The crowd was noticeably larger on Wednesday than Monday and Tuesday night, but there are still many available seats. I did not attend the afternoon showcase. We arrived around 5:00 PM.
I saw most of the artists on the main stage, but also set aside some time to visit some of the booths around the LeConte Center. Walking through the booths, I had a chance to speak to several artists and industry folks. I won’t try to list them all here, but I thank all who took a few moments to speak to me. While I was not observing the main stage, I regrettably missed what was likely the highlight of the night when Connie Hopper appeared on stage.
I did take a few photos which can be found on my Facebook page. Again, please accept my apologies for the quality, as these are all taken of the big screen. This year, I was only close enough to get decent photos directly from the stage during the Tuesday afternoon showcase. Hopefully, I can upgrade my seats before NQC 2022.
Here is a list of the artists I did see along with a few observations:
The Chitans – this young family of siblings is outstanding. They only sang one song. Hopefully the NQC board will carve out a few more minutes for them next year.
Troy Burns Family – this group offers a little more variety than you might expect. We learned tonight that Jake Whisnant is leaving the group to join The Lore Family with his new wife, Fayth.
The Littles – Rebecca Little Burke is a gifted singer. If/when her parents retire, she has the potential to become a popular soloist. John Darin Rowsey of The Guardians filled in for Jack Little tonight who has recovered from Covid, but hasn’t got his voice back yet.
Three Bridges – I enjoy this group’s soulful sound, and for the first time tonight, I got to hear Shannon Smith sing a bit of opera (not joking at all).
Primitives – Jeff Tolbert has one arm in a sling, so he did not get to play mandolin tonight. Mike Riddle was his usual impressive self playing guitar. I was glad they made room for a solo feature for him tonight.
Triumphant – This group continues to impress me mixing modern worship songs with original material. Eric Bennett also gave a brief, but effective gospel presentation during their set.
Booth Brothers – Fans are still getting used to the idea of a Booth Brothers lineup that doesn’t include Ronnie Booth. The music they’re presenting is top-notch as usual, but the sound, of course, has changed a bit.
LeFevre Quartet – The combination of Jay Parrack, Jordan LeFevre, Mike LeFevre, Will Lane, and Bryan Elliott is one I hope will stick together for many years.
The Lore Family – “The Rock That Never Ages” is a song that can get stuck in your head. It was during the Lore Family’s set that we learned Fayth’s new husband Jake Whisnant will be joining the group starting with their next appearance.
Dixie Echoes – This quartet is sounding good as ever. Their set included a nice instrumental as well as a tribute to the Florida Boys with a performance of “When He Was On The Cross.”
Wilburn & Wilburn – I did not hear their entire set, but I caught a bit of “You Asked Him To Leave” and, I think, one other song
The Nelons – They began with “American Trilogy” and were pretty captivating for their entire set.
Gold City – The evening ended with Gold City who gave us a mix of recent (“Alabama Mud”) and classic songs (“That Little Baby”). They also sang the title song from their new album Once And For All which consists entirely of songs written by the late Doug Riley…and yes, to all Gold City fans who have been anticipating this album since seeing a Singing News ad back in January, they are selling it at their concerts now.
Best sets of the night: Triumphant, The Nelons, and Gold City
I’m heading back to North Carolina on Thursday. Thanks to all who read my thoughts on NQC 2021 for the past three days!