Southern Gospel Perspective

My thoughts and opinions about Southern Gospel Music, both past and present. Feel free to comment and criticize...

Location: United States


The Kingsmen Quartet

This group is currently made up of Ray Reese - bass, Tony Peace - baritone, Phillip Hughes - lead, Jeremy Peace - tenor, Nick Succi - piano, Brandon Reese - drums.

The Kingsmen have definitely had some ups and downs over the past several years, along with more than their share of member turnover. Luckily, they seem to have gotten things settled down now, and their sound is really beginning to show it.

Their latest CD - Good, Good God is one of the best CD's I've heard this year. It has great song selection as well as very nice vocals. The arrangements and instrumentation are very good also, not overpowering, but complementary as they should be.

Tony Peace has added a much-needed spark since his arrival in October of last year. He is high energy and also a very good MC, which they've really been missing since Hamill left the road. I'm not saying he's the same as Jim, but he does add that dimension.

Ray is still doing his thing at the low end and has really never sounded better.

The "band" is also very talented, but I'm not sure what they've decided to do about the departure of bass player Jason Selph. Hopefully they will continue to have that dimension as well.

In their concerts they have been doing many of the old Kingsmen standards, and they really do have the Kingsmen sound that we all want to hear.

Good going guys, I hope to see you again soon!


Permanent Links

I wanted to point out to any readers out there that I've added some new, permanent links on the right-hand side of this page.

These links are in addition to the artist links that make up my "top 10" list.

Be sure to check out any of these sites that you don't regularly visit anyway.


Looking Back at ... Perfect Heart

There is an interesting thread going over at SouthernGospelNews (in the SG Trails section, so you may have missed it) about the former SG group, Perfect Heart.

This group was initially made up of Danny Funderburk at tenor, Dale Shipley at lead, Mark Lanier at baritone, Mike Presnell at bass, and Jeff Stice on piano. They truly were an "all-star" quartet.

I believe at the time, they were the only group whose first single release went to number one on the Singing News chart. This song ("Somebody Touched the Lord"), also went on to win Song of the Year in the SN fan awards (another first, I believe).

They had many great songs like the one above, "They That Sow", "He's Coming", "I Hold a Clear Title" (remake), "Yes Is the Answer", "I Wish It Would Rain" (didn't care for), "The Ground Is Level", "In My Wildest Dreams", and many more.

If you've read any of my past blog entries, you know Danny is my all-time favorite tenor, so it's not surprising I was a Perfect Heart fan from day one. Of course, one man cannot make a quartet and the other three voices in this group were so good (and Jeff Stice is a future HoF pianist) it is difficult to believe they came together like that. It is almost like having a Masters V, when the V were in their prime. They were that good.

Anyway, go over and read what others have said and comment (here and there).


New (sort of) Sites

Here are a couple of websites that I should have mentioned earlier, but dropped the proverbial ball on:

Chuck Peters has a great news site here at Southern Gospel Reporter.

Daniel J. Mount has started his own blog, which has gotten off to a fast start.

If there are others who need recognition, let me know.

The Dixie Echoes

Today I want to write about a group that has been around for many years. The Dixie Echoes are a tremendous group with a wonderful traditional sound.

Randy Shelnut, Sr. is a fine lead singer with a long history with TDE. He is doing an exceptional job of carrying on the legacy of his father, Dale. Dale Shelnut was one of the most talented singers to ever stand on a SG stage. He was not only a great vocalist, but he had a style all his own that set him apart from all other singers. Too many of today's singers try to sound like this or that one, but Dale stood apart and had his own unique style.

Randy Shelnut, Jr. is, of course, Randy Sr's son and Dale's grandson. He sings baritone and plays the bass guitar. I feel certain that he will also continue that Dixie Echoes tradition far into the future.

Tracy Crouch is the bass singer for the group, taking over for Billy Todd in 2004. He is a definite up and coming talent at his position. A fine interview with him is held here, by Daniel Mount.

Dallas Rogers is the relatively new tenor for The Dixie Echoes. I was very impressed with him at this years NQC. I hope he stays with the guys for a long while.

Stewart Varnado is the pianist for the group. Stewart is still young, but is also a real Southern Gospel veteran. He is rightfully recognized as one of the best SG pianists on the road today.

If you get a chance to hear the Dixie Echoes, be sure to do so!


Gold City

Steve Ladd from Gold City has been experiencing some health problems. Please keep Steve and Gold City in your prayers. Steve is apparently much better now, but was briefly hospitalized.

I saw GC the other night and they did nothing to change my view that they are easily the best SG quartet on the road today. Aaron is an amazing young bass singer. If he gets any better... This is a top-notch group all around. With this line-up, they could easily be the best in SG for years to come.

Name Change

I recently came to the conclusion that my blog "Me Blog SG" needed some changes. For one thing, it needs more time from me. I also began to feel that the name really didn't fit what I'm trying to do with this blog.

So hopefully the new name will give me some added incentive to post more and get a little more creative with this blog.

I hope you like it, but let me know either way.