NQC 11: Friday night

You’re on your own tonight folks. Except for Chris Allman and a few bars from Wes Hampton, there wasn’t anything much for me to write home or blog about. If the morning brings new mercies or insights, I shall declare them then.*

*In the light of a new day, the only amplification I might add is that there wasn’t much worth blogging about from my perspective. Others, obviously, do and should disagree. Sure, I could have talked about how Ivan Parker seemed to be suffering from and sounded like an affliction; that the Hoppers seemed unable or unwilling to make any distinction between classic songs in their past and boring old tunes that were retired for a reason; that Legacy Five seems to be earnestly trying but nevertheless still searching for the right material to generate a pulse on their set and sound; that I can’t recall the last time anyone got the kind of response Kim Collingsworth elicited for her assaultive rendition of the Hallelujah chorus on the piano; that Collingsworth’s giant arrangements and keyboard showmanship make Jeff Stice look like a regional showcase winner; that sometimes on stage there’s a mean streak to Gerald Wolfe’s emcee work that reminds me of a slicker version of Jim Hamill; that the Isaacs seem to be losing their mojo; that, if one were to judge by last night alone, the talk of Tim Riley’s legendary abilities might seem as much the work of the self-deluded who refuse to admit that group’s moment has long since passed as anything else; that the Kingdom Heir’s badly punned tune, “No Bones About It,” seemed positively in good taste compared to the vulgarity, crudeness, and adolescent nature of the humor on stage throughout the evening (there were bad butt jokes; unfunny bathroom jokes; and of course Gordon Mote blind jokes, which typically seem to stay just this side of inappropriate but veered across that line for me when, at the end of his set, Gaither had his arm around Mote and said “let’s go from lesser vision to Greater Vision”); that the Perrys bring a well-rounded set even when they have just an ok night; that Gaither occupies his own realm of power and glory in the hearts and minds of the southern gospel world; that dominionist militarism alternates with poverty profiteering as the two emotional poles of the non-musical portions of the official NQC show; that Peg kicked off her shoes.

But when all this fades from view and passes from memory, what I will have taken away from last night that mattered to me was the unadorned honesty and soft power of Chris Allman (with Stan Whitmire) covering “I Know a Man,” and Wes Hampton revivifying “He is Here.”

Until tonight, that is all.

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Comments

  1. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    Really? Did you stick around for the whole thing? I thought it was great—not perfect, of course, but WAY better than last night. I know that’s not saying much though. But still, really enjoyed the night via webcast.

  2. Nate Stainbrook wrote:

    Major case of burn out eh?

  3. KC wrote:

    The Gaither Sing Along at noon was today’s highlight for me. But I can’t drink enough of the Gaither Kool-Aid. =] The only bad moment was the Rambo crew singing Dottie’s songs. Something doesn’t feel right about Dottie being solo so long prior to her death, then all of a sudden Buck is now back with Reba doing some sort of tribute tour? I think it’d be better with other singers singing her songs. And the CD I got of the bluegrass Rambo versions is awful. Let’s leave that style to the The Isaacs. Lol.

    I thought tonight was mediocre, again. Except the Kim Collingsworth moment - amazing. GVB rocked. Greater Vision with Stan Whitmire is always fun; and Chris Allman is a welcomed return.

    Things I could’ve lived without: patriotic crap at a sg music event. Compassion Intl guilt trips. The Pfeifers. Ivan Parker (sad).

    That’s all just my little opinion. =]

  4. Bones wrote:

    What happened? There used to be groups people were excited to see. No one now. Now if you miss em you just miss em.

  5. Nate Stainbrook wrote:

    My view/thoughts from section 108… http://natessoutherngospelblog.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/nqc-2011-friday-night/

  6. irishlad wrote:

    That was a ‘neat’ post Doug(as you guys like to say) :)

  7. More wrote:

    I completely disagree about the Isaacs and Tim Riley, and well, your general negative tone about the night. It was flat-out rockin almost all night long. I did think L5 was boring, but apart from that, absolutely great night. When you can’t enjoy it anymore, GO HOME.

  8. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    “Sure, I could have talked about how Ivan Parker seemed to be suffering from and sounded like an affliction…”

    You’ll notice I wasn’t paying attention through much of his set. (Though I’m sure he’s a great guy.)

