On August 29th we went to Silver Dollar City’s Southern Gospel picnic and saw a few groups. An employee said that there was over 11,000 people in the park before three o‘clock! We saw the last show of the Diplomats at the Red Gold Heritage Hall. The theater could hold one thousand people and we got in just as they shut the doors!
The Diplomats started their show off with Come And Dine and went into This Is Just What Heaven Means To Me. Matt Dibler (former lead singer of the Inspirations) was featured on Jesus Is Coming Soon. Next, were the introductions, followed by their pianist playing his solo Just A Closer Walk With. They featured their bass singer on a song (I’m taking guess that the name of it was) Walk The Lonesome Road. (?) Next, was Want To Go Down To The River. Then they picked three guys from the audience and had them each sing This Little Light Of Mine. Whoever did the best would win a free CD and who did the worst would get a free picture. The first guy had a deep bass voice, the second was like a lead singer range, and the last guy (who was wearing a hat that looked like a turtle) sang with a tenor flare. In the end, all three guys won a free CD for trying. To avoid the rush after the show, we left as they were singing their last song.
Our next stop was at the Riverfront Playhouse to see Mark Bishop! The house was packed and somehow I managed a front row seat! Mark started his show with his story song Perfectly Honest. Remember Who He Is, Remember What He Does was next and Mark stopped and said, “We’re through the first two songs and I don’t know about you, but I like ’em!” Then, he sang Miracle Rose. Mark said that his greatest challenge as a songwriter is to come up with new ways to build a song. He explained that no matter how he phrases words, the audience always knows how the song’s going to end. So on the next song, he took the story of Lazarus and made it from the view of Christ – he sang Bring Lazarus Back. For Mark’s next song, he didn’t tell us who the Bible character was, we had to figure it out. The song was I Saw God In A Vision, and for those of you who might not know that song, it’s about Jonah and the whale. At the end of the song he asked if we figured it out, everyone clapped. Mark says, “Yep, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego!” Everyone laughed. Mark shared, “The other night I said that and a lady came up to me after the concert and said, ’I could have swore that song was about Jonah.’ As she walked away, she turned around and added, ‘I read my Bible ya’ know’.” Then, he sang his infamous Bottled Water song and the song he wrote for Jeff Easter called I Lost My Wife At Walmart. He closed his show with Cloud Nine Headed For Ten.
After seeing Mark Bishop, we made our way back to the Heritage Hall to see The Kingsmen! I was so happy to get my hands on their new CD, Missing People. The Kingsmen kicked off their set with Traveling Home. Their second song was a new one off of their new Cd that Dustin Sweatman wrote, called When It’s All Said And Done. The fans were really into this one! Bryan introduced everyone and Cody played his Great Is Thy Faithfulness Melody . . . And received a standing ovation! (As always.) Phil took the lead on another song off of their new CD which Byran says is an old Rebels number called Cheer The Weary Traveler. Anyone could see that Phil enjoyed singing that one! GREAT job Phil! Bryan’s solo was none other than When God Ran – he made a point to say that it was nominated in the top five for Song of the Year in the Singing News Fan awards, and that the fans are the ones that made that happen. It’s really nice when the artists appreciate their fans! It’s an awesome song that certainly is deserving of the title Song of the Year. (Just a few more days until we find out which song won!) They took a moment to tell about their product. When Huggy finished telling about the special and said it was $120 worth of product for $40, there was a guy who was at the Diplomat’s last show (the one with the turtle hat on) that shouted, “WHAT?!” Huggy acknowledged him by saying, “Sir, I was back stage a while ago and heard you ‘a singin’ out here – now you had your moment of fame, so you need to be quite and let us do our thing.” (Of course, that was all done in a teasing fashion that only Harold could do off the cuff like that!) The audience roared with laugher in response. The Kingsmen closed their set with Stand Up – and stand up everybody did! Another standing ovation!!!! They had a great group of Southern Gospel fans in Red Gold for that show. Every one was very enthusiastic and it was apparent they were enjoying the Mighty Kingsmen! We went back for the Kingsmen’s last show. Changing their set up for the end of the day, they opened with Glory Road, then brought the house down with When It’s All Said And Done. Wow, they were phenomenal! This time, Cody played I’m Getting’ Ready To Leave This World as his piano solo, and they tried out another new one off of their new Cd, called Someday. The crowd really liked this one and I think Huggy did too! The last line of the first verse says “I can smile instead of frown” – as they sang “I can smile”, Huggy smiled real big – and on “instead of frown”, he frowned and acted depressed for two seconds before they started singing the chorus. Fun song! It was very apparent the Kingsmen were enjoying them selves and the audience they were singing to. To put the icing on the cake, they sang Getcha’ To The Other Side next! On the turn around, in a comical move, Huggy did his famous “Texas Two Step” and on the chorus Phil was gettin’ in a few little dance steps himself! They slowed things down for Bryan’s solo, When God Ran, and after the Cd pitch, gave the roof a lift with Stand Up. On this last song, not everyone was standing as it was an elderly crowd. Bryan addressed the audience saying, “This song says ‘stand up,’ so you all need to stand up!” The best part was . . . They did!!! Down at Echo Hollow, Silver Dollar City’s Outdoor Amphitheater, we saw The Mark Trammell Trio. They packed the amp theater with 4,000 people! Wanna’ guess where we sat? – on the front row! The trio kicked off the evening with a number I’m sure you all will remember called Leave Your Sorrows (and come with me.) Next song in their set was I Know That I Know followed by What Good Would A Crown Be. The words to that last song are awesome. When they finished Called In, Called Up, Called Out, Mark introduced everyone and said that Dustin Sweatman just put out new Piano Solo CD, and had him play a few. (The funny thing was, that the park had a grand piano body on stage with a keyboard sitting inside of the body.) So it looked like he was playing on a grand, but he was really just playing a regular old keyboard! This writer got a kick out of that! Anyway, Dustin did a great job on his two solo’s, Wait ‘Till You See Me In My New Home and Roll On Jordan. Dustin stayed on the “grand” while they sang Always Have A Song and Hide Thou Me. When they sang Loving The Lamb they received a standing ovation. And Joel finished off the night with Safe On The Glory Side. MTT has awesome, powerful vocals to compliment the commanding lyrics of which they sang. What an awesome evening!