Eleven Days of Southern Gospel Music. Sounds like heaven, eh? For me, the last day of this great event at Silver Dollar City was on the first Saturday in September. Even though the Southern Gospel Picnic had two more days to go, this one was the last day that I would attended. So, who occupied the theaters on this gloomy day? Tribute Quartet, the Talley’s and Triumphant Quartet!
The Opera House…was where you would have found me at 2:45 P.M. The stiff wooden pews filled fast as fans of Tribute Quartet filed into the building. Soon, the monotone voice of the announcer came on said, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and welcome Tribute Quartet.” Riley, Gary, Josh and Anthony walked out on stage and kicked off their show with Thank The Lord, a fast number from their brand new project. Gary sang the first verse of this tune and Anthony was featured on the second. Riley was featured on another new song that was done back to back, God’s Gonna’ Send Revival. This was also a fast quartet song, and between verse and chorus Gary encouraged us to, “Look at your neighbor and say, ‘I’m so glad you got to see me today.’” Well, the crowd was a little un-responsive and didn’t do it! When Josh saw this, he made a face and held out his hands, palms up as if to say, “Why not?” A fiddle introduced their third song, a tune by the name of Homesick Angel. This was my first time to hear this song and what can I say? – I fell in love with it! The angle of the lyrics is so unique! As they were getting ready to encore it, Gary asked the crowd if they liked the song. Then, they stepped to the edge of the stage and sang the chorus again. “We are Tribute Quartet,” Gary said by way of introduction, “and we are from Nashville, Tennessee. Well, I told you where we’re from so on the count of three I want you to tell us where you’re from.” He counted and on “three” a chorus of confusion echoed back to the stage. Gary smiled, “I can guarantee you we’ve been there one time or another.” LOL He introduced the rest of the group and Josh sang a solo called, Sweeter As The Days Go By. “Let me ask you a question today, how many know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Savior loves you?” Gary declared, “I know, because my Bible tells me so.” As Josh sat down at the piano, they began singing a medium tempo tune called This I Know. (Anthony was featured on the verses.) “How many still enjoy the old songs?” asked Gary, then he affirmed that he still enjoys them himself. So much, that he asked Riley to sing one his favorite Happy Goodman Family songs – Who Am I? The intensity of the song reached the crowd and they clapped in the middle of the second verse. Before their last song, Gary quickly told about their product, and then introduced Good News From Jerusalem. This one featured Josh, who set up his mic stand in the center of the stage to sing it. The other three fanned out behind him as he sang the verses in succession. This one sent chills down my spine! It was really powerful and reminded me of the Talley’s “He’s Alive.”
The Red Gold Heritage Hall…I was so excited to make it to the four-thirty show with the Talleys. As I slipped into the second row, I began thinking that became our designated seating – every show we ended up sitting somewhere in that row! LOL Anyway, it was the Talleys’ last concert of the day, and from what I heard, they had been doing different songs every set. (Yay!) So, after the congregational singing, the family came out on stage and kicked their show off with Lauren singing an up-beat number called, I Kept On Searching. During this little snappy tune, Roger took Debra’s arm and tried to get her to dance a jig with him. LOL! After that, Debra was featured on a new song, Talk To The Lord About it, and exclaimed, “It’s what you gotta’ do,” in between verses. “How’s everybody doing today?” Lauren asked, “Still doing well?” She also requested a show of hands oo how many people were at all three of their shows. After some hoots and hollers, Lauren chuckled, “I had no idea anyone liked us that much!” The trio was introduced next, and then they sang their new radio single – Broken World. When the song ended, Lauren took a moment to expound the meaning of the lyrics to the crowd, “It doesn’t take long to figure out that this world is a broken, hurting place. But our hope isn’t found in any place in this world – if we know Jesus Christ as our Savior, we have a hope that goes beyond this world.” This was a perfect lead into the ballad that followed, My Hope Is In The Lord, Roger’s solo. As the second verse came to an end, the audience applauded the simple, yet, powerful message of the song. “Aren’t you glad that we have hope in Him today?” asked Roger. Then they sang Mountain Mover. When that song concluded, Roger stepped over to his keyboard and said that what they were going to do next was for those who come up and ask them why they have to sing with “all that loud music?” The next melody was sung with nothing but the piano. It was a trio of hymns, I Will Serve Thee, I Just Came To Talk With Thee Lord and Gentle Shepherd. Before Lauren began the next song, she summed up the reason for those precious tunes living on, “We don’t sing them ‘cause they’re old, we sing them ‘cause they’re good.” His Life For Mine came after and received a standing ovation. “He’s a good God,” Lauren reminded us, then expounded a little on why they sing. “It’s about Jesus. If you don’t know Him it’s easy to meet Him. Cause, if it’s about how I sound or how I look or what we wear – I might as well stay at the house.” The audience applauded, and Roger, lightening the mood a bit, clarified, “They didn’t mean that for ‘the house.’” LOL Lauren summed up what they do with these simple words, “It’s all about Jesus.” After a quick product pitch the Talleys ended their set with Testify. On the first verse Roger walked over to the right side of the stage, reached behind the black curtain and grabbed Josh Singletary, dragging him out on stage! Before long all the Tribute guys were on stage singing Testify with the Talleys. Now that had the crowd hooping and hollerin’!