    “…that the Hoppers seemed unable or unwilling to make any distinction between classic songs in their past and boring old tunes that were retired for a reason…”

    Are you referring to “If I Can Help Someone”? It’s not the most thrilling of numbers, I’ll admit…

    “…that Legacy Five seems to be earnestly trying but nevertheless still searching for the right material to generate a pulse on their set and sound…”

    They did stage some less memorable material this week—just less buzz than last year. And I think they should feature Gus more. He’s their trump card. But they’ve had their moments: “Something About That Name,” for example, and a couple last night.

    “…that I can’t recall the last time anyone got the kind of response Kim Collingsworth elicited for her assaultive rendition of the Hallelujah chorus on the piano; that Collingsworth’s giant arrangements and keyboard showmanship make Jeff Stice look like a regional showcase winner…”

    Well, on that we’re in agreement, though anybody else noticed her mike seemed off for most of it??

    “…that sometimes on stage there’s a mean streak to Gerald Wolfe’s emcee work that reminds me of a slicker version of Jim Hamill…”

    ?

    “…that the Isaacs seem to be losing their mojo…”

    Something hasn’t been quite right for them this week, but it could be material chosen… I think you may have missed it when they brought the house down with “I Will Praise Him.”

    “…that, if one were to judge by last night alone, the talk of Tim Riley’s legendary abilities might seem as much the work of the self-deluded who refuse to admit that group’s moment has long since passed as anything else…”

    Most of us have been saying they need to get it together for quite some time now.

    “…that the Kingdom Heir’s badly punned tune, ‘No Bones About It,’ seemed positively in good taste compared to the vulgarity, crudeness, and adolescent nature of the humor on stage throughout the evening (there were bad butt jokes; unfunny bathroom jokes; and of course Gordon Mote blind jokes, which typically seem to stay just this side of inappropriate but veered across that line for me when, at the end of his set, Gaither had his arm around Mote and said “let’s go from lesser vision to Greater Vision”)…”

    I may have missed a couple of those but caught some. They’re not that interesting as jokes go, although the blind jokes don’t bother me as much because I’m sure Gordon himself makes plenty and is more than used to it by now (agreed though that the “lesser vision/greater vision” thing was cringeworthy—but mainly just because it was a horrid pun and terrible transition, not so much because I think Gordon was deeply wounded).

    “…that the Perrys bring a well-rounded set even when they have just an ok night…”

    Missed part of it, but they sounded fine to me.

    “…that Gaither occupies his own realm of power and glory in the hearts and minds of the southern gospel world…”

    Weird way of putting it, but he does seem to have a Midas touch.

    “…that dominionist militarism alternates with poverty profiteering as the two emotional poles of the non-musical portions of the official NQC show…”

    No comment.

    “…that Peg kicked off her shoes…”

    She did? I thought that was last time.

    “But when all this fades from view and passes from memory, what I will have taken away from last night that mattered to me was the unadorned honesty and soft power of Chris Allman (with Stan Whitmire) covering ‘I Know a Man,’ and Wes Hampton revivifying ‘He is Here.’ ”

    For what it’s worth, you have indeed latched onto what may have been the night’s two most memorable moments.

  9. Friday Night Revival wrote:

    I’d have to say, there were some good moments. But it was mostly boring. Bored even to the point, that I entered a chat room and I’ll never do that again. Not significantly bad…but when you look at that schedule ahead of time, I thought there would be some bigger moments than there really were.

  10. CVH wrote:

    KC (#3),

    I agree with you on the Compassion bits. I sat through a pitch at a concert last weekend that ran 25 minutes. Of course the reason fans are subjected to it isn’t just ‘compassion’; the groups are compensated a decent percentage of the business they generate. So while the fan is paying for a ticket or giving in a love offering to hear a concert, they are also subjected to what amounts to a 15-25 minute commercial that is making money for the group.

    Kind of like paying an outrageous price for a movie ticket and still having to sit through 10 minutes of commercials for Coke, Verizon, EA and others along with previews. Or like having politicians appear at NQC. But I’d better not go there or yankeegospelgirl will kick my a**.

    I think (hope) it’s starting to backfire on the groups and Compassion. A lot of people are burned out on the pitches, despite the worthiness of their mission.
    You can only tip the annoyance scale so far before people tune you out. And rightly so.

