(Mostly) real music caught on tape

Regular readers no doubt know of my longstanding impatience with plastic, overproduced karaoke passed off as “live” music, and these days that means I’m more likely to find something compelling on a rehearsal video than in concert. Which explains my attraction to the two clips below that have been making the rounds lately.

First up, via Daniel Mount and several of the handful of blogs that orbit Daniel’s site and pin-ball a lot of the same content among themselves, the original members of Greater Vision rehearsing “Sailing Away”:

There’s another clip along these lines here.

A cynic might wonder if this type of “raw” behind-the-scenes video - a staple of tribe cultivation in other sectors of the entertainment world for some time now - isn’t starting to catch on in southern gospel, and if so, whether Pat Barker maybe isn’t trying a beeeet too hard to be caught on tape gobsmacked and awestruck by all this - thus reinforcing the clip’s “authenticity” (that pinging sound you hear is my inbox filling up with comments attesting to the completely unplanned nature of everything you see here). But as one who has been known to laugh out loud at musical moments that catch me unaware, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and not scrutinize these moments too closely so long as they produce some decent music.

Meanwhile, the cultural anthropologists in the room will no doubt enjoy watching how the southern gospel sausage is made … the way a mix of chord calls and hand gestures and arched eyebrows and cocked heads and one’s native musical intuitions combine to constitute the typical sg rehearsal.

More substantively, the most striking thing here is how lovely it is to hear Mark Trammell not oversinging. I don’t think I had realized until listening to this how accustomed Trammell has become to using that quasi-throat-singing thing he does so well with so many of his phrases, and then building toward some long high suspension of a note at the top of his range in the second verse or bridge to put his music over. To some extent, I think this has to do with Trammell’s preoccupation for some time now with monstrously over-orchestrated tracks that essentially create a musical arms race on stage for vocalists to match the outsized proportions of the track. Mercifully, none of that here. Instead, just easy, lovely acoustical phrasing, unforced and tastefully ornamented. More of this please.

Next up is one of the ephemeral groups of formerly employed quartet men and their friends who appear to have discovered iPhones and youtube as a cheap way to keep their names and faces and voices out there while they figure out if there’s a bankable future for them in gospel music. Here the group is built around former Signature Sound lead Ryan Seaton singing “Champion of Love.” Joining him are Aaron McCune, and according to southerngospelblog, Toby Hitchcock and Andrew Goldman.

I hardly recognized McCune under the hat and all the weight he’s added since I last saw him on stage (perhaps having left southern gospel he’s now earning enough money to eat properly?), and even allowing for this being a rehearsal, there’s not a lot of charisma or personality here - certainly none of the kind of subdued showmanship that builds up around a critical mass of musical talent in an almost unbeckoned way even when it’s just three guys and a piano in someone’s living room.

But this group sounds consistently, unhistrionically good (save for that extended air drum nonsense), holding my attention on a far-too-overdone song that I normally lose interest in. It doesn’t hurt that they’re (mostly) singing Wayne Haun’s tastefully understated new arrangement. I say mostly because the biggest drawback of the clip is that parade of parallel movements bootstrapped onto the end, which is not in the chord structure of the instrumental track, at least not to my ear. Chalk this up, I suppose, to kids showing off their ranges by retooling the arrangement, but without the arranger’s music-theory chops.

One would like to hear more of them, but it’s hard to imagine there’s an economically sustainable demand out there for yet another GQ quartet covering old southern gospel warhorses and throwing in a few CCM emo-ballads from the 90s for the “younger” crowd. And for that reason, let’s all give youtube and cheap videography a big handclap of praise here in this place tonight!

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  1. Alan wrote:

    Several things: It is indeed good to hear Mark Trammell singing like he can. There’s simply no better baritone of my lifetime, and there have been a good few excellent ones. The roundness of his voice, the pure placement of his notes, and his range, set him apart. And, it’s incredible to see Chris Allman back with GV. It’s like he - and they - have come home again. Full circle.

    Ryan Seaton’s group could make it musically. No question. They have “it”. Whether or not they can literally make it is another question altogether. Few can, though many have tried.

