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February 23rd - March 28th, 2006

Reuters Features the Crabbs
The Reuters news agency has published a feature on the Crabb Family, which means it will likely be picked up by newspapers around the world. Nothing especially new in the article for SG fans:

The group is embarking on a spring tour that will give fans the option of buying tickets for a solo date or a pair of weekend shows. "Friday nights are always going to be Southern nights, which includes the McCraes, the Mike Bowling Group and the Crabb Family," says Kelly, whose husband is Mike Bowling. "Saturday night is the more contemporary night where it's Julian Drive, the Crabb Family, the Katinas and NewSong."

The next generation of Crabb performers is warming up in the wings. Each of the young siblings (all are under 30) is married with children, and they are getting ready to record a children's album featuring their offspring.

March 28th, 2006

Radio News
enLIGHTen radio is excited:

Praise the Lord & Rejoice!

Thanks to your prayers … at Midnight ET, the evening of April 16th … enLIGHTen! Channel 34 will join the XM satellite radio lineup!

Since you’ve written us as a listener, we wanted you to be among the first to know that the wait is just about over. As the new day of April 17th dawns, there will be a LIGHT on Channel 34 of every one of XM’s six million + radios, wherever they are across America … and you’ll be able to take enLIGHTen! with you wherever you go.

Now, as never before … great Southern Gospel music radio for the nation 24/7 … great Gospel radio to the power of X!

Please don’t keep this a secret! Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your fellow church members … in fact, why not assist them in selecting and purchasing an XM receiver of their own....

Our commitment, more than ever, is to honor the Lord in everything we do on enLIGHTen! And, we trust that you are feeling the same joy and excitement as we that this action for which so many have been awaiting is now coming to pass. Please spread the word … enLIGHTen! joins the XM satellite lineup on April 17th!

March 28th, 2006

The Pensacola News Journal features a photograph of Ernie Haase performing on stage on Friday night with what appears to be a toothless, blind old man. It'd be fascinating to know who this old geezer is....
March 26th, 2006


What the...?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Jessy Dixon is being sued for fraud, for allegedly conning a woman into giving him money to help buy a $2 million house and a luxury car. A stepson of the woman - who died late last year - told the newspaper that his stepmother met Jessy on a gospel music cruise and began a romantic relationship with him.

The newspaper asks: "When Johnel Moore gave away more than $700,000 shortly before her death, was it to support God's work or to support a gospel-singing gigolo?"
March 18th, 2006


Southern Gospel and Transvestites
Who, according to the Pop Matters website, "proved the connection between Southern Gospel and transvestites" at the recent Oscars? (Scroll down five paragraphs and be prepared for bad language.)
March 17th, 2006


Jeff & Sheri Out Of NQC
UPDATE - I've just received an email to say that the following story now no longer applies, that Jeff and Sheri WILL sing at the NCQ.
March 15th, 2006

Down here in Australia, a visit to the National Quartet Convention is just a distant dream. I know it's meant to be great, but I don't know much else about it. So I've no idea what to make of the following email from Sheri Easter. By the way, I note that David Bruce Murray also refers to this, with a link to a story at However, that story has been deleted.

Anyway, here's the email:

Hey Everyone,

There have been many speculations about whether we will be attending NQC this year. Contract negotiations do take time and in October, Jeff & I began negotiating with the NQC board about our 2006 dates. The board agrees to pay artists a maximum amount. Jeff & I have never requested this amount or have ever been paid this amount. We've always taken much less than the majority of the top groups in Southern Gospel, simply because we could afford to accept less. Jeff & I believe in giving. With fuel increases, the cost of the booth, payroll for 8 employees and taking a weekend off during September, our expenses were exceeding our pay, so we asked for an increase, but still less than the maximum paid to other artists, and the board declined. After 30 years of attending, we will surely miss being with all of you at NQC, but we do have several families counting on us for their livelihood and we have to consider them first. There are no hard feelings, in fact, the majority of the board are very good friends and will continue to be. Thanks for all your support and the best way for you to get us back to NQC for 2007 is to let the board members know how much you miss us being there.


March 15th, 2006


The Problem with Christian Audiences
A lovely profile of Chonda Pierce in the Toledo Blade contains this gem:

Church audiences can be tough, however, according to Ms. Pierce.

“In the Christian world, they not only complain about your joke but about your spiritual condition. I’d rather be told I’m not funny than that I’m going to hell,” she said.

Read it all.
March 13th, 2006

The Last Photo of Anthony Burger?
Al Fasoldt, an editor at The Post-Standard in Syracuse, New York, was with his wife on the cruise that saw the collapse and death of Anthony Burger. He writes briefly about it here:

Even the tragic death of one of the performers on stage couldn't diminish the experience for us. In fact, the collapse of Anthony Burger, the Gaither Vocal Band's longtime pianist, turned out to be both immensely sad and strangely joyful; after the initial shock and grief (he suffered what appeared to be a heart attack while playing), the gospel group continued the week's schedule and turned the next performance into a tribute to one of the most beloved performers in the history of gospel.

And he has posted here a remarkable photo of Anthony playing intensely, just six minutes before his death.
March 6th, 2006

Quick Notes
- Click here to listen to clips from the new Brian Free album "It's So God."

- Click here to learn about Chonda Pierce's online birthday bash on March 7th, also celebrating the launch of a new website, a nationwide tour and her new DVD, "A Piece of My Mind."

- Click here for the new Singing News Southern Gospel forums.
March 3rd, 2006

Tributes Flowing for Anthony Burger (quick update)
SGLive365 has created a special page dedicated to Anthony Burger, and this is probably the best place to visit for the latest details. Funeral arrangement information is provided, and there are tributes from people like Ann Downing, Kirk Talley and Woody Wright.

