Good evening! Jump in and add your thoughts if you’re reading and watching the webcast with me.
Everyone is in agreement, I think, that this was hands down the best night of the week so far. There were numerous highlights. I’ve listed some of mine with my live play-by-play below the fold.
– Dixie Melody Boys, “Hello Mama.” Aaron Dishman sang and played piano.
– A Hawaiian quartet called Keepers of the Faith who shared a powerful testimony and sang “Oh What a Savior.”
– The Confused Quartet with Jeff Easter’s Kingsmen tenor impression. My favorite moment of the week thus far.
– Inspirations: Baritone Jon Epley sang “I Have Not Forgotten” and nailed it.
– All-Star Quartet, featuring Riley Clark on “Glory Road.”
– Old Paths, “We Are God’s Children”
– Kingdom Heirs: entire set
– Brian Free and Karen Peck singing “Looking for a City”
– MTQ and the Couriers: “Statue of Liberty.” This was the Couriers’ grand retirement performance. They went out with a bang! A wonderfully memorable moment which will doubtless go down as a major highlight of the year.
– Legacy Five, “We Shall See Jesus,” with Scott’s dedication to Dianne Wilkinson
– Triumphant Quartet, “Somebody Died For Me” and “Welcome to Heaven” and… aw heck, their whole set was great.
6:30 EST: The Kingsmen are singing something patriotic. Not sure what the title is, but this bridge sure is clunky. I think it’s called “Land of the Free.” The ending was all over the place vocally. I believe that was their closer.
I notice we’re already about ten minutes behind schedule. This is gonna be a late one…
6:40: It’s the Dixie Melody Boys! I see Matt Felts is wearing a… neon green shirt. Wow, that’s hideous. Can’t decide which is worse, his shirt or the hot pink shirt that young baritone is wearing. I think the neon green is the worst. But he sounds great. They’re opening with “Glory Road.” I see Michael Booth on drums!
That young baritone is Aaron Dishman. He’s also a pianist. He is now singing and accompanying himself on the Squire Parsons song “Hello Mama.” I like his voice! Pretty sure this will go down as an evening highlight.
Ed O’Neal spoke a bit about the band, now he’s featuring himself on something… I’ll have the title in a minute, wait for it. Ah, it’s “Peace In the Valley.” Well, you can’t top Elvis on this, but then Elvis set the bar pretty high.
Ed’s microphone is finking out. Aaron handed him a new one, and he said, “Thank you brother.” Then “This sounds terrible!” The one he has now seems to be working. He’s talking about a song he wrote, and it took years for anyone to like it. The one day Claude Hopper’s publishing company called and said the Inspirations had recorded it. His wife didn’t get excited until she realized how much money it was making. Aaaand, it’s “When I Cross to the Other Side of Jordan!”
The webcast is becoming choppy for me here, anyone else noticing this?
Gerald is up now announcing the bass singers quartet. But sadly I have to go, so this will resume.
8:00 EST I’m back! Gerald Wolfe is introducing a quartet called Emmaus Road. He said they’re passionate about the gospel and have led 25 people to Christ in the last month. They’re singing their latest single, “Get On Board.” I really enjoyed their sound!
They’re rolling the old clip of George Younce’s last NQC appearance. They’ve picked some really good ones for this new DVD! Sure beats the junk they’ve used for evening filler in previous years. Gerald is choking up. “He was the best. The BEST. Phil, why’d you put that on before I had to introduce a group?”
It’s a group from Hawaii. They’re called Keepers of the Faith. One of them has a ponytail! They’re singing “He Came Down to My Level” and they have a bit of an accent. How funny! They have a rich sound together. Whoops, that key change didn’t work out so well, but oh well.
The tenor singer is sharing the group’s testimony now. Wow, this is cool. He says he and his three brothers in the group grew up in street gangs before getting saved and launching this gospel music ministry. They’re closing with “Oh What a Savior.” Hmmmm, let’s see if this works! Hey, this is really good so far. Okay, here we go for the climax… okay, he didn’t go for the high note on “chorus” but touched it on “and evermore.” A little strained, not as spectacular as it could have been, but that actually went smoother than Ernie’s performance last night (sad to say!) Standing-O. That got one of the most enthusiastic responses of the night, maybe the week.
