FULL DISCLOSURE: I have no ill will against Gold City or anyone in the group. I am a genuine fan and have been for many years. That being said, as a fan, I can’t help but wonder why a recent member change (something with which the group is sadly all-too-familiar) seems to be such a touchy subject to address, seemingly to the point of refusal.
So, let’s make one thing clear: Chris West is no longer traveling with Gold City. This is official from Gold City. Well, at least it WAS official on a couple now-deleted Facebook posts. If you saw them in concert, it’s a case of “circumstances beyond our control,” and other comments state that they “didn’t have [a bass singer] on that particular day…” when someone left a comment on a recent video. At any rate, Chris appears to have departed the group.
And before we go down that rabbit hole, no, I’m not going to speculate on the reason behind his apparent departure, and any comments that attempt to do so will be removed, so let’s just leave it at “Chris West isn’t there right now.”
What’s odd is the lengths to which Gold City seems to be going to avoid having to discuss or even acknowledge West’s departure in ANY way, shape, or form. It’s like an open secret. And if anyone asks the question as to where Chris is (because, to date, no “OFFICIAL official” announcement has been made), the comments are quickly answered, then deleted. In at least one instance, a concert announcement was posted with a poster that did not include West in the photo, only to be completely removed and re-posted with a modified poster showing Chris in the group – seemingly after people started asking questions as to his whereabouts.
Then we have their most recent post soliciting votes for the Singing News Fan Awards. Once again, Chris West is prominent in the poster, but eagle-eyed observers may notice that he is not being listed for voting consideration. Credit where credit is due, whoever designed this particular graphic did a great job of not making it painfully obvious, but again, it seems like a case of “hinting” that someone has departed without just coming out and saying so.
It should also be noted that comments are quickly shut down on most recent posts, seemingly so no one can pose the question as to West’s whereabouts and so the group doesn’t have to address the elephant in the room.
Look, I get it. Sudden departures for any reason cause issues. It could be a case of trying to avoid losing dates – if someone booked a quartet and the quartet is temporarily a trio, they might cancel and the group loses out on that income. But I would think it would be more prudent to cut off the rumor mill and reassure everyone (including promoters) that the situation is temporary. It would be better than surprising a venue, anyway…
It’s also possible that there are legal issues at play, and any open acknowledgement of a departure may have larger ramifications. Of course, this is speculation, but at this point, speculation is all that can be done, and the group is making no effort to give any definitive answers.
Additionally, this change is coming only a couple months after a much-publicized hiring of Chris Jenkins on tenor and re-hiring of Bruce Taliaferro on lead. No matter what you thought of the transitions, the group went all out on letting everybody know about the changes, including a live performance, new photo shoot, and newly-recut single that has been doing well on the charts. The last thing the group needs is for yet another issue to cause upheaval. Yet, here we are, and rather than face the issue head on, Gold City is seemingly doing their best to ignore it.
At any rate, the same now-deleted comments also indicated that a new bass singer would be announced soon. There has been some audience speculation based on recent substitute bass singers, but to date, nothing firm has been made official. Heck, if they can’t even bring themselves to formally announce a departure, I wouldn’t hold my breath on a replacement announcement until it’s well over and done.