NQC 2013 Live Commentary: Friday Night (aka Free Friday)

Good evening! Please join me for Free Friday with your thoughts and comments, or just sit back and enjoy the show!

Best of the Night:

The Gaither Vocal Band, “It is Finished” — One word: Glooooray!

Other Highlights 

*The Bowlings

*The Nelons

*Isaacs, “The Living Years”

*Karen Peck and New River (what I caught of their set, COUGH COUGH)

*Easters with Wilburn & Wilburn, “Down In the Valley

*Bill’s calling on the crowd to stand during “I Played In the Band”

*Mark Trammell Quartet, “Wonderful Time Up There” and “The King is Coming”

*Gold City, “Get Up, Get Ready” — Jonathan Wilburn joined on the encore.

11:13 Gaither Vocal Band, “It is Finished” — magnificent! After a slightly underwhelming segment earlier in the evening, this bonus show-stopper left nobody unsatisfied. Nobody was in their seats by the end. I was a bit confused because the order of the bonus performances was rearranged, and I figured nobody could follow THAT. In fact, they ended abruptly after that. Quite right, quite right, goodnight.

11:04 The Mark Trammell Quartet, “I Want to Know — Good choice. You know, I’m really noticing it this convention, but Pat Barker is one good-looking guy. Truly! And if you’re a friend of Pat’s you can tell him I said that and meant it.   🙂 I notice Matthew Holt and Greg Ritchie are back on stage. Oh dear, another mike mishap when Mark introduced the GVB!

11:00 The Booth Brothers, “Still Feelin’ Fine” — Awww, the camera just zoomed in on a young girl holding an “I heart you Booth Brothers!” sign. Uh-oh, Gene McDonald just came up with them but his mike wasn’t on!!

10:55 Okay folks, strap your seatbelts and get ready for the Gospelpalooza! Each group is going to sing one sugar stick of their choice, one after another. I always love this section of the evening! First up, Karen Peck and New River, “Four Days Late.” As Daniel Mount noted on his site, their set earlier this evening was strong even without this song, but it’s cool to see them pull it out as a bonus now.

10:50 Gerald just shared a great testimony about one of the cameramen, who had strayed from the faith before working on the NQC crew some years ago, but after coming to NQC and listening to the music, he rededicated his life to Christ and is now active in his church. Appropriately, Chris is now singing “I Know A Man Who Can.” I’ve heard him sing this dozens of times and yet it never gets old.

10:46 “Preacher, Tell Me Like it Is” — This is quickly becoming a new standard for the group. I heard a few someones saying “Yeah!” as soon as the track started up.

Gerald gave us a sneak peek into the schedule of an NQC singer. Getting up at 7:00 in the morning, meeting at 8:00, bed at 12:00, lie awake all wound up until 2 AM, then get up and do it all over again next day! He opines that it would sure be nice if the groups could sing to a full house to start with, then end the convention when crowds were low and “We don’t sound good no-how!” And yet, I think the week has gotten better as it wears on, so I would beg to differ with Gerald there. 🙂

10:36 Greater Vision 1. Seeking For Me — The purity of Chris’s voice on this one slays me! 2. Looking For the Grace — Another highlight of the new album. Mark Trammell Quartet getting into the encore on row one.

10:33 The Browders, “He’s Not There”

10:14-10:30 Gold City 1. When I Get Carried Away 2. I Get Down — Tim Riley just dedicated it to a fan turning 22 today. She must have requested this song. Nice touch! 3. Midnight Cry — I was expecting this, but was hoping for a bit more of a crowd response at the beginning? A little cheer for Jerry Pelfrey? I think he does a great job with this song. Of course, my all-time favorite was the spin put on it by short-lived lead singer Craig West. When he left, I thought “There goes the guy who sang ‘Midnight Cry’ better than it ever will be sung again!” But Jerry does a creditable job as well. I think maybe next time Ivan does a solo set, he should just invite Jerry up to sing this one for him… 4. Get Up, Get Ready — Now here’s a tasty little sugar stick! I want to see what Fulton does with this on the key change. And he did great. Was singing himself hoarse by the end but it didn’t matter.  Jonathan Wilburn couldn’t contain himself and ran up on stage for the encore! Grabbed Jerry’s mike away from him and let it rip, did his little dance. Gerald made a little joke afterward when he said “Jonathan’s ready to go, isn’t he?” LOL.