  2. KC wrote:

    Ahhh, and so nice to hear Gerald on piano. Some of my favorite Cathedrals moments were when he played for them. He’s got that Tracey Phillips/Stan Whitmire flair to his playing, that I love. Although, Tracey is still the best. :-)

  3. Brett wrote:

    Dime a dozen quartets in SG.

  4. Magnolia wrote:

    Regarding the first video with Mark Trammell - that rehearsal was better than most SG concerts today. Thank you for posting this beautiful song. I truly felt the presence of the Lord. It was so refreshing to hear singing (yes, that’s right folks) singing…..not LOUD, overwhelming, muffled soundtracks that could outblast a fire alarm.

    Consequently, I love to hear the Dixie Echoes, and we heard them in South Georgia in January…..and this is one reason I LOVE to hear them sing. Just the four-part harmonies, the piano and Randy Jr.’s base guitar. That’s it. Plus, Randy Sr. has now added some incredible electric guitar solos with his amazing talent on the guitar. PLUS, they are genuinely nice guys - no pretense - no ego - no attitude. Super nice guys!

    There are a lot of talented folks in SG, but unfortunately, they have bought into the lie that louder, bigger, cheesier and more orchestrated is better. Too bad. We can’t hear them use the talent that God gave to them. My husband described it in a way that I had never thought of…..

    When the LOUD, overbearing music starts (and I was even raised Pentecostal), my husband says he feels as though he has been assaulted. LOL Seriously though, one time we were in a service after he had been through a heart attack, a heart catherization, an angioplasty and a stent. He said that the loud music literally made him hurt in his chest and resonated with his stent, and he had to leave the building. I know the Bible says to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord”, but are the loud, muffled soundtracks really joyful? I would love to see more SG groups get back to the basics, singing the beautiful hymns and songs, using their four-part harmonies and letting us truly hear the talent that God has blessed them with in a mighty big way. Personally, I like to leave a concert feeling uplifted, blessed and encouraged, not reeling from a bad headache.

  5. Kermit The Hermit wrote:

    If I had to invest my dollar in one or the other, I would gladly hand my money to the old GV as opposed to whatever Ryan Seaton has going on. The singing of MT, CA, and GW is Southern Gospel perfection. Ryan Seaton’s attempts deserve a pat on the back and possibly a “That’s nice, bless your heart.”

    As a vocal instructor, the worst thing one can do is over-sing a song. There are a few youtube moments of Gerald over-singing the dickens out of a few numbers. Search youtube for Ryan Seaton and all you will hear is over-singing. If you want good singing, stick with a professional. If you want (supposed) charm, youth, and (supposed) good looks, find a Ryan Seaton type of guy.

    By the way, when is Seaton’s semi-nude pictorial in the Singing News going to hit the stands? Talk about increasing circulation.

  6. Irishlad wrote:

    Yea, re-read my Irishlad #99 on the last open thread re:Ryan Seaton and friends.

  7. Irishlad wrote:

    Re:Pat Barker. I think it’s a case of the staple macho bass booming out in the background..you know like Richard Sterban on Live from Nashville..”HaHa sing it Angie”(or something like that) when Ed Enoch hit the high note on “i gotta waaaaaa—-awk ” or Ray Dean Reece on NQC Live “sing it son” to Harold in deepest most sepulcheral basso. Ha ha great stuff.

  8. matt wrote:

    Do I detect an anit-Barker aura here? He reacted…… SG is full of reactions. I’d rather have a reaction, than nothing at all. It fits the genre.

    I wouldn’t characterize Mark Trammell as an over-singer. There are others out there who are. He is rather skilled at blending. He demonstrates the full gamut of singing, which in a quartet, involves blending and at times, standing out.

  9. matt wrote:

    Ha…..I meant ‘anti-Barker’, not ‘anit-Barker’.

  10. Magnolia wrote:

    I went back and listened to the Mark Trammell video again, along with Gerald Wolfe on the piano. And again……this is absolutely beautiful. I just don’t understand why groups don’t sing like this in concerts, in churches, in auditoriums, etc. etc. The sound is SO MUCH BETTER. Folks, I’m 46 years old - (not that old LOL LOL) and I have been around a LOT of Gospel music and even (as I’ve said before) had a tour business and directed tours and escorted groups to Gaither Homecomings in the Southeast for several years.

