“The Christmas Season has and always will have the ability to bring out the warmth in peoples’ hearts. Though there are numerous memories and traditions to which I hold dear, it is simply the undeniable joy that is only explainable through the Birth of Jesus Christ that brings meaning to the season.
I had the privilege of growing up in a music loving, God fearing, enthusiastic household, and the holidays were always a time of celebration. Quite often when our extended family would come together for any particular reason, mass sing-alongs would ensue. Christmas was no exception. The memories that I cherish most were the times that our family would find ourselves singing carols around the piano until late into the evening; uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, and cousins, all together, lifting up the name of Jesus. I treasure those moments with my family and am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have grown up in a Christian household.
Merry Christmas from our family, to yours!”
– Jessica Amundrud (The Amundruds)
Tags: christian country, Christian Music, gospel music, Jessica Amundrud, The Amundruds
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A couple of weeks ago, SGN Scoops asked our Social Media friends what they wanted for Christmas.
Here are some of the answers…
My prodigal children to come home and for their salvation! ~Debbie Stemmer
A Jacuzzi! But I don’t think it can fit in Santa’s sleigh. Oh, and world peace. ~ Lorraine Walker
I just want my son to be happy and understand that Christmas isn’t about gifts. This year has been rough and I’ve told him we aren’t gonna have Christmas ‘til after I can find a job – but it’s hard for a nine-year-old to understand that. Although, when I ask him why we celebrate Christmas, he knows it’s Jesus’ birthday. So happiness is what I want for Christmas. ~ email@example.com
For Christmas, I would love to be able to go back to my childhood in Minnesota and go out in the snow, and cut down a live tree, just like I did in third grade. ~ Rob Patz
All I want for Christmas is that we would all learn and accept the importance of “all of us” sharing hope, love and the truth of Jesus to all we come in contact with. Love people right where they are and show them His love! ~ Dusty Wells
Ummm, I love Turtles! ~ Sue Barnett
All I want for Christmas is good health for my family and friends, joy and peace for us all. ~ Joan Walker
All I want for Christmas is the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with someone who has never received this priceless gift of grace. The most glorious thing that we can do on this earth is to share the Good News with everyone we encounter. Eternal hope can only be found through Jesus Christ. May we all freely share this hope with others, not just at Christmastime, but the whole year through. Of course, I also want to cherish the time I have with family and friends as we enjoy being together this Christmas. I pray we all enjoy good health and happiness as we reflect the love of Jesus to each other and everyone we meet! ~ Jennifer Campbell
All I want for Christmas is more of Jesus and less of me! If I have Jesus at the center of it all, everything else will fall into place! ~ Paige Givens
All I want for Christmas is for my family and friends to be well. I want to see people focus on what’s truly important instead of giving and receiving gifts. Christmas is not about “presents”, but about His “presence” in our hearts. ~ Vonda Easley
Peace in our hearts, minds…and souls; that peace which surpasses all understanding and that can only come from knowing that Christ is truly Lord and Savior…born, crucified and resurrected– the Hope of Glory! Peace on earth can only begin with us. ~ Sherry Anne
What do you want for Christmas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org …we may not be Santa but you will find a listening ear.
Tags: All I Want For Christmas, christmas, Gospel, Jesus, Peace, sgn scoops, star of bethlehem
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Pigeon Forge, TN.(November 5, 2014) – SGN Scoops and Creekside Gospel Music Convention was proud to present the 2014 Diamond Awards on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The gala celebration was hosted by Tim Lovelace and included appearances by The Blackwoods, Karen Peck and New River, the Dixie Melody Boys, the Freemans and many others. The evening was also filmed by WATC, Channel 57 of Atlanta, Georgia, to be aired/streamed at a later date.
The big winners of the night were Karen Peck and New River, who were honored with Song Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Mixed Group Of The Year and Trio Of The Year. Karen Peck Gooch was the 2014 Female Artist Of The Year.