9:59 Mark Trammell Quartet 1. Meet Me In the Morning 2. Wonderful Time Up There — Pat Barker killing it! 3. The King is Coming — Cool! Mark Trammell set this up by recalling the first time he saw the Gaithers sing it. He said if he could sing only one more song, it would be this one!

9:55 Michael Booth introducing Mark Trammell. I love how he put it: “He’s a guy we can follow in a direction. Paul said ‘Follow me as I follow Christ.’ Men like this point us in the right direction.” Exactly the right attitude toward the saints of God.

9:52 Really neat moment–Bill Gaither asked folks in the crowd to stand gradually as he called out different tasks in church. “Anyone who’s ever sung… played an instrument… driven a bus… done janitorial work… helped in the nursery.” Then he said, “Without you, the church wouldn’t work! You are important! All of you!” Great moment.

9:45-9:49 Michael Booth presented their song of the year award for “I Played in the Band” to Bill Gaither. Then he said, “And Bill, when you take that back to Larry Gatlin, can you send us the money for a replacement? ‘Cuz y’know, we don’t have one now.” Michael just created a great moment when Bill got the title wrong. “You wrote it!” And now, of course, they’re singing it. Nick Bruno providing some understated piano accompaniment.

9:35 Awwwwww, it’s the Booth Brothers and Michael is singing “Look For Me at Jesus’ Feet.” I’m so happy. 2. I’m Free — I knew this would be a great live number when I first heard it and they’ve staged it twice this week. Unfortunately my feed is cutting out! Ah good, back now. (That was quick!)

9:32 Sing-a-long. Gerald Wolfe just shared a really neat story about how his group got to sing in a context where there was a diverse gathering of folks from multiple countries, and when they sang a chorus of “Because He Lives,” people started joining in each in their own language. Appropriately, the audience is now singing “Because He Lives.”

9:17-9:23 The Easters are up. 1. Anything Could Happen 2. When You’re Broken — This song just doesn’t work, in my opinion, but it’s a nice surprise to see Wes Hampton on stage singing it as a duet with Morgan. Jeff just shared a great story about his father’s whirlwind courtship with his second wife after his first wife passed away. They dated for only a few weeks before tying the knot. When Jeff expressed astonishment, his father said, “Son, the Bible says do what you do do quickly!” 3. I Get To — Love the sweet message in this song. 4. Down In the Valley — Hey, Wilburn & Wilburn are joining in! They sang guest vocals on the studio version. Well, this is a nice bonus. It was so good that Gerald demanded an encore!

9:12 Hey, they’re giving us a hand! (Us being those of us watching by webcast.) I guess they did the “funny thing happened” segment earlier. I forgot to mention that — Bill said Gerald offered him a free hot dog and was praising his kindness when Gerald interjected “And you said you’d pay me later too.”

9:10 Hmmmmm, wonder if “At Calvary” was really the best choice for a singalong immediately after “He’s Alive,” because it’s creating a bit of a whiplash effect stylistically, but okay!

9:05 I figured they were going to pull out something big before their segment finished up, and sure enough, here’s “He’s Alive.” I enjoy David’s production on this one. The melody is boring enough that it needs some bells and whistles to make it exciting, but the all-stops-pulled-out orchestration is just right. The Talleys staged this song earlier in the week, but it’s a testament to what a signature song it’s become for both groups that neither one felt they could risk leaving it out. Go David, do your thing. 😉

8:58 Bill just shared a little bit about his grandson who’s going to college (?) in Scotland, who’s very shy and having difficulty making friends. He talked about how the most important things in life are our kids and grandkids and actually got choked up! Now Michael English is singing “That Sounds Like Home to Me.” I was kind of nodding off, to be honest, but then David Phelps freshened it up a little. The pop flourishes may not mesh with the style of the song, but at least he woke me up!