And thank you to Gwen for alerting me to a brief tribute to Anthony from Paul Harvey (click on Friday noon).

And I've only just realised that Mark Lowry's site includes a long and very touching email from Tori Taff detailing the events and the emotions on board the cruise ship on the night of Anthony's death.
February 26th, 2006


Tributes Flowing for Anthony Burger (cont.)
Anthony's own website now carries a brief tribute, and promises further details.

Mark Lowry's rambling reMarks page has become a central point of call for many who are seeking information, to the extent that the site was shut down for a period, due to traffic volumes. Mark has put up an email from Ben Speer:

The rumor that Anthony was playing "We Shall Behold Him" is incorrect. He was playing "Hear My Song, Lord" behind Bill, Gloria and Guy when he passed away.
Just for your information.
Ben Speer

Steinway & Sons have published a tribute at their website:

As a recent addition to the Steinway Roster of Artists, both Steinway & Sons and Mr. Burger were looking forward to a mutually inspired and musically fulfilling professional association. He is survived by his wife LuAnn, two sons, AJ and Austin; a daughter, Lori; his mother and father, Richard and Jean Burger; two brothers, Randy and Clinton Burger, and countless friends and loved ones. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife LuAnn, their children, and entire family.

You can find plenty of heartfelt comment at the Southern Gospel Music Lovers message board.

Southern Gospel News has links to several tributes. So does David Bruce Murray.

February 25th, 2006

Tributes Flowing for Anthony Burger

Anthony Burger’s death is now making the newspapers. You can read an AP dispatch in the Chicago Tribune, at Forbes and at many other publications. News Channel 9 in Chattanooga has a photo and a short article.


Billboard Radio Monitor’s Christian Blog has a short report and a growing number of comments from shocked readers.


SGLive365 carries several tributes, including one from Chuck Peters:


I first met Anthony during his Kingsmen days. He was with the hottest quartet.. and I was with a big radio station.  Then I ran into him again at the 2003 National Quartet Convention.  After all those years away from the SG limelight... most of my friends in the industry didn't remember me.   but Anthony did.  He treated me special,.. even when there was nothing for him to gain.


The page this is written on.. was to be part of a new website design for Anthony.  His office staff and I wanted to surprise him.   I never thought these words would be written here.   I just never dreamed he would be gone.


I know this doesn't sound much like a big news story...  and I am rambling..  but this is hard to write.   I miss Anthony Burger.  


Mark Lowry has written “Remembering a friend” on his website:


I've been thinking... They tell me Anthony was playing We Shall Behold Him when he suffered a heart attack or whatever it was that made him pass. But, can you imagine for Anthony what that must've been like? To be playing for Gaither one minute and God the next? To be listening to the Homecoming singers - blink - and hear angels singing? Was Jesus standing in the crook of the piano where Anthony finished the song?


The Avery Fineline blog pays tribute:

Perhaps more than any other single figure, Anthony Burger transformed the gospel musicians' role. There will be a lot of encomiums to Burger the Homecoming celebrity in the coming days, no doubt. But I prefer to remember the irrepressible force of talent that made Burger a star in the first place ... that native ability he brought to the stage as a kid with the Kingsmen and with which he remade the image of gospel-music accompanists, from glorified sidekicks to legitimate performers and partners in the artistic enterprise.


Danny Jones has a short tribute at Singing News, and there is also “Conversations with Anthony Burger“, from the March 2006 issue of the magazine.


Roger Bennett calls for urgent prayer.


The Southern Gospel News and the Southern Gospel Nuts message boards are full of comments from fans. has published “Remembering Anthony”:


He was quiet but not silent. He was a loyal friend and never became too busy or too successful to make time for reaching out to others. He had a way of knowing what someone needed before they asked, and for that reason he helped people in ways that will never be known by anyone but those people.


He was trusting. Some might say he was too trusting in the world we live in, but he always, always believed the best in people. Perhaps that trusting spirit stemmed from his unwavering confidence in Almighty hands to guide, protect and provide as he had seen evidenced in his own life countless times.

February 24th, 2006


Anthony Burger Dead of Apparent Heart Attack
A Mark Lowry newsletter has just arrived with awful news:

I just received a phone call from Michael Lord, Stan Whitmire and then Scott Davis so I called Barry Jennings to confirm it.

This evening Anthony Burger was playing, 'We Shall Behold Him' on The Gaither Cruise, collapsed and died. A couple of people took him backstage and tried to revive him, but couldn't. Anthony, it is believed, had a heart attack.

Please keep all of Anthony's family in your prayers.

Please check my Rambling reMarks for funeral arrangements and any updates I receive.

Sincerely, Mark Lowry

Anthony Burger's own website appears to be offline.
February 23rd, 2006



Allen Asbury
Mark Bishop
Booth Brothers
Mike Bowling
Anthony Burger
Cynthia Clawson
Crabb Family
Jessy Dixon
Dove Brothers
Ann Downing
Jeff & Sheri Easter
Gaither Homecoming
Gaither Vocal Band
Gatlin Brothers
Gold City Quartet
Greater Vision
Buddy Greene
Legacy Five
Mark Lowry
Babbie Mason
Mercy's Mark
Oak Ridge Boys
Palmetto State
Ivan Parker
Janet Paschal
Sandi Patty
Karen Peck
David Phelps
Chonda Pierce
Dottie Rambo
Lynda Randle
Signature Sound
Russ Taff
Talley Trio
Randy Travis