Booth Brothers Announce a DVD Taping

The Booth Brothers are my favorite trio in gospel music, and they have just announced that they will be taping a new DVD. This will be their first video project with newcomer Paul Lancaster. The project will actually contain enough material to cover two DVDs, so it will be very interesting to see which songs they choose to highlight. They’ve recorded some of their best songs in the years since they last taped a concert, so it will be a treat to have high quality live performances of highlights from projects like Declaration, Let It Be Known, and Still. 

The concert will be taped on February 23rd at In Touch Studios in Atlanta, GA. Tickets are available now from here.

Some of the Booth Brothers’ older DVDs with baritone Jim Brady are no longer in print, but Michael gave me permission to digitize them and share the performances on YouTube. In case you missed it a while back, I’ve compiled a playlist of all the vintage clips I’ve put on my channel so far here. They’re some of my most popular uploads, and with good reason! Southern gospel doesn’t get much better than this trio.

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NQC 2015 Open Thread

This year, I will regrettably not be live-blogging the webcast of the National Quartet Convention. Real life is finally getting in the way. But, I would love to hear thoughts from any southern gospel fans who are either going in person or watching the webcast. I know that several new groups will be making their debut, including Jim Brady’s new trio. So, consider this an open thread to discuss groups you’re looking forward to, thoughts or highlights of any of the sets, even disappointments (I won’t censor you for it!), and suggestions for improvement.

To make up for this (at least partly!) I do have an interview with one of my favorite new songwriters in gospel music coming soon, so stay tuned for that.

Doug Anderson, Taranda Greene Debut New Trio

Well, this is a nice surprise. Apparently Doug Anderson and Taranda Greene both still feel the group harmony itch, so they’ve teamed up with tenor Jody McBrayer (formerly of Avalon) to do a record with very limited tour dates. While this particular 90s Truth tune isn’t my favorite (“No untold facts, no mysteries, it’s all so cut and dried” *CLUNK* *cringe*), it does show off their ranges once the climax kicks in. All three are powerhouse vocalists in their own right, but when you bring them together, their blend recalls the great CCM harmony groups of yester-year. As critic David Bruce Murray remarked, all this trio has to do is sing old songs and make them sound new. Since they’re not (currently) planning extended tour dates, they likely won’t be searching for a lot of new material. What bait to dangle in front of a songwriter’s nose though! It’s probably safe to say that somebody’s saving them a spot on mainstage at NQC as we speak. I can’t wait to hear them test their chops on some better writing.

One of the nicest things to watch in this video is how sincerely Doug Anderson seems to enjoy standing back and listening to Taranda and Jody take the spotlight. Ever the perfect group gentleman.

Introducing Tyler Vestal with Signature Sound

Ernie Haase has announced that with Wayne Haun’s ever-growing producer schedule, he will no longer be able to form a regular part of the Signature Sound band in live shows. So, they’re introducing pianist Tyler Vestal to share the load. Here’s a brand new music video with Tyler, set to a studio track of “Redemption Draweth Nigh.” This song, which features new lead singer Dustin Doyle, will be released on the deluxe edition of Happy People later this year. I admit, I find it a bit odd that they chose to introduce Vestal by simply having him “play” for a pre-recorded track which may or may not have had his keyboard work on it. I was expecting a live video performance. But it’s still nice to hear the studio version of Dustin’s take on this classic.

Farewell to Gus Gaches

One of my favorite tenor singers is coming off the road due to vocal fatigue. Gus Gaches first joined Legacy Five in 2009 and has contributed immeasurably to their music, not only as a singer but as a producer. I’ve always loved the purity of his tone, and I respect the fact that he never pushed his range to the point where it became irritating just for the sake of showing off. He is far and away my favorite Legacy Five tenor and one of the best in the business as a whole. Here is his take on their signature song “I Stand Redeemed,” which I’ve always preferred to the original. I believe this was the first time he performed it live with the group:

And the Newest Member of Signature Sound Is…

Dustin Doyle, formerly of Beyond the Ashes. In this video, Ernie talks about Dustin’s qualifications and says he came highly recommended both by Anthony Facello and Doug Anderson. I especially enjoyed hearing Ernie talk about the audition process (and there’s more than talk too if you keep watching!) Another interesting fact is that Doyle is an accomplished guitarist, so Ernie is getting a twofer by hiring him—vocalist and band member! July 15th will mark his first date on the bus.

