NQC Highlights #5
1. Missed the Hoppers. How were Kim’s shoes? Or her dress? Did they sing Jerusalem? I expect so.
2. Tim Lovelace…the man who can play anything.
3. Kingdom Heirs sounded much better this go-round. Schwanberg cracked on French’s voice. Pretty good impression. I think French really denied that he sounded like that. Rice was strugglin’ a bit, but not enough for the average to ear to hear. I think Rice always sounds better in the spring. The effects of singing 2 or 3 shows a day, all spring and summer really take a toll on a voice by September. He’ll be fresh after a couple of months off. The machine will be back. In which, it’s very strategic for French to speak and sing so softly. I can guarantee he doesn’t have to deal with the struggles of losing it entirely. Actually, that’s not true…I made that up, but he should claim that when people rag on him.
4. And of course Jeff Stice would play after KH. Good one, NQC Scheduling committee.
5. Collingsworth Family with two solid sets in a row. I am becoming a believer. They are exceptionally talented. Kim has great range. And was wearing a neat little shall around her neck. “Resurrection Morn” was a highlight. Loved listening to it live. What they do, they do very well. And I know the best is yet to come.
6. First of all, I have a family member who loves KP&NR. So of course, I told her they were great tonight. But seriously, are there sweeter people in gospel music? But when I told them Karen was sick, they were devastated. What a trooper. And they did the good songs. Still waiting for them to bring back “God Likes To Work”.
7. Way to go Compassion. Nice route by bringing up the kid outside Nairobi. Support the kids.
8. Hey Eli Fortner! Are we Mat Kearney now? The only reason I LOVED it is because it’s so far from anything the McKamey’s would ever do. And what continually makes it better is that the McKamey’s allowed it to be performed on NQC mainstage. (Yes, I did just make an excuse for liking that song). The McKamey’s do have a knack for picking good songs though.
9. One mic they won’t mess up…Bill Gaither’s. One problem with The Isaacs’ new lyrics, “If He could love someone, and find the good within, and love someone despite where they’ve been”. The only good within is Christ himself. There is nothing good about us. If there were, we’d need no sacrifice. That said, I’m always impressed with the key changes, complexities of the harmony. Making it even better is the family harmony. What’s the over/under on that Yeary kid being a musical prodigy? Isaac’s set wasn’t as illustrious or musically gripping as the other night.
10. It wouldn’t be an NQC without Ivan Parker. That’s all I got. I went to fix some ice cream.
11(a). One thing that annoyed me about GVB. During “Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored”, Bill just continued to say the same thing over and over again, basically repeating the emphasis of the chorus. Throughout the entire song. Maybe audio guys should’ve shut it off. I can’t always tell when he is singing or not singing anyways.
11(b). I was on pins and needles when Bill began to introduce this song. Michael’s song no doubt, but it was nice that we didn’t get into the whole ordeal about Michael again. This song is connected to his story, so you know it’s coming up. I’ll end it. Of course, he’s been forgiven. And you know what kind of man he is? One who confessed, publicly. And didn’t have to. You know the Gaither mob could have kept it hushed for the most part, leaving it out to be rumor and bits and pieces of the truth, in which we really had no true angle to accuse. Yeah, he got caught. But not by the world. Secret sin is exhausting. “If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins, cleansing us, and purifying us from all unrighteousness”. I think too many people expect to keep secret sin hushed. But for those who can’t see beyond the mandate for Biblical discipline, you’ve been misled. There is something liberating in it. The extent of the confession should match the extent of the sin. So I think proportion is what we’re after. The proportion of public repentance should be in proportion to the publicity of a sin or a sin’s effect. On the other hand, it is sometimes harder to look someone straight in the eye, the one you’ve hurt, and confess and repent in private. The repercussions of that sin may have not matched up to everything he expected it to, and the long road brought him home. But “Please Forgive Me” was sincere, and without the overly-emotional tug we’ve been accustomed to in the last year or so.
12(a). Phelps. Not a man in that room this week can get everyone off their feet WAY before the big ending. Before the big note…Phelps stops, looks down. Catches his breath for a few short seconds. In that very moment, everyone awaits anxiously, anticipating the big finish. The voice lets loose. He does it justice. Even if it wasn’t his best rendition, it was epic nonetheless.
