Friday, October 2, 2015

National Quartet Convention 2015 - Friday Night Recap

I just want to say how thankful I am for the webcast. For those of us who aren't able to make the trip to Pigeon Forge, it's great to be able to watch so much of the concerts online! I watched tonight but was also doing other things, and now I'm having to check out a little early. But here's what stood out to me tonight.

The Booth Brothers once again proved why they are at the top of this industry. I know a lot of people don't like when they take time talking away from singing, but you can't argue with what he said. They started with "Look for Me at Jesus' Feet" and then sang the new song "I Am the Word." They ended with "Jesus Saves" with the Collingsworth Family. Such a great moment of worship!!

I really like the "This Is My Story" segments they are showing paying tribute to different artists. It was a sweet tribute to Claude and Connie Hopper and all they've overcome this year. The Hoppers had a solid set as usual. Legacy Five also had a great set tonight with Trey Ivey getting a featured vocal solo!

Many groups staged songs for the first time this week which isn't that unusual. I was driving home listening to Wilburn and Wilburn's newest song written by Gerald Crabb and couldn't catch the name, but loved the song. Extremely timely, because it started off talking about a school shooting. Also loved hearing a couple of new ones by the Collingsworth Family. Their That Day Is Coming project is full of amazing songs!

It was good that several lesser-known groups got time on main stage tonight - the Littles, the Rick Webb Family and the Childress Family. Claude Hopper also brought up the Hall Sisters who sang "I Will Arise" a cappella, beautiful!

I liked how Tribute Quartet and the Talleys had sets back to back. We got a glimpse of their "Good News He's Alive" tour. Lauren Talley and Riley Harrison Clark's singing "The Prayer" was an early highlight of the evening! Also loved hearing Lauren sing "Hidden Heroes."

Apparently several groups got the Christmas memo tonight. It was interesting to me how many groups broke out Christmas songs. I love all things Christmas, but it is a little early even for me. That being said, I loved Riley Harrison Clark's (Tribute Quartet) version of "Mary, Did You Know."

Highlights -

  • "The Prayer" - Riley Harrison Clark and Lauren Talley
  • "There Is Jesus" - The McKameys
  • "Jesus Saves" - Booth Brothers with Collingsworth Family
  • "Little Is Much" - Dixie Melody Boys
  • "Shoutin' Time" - The Hoppers

Thursday, October 1, 2015

National Quartet Convention 2015 - Thursday Night Recap

Tonight was by far the best night yet of NQC. There so many memorable moments from tonight, I'm going to try to narrow it the best I can. I was glad that tonight was one of the nights I got to watch all the way through.

The moment of the night definitely belonged to the Perrys. I loved hearing "Sing" from their project that releases tomorrow. Tracy was featured on an old Nelons song "Time Has Made a Change" with special guests Kelly Nelon Clark and Karen Peck Gooch. But they were not the only guests the Perrys had on stage! They started singing "I Wish I Could Have Been There" and Troy announced Loren Harris to come to the stage. He sang part of the first verse, and then passed it off to Joseph Habedank. They were all joined on stage by so many other Perrys alums including Mike Bowling, Nick Trammell, Bryan Walker, Debra Perry and Bryan Elliot had been playing piano for them the entire set. Loved the Perrys reunion that we got to see!!

Several top-notch groups went early in the night and had incredible sets like Tribute Quartet, Karen Peck and New River, the Old Paths and Greater Vision. Tribute started its set with an a cappella medley that was amazing! (Sorry I don't have a more specific name, but this was the first I'd ever heard them do this. If you know it, help me out!) Love hearing Karen sing "Pray Now!" It was a little bittersweet with this being The Old Paths last performance at NQC, but the guys really brought it tonight!

I couldn't believe that this was Gordon Mote's first time on main stage at NQC during an evening concert. He really amazes me to watch him play. Loved hearing him sing "Mercy Walked In." Also he got some help from the Voices of Lee on "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." Actually Voices of Lee made several appearances tonight. They sang with Canton Junction on "Every Hallelujah" and Lillie Knauls on "Oh Happy Day."

I thought Canton Junction had one of the strongest sets of the night. Since they don't really tour full time, it's good to hear them live (or live via webcast) when you get a chance. Also, the Mylon Hayes Family continues to impress me more and more. I like that they sang "Jesus Spoke to Me" and did the shape note singing tonight.

I'm glad the Whisnants sang a little bit of their newest single, "Worry Ends Where Faith Begins." Love that song! Then they ended with "New Day Dawning" turning it around several times and getting Mark and Nick Trammell to join in.

The night ended with a sample of the Brotherhood tour which is Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and the Booth Brothers. They had live music for most if not all of the set featuring Michael of course on drums. Loved hearing the two groups on songs like "Life Is Like a Mountain Railway" and "Home." They closed the night with the Gaither classic "He Touched Me." What a way to end the evening!!

