The Week in Review #14: Quartets Prepare to Go Walking in Memphis, George Bev Shea Turns 103, and Little Ernie Phillips Rox Everyone’s Sox (Inter Alia)

*A real quartet convention is coming to Memphis this summer! (next summer—sorry, been getting less sleep lately from that 9:00 calculus class). Sadly, I’m nowhere near Memphis, or I’d be just as thrilled about it as some of my fellow bloggers. I wonder if there’ll be some sort of online option…?

*Speaking of fellow bloggers, I’m happy to report that both Southern Gospel Critique and Musicscribe are back up and running after recovering from various issues (the one was re-grouping after a virus attack, the other was re-locating). They both look pretty spiffy too. [UPDATE: As of late Saturday evening, Southern Gospel Critique once again appears to have a malware issue. I hope they’re able to resolve it again as soon as possible.] [Further update: Adam and Brian have decided to delete the whole site and start from scratch. It’s safe to click on the link again, but the site will look blank until they’ve imported all their old posts back. I’m sorry you guys! I feel for you!]

*Southern Gospel Blog has a new look as well. Maybe it’s just me but it seems a tad… white.

*George Bev Shea turned 103 this week! February 1st, to be exact. Via Minnesota SG Fan, here is a clip from early December of the legend singing “How Great Thou Art.” (The video was taken by popular Christian author Randy Alcorn.) I remember the shock my mom and dad had recently when they realized George Bev Shea was still around. “I mean, like, we remember him from HIGHSCHOOL.”

*Speaking of when mom and dad were in highschool (or at least college)… Ferris Bueller is BAAAAAACK. Why bother with multiple ads during the Super Bowl when they could just roll this one over and over? Even if the basic message seems to boil down to “You become Matthew Broderick if you buy a CR-V.” Results may vary there…

*Popular Christian author and speaker Eric Metaxas appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast this week and gave a speech laced with humor and some surprisingly direct proclamations of conservative ideals. Although it could have been strengthened in some places (he’s good, but he’s no Mother Theresa), I thought that overall it was a solid and impressive presentation. Watch and enjoy it via an embed on Denny Burk’s site here.

*So James MacDonald decided to film himself doing a post-mortem with some black pastor friends over the T. D. Jakes brou-ha-ha, apparently so they could pat him on the back. I was truly shocked by the blatant racism of some of their comments, and others are too. Watch the video here and read Carl Trueman’s appropriately unimpressed and acerbic recap here.

*A gold-mine of videos from a recent Mark Trammell Quartet concert with new/old tenor Eric Phillips was posted just a few days ago. Unfortunately, the audio quality isn’t as good as it could be, but video is great. Here’s “Wedding Music.” Watch others in related videos, including “Gloryroad.” I love Mark Trammell’s intro to Eric in “Gloryroad”: “This is one of the most requested songs he did when he was here, and I learned to despise it as much as any song I’ve ever sung. But somebody seems to like it, so we’re gonna do it, and if you don’t mind, just endure…”

*Speaking of tenors named Phillips, Ernie Phillips has been making a comeback filling in with the Kingsmen. We sure wouldn’t mind it if he decided to stick around. Here is the video that’s generated the most buzz over the week—a stunning performance of “God Saw a Cross.” I’ll be honest, I knew Ernie was a great singer, but I didn’t know he had this in him. Once again, you’ll have to put up with slightly muddy audio, particularly on the bridge, but it’s worth it. Man, I wish I could have been in the audience for this:

(I know most readers of this blog are already familiar with the song, but for the benefit of those reading who aren’t, the lyrics for the bridge say:

And when I finally gave my heart to Jesus
From that moment of time until forever
When God sees me He only sees the cross)

*By the way, I survived my calculus exam yesterday.

Where is Eric Phillips On Your Top Ten?

Hello all. By now if you’re a fan of southern gospel you know that Eric Phillips has rejoined the Mark Trammell Quartet. This is nothing short of momentous for SG fans everywhere. I thought pigs would fly before Eric came back, but lo! A levitating porcine creature appears even now outside the window.

I am actually not thoroughly familiar with Eric’s voice, but the little I have heard impressed me. His voice is a little warmer and more natural than his equally beloved father (who could also do some beautiful singing). His consistency is widely acclaimed. He makes it look so easy. And yet, he’s not quite among the handful of tenors everybody’s constantly talking about (Phelps, Funderburk, Free, etc.) Why is that, do you think? And while you’re answering, let me know if he would make your personal top ten, and if so where he would land. I would be interested to see who he beats.