Also, “I Could Never Praise Him Enough” was a double bonus in that it freed Allman up to be at his best, and it also allowed Stan Whitmire to shine as he so readily can. GV finished with “He’d Have Still Been God” and “It Is Well With My Soul.” Wolfe sang the verses on the finale, but I don’t see it becoming a signature Wolfe ballad as has “Til the Storm Passes By,” etc.

    So, what does Triumphant do after Greater Vision’s opening, slow-tempo song falls on its face…they do a slow, up-tempo song. However, it didn’t fall on its face. Eric Bennett took the lead on “Look For Me.” I think the difference may have been that Bennett’s melodic bass vocal captured the attention of the crowd moreso. You’d have just had to been there to hear it in order to fully understand. That song fits the strength of Triumphant. The thick sound in the middle of the blend produced by the Inmans created a smooth, full sound as Bennett and the Inmans sang three-part on the first chorus. The only problem I have with the song is Jeff Stice’s piano styling. He’s just too busy. Stay out of the way. Let Bennett’s very solid bass lead – and the nostalgia evoked by the classic old song – do the work. Stice is not needed to shine on that one. He simply needs to play his role. Bennett is a very good “singer.” His voice evokes emotion, but not in that cry-talking or whiny sort of way that many in Southern Gospel try to do. He’s very melodic in his lead and in his blending, as evidenced when the group sang acapella at the end of “Everyday” (which was the third song of their set). Bennett’s subtle movement in the chorus makes such a big difference. “Everyday” fits them so very well, again because of the thick blend they produce with the Inmans. That heaviness is what is needed to make that song avoid falling into the trap that it so often could with other groups singing, it ending up hollow. Cutting “Everyday” was just a genius move by Triumphant. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t put more into the marketing of that song. From the moment the track begins, the lead guitar just gives the listener a positive feel. And it draws the listener in even more when you get to the bridge and they come together to draw out “showwww, theym…the sunshine.” And the song is so catchy but yet it isn’t even a Bible-based tune. It’s a feel-good, positive-message anecdote. That’s the genius…that they didn’t need the unworthiness emotion that Southern Gospel hits that talk about the blood of Jesus and his sacrifice MUST have in order for fans to like it. It’s simply a feel-good tune that is more than quality enough to be a hit. Here’s what I didn’t understand with Triumphant though…why close with “Saved By Grace.” That’s a song that you start a set with, not a song that you close with. I simply found it to be a peculiar choice. Triumphant confuses me in more ways than just that though. While Eric Bennett isn’t a very low bass singer, he’s a very good singer. He’s a team player too. He doesn’t often try to do too much. He knows his role and carries it out relatively well. Scott Inman is going to be great. He has a depth to his voice and a fullness that adds so much when he’s singing the baritone part, and his tone is super, making many of his leads impressive and pleasing to the ear. Those two are calm, cool, controlled vocalists. They just don’t seem to “fit” with David Sutton and Jeff Stice, who seem to always be trying to “go for it,” stand out and simply do more than is necessary. Clayton Inman seems to just play his role. I’m sort of undecided on which side of the Triumphant fence he falls on.

    The Collingsworth Family was once again a hit. Phil Collingsworth is a vastly underrated vocalist. He’s controlled and has a richness and a depth that few possess. He had a solo on their final song, and the title escapes me. They did two big ballads that sandwiched Kim’s piano solo, which ended with possibly the longest standing ovation that I’ve seen simply out of a normal performance at NQC. The crowd loves her and them. They need to start taking steps to take it to the next level. I don’t know that much about their ministry, but they still seem to be on the fringe of the “inside” of the industry. Other than NQC, they never seem to be a part of the big Southern Gospel events that the Booth Brothers, Gold Citys, Perrys, Greater Visions, etc. are a part of. And their tour schedule is both erratic and scattered across parts of the US that many Southern Gospel artists don’t frequent. They probably reach a different type of audience than many Southern Gospel acts though, which is undoubtedly a good thing.

