The Herald Bulletin

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Columns

April 3, 2014

Jim Bailey: Gaither Vocal Band keeps rolling along with new faces

A Gaither Homecoming video number sums it up: “This great caravan keeps on rolling along.”

So it is with the Gaither Vocal Band, a group Bill Gaither himself thought was nearing the end about the time the whole Homecoming phenomenon began to blossom. Singers have come and gone since, but the Alexandria-based gospel group keeps reinventing itself. Most recently, Adam Crabb and Todd Suttles have joined the parade.

The newly constituted group had time to get used to one another during their recent Caribbean Cruise. They’ll be introduced to the Anderson area at the Paramount Theatre on Aug. 14 during a major benefit concert to raise funds for the historic institution.

“As I have said before, you never truly replace anyone. You have to create something new and unique,” Gaither said.

A few years ago GVB legends Michael English, Mark Lowry and David Phelps rejoined the group for what comedian Lowry believed would result in going out in a blaze of glory. “I figured Bill is getting old, how long can he keep going on?” cracked Lowry as he and English returned to full-time solo work.

But Gaither, who just turned 78, shows few signs of winding down. After auditions and fill-in performances, he has added a member of a longstanding Southern gospel family and a newcomer to Homecoming fans.

Adam Crabb sang many years with the Crabb Family, along with father Gerald, Grammy-winning brother Jason, twin brother Aaron and sisters Terah and Kelly. “Adam is a powerhouse singer himself,” said Gaither, “and he probably fits group singing better than other singers.”

Suttles, whose day job is sports fitness director at Vanderbilt University, sang with a family group, the Settles Connection, in which he was the “outsider.” Buddy Greene called Suttles to Bill’s attention; in fact Settles Connection was on one Homecoming video backing up Greene.

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