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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Another Artist Spotlight and a Bit of Music History

So far I have talked about the top young gospel quartets today that were spawned by the world-famous Cathedral Quartet upon their retirement in 1999. I have already written at length about 2 of those groups--Ernie Haas and Signature Sound, and Legacy Five.

There is, however, a third major group that came out of the Cathedrals. This group focuses on one individual, and the quartet bears his name--the Mark Trammell Quartet.

Trammell began singing baritone and playing bass guitar for the Cathedrals as a young man in 1979. Out of all of those schooled in what is known in southern gospel circles as 'the Cathedral Way,' Trammell perhaps embodies that description more fully than any of the others who graduated from the Glen Payne-George Younce 'school' of gospel singing.

As the ultimate 'quartet man,' Trammell is a modern example of the tried-and-tested model set forth by The Vaughn Music Company and Stamps-Baxter Music when they first started sending professional quartets out on the road to churches across America to sell their songbooks.

These men were the consummate professionals--well-trained in vocal technique, stage presentation, and in selling the songbooks that paid their salaries. They were also self-sufficient, low-keyed, and even a bit shy about promoting themselves. They were there not to become individual 'stars' but to promote the songbooks.

George Younce once said that if you wanted to find the best quartet man in America today, you would look no further than Mark Trammell.

In 1990 after Danny Funderburk left as tenor for the Cathedrals, Mark had notions of leaving as well but stayed on in order to tutor a very young Ernie Haas, who had just joined the group as their new tenor. Once that was done, Trammell became baritone for the other top group in Southern Gospel at the time--the Gold City Quartet--due to his close and longstanding friendship with Gold City bass and manager Tim Riley.

A few years later, however, Trammell did what many of the top singers in Southern Gospel do when they achieve quite a bit of name recognition--they start their own group.

And today, the Mark Trammell Quartet is one of the absolute best gospel groups on the road in America. They are not flashy or gaudy. They do not go for cheap applause. They are not loud and boisterous. They just stand up and sing, and the quality of their music does the 'selling' for them.

Here is an example of the Mark Trammell Quartet, singing, 'How Long Has It Been.' As we say in the south, 'It don't git no better than that!'

By the way, there is yet a 4th major group that came out of the Cathedrals. I will tell you about that later.  

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