Category Archives: News

Pat Barker To Leave Mark Trammell Quartet

Every once in a while, theres a news story that comes around that is hard to believe. Mark Trammell has announced today that Pat Barker, bass vocalist with The Mark Trammell Quartet and a fan favorite across our industry, has tendered  his resignation and will be departing the group. Trammell has released the following statement.

pat-barker-leaves-roadThere are some things in life that you just cant imagine ever having to do. What I’m about to say is one of them. After much prayer, fasting, and seeking the mind of God, our beloved bass singer Pat Barker has tendered his resignation. He is much in need of being at home with his precious family. While it grieves our hearts, we must honor his decision and begin the process of moving on with God.

We are once again reminded that the only thing that doesn’t change is Jesus. A new chapter in the life of MTQ. And, a new chapter in the life of the finest, most Christlike man to ever travel on a quartet bus. Pat has stated that he will be with us until early May and then will be going home. I would ask that you not only pray for us as we begin the process of looking forward, but also pray for Pat, Kesha, and their three sweet children. Pray that God will give them direction, peace, and spiritual strength. Auditions will begin as soon as possible. If interested, please email a brief resume, recent photo, and two songs to mark@marktrammellministries.com. We will schedule auditions after reviewing this information.

Thank you in advance for your prayer and support during these days ahead. God is STILL in control.

Mark Trammell

Mark Trammell Quartet

This is definitely one of the most unexpected personnel changes to take place in a long time. Barker joined the group in 2010, officially making the group a quartet and endearing himself to Gospel Music fans around the country. I have personally enjoyed getting to know him and wish both he and his family nothing but the best. Keep Mark and the guys in your prayers as they start the auditioning process.

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Album Review: The Cathedrals Family Reunion

Cathedrals Family Reunion CoverThe Cathedrals Family Reunion Concert was one of the most anticipated announcements of 2013. The 2 day event took place over a weekend in Ft Worth, Texas this past November. Although the alumni of the group have separately and collectively paid tribute to the Cathedrals legacy through different events (Remember The Music or EHSS Cathedrals Tribute Tour) and have recorded their own tribute projects (EHSS Tribute to The Cathedral Quartet, Mark Trammell Quartet Treasures), this marks the first time that Mark Trammell, Danny Funderburk, Gerald Wolfe, Ernie Haase, and Scott Fowler have all contributed collectively to a Cathedrals tribute project. To celebrate this landmark event, these gentlemen and their current groups (Signature Sound, Mark Trammell Quartet, Greater Vision and Legacy Five) all headed into the studio to record some of the Cathedrals most popular songs, as requested by fans through social media.

The recording kicks off with the classic “Boundless Love“. All of the aforementioned groups sing on this as a choir, which was a great idea. The second verse features all of the alumni on a step out line or harmony part. One thing that I love about “the choir” is it just sounds like a big quartet.  One of the most glaring things about this project to many Cathedrals fans are the alumni who are not involved, the most notable being Kirk Talley. That being said, I was thrilled to see one of Talley’s features “We Shall Be Caught Up“(written by Talley)  from 1983′s Something Special included. It’s without a doubt my favorite cut on the cd. The lineup on this one is Haase on tenor, Fowler on lead, Trammell on baritone, and Paul Harkey (EHSS) on bass. Trammell sings the first verse and is then joined by the group, the group starts the second .with Haase taking a line. Harkey does a superb job on the step out lines on the chorus’ and repeats. Next up is another Kirk Talley composition, “Wedding Music“, with the same lineup (Haase,Fowler, Trammell) and Pat Barker (MTQ)  on bass. Pat is one of our industry’s finest bass singers.  His tone is often compared to George Younce, but Pat’s sings his solo in his own unique way. His performance on this song is nothing short of fantastic.

An interesting addition to the project is “We’ll Work” a  new song written by Haase and the project’s producer (EHSS Pianist & Producer) Wayne Haun. The first verse is unison, with Trammell featured on the second verse. Fowler & Trammell sing the step out lines one the chorus’, with Haase taking over after a key change. This song was one that I could actually hear The Cathedrals doing. The choir comes together to do a great rendition of another Cathedral classic, Dianne Wilkinson’s “Oh Come Along.   Next up is another favorite, “I’ve Read The Back Of The Book”. One cannot think of this song without thinking of Roger Bennett. Not only did he write the song, but he also sang it.  I loved the decision they made to reach back to some old live audio and feature Roger on the first verse. The group (Haase, Fowler, Trammell, Matt Fouch) kicks in and Fowler sings the second verse.