  11. When You're Right wrote:

    Yes, Kim Collingsworth is extremely talented, but she DOES assault the piano, and that version of the Hallelujah Chorus went way beyond an attack to scorched earth. I think the keys must have turned to dust on that piano.

    I guess she doesn’t realize that she can pull back and still perform at an even HIGHER level, because she’ll have more contrast and thereby more colors to paint the melody. She is extremely smart and disciplined, so if she is willing to study her strengths and weaknesses and the style of great concert pianists, she can grow her performances to the next level — coincidentally at the time that her family’s singing is reaching new heights. The sky is the limit for Kim and all of them.

  12. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    FNR, we actually enjoyed you in the chat room! Sorry to hear you won’t be back. :(

  13. Eugene McCammon wrote:

    As one who has been attending NQC for a goodly number of years please let me say that the best performance I have heard thus far (and Saturday’s lineup is, for me, nothing less than leftovers) was at a showcase this morning in the hotel which featured a one and a half hour program by the Southmen Quartet. A class act with some great humor, a few bits of testimony and no over-produced tracks. A solid quartet can make great music with only live piano accompaniment.

  14. Brett wrote:

    wow Doug I have never known you to not being inspired by something on NQC. Really must have been bored or lazy.

  15. Snoball wrote:

    Last night was the last night I’ll ever attend a NQC, or for that matter a concert or get together of any sg group. I coundn’t hear the artists because too many around me thought they could sing as well. I didn;t come to hear them but the performer. When I asked for some silence I was rudely flipped off or in one case was challenged to a fight because I offended his wife. No never again!

  16. Bones wrote:

    The Southmen are great! That is what NQC should be about.

  17. joe wrote:

    “I Know a Man Who Can” and “He Is Here”…. both of which are pretty much Kirk Talley’s signature songs.

  18. quartet-man wrote:

    #17 Even though Kirk didn’t write the former.

  19. NG wrote:

    Couple of things: Not sure what Doug is specifically referring to re the “mean streak” in Gerald Wolfe’s emcee work and the compassion to Hamill. Saw Jim various times and only recall him taking a cheap shot once or twice although the Oak Ridge Boys in their book complained about his comments about them around the time they were switching to country.

    As for what Doug calls “militarism” it can turn up anywhere and not just at SGM events. On the main national hockey broadcast in Canada, the chief commentator usually uses part of his time each game to support the troops and display a photo of and giving information on every Canadian soldier killed that week in Afghanistan. Some love him for doing that and others wonder what it has to do with that night’s game.

  20. NG wrote:

    Make that “comparison” in the second sentence and not “compassion”

  21. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    Thank you, #10 - CVH. Amen and Amen!

    I absolutely understand where Doug is coming from……and, I was raised in a Pentecostal Church where we had big-name SG groups coming in all the time. Plus, I’m married to a Southern Baptist minister. Plus, I formerly escorted tours to many Gaither Gospel music events.

    After a while, it all starts to sound the same, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record……the “canned music” and muffled sound systems have really brought the quality of SG music to a new low. I’m sorry, but bigger and louder is not always better……and yes, I’m under 50.

    Add to this the endless commercialized CD pitches at concerts, the “missions focus” or should I ask…..WHY would any group take a percentage from people who are starving to death?????? EXCUSE ME????? Did I hear that correctly? Where are the Good Samaritans? Good grief……they cannot take up money for hungry children without making a profit? That’s despicable - I don’t care how you shake it out. That makes me sick to my stomach. (And we wonder why they bring in the politicians…….)

    My husband has even commented after concerts that the entire experience reminds him of a traveling carnival. After the famous “$10 Donation at the Door plus Love Offering Promoter” started coming to our area several years ago……it brought the whole circus to a new benchmark of pathetic.

    We are almost down to going to see two groups……The Dixie Echoes and The Maharreys. They are both a breath of fresh air. The Dixie Echoes are a class act and still respect the genre of original, pure quartet music.

  22. cindytreadway wrote:

    so it almost came to blows up in the audience over the “singers in the audience”. You have to love how southern gospel audiences can be singing about the “love of Jesus” at the top of their lungs and then you “offend” them in any way and they are ready to knock your block off.

  23. cindytreadway wrote:

    oh AND nice to know now what those “compassions” pitches are all about.