Mark and Nick Trammell were great hosts tonight! I really like the theme that they've had this week (minus last night) of the father and sons. They all have played off each other well!

Highlights -

  • A cappella medley - Tribute Quartet 
  • "Pray Now" - Karen Peck and New River
  • "Long Live the King" - The Old Paths
  • "Wish I Coulda Been There" - The Perrys
  • "Jesus Spoke to Me" - Mylon Hayes Family
  • "Jesus Loves You"- Jeff and Sheri Easter
  • "It's Almost Over" - Mark Trammell Quartet
  • "The Cross Is Calling" - The Taylors
  • "Oh Happy Day" - Lillie Knauls
  • "Arise My Love" - Soul'd Out Quartet
  • "New Day Dawning" - The Whisnants
  • "He Touched Me" - Brotherhood (Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and the Booth Brothers)

Singing News Fan Awards 2015

The Singing News Fan Awards were held Wednesday afternoon at the National Quartet Convention. It was part of the live stream included in the webcast, but I was at work. I did try to listen to some of it, but only caught bits and pieces.

I have mixed feelings about the fan awards each year. It's nice to see consistency, but at the same time sometimes it's very predictable. That being said, there were a few surprises this year or at least some changes.

We knew there would be a change with baritone because Jim Brady was in a new category this year. I thought it would be one of two people - Scott Inman or Mark Trammell - and I remember having trouble deciding myself between the two. Mark has to be the most consistent in the business and has been the best in the industry for decades now, so I was thrilled to see him win it! I did get to hear his speech! Very touching, all glory to God!

It was good to see Trey Ivey win for young artist. Honestly, not because he looks it, but because of what all he's accomplished with his arrangements and producing I thought he might have aged out of the category already. Well deserved!

Connie Hopper winning favorite alto was a switch, but with the year the Hoppers have had, it's no surprise. Fans definitely know how to show their support to artists who need encouragement. It was a beautiful moment and so sweet that Karlye and Claude were the ones who announced it!

The pairings of the presenters was interesting. It seemed to be a younger artist and, well, a more established artist. Not sure how they paired who went with who there except for the pairing of Karlye and Claude, the others seemed a bit random. In the past, it's been siblings or parent/child, so they seemed less random.

I think it's very ironic that Triumphant Quartet won best album with a project that is full of praise and worship songs. I think Eric even mentioned that as he accepted it. I have to say it was one of my favorite projects from last year, and Triumphant is one of the top groups in the industry, so overall it's no huge surprise. However, it is very ironic!

I'll say no matter how many times an artist wins, it's cool to see how they never take it for granted. I feel like speeches get more humble with the number of times in some cases. I did get to hear part of Rodney's speech where he shared his demo tape with Kirk Talley at a concert. It was neat hearing how now if aspiring songwriters so that to him, he takes time to listen.

For the first time, the awards were split into two different events. All the radio DJs and new categories were awarded in a ceremony on Tuesday. The new categories weren't big surprises to me with the Jim Brady Trio winning trio and Pat Barker winning soloist. Both were well deserved as they have branched out into new ministries. Also, I was glad to see the Erwins recognized!

Here's a full list of the winners -

Favorite Small Market DJ - John Whisnant
Favorite New Soloist - Pat Barker
Favorite Medium Market DJ - Lottie Squires
Favorite New Trio - Jim Brady Trio
Favorite Large Market DJ - Daniel Britt
Favorite New Mixed Group - The Erwins
Favorite New Traditional Quartet - The Carolina Boys and Freedom Quartet (tie)
Favorite Bass - Eric Bennett
Favorite Young Artist - Trey Ivey
Favorite Soloist - Ivan Parker
Favorite Male Singer - Ronnie Booth
Favorite Baritone - Mark Trammell
Favorite Alto - Connie Hopper
Favorite Lead - Ronnie Booth
Favorite Band - Kingdom Heirs Band
Favorite Tenor - Michael Booth
Favorite Mixed Group - Collingsworth Family
Favorite Trio - Booth Brothers
Favorite Musician - Kim Collingsworth
Favorite Female Singer - Kim Hopper
Favorite Soprano Singer - Kim Hopper
Favorite Non-performing Songwriter - Dianne Wilkinson
Favorite Performing Songwriter - Rodney Griffin
Favorite Male Quartet - Triumphant Quartet
Favorite Album - Awesome God by Triumphant Quartet
Favorite Song - "For All He's Done" - Greater Vision
Favorite Artist - Booth Brothers

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

National Quartet Convention 2015 - Wednesday Night Recap

I was off and on tonight watching the webcast. Tomorrow night I hope to be able to watch all of it. I caught a set and a half before I went to church and then was able to catch the end of the Erwins' set through the finale.

