Apologies if this may offend some, but I am astounded at the cavalier way Bill, Rick and especially George are being treated. IF this had been in the works in some manner for a number of years, as has been suggested elsewhere, the guys were certainly not in the loop, and any suggestion or speculation that this was in any way a “mutually planned retirement” of the current group is spurious and wishful thinking.
To be fair, I’m sure Josh Reynolds negotiated in good faith, and was likely not party to keeping the current Kingston Trio in the dark. That’s all on the Shanes. Sorry, but there it is.
Like others here, I have watched the handful of Lion Sons videos on YouTube, and also noticed the mostly unison vocals, wobbly tempos and rudimentary instrumental skills. They are just not up to professional standards. Mike, a weak singer with little personality (but plenty of ego!), is a very poor choice for the Shane position, and the banjo player is actually flat out doing a John Stewart impersonation. I’ve never known any other member in any configuration of this group that I’ve seen over the decades to ape the vocal inflections and stage mannerisms of any of the original members, like a Beatlemania or similar tribute act. Disturbing, creepy, amateurish, and definitely not ready for Prime Time.
I could kind of see the logic of adding Josh to the current group if they wanted some sort of familial continuum — though sadly that would’ve meant the dismissal of the multi-talented Rick Dougherty — and it certainly would help him up his game to work with professionals with decades of experience, like Bill and George. Musical boot camp if you will, similar to the months of gruelling “professional finishing school” and vocal lessons Werber put the original guys through.
But instead the way this was handled leaves a bad taste in the mouths of long-time fans, friends and followers of the group, who have every right to feel betrayed. Imagine how George Grove must feel right now. He above all deserves better than being callously kicked to the curb.
This is the result of greed, selfishness, fast profit over sustainable yield, perhaps a degree of what one might kindly call “diminished capacity,” and lots and lots of hubris. The new guys may take a victory lap during the 2018 tour season, but I doubt they’ll get a second one. And suing the current touring group likely won’t have endeared Josh and Mike to much of anyone.
What a sad, tawdry end to a remarkable career.