“Mark Bishop has been known down through the years for great Gospel Music,” said Duane Garren, emcee for Echo Hollow. “You keep asking for him and we keep bringing him back – Mark Bishop!” Mark walked on stage and kicked off Wednesday night at the Southern Gospel Picnic with his #1 song, Listening For The Call. When the track reached the turnaround, Mark asked, “If that will preach in your church, say amen!” His popular, I Got Here As Fast As I Could, came next. Afterwards, he quickly introduced himself and expressed how much he loved coming to Branson. “It is the only place where you can go into a restaurant and have food thrown at you…and you like it.” Recognizing his reference to Lamberts Café, the crowd chuckled. “Here’s a new song!” Mark exclaimed and then the up-beat track for Pick Me Up and Carry Me kicked off. This one was from his new CD “Mark Bishop and Forget The Sea,” and I loved seeing the song performed live. (Watch the video below, to see it for yourself!) “I like singing that song,” said Mark, “because I burn 110 calories every time I sing it. My wife says, ‘Honey, you sing that one every chance you get.’” LOL On a more serious note, he took a moment and spoke of the power of prayer – a topic that filled the lyrics of his next song, Can I Pray For You? Half way through the ballad, he asked the crowd, “If the Lord has been good to you, say amen.” After, he told a funny story about his unsuccessful efforts in the kitchen. If you know Mark, you know how he can tell a story! He had the audience laughing in no time, especially when he reached the punch line and admitted that one time, long ago, he accidentally used powdered sugar instead of flour in a pancake mix. LOL! Another powerful ballad, Pray On The Little Days, followed. “Y’all don’t know it, but I’m preaching to you,” said Mark. After a thoughtful pause, he added, “Maybe you do know.” With a crowd the size we had in the Hollow, he wanted to know how many farmers were in the house. “How many serious farmers are in the crowd?” Mark asked. Several folks raised their hands and he continued, “What crops do you farm? The guy in the blue shirt…” The man answered and Mark repeated, “Corn.” Then another hollered, “Soy beans!” Mark grinned and mentioned that he felt “among his people.” His up-beat tune, I Can Rejoice, followed. He closed his program with a ballad that I believe is one of his masterpieces. “I have time for one final song,” he said, “one final story…” In the short time the intro played, Mark gave the Gospel message and then sang My Name Is Jesus.
“These are my sermons.” – Mark Bishop
As the crowd applauded, Duane came out and exclaimed, “Somebody praise the Lord!” Duane insisted Mark give a short commercial for his product and then led the audience in a verse and chorus of Are You Washed In The Blood? After prayer and the National Anthem, it was time to for Legacy Five to come on stage.
“Let’s welcome from Nashville, Tennessee, the award winning – Legacy Five!” The quartet came out with an old up-beat tune called Great Day. When the last note was sung, Scott Fowler asked, “How about Mark Bishop? He’s the best!” Then they went into He Made A Change. After encoring the chorus, Scott confessed, “Well, I just turned fifty and at the end of that song, I feel it!” The audience laughed and he went on, “It’s good to be back with you guys,” and shared how he’s originally from St. Louis. Their next three songs were What A Lovely Name, I Found Grace and I Stand Redeemed; all favorites of L5 fans. “Last year you all came together and voted Trey Ivey Favorite Young Artist of the Year!” Scott exclaimed. With that introduction, Trey played a solo on the grand piano – Goodbye, World, Goodbye. Afterwards, Howie couldn’t help but tease Trey about being “young” and more specifically his haircut. Howie said, “It looks like the barber changed shifts in the middle of cutting his hair.” Some friendly banter went back and forth and then Scott changed the topic by mentioning the beautiful grand piano they had on stage, and how they should gather around it and sing a song with just the keys backing them up. Scott selected the song and said, “This was the first song I learned to sing when I joined the Cathedral Quartet.” It was none other than Life Will Be Sweeter Someday. A bass feature, Working, Watching, Waiting followed and then Scott introduced Howie – the man who’s been standing next to him since the beginning of L5, a total of sixteen years! Howie sang I’ve Got So Many Things I’m Living For. The first half of the evening closed with Scott sharing a few quotes from his favorite presidents and political leaders that wrote of how important the Lord is in the growth and stability of a nation. He went on to talk about the “American Patriot Bible” they have for sale and broke for intermission after Trey played a patriotic medley in tribute to our Veterans.
Conclusion: Another great night in Echo Hollow! Mark Bishop and Legacy Five did a wonderful job. I always enjoy seeing Mark, listening to his stories and taking note of the lyric he sings. Hearing him sing all four parts on My Name Is Jesus was quite the treat! In addition, I was pleased Legacy Five sang their signature songs like I Stand Redeemed and I Found Grace – my favorites! Each night in Echo Hollow has been fantastic and I look forward to what Thursday night has in store. Until then!