    I grew up in a fairly large Pentecostal Church, singing in the choir, while my mother played the piano. We used to have a lot of the famous Gospel groups come and sing at our church. Our church finally (and unfortunately) went through the Charismatic transformation to include all of the “singing on the screen” with the praise choruses that seemed to be repeated 25 times, etc. etc. etc. So, I’ve just about heard it all in Gospel music, to include hearing contemporary, Christian rock (Newsboys), and everything in between.

    Still…..hands down…….the trio/quartet sound with just a piano and/or bass guitar is the absolute best to showcase true vocal talent. Remember the Blackwoods, J. D. Sumner & the Stamps, tenor Steve Warren, The Statesmen and The Kingsmen singing “The Old Ship of Zion” a cappella???? It’s what The Dixie Echoes do today….and it works.

    As my grandmother used to call it “canned music”…HA HA…..I remember when the “canned music” began. It seemed to change the entire “feel” of a church service. Concerts were NEVER the same again. There is something about live music and the simple sounds of a piano and bass OR just as piano……what’s wrong with a cappella sometimes? It’s lovely….it’s pure. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve grown to love Bluegrass music. I miss the purity of the sound……the voices……the instruments. Maybe there will be a “revival of sorts” with the traditional sounds again. I understand some folks may totally disagree with me, and that’s understandable……but there’s something about a pure sound.

  11. irishlad wrote:

    #Na matt,nothing against Pat, was just having a laugh at the basses over emphasizing their voices at times.

  12. Tommy wrote:

    Is Seaton trying to live off the Cathedrals thing also? Personally, with all the Cats stuff in the last five years I am almost to the point of over saturation. I loved the Cathedrals but im getting tired of the constant reminder that Gerald, Scott, Danny, Ernie, etc, etc was a former member. At some point you hope they will stand on thier own and drop the gimmics. Sadly, Ryan was average singer that has peaked and will struggle not being the star he has been told he is. I wish him luck.

  13. quartet-man wrote:

    #12 Tommy, to be fair Ryan has done a few Gaither Vocal Band stuff too. Perhaps he is simply choosing songs he likes, that many know or I suppose songs that might go over well so some of the success spills on him. Who knows? The thing is, Ernie was likely the one who chose to do the Cats tribute project (nothing wrong with that). Ryan simply is using the track for the song that he worked on (I presume) and was slated to sing. Had EHSS not started the process, Ryan likely wouldn’t have pulled that song out to do.

  14. cdguy wrote:

    #10 - Magnolia — Yes, sometimes less is more.

    I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason more artists aren’t willing to pare down the instrumentation (at least for part of their program) is that either they don’t have the chops, or they’re affraid.

    Or perhaps they’re under the impression there’s prestige in having paid $$$$ for an orchestra onece?

  15. cdguy wrote:

    OOPS! “once”

  16. Ode wrote:

    @15 lets hope most white Gospel groups are not that emptyheaded to think renting an orchestra somehow makes a concert more prestigious.

    I do like your point, about “being afraid”, worth contemplating… Overproduction is the easiest way to make a mediocre piece sound sellable; yet some heavily produced shows are true masterpieces, production by itself is not a bad thing..
    But a true talent can shine thru modest isntrumental means, too.

  17. Stephen wrote:

    Ryan Seaton QT last night 2/6/11


  18. Ben wrote:

    that last video of them singing the love of God was basically a trio with a bass attached…definitely talented..but we’ve seen talent before…i think at this point southern gospel fans are waiting to be wowed by something..show us something exciting…something real…kind of how the Goodmans and the Hinsons took off in the 60’s and 70’s…to me that’s exciting and real…i’m not real impressed with ernie haase and the back-up singers he carries along with him, gold city is waaaaaaaaaaayyy off from where they were even a decade ago..and i thought they were a step off then…its kind of like american idol or any secular market or even what the super bowl halftime show proved last nite…there just “ain’t” much talent out there…by the way its nice to have a place where we can post our opinions without the fear of being overly edited

  19. art wrote:

    I’ve shared my distaste for over-orchestration here before. I’ll add these points:

    1. I wonder if songs like “Champion of Love” or “Midnight Cry” would have gone anywhere in the quartet world without benefit of massive accompaniment. In fact, the “dialed back” Champion of Love makes less of an impact on my musical experience than the more bombastic version that we all know so well. In some cases, it seems that lush orchestration is used to disguise the mediocrity of a song.