Ken and Jean Grady of Gospel Music Today were award winners and Jean also contributed to the planning of the program. “It was a Southern Gospel star-studded night in Pigeon Forge at the Creekside Gospel Music Convention Diamond Awards. What a blessing to see so many artists and friends for the annual Awards show. Although it was a lot of work, it was well worth it as the artists sang and the artists and industry professionals received their awards.”
Rob Patz, CEO of Coastal Media Group and publisher of SGNScoops, commented, “The Diamond Awards are always a special time of honoring the Gospel artists that fill our world with the music we love,” said Patz. “It’s great to take this opportunity to thank them and to be able to share the ceremony with fans across the nation and the world by internet. We are grateful to Tim Lovelace, our special musical guests and t
o WATC for recording the Diamond Awards. We had a great time at the ceremony and we hope everyone will tune in and watch!”
“What an awesome night at the Diamond Awards at Creekside Gospel Music Convention 2014. What a blessing to be a part of such a great event!” said Vonda Easley, from Strictly Southern With Vonda Easley. Vonda is also a vocalist with Hope’s Journey and part of the SGN Scoops staff. “The music was amazing and the winners were deserving. I loved it!”
Jonathan Edwards, from Faith’s Journey, is part of the Creekside crew and the voice of SGN Scoops Radio. He stated, “I am always thrilled at the amount of talent that is featured on the Diamond Award program and this year was no different. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a small part of this special event.”
Lorraine Walker, acting editor of SGN Scoops digital magazine, was unable to be present but noted that a lot of work goes into the planning and execution of the Diamond Awards. “Many people have contributed to this year’s Diamond Awards event and I am thrilled that it was such a beautiful night. My thanks to the volunteers and staff of Creekside and SGN Scoops for making the Diamond Awards an exceptional evening. Congratulations to each of the very deserving winners!”
The 2014 Diamond Award Winners Are:
J.D. SUMNER LIVING LEGEND AWARD: Ed O’Neal
MIXED GROUP OF THE YEAR: Karen Peck and New River
QUARTET OF THE YEAR: Brian Free and Assurance
TRIO OF THE YEAR: Karen Peck and New River
DUET OF THE YEAR: Aaron and Amanda Crabb
FEMALE SOLOIST OF THE YEAR: Karen Peck Gooch
MALE SOLOIST OF THE YEAR: Jason Crabb
SUNRISE AWARD: 11th Hour
SONG OF THE YEAR: Revival – Karen Peck and New River
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Revival – Karen Peck and New River
CHRISTIAN COUNTRY GROUP OF THE YEAR: The Freemans
CHRISTIAN COUNTRY FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Christy Sutherland
CHRISTIAN COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR: James and Jeff Easter – Like Father, Like Son
ANTHONY BURGER INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR: Gordon Mote
DOTTIE RAMBO SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR: Jeff Steele
BLUEGRASS GOSPEL ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Doyle Lawson & Quick Silver
VIDEO/DVD OF THE YEAR: Lead Me Home – The Freemans
FAVORITE ARTIST WEBSITE: LeFevre Quartet
FAVORITE INDUSTRY WEBSITE: Gospel Music Today
PAUL HEIL AWARD (Broadcasting): Ken and Jean Grady- Gospel Music Today
CHRISTIAN COUNTRY MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Jason Crabb
LOU HILDRETH AWARD: Tim Lovelace
PUBLISHER’S CHOICE AWARD: Donna Blackwood
The Creekside Gospel Music Convention is being held now at the Smokey Mountain Convention Center, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee from November 3rd through 6th, 2014. The CGMC is presented by SGN Scoops and Coastal Media Group at Pigeon Forge and is the home of The Diamond Awards and other special events. For more information on Creekside Gospel Music Convention visit http://www.creeksidegospelmusicconvention.com/
Thanks to Robert York for the Diamond Awards pictures.
