On Saturday, I drove out to Hartsville to see a concert featuring Danny Funderburk and the Mark Trammell Quartet. Time does not permit a full review, but here are a few highlights:

  • In his first set, Danny Funderburk brought the house down with “Somebody Touched Me.” There were four or five rounds of applause at different points, and a standing ovation at the end.
  • The Mark Trammell Quartet did their set with virtually no soundtracks; I think there may have been three on the first set, and I was having too much fun in the second to pay attention to such minutiae. More on that momentarily.
  • Highlights of their first set were (to nobody’s surprise!) Pat Barker’s rendition of “How Big is God” and Mark Trammell’s rendition of “Loving the Lamb.” Even though only two of the four vocalists on stage are on the studio version, I venture to say this lineup is in line to be the one the song is remembered for.
  • In Danny Funderburk’s second set, he delivered a spot-on rendition of “For What Earthly Reason.” It sounded like he was using the original Goss / Symphony of Praise track—no transpositions down on this one—and the soft falsetto ending (technically, head voice) was a moment of sheer beauty.
  • After Danny sang a few songs, the Mark Trammell Quartet came back on stage and only did another song or two before calling Danny back for twenty minutes of the closest thing to Heaven on earth for a Cathedrals fan. Joel took a break for a song, and Danny sang “Master Builder” with the rest of the quartet. That got things rolling, and before it was over, they did “Plan of Salvation,” “I’ve Just Started Living,” “I’ll Have a New Life / Everybody Will Be Happy,” and perhaps one more.
  • As all five singers were together for “I’ve Just Started Living,” it hit me:  This quintet is actually better than the Gaither Vocal Band. Sure, part for part, on range and control you might have to give Phelps an edge over Joel Wood (though Wood’s no slacker!), but on the other end take Bill Gaither vs. the good-looking Pat Barker. Comparisons aside, this quintet was vocal dynamite.

If you enjoy the music of the Cathedrals, and these two artists are appearing together anywhere within a few hours of your house, don’t miss it.

And if you don’t enjoy the music of the Cathedrals, go anyhow. You’ll love the Cathedrals’ music before the night’s up.