    2. When this topic comes up, someone always mentions Dixie Echoes. I surrender and will seek out one of their CDs. Any recommendations?

    3. Yeah, the air drum stuff is silly, but the Ryan Seaton Qt. clip in the original post shows an infectious joy and spontanaity (sp?) and sense of fun, not yet ground down and roboticized by a few dozen performances interrupted by long bus rides.

  20. quartet-man wrote:

    #19, Good examples on songs (”Champion of Love” and “Midnight Cry”). Both songs, in my opinion, utilize orchestration the right way. It enhances and strengthens the message.

    I don’t think the songs would have done as well even though the messages, talent and performances are still great. I think the thing is to use them when they are warranted and to supplement, not to use them EVERY time or to make a mediocre song sound better than it is.

    Another great song that I think deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as “Champion of Love” and “Midnight Cry” is “The Judgment” Yet, the Kingsmen managed to do that without an orchestra and yet still have a powerful song. In fact, that might make me think that the two songs you mentioned would have still had big impacts without the orchestration. I do think they are better than they might have been though.

    It is funny, the Cathedrals and Gold City were more talented IMHO than the Kingsmen (who admittedly gave their all to the songs), but nonetheless the Kingsmen knocked that one out of the park without orchestration (at least the live versions I am familiar with. I can’t recall what the studio version sounded like).

    J.D. Sumner once was talking about the lack of great songs in SG. He did say that Gold City and the Kingsmen each found one and mentioned “Midnight Cry” and “The Judgment” (I believe). I suppose he could have mentioned “Wish You Were Here” for the Kingsmen, but think it might have been “The Judgment”. I would have to look in the book.

  21. Irishlad wrote:

    For The Love of God roll up those sleeves and show us those tatoos boy…they’re great!!

  22. Al wrote:

    Does anybody know where their song “Sailing Away” came from? I can’t find an author, lyrics, or any mention of it from in internet. Might it have a different title?

  23. Alan wrote:

    As for my two cents, Ryan Seaton and Friends doing “The Love of God” was simply exceptional. They have a fantastic sound. After so many comments on here about sg not being relevant, nothing to appeal to a younger generation, and the like, to see four younger guys who can so obviously bring it, they deserve our support if they do try to hit the circuit. Thanks for the clip, Stephen. I thought it was tremendous, and I’ll always love the song and that arrangement.

  24. cdguy wrote:

    Ode, I didn’t mean anyone will hire an orchestra for one concert, but they’ll hire an orchestra for a day, to produce tracks they can use over and over and over and over. . . ad nauseum.

  25. Over-it wrote:

    let’s hear something new…and fresh…please…emulation grows tired and weary. Where are the NEW groups to take us into the next generation of gospel music?

  26. Hector Luna wrote:

    #22 Al. I believe it was written by Roger Horne (former Cats member), in 1971 or so, although I don’t know who had recorded it before GV.

  27. Blake Edmondson wrote:

    #19: The Dixie Echoes album “Live In Pensacola” is fantastic. Just piano, bass, and vocals. Some songs are not as good as others, but performances like “The Last Mile of the Way” “Little is Much” and “Not in a Million Years” are worth the cost of the CD. It’s on Itunes as well.

  28. Alan wrote:

    Over-It: Please. If you wrote that re: the Ryan Seaton & Friends clip, think about this for a moment. They’re young, they haven’t been working much of late. They just evidently got together. It only makes sense that they’d sing the tracks available to them. Do you have any real idea of what it takes to record and indy project? Maybe if they stay together and want this bad enough, they’ll get a contract. But, that takes time unless you’re very well connected. Until then, unless you want your first release to be a table product for a $20K investment, you’d better be able to cough up a number of times that amount for a CD with orchestration. So please, give them a break. Their new and likely barely-rehearsed sound is great. Over time, writers will pitch them good songs, hoping they’ll be the next big hit. I personally felt great delight listening to and watching the first performance video that I’ve seen of them. Four superb voices, and nice stage presence.