About SGNScoops: SGNScoops Digital is a fully-downloadable monthly magazine that exists to promote the gospel by unveiling what is intriguing and real about Southern Gospel and Christian Country music. SGNScoops offers music news and views as well as concert and book reviews, inspirational articles and features reaching beyond our gospel music world. SGNScoops is the home of the Diamond Awards, a fan-based annual awards program recognizing the best in Southern Gospel and Christian Country music. SGN Scoops is always digital, always free. For more information: http://www.sgnscoops.com/
Tags: 11th Hour, 2014 Creekside Gospel music Convention, 2014 Diamond Awards, Aaron and Amanda Crabb, brian free and assurance, christy sutherland, Donna Blackwood, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Ed O'Neal, gordon mote, Gospel Music Today, James and Jeff Easter, Jason Crabb, Jeff Steele, karen peck and new river, Ken and Jean Grady, KPNR, lefevre quartet, Pigeon Forge, rob patz, sgn scoops, the freemans, Tim Lovelance
Posted in announcements, artists, breaking news, christian entertainment, Christian interest, diamond awards, exclusive report, sgn scoops magazine, SGNScoops Radio With Jonathan Edwards | Comments Off
By Lorraine Walker
Dusty Wells is, officially, the Sales and Marketing Director for Word Entertainment/Warner Music Group. He is a singer/songwriter who traveled with The Rambos and Dottie Rambo for eighteen years. He has been singing all his life and recorded two projects in the 1980’s. Wells is an accomplished speaker, writer and mentor to aspiring artists. However, anyone whose life has been touched by Wells knows that his greatest gift is as a Balcony Encourager.
Music is a vital part of many people’s lives and most of us don’t have the privilege of being one of the performers like Dottie Rambo who share their talent and hearts with their audience. Some of us on the receiving end of the music, message and emotion clap politely or nod our heads. Others enthusiastically show their appreciation through their whoops and smiles, standing to their feet and applauding with all their might. As important as immediate response is to the performer, it is also important for people to be encouraged by those in the balcony, especially those who give of their lives to share Christ in a ministry. Balcony encouragers can share their particular ministry to anyone in need of affirmation or a positive word. The Bible often exhorts us to be an encouragement to those who need to be reminded of the joy to be found in Jesus.
Dusty Wells is the embodiment of a balcony encourager, cheering on artists and audience alike. He’s one of the most affirmative people you can find on social media. However, Wells’ journey to the upbeat, positive person he is today has not been an easy one and he has learned some hard lessons along the way. From a rough, abusive childhood that many might use as an excuse to take a wrong path, Wells emerged a strong, vibrant Christian through the grace of God and the help of some very special people.
“Growing up in the home that I did, I learned at a very young age that life is just plain old tough and I honestly had no idea that anything was different elsewhere until I got older,” Wells begins. “The people we associated with and the apartment complex-trailer park we lived in at times just seemed normal; so I think that old saying ‘you are who you surround yourself with’ truly was a part of my life. Now, as I look back, I know that my life was not the greatest, but there was so much worse going on and even today, my childhood abuse is nothing compared to what I have seen and heard.”
Wells continues, “Of course my mom was a product of her own environment and how she grew up, so she was just following that example. She was a hard worker and she always taught us to be survivors. Now she may have taught us in the wrong way with certain things, but she really did teach me to survive and make the best out of all that we had to deal with. I was not a Christian until I was 14, so I learned a lot of life’s lessons the hard way without Christ. But once He found me, I knew there was so much more to the life I had been living.”
Wells still had some lessons to learn in his growth as a Christian. “When I was 27 years old, I had a dear friend of mine who worked at a Christian Bookstore in Kansas City that I would call on. She totally got in my face and life, and absolutely ruined me – for good,” Wells continues. “She talked to me about the broken image and becoming the man of God that He intended me to be. She confronted me in love and truly helped love me back to life by showing me and sharing with me how much Jesus really loved and adored me.”
