It’s Just My Opinion – The $20 CD???

I haven’t written an editorial piece in a while so I decided to fire up the old keyboard and write one. I did not attend this year’s National Quartet Convention (NQC) in Pigeon Forge, TN, but I had several friends who attended. One subject that I wanted to bring up is one that has really puzzled me for some time, the $20 cd.  I had asked a friend if he purchased a certain cd that had been receiving some hype. He replied that he did purchase the cd but mentioned he paid $20 for it. Now, we fans know that the standard cd price is $15, and it’s been $15 since cd’s first came on to the marketplace in the 1980’s.

I also know, as someone who has made several recordings in the studio, that there is a great cost involved in recording a cd. Everything from paying for studio musicians/leasing sound tracks, studio time, songwriter royalties, duplication, photography, graphic design and endless other things that come with recording and releasing a project, can amount thousands of dollars being spent. However, I consider $20 a steep price for a cd that is in a cardboard sleeve that probably cost $2.00 or less to manufacture.

When everyone else at an event like NQC is selling cd’s at the standard $15 and you’re charging $20, it tells me that you’re desperate to make as much money as possible. It’s the equivalent of price gouging, trying to get the maximum amount of money out of people while you have them in front of you. Maybe that works with a majority of our crowd who don’t know any better or don’t care, but there is a segment of fans that will not spend their $20 on a cd when they know they could buy it through at digital music service, like iTunes, or at their Christian bookstore for less.

Do we want to support groups by purchasing their product through them? Yes, but nobody wants to feel like they’ve been ripped off when they see the exact same cd for 5-10 dollars less elsewhere. As bad as I would like to have the liner notes to see who wrote the songs, who played on the tracks and other pertinent information, I would also not like to be wasteful with my money. You don’t have to agree, It’s Just My Opinion.

What’s New On The Table? : Another Glorious Day by Justified

For this edition of What’s New On The Table, I wanted to tell you about a cd that I’ve been listening to lately. A little while ago, I wrote about some friends of mine here in the state of Michigan, a great quartet called Justified. The group, composed of tenor David Potts, lead singer Carl Ledford, baritone vocalist Mark Jacoby, and Tim Caldwell singing the bass with his brother Dave Caldwell on keyboards, are one of the finest quartets, not just in our state, but anywhere. Their latest cd, Another Glorious Day, was just released a few weeks ago. Produced by Tim and Dave’s brother and a name familiar to Southern Gospel fans, Bob Caldwell, this is another excellent project filled with songs every listener will enjoy.

aNOTHER GLORIOUS DAYWith quartet classics like “When I Wake Up (To Sleep No More)“. “Sing Your Blues Away“, “Telling The World About His Love“, and “Somebody Touched The Lord“, to newer favorites such as “Every Question Will Be Answered“, “That Little Baby“, “Just Preach It” and more.

Some of my favorite songs on the project include “It’s Still The Cross“, which Mark does a fantastic job on. David also turns in a great performance on one of my all time favorite songs, “Jesus Cares For You“. Carl also shines on a song that is a classic, “Welcome To Heaven“. The project comes to a close with the very energetic, “Oh Glorious Day“.

As a fan of great quartets, I’d like to think that I know a good one when I hear them. Folks, these guys are the real deal. When you listen to a recording from Justified, you will hear excellent song selection, fresh arrangements and fantastic vocals.  I had the privilege of hearing them sing last weekend, performing nearly all of this project to a capacity crowd at the Lloyd Severance Thumb Gospel Music Convention in Sebewaing, MI. The crowd was encouraged, entertained, and the Lord was exalted by the music of this great quartet.  I thoroughly enjoyed Another Glorious Day, and I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this project. You’ll be glad you did!

To order this cd and other recordings by Justified, visit their website here. You can also find them on Facebook.

Check out these videos of a couple songs from Another Glorious Day.

I’m Telling The World About His Love

Oh Glorious Day

Gold City Announces New Bass Vocalist

Chris West
Chris West

The headline may be a little misleading, but a statement was released by Gold City this weekend, officially naming Chris West as the group’s bass vocalist. Chris has been with the group since July of last year, when began filling in for Tim Riley, who had suffered a stroke. The press release states, “When Tim (on the advice of his physician and with the support of his family and the group) recently made it official that he will be cutting back on the number of tour dates and performances he’s going to do, Chris, who has studied under Tim for the past eight years, was the obvious choice to permanently assume the bass role. So while Tim will be attending special events, some reunion concerts, and will from time to time even hop on the bus and show up at a concert unannounced, the touring bass vocalist fans will see at every concert will be Chris.”

Daniel Riley, the group’s owner/baritone vocalist went on to say, “We’re thrilled to have a bass singer of Chris’ caliber to step up and handle the bass part. We’re not using the term ‘retirement’ for dad. When you are called to do something for the Lord, there is no such thing as retiring. He’s still going to be out there from time to time, thrilling fans as only he can. Obviously, touring at the level we travel does demand more than he can give especially since the stroke. So while we’re so thankful for his healing, we do understand he cannot go at it like he used to, and we want consistency for our fans who have faithfully supported us down through the years. Chris has provided that stability the past year and we are excited to have him permanently filling the bass role.”

