Southern Sound Quartet
There are a few groups traveling around our nation that are attempting to keep the traditional quartet style of Southern Gospel music alive. Some of those groups are doing fairly well on the national scene and making a good living by simply re-doing the original songs of the Statesmen, and Blackwoods. There is one group, however, that is performing this traditional style with class and quality, without being stuck in the world of "re-vived songs." This group is dedicated to singing with the same quality of the Statesmen. This group that has only been around for a few years, and is already making a name for themselves is Southern Sound Quartet.
Saying that Southern Sound has close harmony is an understatement. I recently spoke with Ben Harris, Lead singer for the group, and asked him just how this close harmony comes about. His reply was that it was "nothing but hard work and long hours of practice." When Southern Sound practices, and that's at least once a week, they spend no less than three hours rehearsing. Ben said that when you spend that much time practicing, you learn each others moves and pretty well know where each singer is going to go before they ever get there. Ben's pet peeve in Southern Gospel Music is QUALITY, so he figures that he has to practice what he preaches, and they work hard at keeping their sound as tight as it can be.
Southern Sound is in the process of making a group member change. Keith Harris, Baritone, is leaving the group to take a Pastoral position at a church. I was privileged to recommend to them a brilliant, young Baritone who could â€œcarry the mailâ€ for any group in the industry. Twenty five year old Trevor Haley is the new Baritone and is doing an outstanding job. The entire group is very understanding of the fact that Keith must fulfill the calling that God has placed on his life, and yet are thrilled and excited that God has sent them such a qualified replacement. The only group member not mentioned so far is their extraordinary Bass singer, Charles Brantley, who can rattle the speakers when he dips down for those really low notes.
In keeping with our lighter side of interviews, I decided to ask them â€œwhat was their favorite action hero toy as a child?â€ Everyone seemed to chime in at once that "Ben was so old that they didn't have action figure toys yet when he was little," so we had to settle for who his favorite action hero was. Ben replied, "Roy Rogers," was his favorite, and he even had the Roy Rogers lunchbox. Roger Sweeney chimed in that he used to get up every Saturday morning to watch Mighty Mouse.
Ben told us that the worst thing he ever did in a restaurant was to turn a full cup of coffee over in the saucer, so that it would spill when the waitress tried to move it. He said he did it in self defense, but I'm not sure that I believe him on this story.
Apparently Roger has a knack of hunting deer with his car, so the next time you see him in concert, ask him if he has his deer license with him.
When asked if there was a place that they have not sang yet that they would like to, their first answer almost in harmony was on the main stage of the National Quartet Convention. Maybe that will happen soon. A couple of them said that they would love to sing on a Gaither Homecoming video.
When you put Tenor- Roger Sweeney, Lead- Ben Harris, Baritone â€“ Trevor Haley, and Bass - Charles Brantley, along with some piano playing by Woody Beauty, you have one outstanding, old fashioned, close harmony, quartet singing. If Southern Sound is ever in your neighborhood be sure that you make a special effort to go out and see them. You will not be disappointed. You could even make plans to join them at the 5th Annual SoGospelNews.com Convention July 31, 2004 in Smyrna, TN.
Southern Sound Quartet website: www.southernsoundquartet.com