Wednesday, December 05, 2012


As I was growing up, my family and I would attend hymn sings in the Tillsonburg, Ontario area. Groups such as The Proverbs, The Watchmen, and The Nations would perform. So would the The Torchmen Quartet. They began in 1969 when four men met at Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church in St. Catherines, Ontario. Today the Torchmen are Mike Moran, Sandy MacGregor, Jon Hisey, and Jeff Tritton. Mike Moran was born in Cambridge, Ontario and joined the group the year they formed. For many years Mike also hosted ‘Gospel North’, a radio show in the Niagara Region. Sandy MacGregor was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario. He has been a member of The Watchmen Quartet, The Chapelaires, The Royal City Quartet, The Singing Canadians, and Damascus. In the eighties he sang lead for The Torchmen, now he sings tenor. Jon Hisey grew up in St. Catherines, Ontario. He officially started singing with the Torchmen in 1983, just after his Uncle John had left them. Jeff Tritton used to minister to kids with a ventriloquist dummy named ‘Elfred’. He first joined the group in 1992. Over the years the Torchmen have gained great notoriety for their talents and Gospel message, even performing at the National Quartet Convention in the United States. Their latest release A NEW PERSPECTIVE (2012) was recorded at Grant Avenue Studios in Hamilton, Ontario. Of it, Mark Trammell says: “The Torchmen have found yet another level of consistency and integrity through taking timeless traditions and bring new light and a fresh approach to old standards while never losing the original impact of the song.”

‘I Want to Make a Difference’ is a real toe-tapper and uses banjo: “I wanna testify/God is still the only One/I wanna make a good impression/When I make my confession by what the Lord has done/I wanna sing for my Lord and my King/Do my best to see Him get the glory/I wanna make a difference/With the One who made the difference in me.” ‘I’ll Keep on Leaning’ is a nice ballad of gratitude to God written by D. Britt: “All those times I’ve gone astray/All the times I’ve lost my way/The Shepherd reached out into the cold/To bring this sheep back to the fold/And no matter how far astray I’d be/Those Arms are reaching out for me/Safe in His everlasting Arms/I’ll keep on leaning.”

‘Just One More Song’ has a celebratory feel to it and was written by Rebecca Peck: “Give me just one more song to sing/Give me just one more verse to glorify the King/Give me just one more day/In this symphony of life/Give me just one more breath to lift the name of Jesus Christ/Give me just one more song to sing.” ‘I Will Pray’ begins with these words of wisdom: “I won’t wait till I’m walking in the valley/Or I’m caught up in the fury of a storm/No it won’t take times of desperation/To push me to my knees/And make me call out to my Lord/I will pray/Pray in the morning/Pray in the noonday sun.”

‘Fair Exchange’ uses harmonica and has an upbeat country feel to it. It includes these spoken words: “The Bible says in Romans chapter eight, verse one ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.’ So the next time Satan wants to put you in chains, you look him in the eye and say ‘By the blood of Jesus Christ I am a free man.’” ‘Wish You Were Here’ is a sentimental ballad written by M. Williams and popularized by The Kingsmen. Here are the words to the chorus: “Wish you were here/It’s such a beautiful place/Wish you were here/Nothing but clear sunny days/It never rains and no one complains/We haven’t seen a tear/We’re having a great time/Wish you were here.”

‘City in the Sky’ by Richard Ash, has a Gaither Homecoming feel to it: “I met a new saint of God/She’d been travelling a long, long time/Seen a lot of pain and heartache/But she’d left it all behind/I said ‘Sister, tell me/Aren’t you weary of the life you’ve led?’/She said ‘I’m not troubled with where I’ve been cause I know what’s up ahead.’” ‘Light at the End of the Darkness’ encourages us not to give in to despair: “There is hope in that land for the hopeless/There’s a soothing balm for pain and misery/It’s as near as your faith/It sometimes seems fleeting/I was blind when it finally shined on me/There’s a light at the end of the darkness/So look up when you are down and try to believe.”

‘I Remember the Time’ is a testimony song that I can hear doo-wop influences on: “I can tell you ‘bout the time/I can take you to the place/Where the Lord saved me/By His wonderful grace/And I cannot tell you how/And I cannot tell you why/But He’ll tell me all about it/In the by and by.” ‘In the Cross’ takes the posture of a servant: “So I turn to the road ahead/Forgetting all I used to be/In answer to the call of the One who died to set me free/Friends and fame, riches and power/For His cross I will set aside/In His mighty shadow/Let me hide.”

‘Over the Door’ is a faster paced number that reminds us our denomination doesn’t save us: “Some people think today/If heaven you would see/You must belong to their one church/Or be lost eternally/But according to God’s Word/What He’s still looking for/Is what He finds within your heart and not what’s over the door.” So true! ‘I’d Rather Have Jesus’ really puts things into perspective: “I’d rather have Jesus than man’s applause/I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause/And I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame/I’d rather be true to His holy Name/Than to be the king of a vast domain/Or to be held in sin’s dread sway.”

In short, The Torchmen Quartet have still got it going on. Their group harmonies and solos sound great! The group is excited about their faith which is alive and well. Not every group could weather so many member changes over the years and still sound as cohesive as they do. This is a bona fide recording. Fans of Gold City should buy this one. I’m rating A NEW PERSPECTIVE 90%. For more info visit