The full review of the Booth Brothers concert I went to will have to wait for a little while until I get some important schoolwork out of the way. Meanwhile, here are a few things that might interest my readers until then. First, a prayer request for Jim Brady: During the concert, he shared that his dad had been taken to the hospital the night before. He didn’t share many details but simply asked for prayers because things looked uncertain. So keep Jim, his dad, and the rest of the family in your prayers. I got to chat with Jim real briefly at half-time and told him that he had co-written one of my favorite songs of the year (“Stand Among the Millions”). He said that he believed that might be the next radio single for Brian Free & Assurance. If he’s right, I hope it’s a hit. In Jim’s words, Brian really “tears it up.”
Second, I caught up with Ronnie Booth at half-time and asked him what his favorite song on the new project was. He said it was “Masterpiece of Mercy.” I asked him to share a bit about why, and here’s his response:
Ronnie: Well, I mean, I can see the work of grace has been done in my own life and how I’ve changed over the years, and more and more wanting to become like the Lord Jesus, through his word. Musically speaking, it’s one of my favorite styles to sing. It was so melodic—Jim and Rodney Griffin wrote that.
Me: It’s right in your sweet spot.
Ronnie: Very, very much. And it really showcases the harmony of the group.
Me: Yeah, and I love it at the end on that last note when Michael is just floating up there above you like he does… it’s just beautiful.
Ronnie: I think I floated, but I didn’t get quite to my pitch… but I eventually got there. [Laughs]
We then talked a bit about how Ronnie and Michael’s voices actually resemble each other a lot despite the fact that they have different timbres. Ronnie is a sweet guy and it was a pleasure to meet him. There was also a funny moment before I got a chance to speak with him when another lady in line was asking questions about the Jubilee projects. She wasn’t quite sure what she was looking for but knew she was interested in one of those collaborations. I thought I heard her mention that she was looking for a DVD, so I said “Well here’s their latest one” and picked up the Jubilee 2 DVD which happened to be in the rack right next to us. Ronnie flashed me a grin and said “I’m glad you’re here.” He was obviously very occupied with the various people trying to talk to him and asking for autographs, so he probably appreciated the help.
And finally, I had the wonderful opportunity to connect with Michael Booth both at half-time and after the concert. At half-time, I nervously began to introduce myself, saying he might have seen me around the blogosphere… Before I could finish, he started to say “Are you yankeegospelgirl? I saw on your blog that you were coming tonight and I was hoping to meet you!” You can imagine my surprise at this point as I blurted out, “Really? You wanted to meet m-m-m-me?” He said “Yes, I did.” I asked him if he’d read anything I’d written about their stuff, and he said he had and really appreciated it. Then he leaned over very seriously and said, “Listen, you bloggers are really important. You carry just as much responsibility as we do.” He said “I want you to know that it’s okay to be direct, just as long as you do it with grace. And I think you’re doing that. You’re doing a good job.” That meant a lot to me, and I thanked him very earnestly. I wanted to put that into a blog post here as a reminder to my other fellow bloggers, that we do indeed carry a responsibility. People are coming and reading what we say, and if we don’t reflect Christ, we’re not being a good witness. As Michael said, that doesn’t mean we should feel constrained from sharing honest opinions, but if we do so with intent to be constructive, I think we’re doing the right thing.
After the concert, we were able to link up again mostly by chance (long story), and I surprised him by asking if he could sing a little duet with me. I did this with Ernie Haase when I saw Signature Sound in concert earlier this year, so I’m starting to rack up a small collection. I actually would have been content to do it with any of the Brothers, but it was extra special to do it with Michael. We were standing in the empty auditorium with loud music playing over the speakers, so I said, “Let’s not do it here.” We walked out to the lobby, and he had us stop in a corner so that the people milling about out there wouldn’t mob him. We sang “It is Well With My Soul.” Despite the background noise, it came out very clear and very simple. As far as I can tell, we were on pitch the whole time. Later I felt really, really bad about putting him on the spot and risking his being mobbed by fans, but I think he was able to retreat safely after we finished. I recorded our duet and decided to post it here. Enjoy:
After we sang, we had a few more parting words, and it came out that he didn’t really botch his lyrics on “Welcome to the Family” at NQC. He did it on purpose to give the audience a lift. Typical Michael. He had me fooled. But when I asked him if the Four Great Cathedrals story was true, he said it was absolutely true. He knew he was going to fail the test anyway, so he figured he might as well make it a little fun for himself. Again, typical Michael. I was grateful for the small amount of time I got to spend with him and hope we can meet again one day. He’s a southern gospel treasure, and if he’s reading this I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart—for making the concert a great experience and for making time for me in particular. I don’t take it lightly. I don’t take it lightly at all.