Gaither Vocal Band

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At a Glance

Formed: 1980 (34 years ago)


Biography

"In my opinion, the Gaither Vocal Band is the best quartet of the age."
Jake Hess

In the field of gospel music, the story of the birth of the Gaither Vocal Band has become the stuff of legends. But it did happen...in January, 1981...in Florida. That's when Bill Gaither brought his experimental quartet-featuring Gary McSpadden, Steve Green, Lee Young and himself-to the microphone to sing "Your First Day In Heaven." For the thunderous applause that followed, the quartet had no encore. So they sang "Your First Day In Heaven" again.

Thus was born a new quartet for which Bill sought an ... Read more

"In my opinion, the Gaither Vocal Band is the best quartet of the age."
Jake Hess

In the field of gospel music, the story of the birth of the Gaither Vocal Band has become the stuff of legends. But it did happen...in January, 1981...in Florida. That's when Bill Gaither brought his experimental quartet-featuring Gary McSpadden, Steve Green, Lee Young and himself-to the microphone to sing "Your First Day In Heaven." For the thunderous applause that followed, the quartet had no encore. So they sang "Your First Day In Heaven" again.

Thus was born a new quartet for which Bill sought an original name. He wanted a phrase that would express what the group was, hence, the Gaither Vocal Band. "The longer I live with the name, the more I like it," says Bill, who has liked it through two decades, 17 projects and eleven personnel changes. Like the group's concert debut, the Vocal Band's first three projects were greeted with praise, each being nominated for the Gospel Music Association's Dove Award.

Another highlight for Bill was A Few Good Men, produced in 1990. Although it didn't garner any awards, the recording, he points out, made a statement about male accountability. "Male responsibility was the issue, and I wanted the Vocal Band to catch that vision and be part of a movement for that issue," he says. The 1991 Homecoming project was significant, suggests Bill, because it featured some special guests. Those special guests - the Speers, the Gatlins, the Cathedrals, the Goodmans, to name just a few - were invited to the Vocal Band's recording session for the shooting of a one-song video for posterity. That video, of course, launched the Homecoming video series, a tribute to southern gospel that continues to this day.

Of several successful personnel combinations, Bill remembers the early '90s group with Terry Franklin, Mark Lowry, Michael English and himself. "There was a real chemistry with that group," says Bill. That Vocal Band's recording of Southern Classics won a Dove Award and Grammy nomination. The song "I Bowed On My Knees" from the project also won a Dove Award.

The roster of past and present members of the Vocal Band reads like a "Who's Who of Gospel Music": Lee Young, Steve Green, Gary McSpadden, Jon Mohr, Larnelle Harris, Michael English, Jim Murray, Terry Franklin, Buddy Mullins, Jonathan Pierce, Mark Lowry, Guy Penrod, David Phelps, Russ Taff, Marshall Hall and newest member, Wes Hampton.

As for today's group... Bill sings bass, Wes Hampton sings tenor, Guy Penrod sings lead and Marshall Hall sings baritone.

Bill avoids labels when describing the Vocal Band's current sound. "The sound is broadly based," he says. "It does have a country rhythm feel, a southern gospel rhythm feel and an inspirational flavor. It's pretty hard to pigeonhole us. I prefer to describe ours as an 'Americana' sound." He thinks there is something distinct about the current group. "There is camaraderie of spirits and of sound that is very, very exciting!" he says.

Bill does have a measuring stick for his quartet. "The Statesmen Quartet set a standard which everybody points back to," says the veteran artist. "The Statesmen knew how to execute, and they were good people individually."

While the accolades abound, Bill insists that the Gaither Vocal Band is just four guys having a good time around a microphone.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

"In my opinion, the Gaither Vocal Band is the best quartet of the age."
Jake Hess

In the field of gospel music, the story of the birth of the Gaither Vocal Band has become the stuff of legends. But it did happen...in January, 1981...in Florida. That's when Bill Gaither brought his experimental quartet-featuring Gary McSpadden, Steve Green, Lee Young and himself-to the microphone to sing "Your First Day In Heaven." For the thunderous applause that followed, the quartet had no encore. So they sang "Your First Day In Heaven" again.

Thus was born a new quartet for which Bill sought an original name. He wanted a phrase that would express what the group was, hence, the Gaither Vocal Band. "The longer I live with the name, the more I like it," says Bill, who has liked it through two decades, 17 projects and eleven personnel changes. Like the group's concert debut, the Vocal Band's first three projects were greeted with praise, each being nominated for the Gospel Music Association's Dove Award.

