[Note: Several people have pointed out that I was comparing apples and oranges to some extent by initially choosing a live performance by Franklin and a studio recording by Hollens. I’ve now additionally provided something from the studio by Franklin and something live by Hollens to make it optimally fair.]
I don’t know how many ideas I’ll come up with for this series, but I’ve collected enough that I think it’ll work for a little while at least. Here’s the concept: I choose two artists, one officially under the “southern gospel” umbrella (although the music they perform might resemble another genre like pop or country) and one from a different genre like CCM or a secular field. These two artists share some resemblances—their styles may be similar, and in some cases they might even look alike! Your task is to render a verdict on which you prefer judging by the clips I provide.
So let’s try this and see how it works. My first entry pits former GVB tenor Terry Franklin against Peter Hollens, a singer I’m guessing most of you have not heard of. He is a pop singer who specializes in acapella singing and production. His college group On the Rocks was a finalist in the Sing-Off TV show several years back. Now he produces independent tracks where he layers together all the harmony parts by himself. Although he is not officially signed anywhere, his fresh, polished covers of pop songs have made him a major Youtube presence. Personally, I wish his choice of which songs to cover was a little less “current,” as I think his talent has been wasted on some numbers. But I always love hearing him sing, and I’ve featured his (amazing) cover of “Home” here before.
Today, I’m spotlighting his rendition of the folk classic “Shenandoah,” in which he not only sings every part but also manages to make his voice sound like a string quartet (it fooled my mom):
[Another update]: I’m providing a clip of what Peter sounds like live, to balance out Terry’s live performance. Here he is covering “Kyrie” with On the Rocks. Peter seems seems to have been taking style tips from Get Away Jordan-era Signature Sound:
You can see why I chose Terry Franklin to represent southern gospel in this first installment, since Terry is also an old hand at recording himself multiple times. Although I can’t find any of his demos available publicly, I thought I would feature his take on “There is A River,” which showcases his power and range:
[Updated: I’ve also found and added this lovely song for his wife, since it seemed fair to show off what his voice sounds like in the studio too.]
So which do you prefer? Comment below and let me know!