8:50 David Phelps, “Come to Jesus” — are they just turning this into a David solo thing? I guess he carried pretty much all of it on the record, but I like the harmonies too. Okay good, they’re filling in the background now.

8:48 Michael English being featured on “I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted.”

8:43 Mark Lowry telling the motorcycle story… a reader has suggested it’s time for a new story. I agree, but I still liked hearing him tell it again.

8:30 Gaither Vocal Band is up. Wes Hampton is wearing a pink shirt. Noooo! Not another victim of the pink shirt disease. No, no, Wes, not pink, not for you… 1. I Catch ‘Em, God Cleans ‘Em 2. I’ll Tell it Wherever I Go — Looks like they’re going for a Give It Away vibe so far. I really enjoy this feature for Wes, and he’s matured a lot since first cutting it. Ha, Bill said “Eat your heart out Triumphant Quartet” on the acapella long note. Oh, oh, are we jealous? (JK) 😉 3. My Journey to the Sky — aren’t we going to see any powerhouse GVB tonight? Anyway, always a fun number with Bill’s history of the Jordanaires interrupting Mark at the beginning. Wes is in great form tonight!

8:20 After some banter, Bill Gaither introduced a surprise appearance from Canton Junction. Whaaaat? So awesome to see Tim Duncan back on mainstage! I think Matt Hagee should be turned up in the mix a bit. Didn’t catch the name of their first song, but they’re doing “Dig A Little Deeper” for the second one. Matt said this is their last one, but I could sit through a couple sets of these guys!

8:00-8:15 Um, hel-LO! We are missing the start of Karen Peck & New River’s set. Get BACK on mainstage NOW. I am doing my Animal impression at the screen right now (Muppets reference). I wonder if they’ll provide an alternate version with all music. Okay, we FINALLY got back… at the end of the first song. Drat you, whoever you are who made that decision. Okay, well from the little I saw of that song (AHEM) it looked great! They opened with the title cut of their new album, “Revival.” 2. I Want to Thank You — Moving song and performance, but why is Kevin Williams chewing gum while playing guitar? I thought singers got a pass on gum chewing because they need to keep their mouths moist, but Kevin’s not gonna be singing tonight (as far as I know anyway!) 3. On the Banks of the Promised Land — Yesssss. Great song. 4. We Shall Wear a Robe — They’re on fire tonight! Nelons joining in. Encore, encore!

7:55 Gordon, Kevin and Greg are playing “Gospel Ship” completely live! This is the bomb! And…. what??? They just cut away from it to another backstage interview, with the Hoppers. Noooo! Wrong move guys. I endured it when you cut Gerald and Gordon off earlier, but this is unconscionable. It sounds like they’re encoring it too. I almost want my money back just for that.

Gordon Mote just made a great crack at Bill. “You were in the key of F# — uncharted territory for you!” He also plugged the Isaacs’ new project. “From top to bottom, it’s perfect. Go buy it.”

7:33-7:50 I had a prior commitment that took me away for a little bit here, and it sounds like I missed an amazing set by the Hoppers! But I’m back now with the Isaacs. They opened with “Walk On” and are now singing “The Living Years.” I just looked up the song, and it’s an interesting choice–it’s a pop/rock ballad originally recorded by Mike and the Mechanics. Bill Gaither suggested the song to them. I am now going to go check out the original, because it sounds like a great song! Good to see Zak Shumate back on stage playing the drum. Boy, this song is fantastic. Bill Gaither just came up on stage with them to make them encore the chorus acapella. Now they’re singing “Walk Together Children,” also a new song I think. Bill is doing boom booms: “I’m not as good as the Penny Loafer boom boom guy, but I’m the boom boom guy on this one…” Zak providing some light percussion. 4. If That Isn’t Love — Bill is now playing piano. He joked that when he asked his doctor whether a finger surgery would affect his playing, the doctor said, “No, I’ve heard you play and I don’t think it would.” 😉