  24. quartet-man wrote:

    Someone I know that does the Compassion things said they get nothing for doing the pitches. I can’t recall if it were an artist that is between regional and popular (many here might know the name) or if it were online somewhere. I hope they don’t although I guess someone could make an argument over the artists being ministries and the money going to their ministry instead of them personally.

  25. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    It was inspiring for the soldiers to be recognized because they love gospel music, and this was significant for them to be there in a way it’s not significant to the rest of us. I may think our government is out of its mind with the way it flings our military around to the goldarnedest places, but I will salute a godly soldier serving as best he can. I was proud to see the audience stand for them.

  26. CVH wrote:

    quartet-man (#24),

    I can’t say for a fact that every group that aligns with Compassion Intl. has a financial deal worked out. I only know that many of them do and the higher you go up the food chain the higher the percentage is. I’m not suggesting (not that you said this) that there’s anything unethical about the arrangement; but when you’re paying to see a concert I don’t think you should have to sit through a (sometimes) high-pressure pitch for something else, whether it’s Compassion or Aunt Blabby’s Miracle Elixir.

    Well…I might make an exception for Aunt Blabby. I love her so.

  27. Extra Ink wrote:

    I thought the Isaacs song, maybe titled “Why Can’t We?”, was the best thing I heard all night. Also, I liked the Collingsworth Family song that was written by Robert Patton.

    Overall, though, the biggest hole in the Southern Gospel world is in songwriting. The lack of songs that have that special “something” spiritually is mind-boggling. The night was filled with so-so lyrics that have cutesy catch phrases but no real depth. The SG fan base is being served Cracker Jacks and cookies, when they are starving to death for some substantive meat lyrically.

  28. quartet-man wrote:

    #26 CVH, if the person I am thinking of said it, it seems like they had a certain amount they wanted to sign up. So, they either had set a goal without money or to get money. I am not sure. Either way, I can understand both sides. If the money earned goes toward another ministry, and they (Compassion) would have to spend money doing mailings or advertisements to get people to sign up, I can understand how it is a win win to get the artists to do it. However, I also think the artists should do it to help, not to earn money on commission. But, I also understand ministries trying to stay afloat.

    In fact, I once emailed Compassion wanting information on their practices perhaps because of hearing such things. That might be where I got the info. I will try to see if I can find that email response and post back.

    I do understand your point about dealing with pitches at concerts. It is sort of similar to walking in a restaurant or store and being inundated with arm-twisting to give to the children’s hospital, disease research, etc. All might be good causes, but getting pressured for ever cause when you are trying to purchase something DOES get annoying. I wouldn’t mind a jar or something where you can give, but now you get pressured when paying for your items. I have had to ask people in my old job and been on the side of getting asked. I don’t like either. In my opinion if the company is so sold on the charity, they should give themselves. Sometimes maybe they do too. However, often I think they way to go about asking customers is more motivated in getting out of contributing themselves and for bragging rights in “look how good we are and how much we raised for this charity. Pat us on our backs as we pat ourselves.”

    Now, I am not saying the artists are doing this with Compassion, but maybe some do. Who knows? I would hope most don’t.

    The fact is, as far as I know, Compassion does great work. I don’t know how most artists present the charity, but I think a mention of them during their product pitch and letting customers know there is more information at the table is admirable and could save several lives.

  29. When You're Right wrote:

    Extra Ink #27
    Consider the artist role in the “lack of songs that have that special ’something’ spiritually.”

    Is it just possible that the artists demand those types of songs — that they reject deeper messages? Is it possible that there are great songs sitting in songwriter catalogs not being cut because the artists (and the audience) are unwilling to go beyond the surface?

    Either the SG fan base craves “Cracker Jacks and cookies,” or the artists think they do — either way, we are left with the same result. And I think you would be surprised at the same names that show up on the songs you dislike. Don’t tar all writers with the same brush.

  30. Dean Adkins wrote:

    I enjoyed the “Great Is Thy Faithfulness Medley” by Southern Sound.

  31. yankeegospelgirl wrote:

    Extra Ink, Michael Booth has discussed that very thing, and his group has lately been attempting to offer some more substantial stuff. Also, I’ve always thought Brian Free picked meaningful material. But you’re right that much of gospel music is lacking in substance.