Another highlight for Bill was A Few Good Men, produced in 1990. Although it didn't garner any awards, the recording, he points out, made a statement about male accountability. "Male responsibility was the issue, and I wanted the Vocal Band to catch that vision and be part of a movement for that issue," he says. The 1991 Homecoming project was significant, suggests Bill, because it featured some special guests. Those special guests - the Speers, the Gatlins, the Cathedrals, the Goodmans, to name just a few - were invited to the Vocal Band's recording session for the shooting of a one-song video for posterity. That video, of course, launched the Homecoming video series, a tribute to southern gospel that continues to this day.

Of several successful personnel combinations, Bill remembers the early '90s group with Terry Franklin, Mark Lowry, Michael English and himself. "There was a real chemistry with that group," says Bill. That Vocal Band's recording of Southern Classics won a Dove Award and Grammy nomination. The song "I Bowed On My Knees" from the project also won a Dove Award.

The roster of past and present members of the Vocal Band reads like a "Who's Who of Gospel Music": Lee Young, Steve Green, Gary McSpadden, Jon Mohr, Larnelle Harris, Michael English, Jim Murray, Terry Franklin, Buddy Mullins, Jonathan Pierce, Mark Lowry, Guy Penrod, David Phelps, Russ Taff, Marshall Hall and newest member, Wes Hampton.

As for today's group... Bill sings bass, Wes Hampton sings tenor, Guy Penrod sings lead and Marshall Hall sings baritone.

Bill avoids labels when describing the Vocal Band's current sound. "The sound is broadly based," he says. "It does have a country rhythm feel, a southern gospel rhythm feel and an inspirational flavor. It's pretty hard to pigeonhole us. I prefer to describe ours as an 'Americana' sound." He thinks there is something distinct about the current group. "There is camaraderie of spirits and of sound that is very, very exciting!" he says.

Bill does have a measuring stick for his quartet. "The Statesmen Quartet set a standard which everybody points back to," says the veteran artist. "The Statesmen knew how to execute, and they were good people individually."

While the accolades abound, Bill insists that the Gaither Vocal Band is just four guys having a good time around a microphone.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

"In my opinion, the Gaither Vocal Band is the best quartet of the age."
Jake Hess

In the field of gospel music, the story of the birth of the Gaither Vocal Band has become the stuff of legends. But it did happen...in January, 1981...in Florida. That's when Bill Gaither brought his experimental quartet-featuring Gary McSpadden, Steve Green, Lee Young and himself-to the microphone to sing "Your First Day In Heaven." For the thunderous applause that followed, the quartet had no encore. So they sang "Your First Day In Heaven" again.

Thus was born a new quartet for which Bill sought an original name. He wanted a phrase that would express what the group was, hence, the Gaither Vocal Band. "The longer I live with the name, the more I like it," says Bill, who has liked it through two decades, 17 projects and eleven personnel changes. Like the group's concert debut, the Vocal Band's first three projects were greeted with praise, each being nominated for the Gospel Music Association's Dove Award.

Another highlight for Bill was A Few Good Men, produced in 1990. Although it didn't garner any awards, the recording, he points out, made a statement about male accountability. "Male responsibility was the issue, and I wanted the Vocal Band to catch that vision and be part of a movement for that issue," he says. The 1991 Homecoming project was significant, suggests Bill, because it featured some special guests. Those special guests - the Speers, the Gatlins, the Cathedrals, the Goodmans, to name just a few - were invited to the Vocal Band's recording session for the shooting of a one-song video for posterity. That video, of course, launched the Homecoming video series, a tribute to southern gospel that continues to this day.

Of several successful personnel combinations, Bill remembers the early '90s group with Terry Franklin, Mark Lowry, Michael English and himself. "There was a real chemistry with that group," says Bill. That Vocal Band's recording of Southern Classics won a Dove Award and Grammy nomination. The song "I Bowed On My Knees" from the project also won a Dove Award.

The roster of past and present members of the Vocal Band reads like a "Who's Who of Gospel Music": Lee Young, Steve Green, Gary McSpadden, Jon Mohr, Larnelle Harris, Michael English, Jim Murray, Terry Franklin, Buddy Mullins, Jonathan Pierce, Mark Lowry, Guy Penrod, David Phelps, Russ Taff, Marshall Hall and newest member, Wes Hampton.

As for today's group... Bill sings bass, Wes Hampton sings tenor, Guy Penrod sings lead and Marshall Hall sings baritone.

Bill avoids labels when describing the Vocal Band's current sound. "The sound is broadly based," he says. "It does have a country rhythm feel, a southern gospel rhythm feel and an inspirational flavor. It's pretty hard to pigeonhole us. I prefer to describe ours as an 'Americana' sound." He thinks there is something distinct about the current group. "There is camaraderie of spirits and of sound that is very, very exciting!" he says.

Bill does have a measuring stick for his quartet. "The Statesmen Quartet set a standard which everybody points back to," says the veteran artist. "The Statesmen knew how to execute, and they were good people individually."

While the accolades abound, Bill insists that the Gaither Vocal Band is just four guys having a good time around a microphone.

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

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