6:45-6:58 The Nelons are playing their music video for the song “Excuse Me.” I think it’s more powerful with the video. I didn’t know it was written by the Gaithers and Larry Gatlin! 2. Hallelujah Chorus — acapella 3. He’s More Than Wonderful To Me — Amber is singing lead. What a beautiful voice she has. Powerhouse finish. This is one of her best vocal performances IMO. She’s straining some on the highest full voice notes, but in her head voice she just went up to an A, I think! 4. I’m Going Home With Jesus — Matthew Holt and Greg Ritchie are providing live backup. Whoops, Amber launched into the encore a little early, but no matter, this is great, and with Matthew Holt tearing the keys off the piano even better!

6:37-6:42 This showcase group is different! I didn’t catch their name. But they’re singing a Psalm 23 paraphrase that had a very interesting vocal echo verse that’s hard to describe unless you hear it. I’ll try to get their name in a sec. The younger of the two women has soul, and she isn’t even black! It’s interesting, because this group is the Collingsworth parents’ generation or older, but this is definitely what you’d call “progressive” gospel. Pretty rocky stuff for NQC, but I like it! The song was called “Surely.” I’ve got their name now: The Wilbanks, from Dallas and Houston. Gerald was very impressed and said he’s going to buy their CD. “Are you folks PC? Well you’ve got something us Baptists ain’t got!”

6:35 Adam is backstage interviewing Karen Peck & New River. Karen and Adam shared memories of NQC 2001 when September 11th hit. Karen said she felt it was symbolic that “Four Days Late” won song of the year two days later. I’m glad Adam talked a bit with the other members too though!

6:15-6:30 The Bowlings are up! One of my favorite mixed groups. 1. I’ll Be All Right As Soon As I Touch Calvary — This is a Crabb family cover. Great country-styled song about the cross. 2. I Know Enough — This lyric is very powerful given all that the Bowlings have gone through with their bus accident. I think it may be a new song. 3. Surprise! The three Bowling kids are singing an acapella trio of “Accentuate the Positive.” Inspired by the Isaacs maybe? Very cute! Sure, the harmonies weren’t absolutely spot-on, but the two younger ones were little enough that it was still impressive. 4. Wait, there’s more! Once again the kids are singing a song called “Jesus You’re All I Need.” It was just piano. These little girls were good enough for this to be a highlight in a genre now so heavily reliant on tracks and stacks. Give them a few more years and all three might join the group! 5. I’m Glad I’m Saved — great song, but an awkward moment after this one when Mike asked “How many here are Christians tonight?” and he asked the question so fast that only one person went “YEAH!” in response. 😳 6. Somebody’s Believing — Troy Peach introduced this by saying that Mike had a vocal polyp that threatened his singing career, but then disappeared after they asked for prayers. The Bowlings are keeping things going at a pretty fast clip, with little talking and solid, rousing songs. This song packs a big whallop with some great vocals. If that’s just their four voices making that sound, that was amazing!

6:12 The Browns, instrumental. Good, they’re playing something other than the Pachelbel thing. They’re playing “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” Now it’s turning into a medley with “Crown Him With Many Crowns.” However, I think the tuning is slightly off. Not sure if the violins are out of tune with each other or the track, or if someone’s just going sour, but something’s not quite right. I sensed this yesterday too. Okay, this ending is horrible. Something went badly wrong there.

