NQC Live Commentary 2014: Friday Night

And that’s a wrap for Friday Night of NQC! 

Moment of the Night: Well, in terms of crowd response/impact, I would have to admit that it was the multi-group rendition of “Midnight Cry” led by Ivan Parker. People were on their feet everywhere. Personally, I found it difficult to get into, because it was so pitchy. If I were choosing my personal favorite performance, I would go with 11th Hour’s “How Will You Plead.” It was an excellent new song, delivered flawlessly by new talent. We need more of that if this music is going to have longevity into the future. As for a favorite spoken moment, I was very stirred by Scott Fowler’s words before “Truth is Marching On.” Scott is so clear-thinking and full of conviction, he kind of lifts you up with him.

I will return tomorrow night for more live commentary, and I also hope to catch a bit of the Cathedrals family reunion in the afternoon. See you then! Please click below the fold for my livestream commentary on tonight’s concerts.

Good evening everyone! I’m being taken out for dinner, but I hope to return at roughly 7:00 to begin providing live commentary for tonight’s NQC. Stay tuned!

[Note: I’m putting the most recent updates at the top now. It will be updated every few minutes ’til the end of the night, so keep refreshing the page! You can catch up starting from the beginning below the asterisks.]

Backwards Live Commentary, 11:24-9:15 PM:

11:24 “My Soul is Satisfied (When He Says Come and Dine)” — They’re doing about three encores on this one, so it must mean they’re planning to close out the night with it. Chris just did his money note–a soprano A, I think.

11:20 “Cross of Grace”

11:15 Now their new single, “Oh Yes I Am.” A nice heaven tune with good energy. Oh my bleeding ears… Chris Jenkins just went for a high note, and actually nailed it… which is kind of the problem with a note that high!

11:10 Michael Booth just introduced the Kingsmen by expressing sheepishness over having staged “Look For Me” just before their set, given that it was a Kingsmen song originally. Welp, it’s a Michael song now as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, they are opening with “Can You Hear the Battle Cry?”

11:06 11th Hour, a new mixed trio. I noticed this group at a showcase a while ago and thought they had a lot of potential. Other reviewers have said good things about their newest record. They are opening with a strong new song called “How Will You Plead?” Whoops, that wasn’t an opener, that was their only song. Well, good choice!

11:03 Jim singing a quiet new song called “Still.” I’m a little surprised that they closed with this one. I would have expected a somewhat bigger closing moment for their final NQC set, but they were probably pretty tired by now!

10:58 Michael thanking fans for their support and understanding through the group transfer. Paying his farewell tribute to Jim: “The man on stage is the man on the bus. For nearly 13 years, we have seen a consistent walk honoring Christ, every minute of the day, and we have been honored, honored to stand on stage with you.”

10:50 “Look For Me” — they’re doing it with a track tonight. To me, this is always better with a live pianist, but who cares. Michael Booth can sing this one to me until the cows come home.

10:46 Susan Whisnant; “When I think of class, I think of the Booth Brothers.” Well, I’ll drink to that. And here they are—Michael, Ronnie and Jim, together for their last NQC! *tear* They are opening with “Tell Me the Story.” I always like hearing them sing this with Jim’s wife Melissa.

10:42 “Going Away Party” — I’d never noticed this line before: “On occasion she stumbled, but this saint of God never fell.” A good line.

10:41 Jeff introduced their new drummer, Brad Hudson. He announced that Brad just got married this week, but he couldn’t think of a better place to honeymoon than the National Quartet Convention! Jeff wasn’t sure how much Brad’s wife appreciated this decision, but we’re definitely glad to have his live contribution here.

10:37 Sheri is singing the most-requested song of their Facebook poll this week. And the winner was… “Roses Will Bloom Again.” I like this line: “Don’t mourn what might have been.” A good line.

10:35 Jeff is singing “Over and Over (God is Faithful).”

10:29 The Easters coming up. Another group who uses a lot of live music. Hooray!

10:24 “Scars In the Hands of Jesus” — I think Ernie Haase & Signature Sound have trained me to like this better as a bass feature than a tenor feature, but this tenor isn’t too bad as long as he doesn’t try to go too high.

10:19 Line of the night from Jimmy Pearson. “Over here on the drums we have a little 23-year-old named Zach. He’s single, and he’s broke.” I didn’t catch the name of the equally young guitarist. The band is doing a solo jam right now, and it’s beautiful! The guitarist is smooooth.

10:17 The Diplomats. Joe Brown is taking his sweet time with the bass.

10:06 “This Blood,” a new song. It’s a powerful song, but think I would be able to focus more on enjoying it if David weren’t squawking through the whole thing. This may be controversial, but I think I prefer his harmonica playing to his tenor singing. He seems to be having a lot of trouble even staying on pitch here. Granted, it’s a difficult song that you really have to belt out, but perhaps it’s just too difficult for him.

10:04 Eric Bennett is sharing a moving word about his new baby granddaughter. He made the insightful point that newborn infants “don’t really bring anything to the table,” but we would do anything for them. “I would fight a bear for this little girl—seriously, bare-handed. Her mom and dad, no, but her, yes.” He made the analogy to our relationship with God. We bring nothing to Him, but he faced everything for us.