  29. Irishlad wrote:

    Talking about Qts knocking out great stuff with more or less just a piano accompaniment a few years ago i got hooked on an old PSQ cassette(in other words i played it until it fell apart) with Eddie Broome tenor, Jack Bagwell lead, Jack Pittman baritone and Joel Duncan bass. Now you could most certainly say that there was nothing particullary outstanding about the individual voices but my my the blend well THAT was outstanding..that plus the song selection made for one of the most memorable Quartet albums ever,Imho of course.

  30. Extra Ink wrote:

    These are some really exceptional songs. Loved “The Love of God” and “Sailing Away”….It just highlights the fact, though, that the great drought in Southern Gospel music these days is primarily the dearth of fantastic material. We need some songwriters coming forth with some fresh, anointed lyrics/music.

    I think it’s going to take some newer, unheard-of writers to do it, because after awhile, “X” songwriter, who’s been in the industry for 15 or 20 years, is writing songs that all tend to sound similar.

    One exception to this, though, is Diane Wilkinson. She does a great job of writing varied (and outstanding) songs. Listen to a Kingdom Heirs CD and compare one Diane song to the next…she’s a very creative writer.

  31. NG wrote:

    A CD I have confirms that Roger Horne wrote the song as Hector states. The recording I have is by the Ole Time Gospel Hour Trio recorded in 1990 but I’m sure I’ve heard earlier versions but can’t recall the artists.

  32. NG wrote:

    In my post #31 maybe I imagined I heard earlier versions of “Sailing Away” in my music collection but can’t find any. Greater Vision recorded the song in 1991 with an arrangement identical to the one by the Ole Time Gospel Trio in 1990. Hope someone can say for certain certain if there was a version prior to 1990.

  33. Wade wrote:

    MIDNIGHT CRY— Go back to Original version when it was just 4 guys singing Taco on the keys and Jeff Hullender on the bass and there was not much orchestration on the tune. But you did not need it with ALL that Incredible Talent!!!

  34. Kyle wrote:

    Personally, I think the synth brass/strings have run their course. If it’s gonna be overly-orchestrated, at least give us a live orchestera. Otherwise, stick with your budget.

    On a side note….

    Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention
    I want to introduce to you
    Found on YouTube, suggested that I’d like
    Is a video of four guys
    Ryan’s height exceeds the Heavens
    Aaron gained a little weight
    Their sound could take them anywhere
    They’re not bad for their age

  35. quartet-man wrote:

    Their tenor’s not higher than the highest,
    but he’s high enough.
    Their sound is good, but just a little rough.
    Their reach could reach near everywhere
    I wish that they’d sing more.
    They’re the some time gospel sangin’, young and needed, male quartet that’s loved.

  36. quartet-man wrote:

    #34 /35 cont.

    A second verse came to me just after I shut down the computer and started getting ready to go to work.

    “They left their hometowns to enter that arena
    and sing the songs loved by you and me.
    But then an angry crowd crucified, the sangin’ that they done
    even though they sang the songs mostly for fun.
    Oh, but I would never count them out
    they just might win a Dove.
    If they practice hard enough, this male quartet that’s loved.”

    © Kbb - Wavemaker Music / quartet-man music :)

  37. Jake wrote:

    Re. the Ryan Seaton clip: This isn’t a demo tape, it isn’t an audition, it was just 4 guys in a rehearsal and/or mic check setting. Kids are running around, someone pulled out a camera and shot a low quality video of them singing, possibly without them even knowing they were being recorded, then proceeded to put it up on youtube. Their quality as a group cannot be judged on the basis of this clip.

    I’m not even much of a Ryan Seaton fan, but just think (for the naysayers out there) that we need to be fair and take it for what it is — and for what it isn’t.

  38. observor wrote:

    It is all about the songs. A group can have all the talent in the world, but without good, new songs they are not going anywhere (how many times have we seen this happen?). Think about the groups of the past that exploded onto the scene (Hinsons, Gold City (1980s), Cathedrals, Crabb Family) - what you will remember will be the songs. All of these groups had great songs (Lighthouse, Two Winning Hands, Too Many Times, Midnight Cry, Once Upon A Hill, There Rose a Lamb, Moving Up to Glory Land, Somebody Touched Me, Just Started Living, I Know a Man Who Can, Please Forgive Me, ….)