Echo Hollow…was once again, shadowed by thick grey clouds that threatened to release their liquid contents on a whole bunch of SGM fans. Triumphant Quartet was singing that night, and as we sat waiting for the concert to begin, the rain came off and on. This writer went back to pen and paper for note taking (didn’t want to risk my computer getting wet! You know how electronics can be!)
By the time Triumphant Quartet walked out on stage, the drizzling had ceased, so when they started singing I Wish It Would Rain as their opening number, well, you couldn’t help but laugh! It was too funny! How they sang that song so seriously when the humor was so evident was beyond me! LOL Saved By Grace came back to back, and before they encored it, Eric Bennett asked, “Anybody here tonight been saved by grace?” Scotty Inman was featured on the following song, Love Came Calling. “Thank you so much!” Eric exclaimed, “I’m so glad love came calling…and we’re glad SDC called too!” LOL They sang When The Trumpet Sounds and Look For Me (for I’ll be there) next. The latter was a ballad that featured Eric, and as the applause died down afterward, he introduced the quartet. With introductions out of the way, they went right into He Forgave Me, Saved Me, Raised Me. David and Jeff played Goodbye World, Goodbye together as a duet. David with his harmonica and Jeff on the keys. As always, the crowd loved it! Eric asked those who had never seen them before to clap – about half of the crowd did. He mumbled something about “needing to get the next song out of the way” and with that as a cue, the audience erupted with rattling bags and purses unzipping. (That means they were going after their “white flags!”) Eric introduced Clayton’s Bluegrass tune, The Old White Flag. Well, as ya’ll can guess – Clayton was having a good ole’ time dancing, the crowd was having fun waving their little flags and Jeff was NOT having fun sitting at his keyboard…doing nothing. All of the sudden, a man on the front row jumps up and takes Jeff a Kleenex so he could wave a white flag too! Jeff’s response? – He very animatedly blew his nose in the tissue and then tossed it over his shoulder! Yet, it didn’t end there! Because of the rain, the staff down at Echo Hollow had large “white” towels to mop up the water in un-wanted places on stage. Duane Garren found himself a big white towel and climbed up to the raised platform they use for the Cowboy show and began waving that big towel over his head! LOL The crowd was laughing so hard! It really was funny, though you may have to have been there to see it play out. After that rambunctious song the guys drug Clayton off the stage, leaving Jeff alone with the crowd still cheering over Clayton’s song. “Yeah,” Jeff muttered, “Whatever.” (LOL) He asked if he could play a couple of songs for us which he did. Somebody from the crowd called out, “That’s pretty good!” Then, he shared the story of his mom and how she battled breast cancer recently. Through her urging, Jeff recorded a CD with just him and a piano – no background music – she wanted him to record the first hymn he ever learned. Not only did he do that for her, he played it for us too! – Mansion Over The Hilltop! The crowd sang along as he tenderly played. The other guys came back out on stage and finished out the set with He Is, the big ballad that chronicles the books of the Bible and how Christ is the center of each one.
Conclusion: Where do I start? I was so excited to hear Tribute’s new material! There is just something special about seeing a new song performed by one of your favorite artists for the first time. And boy, do they have some good ones! The Talleys were phenomenal! When they said that they were singing different songs each set – they meant they weren’t repeating any! That is so cool! Sometimes artists will switch up some of the songs, but still sing a few of the same ones every set. To do three shows with no repeats isn’t easy, and I highly admire the Talleys for pulling off such a feat! When Tribute joined them on Testify at the very end, I came to the conclusion that it couldn’t get any more fired up than that! Well, then Triumphant happened! LOL They came out and sang “I Wish It Would Rain” after it had been raining, and ah, the day was officially complete! It was hilarious! They were such good sports about it too! The crowd loved their set and the interaction was great. Scotty shared Embry’s newborn trial and God’s faithful answer to prayer with everyone – very impacting. So, even though it was another gloomy day weather-wise, it was one that I will not easily forget!