I was able to see the Jim Brady Trio and part of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound before I went to church. The Jim Brady Trio is really sounding fantastic!  They had some issues with their mics, but that didn't stop them! They kept rolling with it. Melissa shared the story of her dad coming to Christ, and what an amazing testimony! Then she sang "Greatest of All Miracles," incredible moment!!

Someone who knows more about the history of NQC than I do, is Ernie Haase and Signature Sound the first artist to ever throw frisbees into the audience? They did this in Branson with the song "Happy People" but I didn't expect that during NQC! Definitely livened up the place! Dustin Doyle was then featured on "Redemption Draweth Nigh," which is when I was sad that I had to turn it off!

I tuned in back in time to catch the end of the Erwins with "I Choose to Be a Christian." Love this young group!

The Hoppers were another highlight of the night. I love that they are including the Hopper Brothers 2.0 so much. This lineup sounds great! It's great seeing Claude and Connie back on stage with the family. I love all the different combinations of voices that the Hoppers offer fans now.

Jason Crabb had a strong set that featured a couple of new songs. Really liked "If I Shout!" And I love that he pulled Kelly Bowling on stage with him to sing "Through the Fire." He and Gerald Wolfe co-hosted the night. They are funny together and play off each other well. It was funny how they kept plugging their own CDs and teasing about their favorite songs from the other one's album. 

The Booth Brothers' set was also a highlight of the night. I love hearing Ronnie Booth on "Then I Met the Master." They paid tribute to Mosie Lister tonight. They ended their set with "Still Feelin' Fine" where they pulled up both Steve Ladd and Jim Brady to help them close!

I love how they are doing the finales each night. The entire Heritage of Gold set was amazing!! Heritage of Gold included Gold City, the LeFevre Quartet, Steve Ladd, Jay Parrack and Vocal Event and Wilburn and Wilburn. The band even included Gold City alum Jeff Easter on bass. They sang favorites like "When I Get Carried Away," "One Scarred Hand" and "Not Giving Up." Tim Riley was there and featured on "Under Control," sounding great! They ended the night with "Midnight Cry," perfect end to the night!!

Highlights of the Night - 
  • "Greatest of All Miracles" - Jim Brady Trio
  • "Truth Is Marching On" - Legacy Five (with Jim Brady)
  • "Jesus Saves" - LeFevre Quartet
  • "Something's Happening" - The Hoppers
  • "If I Shout" - Jason Crabb
  • "Then I Met the Master" - Booth Brothers
  • "Midnight Cry" - Heritage of Gold

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

National Quartet Convention 2015 - Tuesday night recap

I tuned in tonight just in time to catch the end of the Lesters' set. I'm sure I missed some highlights and I know I missed several good groups early in the night! But here is what stood out to me from what I saw:

The Collingsworth Family absolutely nailed it tonight! Definitely one of the strongest sets I saw. I loved getting to hear so many of their new songs, "That Day is Coming," "Gotta Get to Jesus" and "You're About to Climb."

The night ended with the Cathedral Family Reunion set with Gerald Wolfe, Scott Howard, Mark Trammell, Ernie Haase, Danny Funderburk and Pat Barker. They used photos and clips of George and Glen in tribute to them. They gathered around the piano for "Jesus We Just Want to Thank You." It was a beautiful moment, but I loved them ending the night on "We Shall See Jesus."

I tuned in just in time to catch Jonathan Lester recognizing his dad for his years of service to the group. The Lesters have carried on the tradition of singing gospel music longer than any other group on the road today and a great deal of that credit goes to Brian Lester. He was featured on "He Didn't Throw the Clay Away," great moment!

The Taylors and the Talleys both had solid sets! I loved hearing Suzanne Taylor Hise on "I Tremble," always been a big fan of that song! The Talleys sang a new song "People in the Line." Lauren does an outstanding job on it and such convicting lyrics! We never know what the people around us are going through. 

It was neat seeing Mark Bishop share the stage with his daughters tonight. They are a great young talent. He also had a full band on stage with him. 

Greater Vision also had a solid set. It was good hearing Chris featured on "Hallelujah Square!" I also love the song "As We Speak" from their new project that Gerald sings. 

Of the quartets I saw, I really enjoyed the Inspirations' set. I haven't heard this group in a while (I missed them in Branson a few weeks ago.), and they pulled out several old familiar favorites. They sang a version of "Beulah Land" that was incredible!!

  • "He Didn't Throw the Clay Away" - The Lesters
  • "I Tremble" - The Taylors
  • "Hallelujah Square" - Greater Vision
  • "As We Speak" - Greater Vision
  • "People in the Line" - The Talleys
  • "Beulah Land" - The Inspirations
  • "Gotta Get to Jesus" - Collingsworth Familiy
  • "We Shall See Jesus" - Cathedral Family Reunion