    The list could go on and on. If you don’t have the songs, stay at home. Look at groups like the McKameys who have consistently had one great song after another…. In this industry, it is all about the song.

    We talk about what is wrong with the industry today at nauseam… However, I think the huge elephant in the room during this discussion that we have just ignored, is the lack of good songs. I listened to a Solid Gospel station the other day for almost an hour and all the lyrics I heard where either laughable or had been recorded 1000 times before.

    New groups, better talent, different dress and presentation will not save this industry. The only thing that will save Southern Gospel is better songs. Good songwriters, please step up!!! Some of the ones writing today, please retire!!!!!!

  39. quartet-man wrote:

    #38 Observer, Certainly songs play a huge part, but not the only part. Someone have to sing them or they are in someone’s mind, on a demo or on paper. Preferably the right person or group gets the song, performs it well, the arrangement is good, the recording is good, the promotion is good etc.

    Some songs manage to hit the top by groups who aren’t that good, so the song is of course real important. However the correct arrangement, getting it to radio, getting the artists in front of the people are important too.

    If an arrangement is boring or the performer misses it etc. it is a harder battle to get the radio to play it, the people to like it etc.

    So, yes the song is a vital part, but not the only part.

  40. Karalyn wrote:

    #36… ok that was HILARIOUS!! And just for the record, I LOVE massive orchestration. So there! :P Lol I guess that makes me a part of the unintelligent masses.

  41. Hector Luna wrote:

    #38. So true. I’d take average talent and great songs over great talent and terrible songs. Sad part is, there’s just too many average talent/terrible songs combos.

  42. observor wrote:

    #39, quartet man, I agree that the song is not the only important part. However, I feel that this is the area that Southern gospel is lacking in the most. We have some talented, exciting singers in the industry. They are just singing terrible songs! The lack of good new songs/music along with the sudden absence of live musicians is destroying this industry. The only thing that is worse than karaoke, is karaoke to a bad song… (lol)

  43. quartet-man wrote:

    #40 Massive orchestrations? Are you catholic? ;)

  44. Magnolia wrote:

    Someone asked about the Dixie Echoes. This is a You Tube video featuring only the quartet, Stuart Varnado on piano and Randy Jr. on bass guitar. At this time, bass singer Pat Barker was with the group. By the way, Pat Barker is one of the finest bass singers today whose sound is reminiscient of the old and 1950’s quartet sounds. Folks, this is quality:


    Here’s another one with the Dixie Echoes singing “How Great Thou Art”:


    And one more featuring Randy Shelnut, Sr. on the acoustic guitar (he’s quite a guitarist):


  45. no-more wrote:


    Skip ahead to 1:30 if you don’t want to hear the intro. Wish I could have been there to see this. I applaud Ryan for not “quitting” gospel music after he was fired, let go, replaced, however you want to say it. I love his voice with a quartet and I hope that maybe one day Tim Duncan will join Ryan along with Toby and those other guys. They had a great sound going on. Maybe Doug Anderson will get a belly full of Mr. Haase and he’ll quit…he could join Ryan and Tim and bring back the SIGNATURE SOUND since Ernie’s not using it anymore.

  46. Ode wrote:

    @40- you can also claim decent composers, my fav ‘d be Shostakovich Debussy among us, unintelligent masses:)

    @24 -cdguy, thanks for explanation, i never would have guessed! i only see orchestra being worthy for live concerts..

    They actually waste tons more cash to do so vs. get a decent software program with samples of real orchestra, the name slips from my mind, it works with Native Instruments…About 1200 dollars.just saw it being done by freinds -producers, in another genre.. Result, if a professional does it, is better then the real orchestra for hire.What year do they live in :)?

  47. jennifer wrote:

    I’ve been reading a lot of posts on here about EHSS lately. I can see many are still lovers while some have become haters. To each his own, but I can see where the haters are coming from. Things have changed…drastically. They are not the same group anymore by any means. It’s been hard for me to even go to concerts since Ryan was replaced and now Tim too…I was that person who went to every concert, took flights, drove for hours, spent hundreds of dollars in gas and hotel rooms. At this point, I’m not sure I’d drive 15 minutes to hear them. I do hope Ryan and Tim have great success and it would be nice to see Doug join them, however, I don’t see that happening since Ernie and Wayne are producers of his solo album. I agree with two others on here when it was said that they’ve lost their “signature sound”…it’s definitely gone. Such a shame.

