NQC 10: Wednesday night

Day 3.

The mono thing seems to be fixed with the streaming feed, and the sound seems at the very least to suck less than in year’s past, perhaps even improving a bit.

As for the instrument pit (the doughnut hole where live musicians have been positioned on the mainstage), it doesn’t seem to be a hit. Madison Easter tweets that  “it looks like we’re playing around the Sarlacc from Jedi.” I gather that’s a compliment.

Another performer emailed to say it felt like being a shark tank. Not sure who’s the shark and who’s the chum in that image, but whatever. Again: not a compliment. In general, this strikes me as the kind of flawed and not very well thought-through idea from someone out of ideas about how to make things (more) interesting. But maybe I’ll change my mind when it see (and hear) for myself.

Take it away.

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  1. Youngster wrote:

    It will be interesting to see Gaither’s Sing-A-Long setup.

  2. Tjeerd wrote:

    Sirius XM is carrying a live feed every night.
    Kudos to Sirius XM and the NQC. for this.

  3. justafan wrote:

    The cliques in Southern Gospel confuse me, though every artist “seems” supportive. I’m not trying to be cynical in saying that, but one such clique stuck out to me on Wednesday night. I was watching Tribute, which had a good blend and a solid set. Riley Harrison Clark is a quality tenor singer for them, but I kind of had issue with the Steve Hurst clique – which was sitting ringside – cheering him on while he was singing his solos on Wednesday evening. Clark is a Hurst product from what I understand. Maybe I am missing it, but cheer the whole, not just the disciple. I can understand being moved by good singing an even being excited for him, but control it to some extent. I have never been a big fan of Dennis Dugger’s bass singing, but he was relatively decent on Wednesday night. The group had a solid blend. I hope they stick around for a while.

    I don’t care for soloists on the main stage, but Ivan Parker really is a quality vocalist. That doesn’t mean I am dying to hear him solo, but he has an elite voice and knows how to use – and not abuse – it. That’s an overlooked quality. However, Southern Gospel artists need to stop cutting songs that have already been worn out by the Contemporary Christian community. Parker sang “Favorite Song of All” – a Phillips, Craig and Dean hit. Parker didn’t do a terrible job. It just doesn’t fit. Same thing with the Kingsmen cut of “When God Ran” last year. Come on guys, leave that stuff alone and stick with what you know.

    The Whisnants simply do great material, and mostly material that fits them. That’s great. It’s an undervalued quality. “King Jesus Is Coming” and “Be Not Afraid” are good songs for them. They do the “When the Sun of My Life Goes Down” type of songs well. However, their ensemble work far outweighs their solos. The tones they produce individually are just not overly pleasing to my ear, and the vibratos are heavy and shaky. I thought the Whisnants might be on the verge of taking a next step in the industry back a few years ago after a string of hits – during the “New Day Dawning” frenzy (a time period that also included “A Greater Yes” and “Even In the Valley” – great songs). Unfortunately, I’m just not sure they’re good enough vocally to take that next step.

    The Dixie Melody Boys are solid. They’re just boring. I’m ready for their set to be over when it’s finished, not complaining at how long it lasted nor wanting much more of them. Jonathan Price is solid tenor who produces a consistent tone, though I don’t personally care for that falsetto sound.

    Dailey and Vincent earned one of the best responses of the night. That was due in part to good delivery in their emcee work. They really connected with the audience and communicated well. Vocally, well…

    Jeff and Sheri Easter produced their normal set. “Life Is Great and Getting Better” and “Born To Climb” are songs that fit them well, and though I don’t just love her voice, Sheri showed how much of a professional she is with her delivery of “So You Can Hear My Heart.” Morgan continues to improve and is getting stronger, as evidenced by her solo on “I Need You More Today.” She’s not really a soprano, but she’s getting better. Can we ask any more of a 16-year-old singer who has to perform in the top of register constantly? They closed out with the Bluegrass-sounding “I’m Working On a Road,” which Madison sang with his parents. It was a crowd pleaser. Jeff and Sheri Easter keep it simple…they just give the crowd what they want and what they expect.

    The Dove Brothers just don’t strike me as an overly cohesive unit. Maybe that has to due in part with Eric Dove’s absence and reappearances. He’s out right now due to shoulder surgery. “You Don’t Know God’s Love” is a solid song, and “When King Jesus Comes to Live With Us Again” fit them well. Jerry Martin didn’t lead anything. I wonder why?

    It was nice to see Channing Eleton playing piano with Gold City on Wednesday night. Adam Borden was just up on stage minutes earlier. Should we find it peculiar that Borden and a random drummer didn’t join them too? Maybe I’m reading too much into it. After a lackluster performance on Monday, Gold City didn’t waste any time on Wednesday, starting with “I’m Rich.” Bruce didn’t sound like he was in his best voice. Tim Riley absolutely nailed “Rainbow Of Love.” The group decided to showcase Josh Cobb on “I Stand Redeemed” to conclude the set. Gold City doesn’t do that song, but Daniel Riley told the crowd that he asked Scott Fowler earlier in the day if it would be okay if they let Cobb sing it. I was looking forward to it. However, the group seemed lost during the performance. They – Cobb included – didn’t seem to be very familiar with the soundtrack they were using. And it was keyed uber high. I’m not sure if that was the original key that the song was in or not, but it was up there. Cobb struggled in a couple of spots. The Rileys and Bruce didn’t help matters in their attempts to sing the harmony. If you’re going to go for it with something like that, you have to nail it. Gold City did not. I’m not sure how many tenors out there could have though.