Another one of my favorite cuts is the inclusion of George Younce’s “Yesterday“. It’s not only a great track musically, but Gerald & Ernie do a great job on the first and second verses respectively.  Next up is one of the groups 80′s hits and a Mark Trammell signature, “Can He, Could He, Would He“. The group on this one (Funderburk, Trammell, Fowler, Barker) nailed this one as well, with an arrangement very close to the original. Following that is another fantastic cut of a signature song, Ernie Haase’s “Oh, What A Saviour“, with Trammell, Fowler & Paul Harkey joining him.

The signature songs keep coming with Scott Fowler’s “He Made A Change“, which was also one of  the groups last radio hits, with Harkey on bass. One of the most surprisingly cuts on the project is one of Danny Funderburk’s signature tune, “Somebody Touched Me“. This group is made up of Trammell, Fowler, and Barker on bass. This is the best I have heard Danny sound in years! His vocal sounds great, and I enjoyed this cut tremendously.  The choir makes their final appearance on the project’s next track, “Search Me, O God“. The choir sings the first verse, then George Younce and Glen Payne make their grand appearance. What a joy to hear these two men again! It will definitely be an emotional moment for the listener to hear this cut. Scott Fowler and Gerald Wolfe close out the recording with Gerald’s signature song, “Champion Of Love“.

While there may be many who focus on what the project lacked in terms of song selection or personnel,  this cd is a must have. Kudo’s to Wayne Haun on his production of the project, for making these songs sound familiar to long time fans, but fresh as well to the ear. Each member did a tremendous job, but I specifically want to credit the bass singers on this project (Paul Harkey, Pat Barker, Matt Fouch). They paid respect to these great songs and the group without trying to sound like George. Each singer did a great job of putting their own touch on each performance. The project definitely leaves the listener wanting more, and with another CFR event scheduled for 2014, may we see another recording? Who knows. But that is a great tribute to George, Glen, and Roger, and the musical legacy of The Cathedrals. A must have in the library of any true Cathedrals fan.

Review copy was provided, courtesy of Stowtown Records.

Gaither Vocal Band to Release “Hymns” CD March 4th

shd8777newAfter much wondering, we finally know that the new Gaither Vocal Band “Hymns” cd, which has been highly anticipated by many fans,  will be released March 4th.  It’s available for  pre-order on the Gaither website as well. It was also announced that the project will feature the vocals of Michael English and Mark Lowry, “Hymns serves as the beautiful punctuation at the end of a five-year era with the all-star GVB line-up featuring Bill Gaither, Mark Lowry, Michael English, David Phelps and Wes Hampton”.

I, personally, would like to applaud Gaither and his team for deciding to release the project as is and not making fans wait any longer for this great cd. Fans who decide to pre-order the project will also recieve 2 exclusive downloads that did not make the album, “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” and “The Star Spangled Banner.

Samples from the project can be heard here.

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Southern Gospel Music Hall Of Fame Member “Little” Willie Wynn Releases New Solo Project

One of the most iconic voices to ever come along in Southern Gospel Music, “Little” Willie Wynn has made a name for himself throughout his career as one of the finest tenor singers to ever sing Gospel Music. Willie came to the attention of the Gospel Music world through his lengthy tenure with The Oak Ridge Boys,  from 1958 to 1973. Willie also sang with The Statesmen, and his own groups The Tennesseans and Sweetwater. His heartfelt singing and dynamic delivery made him a favorite of Gospel Music fans throughout his career.    In 2000, He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame with the Oak Ridge Boys. Willie was also recognized for his contributions to Gospel Music and was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2011. He’s been called “The Tenor Singer’s Tenor Singer” and “The Man With A Million Friends”.

williecoverFor the first time in a number of years, Willie went back into the studio to record a new solo project. That project, Willie Wynn and Friends, has just been released. Produced by Woody Wright, this recording features new arrangements of many of Willie’s most well known and loved songs,  like Mama’s Last Amen, My Friends, While I’m Here, What You’ve Done For Me, and many others. There are also new songs, including an autobiographical song called The Oak Ridge Boys & Me, featuring the group themselves on background vocals.

