Saturday, July 15, 2006

Red Deer

We've been having a great time in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. I'm in Southern Gospel heaven right now, listening to some of my favorite groups. Two groups that have been especially popular in Canada are the Perrys and the Booth Brothers. This is the first time I've been able to be around the BB and they are as great off the stage as on. Michael is just naturally funny and he has kept things exciting around here.

Speaking of exciting, Thursday was quite a day for Liberty Quartet. We had left Wednesday at about 8:00 AM and were planning on staying about 60 miles from the Canadian border. Well, when we got to where we were going to stay on Wednesday evening we looked over the map, looked at the time we would need to get through Canadian customs at the border, and decided that we probably should drive the bus on ahead.

A few weeks ago we purchased a van for our Alaska trip. We're hoping to sell it in Alaska, so Royce, along with his son Jeremiah, is driving it up following our Canadian stint. So, he was following the bus. We decided that there was no need for us to cancel the room. Royce and Jeremiah could use it and leave early Thursday morning.

Our sound check was 2:15 in the afternoon and so we figured out that if they left by 5:00 or 6:00 AM they could make it. Dan, Doran, and I (along with our good friend Paul Munson), took off and drove several hours, pulled over, and caught about 7 hours of sleep. We headed out about 7:30 in the morning and made great time. I called Royce about 9:30 to see where they were. He said that they were quite a ways behind us, but that they were making pretty good time. There was one thing that worried me, though. He said he was on Rt. 220 and when I looked at the map after hanging up I couldn't find 220 anywhere close to the route we were taking. We were about a half hour away when I called him again. This time there was a slight tinge of panic in his voice as he relayed that they had gone nearly 75 miles in the wrong direction. He told me to go ahead and go with the sound check and he would get there in time for the concert. What we didn't know was that they had ended up in Montana somewhere and had circled all the way back to where they had started that morning. The concert promoter told us to plan on doing a trio. Based on where he was, there was no way he was going to make the concert.

Now, you have to understand, Royce is the main man for Liberty. He does the emceeing, puts together the song list, not to mention the fact that he has one of the best bass voices in SG. So, we were pretty stressed. We put together a makeshift list of songs that might work as a trio and tried to get our minds and spirits ready for the evening concert. Royce asked me to lay out his suit, shirt, and tie just in case he made it. Jerry Goff, who is the emcee for the weekend, had a whole schtik based on the fact that Royce wasn't there and was getting ready to head for the stage when Royce comes bounding down the stairs towards the lower level. We were supposed to be on at 7:15 and he got to the platform at 7:13. Talk about relief! Close call!

For some reason, Royce doesn't want to talk much about what happened. Everything else has gone OK (save for the sound issues that mysteriously plague regional groups at these big conventions). We've had a great time, though! I'll update you guys later.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I just got back from the Gold City concert in Nampa. Without going into a lot of detail, I just want to say that their new bass singer, 25 year old Aaron McCune, is on track to be one of the all-time greats. I first heard him 7 years ago in Winston-Salem, NC where as a rookie for the Anchormen Quartet he blew all the other basses away at a Ray Flynn Promotions concert. Ironically enough, one of the bass singers that night was Tim Riley.

I have to say that Aaron is already better than Tim. And that's not putting Tim down. Tim belongs in the bass singer Hall of Fame. It's just that McCune is incredible. If he would just stop fiddling around with his monitor (in his ear and the controls on his belt) and sing it would be that much better. We were with him at Fresno when he was still with Palmetto State. We'll be with him again in Canada, and I'm looking forward to it. I like listening to a bass singer who knows how to hit notes cleanly without lots of fake growling noises. You know, like Royce (just in case you're reading this, buddy).

Canada bound

Well, it looks like I'll be playing catch-up again. I'm running around like crazy today trying to get everything ready for our trip to the Great Canadian Gospel Music Celebration ( I think I have the border paperwork for our product figured out. I hope so, anyway. If not, we'll be waiting quite a while to get across. I'm looking forward to singing with and listening to some of my favorite groups like The Perrys, the Booth Brothers, and Legacy Five. Another group that is heading up to Canada, Gold City, is going to be in concert here in Nampa tonight. Lori and I are planning on going over there this evening. I'm curious as to how they will sound with their new bass, Aaron McCune. The guy has an awesome voice, no doubt about it.

Trey started soccer camp this week. He's participating in the Upwards sports program at a Nazarene church here in Nampa. He loved his first night! He was awarded a star for being one of the top offensive players. He made his dad proud! I got all misty-eyed sitting on the sidelines watching him. I can't believe he's old enough to be doing this kind of stuff. He's the only 4 year-old out there, but he holds his own. In fact, most of the kids are in 1st grade and above. He doesn't seem to be intimidated.

I'll be gone for about a week to Canada, so I'm hoping for a hotel with broadband so I can keep you guys updated on what's going on.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back Home

Well, I'm back home after a fun week at our family camp in McCall, ID. The kids are filthy, my dress shoes are dusty, and we're all tired. I'll try to give you the details later. One of my good friends (as well as former pastor and college professor), Ben Durr, Jr. was our camp evangelist. His flight leaves at 5:50 AM tomorrow, so he was going to have someone drop him off at the airport tonight and spend the night in those narrow, uncomfortable chairs. I told him that he was crazy and there was no way I was going to let him do that. So, he's spending the night at our place tonight and I'll take him over to Boise tomorrow. I'll also be meeting up with the guys from GBS as well as my former boss, Jack Hooker, and dropping them off at the airport in the afternoon. I have been promised lunch at Goodwood for my troubles. "It will be worth it all..."

I'll check back with you later.