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|Related: Everybody Get Up Tour, Fred Hammond, The United Tenors, Kimmel Center|
Fred Hammond has assembled the biggest names in their musical genres with The United Tenors for the Everybody Get Up Tour in support of the recent release of soulful 70's inspired album, United Tenors: Hammond, Hollister, Roberson, Wilson. The United Tenors join forces with special guest Pastor Alyn E. Waller of ENON Tabernacle Baptist Church for one exclusive Philadelphia performance blending R&B and Gospel sounds in the KimMel Center's Verizon Hall on Sunday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m.
The United Tenors brings together R&B and Gospel vocal harmonies of Fred Hammond, Grammy Award winning, platinum-selling urban contemporary Gospel pioneer; Dave Hollister, R&B crooner who wailed on 2 Pac's classic 'Keep Ya Head Up' and as Blackstreet front man on 'Before I Let You Go;' Eric Roberson, the Grammy Award nominated Indie Soul King; and, Brian Courtney Wilson, the urban inspirational vocalist with the crisp rasp for an evening of Urban Adult rhythm that uniquely reinterprets '70s soul music to connect with audiences of today.
"I think it will remind people of a lot of the old throwback great R&B groups like Heatwave, the Dramatics, the Chi-lites and The Stylistics," Fred Hammond says. "It's a brand new sound that still feels familiar. When men sing together it's a very powerful moment, and we have that moment."
"When assembling the group, I didn't just listen to voices, but I also looked at character," Hammond adds. "I wanted to work with men who would work well together and complement each other. Personally, I have to put Fred Hammond's solo career and solo personae on hold for the sake of making this group successful. This is a bigger cause, so I have to step back now and sing background...and I'm happy to do it. And these guys feel the same way...they play their parts. There are no egos. I try to distribute the time people have on the mic equally, and it has worked."
For the March 2013 album release of United Tenors: Hammond, Hollister, Roberson, Wilson (Verity Records), Hammond wrote three of the fourteen songs and co-wrote the remaining tracks with a variety of musicians -mostly friends with whom he's collaborated with over the years. They showcase a muscular vulnerability of submission to God on the first radio single, "Here in Our Praise," a mellow sing-along in which they sing in unison: "With our hearts Lord, we worship you and we won't be the same. In your power O Lord, we are changed! As we lift up your name let your presence reign over us as we worship you."
All of the men bring deep and varied musical roots to the ethos of the United Tenors. Fred Hammondentered the music business as bass player for the iconic `80s Gospel quartet The Winans and then co-founded Commissioned in 1982. Throughout the `80s, the band revolutionized Gospel music with urban beats and their unique vocal blend on signature cuts like "Running Back to You;" "Cry On" and "Ordinary Just Won't Do." In 1991, Hammond launched his solo career and became a leading pioneer of urban praise and worship music. It's a move that has earned him six R.I.A.A. gold or platinum CD certifications and scores of Gospel radio hits such as "No Weapon," "We're Blessed" and recent No. 1 hits such as "They That Wait" and "I Feel Good."
Dave Hollister started his career backing artists ranging from Father M.C. to Welsh sex symbol Tom Jones to Patti LaBelle before joining the New Jack Swing quartet Blackstreet, circa 1993. He remained with them through their biggest, chart-topping hits. By 1999, Hollister had gone solo and released his debut CD, "Ghetto Hymns," which featured the Top Ten R&B hit "My Favorite Girl." He went on to turn out a string of solid R&B standards and then, in 2004, accepted the call to ministry that he's said he was ducking since the age of 17. "I ran from it for a long time," he adds. "I finally decided to accept it once I came into the full knowledge of my relationship with God." He then released the acclaimed Gospel CD, "The Book of David: Vol. 1 The Transition" on Gospo Centric Records in 2004 and served as a staff minister at New Direction Christian Church in Memphis, TN for a few years.