The Booth Brothers came to the Gospel Barn in Hillsdale, Michigan earlier this month, and I got to go and enjoy them. It was a great experience and a great concert with a mix of old favorites and material from their new Gaither project. Here are some of the highlights off the top of my head, in no particular order:
1. The lady who plays piano for the house band is hilarious! She’s so professional and funny in the way she just carries everyone along with this dignified expression.
2. An old man whose name escapes me at the moment came out to play saxophone before the Brothers came on, and he did surprisingly well. I never knew “Be Thou My Vision” could sound so moving on a sax, but he made it work! He also played “The Prayer” and made that work too. Very soothing, easy-listening stuff.
3. I said the arrangement of “Because He Lives” was somewhat pedestrian when I reviewed the tribute album, but it felt more exciting on the stage and I actually thought it built up the momentum quite nicely.
4. Jim Brady took some time to share the story behind a song by Squire Parsons called “Hello, Mama.” It was a story I’d never heard before. Parsons was inspired by a young man he knew whose mother prayed faithfully for him even when he became a prodigal. One night he was driving his motorcycle down the road, and he said later it was as if he could feel his mothers’ prayers following him. So he stopped, got off the motorcycle, and knelt down to accept Christ right there. He decided to call his mother right away even though it was the middle of the night, and that’s where the song’s hook comes from. The song by itself might not have stuck out as particularly memorable, but hearing the story behind it made it a highlight.
5. “Welcome to the Family” is always a great live number.
6. “I’m Free” worked beautifully on stage as I’d predicted it would.
7. I also really enjoyed seeing them stage “Through,” which is a slow-burner but very powerful in its own way.
8. “I Played in the Band” was a blast, even if they did encore it to death at NQC. I was right in the front row and the guys obligingly leaned into the camera for a few shots, including the best one of the night, which is highlighted at the top.
9. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them stage “We Believe” before, but it was a splendid closing number that had everyone standing. It’s a very unifying statement of faith.
I got to chat with the guys afterwards, which was awesome. I chatted with Jim a little about songwriting and asked him what’s on his ipod. He says he likes old bands like the Eagles and Journey (my kind of guy!) and just occasionally finds someone new whom he likes even though pickings are slimmer these days. Anything that’s good music with wholesome lyrics, he said. I mentioned Lady Antebellum, and he said he’s a big fan and has actually met the singers! I also got to touch base with Michael, and that was sweet. We talked a little about song staging, and old songs that get left behind. I mentioned a few they should try to bring back and said most groups seem to have a lot of great songs that never see the light of day again after a certain season. He pointed out it’s much easier said than done to keep a mix of old and new. I’ll have to think about it some more and then write a blog post about it. :-)
Enjoy the photo slideshow! I was experimenting with all kinds of camera settings, so you’re not seeing the failed experiments (of course). Michael is very photogenic (come to think of it all of them are, but Michael gave me some great dorky poses), and as I mentioned I had seats in the front, so I got some really good ones! Only thing was I needed to do red-eye reduction on more than I would prefer.