NQC Highlights #6
1(a). I was fortunate to be able to be able to attend the Dixie Melody Boys special Reunion segment. It was a fitting way to save it for Saturday, in which many more could attend to pay tribute to Ed O’Neal. Three times, the emotions were in full force. When McCray Dove began to bawl (literally, bawl). When Ed began to bawl (literally, bawl) before introducing Rodney’s song (many of you may have read about it in the Singing News), and Tony Brown’s wonderful letter. Little did I know as a young’n, that I was listening to the work of a man influenced by Ed O’Neal and The Dixie Melody Boys whenever I listened to Vince Gill or George Strait. I think it’s fair to say we all know that DMB isn’t going to bring the house down or draw a huge crowd, but I think it worked out for the better. The focus was entirely on them. And to see those that could attend, honoring the man who gave many of them their start, himself knowing they would move on in just a matter of time.
1(b). One former DMB member once told me, “When I told Ed I was driving down to [state] to officially try out for [group], I had such respect for him, that I found him at the mall on one of our days off, and told him what I was thinking about doing. His reply was generous and supportive and said simply, ‘those are your kind of people’.” That says a lot about the kind of man Ed O’Neal is.
2. The showcase I most enjoy is the Songwriter’s Showcase. I always enjoy hearing the craft of a song from the writer’s point of view, in whatever point of view they may have. Of course, there are some songs that are a little bit more personal, and maybe the story is suppressed or shortened, yet still…a song comes alive just a little bit more. I often find songs that are very average to be better than average this way (even if not great). Personal highlights were Sheri Easter’s honest story about a tumultuous and spiritually perplexing time in her life in describing how a lot of gospel songs were cheap and cliche. Thank you Sheri. Agreed. It was nice to give the Browder kid some love to a pretty decent song. Chris Allman displayed his virtually surreal musical skill on his acoustic and a stool, accompanied by Jeremy Medkiff playing some nice licks to “Another Child’s Coming Home”, a Revival favorite ’round here, and was quietly a showstopper, but different for a GV guy at NQC. Scotty Inman told a nice story about Phil Cross and his wife’s urging to include “Almost Home”. And what Songwriter Showcase would be complete without Dianne Wilkinson. However, the showstopper was Gordon Jensen telling his story about “Redemption Draweth Night”. Took me all the way back to “You Can Have A Song”. Gerald’s voice still seems to be healing, but his range has been incredible this week despite the recent surgery. It truly brought the house down.
3. I’m exhausted.
4. Dixie Echoes sound pretty good together. I don’t get excited to hear their solo voices, but they’re serviceable and the rhythm section of Scott and Stewie get it done, and is just as nice to listen to. Love that they sang “Crumbs From The Table”.
5. The Kingsmen had their best set of the week, in regards to song selection. Nice mixture.
7. Burman Porter is solid. Also, he’s basically Ian Owens in about 15 years on bass solos. This song, “King Jesus” reminds me of Elvis Presley’s “In The Ghetto”. Mostly because he mentions a ghetto. Not common in a southern gospel song.
8. I can’t get over the fact that Tennessee’s center continues to feed the QB low snaps against Florida. I’ll give you two…but we’re almost in double digits here.
9. Dove Brothers are singing the same song for the 3rd time. Audience is not standing…yet… Tenor Jonathan Price is dead this time around. Like this new McCray song in honor of his father. However, given McCray’s stature, I’d be surprised to think his dad really made people run off when he entered a room. But I don’t know. Maybe he was 6’3 & 230. They are everywhere vocally. Everywhere. Everybody doing whatever they want. But I’d be lying to say it’s not fun listening to it and watching, truly entertaining.
10. GW’s song was pretty funny. It echoes last night thoughts, “I’m Looking For A Tenor”. If there is a good tenor, I’m more willing to listen.
11. The intrinsic value of this Rambo special is quieting and outright tasteful. At least the opening songs. Destiny is truly a great singer. And Dottie was the best. Unfortunately, some chose not to enjoy it because of political sidings. Dude needs to keep the mullet. It’ll be back in 10 more years and he’d wish he still had it.
12. I think “The Old White Flag” is cheesy a 2nd time around, but I would do it too. So, that’s not really a complaint. I’d be a hypocrite to say I wouldn’t. Old people love it. And they pay the bills. I loved Triumphant’s set. From top to bottom, it’s hard to argue they’re not the most complete quartet in the biz.
13. Talleys. Lauren performs her songs well.
14. Those bass singers really like to twist their feet around. Via Chapman and Barker. And two of the best.
15. “We Will Stand Our Ground” is a decent song. But 3 times was a little much for me this week. That’s for any song. Jerry is still getting his feel for all that singing.
16. I love what Lari Goss did in arranging the “Calvary Medley” just for Trammell. It’s big, of course, but nobody could do it better, and perhaps more fitting than Trammell.
17. I like the Voices of Lee. They have tighter harmony than half the groups here. And there’s more than a dozen of them.
18. The Whisnants put on a great set, with the typical 3rd go round of “New Day Dawning”.
19. Booth Brothers are fun to watch, obviously.
20. I’m seriously tired. A little tiring to write about this all week. As you can tell, it gets shorter.
21. I’m sure the straw polls were fun for fans, and a good idea, but it was just like the Singing News Fan Awards. The ones that voted primarily subscribe to the Singing News.