  32. Extra Ink wrote:

    #29, you make good points, and I will agree. As a songwriter and just as an observer, I’ve noted over the years that many artists wouldn’t recognize a great song if it got up & danced a jig in front of them and waved its arms. Some have a discerning ear & a heart for a great song…others, not so much. Yes, many of them either cannot digest a meaty song or have no desire to put it out in front of a crowd. We are, indeed, a society of infomercial-drive-through-remote control moments. This carries over into our attention spans & appreciation for great, spiritual art. And… “spiritual art” (music or any other artistic form) is not an oxymoron.

    Also, speaking of the spirit, “the wind bloweth where it listeth”, but give me a singer who prays & reads the Word, and I’ll show you a singer that often does have that “extra something”. God gives the increase when we put in the time to get close to Him.

  33. christy wrote:

    Curious, does anyone know if Weston Hinson performed anywhere?

  34. BackwoodsPhilosopher wrote:

    To #32: Amen and Amen.

    I believe that a lot of SG performers who are really serious about their Christian walk don’t necessarily “show up” at places like the NQC. I could name three SG singers and/or groups right now who I believe to be very sincere about their walk with God, and you won’t see them at the NQC or performing with other groups as well. They tend to march to the beat of their own drum and minister without becoming a part of the SG world.

    Now, that’s not saying that if you perform at the NQC, that you’re not a serious Christian - I’ve just noticed that the more serious ministries who record SG-style CD’s seem to stand alone on their own merits and minister without all of the hype and hoopla. They kinda live in their own little world, and many of them hold revival services on a constant basis.

    Look at the folks who are serious about ministry and you will find a much deeper and more meaningful song selection. I’ve also made this point on the Singing News Forums……that a singer/group who is serious about ministry also includes a page on their website sharing the Plan of Salvation. I don’t know if I can take a group seriously about their “ministry” if they don’t include a website page about the Plan of Salvation.

  35. CVH wrote:

    quartet-man (#28),

    On the Compassion discussion, as I said, every group may not have a financial arrangement with them. But it makes me wonder if there isn’t some correlation between the intensity of the pitch and the percentage the group gets. It’s just one more means of marketing, nothing underhanded. And it can become a steady revenue stream for the artist. I like your idea of simply making more information available but marketers would consider that too soft-sell for today’s jaded consumers. You have to sell them on the emotion, hence the mawkish video presentations.

    Compassion is a member of the ECFA, NRB and other organizations that monitor ethical and fiscal accountability. Wess Stafford, the current president, has written an excellent book about the work, “Too Small To Ignore”. Theirs is a needed, critical outreach.

    Here’s what’s sad: there are several large ‘Christian’ advertising/marketing firms in the country that have evangelical non-profits like Compassion as clients. Whereas many non-profits get free media exposure via public service announcements, these companies buy time on stations for the non-profit and charge them a double-digit commission on top of the advertising cost. The organizations, many of which would receive free airtime (albeit perhaps not as much) spend tens of thousands of donor dollars to ‘advertise’ their ministries. While these tactics sometimes skirt the edge of legality, many ministries believe they need to spend the money to get in front of people’s faces. It’s extremely competitive out there.

  36. sgfan wrote:

    @christy #33 - i wish he would have been given the opportunity to sing with the hinson “reunion”. Love the hinsons - and I did enjoy the new hinsons and bo’s singing…but that was just overkill. Weston just has that pure voice that is his, yet can channel his dad with poise.

  37. 2miles wrote:

    Bo was trying to hard. IMO. He is Bo not Kenny. I like him much better when he is just Bo. Weston on the other hand could get up there and just sing like Weston and he would be closer to that “Kenny Hinson” sound than anyone…of course that’s just my opinion…but I DO know “Hinson” when I hear it…I am a professional Hinson listener

  38. Michelle wrote:

    Are you kidding me????People why in the world would you waste your time complaining about something, especially the children of God. My gosh if you don’t like it, then don’t go. It is that simple, but why in the world would you sit around and gossip and complain about other Christains and artists that are just trying to make a living like all the rest of us. If some are doing it for glory or showmanship then that is between them and the Lord. He knows where their heart is and don’t you think He will deal with them if? Geez people leave them alone and if you don’t like it then don’t listen or don’t pay money to attend.

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