Gerald just introduced the Torchmen Quartet, a group based in Canada who’s worked in gospel music promotion up there for years, including the Canadian version of the NQC. They’re singing a song called “I’ll Keep On Believing.” It’s really slow—I think they’re losing the crowd. The emcee just did a funny bit—I think more people should have been laughing! Now they’re singing “One-Way Train.” I like the bass! The tenor, well…
Oh cool, they’re doing “The Confused Quartet.” Mark Trammell, Arthur Rice, Scott Howard…and Jeff Easter. They’re figuring out their parts in a redback. Jeff is singing tenor, Scott is singing lead, Arthur on baritone, Mark on bass. Yeah, Jeff is gonna pull out his Gary Shepherd impression. This will be good.
They just killed “Just a Little Talk.” Jeff STOLE the show. “You like that kind of singing? Me neither!” Mark holding up the bass… finished on a dreadful high note. Awesome. Best terrible tenor singing I’ve ever heard. Evening highlight so far.
Now it’s the Inspirations. It seems like mostly young blood with Mike Holcomb still holding up the bass. Can anyone fill me in on who the lineup is right now? I like the lead singer. He’s singing “He Made a Change.” Looks like a live band! Somebody’s playing lap guitar on stage. Very classy. They’re singing “I’m Saved, Forgiven” (or maybe it’s “I’ll Never Get Over What God Went Under”). I can tell the tenor has a good voice, but it sounds like he’s fighting a cold. (And he wouldn’t be the only one.) Okay, now baritone Jon Epley is being featured on “I Have Not Forgotten”, and I’m remembering how much I like his voice. This is nice and tight. They’re doing an acapella encore. Cool! Now singing “Overwhelming Joy.” Perhaps this is a medley because they didn’t do too much of that one before going into “I’m Not Ashamed.”
All right, I’ve been waiting for this: The All-Star Quartet. And it’s Clayton Inman on lead, Mark Trammell on baritone, Jeff Chapman on bass, and… Riley Harrison on tenor! Yay Riley! I’m just enjoying this. Gerald’s picking on him. Okay, that was great. Although I noticed Riley didn’t hazard the high note. I think that was wise because the song seemed just a tad out of his range. However, it was really great to see him in an All Star Quartet because he truly is one of the genre’s brightest young talents.
Okay, up now, the Old Paths. Brandon Coomer, are you watching? Leave a shout-out in the comments with your thoughts if so! Opening with a radio hit, “Battle Stand.” Now they’re singing “God’s Great.” I really like this next song called “We Are God’s Children!” Josh just commented saying they remind him of 80s Gold City. I think the lead singer is rather like Ivan Parker in his younger days now that he’s made that comparison. They’re really pushing those high notes! Red in the face, nearly every one of ‘em.
[Pause for a blurb about TBN and NQC 2014.]
9:25–Kingdom Heirs! We are now about 20 minutes behind schedule. They’re opening with “Redeeming the Time.” I believe this is from their latest. Now they’re on to “All the Joys of Heaven.” I think Jerry Martin is hotter in the mix tonight than before. I’m glad, because sometimes Arthur Rice can overpower him. I’m also connecting more with the songs they’re picking so far. Both new, I believe! Okay, a third new one: “The Borrowed Tomb.” I love this one also! This is fantastic! Amazing climax. Honestly, they could have closed with that and their set would still have been an evening highlight. But they’re doing “Just Beyond the Sunset” now. I see Dianne Wilkinson clapping in the front row! Jerry sounds like he’s choking on something… wonder if he’s got a cold too.
I think it was a smart and bold move for KH to do all new songs tonight. Kudos to them. Maybe other groups will follow their example.
LOL! Gerald told Steve he had to introduce Brian Free & Assurance. But Brian was distracted in conversation with Karen Peck, whereupon the guys began telling her “Karen, sit down! We have a program going on here. This is quartet night and you’re not even supposed to be in the building.” Brian going “We love you Karen, it’s all right.” So funny.