10:00 “Would you guys like to hear G. W. over here on the piano?” That would be G. W. Southard, their new pianist, and yes I would, thank you. With David Sutton switching to harmonica—I forgot how he holds the harmonica WITH a mike, simultaneously. That’s hard, but he does a great job.

9:57 “We’ve had a lot of requests for this one, and we thought we’d get it out of the way.” I love how Clay sings “Old White Flag” like he’s singing it for the first time every time. HA, he just knocked over his mike stand with the hankie and caught it in time before Disaster struck the stage. Good catch!

9:55 Triumphant Quartet up on stage doing “Saved By Grace.” The crowd was primed and ready after “Midnight Cry” and greeted Triumphant very warmly.

9:51 Jason Crabb is STILL over the moon about getting to sing “Midnight Cry” next to Ivan Parker. What a sweet guy. Bless his dear heart, at this point Jason can sing circles around Ivan Parker, but there’s no trace of superiority in that guy. He was genuinely excited to be on stage with an idol. No question, Jason is the real deal.

9:47 “Midnight Cry” — Ivan is bringing Canton Junction, Jason Crabb, the Talleys, and the Booth Brothers all back up on stage to help him out. He has chosen wisely. Everyone is standing, hand-raising, etc. Perhaps this was the “big moment” Michael was presaging earlier?

9:42 Okay, Ivan did something unexpected just now—he introduced his son Josh on guitar, and now Josh is cutting loose with an electric solo rendition of “Shout to the Lord.” A little odd with a choir/orchestra track in the background, but it sounds pretty good, and he’s very expressive while doing it! I certainly enjoyed that, though I’m not sure what the senior citizens made of it. 😉

9:36 I took a break, and now Ivan Parker is singing. I think I’ll extend the break a bit.

9:15 It’s Canton Junction! One of my favorite new quartets, and they have Jason Crabb’s behind them! Awesome! I notice Timmy Duncan is sporting a little beard. Still as dark and handsome as ever. I’m so glad to see this group finally get a full set on mainstage.

Tim is singing the lead for “Sun Shines Down On Me.” Awww, it’s good to hear that familiar voice again. It was the first voice that really got me hooked on southern gospel music.

Matt Hagee just asked the crowd whether they want to be “honorary Texans” and led them in a soft singalong of “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart” before launching into a kickin’ up-tempo country version. Jason’s pianist and drummer are going NUTS!

Hey, they’re singing “In God We Still Trust.” I like this song! Nobody sings it like Diamond Rio of course, but they sound great on it too. I didn’t know they had a cover of it. And that’s a wrap for Canton Junction. Very nice set.


From the Beginning…. 7:05 to 9:15

7:05 — The Erwins are singing “I Know How I Made It” acappella. This is very tight, and on-pitch! They’ve definitely been improving and refining their sound since the last time I saw them, when they were just a trio (minus the sister). I wish all groups recorded their albums with real singing like this, instead of tweaking and tuning everything. Michael Booth: “I just hope I don’t have to follow you some day.”

7:05 — The Isaacs, “He Ain’t Never Done Me Nothing”

Sonya announced that her grandmother passed away this afternoon. Now they’re singing “Good Old Days.” I like the way they’ve changed the lyrics from the way I’ve heard it before. Instead of saying “When couples really fell in love to stay… families really bowed their heads to pray… etc.,” they ask the chorus as a question: “Did families really bow their heads to pray… did daddies really never go away?” That makes it clear that the child is asking from a place of pure innocence, when the answer may in fact be more complicated. Also, I found it creepy that the original lyric seems to be implying that couples, families, etc. DON’T stay together, pray together and so forth any more!

Sonya also just announced that she’s expecting a baby girl in January. They are now singing “If That Isn’t Love.”

Now it’s “I Will Praise Him.” I’m always struck by how Jewish Ben Isaacs LOOKS in conjunction with how Southern he SOUNDS.

Aaaand, right on cue as they moved in for the big finish, we lost the feed. Cue the Jeopardy theme tune as we wait.

7:25 We’re back, with the Jay Stone Singers. (And widescreen! Yay!) Michael introduced the boy as a good friend of his son Christian. I didn’t catch the title of the song they’re singing (“Lifting Up the Standard”?), but it sounds like a poor man’s “Find Us Faithful.” I just cringed a little over the bad cadencing on the word “impact” — not just an awkward, un-poetic word in general, but the way the song is written puts the emphasis on “PACT.” However, it’s a solid ballad and a smart choice if you only have one song slot for mainstage.

7:30 It’s ERNIE HAASE & SIGNATURE SOOOOOUND! Looking classy in normal-colored suits and ties. 😀 Except maybe Ernie’s tie, it’s got some kind of sparkly rainbow… thing going on. Also, getting a closer look at Devin’s jacket, it appears to have tiny polka-dots, and some kind of embossed swirly kidney beans on it. At least they’re kinda shaped like kidney beans. But what do I know about men’s fashion?

