I thought I would weigh in with my two cents on two news items floating around southern gospel music at the moment.
Bill Gaither is bringing the Vocal Band and Signature Sound back to NQC, for a Thursday afternoon showcase and main stage sets on Friday night. This is big news to convention-goers, but it really doesn’t affect me. I’ve never been to NQC, and at this moment, don’t have plans on going. In fact, if these groups are given longer than the usual set as suggested here by David Bruce Murray, it would make me even less likely to attend. I’m not the biggest Vocal Band fan, and I wouldn’t even call myself a fan of EH&SS. I’d rather see groups like Gold City, Perrys, the Booth Brothers, and Legacy Five get longer sets. That would make me more likely to attend.
The other news story is this release from Palmetto State Quartet. Wes Burke compares it to the Anchormen/Driven changes from earlier this year, but I think the situations are at least a little different. The members of the Anchormen were upfront and asked to buy the name of the group. They were the ones traveling the country and missing their families. The situation made me think they were tired of doing the “manual labor” in the group, while someone else stayed at home and told them what to do. I’m not saying that Tim Bullins doesn’t work hard and put a lot of effort into the Anchormen’s business. I just think that the way the Anchormen is organized plays a part in the group’s constant state of change.
The situation with PSQ reminds me a lot more of the changes the Cathedrals experienced in the late 70s than the Anchormen. The non-owners decide or are convinced to form their own group, but neglect to inform the owner(s) of the group they were currently with of their plans. The owner(s) find out and confront the non-owners, and ask if the rumors are true. George Amon Webster, Roy Tremble, and Lorne Matthews did the same thing to George and Glen as Wesley Smith, Rick Fair, Burman Porter, and Bryan Elliot have done to Kerry Beatty.
If the press release is true and it situation really did go down that way (we haven’t heard the other side of the story), I can’t help but wish that Palmetto State comes out of this like the Cathedrals did. When George and Glen decided to continue on, they hired a new set of young guys you may have heard of named Kirk Talley, Roger Bennett, and Steve Lee (who was replaced soon after by Mark Trammell). The changes helped lead the Cathedrals to their very first #1 song and the top of the industry.