“Yes, I had been a Christian for 13 years at that time, but I had so much dysfunction of the past that she truly got in my face and helped me axe some ugly roots and start rebuilding. She was absolutely precious to me and I talked to her weekly for the next 25 years of my journey. She went home to be with Jesus last year and I miss her so; but she taught me the art and beauty of being real, sensitive, vulnerable and honest with my life.”
Dusty Wells has to be one of the most real people in the Christian music industry, never afraid to share his heart and always open to those around him. Sometimes it seems that he is always so positive that his present life must be a bed of roses. Not so, says Wells. “I deal with junk and crud just like everyone else. I have experienced so much in my life, that I honestly just strive to push aside the junk and try to trust that there is a reason for all that we have to walk thru. I do get quiet, I have to be alone and I get moody.” Wells laughs, “Yes, I sure do! Ask anyone who knows me well. But I usually will separate myself for a few hours, have my pity party, scream, yell and cry and then come back in full force ready to try to conquer the world. Or at least try to show others that I want to.”
One of the current challenges that Dusty Wells and his family of four children have to walk through currently is the ill health of his wife. Wells talks about this difficult trial. “This is a tough one. In fact, it is a question to God that I struggle with daily. My wife LaVonne, whom I have been married to for 31 years and is my backbone for so much, has recently been diagnosed with a rapid form of Parkinsons. LaVonne is the Godliest saint of a woman whom everyone loves. She is an incredible mother to our four children; she understands my call and mission, and has been so faithful.”
The questions swirling around this crisis have not yet found resolution for Wells. “I don’t understand ‘why her’?” Wells admits. “This is so new to us, that we are still a little in the shock and scared part of how to deal with it. She is showing signs of it daily, but she is a fighter and we are all walking with her, trusting and believing that God will heal her. Our kids have been incredible, yet I know they are scared just like me. But we also know that God will get glory in all of this. I don’t understand it, I hate it, but I have to believe He has a plan for it all.”
Wells’ faith has developed through other trying circumstances as he experienced God’s plan working throughout his life, beginning with a Christian couple who reached out to a poor, lonely, abused boy from the wrong side of town. They asked the fourteen-year-old if he wanted to go to church. He went and that led him to a belief in the Lord that changed his life. “This precious couple that led me to the Lord also really instilled in me such a love for Christian music. The very first concert I ever went to in Twin Falls, Idaho was either The Blackwood Brothers or 2nd Chapter of Acts. So diverse and different huh? They were so close together in concert, that I honestly cannot remember, but what I do remember is how the music of both different genres truly touched my heart and spoke to me. They brought music and songs about Jesus, who loved, loved, loved, me!” says Wells.
“Of course, The Rambos were truly my favorite artists due to this precious couple introducing me to their music when I got saved at 14,”says Wells. “I collected all of their music and finally met them when I was 24. The first time I saw them live was at a High School auditorium and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was that night at the concert in Portland, Oregon, back by the record table after the concert; we knew that we were supposed to all work together. A special bond took place and several years later I went to work for them full time. I spent nearly 18 years off and on with all of them, and to this day I am in touch with Reba, Dony, Buck and the rest of them as often as I can be. They truly are like family to me.”
Dusty Wells fondly remembers those years and the lady that made such a huge impact on his life. “My time with Dottie was so special, and I have so many memories. There is not a day goes by that I am not reminded of something she said or did that still impacts my life. Dottie taught me to love people right where they were at, to really look into their eyes and care for what they were dealing with and walking in. ‘Hate the sin, but love the sinner’. She taught me the value of our name, she always told me that at the end of our lives, all we really have is our name and the value it has for others who knew and remembered the name. ‘What do people think and say when your name is mentioned?’”
“Dottie taught me about the guarding of the heart and protecting the gift, which I preach and talk about all the time,” Wells continues. “I used to love it when we would be getting ready to travel; she would always grab my hands and say ‘Oh great angels put your hands in ours and your arms around us and protect us as we go about our Daddy’s business.’ I still say that when I am out on the road or in my own travels.”
