by Diana Brantley | June 18, 2018 2:00 PM
What an ending to another fabulous Memphis Quartet Show! This year’s event was enhanced by the great venue of the Cannon Center for Performing Arts, and it was announced that the show will be there for at least two more years!!
Brian Free & Assurance performed as a quartet by borrowing bass Keith Plott from The LeFevre Quartet. Keith was a member of Assurance from 2003 – 2007, so it was a reunion of sorts! Keith joined members Brian Free, Bill Shivers, and Mike Rogers. They performed a mix of some of their newest songs and older songs that they sang when Keith was with them. I enjoyed the older songs more because Keith was a more active participant. Here are some of the songs that were performed:
This was an excellent conclusion to this year’s show. The lineup for the evening included The Old Paths, The Kelleys, Poet Voices, Blackwood Brothers Quartet, and LeFevre Quartet. Someone had suggested to me that the MQS board had saved the best for last, but honestly, all of the evening concerts were outstanding and I thoroughly enjoyed each of them.
Once again, the concert started with all of the artists on stage and they sang two great songs together. Here’s one of them:
When I Get Carried Away – This was an obvious choice since the LeFevre Quartet was on stage and Mike LeFevre had been featured when this song was a Gold City hit. Also, Phil Cross, the writer of the song, was there with his group Poet Voices.
The Old Paths made their second appearance since re-starting the group after a short hiatus. The crowd loves this group consisting of Steve Ladd, Tim Rackley, Doug Roark, and Daniel Ashmore! They sang three from their latest album and several more of their most popular songs. Here are a couple of videos:
Poet Voices made their first appearance at the MQS. They have recently re-formed as a quartet and they sound great with members Nic Holland, Phil Cross, Donny Henderson, and Brandon Barry! They sang quite a few songs from their brand new quartet CD, Extraordinary, and then a few other favorites. Phil writes all of their songs, of course!! Here are my favorites from the evening:
The Kellys were up next. This group hales from nearby Lawrenceburg, TN, home of the James D. Vaughn Quartet Festival. They have been singing for almost 60 years. Their members are Paul Walters, Jon Kelly, Keith Wortham, and Eric Harvey. This was my first time seeing this group and I really enjoyed their traditional sound. As usual, it was hard to narrow down the videos down to just a few, but here are the ones I finally chose:
Blackwood Brothers – Memphis is considered the hometown for the Blackwood Brothers and during the concert, they were awarded the honor of a note that will be placed among others on Bealle Street – kind of like a Hollywood star! Wayne Little, Jonathan Mattingly, Billy Blackwood, and Butch Owens performed a variety of older and newer songs including these two from their newest CD, “A Capella Hymns.” Jimmy Blackwood also joined them on stage for a song.
Former lead singer Michael Helwig walked on stage again Saturday (as he did on Thursday evening) and sang The Love of God.
The LeFevre Quartet – Last but not least, this quartet performed some old songs and several from their very latest CD, “Ascending.” Their lineup has not changed and includes Jeremy Peace, Jordan LeFevre, Mike LeFevre, Keith Plott, and pianist Michael Lott.
As Danny Jones said, next year’s Memphis Quartet Show is now one day closer! The showcases next year will include Triumphant Quartet and a Perfect Heart Reunion. The theater holds over 2,000 people and I’m hoping to see even more people there next year.
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