Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Southwest Southern Gospel Music Festival Recap

Okay, typing this name is starting to drive me crazy. Anyway, I had a blast at the festival this year! I was able to attend Friday night's concert. I got to meet so many amazing people, but that is another blog post! (And if you're here and I met you at the festival, HI!!)

The event was in a different, smaller venue than last year so that was interesting (They couldn't do it at the old venue because of parking and basketball games). Also, because we didn't buy our tickets until the week before, we sat like three rows from the back, and the floor wasn't slanted so that it was hard to see the stage. However, there was a pretty big screen that was a blessing! Because the venue was way smaller than last year's, the place was actually filled! (That surprise sounded cynical, but it's oh-so-sadly-true)

As for the crowd, well let's just say that my family unsuccessfully tried to carry it on our backs. You see, Phoenix crowds don't like to get engaged that much. My group would start clapping for "clappy" songs or when the artist would try to get people to clap, but we were basically the only ones clapping :( Also, the intermission seemed to perk everyone up, but they set it late, leaving only two sets after. I think if they would have set it in the middle, everyone would have been perkier.

On to the artists!

First, the Collinsgworth family came out singing Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness and I totally didn't freak out. JK of course I did. It was the COLLINGSWORTH FAMILY!!! Anyway....

The first full set was Liberty Quartet. But it was Liberty Trio because their bass was in the Emergency Room. It was only the second concert he had ever missed for illness! I had recently seen the Craguns in concert and was therefore somewhat familiar with the group (Jordan Cragun used to sing for them). They sang I Need a Fresh Drink with a two extra artists whose names are escaping me. It was a really fun song! (You can tell I didn't think of taking notes until afterwards...)

Second up, was the Mark Trammell Quartet. I had only heard two songs by this group: Your Walk Talks and Wonderful Time Up There. And those were the first two songs they sang!!! (I say "Your talk talks and your walk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks," all the time just for fun.) I had never heard this group live, but it was really fun!

The order gets a little fuzzy in my head now, but Aaron Wilburn came on sometime and did his comedy routine. It was pretty funny. He also sang a song about how nice it is when your grandkids come and later when they leave. I'm no grandparent, but as a former children's church worker, I feel the exact same way!

Legacy Five came on somewhere in this time and did a splendid job. Josh Feemster blew me away with his vocal chops!!!! And Trey Ivey played his patriotic medley! ahhhhhhhhh To the people behind me, I'm terribly sorry I was craning my neck around so much, but I had to see his fingers!!! (If I wasn't a pianist, that would sound awkward.)

Cana's Voice, the new group made up of Doug Anderson, Jody McBrayer, and Taranda Greene, was up next. I had been looking forward to this group since they were formed like a month ago, and they did not disappoint!!! If you ever get a chance, you have got to hear this group! Their solo voices are amazing, but when you combine them, it's like the most amazing thing you'll ever hear!!!! The three songs that stick out in my memory are one about the Heavenly Father, There Is a Mountain, and Jesus Never Fails. The Heavenly Father one was a great up-tempo walking out one, and Taranda Greene did the best group introduction of the night (Just because it was fast and had music behind it). I've looked up There Is a Mountain and heard other groups sing it, but none compare to Cana's Voice! And Jesus Never Fails was everything I thought it would be from the YouTube videos!!! Jaw-dropping, moving, soaring, everything! They did have a piano player, but I didn't know who it was :( I'll find out soon though!

Taranda also gave the story of the group's name, which I was rather interested in. She said that she, Doug, and Jody all felt like they were at the place where God couldn't use them as mightily anymore. They all felt like their best days were behind them. Then, as they were reading in the Gospels where Jesus turns the water into wine at a wedding, Taranda said that she was struck by the pots that Jesus used: old, broken, 100-gallon jugs. Jesus took these old, worn-out pots and did a miracle with them! The group all felt they were like these pots and wanted God to do a miracle with them too! So the name Cana's Voice was born, after the location of the miracle, Cana of Galilee.

EHSS came on singing what else? Happy People! They then threw Frisbees into the crowd which was cool! They sang Get Away Jordan, and danced :D Then Paul Harkey sang Old Man River. They also sang Oh What a Savior. Overall, I enjoyed their set immensely! And then I got to meet Dustin Doyle and Tyler Vestal at intermission!

After intermission, Triumphant came on. I missed the first little bit of this set, but I do remember the white flag song when everybody pulled out a handkerchief. Not tissues, but handkerchiefs! I think that tells you everything about the crowd you need to know... I didn't get to talk to their piano player, but I'm going to another concert of theirs in a few months, and I'll get to see him there.

Then, finally, the moment I had literally been waiting for for a year!! The Collingsworth Family came out! They sang some songs from their new album, including Gotta Get to Jesus, which touched me so much! What the Bible Says was a really fun one live! And Kim sang When He Carries Me Away! I love that song soooo much. Kim then talked about how things are going to get worse before they get better, but we have hope in Jesus! She then played Hallelujah Chorus and brought the house down. They closed out the night with That Day is Coming.

Well there you have it. I had a great time getting to see so many groups I had never seen before. It was awesome! But even just as awesome as the music were the people I got to talk to. That however, is for another post :D

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