Triumphant Quartet Feels That Simple Is Good.
By Craig Harris
It was more than good enough on June 21 as the group invaded Edmonson County (Ky.) High School for the sixth annual Jeff Stice Homecoming Concert.
“It’s emotional for me,” Stice – the group’s pianist – said. “I look around, and I see teachers who taught me, a boss I used to work for in Bowling Green (Ky.) … I look out, and I see all these different
chapters of my life looking at me. It’s intimidating. It’s emotional. It’s a blessing.” The group has annual dates in or near each of the group members’ hometowns.
“It’s always exciting to go back home,” Triumphant tenor singer David Sutton said. “Our home folks
have supported us since we were little kids. We look forward to going back home. “It always seems electrifying.”
Stice – an Edmonson County High graduate – typically plays two piano solos during the group’s performance each evening, consisting of either “Down From His Glory” (which he opened with that night), “Mansion Over the Hilltop” or “Halleleujah Chorus.”
His homecoming concert kicked off with Stice taking the stage and performing a series 10 piano solos, intermingled with Stice’s emcee work. Stice spoke of how he began to play the piano and of the instrumental support of his family and friends, calling his dad Jimmy his hero but admitting that he is
his mother Evonia’s “moma’s boy.”
After Stice’s artistry was displayed for the first hour, Clayton Inman and Scotty Inman joined Stice on stage for the dramatic and powerful “He Is,” which earned a standing ovation from the crowd. “It’s
energy … they’re going to get energy from us,” Stice said.
Then, the group took off into what most of the group members agree is a nightly staple, performing
the chart-topping “Saved By Grace.” “It’s my favorite song we’ve ever recorded,” Stice said. “It’s an
“Carroll McGruder is a great writer. I’m so happy for him (receiving the Broadcast Music, Inc., Songwriter of the Year Award recently and being honored for writing ‘Saved By Grace’).”
Sutton added, “The one I still love doing every night is ‘Saved By Grace.’ I love that song. I love the
message. That and “Thinking of a Mansion” … I love both of those songs. Those two songs are just as
fresh tonight as when we started.”
Lead singer Clayton Inman has a difficult time selecting a favorite song, but Saved By Grace certainly enters his equation. “It’s been ‘Saved By Grace,’ ‘I’ve Got Confidence’ and ‘Take It From Me,
Meshach,’” Clayton Inman said. “’Saved By Grace’ was my favorite for the longest, and I sing baritone
on both of those songs. They’re loads of fun. “On ‘Saved By Grace,’ you don’t have to think about what
it’s saying. I love simplicity. I love the energy. They’re all self-explanatory.”
While admitting that “Saved By Grace” is an essential part of the nightly set list, Triumphant bass singer Eric Bennett has a different favorite. “My favorite song for us to do is ‘Somebody Died For
Me,’” Bennett said. “I love that song. It’s one of my all-time favorites.” “Take It From Me, Meshach”
is the group’s latest hit, having climbed to No. 2 on the charts. “When the Trumpet Sounds” and
“Everyday” were also songs that reached No. 2, and “Saved By Grace,” “Love Came Calling” and “Almost Home” all reached the top spot.
However, with the fans who were in attendance for the Jeff Stice Homecoming Concert having heard many of those songs numerous times, the group mixed up its set list to include some “new” songs for
the fans. In fact, “Take It From Me, Meshach,” “Saved By Grace” and “Everyday” were the only three
of those aforementioned top hits that the group performed that night. In addition to “Saved By Grace,”
highlighting the first set was “Take It From Me, Meshach,” “Forgave Me, Saved Me, Raised Me” and Clayton Inman’s show-stopping “That Old White Flag,” which garnered a handkerchief-waving, standing ovation.
“I’ve never had a signature song,” Clayton Inman said. “I always thought of my signature song being a
ballad, like a ‘Midnight Cry.’ I never saw this coming.“I’ve never had songs requested. It started getting multiples (requests) every night. I love Bluegrass (music).”
Baritone singer Scotty Inman wrote “Heaven Will Be Mine Someday” with Dianne Wilkinson, which the group also included in its opening set. Wilkinson also co-wrote Triumphant’s “Hey, Jonah,” “I Can’t Help But Smile,” “Now He Knows What Heaven’s All About” and “I Can Take You to the Place” with Inman, and she also wrote “That Old White Flag.” Triumphant also still regularly sings Scotty Inman’s hit, “You’ll Find Me There.”
“You definitely wonder how your song is going to fit or if it’s going to connect with the audience,”
Scotty Inman said. “It’s really one of the best feelings I can have as a singer/songwriter, for it to
minister to somebody.” Scotty Inman’s favorite song that the group is currently doing in concert is “I’ve
Got Confidence,” which kicked off the group’s second set.
“I have more fun singing that than any song I’ve had the lead on,” Scotty Inman said. “I enjoy the
verses. I enjoy the feel of it. I enjoy the message. It’s my kind of song.”
Triumphant followed that up with “Everyday” and an A Cappella version of “When Morning Sweeps
the Eastern Sky” before Jimmy Stice joined the group on stage to sing bass on “Just a Little Talk With
Jesus.”After Bennett led the congregation in prayer, the group eventually ended the 28-song, three-hour
concert with “Moving Up to Gloryland.”
“We want to see people laugh,” Bennett – a 22-year veteran of the Southern Gospel industry who has
sang with Sutton for almost 20 years and has been in a group with Stice for 16 years (with the three
spending five years together as a part of the Kingdom Heirs prior to the last 11 as 60 percent of the
Triumphant Quartet) – said. “We want to see people have a great time, and we want to see people
saved. If people have had a good time and the gospel has been presented, we feel like we’ve planted a
seed and done what the Lord wants.”
For more information about Triumphant Quartet, visit: http://www.triumphantquartet.com