12(b). When Wes Hampton sings “He Is Here”, glory fills the room. A truly anointed song by a writer and singer who changed the way tenors sang southern gospel music and whose influence paved a spectacular road for some of the elite out there today. In doing so, some have now surpassed it. Hampton is the quiet backbone of GVB, no doubt. Not that he is the best, nor the the most important, nor the guy who fills an auditorium. But he is the most versatile. And his voice is superbly pleasant, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard it better than when he sings “He Is Here”.
13. It was nice to hear Greater Vision bring back “I Know He Heard My Prayer”.
14. It’s amazing to see how effortlessly Allman sings. He’s one of those rare vocalists that deliver the lyric as well as they sing it. Admittedly, if a group doesn’t have a tenor singer that can’t quite light it up, I’m more apprehensive to get too involved. Greater Vision has that tenor, in which I am engaged and set for more. I blinked and he had brought the house down. Everybody in the building on their feet. That song just has that moment in it that not every song allows. And it’s effective with Allman and GV as its restorer. It’s a joy to watch and listen to the re-creation of “I Know A Man Who Can”. I got a text from an artist at the NQC, it said, “Allman just outsang the Gaither Vocal Band”. Maybe, he did. That’s hard to do though. Maybe it was just an excited fan’s reaction.
15. Kim Hopper brought her “A” game early on. It was confirmed by someone, that she also looked better tonight. Also from same person, “I love listening to her sing. But I’m not always enthused to watch her”.
16. I don’t like oratory in the middle of songs.
17. Shoutin’ Time, of course. In the middle of a crowd stands Kim, who comes holding her dress, running back up to the stage and began belting it out once again, not entirely on pitch, but due to the mid-singing, mid-running back up steps, it’s justified. How long has it been since Claude got that low?
18. If you made a list of the top 10 opening songs, “Plan of Salvation” would be in the top 5 no doubt. The Perrys effectively dish it out to the audience, so they’ll have the fans eating out of their hands all night. And they did. They can do no wrong at this point. Libbi is classy and Habedank puts forth the momentum into “I Wish I Could’ve Been There”, even 3 times afterward.
19. Gold City sang “Peter, James, and John” for the 3rd time this week. Pretty bold considering it’s on an album yet to be released with an undetermined prognosis. But I guess it’s good pub. Gives me something to comment on. Dixie & The Hummingbirds also came out again tonight. It sounds like something EHSS would attempt, but GC turns it well. I can tell Danny Riley is stressing out. I can hear it in his voice. They’re singing blues/black gospel songs. Historically, that has always been a great stress reliever. Everything else was old stuff. Expected. Actually, I believe I’ve heard this same set before. There is nothing bad to comment on. It wasn’t captivating. But it wasn’t awful, some of it was forced and strained, but that’s been common throughout the week with a lot of groups. There were some good moments.
20. L5’s set was relaxed, unforced, quality and smooth. I like hearing Gus. Similar to Allman, he does it very effortlessly. Howard displayed his bedtime tonight. Obviously before 11. I don’t remember every song that was sung, but that might be because husbandry called. I do enjoy watchin’ Cuz sing. And I don’t care what he’s singing. I would enjoy it if he started singing Journey’s “Lights”. It was all pretty mellow though, and all of it was solid. No surprise there. That story is truly a great story.
21. As Brian Free has become a grandfather, I can listen to him with a little bit more joy. There is a broader tone in there now. Bill Shivers was solid. Always is. Under the radar, not perfect, but not rarely about. Liles sounds like a country music baritone. And with those boyish looks, he might could do something in Country music. He ain’t Vince Gill, but he can sing better live than a lot of country acts I’ve seen in recent years. I do believe I heard some stacks, stacked a little high…
22. Glad Dennis Schwanberg brought John Wayne and the rest of his friends from i-Phone update.
23. It’s true that you heard the 4 best Tenors in the biz tonight (ok, all you Free fans, here’s a “Freebie”) 5 best tenors. Phelps, Hampton, Allman, Gaches, and Free (not 80s Free ((yes, these are double parenthesis…for one to argue, Haase didn’t sing tonight, but he’d probably round out the top 5, over Free in an overall sense of tone and power)). I don’t think those 5 can be matched by anyone presently, at least in the big, full-time market. As I’ve already commented earlier, I’m apprehensive to get too involved with a group if they employ a tenor that fails to take me to another universe (Larnelle Harris, anyone?). They might not be “Favorite” tenors. But there is no question, they are the “Best” tenors.