  48. KermitTheHermit wrote:

    Maybe I was too subtle.

  49. Wade wrote:

    WoW I FINALLY found a woman who loves MASSIVE ORGANS… I mean ORCHESTRATIONS!!!!

  50. Jake wrote:

    Jennifer (#47) — Most groups go through personnel changes, and they are never the same whenever they do. People often refer to the various lineups with gold City or Gaither Vocal Band as their “favorite” but as people change, the sound is going to change.

    EHSS has had a little different sound with every change, just like every other group has. You can get upset about something that is inevitable — namely, that people change — or you can accept that change happens and move on.

    What bothers me some, though, not only on your post but others here, is the attitude that it is everybody else vs. Ernie. (You know, if only Doug,Tim, & Ryan would get together we would have the signature sound again.) For one thing, it isn’t everybody against Ernie. For another thing, even if you got three of the 4, it wouldn’t sound the same because the 4th (Ernie) would be different. Add to that the fact that their sound has changed somewhat with different arrangers. They started with Garry Jones. They now have Wayne Haun. There were others in between. Plus they have had different musicians playing for them, and each one added their own particular flair and sound to the mix.

    I don’t “like” it when there are personnel changes either, but whether we like it or not, things just don’t stay they same. Either we accept it or else we end up miserable because it isn’t like the “good old days” any more.

  51. BUICK wrote:

    Just wondering: is there any topic we can discuss that does not quickly turn into EHSS-bashing? Don’t misunderstand; I am not really a fan. But we sure seem to find a straight line between anything and the shortcomings of EHSS (and mostly just the shortcomings of E.

  52. Kyle wrote:

    Wade, down boy….

  53. Canuk wrote:

    Not-so-original Greater Vision with ‘real’ good music.


  54. Irishlad wrote:

    Last night i was at a concert and enjoyed a little Buble and more than a little Elvis. “Were the Devil were you Irishlad? i hear you cry. At an America’s Got Talent live audition?” No i was attending an EHSS concert in Belfast N.I. actually.
    Before i start,which will be brief,i’ll say this; Ernie was on tune(all night)and Ian Owens fills Tim’s big pointy cowboy boots perfectly well.
    The concert lasted over 3 hours including intermission,a shade longer than usual i would think, because it was the last night of their European Tour leg.They certainly gave the punters their money’s worth.How those guys were able to sing with such freshness and enthusiasm is a testament to their professionalism.
    Now this was a standard Cats tribute concert with a few spontaneous extras thrown in..i guess the guys have to vary things a little,as much for themselves as well as enhancing the audience experience, well it’s one way to stave of the boredom of doing the same program night in night out.
    The overall concert was worthy of 4.5/5
    in my estimation with the Cathedral stuff plus some of their own material like “Reason to believe” and more covered.
    A welcome difference was a couple of songs performed by Ian Owens.Now all you sad Sg freaks out there will know that when the Imperials re-booted about 10 years ago or so they hired Ian because his voice had an uncanny similarity to Armond Morales’ dulcet and dare i say it cultured tones.I have to say this added dimension brings a little bit of vintage Imps to EHSS,no bad thing,with “His name is wonderful”, “Swing low”, “When you walk thro’ a storm”,”The Old Rugged Cross” all helping to stamp Ian’s individuality on the group.It may have been an Armond carbon copy but most of the crowd wouldn’t have known that, to most it was just fresh and new, a plus for the future of EHSS in my book.
    A few minor gripes: i’m not sure the 5th part added by WH on the acapella stuff really works.It’s disjointed and awkward, Wayne having to leave the piano to stand with the guys and some of the 5 part arrangements are so ambitious the guys got totally lost on one of the acapella numbers.Having said that Wayne added to things with his solo stuff at the piano…staying put there would be a good idea.
    The interspersing of video clips of George and Glen with the live performance for the most part worked and Wayne did a better than anticipated “Champion of Love”, i’d give it a good 6 out of 10 for that effort alone.
    Ernie more or less wrapped things up with “O What a Saviour” which, and i really mean this, was worthy of the standing ovation it duly got.
    The folks that say Ernie’s lost it he sings sharp he can’t sing O what a Saviour in the same key he used be able to, he this he that, well there’s one lovely old Victorian word to describe all that..BALLDERDASH.
    That’s all folks.

