Recently, I had the chance to interview Christian Davis. After singing bass with the Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet, Christian Brothers Quartet, and Mercy’s Mark, he recently launched a solo ministry and has reorganized the Christian Brothers Quartet for select dates.
DJM: How did you get interested in Southern Gospel?
Christian: I started at an early age, growing up around it. My family were big Southern Gospel fans. Being involved in church, and listening to tapes and records, it just kinda sunk into my system and my blood.
My dad had a Sunday morning radio program and I always loved to pick out songs for him to play. One of my favorite things to do on Sunday morning was go to the radio station with my Dad.
As I got older, that’s when I really developed more of a love for it, because I understood it better. Not that I didn’t love it at an early age, but I was able to comprehend it a little more.
DJM: So your first experience traveling professionally was with the Sounds of Liberty?
Christian: Yeah, my first professional musical experience was with Sounds of Liberty, a recruiting group for Liberty University. That was only for the year of 1999.
At the time, the Sounds of Liberty weren’t singing Southern Gospel. One Sunday morning, I had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Jerry Falwell in his office and talked to him about starting a quartet. When I said that, it was like magic words to him. He had always wanted his own quartet, for his church, ministry and TV program (The Old Time Gospel Hour), as well as traveling with him when he goes around and speaks. He told me, “Christian, I want you to be the bass singer. Robbie Hiner doesn’t know it yet, but he’s gonna be my tenor singer!”
You can read a little about that on my website.
DJM: You were with them from ’99 through ’03?
Christian: Yeah, I was with them for four years.
DJM: And then you started your own group…
Christian: Yes, the Christian Brothers. I was still part of the Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet. We were doing a pastors conference at the Prays Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia. During that conference, God really spoke to me—I would say slayed me—and started me on a different direction in my life. That’s when I made the decision to start Christian Brothers
We recorded three CDs. We were together from ’03 through about ’06, about 3 years.
After Christian Brothers ended, that’s when I got the call to be the new Associate Director of Recruiting for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft Worth, Texas. I was there in 2006.
DJM: Then you got the call to join Mercy’s Mark?
Christian: Yes, I was with them for almost 2 years, until the group came off the road.
DJM: I hear you’re bringing Christian Brothers back for select dates?
Christian: Yes, we’re limited to what we can do, extremely part time. We’ll be doing a least one weekend a month, so 2-3 dates a month. All the people in the group are soloists, one of the guys is pastor of a church.
The members are Jamie Caldwell at baritone, formerly of the Dixie Melody Boys, the one that took McCray Dove’s place when McCray left. Lead will be Rod Propes. Tenor is Dave McVay, formerly of Three Bridges. Then me, singing bass.
DJM: Has the group done its first concert yet?
Christian: No, but we’re booking dates for ’09. Our first dates will be in March ’09.
DJM: I notice you recently launched a website for your solo ministry.
Christian: We are starting this new venture. I really felt like God was dealing with me there to go out and try this thing on my own and see what God can do through this ministry. We are planning on this being full-time for me (that and working here at Dominion Agency as a booking agent). We are planning on some pretty big things for this ministry, as far as booking dates. We’ve already got some overseas trips planned – a trip to Norway is scheduled for next year. We are taking Christian Brothers to Norway.
My heart is in the local church, being available to do pastors’ conferences, senior adult conferences, (I have a passion for senior adults), as well as doing concerts in church.
DJM: How did you select songs for your solo CD, Make it Real? Did you select the top ten all-time songs that you wanted to record, or did you put some of your favorites on this project and set aside other favorites for future recordings?
Christian: I recorded the CD when I was with Mercy’s Mark, and I had no intention of going out solo. This was strictly for purposes of having a solo CD, something for the people who wanted to just hear the bass singer or just hear my voice.
I had no intention of going out and doing solo concerts. I just recorded the songs that I thought the senior adult crowd would like, songs that people would know. Stuff like He Touched Me, Beulah Land, Love of God, and the old church hymn “My Savior First of All” – your favorite song. You didn’t realize I remembered that, did you?
DJM: No, I hadn’t known you remembered that. It is my favorite Fanny Crosby hymn. Is there a story behind selecting this particular song for your recording?
Christian: I’d heard that song growing up in church. It was in our Baptist Hymnal and it became one of my favorite songs.
I sang it when my grandmother passed away—my dad’s mom. That was the very first time I ever sang the song. I sang Beulah Land there as well. That really played a special part of me recording the song.
DJM: On your CD, you sing all four parts on “The Lord’s Prayer.” It’s an ongoing joke in Southern Gospel that tenors wish they could sing bass and basses wish they could sing tenor. Do you ever sing tenor just for fun?
Christian: Sometimes I do. At one particular point, with Christian Brothers, I actually tried to outdo one of my tenors in “Looking for a City.”
I actually won, and I paid for it too. I couldn’t talk for three or four weeks. But it was fun knowing I could do it!
DJM: Do you have a “signature song,” that you sing at every concert you perform?
Christian: I will probably always do “Thanks to Calvary.” It’s an old standard, people recognize the song and can relate to it, and it was written for a bass/baritone range like George Younce’s.
DJM: There are many different ways that Southern Gospel songs and albums can be produced: Orchestral arrangements, progressive arrangements, or traditional four-voices-and-a-piano arrangements. Is there any particular sort that you most enjoy singing in a live concert setting?
Christian: I like the more orchestrated stuff as opposed to basic drums/bass/guitar. They are OK, but I like the more heavily orchestrated slow songs, ballads, as well as fast songs, simply because I’m an orchestra fanatic.
One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I am a trumpet player as well, so I appreciate classical music, orchestra music, symphonies and so forth. I have a great respect for that and appreciate that.
DJM: Any chance you’ll pull out the trumpet for your solo concerts?
Christian: Maybe at some point I might break it out, but not as of right now. If Sophia [Christian’s wife] had her way, I’d do it at every concert!
DJM: Do you perform any big ballads in your concerts?
Christian: As far as big ballads, I do not sing any at this time, but I do plan on recording a few on my new project that will be coming out in a few months.
DJM: As far as the industry is concerned, most quartet members go solo and were never heard from again. Are you planning to maintain a presence in the industry, sending out radio singles or in other ways?
Christian: I am planning on staying within the Southern Gospel industry and church ministry. Singing solo and in a part time quartet will be the focus of my ministry. I will probably be be sending songs to radio in the near future. I might wait until I record the new project. Now, with that being said, there is another venture I am working on. Look for a press release soon with all of the details.
DJM: How can someone get in touch with you to book you for a concert?
Christian: I am available immediately for ’09, and for worship service appearances, concerts, seniors’ events, and pastors’ conferences. You can either go to the website, www.dominionagency.com, or call 910.484.6996.