    The Dove Brothers need to stop and hold on before they sing four turnarounds of “Hold On” again. Geez!

    Gold City gave a performance that produced a very lifeless response from the masses in Freedom Hall. Josh Cobb…too good…way too good. The road may be taking its toll on Tim Riley’s golden voice. He doesn’t sound near as good as he did at this time a year ago.

    It was great to see Tracy Stuffle stand on the main stage and sing two songs with the Perrys, especially seeing as he just suffered a recovery setback eight days earlier. Kudos to him and continued prayers for him. The new song that the Perrys did was good. Habedank’s vocal lessons are paying off, and his progress is allowing them to a greater variety of material (it doesn’t have to just be a sloppy-fast tune or a big ballad now…he can lead other types of songs now). He’s much more controlled, giving him more confidence to stay in the pocket of the melody. His willingness to improve himself is going to pay big dividends if he remains in the industry. He’s made steady progress, which is admirable.

    Lauren Talley is another whose attention to detail and unwavering work to improve herself vocally has left her as an elite vocalist in the industry. However, the Talleys’ set was far from quality in my opinion. It was like Lauren was out front with Debra and Roger serving as back-up singers. Bring something exciting to the main stage. How about resuscitating “As For Me and My House…” or something of the like. Lauren did way too much staging and was way too dramatic on Monday night. I’ve seen those exact same gestures/actions by her when I saw them at a church less than two months ago. To rehearse things and have them come across well is a great thing. To be a robot and go through the motions night after night is not good though. Lauren Talley is too talented to be trying that hard with the way she staged stuff on Monday night. I’m sure she’s genuine, but it does not come across as genuine with the ways she reacts to things on stage (such as feverishly clapping right as she finishes singing a slow-tempo, big-ballad solo), which obviously produces a greater response out of the crowd when she leads the cheers (and plays it off as “giving Jesus a hand”). Leave that stuff to the people who aren’t talented enough to really get a great round of applause. Lauren is too good vocally and understands things too well to be trying too hard.

    Monday wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t very notable. Here’s to hoping the week gets better.

  8. justafan wrote:

    Is there a radio station in Louisville that carries the broadcast, such as the interviews they do before the concert? I’d like to listen to some of that on my way over to Freedom Hall.

  9. Nate Stainbrook wrote:

    Here is my rundown on the first night of NQC… http://natessoutherngospelblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/nqc-2010-monday-night/

  10. Woodie wrote:

    Thanks for covering the NQC! I’ll be there on thursday as well at The Mansion Records booth #295. God Bless!

    Woodie
    The Sojourners Quartet
    Elizabeth City, NC

  11. Brett wrote:

    Why is KPNR only singing 2 nights. And please someone take the PFeifers off and put the Nelons on in their place.

  12. Gospel Has Been wrote:

    The sound so far in Freedom Hall is the best it has been in years.
    McCray Dove needs to decide if they are going to be Christian Country, Southern or what.
    The Hunters must be students of Ernie Haas with their Choreography.
    And why waste time having Claude & Les get up and read the schedule. Doesn’t Claude get enough attention?

  13. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    I cannot understand why some groups spend their precious minutes on stage talking about anything and everything.
    The web cast provides the groups the opportunity t showcase their signature songs to a wider audience of church people that never been to a convention but love southern gospel music.
    The only exception would be human interest moments that is a historic, sentimental or sensitivity to the Holy Spirit benchmark.
    Dan Ryan talking about his dad or Tracy Stuffle on main stage giving his testimony.
    It is like the old telephone ad that goes “let your fingers do the walking.”
    Maybe “let your singing do the talking.” might be the way to.

  14. Brady wrote:

    #7 - Adam Borden works for Salem Communications/Singing News. He was probably at NQC anyway. Not sure about Matthew Holt. But, some artists just choose to put a band together for special events like NQC.

