Posted by: coomercove | December 18, 2007

NQC 2008 & Palmetto State Quartet

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.


  1. Porter/Fair/Smith/Elliott are not planning a new group to my knowledge. At least 2 are looking at other quartets.

  2. The deal with Palmetto State never happened the way you have mentioned it. The group was having problems and the guys so I hear, was in question with things that might affect their jobs. The whole thing was just something that we will probably never fully understand unless we were there. Getting it from the source is the best way and you still haven’t heard both stories. But I think that if four guys were planning to leave Kerry Beatty, then that tells me something bout the management. And I’m just going on speculation.

  3. I disagree completely with Lee. I spoke with two independent sources who confirmed that the story did, in fact, go down the way it was mentioned in the release. Great young guys, outstanding talent, thought they could do better on their own, became critical of Kerry and his methods. God bless them on their way to greener pastures. I attended a PSQ concert two weeks ago on the West Coast, and the group is basically dynamite. They can roll out the straight-ahead smashmouth quartet sound like nobody’s business. Their piano player is out of this world, and their concert was a fantastic worship experience my son and I will not soon forget. We are big PSQ supporters and hope they can make inroads with new audiences based on their new Wynonna connection. We also hope they can find a way to keep touring and encouraging the saints.

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