Doug Anderson Leaves Signature Sound

Well, this was going to be a busy week for me, so I worried about finding time to fill it with content for y’all. Turns out, this announcement will be enough for a whole week: Signature Sound has just released a press video breaking the news that charter member Doug Anderson is leaving to pursue a solo career. His last concerts with the group will be June 19th and 20th.

This is clearly Doug’s decision, with the more flexible schedule cited as a major factor. In the video, Doug explains that as his girls grow up, he wants to be a bigger part of their lives and have more control over when he can be off the road. This has motivated many a quartet man to step down, and with Doug’s popularity, it’s probably not a bad economic decision either. He also says jokingly that he hopes to “hop back on the bus” with Signature Sound at any time, and Ernie assures him that the corner bunk is always his. Ernie is clearly trying not to sound too bummed about the whole thing, but obviously he’s happy for Doug to pursue what’s best for him. Doug has been Ernie’s right-hand man and the glue of the group for about 13 years now, and it must be tough to see him go.

There are so many things I could say about how Doug’s voice and personality will be missed as a part of the Signature Sound unit. As I try to think about favorite performances, I realize there are so many that it’s hard to know where to start. He could own ballads as completely as up-tempo numbers, gritty soul as well as tender story songs. Very few singers command that kind of versatility.

It’s a testament to Doug’s talent that I’m going to reach all the way back to the beginning of his career for two favorite moments to showcase. One is the group’s old version of “Happy Rhythm,” which features one of my favorite Doug improvisations ever on the encore. The other, from that same concert, is his take on the standard on “Had It Not Been,” of which I have yet to hear a better version.

Heartiest best wishes to Doug for a blessed future and a fruitful career. Now, let the speculation about his replacement begin! Who do my readers favor? Personally, I think Andrew Goldman wouldn’t be a bad bet. He’s the only young singer I can think of who holds the potential to fill Doug’s shoes.

Roger Bennett Memorial Destroyed by Wind Storm

I just noticed this piece of sad news in an e-blast from Legacy Five: Apparently, the folks in beloved Cathedrals pianist Roger Bennett’s hometown of Strawberry, Arkansas were putting the finishing touches on a memorial wall to him. The wall was nearly done after two years in the making, but unfortunately, they had not yet installed the support beams that would keep it from blowing down in a wind storm, and it was destroyed a few days ago. Here are two before/after pictures:

Roger Bennett Memorial wide

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Roger Bennett is one of my favorite pianists, and this news is really heartbreaking. Scott Fowler has provided an address for folks to donate towards the rebuilding process. He has said that the town will need at least several thousand dollars to start with, and any amount will be appreciated:

Roger Bennett Memorial
C/O Bank of Cave City
PO Box 187
Lynn, AR  72440

Here’s one more closeup shot of one of the plaques that had adorned the wall, which also included family pictures of Roger and engraved tiles with details about his life and career.

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Live Webcast: Singing in the Sun

Singing in the Sun is offering an NQC-style webcast for fans who can’t attend the Myrtle Beach, SC event. You can click here to purchase all five days of the event from April 21 to April 25, plus two weeks on demand. Artists include Jason Crabb, the Booth Brothers, Signature Sound, the Isaacs, and many more.

Side note: They needed somebody to proofread their announcement page. “World renown speakers”?

Check Out a Free Issue of Gospel Music Quarterly

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound sent out an e-blast a few days ago that included a link to this free issue of Gospel Music Quarterly. Once you go to the link, you can simply use the arrow keys to browse through it. The cover story is EHSS’s Inspiration of Broadway tour, with an interview conducted by Chris Allman’s son Dustin. Dustin used to have his own gospel music blog hereabouts and is now a staff writer for the publication, contributing many pieces to this issue. These include a tribute to Lari Goss and several other interviews. I see that he still retains a bit of a penchant for purple prose, but he’s definitely grown as a writer since I used to give him a hard time. 😉 This issue also features an interview with Keith and Kristyn Getty, some reflections from various gospel artists about spiritual renewal on the road, and a workout regimen from Doug Anderson (oy vey!)