  55. irishlad wrote:

    #54 ‘Where’ not ‘were the Devil’…apologies.

  56. Ode wrote:

    @49 :) (rolls up eyes)

    Massive church organs are great, but you boys just can turn any topic into bragging about your zayin size, dont you. LOL

    Well, its lovely to know you got a massive,i promise to spread the news, but trust me,it’s less then quarter of a battle. I know divorce rates is an issue in the Southern church culture, but no woman EVER left a husband just over it….as saying has it “Its not the (size of) junk in his trunks, its the boulder on his shoulders” ;)

  57. art wrote:

    #27 Blake - Thanks for the suggestion. I bought that CD and have listened to about half of it. Parts are very enjoyable, especially the first number. The voices are doing the heavy musical lifting, and in SG there’s nothing like the voices of a quartet to convey a sense of exuberance and joy.

    The experience became less enjoyable when the group went for a powerful song.

    Also on this CD I could always hear the piano part. “Well, duh!” you might say, since we were talking about barebones arrangements. True, but I was surprised how much I could appreciate the piano without it competing with the huge pre-recorded strings, woodwinds and percussion sections.

    When I’ve seen quartets live, I have been so overwhelmed by the pre-recorded orchestration that I wondered what the pianist was doing back there. Might’ve been filing his nails, for all I could hear.

  58. Wade wrote:

    Irishladdy… thanks for the review. Goes right along with mine when I saw them here in the states. Except they did not have Ian with them yet!!!

    Ode… I was not braggin’ but it was just funny to me!!!

    Thanks Goodness we can have some fun on here unless we get in the grill of a lib politician!!

  59. Blake Edmondson wrote:

    #57: You are welcome. You should like the last half (Walk with me, Last Mile, Not in a Million Years, etc.) even better. If I get overwhelmed by the orchestration and contemporary sounds of SG radio, I turn on that CD.

  60. Rev. Al wrote:

    If he’s ( Ian Owens ) anything close to Armond Morales’ , he’s got to be good. The Imperials from about 1971-80 were perhaps the best gospel vocal group ever - they could do any style and do it right!! There were no stacked vocals or tracks - just four vocalists - occasionally five with Joe Moscheo- and a live band. They did not have the powerful voices like Michael English or David Phelps, but there was something special about their sound.

  61. Irishlad wrote:

    #60 Two of my favourite Imperials’ albums have to be;Imperials Live and The Imperials Sing the Classics 1973 and 1984 respectively.

  62. Jake wrote:


  63. RF wrote:

    Noticing Avery’s final thought that it wasn’t economically feasable to have another gospel quartet, Well, we don’t have many that are very good right now. With the exit of Mercy’s Mark, the problems at Gold City and the Kingsmen, and the genral absense of Brian Free and Assurance and the changes that makes them almost empty, that only leaves EHSSQ and GVB in the “good” category (and that’s not any diss to the Dixie Echos or any of those other “popular” groups that have a cult following. Truth is the talented people like Garry and others have left because the public would rather listen to the Inspirations or the McKameys. Boggles my mind, but it’s all taste and who can argue with that?

    Yes, we need another quartet and I think that Ryan Seaton’s group will fill the bill. Very impressive.

  64. Irishlad wrote:

    #63 You’ve overlooked The Triumphant Qt,The Kingdom Heirs and The Dove Bros to name three great quartets.

  65. LarryS wrote:

    RF, what does “the general absence of Brian Free and Assurance” mean exactly?

  66. cynical one wrote:

    #65 - Larry. Yeah. BF&A have been nominated for Dove awards in 2 categories. How does that fit in with them being “absent”? They’re currently on the “Singing At Sea” cruise, and their schedule is probably about as full as it ought to be (you know, families, and all).

    I don’t see them being very absent. Anyone else?

  67. J C wrote:

    Ernie Haase IS the Signatue Sound!.. the other 3 singers round out that sound. The sound and the group was vastly improved when R. Seaton left!.. Ian is quickly becoming a Great Bass singer! - As for Ryan Seaton; It should be called Toby’s group. Toby is the better singer and personality in that bunch!

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