Wednesday night was quartet night! Once again, I was unable to watch the webcast straight through the evening (don’t worry folks, I’ll be there for the whole show Friday and Saturday), but I caught most of the show tonight. Enjoy!
Well, for once I’m here for the showcases, and first up is a mixed trio called Revelation—two guys and a woman. I wish they were the North Irish group, but they’re actually not at all bad. The tenor is very clear and high, and they have a nice blend. What a nice surprise! They did a good acapella tag too. Although as DBM pointed out, kind of funny for them to be kicking off quartet night.
Now it’s the Mark Dubbeld Family, an evenly split mixed quartet singing “Inside the Gate.” Their sound is solid. Keith Waggoner here in the chat room says Mark is a friend of his. Another great showcase performance. Two for two so far tonight.
Third up is a group I’ve heard of before, the Diplomats. I appreciate their live band. But their mix is poor. DBM informs us that the bass singer’s mike could “some high eQ boost” (whatever that means, I think it’s equalizing?)
WOW, they just brought Union Street up. I didn’t know they were here. This is awesomeness. Andrew sounds terrific, and he’s leading a song I’ve never heard before, called “He Still Saves.” It’s got a progressive flavor to it. Toby just killed it on a key change. I’m serious, I think I’d rather hear them do a full set than Gold City. Just swap ‘em out. Just saying.
Tim Lovelace just gave away a free Jubilee 3 CD, and said it came with a message from Scott Fowler: That HE donated it, not Gerald or Michael because they’re too cheap.
After a supper break, I’m back with the Lefevre Quartet. They just sang “Come and See,” now a different song whose title I didn’t catch. Jerry Goff then came and talked about etiquette policies, including keeping talking to a minimum. Ummmm, I agree, but not in the way Jerry meant it.
Skyline Boys are up now and I’m taking a break.
Back for the Dixie Echoes and they just finished a song featuring the new tenor, Craig Thomas. Now a moving testimony from Randy Shelnut Sr. about his son’s cancer, and a performance of “Crumbs From the Table” by Scoot. Josh Singletary is in the chat room, and we just had a moment where it came out that I’m the last blogger to review Tribute’s new album Our Anthem. AWK-ward. Okay, now for some thick four-part harmony on “If You Know the Lord,” on an upcoming project. Man, I am LOVING this new bass, Jordan James. LOL, Randy set up “Roll On Jordan” by saying it features bass and tenor so it’s guaranteed to be a hit: “All they gotta do is burp and squeal and you’ll love it.” We’re getting more Jordan James on this one, and man, he is GOOD. Expansive, rock solid, with cut, easy to listen to. Folks, this is what quartet night is all about. Rightchere.
Ray Dean Reese is up now reminiscing with Jerry Goff about great bass singers of the past and about some Kingsmen history. Then they played a transition clip that was GOOD (finally), a little vintage footage of the Kingsmen from the 50s. Now here’s the current Kingsmen, with their new tenor, singing “One Way Trip.” Bob Sellers is giving it a good country twang on lead. Now for an oldie, “Next Cloud.” Randy did a nice step-out. It’s good to see Ray Dean Reese enjoying himself on stage.
Okay, Randy just set up Chris Jenkins for “Oh What a Savior,” and this should be good. I think Ernie Haase really owns this one, it’s his song, but Chris may have my second favorite version. WOW, on the climax, he sailed up to what sounded like a soprano A or B flat to me. That was a big risk, but it totally paid off. Biggest crowd reaction of the night. They could have closed the set with that, instead they’re doing “The Judgment” acapella, which got almost as big a reaction. It was smart to segue directly into it from “OWAS” so that some momentum carried over. Now it’s “Stand Up…” and I have to go.
Aaaaand, we’re back, with the Kingdom Heirs, singing “I’m Not Worried About Forever.” Next, “Tell Me Why.” I’ve forgotten how much fun this one is. Andy Stringfield, rock on. Next, “Just Preach Jesus.” They’re closing with “We Will Stand Our Ground,” and I’m not sure I recognize the music video playing behind them. Arthur Rice is effortless. He’s got stacks in his vocal cords!
KH are off and they’re playing another vintage transition clip: The Statesmen and “Get Away Jordan.” What is this, they’re just playing decent clips for quartet night? Can we do this every night? Please? PLEASE?
Okay I took a break and apparently missed a funny blooper. I’m trying to find out what it was in the chat room. Some sort of tech snafu with Paul’s Journey. Meanwhile DBM has put a riddle to the rest of us, and we’re trying to solve it: Michael English, Steve French, and London Parris—can we think of a tenor to complete the international quartet? Daniel Mount offered Terry FRANKLIN and Wes HAMPTON, but DBM says a city name feels like cheating. We can’t think of any names. If you come up with one, leave it in the comments. Wait, never mind… Josh at MNSGfan thought of Johnny Cook… Cook Islands, get it? Google tells me they’re the best kept secret in the Pacific Ocean, so no wonder I’ve never heard of them. But DBM’s still not quite happy.
