Posted by: coomercove | January 16, 2009

Gaither’s Dream Band

So, I hear there’s something going on with the Gaither Vocal Band.  Maybe you’ve heard about it.

It appears Bill Gaither has assembled his dream Vocal Band to make his remaining touring days as enjoyable (and profitable – my apologies if I borrowed that point from another blog or comment) as possible.  I find nothing wrong with that.  He’s in a position to do that, so more power to him.  Even if he had needed to earn that right (he didn’t, of course), he has.  So Bill’s Vocal Band is now David Phelps as first tenor, Wes Hampton on second tenor/lead, Michael English selling tickets, Mark Lowry on baritone, and himself on bass.

If you want to know, that is definitely not my dream lineup.  If I was picking, I’d have to start with Terry Franklin.  He’s probably my all-time favorite member of the GVB.  If selecting Terry over David isn’t crazy enough, I’d take Buddy Mullins to sing lead.  Now, I’m tempted to make people think I’m completely insane and select Russ Taff as the baritone, but Mark Lowry brings too much to pass on.  For the bottom, I’ll take Gene McDonald.  He was doing backup vocals for the Homecoming choir before he joined the Florida Boys and that’s close enough to the Vocal Band for me.  If I get to pick a fifth member, I’d keep Wes Hampton.  I know a combo of Terry and Wes brings even more questions than the David-Wes combination, but Wes just seems to enjoy being part of the Vocal Band too much for me to let him go.  Speaking of “letting go”……………

What I have my concerns about is the way this all went down.  The press release says enough to lead me to believe that Marshall Hall was fired, replaced, downsized, his option not picked up, or any other way of putting it you want to choose.  He was no longer wanted and/or needed.  I don’t know that I’m right, and I hope that I’m wrong, but that is what I think.  If I am wrong, Gaither’s PR people messed up by including the line about Marsh not being “mad”.  If he wasn’t let go, I don’t see any reason for that line to be there.

Also, it may not have been so at the beginning, but for the last couple months, Guy Penrod’s “sabbatical” was misleading at best and a lie at worst.

Of course, we should expect this by now. This is the ministry where people resign on Monday to spend more time with family and get on another group’s bus on Wednesday.



  1. Ah…I see you decided to write about what everyone else was writing about after all!

  2. Yep…. couldn’t resist throwing my two cents in.

  3. Why does it have to be a firing? Maybe there were reason we have no idea about. Guy penrod left to go solo. Marshall may have done the same.

    I know for a fact that Marshall and Wes both have new babies in the house. Maybe he didn’t like being gone from his family.

    I have never heard anything but good things about the gaither organization. And that’s from people I have talked to from the organization after they have left it.

    Let’s not get to being anything more than a gossip blog.

  4. I will add one more thought. Marshall is an accomplished song writer. I want to believe and pray that this was his choice and god’s choice not a media blitz as some seem to think.

    thank you for your time and God Bless

  5. I believe my original post was clear….

    “If I am wrong, Gaither’s PR people messed up by including the line about Marsh not being “mad”. If he wasn’t let go, I don’t see any reason for that line to be there.”

    Gaither’s PR people invited the speculation by raising the possibility that someone was mad.

    I’m not above a little gossip ;-), but I’m not gossiping here. I’m not saying, “So and so said this, but someone else said that”. I just said what I thought while mentioning that I could be, and hoped I was, mistaken.

    Thanks for reading!

  6. Just curious did you hear the Gaither interview off of Music Scribe. The way I heard it sounds like Marshall wanted to stay closer to home for his young family.
    He also is aworship leader.

    Sounds interesting.

    Just wondered if you had heard it.

    thanks gwyn

  7. Well, if you read the Gaither press release it sure enough says what was quoted above… . How else
    are we supposed to take that statement?

    I am wondering if anyone really knows if Guy is actually going to “resurface”? We haven’t heard anyone from him in five months! I miss him! Just
    wondering if anyone has actually heard anything
    concrete? If you information that is ‘sharable’
    please share! Many of us wonder what in the world is going on!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. You are entitled to your opinion about Bill Gaither’s choices of members for his dream GVB however, I feel no one is more qualified to pick a dream team than Bill himself. He knows all the past members and what they can do. I agree that all the members you mentioned are really talented singers. My complaint with your review was your comment about Michael English selling tickets. What a hurtful thing to say about a very talented man. I hope and pray that he didn’t read your review. That remark is totally unchristian. It is one of those comments that is best kept to ones self.