Although Chris is the newest member of the group, he is certainly no stranger to long time Gospel Music fans. He got his start in the industry with Danny Funderburk & Silent Power. From there, West also sang with N’Harmony & Mercy’s Mark Quartet, which was owned & managed by former GC pianist/arranger, Garry Jones. There is no doubt that Chris is the right guy for the group, and he’s endeared himself to Gospel Music fans around the country already. If you haven’t heard Chris with the group, here’s a sample of him from a recent concert singing “Farther Along”.

If you get a chance, go out and see Gold City when they’re near you and welcome Chris to the group!


The Underrateds Part 1; Mike Presnell

I’ve been wanting to start a new series of articles and feature some singers that I call The Underrated’s. By underrated, I mean that these artists are some of the finest to have ever graced a stage, yet for some reason have not received the praise and adulation that many of their contemporaries have. I know that some may disagree with my opinions in this series and thats what this is all based on, my opinion.  My first subject is a fine bass singer that has always been a personal favorite, Mike Presnell.

A native of Elizabethton, TN that came to national prominence in the 1990’s, during his tenure with Perfect Heart, Mike was a key component of the group’s sound and along with Jeff Stice remained hqdefaultwith the group from their formation to their disbandment. Prior to joining PH, Mike sang with regional groups including the Brotherhood, with future Blackwood Brothers tenor Wayne Little. Mike first got some recognition during his time with The Sound from Houston, TX, along with a young Scott Fowler. Mike recorded two fine projects with The Sound, Back By Popular Demand & Take A Little Time, that are worth finding.

Presnell possessed one of the finest bass voices of his era. His range was incredible, he could sing low with the best of them, but he could also sing up in a high baritone/lead range. One of the best performances that showcased Mike’s range was a song entitled “Glory Waves”, from their 1992 project “Looking For The Wounded”. When I think of bass singers in the industry today, and I’m hard pressed to think of any who could pull this song off. The only names I could really think of would be Burman Porter and Eric Bennett. This performance was taken from the “Command Performance” live video.

Another one of Mike’s most familiar features was a signature song for Perfect Heart, “I Wish It Would Rain“. Set with a 50’s vibe, Mike’s recitation was one of the best parts of the song. Mike was also a favorite among fans not just for his singing, but his humor as well. His stories of growing up in the mountains were often hilarious, but heart warming and a huge staple of Perfect Heart’s concerts. Although this video is with Garry Sheppard, it captures Mike’s humor and more of the group dynamic that took place with the song.

Mike stayed active after the group’s demise, singing with Safe Harbor and a re-formed Perfect Heart. He’s also released a few solo recordings. Though Mike was an incredible singer and a frequent finalist for the Singing News Favorite Bass Fan Award,  Mike was active in the industry at the same time as other incredible bass singers, such as JD Sumner, George Younce, Tim Riley, Rex Nelon, and Mike Holcomb.  But those who remember his tenure will never forget his great voice and warm personality. If you’re a fan of great quartet singing, and bass singing in particular, do yourself a favor and discover Mike’s work. He truly was one of the best and is still one of the finest bass singers our industry has ever known.

Please share your thoughts below and join in the conversation. Be looking for my next post celebrating more of The Underrateds!



Jeremy Peace Joins The Lefevre Quartet

IMG_3059Former Kingsmen, Old Paths tenor vocalist Jeremy Peace is the newest member of The Lefevre Quartet. Although no official statement has been issued by the group, the group shared the above photo from an appearance on The Jim Bakker Show.

Jeremy did post on his Facebook page the following. “Sometimes in life we seem to get the cart before the horse. Often times we attempt to make things happen on our own because we feel it would please the Lord and we jump ahead of Him, trying to open doors and force our way through them. In doing this, we often fail to see the door we were supposed to walk through is right in front of us, but because we are so focused on our own dreams, ambitions and desires to please the Lord, we completely miss the opportunity He has for us to serve Him, how and where He wants us. I must admit I have fallen into this very situation, going on my feelings and own desires to have my own ministry, being at home with my family and serving the Lord in the way that I wanted to. I have no doubts about my calling to evangelize and sing, but it was the vehicle I chose to do so in that was not in the Lord’s plan for my family and I. After almost a month of struggling daily and wrestling within myself, I began to see the direction I was to take. This new direction wasn’t exactly what “I” had envisioned for myself and my family, or for one of my very best friends in the whole world, my little brother, Josh Townsend, but once my wife and I surrendered to the only open door and walked through, we were given peace and resolve. Through this door, I will still be able to preach and give testimony each night as the Lord leads, and my wife and I will still be able to work with others through counseling and retreats. We are excited about these new opportunities for our family, and we look forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for Josh, as our families are still very close. I personally want to thank everyone who prayed and supported our family, Josh, and the ministry, as our only desire was to serve the Lord.

