Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Music and Madness - Mark Lowry and the Martins - Concert Recap

The music and madness came to Arkansas Friday night in the form of Mark Lowry and the Martins. The Music and Madness tour made a stop in Searcy, Ark. at Trinity Baptist Church. When I got to the church, it was already pretty full, and the parking lot was overflowing. I wasn't too surprised though especially considering the Martins were returning to their home state!

Stan Whitmire opened the night on the piano. The Martins then took the stage with "Count Your Blessings." When they came out, there was an issue with the track where it was playing two songs at once. Joyce joked that it was just part of the madness, so they had to restart the song. Then they sang one of their new songs from their a cappella project, "Shut De Do." It's amazing that they are staging these songs! Incredible to see and hear them sing it live!

Then, Mark came out singing "Jesus Laughing." He talked about enjoying getting to be the Bill (Gaither) of the program. He asked what different churches were represented. He picked on several denominations of people, including this lone Catholic lady in the front. He said to tell Mary he said hi, since he was Baptist he couldn't talk to her but thank her for that song. Haha!

Mark Lowry, Joyce Martin Sanders, Judy Martin Hess
and Jonathan Martin
Mark told a few more stories about getting older and then his mama. He talked about the precious memories he had of dancing with his mother before she passed away. Then he sang "Our Love Is Here to Stay" with help from Joyce. He also sang the classic "Fly Me to the Moon."

Mark said that he met the Martins in 1992 at the National Quartet Convention when their mother came up and shoved a cassette tape in his face. The Martins' parents were there on the front row and he pointed to their mom. He took it to the bus and listened to it with Michael English. They called the group and said that they would like to introduce the siblings to Bill Gaither. The video series had just started, and they would be taping a video in Indiana soon. They asked the Martins to come up to the taping, and they would introduce them to Bill and have them sing.

Once they got there, they waited in the lobby. Mark grabbed Gloria and asked her to hear them sing. She agreed, and they went in the ladies' restroom for her to hear them!! The Martins proceeded to sing "He Leadeth Me." Gloria told Bill what she had heard, and the next day before they broke for lunch during taping Bill called the Martins to come sing. They sang not only for Bill but for all the other artists who were in there for the taping like the Goodmans, George Younce, JD Sumner and other legends in gospel music. They then showed the video of them singing "He Leadeth Me." The Martins then finished the song live.

They told more stories of traveling with the Gaithers. To be honest, that was some of my favorite moments of the concert, hearing the back stage things that you don't always know about. They talked about the Goodmans and then sang "What a Lovely Name." It started as out with the men's trio with Stan, Mark and Jonathan with Joyce and Judy joining in later. As Joyce sang Vestal's part, Mark handed her a white "hankie" to wave.

Stan then played another song, "I've Got That Old Time Religion." The Martins sang two more songs which were "The Promise" and "You'll Never Walk Alone." They did an a cappella ending of "The Promise," which is definitely one of my favorite and this song was one of the highlights of the night for me!!

Mark told more stories of his grandparents and his mother. He showed a video of he and his mom together not long before she died. He talked about her home going and how peaceful it was. He then sang "Going Home."

Before they took an intermission, they talked about how they had partnered with Feed the Children for the tour. They wanted to do something within the hours of the concert that would help people past the four walls of the church and have eternal significance.

After intermission, Mark sang "Glow Worm" with some back up help from the Martins. Then the Martins got everyone on their feet clapping with "Love's Gonna Drive This Train." Great song to get audience going! Then Mark sang one of the first songs he wrote "Too Big to Miss." I don't ever remember hearing this one before. It was a fun song, and the Martins started tossing beach balls in the air for the audience to hit around!

Mark then had the audience members shout out the names of four hymns. Stan put them all together and played as the audience sang along. The hymns chosen were "Victory in Jesus," "Amazing Grace," "It Is Well" and "Blessed Assurance." Then he ended with "How Great Thou Art" as a bonus.

The Martins then sang "The Doxology" a cappella. Love hearing them sing a cappella live! Nothing better! Mark then sang "How We Love."

Mark recounted a conversation with Gloria Gaither about God being more in the interruptions of life than in our own plans. He said this is where we learn to walk by faith and not by sight. Everyone has interruptions. We do not get to choose what God allows to come in, but we should hold our heads high, enjoy life and thank Him for everything.

The night closed with Mark singing "Mary Did You Know?" No one seemed to mind that it is traditionally a Christmas song and it's mid-July! Mark did an incredible job and what a way to end the night!

If you have read previous posts, you know what a huge Martins fan I am. They are the first professional group I saw. Seeing them was a great reminder of why I fell in love with this music. I loved getting to see them with Mark and hearing all the stories and Mark's comedy. Incredible night of music and madness! If the tour comes to your area, don't miss it!!

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