For eleven months Nashville has been again my camping spot on life's journey. Yet even tho' it's as much a performance and recording center for Southern Gospel music as it is for country and other genres, I 'd yet to attend a Southern Gospel concert during this current Music City sojourn. My ears had yet to get blessed by the sounds of in-the-flesh four-part harmony glorifying God. This all changed last evening.
Tusculum Hills Baptist Church, well out on Nolensville Road on the south side, held a God-and-Country or Independence-Holiday celebration, which included a covered-dish supper. Following the blessing of our bellies, our spirits got quadruple-blessed, as Gold City sang a concert in the church's auditorium (sanctuary).
For decades Gold City has been one of the premier groups in tradition all-male gospel quartets. Last time I saw Gold City live in concert was almost a decade ago, in Clarksville. All the guys last evening came to the quartet since then. In fact the Tenor, Chris Cooper, was singing his first concert with Gold City! Bass singer Aaron McCune was the smallest of the group; it was weird to hear such a powerful bass voice coming from a shrimp! Gold City's former Bass & manager, Tim Riley, was NOT the shortest member of the previous Gold City I'd seen! Baritone singer for the quartet is Tim's son, Daniel Riley.
Nevertheless, the four I heard last evening still sing the unique Gold City sound. They're still carrying on ministry thru music, combining older Gold City standards with recently-recorded new songs that reflect that same style.
The concert at Tusculum Hills included, for example, such great G.C. classics of yore as "I'm Not Giving Up" and "When I Get Carried Away". Off their most recent album they sang "I Cast My Bread Upon the Waters" with which the concert opened, "For the Sake of My Heart" featuring that new Tenor, and "Ain't It Crazy What Children Believe". Toward the end the quartet did their signature song, the powerful "Midnight Cry".
Probably "Midnight Cry" is generally the group's concluding song in a concert, but since the theme of the evening at Tusculum Hills was patriotism, Gold City also did a new patriotic number "I Love This Land" after having all us veterans stand to be recognized. The song was such a powerful expression of faith and patriotism that the crowd was on its feet before the quartet hit the final note. Then as we began to resume our seats, Daniel urged us to remain standing and to join them in singing a medley of patriotic songs. These included the first verse of "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America". As we sang the latter I contemplated the "Lone Star Spectacular" laser-fireworks show back in Fiesta Texas theme park in San Antonio; that park-closing-for-the-nite show had that song at the end, just before the finale featuring "Deep in the Heart of Texas". And ever time I'd watch the show I''d be singing along on "God Bless America" while my head leaked. It was threatening to leak again during this concert.
Well, it may have taken yours truly a overly-long time to get to a Southern Gospel concert here in Music City. But THIS one was worth the wait! As with so many Gospel concerts in the past, at this one I sensed a taste of what Heaven will be like!