Any true southern gospel fan or follower would immediately recognize a town by the name of Stow, Ohio. Stow was home to one of the most beloved quartets in southern gospel history, The Cathedrals. It was also the home of a young man who would later sing tenor for one of the Cathedrals’ most memorable baritone singers’ quartet. He is in the next generation of tenor vocalists in Southern Gospel and for the Mark Trammell Quartet.
Blake Buffin first sang in his church choir at age 18. As time went on, he began singing in the church quartet, performing as a soloist and special guest at churches and events in the surrounding area. After taking private voice lessons through a teacher at Kent State University, Blake sang for the Stow Symphony Orchestra Chorus including classical pieces such as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem and the tenor solos for Handel’s Messiah. Classical artists like Andrea Bocelli, Alessandro Sofina and The Tenors developed Blake’s love for music, but it was David Phelps of the Gaither Vocal Band who inspired Blake to sing the tenor part. “I love the classical flair to his voice,” says Blake. Blake and his wife Lauren were married July 18, 2015 and now reside in Rainbow City, Alabama.
Chris Jenkins – How did you first discover Southern Gospel?
Blake Buffin – I was introduced to SG by Matt Fouch of Legacy Five
BB – Pandora station with a shuffle of SG and Operatic Pop
CJ – Who is some of your musical mentors/heroes?
BB – David Phelps is definitely one of my hero’s and is the reason I wanted to become a tenor singer because he has a very rich tone and I like the operatic flair he has to his voice. Matt Fouch being family really encouraged me to follow my calling and helped me get a start in the industry, and is a phenomenal bass singer. Mark Trammell has become a huge mentor for me. Mark is one of the best and consistent singers there is I am so thankful to be able to be mentored by him, not only vocally but spiritually.
CJ – If you could make your own all-star quartet, trio, or duo, who would the members be?
BB – This is a tough one! It’s hard to put an all-star group together without hearing them sing together so I will have to go with a group that was already put together and had, I think some of the tightest harmonies and chemistry and that is the Danny Funderburk, Glen Payne, Mark Trammell, George Younce era of the Cathedrals.
CJ – What’s the top album every SG fan should have?
BB – Cathedrals, Symphony of Praise album
CJ – Where have you always wanted to perform and why do you hope to get to someday?
BB – I haven’t thought a lot about where I would want to perform but I guess I would love to sing at Carnegie Hall because one of my favorite Gaither Homecoming DVD’s, “Let Freedom Ring” was filmed there and it’s just a beautiful theater, not to mention all the artist who have performed there over the years.
CJ – What is the most interesting fact about you?
BB – Matt Fouch (Legacy Five) introduced me to SG, but is also my cousin
CJ – How do you feel about the direction of Southern Gospel music? What would you change if you could?
BB – I like the direction that a lot of groups are going by adding some contemporary sound but keeping the traditional SG roots. I also like how groups are continuing to sing the old hymns and how they keep the same tune but making very tasteful arrangements.