    I simply don’t find the Kingdom Heirs relevant any longer nor appealing. However, the fans still respond to them. Maybe they go to Dollywood more than I do to hear them. “The End Says It All” (not sure if that’s the title) was a decent song, and they sang “He Locked the Gates” forever at the end.

    Legacy Five started off with a shortened version of “There’s Just Something About That Name,” followed by “The Truth Is Marching On.” Jim Brady – who was one of the writers on the song – came up to sing the second verse of “Truth,” which was a nice change of pace. They did a new song with a big band type of sound entitled “Every Day.” Then, they sang “I Never Shall Forget the Day,” which is a song that I don’t care for, but Gus Gaches – who is a really talented, controlled singer with a great ear – really showed out on that song. Tim Parton is just sick. He’s too, too…far too darn good. He doesn’t play the piano. He accompanies and enhances.

    The night concluded with L5, Kingdom Heirs, Dove Brothers and Gold City joining together to sing “Champion of Love.” Daniel Riley started off singing the first verse, and Fowler finished it. McCray Dove – thanks to Fowler feeding him every word – sang the first part of the second verse, and Arthur Rice nailed the end of it. That song is high enough for Arthur Rice to actually sound good again, because he has trouble singing solidly in his lower register nowadays. Jim Brady and Joseph Habedank came on stage during the final few lines of the song and tried to hit the lead line on “the all-time, undisputed, undefeated, Champion….of Love….uhhhv Love.” I’m not sure why that was necessary though since Rice could have just hit that. I’m not sure what I was missing there.

    Oh, and Tuesday was a snoozer. The Lesters had a great set, awesome blend and a good mix of songs. They’re one of the few groups out there bold enough to start out singing a song with virtually no music (“I’ll See You Again”), just faint piano. Jonathan did a solid job on “What Faith Does,” and Brian still delivers “He Didn’t Throw the Clay Away” like nobody else can. Ginger’s ear is as good as it gets, and the way she delivers a song is simply classy and smooth. They’re just really, really good singers.

    The Hoppers are trying to sell “Something’s Happening” as a new, big ballad. Lari Goss has done some great work, but I don’t think that version of the song compares to the version that Mercy’s Mark performed. The Hoppers version is choppy, taking away from the melody and smoothness (which does not allow the effect to build up as the song progresses). Mercy’s Mark had a much better version. I love the Hoppers, and if anybody can “sell” it, it’s them. But I don’t care for it whatsoever.

    Hawes is doing a much better job with Karen Peck and New River. Hated to see the sound go ape on “We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown.” Do some new material though. It’s the same ole stuff. “I Just Want to Thank You,” etc.

    Terah Penhollow is an underrated and improving vocalist.

    The Greenes set was surprisingly rather blah.

  4. natesings wrote:

    Who is filling in for Eric with the Dove Brothers?

  5. Brady wrote:

    Ok, Justafan, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say about the cliques. Your first sentence talks about cliques and refers to artists being supportive, as if the artists are the ones with the clique here. But the rest of your thoughts appear to be about fans or people from Steve Hurst SOM clamoring for Riley Clark from the audience.

    Is this about artist cliques or fan cliques? Because it appears you’re taking issue with fans and supporters of the group and not the group itself. But the first sentence tends to draw attention to the artists.

    From what I have gathered, Tribute Quartet is a great group of men who are very professional, courteous, and supportive of other groups as well as their fans–a number that seems to be increasing as we speak, given all the positive comments about their NQC performances on various blogs and sites. And I’m pretty sure no group in the industry would tell their fans to not bother coming out to support them.

    So, I guess I just don’t see it as a “clique” to go set through one group’s performance. Many artists have fans/friends that strictly go down to the main stage to see one performance of one group. You’ll have to enlighten us on what made this so different.

  6. Nate Stainbrook wrote:

    Here is my review of last night… http://natessoutherngospelblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/nqc-2010-wednesday/

  7. SGMfan wrote:

    I totally agree about the Whisnants. There is so much potential there with song selection and radio success but I think poor Susan has ruined her voice singing to high. Poor thing sounds like she swallowed razor blades…

    The Lesters are the best IMO. Have always loved them and always will! To bad they have never reached the elite level.

    As far as Gold City, i think they are trying everything they can to revive the Free, Parker, LeFevre, Riley days but I hate to say it….it ain’t happening…

  8. Brett wrote:

    The Hoppers set is really boring tonight. The Ball Brothers are awesome!

  9. Brett wrote:

    Dove Brothers Quartet, Ugh! Sick of Rain and Get Away Jordan. Why does the audience stand up for this drivel.

  10. Aaron Swain wrote:

    #3: The arrangement of “I Stand Redeemed” that GC did is on their upcoming mainline release that will come out in late October/ early November. That was the first time they’d ever done it live.

  11. justafan wrote:

    You could tell that it was the first time live if that is in fact the case.

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