Audio Review: Quartet Classic – “1980’s Volume One”

by | Feb 7, 2023 | CD Reviews, Reviews

Produced by Tommy Swindle and Josh Feemster
Format: CD
Review Copy Provided by Artist

SONG TITLES: Home / John Saw / Midnight Cry / Step Into The Water / I Can See The Hand / Shouting Ground / Called Out / Can He, Could He, Would He / I Know A Man Who Can / When I Get Carried Away

Southern gospel music has seen some definitive eras in its history, and the 1980’s is one that stands out among today’s generation (myself included). As children and teens, we not only were introduced to groups like Gold City and the Cathedrals, but we got to see them live and in their prime. It is this era that Quartet Classic targets for their recording debut.

Quartet Classic is a new male quartet composed of Eric Phillips, Christian Davis, and brothers Josh and Tim Feemster. Eric, Christian, and Josh are industry vets (Eric previously sang with the Mark Trammell Trio/Quartet; Christian was a member of the Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet, Mercy’s Mark, and Dailey & Vincent; Josh spent time with Mercy’s Mark, N’Harmony, and Legacy Five), while Tim is the “relative newby.” Their aim is to pay tribute to gospel music of decades past, and they begin with the aptly-named 1980’s Volume One.

Quartet Classic: Christian Davis (bass), Eric Phillips (tenor), Josh Feemster (lead), Tim Feemster (baritone)

This project feels very much like a tribute album. Initially, my reaction to this approach was less than impressed, but the more I listened to the album, the more I began to accept it for what it is – a collection of faithful adaptations meant to appeal to fans of this particular era, especially given that the original groups (or at least the particular lineups) that made these songs famous are not actively performing some of these titles anymore.

For example, the opening track, “Home,” is a direct lift of the Singing Americans cut from their Live and Alive album. Since this group no longer exists, QC can present the song as-is. The same goes for “I Can See The Hand,” a lesser-known Funderburk-era Cathedrals hit. Fan still recognize and fondly remember these titles that may not have been heard this way for a while, so hearing them close to how they were originally done is welcomed.

What about groups that are still on the road? While the Kingsmen and Gold City are actively touring today, most (if not all) of the members who sang on their hits of this era are no longer in the group, so songs like “Called Out” or “John Saw,” get a pass in this particular setting for the same reasons as noted above

Where the concept hits a bit of a snag, though, is with songs like “Midnight Cry” or “When I Get Carried Away,” two songs that are not only still staged by the current Gold City lineup, but have become enough of industry standards that quite a few other artists have their own renditions. Doing carbon copy arrangements of these songs feels a bit unnecessary, and in these cases, I would’ve preferred hearing Quartet Classic bringing something a little different to these particular titles. Even songs like “I Know A Man Who Can” or “Step Into the Water” are regularly sung by Cathedrals offshoots like Greater Vision or Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, making these renditions feel more obligatory rather than inspired simply by virtue of being huge hits from the era.

That’s not to say that the concept doesn’t have its merits. The vision is clear and well-executed from start to finish. Given the level of talent and experience in this group, as well as the obvious love of these songs, you’re getting a solid album, and if you’re a musical purist, you’ll probably appreciate the fact that Quartet Classic is adhering closely to the originals rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.

Production wise, my only gripe is that it seems to be mixed and mastered to sound “artificially loud,” in that everything sounds as if it’s at a constant volume. There’s not much in terms of dynamics. This doesn’t entirely surprise me, though, as most music today is mastered this way due to passive listening habits. I just would’ve preferred that the production style was as faithful to the original cuts as the arrangements.

Since this is marked as “Volume One,” I hope we get to hear additional volumes from this era by Quartet Classic. There are plenty more songs (and artists) to choose from. I also wouldn’t mind hearing some deep cuts from this era, and I’m sure these guys are familiar quite a few of their own.

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Kyle Boreing

Kyle Boreing

Kyle has been writing for MusicScribe since 2008. He is a musician, producer, arranger, and occasional quartet singer, who pays way too much attention to recordings. He is an alumni of Stamps-Baxter School of Music and has shared the stage with many different artists. He also really likes movies that are "so bad they're good." Visit his website at, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.


  1. James Hales

    I’ve got to get me a copy of this!

  2. Joshua Cromwell

    What is their website name to view their touring schedule

  3. David Bruce Murray

    Joshua, They don’t appear to have one.

  4. Joshua Cromwell

    How are you supposed to get this CD if they don’t have a website to buy it from.


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