The Best Résumé In Southern Gospel Music

by | Jan 24, 2017 | Polls-Games-Contests

Suppose you want to launch a traditional four singers plus a piano player quartet with only the very best in the business, but there’s just one catch: you’ve never heard any of the applicants. You must hire them based on their experience alone. Who has the best résumé in Southern Gospel music?

I’ll start with the baritone, because this one is easy. From 1974 to the present, Mark Trammell has performed with the Senators, the Kingsmen, the Cathedrals, Greater Vision, Gold City, a trio that bears his name which has since morphed into a quartet, and the Second Half Quartet. Trammell also has experience playing bass guitar.

Who do we put around him? Remember, the choices should be based on experience only! Who would look the best on paper before you heard them sing a word?

We need a tenor, a lead, a bass, and a pianist to complete the group. Leave your suggestions in the comments.

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David Bruce Murray

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 and


  1. Scotty searan

    It is a good resume.
    But he has changed Jobs too much and his taste in arranging wouldn’t fit my Quartet.
    My Pick would be Glen Allred because of longevity and his style would fit a quartet that I would have. Glen does know how to play various instruments also.

    • David Bruce Murray

      OK, but his taste in arranging should not be part of your decision. Remember, in this scenario that’s posed, you’ve never heard his music before.

    • Tim

      I would put him with the Kingdom Heirs… Or the original Statesmen with ” Big Chief” Wellington Jake Hess and Hovie Lister

  2. Abk

    Jeff Stice has played for the Blackwood Brothers, Nelons, Perfect Heart, Kingdom Heirs, and Triumphant.

    Butch Owens can claim the Stamps, Florida Boys, Songfellows, and Blackwood Brothers.

    Phil Barker, from the Harvesters, Dixie Melody Boys, and Singing Americans.

    Josh Garner – Masters Voice, Florida Boys, Blackwood Quartet, Freedom, Dixie Melody Boys

  3. Beth

    Do they have to be alive? Because I would put Anthony Burger on piano. Tim Riley on bass and Brian Free on tenor. If they have to be alive: Jeff Stice on piano.

    • David Bruce Murray

      I was thinking in terms of individuals who are still alive, but Anthony did have a strong track record, no doubt.

    • Beth

      I just realized I forgot lead. I agree with Jason, Arthur Rice is one of the best.

  4. Jason

    If I’d not heard the singer,but only saw their resumes, I would choose the following to surround Trammell:
    Bass: Ray Reese- longevity, dependability, and personality are tops on his resume.
    Lead: Arthur Rice- longevity, dependability, producing skills, are among his strengths.
    Tenor: Archie Watkins- longevity, dependability, and maturity are a,ong his outstanding traits.
    Piano: Randy Shelnut- though not the best pianist, he has experience, longevity, dependability, as well as managerial experience to his credit.
    Let’s finish the band with Myron Cook on bass and Greg Fox or Dennis Murphy on drums.

  5. Scott Bouldin (SBM Ministries)

    It’s tough to take singing quality out of the mix! :) But here’s my shot:

    Tenor: Brian Free (Gold City, Solo, Assurance)
    Lead: Arthur Rice (Kingsmen, Squire Parsons, Kingdom Heirs)
    Bass: Ray Reese (Kingsmen)
    Piano (or any other instrumentation): Randy Shelnut (Dixie Echoes)

  6. Scotty searan

    Ivan Parker on Lead
    Willie Wynn on Tenor
    Ray Reese on Bass
    Randy Shelnut Piano

  7. musicmike

    Michael English on lead. He sang with the Goodmans, Singing Americans, and GVB. He sang lead on a monster hit, “I Bowed on My Knees.” The groups he has sung with sing traditional and modern SG.
    Buddy Liles on Bass – He had longevity as bass singer with Florida Boys and was with the Orrells before that time.
    Danny Funderburke on tenor. He has sung with the Singing Americans, Cathedrals, and Perfect Heart. Like Michael English he can sing traditional or modern SG.

  8. Daniel J. Mount

    If I were to hire, I would value longevity and stability of temperament – someone who has shown he’s happy to stay somewhere for a decade or more. And resumes often give some hints of individual or team successes, so I think it’s fair to say I’d have a few slight hints about awards and recognitions to work with – something that would help me distinguish between a Gaither Vocal Band and a local group. So I think I would end up with:

    Wes Hampton – tenor
    Arthur Rice – lead
    Mark Trammell – baritone
    Jeff Chapman – bass (or Tim Riley, if health permitted)
    Matthew Holt – piano (I’m very tempted to put Kim Collingsworth here, but it seems that everyone else is limiting their selections to people who have been members of national male quartets, so I will also.)

  9. Bretski

    Trying to factor in sound along with resume, I’d have to go with the following individuals:

    Tenor – David Walker – sang with Dixie Melody Boys, Anchormen, Kingdom Heirs, and Singing Americans back in the 1980’s-1990’s (assuming he still has the stamina to do so; I have no idea where he is now, but he was a great tenor back in that day)

    Lead – Bryan Hutson – sang with Heartland Boys, Kingsmen, and most recently Soul’d Out Quartet; He has the range, power, and vocal character to make an excellent lead

    Baritone – Mark Trammell

    Bass – Aaron McCune – sang with the Anchormen, Palmetto State Quartet, Gold City, and now with Dailey & Vincent; Still considered a great young talent and a phenomenal bass singer

    Piano – Gerald Wolfe – been with two huge groups – Cathedrals and Greater Vision; Classy, expert musician, also a great vocalist, one of the best MC’s out there currently

    Now this would truly be a million dollar quartet

    • David Bruce Murray

      Ah well…I tried. :)

      • Bretski

        Ok I now realize that my picks cannot be based on whether I’ve heard them, but solely on resume. Regardless, I think all of my choices would be applicable, considering they all have pretty beefy resumes. The only factor I’m not sure about would be longevity. Trammell, Wolfe and Hutson have put in lengthy tenures with several groups. I’m not too sure about Walker or McCune in terms of the length of time spent with various groups. One other tenor that would come to mind based on resume would be Tony Jarman – sung with the Anchormen, Poet Voices, Legacy Five, and Down East Boys. He certainly has enough experience.

  10. Jamey

    My list would end up looking like the Jay, Johnathan, Mark, Tim version of Gold City but putting that aside. I think Mark Trammel with Guy Penrod, David Phelps, and Tim Riley would be a great experience based group along with Tim Parton or Matthew Holt on piano. If we open up History and those who’ve gone on, then George Younce is THE bass singer, but then you have to think about Glean Payne (lead years) too, however Jack Toney would bring experience too. Johnny Cook would be in the tenor spot along with Doy Ott on baritone. I’m sure the more I think about this today and have other names.

  11. joshvanklomp

    I would strongly consider Eric Bennett on bass. Has longevity with two high-level groups (Kingdom Hairs from 1991-2002, Triumphant from 2002-present), plus emcee experience.


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