    I don’t know how anyone who has ever heard Michael English could ever make that comment. You obviously haven’t heard his lately. He is in great vocal shape…stronger than I have ever heard him.
    Have you been reading the reviews (instead of writing them) about the new GVB? If you have, you would know that everyone is raving about the new sound and especially……….MICHAEL ENGLISH!
    Bill Gaither doesn’t make many mistakes, if any, when it comes to his vocal band.
    I happen to be a fan of Michael’s and I really resent the comment you made. I think that you maybe should be the one selling tickets instead of writing comments that attack a person’s God given talents.

  9. When I read about the new line up in Homecoming Magazine I was shocked and very disappointed on how Guy and particularly Marshall were treated. I am in corporate public relations and the send-off write up for Marshall was very typical of the language used when an executive is fired or asked to resign. As for Bill’s comments about Guy, noticeably short and sad given their long history together. I watch the video “Give It Away” and wonder what happened to what appeared to be a very close group, professionally and personally. Giving Bill Gaither the benefit of the doubt I waited to see if there would be any news about Guy or Marshall in the next Homecoming magazine or perhaps a mention that Bill would help Guy launch his solo career with a few guest appearances as a soloist on the Gaither tours. Nothing. I have also searched the Web for comments from Marshall or Guy on their next moves. Nothing. It is as if they have disappeared off the face of the earth. I am very much a fan of Bill Gaither and what he has done over the years for Gospel singers and fans alike. I so enjoy watching all his videos of past and current singers. I am just so disappointed to be left so in the dark over what’s happened and why. I truly hope and pray that Guy and Marshall are on a course of their choosing and that we may find out where they are and how to continue to enjoy their talents and love of God. If someone can help clear this up, please do. If Guy or Marshall read this and can share what’s ahead for them and let us know they are doing well, I would be very grateful.

  10. I have read the above responses concerning Guy and Marshall. I too heard that it was said at the concert that was in Fort Worth that Guy wanted to go out on his own for awhile and stay close to his family.
    It makes me sad that Guy is gone BUT if that statement is true well good for him. He has been out on the road with Bill for many years now and is the only one that hadn’t left for any reason in all of that time.
    As you all know each of the others have left for awhile. David and Mark left and we all know Michael’s story.
    Praise God Praise God that Michael is back.
    Sell tickets? Well absolutely, with a voice like that why wouldn’t he be a reason for tickets to sell and sell out. I do realize that the original response was meant to be negative but hey I look at Michae’s being back as a blessing to all of us that get to hear him.
    I have missed Michael and have read his book a couple of times now so I praise the Lord for that beautiful voice to be back worshipping God and that He is a forgiving God.
    My prayer is that he keeps his eyes on God and doesn’t turn away again. He is human and as we know not one of us is perfect and we make mistakes. We just have to learn from them.
    I am also wondering about Marshall. I pray that this was his idea to go out on his own and stay close to home with the new baby.
    Why do we always have to look for the negatives in things that happen in the Christian community?
    In my opinion the best videos that Bill has made were the Vocal Band Reunions 1 and 2. All of the guys were great and the spirit of God moved through that room like a hurricane.
    I have watched them over and over and over. Also I will continue to watch them because the spirit of God is so strong in them.
    As for me if anyone from the Gaither’s organization sees these responses I just want to say about getting Michael back GOOD GOING DON’T LET HIM GO. As for Guy I am very sad that he is gone and I wish that they all had stayed put.
    After all it is a Vocal Band and not just a quartet. It was big enough for all of them.
    As a great fan of Bill Gaither and the Vocal Band I wish Guy and Marsh would have stayed and Mark, Michael and David would have still joined them.
    Praise The Lord

  11. I really find it disgusting how people can be so mean when someone has gone to hell and back. The BEST thing ever that could have happened to the BVB was the return of Michael English. He is absolutely fantastic. The others are good BUT Michael brings something extra special.

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