Russ Taff is joining the Gaither Vocal Band, Billboard Bulletin reports. Taff replaces Mark Lowry, who last month announced his resignation from the award-winning Southern gospel group, which is led b

Russ Taff is joining the Gaither Vocal Band, Billboard Bulletin reports. Taff replaces Mark Lowry, who last month announced his resignation from the award-winning Southern gospel group, which is led by Bill Gaither.

Taff is a singer/songwriter who rose to prominence in the '80s as a member of the Imperials before launching a solo career. He has won nine Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, including three for male vocalist of the year and one for rock album of the year for "The Way Home" in 1990. He has also won five Grammy Awards.

Taff will perform with the Gaither Vocal Band next week at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colo., during the taping of a video of one of Gaither's multi-artist "Homecoming" concerts. The Vocal Band, which is signed to Spring Hill Music Group, is rounded out by Guy Penrod and David Phelps.

Lowry had been with the Gaither Vocal Band for 13 years, longer than anyone except Gaither. He was most recently dividing his time between commitments to the Vocal Band and his solo career as a singer/songwriter and Christian comedian. His "Mark Lowry on Broadway" project, taped at New York's Beacon Theater, spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Music Video chart earlier this year.