I've discussed this before, but now it has become more apparent that the Gold City we all loved in the late 90's and later is a totally new group. The group I'm talking about was Jonathan Wilburn on lead, Mark Trammel on baritone, Jay Parrack on tenor and Tim Riley on bass. Of course that would change when Trammel left to form his own group and replaced by Daniel Riley. Luckily, the group's sound didn't change much and they continued to be successful.
The big changes began when Parrack and Tim Riley left the group. Parrack was replaced by Steve Ladd and Riley handpicked Bill Lawrence (formerly of Brian Free & Assurance) to be the bass. That meant the group that existed in 2000 was gone and it showed. As much as I love Gold City, the group consisting of Jonathan, Daniel, Steve, and Bill just didn't do it for me. I still went to see them and bought their CD's, but when Tim would occasionaly show up, the applause was thunderous. Except to their biggest fans, Gold City kind of took a back seat for awhile. Of course, the untimely death of Tim's son and Daniel's brother Doug, who had played drums or run sound for them, didn't help.
Lawrence was a great guy and a low bass, which is required to keep the Gold City sound alive, and he held up his part of the bargain. He just wasn't Tim Riley and the sporadic appearances just pointed that out. Apparently, Lawrence saw that and resigned from the group. Lawrence was replaced by Aaron McCune, formerly of Palmetto State Quartet. McCune is a fabulous talent who's sound is more like Tim Riley's than Lawrence was. McCune has one trait that Lawrence didn't have. A natural feel for the rhymthic role of the bass. Throughout, the one constant was Jonathan Wilburn.
Their last recorded effort was "Revival" released in 2006. It was a superior album with a new sound. Where other Gold City recordings had featured horn arrangements and a very modern sound, this album went with a more country sound, but it worked. And then there was silence for what amounts to be two years. Earlier this year, Jonathan decided to sell cars (or so I read). Now we really have a new Gold City.
Jonathan was replaced by Brian Taliferro, who had filled in for him previously. I've only heard clips of Brian with Gold City, but I hear a different sound. Where Wilburn could almost sing a soulful lead, I don't hear that with Taliferro. I'm looking forward to hearing the new album recorded with him coming out soon. My hope is that Gold City will return to the top of the quartet heap. I think it is essential that this happens for the health of the quartet in southern gospel music. Do you agree?