For more than two decades, the Gaither Vocal Band stood as the flagship ensemble of the Gaither music empire. As perhaps the most important link between modern CCM and classic Southern gospel groups of the Stamps variety, Bill Gaither's quartet has produced more gospel singing stars than the Yardbirds produced virtuoso rock guitarists. Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, Michael English, and Jonathan Pierce are just a few of the major names that have passed through the ranks, and each has brought a distinctive contribution to the band's evolution.
Like country counterparts the Oak Ridge Boys (who themselves started out singing gospel), the GVB combines old-time close-harmony singing with modern production techniques to create a sound both contemporary and filled with nostalgia. The smooth sound of 1999's "I Heard It First on the Radio" encapsulates the essence of the group's appeal; it's a splendidly mellow performance that is at once passionate and comforting. "Singing with the Saints" is edgier, taking a cue from contemporary Nashville records by matching the quartet's trademark sound with honky-tonk piano, a rock backbeat, and twangy guitar licks. THE BEST OF GAITHER VOCAL BAND comes as advertised, collecting the finest moments of this groundbreaking ensemble in one convenient package.