We all know that change is a part of life, someone once said “the only thing as certain as salvation is change.” In Southern Gospel Music, change in personel is not an odd thing, but when you can’t hold a group together for any length of time, maybe theres an issue. I would say that many of us seen changes in personel in our favorite groups through the years. Sometimes they hire the right people and we love it, sometimes not so.
The group that has really been the most frustrating in the last 2 years has been Gold City. As reported this morning, on Nate’s Southern Gospel’s Ponderings, Craig West will be leaving Gold City. Although Craig has legitimate reasons for his departure, to be home with his family, this is another blow to Gold City. Exactly one year ago, they were riding a wave! Josh Cobb & Roy Webb had joined the group, and Cobb’s return to SG had fans excited all over the country. They were taking pre orders for their new project, “Somebody’s Coming“, and people thought Gold City was back. Then shortly before the New Year, Webb & Cobb are gone, Bruce Talafierro follows. The group quickly hires Brent Mitchell & Craig West, Mitchell barely lasts a few months. The group then hires its 4th Tenor in less than 2 years, Dan Keeton.
Now here we are a year later, still no new Gold City album. which was said to be a few weeks away from release, Oct 4th per Provident-Integrity’s website, and ANOTHER personnel change. No matter how you look at this, its sad for Gold City. Why in the world is a group that had consistency in their lineups for 20 plus years unable to keep a lineup together for a solid year?????? There are some who think the demise of the group is due to the fact that Danny Riley is incapable of running the group. There are some who also believe that without Tim Riley, there can be no Gold City. There are many fans who are sick of the lineup changes and tired of waiting on a new cd, and I can’t say I blame them.
If i could impress 2 things to the Riley’s about Gold City it would be this. RELEASE SOMEBODY’S COMING IMMEDIATELY!!!!! I myself am getting tired of waiting for new material, why is this turning into Southern Gospel’s version of Chinese Democracy? (or if you’re Wes Burke the Beach Boys Smile, just kidding). And myself, I think it would be a great gesture to give fans a chance to download the album with Cobb & Talafierro on it. It doesn’t matter how you do it, get this cd out and in peoples hands!! Secondly, make sure the lead singer you hire is a the right guy. Your last 2 hires were guys who had never sang with a full time group before, it hasn’t worked out for you. Maybe this a pipe dream, but get a Josh Garner-type singer. Big voice, great personality, but consumate professional!
I truly believe the longer the group holds off on releasing this new material, the more damaging it is for them. Do the right thing, and honor your fans who have been patient. I hope the group hires the right guy and finds its next consistent lineup that will still be in place 8 years from now. I will definitely be in prayer for Craig, Danny, and the rest of the group.