Press Releases and Accountability in Southern Gospel

The other day I read an article on MusicScribe where each contributor listed five “pet peeves” about this music we all love. I sympathized with some more than others, but the ones that seemed to generate the most discussion involved accountability and misleading press releases for group turnover. Two contributors complained that there’s a culture of “sweeping things under the rug” when a given singer sins in some way, criticizing sunshine and roses press releases that give the false impression all is well. “So-and-so is leaving to spend more time with his family… so-and-so is leaving to follow God’s exciting new direction for his life…,” etc. As one agreeing commentator put it, this falls flat in times when “everybody knows” there’s a scandal.

Like my friend Brian who commented from Southern Gospel Critique, I tend to look on the bright side of the industry. My first reaction was, “But… what if someone really does just want to spend more time with his family?”  Continue reading “Press Releases and Accountability in Southern Gospel”

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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.

Concert Review: Legacy Five and Greater Vision in Spring Arbor, MI

I apologize for taking so long to bring you this review! I decided to skip the pictures since I didn’t really get any good ones, and it takes time to upload them to a post, so why add more delay? This was a great concert, and it was especially interesting because Greater Vision chose to debut quite a few songs from their upcoming CD, For All He’s Done! It was awesome to hear what Rodney has been cooking up lately. I think he’s written some of his best work yet on this new CD. This was also special because it was the first time I’ve seen Legacy Five in concert. So without further ado, here’s a complete set list with comments Continue reading “Concert Review: Legacy Five and Greater Vision in Spring Arbor, MI”

Steven Curtis Chapman and Family on the Opry

This live performance of “Life’s Railway to Heaven” features Steven AND his father and brother. Anyone agree with me that they sound and look (with the exception of clean-cut Steven himself) like the second coming of the Oak Ridge Boys? Herb Jr. in particular is quite a ham. This live rendition is even better than their studio cut, in my opinion.

[Note: Should have put this in the first draft of the post, but do check out Steven’s Deep Roots project, from which this arrangement comes! Available in mp3 form from Amazon and iTunes, physical from Cracker Barrel.]

Poll: Favorite Cathedrals Tenor?

Because I decided to go to bed last night instead of writing a long post for today… let’s do a poll! Who’s your favorite Cathedrals tenor? I hope nobody minds, I left out Roger Horne and Kurt Young because they were barely with the group for any length of time. (If perchance one of them is your favorite, feel free to comment as much!)

Recently Added: Billy Joel

Since he turned 64 the other day (cue the Beatles!) it seemed appropriate to showcase some Billy Joel songs I’ve been enjoying recently (which you may or may not recognize) and to try to capture in one humble little blog post why I’m such a fan.

As a child, I never listened to secular radio, and my knowledge of popular secular music was shaky beyond the 1940s. So my earliest memory of hearing Billy Joel’s music goes back a mere 5-7 years. I was hanging out with a neo-classical composer friend at a university roadhouse. We took turns making fun of the songs on the radio. Then the first few bars of “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” started playing. My friend paused, listening intently. “This…” he said, pointing to the speaker. “This is a great song.”  Continue reading “Recently Added: Billy Joel”