A new week brings a new SWOT analysis. This week, Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Mark Trammell Quartet. Undoubtedly one of the most recognized names in Southern Gospel quartet music, Mark Trammell has spent time with three of the biggest quartets in this genre’s history.
Early in Mark’s career found him with the Kingsmen, then on to the Cathedrals and finally moving to Gold City. Mark left Gold City and in 2002 formed the Mark Trammell Trio. Being a quartet man, one would wonder why it took until 2010 for Mark to add a bass singer and form the Mark Trammell Quartet.
- Mark Trammell: Is there really anything else to put here? Mark Trammell is the star of the show. This group would not be where they are at, in terms of popularity, if not for the name of Mark Trammell.
- Adding A Bass Singer: Adding a bass singer was the best thing Mark Trammell could have done. As a trio, the group could never really be considered a top-tier group, even with the name Mark Trammell behind it. And adding a bass singer with the vocal chops of Pat Barker can only be considered a double win.
- Relationship With Daywind Records: The Mark Trammell Quartet (formerly trio) garnered greater attention as a result of their recording relationship with Daywind Records. One can’t deny the fact that Daywind does push their artists (as a label should).
- The Trifecta (Cathedrals/Gold City/Kingsmen): Even though his greatest recognition comes with his time spent with the Cathedrals, how many other quartet men can say they performed with three of the biggest quartet names in Southern Gospel history.
- Use of Tracks: I know, lets continue to beat a dead horse but it is what it is. The Mark Trammell Quartet does have a spot in their program where they use just piano and bass. More of that please!
- Greater Vision Lite: When the group was a trio, they reminded me of just another Greater Vision. Their sound/style/song selection was so similar to Greater Vision that I will admit I didn’t give the group a chance of winning me over. My thought was, the industry already had a Greater Vision, it doesn’t need another. Luckily, that changed when the group added a bass singer.
- Following The Pack: Southern Gospel music is filled with many quartets who sound good and offer the listening audience a good concert experience, but never move past that to become the quartet leader. There were many strong quartets through Southern Gospel’s history that never achieved that and still did just fine. The Mark Trammell Quartet is still in that place where they are offering the listening audience good quartet music, but they haven’t separated themselves from the pack. With someone like Mark Trammell leading this group, I think the quartet could become a quartet leader. Only time will tell.
- A Mega Song: Every major Southern Gospel mega-group also has that mega-song that propelled them to that next level. The Mark Trammell Quartet needs that mega-song.
- Remaining Just Another Good Quartet: As mentioned above, the Mark Trammell Quartet never moving out of that good quartet realm with all the other good quartets. It’s a crowded field and doing something to separate yourself from the rest is a tough thing to do. The biggest groups in the industry are those who have built individuality.
- Personnel Shifts: Nothing hurts a group’s momentum more than someone leaving the group. While inevitable in Southern Gospel music, the less turnover you have the better.
***NEXT SWOT ANALYSIS: KAREN PECK & NEW RIVER***