6:03 The Rick Webb family. This group is a nice surprise. I haven’t heard much of their music before but am really enjoying their set so far. 1. Hallelujah I Have Found Him — I was unfamiliar with this old hymn and really like it! In other news, my video problem has been resolved with a hard reboot. 2. God Bless America — another fluttering flag on my screen. You’d think they’d find a different fluttering flag this time, but nope.

5:53 They’re taking a break from the singalong to show Adam Crabb backstage interviewing the Bowling Family. This is a nice twist.

5:50 I’m experiencing a weird problem, and I want others to chime in and tell me if they’re experiencing the same thing: Half of the video is cut off! It’s like the whole thing has been shifted to the right, with the right half missing. I’m going to try a reboot in a minute and see if that helps.

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75 thoughts on “NQC 2013 Live Commentary: Friday Night (aka Free Friday)

  1. Marcia Hill

    Watching the great Kevin Wiliams/Greg Ritchie musicians–always spot-on and can play ANY genre. Wonder how tired they must get sitting there hour after hour. After hour.

  2. Marcia Hill

    re Canton Junction’s Shane McConnell–not sure I love him in a quartet, but as a solo tenor guy I think he’s gonna give David Phelps (who’s my very favorite) a fast run for the money — Shane’s got a fantastic voice. Love vocalists who’ve been classically trained . . . no offense, but I think it always shows . . .

  3. Marcia Hill

    Well, I could be wrong, but Shane seems quite a bit younger than DP . . . so the ol’ vocal cords are fresher and not as well-worn (read slightly abused at times…I worry for DP’s future…) DP is now chewing gum, so that probably signals a powerhouse song coming up for him—YAY!

  4. Marcia Hill

    Mark Lowry has been telling his leg/cadaver story at least 4 years now–ever since the Reunited tour in 2009 . . . maybe some new material?

  5. Marcia Hill

    Ahhhhhh, phinally got my Phelps phix. I love that guy. Wish he’d lose the over-nasally tone, though, when he tries too hard to be straight SG . . . What a glorious voice God just dropped on him.
    And he’s the only reason I’m following SG . . . a total of a month and a half, now. (ever since I accidentally flipped the channel by PBS during his July 27 “Classic” special) Have watched a million Gaither Homecoming vids, practically every YouTube ever uploaded that included DP, and now I guess I could call myself a sorta SG fan . . having come from classical world, and having dissed gospel music in my early church years. (went the Amy Grant, CCM. route).. But Phelps. That’s a voice worth following wherever it wants to go.

  6. Marcia Hill

    Thanks, Miss YGG — you are a wonder yourself. How on earth do you manage to be so knowledgeable about so very many things, run a spectacular and fascinating blog, and go to school on top of it all?

    1. I was homeschooled, so that takes care of the knowledgeable part! 😀

      You flatter me. (I don’t think anyone has called my blog “spectacular” before!) Honestly, it’s an outlet. At a certain point I got hooked on this music and decided I wanted to write about it. Then the blog sort of became a place for me to “vent” whatever I was thinking about various topics, as well as share my love of music in general. Believe me though, I am not NEARLY as “up” on this stuff as others, on music history generally or southern gospel in particular. There are fanboys with record collections a mile high next to whom my knowledge pales by comparison.

      But to answer the question of how I find time, well I don’t watch TV for one thing. Also, I get my homework done faster than average, maybe. And I constantly listen to music. In my spare time, in the car, while I’m doing whatever. That helps me really get familiar with a lot of different artists. And I watch a lot of documentaries about interesting figures. I also read a lot growing up—we’re a reading family. That will introduce you to multiple worlds! So it’s a combination of factors really.

  7. Marcia Hill

    Love Michael’s sweet spirit and Wes’ humble attitude–and love that Bill Gaither allows his group to explore musically — DP has pushed them into territory that I find a welcome relief and musically interesting. But above all, I’m drawn to the powerful message of the gospel that SG presents . . . even when I might roll my eyes at a musical cliche or tired harmonic progression, my own musical preferences are swept aside by God’s truth.

