While I was out …

Goodness. I leave the room for just a few minutes and look what happens. Three prominent groups plus the Dixie Melody Boys change tenors, the Perrys’ baritone appears to leave in a huff of protest, and Jerry Martin is covering Celine Dion tunes.

Oh my.

Ya’ll have done a good job of hashing and thrashing this stuff out, so I’ll keep my reflections fairly brief:

First off, the Perrys. In light of this spate of job changes, Burke posted his theory of the different ways that groups approach their thinking about how to replace singers: music-centric, and singer-centric. In thinking about Troy Peach’s leaving the Perrys, I thought about the context in which he was hired, and that made me think of a third category that could be added to Burke’s list: somebody we just really want to hang out with who happens to sing/play … centric. At least, Peach’s departure sure looks like the kind of thing that is sort of inevitable when personnel decisions get made primarily based on personality and personal relationships. When that’s the predominant basis of a hire, it’s pretty likely that it will also be the source of job-ending conflict.

Billy Hodges has evidently been having voice problems for some time. From a purely physiological perspective, this isn’t difficult to imagine: the Kingdom Heirs daily obligations at Dollywood + the glass-shattering notes their tenors are required to hit to get the Dollywooders on their feet = recipe for vocal damage over the long run. Hodges’ poor technique only intensified this dynamic. The few run-ins I’ve had with Hodges personally over the years leads me to believe he’s about as fond of my writing as I am his voice, but nevertheless, good thoughts to him in whatever’s next.

Then there’s Jerry Martin. The Dove Brothers’ appeal and fan base have never really seemed to be about the musical sound or quality so much as the way they manage to come off as having a classic quartet sound while also delivering the rougher-edged emotionalistic performance styles that most “classic” quartets tend to avoid. And no matter, I’m not convinced this Martin departure would have seemed like much of a big deal if it hadn’t happened in the context of all these other changes. In any case, all I can think to say is to is to wish Martin well. I don’t really have much interest in hearing his voice as a vehicle for pop music. But that hardly matters. If that makes him happy, then, as Celine might put it, “That’s the way it is.”

As for Gold City, well … really … why is anyone surprised?

I guess for me it comes down to this: like so much of southern gospel these days, none of these groups – with the sometimes exception of the Perrys – is really putting out much memorable music. Which makes it difficult to get too twitterpated about this personnel stuff. Call me when somebody starts putting as much energy into finding and recording great songs as they do these revolving door dramas.

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Comments

  1. Ms Angel wrote:

    Very well said!

  2. Just Me wrote:

    Amen on the last line! I don’t any more drama, got enough of my own already.

  3. Janet B wrote:

    Welcome back, Doug. Missed ya. Finally - the voice of reason has returned. Hallelujah.

  4. Stan Wikle wrote:

    Allow me to respectfully comment on your mention of “three prominent groups plus the Dixie Melody Boys change tenors.” We should not discount that Ed O’Neal has spent nearly 50 years in gospel music and is an inductee in the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. Ed O’Neal is a gentleman and one of the giants in the field of Southern Gospel Music.

  5. vanderbeek wrote:

    well put

  6. Tim wrote:

    I really can’t say what Jerry Martin’s career change will do for him but, I heard the Dove Brothers over the weekend and their new guy can bring it. He and the Dove’s have a bright future and are bringing something different to the table with their live band.

  7. Kathy wrote:

    Heard them as well this past weekend, and they do indeed have a bright future! I do appreciate McCray having the live band, they are great! The crowd thoroughly enjoyed the group and the band!

  8. NG wrote:

    Singing News says Jerry Martin starts his new role as Kingdom Heirs tenor in January.
    This is an upgrade for the Heirs.

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