 

Also Ponder Sykes & Wright (who first sang together as members of Willie’s group, The Tennesseans) are featured on several songs, along with other former Tennesseans Elmer Cole and Dave Maddox. Bill Gaither, Ben Speer and Gene McDonald provide support vocals, as well as Willie’s great friends Darrell Holt, Gary Clark and J.T. Hicks from the group Sweetwater. The musician crew is a who’s who of some of Nashville finest players.

This is truly a recording that should be in the library of every Gospel Music fan. I’m looking forward to posting the Album Review in the coming weeks. To order this historic recording and hear samples from the project, visit www.williewynn.com.

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Adam Crabb Joins Gaither Vocal Band

 

 

newgvbOne of the most eagerly awaited personnel announcements in Gospel Music was made today, as it was announced that Adam Crabb has now officially joined the Gaither Vocal Band. Gaither said in the press release, “We are thrilled to welcome Adam Crabb aboard as the newest member of The Gaither Vocal Band! Adam comes to us with years of musical expertise, including on-stage and studio work as a member of the award-winning Crabb Family, and as a solo artist and worship leader.  Gaither went on to remark, “For decades now, we have reinvented the Gaither Vocal Band again and again, and in the process we have found some of the most incredible male singers and wonderful human beings on the planet. Adam is a very exciting addition to this 30-year old legacy of excellence.

This is no surprise to many fans, as Adam has been touring with the group for the last few months. As for a fifth member of the GVB, Bill said, “We are taking our time and trying out some wonderful individuals during the next few weeks. You will see some very gifted artists out on the tour with us as we seek the perfect fit. Trust me. You do not want to miss the chance to see what is about to happen as we enter this new season.” 

There is no doubt that Bill Gaither knows talent, so it will be intriguing to see who the fifth member of the GVB will be. Here is a short video with Adam and the GVB performing “Alpha And Omega”.

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Mark Trammell Quartet Announces New Record Label & Project for 2014

Mark Trammell announced today the formation of a new record label, Crimson Road Productions, via a press release emailed out today to the groups mailing list. The announcement means that The Mark Trammell Quartet will be leaving the artist roster of Daywind Records, whom Trammell has recorded with for close to two decades.  In the press release Trammell stated, “In light of the ever changing status of our end of the recording industry and the specialized music interests we have been invited to be a part of.  We feel it is time to yet again stretch our wings and accept the challenge of not only broadening our own horizons but also working toward helping others reach for their dreams.  I have personally enjoyed almost two decades of being a part of the Daywind Family Of Artists and we leave them with nothing but thankfulness.  After 40 years of being in the recording industry, I have some ideas of my own that I would like to try.  Bottom line, we have peace in our hearts that now is the time to begin yet another new chapter in the multi-faceted life of this ministry. Mark, along with long time ministry friend and partner, Jeff Haney will begin the process of developing the framework of the new label effective January 2, 2014.

unnamedThe Crimson Road labels first release will be the new MTQ project, entitled “Your Walk Talks“. The new project will be the first with tenor Dustin Black, and was produced by Trammell, Gerald Wolfe, and Jeff Collins. No release date for the project was given in the press release, but you can pre-order the cd for an itroductory price of $10.00 plus shipping  here.

I had my first opportunity to hear the group with Black on tenor in November and I am looking forward to hearing what Black sounds like on the new material. To pre-order the new cd or  for more information, visit http://www.marktrammellministries.com

 

 

 

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Freedom Quartet Announces Kickstarter Campaign

One of the most unique fundraising tools on the internet is Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a fundraising website, that showcases a majority of inventions and artistic ventures that need financial support from donations by the websites users. The project will have a financial goal, and users donate towards it. There are also rewards for different amounts of donations. If the goal is reached, the artists will receive all the donations, and get to work on making their project a reality. If they do not reach their goal, the artists receives nothing.  Some Southern Gospel artist have taken advantage of Kickstarter, such as the Ball Brothers, Union Street, Steve Ladd, and recently Legacy Five. All of their projects have been funded successfully.

Screenshot (5)The latest Southern Gospel group to join in on Kickstarter is Freedom Quartet, comprised of John Rulapaugh (Tenor), Dale Shipley (Lead), Preston Garner (Baritone), and Burman Porter (Bass). The group is raising money for their first recording, and has set their goal at $5,000. As of the writing of this article, the group is at the half way point and has 4 days left to reach their goal. I have donated personally to this project (as well as Legacy Five’s) and I invite you to do the same! Click here to find out more about the project and to see the rewards for the different level of pledges.

