Providing you with candid, concise observations on a few of the major groups performing at the National Quartet Convention, here are Tuesday night’s Nuggets. I caught the end of Gold City’s set, the Booth Brothers, the Nelons, and the Collingsworth family.
*Tim Riley is out recovering from his stroke of two months ago. And the fill-in is… “My very good friend Chris West”? As in Chris West, who fell off the planet amid deathly silence after the last time he stepped in for Tim Riley? OK, moving right along…
*The Booth Brothers had a surprisingly short set. They opened with “Thank Him For the Miracle,” in which Ronnie Booth had to sing a whole verse solo before his mike got turned on. Really? Then Michael cued the music, but it was the encore lead-in for “Played in the Band!” He promptly apologized and quipped that the sound guys only get attention when something goes wrong, “Kind of like me at home. Oh no, don’t put this on Youtube, she’ll see it!” Leave it to Michael to save the moment. He decided to bring Gerald Wolfe on stage for a rendition of “Look For Me at Jesus’ Feet.” I fall in love with Michael Booth a little more every time I hear him sing this.
*The Nelons had the strongest set of the night. They hit the stage with a band and a new member, Kelly’s other daughter, whose name I didn’t get but who sang extremely well. Amber did a spine-tingling job on “How Great Thou Art.” Unfortunately, the back half of the song was rather overpowered by the live drummer. But the band gelled really well on “I’m Going Home to Be With Jesus.”
*I think Jim Brady may have told this story about George Younce before, but I’d forgotten it. When Jim was an unknown singing with the Schulers, their booth was always empty at NQC. One day George passed by and Jim caught up with him for a picture. Within a few minutes of George’s coming to pose by the Schulers’ booth, a line had gathered for autographs and pictures. Jim relates that George hung around for 45 minutes, after which he winked over at Jim and said “I’ll come back in about an hour to draw you a crowd.”
*The Collingsworth Family’s “heaven songs” extravaganza went on a bit long, and I think the vocal choice at the end to meld the “Hallelujah Chorus” with “Goodbye World Goodbye” shows a bit of a tin ear. (Then again, I suppose there’s an unintended lyrical connection—the “Hallelujah Chorus” is technically an Ascension piece, and “Goodbye World” does discuss “rising with my Lord to the skies.” Except that’s the Rapture, not the Ascension. Oh forget it.) Anyway, it WAS very cool to see Kim, Tim Parton and Stan Whitmire all playing grand pianos at once on the NQC stage!
Moment of the Night
Unnamed Nelons daughter’s performance on the acappella “Blessed Assurance.” It may not be much different from the Isaacs’ arrangement, but it was a memorable moment because she’s a fresh face on the NQC stage, and she executed the difficult vocal so professionally. It was a highlight in an already notable set.