“She was the real deal; a woman who lived in so much pain, but she pushed herself out of the pain to grab hold of that anointing,” Wells shares. “I feel very blessed and fortunate that God allowed me to help take care of her, just like her music took care of me when I was a young kid with so many questions. I so miss her.”
Dusty Wells not only learned a love for people from Dottie Rambo but she also nurtured the gift for words within him, both writing and speaking. “I love to write and share ‘heart’ as I always say and talk about,” says Wells. “I’ve always loved to write and tell stories when I was a kid; my brain was filled with all kinds of fairy tale dreams of a life. Once I became a Christian, for some reason I started writing and journaling and keeping diaries. Thank goodness that has always been a part of my life. I love writing out my feelings, my questions, my memories, my hopes and dreams. I am a huge instigator of telling others they need to do the same thing. So much of my own journey of forgiveness has been writing down my heart and feelings.”
Sharing what he has learned with others is a huge part of Wells’ balcony life. He mentors others and as the Bible encourages, he helps to ‘stir up the gift within’. “I am huge supporter and encourager of mentoring, especially in this crazy music world,” says Wells. “We have to have mentors and people who we are accountable to. I have been so fortunate and blessed through the years to have both mentors and accountability people in my face. I know and understand the importance of that.”
“So many times people think they can be the Lone Ranger and face all kinds of difficulties, struggles, temptations, etc. alone. They usually fall flat on their face!” Wells exclaims. “All of us need people who surround us and help us walk thru life! In regards to helping, encouraging and assisting artists and songwriters, I think the key for me is I have good ears and a heart that really does care. Also, I have 30 years of being in the business and I have worked along some of the most successful artists in the industry.”
“It’s my great passion to help those who are called to get the music out there. I take it very seriously and I am also careful to place balance in all of it. I have always been a big listener and I learned from some of the best; so I hope I can pass along some of that to other fellow listeners.”
As Wells listens and mentors artists and moves in the ‘crazy music world’, he sees and hears a lot of different singers. Some of his favorite artists whose music he enjoys are those he has had the opportunity to spend time with, those whose heart he has heard. “I have so many artists who I am friends with and I love so many types of music, but some of those that I just feel such a strong connection with are: of course Reba and Dony McGuire, Beyond the Ashes who are Anthony, Kellan and Dustin; The Nelons – I love Jason and Kelly; Wes Hampton – what a voice!” Wells continues, “ I love, love Ernie and The Signature Sound guys, they are such really fun guys. Also Stephanie Booshada, the Lanny Wolfe Trio, Ann Downing – I love The Downings; Karen Peck, The Hoppers, Taranda Green….” Wells laughs, “Okay, I am so going to get in trouble! I could go on and on; I have way too many that I enjoy.”
“I think the thing that I love and admire most about artists are the ones who are not afraid to be real, who want to truly share depth and heart with others, and who have gotten to that place where they know what they do is not just about awards, money, accolades, big crowds, etc; which is all important and okay, but they do it because they know they want to touch peoples’ lives right where they are.”
Many fans would love to be in Dusty Well’s place and have the opportunity to get to know artists one-on-one. Wells loves to enjoy the company of some of his friends in the industry. “I have so many that I love to hang out with, way too many to name,” says Wells. “I love going on the road with different ones when I can. For me the connection is that there is gypsy in so many of us! I love being able to visit with the fans and people who come to the concerts; I love hearing the music and watching the response. I love standing back at the product table and hearing their stories and watching their faces when they meet the artists. I love the camaraderie that I feel when I am out on the road with the different groups.”
As Wells travels the roads with artists and friends, there are often humorous incidents that they all remember for years. Wells shares, “I have so many funny stories! One of my favorites that I have not told in years, is this one time Dottie and I were at a large church in California, and a lady walked up to me in front of Dottie, and just went on and on about how good I looked since she had first seen us in the 60’s; how she liked my hair dyed brown instead of the white she had seen on the record covers and she thought I was shorter than what she had expected. Then she asked why I didn’t sing with Dottie any longer! Of course she thought I was Buck!” Wells laughs, “She just went on and on while Dottie sat there and laughed so hard. We were both crying and when I finally told her I was just a friend and worked for them, she then said, ‘Well I thought for sure you had had way too much plastic surgery!’ Oh, we used to laugh about that all the time.” Wells continues, “I play jokes all the time on the road; it is so much fun being on the road. Dottie and I used to pretend we would see famous people all the time!”