Peace had left The Old Paths and announced the formation of an evangelistic/music ministry with his wife and former Old Paths pianist Josh Townsend supplying vocals and piano. Jeremy is the second former member of TOP to join the LeFevres, bass vocalist Brandon Berry was with the group as well.

Jeremy is without a doubt a fine singer, and a tremendous addition to the Lefevre lineup. The group has known their share of personnel changes over the years, but had found stability recently with both Thomas Nalley and Barry at tenor and bass. Theres a lot of potential with this lineup, definitely something for fans to keep their eyes on. As for Nalley, sources say that a press release is forthcoming. Keep both Peace, Nalley and the group in your prayers.

Video Of the Week: #IWillStand by Allegiance

11403035_831008113619500_7783072386403801145_nMy pick for “Video of The Week” is a perfect choice for the upcoming July 4th holiday . “I Will Stand” is a brand new song from Allegiance, and was written by the group’s baritone Jake Sammons. Produced & arranged by Wayne Haun, “I Will Stand” is easily one of the most powerful patriotic songs I’ve heard in a number of years, both musically and lyrically.

I Will Stand” is also a part of something special that Allegiance is doing on social media. The group, Sammons, Kasey Kemp (lead), and TJ Evans (tenor), is asking folks to post pictures of the American flag or a loved one that has served or is currently serving in the military and use the hashtag #IWillStand.

The song has been sent to Christian radio stations across the country, as well as Americana and Country stations. The song is now available for download on iTunes and from the group’s Online Store. I’ve included the lyric video for “I Will Stand” below as well as a video explaining more about the #IWillStand campaign. Take a moment and listen to this great song!

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July and may God Bless America!

Album Review: “He’s The Rock” by The Sharps

Many times, I am sent recordings by groups I have never heard of and asked if I would review them here on the site. To be honest with you, a good majority of the material that gets sent to me is not very good and I strive to feature only quality artists here on Fuson’s Findings. However, I received a cd from a quartet that was a pleasant surprise, and it’s the subject of today’s Album Review.

image1The Sharps are a male quartet, hailing from Alabama that I have never heard before. Although the quartet was formed 30 years ago, the current lineup has been together three years. The group’s personnel has a mixture of youth and experience. The quartet is comprised of father and son Andy & Ben Sharp, who sing the tenor and baritone respectively. They are joined by lead singer Mike Leath and bass vocalist Logan Miller. He’s The Rock is the group’s latest recording, an independent project produced by Danny Crawford and recorded at Crossroads Studios.

The cd kicks off with the title cut, “He’s The Rock’, which was co-written by Andy and features lead singer Leath. Next up is a great quartet number written by the late Conrad Cook which is one of my favorites, “Endless Day”. It features Ben on the verses and bass singer Logan on some chorus step out lines. Another song I enjoyed is the next cut, “Then I’ll See Jesus” a medium tempo song that features Leath. There’s some nice harmony on the chorus as well that’s a testimony to a good group blend. “Every Hour and Every Day’ is a song that will be familiar to many Gospel Music fans.  I’ve always heard this song done at a quicker pace. However, the group elected to slow the tempo down on the song, which gives it a great feel. Ben is featured on the verses you can tell there’s some feeling in his voice. The first half of the project comes to a close with another good quartet song, “Upon This Solid Rock”.

The second half starts off with another toe-tapper, “I Am Has Called You”, that Ben features on the first verse. The second verse is the lone feature for bass singer Logan. Next up is another up tempo song that features Ben, “Change Of Address”. The next track, “My Grace Is For Thee”, was also written by and features Andy. “Heaven Can’t Be Far Away” is the project’s final up-tempo number and features both Mike and Andy on the verses respectively. Andy also takes the feature on the final song of the project, “God’s Not Finished With Me”.



He’s The Rock” Is a solid, quartet project. There’s a lot of variety on the project musically with some slow songs, but mostly uptempo. It was refreshing to me to listen to a project where there’s no big orchestrated ballads, and no vocal gymnastics; just good songs done with good four part harmony. I personally enjoyed the song selection and performances, my favorite cuts being the title track, “Endless Day, “Then I’ll See Jesus, “Every Hour and Every Day”, “I Am Has Called You” and “God’s Not Finished With Me”. My only real critique would be that I would like to have heard another song or two that featured the bass singer.

I have found that normaly most Southern Gospel fans, myself included, are often unsure of checking out group’s they’ve never heard of before. But I can assure you, especially if you like good quartet singing, The Sharps are right up your alley. There’s definitely some potential with the current lineup to do something special and I look forward to hearing more from these guys in the future. To find out more about The Sharps or to order a copy of “He’s The Rock”, visit their website here.

Review copy provided. A positive review was not required.