  8. Marcia Hill

    Come on, he deserves a bit more than “always on pitch,” doesn’t he?? ha. How about his breath control? (you’ll never find him breathing mid-phrase, or even mid-word, heaven help us, all you other SG stars!) How about that versatility of style? How about that unbelievable range of tone color? (and OK, you made me say it, how about that range 🙂

    1. All true. 🙂 I just think if I were his vocal coach I’d tell him to discipline it a little more, be a little less self-indulgent–let your yea be yea and your nay nay vocally. Less popera and more precision of style. But I can tell this is a sensitive topic for you, so I’ll stop. 😆

      1. Marcia Hill

        OK, just now figured out I was supposed to hit “Reply” to respond to a specifc thread. Duh. So, if *I* were DP’s vocal coach, I’d say first, please save some of your best notes for Dec. 15 when Marcia gets to see you live in Broken Arrow, OK. 🙂
        Then, I’d say, go back to your classical breath-support-training and production. Stop trying to shrink your unique vocal tone color to fit inside the narrow confines of straight SG tenor sounds, and let your classic(al) sound soar and shape SG into something new and beautiful.

      2. That’s funny–I never would have pegged David as one to voluntarily shrink his voice down. 😉 I don’t think he sounds even remotely gospel-ish. He’s straight popera, or whatever you want to call it–“fake classical” perhaps. Josh Groban, etc. 🙂

      3. Marcia Hill

        (couldn’t figure out how to reply in the proper order below your last post in this thread…) Yeah, I wasn’t clear about what I thought DP was shrinking…he obviously doesn’t shrink his volume; I meant he seems, over the past 4-5 years, to have begun producing his sound with less-classically-supported technique (breath-wise, vocal-placement-wise), and is instead capitulating to what almost everyone else in SG does. It changes the tone color from something lush and full and beautiful to a tight-throated, pinched, nasally sound. Horrors. (the sound I always hated about SG–sorry, everyone! 🙂 ) But also, I hate the whole pseudo-classical-Josh-Groban sound, too. I guess what drew me in about DP’s voice was the fantastic classical voice I could hear on certain songs. I don’t hear him using that voice as much in the last 2-3 years as in his early GVB days or in his solo years.

      4. Yeah, I see what you mean. Well, let me reiterate, if you want the best example of a fully blossomed pure southern gospel tenor ought to sound like, look no further than the guy who’s singing right now–Chris Allman!

      1. Marcia Hill

        heh. Thanks. I’m a total sucker for music of *almost* any genre that’s well-done (which includes, ahem, on-pitch, technically-proficient, creative performances). For me, because SG/mainstream gospel so often fell outside those parameters, I turned up my nose and turned my back on it . . . especially after having to play about a quadrillion Gaither tunes as church pianist way, way, way back in the day. But now, the familiarity is . . . what? comforting? ministering? yes.

      2. Marcia Hill

        Yeah, ran across some Collingsworth YouTubes–as a pianist myself, I checked out the woman–Kim? Humpf. I.will.keep.my.opinions.private. But I know people really like her, and praise God for that! I’ll give the group another listen for anything that might grab me vocally.

        I like the Isaacs when they’re doing their most creative stuff. Love Ben Isaacs’ instrumental stuff. Always appreciate the Booths’ smooth, on-pitch sound and total genuine-ness.

        I’ve been thinking . . .It’s probably unfair to try and apply a classical-type set of musical standards to SG music.??

  9. Marcia Hill

    Ok, gonna be a teeny bit snarky here…”Play in a Band” is starting to get on my nerves. It’s a gimmicky song, plus I’ve heard it so frequently, I’m beginning to think the underlying motive is just racking up more royalties for Bill/Larry. GAH.

  10. Marcia Hill

    Homeschooled!! No TV!! Reading!! So that’s the secret to genius 🙂
    Were it only that easy. What’s your musical background? And who or what got YOU started following SG?