Good luck to Freedom on this campaign, and we look forward to hearing their first quartet recording. If you haven’t heard Freedom Quartet yet, here’s a video of them performing Dale Shipley’s signature song, “Somebody Touched The Lord” from this years NQC. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuQmZk1UX4U

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David Ragan Joins The Perrys

One of the most shocking departures in Gospel Music this year was that of Joseph Habedank, longtime lead vocalist for The Perrys. After a decade with the group, he announced his resignation last month. Early this morning, The Perrys announced on their Facebook page they have hired David Ragan, formerly of The Inspirations, as their new lead vocalist. The following press release was issued on the groups Facebook page.

David Ragan

David Ragan

The Perrys are pleased to announce the addition of David Ragan as their new lead singer. David, who has been filling in the past two weeks, will be stepping into the role full-time. David most recently sang with the Inspirations, and he brings to this award-winning mixed group not only a great lead voice, but also touring experience. He is “road ready,” which was an important hiring consideration, while Tracy continues to recover from a stroke suffered in January and Libbi works select dates while tending to Tracy’s care.

David is thrilled to be a part of the Perrys. He admits, “Whenever the Inspirations would sing with the Perrys, I always enjoyed it. I’ve been a fan of theirs for along time. With the lead singers they’ve had through the years, I know I have big shoes to fill, and I’m thankful for that opportunity. I thought the biggest change for me would be going from a male group to one that’s co-ed, but Bryan, Leah and I gelled almost immediately. They’re both laid back and very easy to travel with. Bryan is such a great singer with one of the best hearts. And Libbi is incredible. I’m not sure I could put into words the grace and determination she has. I admire her and Tracy both very much, and respect this ministry they’ve built. I’m very happy to be a part of this fine team.”

Libbi says, “On behalf of the Perrys, Tracy and I are thrilled to welcome David, his wife Michelle, and son Bradley to our FAMILY!” We have known David for several years and have always admired his love for God, the music and the fans. We are excited to start a new chapter with David.”

Ragan is a powerful lead vocalist who will not only be able to perform the many hits in the groups repertoire , but also has a great blend with both Bryan Walker and Leah Page (who has been filling in for Libbi). Here’s a video of Ragan singing the groups most current radio single, “I Got A Hold Of God This Morning”.  Be sure to hear the Perrys when they’re in your area, and welcome David to the group. And lets continue to keep Tracy & Libbi in our prayers as Tracy continues to heal.

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Jay Parrack & Vocal Event Release “Strictly Southern”

552528_284028285037842_1204365494_nJay Parrack is one of the most beloved artists to ever come along in Gospel Music. He spent a decade (1994-2004) as the tenor with Gold City, and was a member of the groups most popular lineup (Parrack, Wilburn, Trammell, Riley). During his time with the group, Jay was the featured voice of such hits as God’s Building A Church, In Time, On Time, Every Time, Hide Me Behind The Cross, Are You Ready, and many other fan favorites.

In 2004, Jay left GC and has spent alot of time as a music minister at home in Alabama. Recently, Jay has begun singing in a trio called Vocal Event, based out of Gadsden, AL. The group is comprised of Parrack at Tenor, Anthony “Bubba” Hallman on Lead, and Darren Morton on Baritone. They have just released a recording entitled, “Simply Southern”, that is now available on iTunes. The recording is a collection of Southern Gospel standards, that you will be sure to enjoy.

If you’re a Jay Parrack fan, you will definitely want to download this album! To find out more about Jay & Vocal Event, you can find them on Facebook. You can also download Strictly Southern on iTunes by clicking here. Here’s a video of the guys singing a song on the project, featuring Jay.

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Gold City Hires New Tenor

Good news for Gold City fans, bass singer Tim Riley shared in an interview with radio station KWFC out of Springfield, MO that the group has hired Robert Fulton. Fulton has served as a replacement/fill in vocalist for Dan Keeton for a little over a month. A Gallipolis, Ohio native, Fulton is best known for a short stint with the Palmetto State Quartet a few years ago.

Gold City has found some consistency in the last 2 years, since the addition of Keeton & lead singer Jerry Pelfrey. I look forward to hearing the group soon, and seeing what the future holds for the group. Here’s a video of the group in action with Fulton on tenor, from a concert in Oklahoma last month.

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