Now Paul’s Journey is singing a new song called “You Better Be Ready.” It’s a good solid up-tempo song, but their sound is a little weak. Hmmmm, we in the chat room are underwhelmed.
Yay, another classic clip. George Younce telling some jokes. As Josh has aptly said, “George’s jokes never got old…then there’s Jerry.”
Okay ladies and gents, DBM just got it: Nic Holland, of the Greenes and Won By One. And Daniel has added that we could put David Jordan of Paul’s Journey on bass if we didn’t want two Frenchmen in the same quartet (a bit much, don’t you think?) Plus, that’s a quartet that would actually be physically possible to put together. Hmmmmm, Gerald?
Meanwhile BFA is up singing “What a Beautiful Day,” and Brian just hit his soprano G or A or whatever. We think Jenkins actually went a note or two higher on “OWAS” earlier this evening. That gives you an idea of how talented Jenkins is. Ah, DBM informs us Brian’s note was “just” an F#. But “pretty awesome for a guy who’s 49 years old.”
Now we’re moving on to a colors quartet (so many options we couldn’t settle on just four), and BFA sang “If the Lord Says Do It,” right now “Guard Your Heart.” I really, really like this song. Bill Shivers is pitch-perfect on it, a little hoarse but nailed the key change. Wow. Bill and Brian turned in some powerhouse harmonies on that one. Powerful message and singing, another highlight of the night.
Okay folks, it’s time for “Looking For a City!!” Go Brian go! This never gets old, to me anyway. And he did the whole routine and it was awesome. Not quite as big a reaction as last year, when it was at the end of the convention, but still got a good response. (We think it would be fun if he spiced it up one evening and did it with another young tenor. Perhaps Chris Jenkins?) Scott Fowler came up and said, “Brian… you are far too old to sing that song.” We think Scott left his ears at home but we love him anyway. Scott says Brian agreed though.
Whoooops, I think Scott Fowler’s mike went out on the first verse of “Ask Me Why.” OOPS. Now it’s the 2nd verse, and… it took half a verse to come back, but we’re back now. Poor Scott. Now they’re singing “Living In the Palace.” Yes, this is one of their best new ones! That was great, and now they’re singing “Life Will Be Sweeter,” hamming it up. Scott made like he wasn’t sure Matt Fouch had learned it before they sang. Trey did his thing on the piano, Scott stopped and had them repeat the last chorus, Gus held his note forever and turned red, and you know the drill. Then closed out with “I Found Grace.”
Jerry reminisced with Tim Riley for a while and gave him a special award to recognize the fact that GC has had a #1 hit song in each of their four decades on the road. Since all their songs are recycled, we’ve been busy talking in the chat about what would happen if we transferred William Golden’s beard to Dan Keeton… without the hair. This came up because a viewer asked “Is this the Oak Ridge Boys?” in jest. We figure all their hair put together wouldn’t even equal Richard Sterban. Even counting toupees.
Okay, now they’re finally pulling out “Midnight Cry,” presumably for a finale? Pelfrey belting it out, very Ivan-ish. I miss Craig West, but this is good stuff. It got a 3/4 standing ovation, we’re thinking. They figured now was a good time to move into “Get Up, Get Ready,” since everyone’s up already. DBM is “singing” Tim’s part in the chat room. Well, that went over really well. GC got a solid reaction tonight.
They just played a Blackwoods clip and we remembered that J.D. really could sing if he wanted to. (As opposed to burping, that is.)
Triumphant is up now singing “When the Trumpet Sounds.” Then, “He Loves Me.” Now Jeff Stice just shared a story about when his mom had cancer, and he was helping her around the house after surgery and she asked him to play for her. She suggested that he make a CD of just him and the piano with no background music, and that he also include the first hymn he learned to play. So he’s playing it for us right now: “I’ve Got a Mansion.” Pure, unfiltered Jeff, no strings attached, as it were. I’m loving it! The audience sang along. Another highlight.
Okay, I went full screen for “Old White Flag.” Waving a tissue settled back in bed. Perfect. Clayton caught Scotty in the face with his hankie. Aaaaaand… they closed with a BANG and “Almost Home.” The Gospel Gardener’s wife is here in the chat room and says her 14-month-old is snapping along. I saw L5 clapping in the front.
Wow, okay, the finale was so good I went full screen and just enjoyed it. Gerald Wolfe brought most of MTQ and L5 up on stage with him, along with all of Triumphant and the bass from Paul’s Journey, to sing “the ultimate quartet song,” “Just a Little Talk With Jesus.” There was lots of joking and fun, and David Sutton got a chance to ham it up on a tenor step-out, being the only tenor on stage (somehow, not sure where Gus Gaches and Eric Phillips disappeared to). It wasn’t quite as awesome as it would have been with the Kingdom Heirs, BFA and Gold City up there too, but it sure was fun, and I loved hearing all the basses come together to rattle the floors.
I think it’s safe to say that this was the best night of the week. There were really just a couple weak spots. Overall, everyone seemed pleased, the crowd looked fuller than the last couple nights and responded well, we in the chat room were content, there just wasn’t much to complain about tonight! Be sure to talk about what your personal highlights were in the comments.