      1. Okay Marcia, to answer your question about how I got hooked on gospel music, it was when I first laid eyes on Wes Hampton! I decided to follow him around and it worked out pretty well. 😆

        My musical background is really eclectic. It’s been a little of everything around the house from infancy up. Of course I was steeped in all the old hymns, first of all. Then classical. Handel’s Messiah was a tradition every Christmas. Mom remembers me running around listening to “The Trumpet Shall Sound” at the age of 3 and trying to sing along (“Be raised incowumppable” was how that line came out.) I also spent hours watching Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts, which are an excellent introduction to music for anyone. We also listened to CCM on the radio back before it was completely degenerated (this was the 90s, so Fernando Ortega, Phillips Craig & Dean, 4Him, later Mark Schultz when he was first starting out, etc.), and Mom and Dad played me the classic records they bought and loved when they were young (the Imperials, Ken Medema, etc.) I blame the Imperials for my soft spot for 80s music. 😉 I also acquired an early taste for jazz music through Peanuts, plus a collection of Gershwin songs AND a Bing Crosby/Andrews Sisters duets collection I got for Christmas at the age of nine or so. (I even wrote a little jazz hook of my own that I still have tucked away in my head waiting to be fleshed out all these years later.)

        My mom studied voice, piano and theory and taught me to play through middle school. All the classical stuff—then we quit when I began highschool because she was going to take me through an intensive course of subjects. (That’s where I really polished my writing skills, although I had already written a few research papers in elementary school.) I also grew up singing hymns and spirituals and sang in a couple choirs, including alto in a girls’ chorus. Recently I got some of my first official lessons, which really helped me with breath control and technique. I also taught myself to play piano by ear after having been trained to sight read. My dad contributed ideas there—he doesn’t read music much but has a great ear (also sings pretty good!) His tastes lean more in the pop direction. I was really bad at that at first but got better. 🙂

        Then in highschool I started really getting seriously into music (I know, you’re thinking that sounds funny!) But I had my own computer by then and realized I could collect all my favorite stuff in one place, then listen to it whenever I wanted to. I started with the CCM I liked—mostly older stuff and a few new artists like Casting Crowns (I know they’re not the epitome of greatness, but I liked a few of their earlier songs). I still had to get permission to listen to secular music for a while, but then gradually as restrictions were loosened I discovered the wonderful worlds of classic pop, rock and roll, folk revival and all the rest. Two artists who have made a big impression on me are Billy Joel and Paul Simon. I think I would have to pick Simon as my all-time favorite artist just because he’s such a great poet, and he has such a fertile musical mind that encompasses so many different styles and makes them all his own.

        Somewhere in between my CCM-only stage and really getting into classic mainstream music, I discovered southern gospel through a little series of events. First I was at a chiropractor’s appointment and picked up a Gaither homecoming magazine. It was the GVB Reunion edition, and it had an interview with Steve Green in it. Steve Green was one of those older artists I discovered through Mom and Dad’s collection. I’d played his cassette of For God and God Alone over and over as a kid. I only knew a little about Gaither and didn’t know much about the vocal band at that point, but was interested to see he’d been a member. I also saw a little segment in there about Wes Hampton’s excitement at getting to meet Steve, because he’d been a childhood hero of his. I thought that was really neat and found Wes’s spirit very refreshing.