ANYway, they opened with “Walk With Me,” which was beautiful, now Doug is now singing a piano-only version of “Sometimes I Wonder.” I think this is the best version of the song I’ve heard. I love this sound with just piano and bass. This must be what Ernie meant when he told me he was planning to go back to basics with the group’s sound. He was recalling how the Cathedrals did so much with so little in the way of instrumentation, and he felt the time was right to recapture that feel with his own group. I think he calculated correctly.

Now “I Pledge My Allegiance.” The heart of pure mush beneath my cynical shell is always moved by this one in spite of the cheese. Standing ovation.

7:45 “Get Away Jordan.” Aw, Paul just busted a little move. So adorable. It’s hard for me to believe there was ever a time when I thought this song and arrangement was anything less than awesome-sauce. Wayne’s doing some great gospel-blues stuff in the background. I always get the sense that we’re never fully seeing what he can do on the piano.

Closing out with an encore of “Glory to God in the Highest.” Michael joined them on the moves and botched it beautifully. But he was legitimately out of breath after only 30 seconds of trying!

7:53 The Talleys, “When He Calls, I’ll Fly Away.” Now Lauren is singing their current single, “Hidden Heroes.” I really like this lyric for the most part, bar just a couple awkward lines. I especially like the arrow to the heart at the end of the second verse: “Faithfully he cares for her… though she thinks he’s someone else.”

Lauren has said that a lady begged them to sing “His Life For Mine” tonight. Thanks lady! I’ve always thought this was one of Lauren’s strongest features, although she’s sounding unusually strained tonight.

Closing (?) with “I Love the Lord,” in a medley with “Total Praise,” a worship song with an odd title but a great ending. Poor Debra, she seemed sick as a dog the other night and sounds about the same tonight.

8:10 Michael is hyping some upcoming big event tonight. Oh boy, wonder what’s coming?

8:12 And the wardrobe/decor award of the night goes to… Jason Crabb and the band! They’re all decked in period garb, men in suspenders and penguin shoes (including a slightly stooped-over Jeff Taylor trying to go unnoticed on accordion–I see you Jeff!) and the ladies in adorable little cocked hats and gloves. Glad someone finally turned the ladies’ mike on, geez. As for Jason, he has his own vintage mike set up for himself. Rocking it! They opened with a rocking hymns medley of “When We All Get to Heaven” and “Glory to His Name,” where his guitar player and pianist both got to cut loose. Jason’s set has become one of the highlights of NQC for me, because his band is so fresh and alive. I wonder if they also play on his records? Now they’re breaking it down for “In the Garden.”

Awwww, Jason just brought his 12-13-year-old daughter up for a one-mike duet of “This Little Light of Mine.” She did great!

They just did a fun little take on “When the Saints,” where keyboardist Blaine Johnson moved deftly between piano and B-3 Hammond. From there they’ve segued into “O Beautiful For Spacious Skies.” I guess this is the “all-vintage set.” The way the accordion weaves through all of it is just that little bit of icing on top. They closed with “It is Well.”

Michael Booth was very impressed with the set, although the applause was merely middling enthusiastic. He said, “Glen Payne said ‘When all else fails, try singin’. Man, that was just good music. Although somebody spilled sweet tea all over the camera lens for it…” Haha.

Before introducing the Whisnants, Michael is leading the audience in a prayer for the nation. His words were very well-chosen and very moving.

8:38 The Whisnants up singing “Be Not Afraid.” Now her two sons, Ethan and Austin, are singing “Lean On You,” and it’s gelling quite well.

Melissa Brady is up now, sharing her testimony behind a song she wrote for the Whisnants titled “All is Well.” She shared about how her own words came back and ministered to her when she was caring for both of her parents with cancer.

8:53 Legacy Five is opening with an audience singalong of “His Name is Wonderful.” Now moving into “I Found Grace.” Gus’s microphone wasn’t on. Right after Michael’s audio was cutting in and out while introducing them. Hello?

Oh, goodie, they’re staging “Who Is This Man?” I was glad they brought this one back from Soul’d Out Quartet’s catalogue. It’s an excellent live number—very exciting, with a great dynamic arc.

Gus singing “I Stand Redeemed” — a bit hoarse tonight, but I still maintain that he sings this song best of all L5 tenors.

Scott sharing a very good word in setting up “The Truth Is Marching On.” Recalling a message from David Jeremiah earlier in the day, Scott said “ISIS can’t kill him… the demons in Hell who tremble at his name can’t kill him… One day the knees of those terrorists will buckle, and they will look into the very face of Jesus and say ‘Jesus, you are Lord.'” Jim Brady up on stage singing with them. Michael Booth in on the act towards the end as well!



7 thoughts on “NQC Live Commentary 2014: Friday Night

  1. Just wanted to point out that the Erwin sister just turned 14 years old a week ago. She’s going to be a good one in a few years!

    This is a group on the rise, and their partnership with Ernie and StowTown means I’m sure we’ll be hearing some great stuff from them down the road!

  2. tusk molarr

    Checked the lyrics of “Grandpa (Tell Me ’bout the Good Old Days)” and looked at a couple of versions from the Isaacs and the Judds– as far as I can tell, the chorus has ALWAYS been a series of questions. Do you have a particular version in mind that you could link?

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