We all have our favorite guys in the group, and we all have our list of favorite songs. I wanted to talk about my favorite songs, in terms of how well they showcase each individual member. I included Don, as well, even though he won't be with the group anymore.
Let's start with the basses, shall we? The first thing I'm going to do is immediately break my only rule and do a favorite song for both of them together, instead of one for each, since most of the songs that showcase one bass showcase them both. Their have been a few notable basslove songs, the most well-known of which is definitely "All About That Bass". "All About That Bass" is definitely one of my favorites, but to be honest, my favorite thing about it is what the tenors are doing the whole time! "Mele Kalikimaka" is another great one, showcasing Randy by himself. But it's not my favorite.
My favorite has always been "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"; the low notes are off the charts, and Charlie's voice in particular has an almost gravely sound to it which seems to shake the room. Both basses have amazing diction, which can be very difficult at such low registers. There's a reason it's so praised among basslovers.
But let's not forget the songs which feature a powerful bassline in the background. "Creep" immediately comes to mind, but there are plenty of others. Let me know which ones you like best; I'd love to hear it.
Now, working our way from the bottom up, we have the middle-note guys.
This guy hasn't gotten a lot of solos. He's had some brief moments in the spotlight during "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", "Blurred Lines", and most recently "To Christmas!", but his longest solo thus far was in the Copa Medley (otherwise called the Baritone Medley, and not without reason). It really shows off his deep, resonant voice. There probably isn't a Chaser alive who wouldn't love to hear him more often.
Seggie's voice really lends itself to the more crooner-type songs, like those we hear in the aforementioned Copa Medley and the 50's Medley. But Seggie, too, has fewer solos than some of the other members; when he's not carrying a G from the beginning of the show to the end of the show, he's often doing vocal percussion. But he's had his fair share of solos. My favorite has to be "Ain't That a Kick in the Head". It perfectly shows off his smooth, almost textureless voice; and the attitude is just so perfectly Seggie, made even better with the fact that he has a drink on stage during the song!
But Seggie can shine in the background as well. One of his most impressive vocal feats is during the Titanic section of the Movie Medley; who knew he had such a high falsetto? (Well, probably most of us, but it's impressive anyhow.) And I love his vocal percussion in "Take Me To Church". And speaking of smooth segues...
We're all gonna miss this guy. Don has probably had the most solos out of all the Straight No Chaser baritones, which makes it hard to choose a favorite. He, too, had a solo in the Copa Medley; which he absolutely knocked out of the park. "Hit the Road Jack" is a classic, and "Run Run Rudolph" will never get old. And let's not forget "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "Soul Man", and so many others that it seems only Don could do.
But you can't just not go with "Take Me To Church." The emotions he projects throughout that song, alternating from angry to desperate to outright miserable... it's almost shocking, and it's definitely impressive. Overall, it's unforgettable. I pity da fool who criticizes this one.
Jerome has really grown on me. His style of singing isn't usually my preference, but his voice is really amazing. He has had the biggest number of solos our of all the guys in Straight No Chaser, including such classics as "Stand By Me", "Wonderwall", and "Mary Did You Know"; so it's difficult to choose just one. I'm going with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" for its catchiness factor. It's one of those songs that is really hard not to sing along to, and his attitude is awesome. And the choreography, of course, is incredible, and it couldn't be complete without Jerome's antics. It's a Marvin Gaye classic and a Straight No Chaser classic, and for me it never gets old.
As the well-loved "dreamy one", Mike is a close second on the solo count. While not as versatile as Jerome, he has a lovely, velvety voice that lends itself to a wide variety of songs. Most recently, we've heard him sing "All Time Low", but let's not forget the lesser known songs like "Red" and "I Will Wait". He's had a lot of really catchy solos associated with him, such as "Home By Christmas Day", "Feels Like Christmas", and the first verse of "Up on the Housetop"; but he's also sung quite a few love songs, like "I Won't Give Up" and "If I Ever Fall In Love".
Now I had trouble choosing a favorite Mike song, since romantic songs aren't really my speed, but the song that made the biggest impression on me is "The Man Who Can't Be Moved". I could probably write a whole blog on this song, and Mike's vocals carry it perfectly.
Walt the Man... he's got quite a trumpeting falsetto. I've never heard anything like it before. He might actually shine the most in songs where he sings backup, such as "Use Me / Ain't No Sunshine" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". In terms of my personal favorites, "Hi-De-Ho" ranks pretty high; especially one particular performance. My all-time favorite, though, is "I Play the Road"; especially at the bridge with the line, "Daddy, where do you go?" Then with the next line, Walt belts out, "I play the road!" It has quite an effect on me. There aren't a whole lot of songs that can make me emotional, but this is one of them.
I've never heard a voice like Tyler Trepp's. He's got a certain sort of energy in his voice that is a joy to listen to. "Get Ready" and "Some Nights" are great examples of this. He also has a talent for holding out really long notes... really, really long notes; as heard in "Joy to the World", the 50's Medley, and perhaps most memorably in "Summer of '69". He's also done some more romantic songs, like "Shut Up And Dance" and "Moondance". He can have a bit of attitude, too, in "Somebody That I Used to Know" and "Use Me". But I love those energetic songs the most, and "Runaway Baby" is just absolutely incredible; it's gotta be my favorite Tyler Trepp solo, and it's one of my favorite Straight No Chaser songs of all time.
Last but certainly not least, Dan called him "superior tenor", and not without reason. While every one of their tenors nowadays can sing higher than most humans in general, Steve has been famous for it from the start. He's most well known for his performance of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", as well as his high notes in "Africa"; but lately, his voice sounds even lovelier at deeper registers, such as in "Bridge Over Troubled Water".
The song I could listen to just about all day is "Soldier". Previously sung by Ryan Ahlwardt, Steve brings an angelic sweetness to the song that might not have been expected to work with such a song. This is another one I could write an entire blog about. It's even more enjoyable to watch him sing it, because he obviously really loves the song himself.
The Full List
The basses – You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Dave Roberts – The Copa Medley
Seggie Isho – Ain't That a Kick in the Head
Don Nottingham – Take Me To Church
Jerome Collins – I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Mike Luginbill – The Man Who Can't Be Moved
Walter Chase – I Play the Road
Tyler Trepp – Runaway Baby
Steve Morgan – Soldier
Obviously, we all have different preferences and favorites, and I'd be curious to know what yours are. And if you want to read more blogs like this, leave a comment or a message on my wall and I might just make time for it.