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.
Yes! A group doesn’t have to go into details about why but a simple announcement of a departure would save a lot of questions and speculation. Plus, it looks more professional and it’s a service to your fans.
If not being announced because they’re afraid of losing dates, well that’s deceptive.
I understand if there was a moral failure, bad blood, and or firing, private health issues (and I’m not saying whether there is or not, just talking in general terms) it makes announcing more difficult, but a simple “X is no longer with the group, no further information will be given please respect his / privacy during this time” would do better than silence. Would there be rumors and talk? Sure, but there already is.
I understand that details aren’t always going to be given in certain circumstances (nor SHOULD they), but trying to hide it is totally unprofessional and just isn’t going to work for long. I understand unpleasantness, and wanting to not deal with it, but you can’t keep many secrets in this day and age of practically instant reporting by fans.
My hunch is they’ll just make an announcement of who gets the job.and either not mention his departure at all, or in passing with the announcement of the new bass.
I’ve never understood why they (any group) takes this approach. Addressing it as head on as possible gets rid of the bulk of the assumed scandal, extra work in managing comments, and maintains the perceived integrity of the group. Most of us I think understand the difficulty in keeping a group going and the complexities of conflicts in personality that arise in daily close travel, as well as the toll this job takes physically and emotionally. Unfortunately over time it’s left me disenfranchised by the industry.
The whole personnel thing with Gold City over the past 14 months has just been weird. I don’t know what’s going on, nor what Daniel’s thinking is, but it’s just … weird.
After Bruce Taliaferro left around the end of ’21, they never really did announce that Cole Watson was the guy, did they? Most promo pics showed Taliaferro still with the group. Then, after about a year, PRESTO! Watson was gone and Taliaferro was back. And whatever happened with Thomas Nally? He was just gone, and suddenly appeared with the Kingsmen along with Cole Watson. COMMENT EDITED TO REMOVE SPECULATION Yes, I’m joking and speculating, but like I say, this whole thing has just been weird.
Good luck finding a bass singer. Personally, I’d be very wary moving my family to Alabama for this gig. Lord knows what you’re stepping in.
I too thought about the recent, strange situation with Thomas and Cole. It would appear, looking back, that Cole was a long term fill in until Bruce was able to return. But that was never announced. And the fact that Thomas signs on with the Kingsmen mere weeks after leaving GC is odd. With no official announcement of his departure. COMMENT EDITED TO REMOVE SPECULATION Seems like Gold City has a history of not explaining personnel changes. With all the changes they’ve had over the recent past, one wonders what kind of culture they have as a group. But that’s another conversation entirely
Im glad you posted this since nothingw else has been said. I was curious about all this but we’ve seen this before where a group keeps quiet about sudden changes. I keep reading that Chris West was Tim Riley’s hand picked successor so it makes this even more interesting. I wish the best for all parties and hope to see Chris in another group. Besides this change the other recent change had the feel of a baseball team trade and was waiting for a player to be named later.
In the interest of fairness, both Cole and Thomas were mentioned and thanked in the press release about Jenkins and Taliaferro. Got their own section for it, too.
I would love to respond to this article with kindness and great poise. As Christians, it is not our responsibility to question, dictate or speculate over personnel changes. Prayer goes so much farther than situational details.
After spending years in Corporate America we hired, fired and saw employees depart for ample reasons. But not once did we make a social media post about our decisions. It is unprofessional, as well as irrelevant. The end result remains the same.
Daniel Riley is one of the most loving, talented, level headed and stalwart leaders in this industry. Most of all he has a yearning desire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
GOLD CITY is a premier legendary quartet. They seek God is every aspect and decision. I am confident this change was no different.
Historically, the gospel music family has witnessed so many member changes. But through His tender mercies – the music we love is thriving. Grateful for “at capacity” crowds and new songs being released daily that still lifts up the name of Jesus!
I am a booking agent for some of the finest artists in this industry – inclusive of GOLD CITY. I will reiterate what has already been mentioned – Chris West is no longer traveling with GOLD CITY.
There is no malice, no hidden agenda, no hiding this fact. Their “no comment” approach is profoundly out of respect of both parties – period.
Let’s work together to BUILD UP the Kingdom. That’s what we are called to do.
How long is moderation?
As a Christian first and then a fan and social media promoter for this music I’d prefer transparency.
First, can y’all imagine Daniel Riley is tired? Bless ‘em, they got a powerhouse lineup put together and then a blow like this knocks em down again after such a short amount of time.
Second, this would be a huge loss no matter what. Chris West was as much like Tim Riley singing COMMENT EDITED TO REMOVE SPECULATION on stage as you could fine. The only closer choice would be Mr. Jeff Chapman.
I hope Mr. Keith “the substitute” Inman could fill on bass. My fiancé and I have LOVED seeing him from the stage. He seems precious but haven’t spoke to him.
How’s the Port City bass doing?
Lori, I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but a gospel group is slightly different than standard “Corporate America.” The entire business model is based on the presumption that these guys are personal friends of mine. Groups want you to invest in their members as though they are your family, until suddenly … they’re not! And then, not a word about what happened to these people is spoken.
Thanks to everyone who has commented, including those that had a few words we needed to edit out.
A couple comments that have been left weren’t approved. Feel free to submit a toned-down version if you’d still like to make the same points (please read Kyle’s third paragraph again before you do).
To be clear, we will (and do obviously) allow comments that disagree with the article or even another person’s comment, but we will continue to draw the line at those that belittle another person’s point of view. Thank you for understanding.
There is no set amount of time. Moderation happens as soon as I or Kyle sees that a comment has been left, reviews it to make sure it’s OK for publication, and approves it. The vast majority of comments are handled within a couple of hours (as yours were), but may take longer if we’re at our jobs.
If I were in a group leader’s position where there had been that much turn over, I wouldn’t at all announce any changes. It’s very negative publicity at that point.