Past the Press Release is a new interview series, featuring people who have recently joined their first professional Southern Gospel groups. It’s a chance to look past the “excited to be here” comment standard to every new hire press release and learn a little more about them.

Daniel: Are you an Idaho native? If so (or if not), how did you discover Southern Gospel?

Philip: No, I am not an Idaho native. I was born in Phoenix, AZ and have lived in a few States since then. My Dad pastored a few churches across the country. My Mother was an Idaho native, and that’s where I get my Idaho roots.

Daniel: What is your musical background – both any training and any previous groups?

Philip: I was born into a singing family. My Parents sang at many church camps and revivals and at our home churches while I was growing up. I sang in Bible College in the Choir and a Quartet. The first real southern gospel quartet I started singing with was called Joyful Sound, in which I was one of the founding members. Then I moved on to Homeland Harmony Quartet, in which I was also a founding member. While I was with them I filled in for Liberty, I believe, around five times, singing every part except the bass!!

Daniel: Which Southern Gospel groups (in general) and tenors (in particular) inspired you to want to sing this style of music?

Philip: I grew up listening to the Cathedrals, Gold City, Happy Goodmans, Gaithers, my favorite was the Cathedrals. I guess you could say the tenors I listened to the most were Cathedral tenors, Kirk Talley, Danny Funderburk, Ernie Haase. I also loved to listen to Steve Green!!

Daniel: Now that you’ve been singing for at least a few years, who are some of the current voices in our genre who inspire you today?

Philip: I loved Frank Seamans’ tenor voice as well as David Phelps, Guy Penrod, Chris Allman has an amazing voice as well. I would have to say though some of my favorite singers are Kim Hopper, Chrysta Beene and Shari Easter!!

Daniel: In your opinion, what makes a song great? What makes you say, “This is a song I really want to sing”?

Philip: When I know it’s something I can sing from my heart, when I can relate to it. I love to sing some of those older songs and hymns, they have such depth and meaning to them, but I love the songs that will be on our new CD coming out in Sept, they are some of the greatest songs out there today written by a number of different artist that obviously know what and Who they are writing about!!

Daniel: What do you think Southern Gospel needs to do to make it another generation?

Philip: Keeping true to the roots of Southern Gospel will keep it another generation, I believe!!

Daniel: What do you think Southern Gospel needs to do to expand its presence in the West and Northwest?

Philip: Whatever Liberty is doing seems to work pretty well lol!!

Daniel: When did you first hear Liberty Quartet? How long have you known them, now?

Philip: I first heard Liberty Quartet about ten years ago when they opened for L5 here in Meridian Idaho. As far as really knowing them, though, I would have to say about four years now!!

Daniel: Do you have a family? If so, could you tell us about them?

Philip: Yes I am married to a wonderful Lady named Susie and lets just say I married way above my level.. we have been married almost 5 years now and live in Caldwell Idaho, I also have a 16 year old boy named Philip Guess Batton, He lives in England for now with his Mother!!

Daniel: I know other group members have shared this here before, but for any new readers: What are the best ways to find out more about Liberty, and to keep up with your road adventures?

Philip: We are on Facebook, we have an e-mail newsletter people can sign up for, and also our regular mail letter, you can also go to our website www.libertyquartet.com and see our schedule there!! I will also be taking lots of pictures and posting them on facebook as well!!