        It was quite a bit after that (months, I think!) that I ran across this video of Steve and Wes singing “It is Well With My Soul” (which you should totally go look up, like right now—you’ll love it) and a little bell rang in my head, “Hey, this is the young guy I read about in that magazine! And he’s singing with the vocal band right now? Hmmmm, let’s see what else he’s done with them!” And so then I started daisy-chaining from there, beginning with the GVB Reunion and Give It Away videos. After that I discovered other great artists like Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, the Cathedrals, etc. and just fell in love with all of them. A blogger named Daniel J. Mount really welcomed me and helped me get to know more about the different artists and history of the genre after I found his southern gospel site. I even contributed a few articles and reviews for him. But eventually I decided I wanted my own platform, so I launched this site about three years ago. Since then I’ve gotten to know a couple artists better personally, conducted interviews and even exchanged a little personal correspondence with some folks. It’s been a wonderful journey. Other genres may give me a more satisfyingly complete musical and artistic “fix,” but southern gospel always remains a warm, familiar place I can come back to. The male bonding is something that stands out for me, as well as the warmth among artists and with fans. One does hear rumors sometimes, and certainly there have been various artists who had their failings. But there are plenty of solid, good folk to balance all of that out and more.

        So there in a nutshell is my musical life’s story, and I hope it didn’t get too long (HA!) As you can probably tell from reading around the site, I’m also a bit of a film history buff, and I could give you a long list of my favorite movies/actors, etc., but won’t bore you with that! Or my World War II geekery either. 🙂

      2. Marcia Hill

        FAScinating! Thanks SO much for taking the time to respond indepth! Such a multi-colored musical journey you’ve had thus far. I’m sure many of your readers appreciate knowing more about you! Love the fact that although we are surely generations apart, you appreciate lots of the musicians I did/do.

        re some of your remarks — You said:
        ” I ran across this video of Steve and Wes singing “It is Well With My Soul” (which you should totally go look up, like right now—you’ll love it)”

        to which I say:
        “Been there already!” And it’s wonderful.

        As to how you ended up an SG fan/expert:
        Let me summarize, if I may . . .
        You first noticed a GVB member (Wes Hampton), which then drew you into SG.
        I first noticed a GVB member (David Phelps-Classic on PBS), which then drew me into SG.
        Hmmmm. 🙂 and hahahahahaha.

        Guess SG should be grateful, no matter *how* it attracts new followers, eh?

        Southern-gospel-world should at the very least, be grateful and appreciative for your blog, which is the best-written and most intelligent commentary I’ve found on this subject (and many others!!).

        Thanks, YGG!
        Marcia

      3. Yes I was just swept away by Wes’s… technical proficiency. Haha! (Not that he isn’t a good singer, but yes, we understand each other. 😉 )

        You’re too kind, although I have to wonder if you’ve found southerngospelblog.com or musicscribe.com if you’re saying mine is the best, because at least where southern gospel is concerned, those two are way above and beyond what I contribute when it comes to prolific, knowledgeable writing about this music. But I try to offer something different and I’m glad it appeals to you. 🙂

  11. Marcia Hill

    Unless the Booth Brothers cut some kind of flat fee performance deal based on a minimum/maximum number of live performances, then yes, every time they perform it, they pay performance royalties or fees. (used to work for a music textbook company and was involved at times with print, mechanical, and performance permissions/royalties)

      1. Yeah, and the Gaither segment was a little re-hashed (no, REALLY), so you actually didn’t miss too much there! But unfortunately there was a lot of great singing you didn’t catch. Enjoy the show now!

  12. Marcia Hill

    LOVED getting to watch a whole day for free–Thank you, NQC, for making that possible for us!
    Thanks, YGG, for your astute and entertaining commentary!

  13. Saved Girl

    I was just looking back through some of your commentary. I’m glad they did a feature for Wes. Call me crazy, but I miss having Wes as the main tenor there. I just like his style and sound better.

    1. Shhhhhh. Marcia can hear you! 😆

      In all seriousness, as a personal preference, I agree with you. Is David more talented? Sure, I won’t argue with that. But there’s something about Wes that just hits my sweet spot.

      1. Marcia Hill

        Weeeeellll, OK, I can hear your blasphemous comments! 🙂
        No, I agree that Wes is a special person and a uniquely-wonderful singer. GVB is lucky to have both Wes and DP. Wes’s spirit of other-centeredness / Jesus-centeredness is what sets him apart, I think. (not that the other guys aren’t also, just that Wes is especially so!)

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