  15. cdguy wrote:

    #4 AG — mono vs stereo? I thought that discussion got shut down a few days ago on a previous thread. ;-)

  16. MSP wrote:

    #2, #5, #6,

    I noticed the same thing last night! I got an email back from 316networks.com to say that the event was being broadcast online in mono this year and that it was the choice of the NQC. Last year it was in stereo however.

    This makes zero sense to me. You would think that an event that is so heavily reliant on sound would ensure that the best be displayed onsite and online.

  17. lovelife wrote:

    My thought about the Hunters…who do they know that they get on main stage for the second year in a row. Somehow, I just do not think back flips are what it’s all about. Reminds me of the Partridge Family.
    I truly love the Perrys, but, I thought Libby seemed a little unsure last night. I know she was concerned about Tracy, and who in the world decided on a square stage with musicians in the center..Bad move I think. I think the sound is the best it’s been in yrs. however, if a singer has a mic in their hands, get the mic turned on….I don’t think last night was Tribute’s best night. No comment on Pfeifers. I definitely thought they saved the best for last. All of this, just my 2 cents worth. I am looking forward to tonight.

  18. Jesus Fan wrote:

    I love the Hunters! So fresh, and they add wonderful variety to the show. No, you wouldn’t want them all night, but they are amazing. A family singing together like that is just special.

  19. Karalyn wrote:

    Man, the Hunters crack me up! What can be greater than dancing, singing, hockey-playing farm boys! Broadway comes to NQC!lol it was one of my fav parts of the whole night! So unique. More of the Hunters please!

  20. Lindsey wrote:

    #17 If the Mic is not on, many times the artist, not the sound engineer, has inadvertently hit the mute button.

  21. Tjeerd wrote:

    Driving down from Toronto with a good Italian friend.
    Just imagine, Fear and loathing at the NQTC with a Dutch Canadian and an Italian Canadian.
    Missing some hot movies at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)
    Will be my first NQTC.
    Got good seats for Friday and Saturday nite. Will also miss Palin :(
    Would have been nice to witness her shpeel from a pure sociological perspective.
    I am ready to take in southern culture at its finest.

  22. Extra Ink wrote:

    Eric Dove’s 15-year-old son played drums for the Dove Bros. on Monday night and REALLY was exceptional…this kid has a bright future ahead of him.

  23. nobody that matters wrote:

    The pfeifers are on there because of their money and involvement with Abraham Productions and Ray Flynn. We all know it is a very small group that runs southern gospel. even smaller than the nqc board. and most of what runs southern gospel is actually abraham productions. The Hunters, haven’t taken lessons from anyone. And they don’t care what closed minded people think. The love God, and they have one purpose and one goal and that’s to see souls saved. I’ll say this, NQC definately isn’t their type of crowd. But in their setting, they are unbelievable. They mainly do youth events all over Canada, and you would never believe how many young peoples lives they impact. If nothing else by showing them that being a Christian can be alot of fun. God Bless the Hunters.

  24. lovelife wrote:

    o.k. #23…I’ll take my foot out of my mouth now…”In their setting” says it best. IF they are reaching youth, and they love the Lord, that is what is important.

  25. Jeff wrote:

    Did anyone hear that terrible note the Dixie Melody Boys tenor Jonathan Price tried to hit on the end of “I’m Getting Ready” their last note of their set ? He was no where close! Sounded like he was trying to sing way out of his range. And he ran out of breath and tried it again and it was still no where close! To me it was a dagger to a great set. Everything else was spot on, but that ruined it. The biggest miss at convention! It has to be embarrising, but maybe another semester at EOU will fix his voice.

  26. janice bagley wrote:

    I agree with the comment grom Brett. Remove Pfeifers and bring on The Nelons!!!

    Did anyone else notice all the make-up that everyone is wearing in their pictures/banners/CD covers/magazine ads?
    Maybe its just computerized plastic surgery. They didn’t look natural at all.
    Most of the guys appeared to have on more make-up than me!!

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