Category Archives: Young Artists

Goodbye Promise Trio, You Were Great

I know I said at the beginning of my 12 Essential Tracks of Christmas that I would provide a list of 12 more tracks that missed the cut. But since the series didn’t generate that many views, I thought I would dive right back into our regular programming instead, because I suspect y’all are ready to rotate Christmas music out of your mixes right about now. I have to admit that I am too. But feel free to e-mail if you would like to see the list. :)

I wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to a young trio that recently disbanded after nearly four years in the business. That group is Promise Trio. The pressures of personality, life on the road, and making a profit in a rocky economy doubtless all contributed to the various group changes and the final decision to dissolve. I thought Promise had great potential from day one and remained consistently excellent for the group’s brief lifespan. It was originally founded as Statement of Faith by Jacob Kitson, who stepped down from Greater Vision at Chris Allman’s return. He, brother Joe and baritone Jon Epley (who just had a fantastic year with the Inspirations and now sings bass for them), recorded just one CD in 2010 before Epley was snapped up by the legendary group. However, the song “Masterpiece of Mercy” would later land on a Booth Brothers recording. Youtuber cbcacs has some good footage of a concert by this lineup. Continue reading

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Filed under Music Commentary, Singers, Southern Gospel News, Young Artists

Mike Rogers Joins Brian Free & Assurance

I remember noticing Mike Rogers as a solid young lead with the Dixie Melody Boys at last year’s NQC. His contributions helped make their set one of the highlights of the convention for me. Now he’s taken a step up, filling BFA’s recently vacated baritone position. I had trouble finding videos that really showcased Mike’s voice, but here’s a nice video of him singing “Daystar” with DMB. Note that he’s also accompanying himself on guitar—very rare to see in a southern gospel quartet. Maybe he can bring his guitar skills to BFA and freshen up their tracks-only program a bit.

Mike is a young artist to watch, and I hope he sticks around for a while! Although I liked Derrick Selph, it seems from this clip alone that Mike’s voice has greater range and flexibility. Here’s what Brian had to say about the hire (revealing in the process that yes, ladies, he is married):

When I received the audition info for Mike I was very impressed with his vocal ability and the gift to deliver a song. After spending some time with him, his wife Bekki and daughter Coraline at my home, I knew he was the one God had sent to be a member of our family. I love his heart and the love he has for people. He will be a wonderful addition to BFA.

Having over 300 people apply for the job, it was a hard decision due to all the talent I heard. I want to thank each person who took their time and effort to apply for the position. I am truly honored that so many wanted to be a part of our ministry. I know God has a place and time for you to use your talent for him.

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Rearview Mirror Spotlight: Jordan Wilburn

Jordan Wilburn

Watch this boy—he’s taking after his dad, and he is good. Hat tips to Diana for posting links from this concert and Daniel for showcasing a couple of the videos.

My favorite performance, hands-down, after surveying the videos, would have to be Jordan’s take on “When God Ran.” Hustle over and give it a watch if you haven’t already. The song is originally a Phillips, Craig & Dean number, covered in SG by the Kingsmen. However, I have to say that Jordan’s rendition is, by a margin, my favorite. (He first recorded it as one in a series of studio demos. You can hear that version here, but he does it even better live.) Jordan is a real natural, and his tone is pure, very clear and easy to listen to. As I said on Daniel’s blog, the texture of his voice recalls CCM group 4Him’s Mark Harris (except a little cleaner to my ears). He also sounds much older than his slim 24 years. He throws in a powerful high note on the final “He called me son” that sets it apart from any other version I’ve heard. I wouldn’t officially classify him as a tenor, but he definitely has a flexible range. Listening to Jordan reminds me of one reason why I switched from CCM to SG: There’s so much good vocal talent out there, some of which I’m still in the process of discovering. I would put Jordan up against any CCM singer his age right now.

Jordan has a gentle touch on a ballad, but he can get things cookin’ on a fast number too, as he demonstrates on the classic Gaither Vocal Band toe-tapper “Temporary Home.” Here we see him slide smoothly into a country groove. Apparently he has also inherited his dad’s charisma with an audience:

The prominent background vocals give one a rough idea of what the Wilburns might sound like with a couple other singers in a quartet. I said on Daniel’s blog that I foresee them growing into a three or possibly a four-man group, and I think this would be fantastic. So far, the only advantage that the originals of some of these songs have over their covers is the extra vocal punch. If Wilburn & Wilburn made the right pick(s), they would establish a fuller signature sound and give the originals an even stronger run for their money. However, for the moment they seem content to work simply as a father and son duo. I look forward to seeing what they bring to the table.

Update: If you wonder what a Crabb family song might sound like minus the extra noise and throaty singing, try this. I actually find Jordan’s take on this easier to listen to than the original, though definitely not without punch! He goes pretty high here, and he’s perfectly on pitch. It’s impressive to see him turn out performances of this caliber completely live and on the spot.

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Filed under Music Commentary, Singers, Videos, Young Artists