I love Brian Free & Assurance! They’re opening with “If it Takes a Valley.” Good older choice. They’re a bit fresher tonight than last night (no kidding!) Perhaps Mike Rogers will get a proper introduction this set. Jeremy singing “Save Me a Seat at the Table” by request. Brian Free just called for another hand for the Kingdom Heirs. Classy. Now he’s introducing the group including Mike. Oh cool, a new one: “Calvary’s Cry.” This was one of the highlights of their latest album for me. Brian straining on the breakdown, but a good finish.
Oh, oh, oh, Brian and Karen are doing “Looking For the City.” So THAT’S what they were plotting together! Hilarious. Brian was totally spent after that one.
Brian just introduced Mark Trammell Quartet. “Are we stalling for time here, ‘cuz I can say a LOT about Mark.” Ha. Brian has a great sense of humor. There’s a fresh face in the group: Dustin David Black on tenor. He filled the gap when Eric Phillips stepped back down—big shoes to fill, but he sounds good on “Wedding Music” so far.
A funny question just occurred to me: Is Pat Barker part Asian? For some reason, looking at his profile, it seemed like there was a little Asian in there.
They’re doing “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” from their big Goss-ified hymns album. Mark just shared a memory of when he saw the Couriers sing “Statue of Liberty” in 1974, and invited them on stage. He presented them with a retirement plaque and read a moving inscription thanking them for their years of ministry. Oh wow, this is so cool: Mark’s letting them sing it, just like the original cut! MTQ joining in on the chorus, but I hear some mike squealing. Dear mike: Shut up. Thank you. Ah, this is so awesome. No stacking required!
10:22 Up now, Legacy Five. Matt Fouch has a new haircut and glasses! Opening with “Newborn Feeling.” Now “I Found Grace,” which is always a highlight. Hmmmm, just looked at the schedule and saw that Gold City was supposed to be up before Legacy Five. I guess we’re rearranging things today! They’re singing “Have You Met the Man of Galilee” now. I wonder what album this is from. Gus nailed his solo. Trey Ivey playing “His Name is Wonderful” solo.
Matt Fouch singing “We Shall See Jesus.” Scott is now talking about the song and acknowledged Dianne Wilkinson in the audience. He shared the story of how she encouraged L5 to cover it, saying: “That song is too good a song to just die. You’ve got to sing it.” I’m glad she did.
Up now, Gold City, opening with “I Cast My Bread On the Water.” Next, “I Have an Anchor.” Jerry Pelfrey on top of his game tonight! Now Daniel is singing “It’s Still the Cross.” I’ve always thought this song had one of the worst first verses of a gospel song ever (horrifically clunky and muddled), but once we get that out of the way, it’s great! Fantastic vocals on the bridge. It’s nice to see them dusting off a couple more favorites beyond the same old sugar sticks. Now, “When He Blest My Soul.” I have to say, I think I prefer Robert Fulton’s voice to Dan Keeton’s. Dan may have had an easier time hitting the high notes, but Fulton’s voice is just easier to listen to.
Well, that was a smooth transition! We went from Gold City to Triumphant with minimal delay. “Heaven Will Be Mine Someday.” Now slowing it down for the ballad “Somebody Died For Me.” I’ve always enjoyed this song, co-written by Kyle Matthews. A flawless vocal from Scotty Inman.
Eric Bennett shared a good word, now introducing Clayton on “Welcome to Heaven.” Hey, isn’t this an old feature of his with the Singing Americans? What a great idea for Triumphant to revive it! Clayton sings it differently from the way he did then, but this was a great moment.
I believe they are singing their closing song now: “I Know I’m Going Home.” I think this is from their From The Heart album, where each member contributed a song. Jeff Stice wrote this one. What a barn-burner! I love it that they pulled out a fresh one to close with. I mean I love “Almost Home” too, but it’s so impressive that they have this many different strong songs to provide such variety.
Wait… they’re saying goodnight. I thought there was going to be a grand finale? Apparently not? This is a bit confusing, but I don’t mind going to bed a little earlier! Goodnight all, and leave your thoughts in the comments.