Concert Review: Whisnants, Greenes, Kingsmen

I had the opportunity to wander up to Morganton, NC earlier tonight to a concert sponsored by the Whisnants. This event was to celebrate their 35th year singing gospel music. On the bill for the evening were the Whisnants, Greenes, and Kingsmen Quartet.

The Greenes got the ball rolling with a 45-minute set mixed with good singing by the group, plus comedy and inspirational words from Tony Greene. I thought the highlights of their first set were “March Through The Water” from their new CD and Taranda Greene’s solo “Sky Full Of Angels.”

The Kingsmen came out next with guns blazing…very little talking…just lots of singing. Ray Reese is sounding better than ever, and Tony Peace adds an excitement to the stage as the emcee and designated “guy who calls out the songs.” Jeremy Peace and Phillip Hughes sing with a great sense of confidence, but I think they have a bit of a disadvantage. The Kingsmen style doesn’t come naturally to them, but they do a great job, nonetheless. The band is sounding great. Nick Succi was featured along with the band on this blazingly fast jazz arrangement that was very impressive. Jason Selph also did a great job singing “Wish You Were Here.” The overall mix of the group was a bit muddy. In fact, when they left the stage, there was some noticeable noise in the speakers until they muted their board…not sure what was up with that. It wasn’t so bad that it was annoying or distracting, but it did hurt the overall sound a bit.

The Whisnants sounded very, very smooth in front of their home crowd. I really like “New Day Dawning,” which was a recent number one song for the group. Jeff Whisnant’s brother John was the emcee for this event, and he did a great job getting the groups on and off the stage with minimal delays. Like the other two groups, the Whisnants performed a 45 minute set, which was great.

After the intermission, each group was supposed to do two songs. The Greenes sang three including a long closing medley and Tony talked quite a bit between each one. The Kingsmen did as they were told and sang two songs, which left us Kingsmen fans feeling a bit cheated…not too much though…they probably sang twice as many songs on the first round as the other groups since they did a lot of upbeat stuff and didn’t talk very much. Me and my buddies got a head start on the crowd by ducking out as the Whisnants were taking the stage.

All in all, it was money well spent. Each group had the chance to work the crowd effectively, sell their products during intermission, and meet the folks. I wish all concerts were handled with this level of professionalism.

Now I have a few words for the people of Burke County, NC…shame on you for not filling the building for this event. By my estimate, there were less than 400 people in attendance. Tickets were a mere $15 or $25 if you planned to attend both Friday and Saturday. This concert was well advertised. The place holds more than 1000 and it should have been full, especially for a nationally known, hometown group’s reunion event.

Oh well…I guess that scripture about a prophet being without honor in his own town applies to Morganton, NC.

Category Concert Review

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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