From working with the Rambos in the past to his present position with Word Entertainment, Wells is surrounded with all different types of Christian music. He is hard pressed to say what music he enjoys the most. “I have no particular favorite music honestly…except I love to listen to music that touches my heart. I want songs that say something and mean something to me. I love those artists who are not afraid of being real. I love those songs that move us to do more and challenge us.”
Wells himself performs occasionally and also sings with his church’s worship team. The local church is important to the Wells’ family. “I feel it is absolutely one of the most important things that we can do, to be involved in whatever we can at church, even if it is only a few times a month. “I feel like being involved in a local church is a absolute must for those on the road! You give so much of yourself that you have to receive back into yourself what God wants you to give out. Many singers will come up to me and tell me they want to go out full time and make a career out of music. My first question always is: ‘are you involved in your own home church?’ If they say no, I tell them to not ask my opinion until they are involved. Sounds harsh, but I am such a strong advocate for the church.”
As a balcony person, Wells has touched many lives and has a powerful ministry through his positive affirmation of artists and those in the music industry. None of us really know how we have affected the eternal souls of those we come into contact with, but Wells says he hopes that people remember him for his love. “I want people who have met me to remember that I absolutely love Jesus with all my heart, that my family is the most important part of my life and that I am crazy in love with them. I want people to know that I understand and embrace the truth of His word in our lives, that I have a heart and burning passion for music and what it can do for others who are so broken. I want them to see that if God can use me, He can use anyone! We just have to be willing, obedient and not be afraid of where we will go on the journey. We have to trust Him.”
For more information on Dusty Wells, visit him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dusty.wells.50?fref=ts
Also see his page on Southern Ministry Agency at http://mannagospel.com/?page_id=10
First published December 2012 by SGM Radio website
For current features visit http://www.sgmradio.com/
For another feature on Dusty Wells about Marketing Gospel Music see the September issue of SGN Scoops here http://www.sgnscoops.com/2014/09/16/september-2014-sgnscoops-magazine/
Tags: balcony person, Christian Music, Dusty Wells, Lorraine Walker, SGM Radio website, sgn scoops, Word
Posted in artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest, SGM Radio | Comments Off
By Craig Harris
Once again, Craig Harris provides terrific photographs from the last day of NQC 2014 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Hope you’ve enjoyed these albums! Let us know… email@example.com
Tags: Christian Music, Craig Harris, gold city, gospel music, Kingdom Heirs, national Quartet Convention, nqc, Renaissance Quartet, sgn scoops, Sneed Family, Triumphant
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Photos by Craig Harris
Craig Harris once again provides on-the-scene reporting in pictures from the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, TN. These photographs are from the Friday evening concert. Enjoy!
Tags: Christian concert, Craig Harris, ernie haase and signature sound, Gospel concert, jeff and sheri easter, national Quartet Convention, nqc, sgn scoops
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Photographs by Craig Harris
Once again, SGN Scoops’ reporter Craig Harris gives us a look at the evening performances during the National Quartet Convention. Thursday’s events also included the Singing News’ Fan Awards.
Tags: brian free, brian free and assurance, Christian Music, Craig Harris, Dixie Echoes, Dixie Melody Boys, Ed O'Neal, gospel music, Greater Vision, Lauren Talley, national Quartet Convention, nqc, Randy Shelnut, Rodney Griffin, sgn scoops, singing news fan awards, the isaacs, The Taylors
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The first night of NQC in Pigeon Forge as captured by SGN Scoops…
Tags: Christian Music, Dixie Melody Boys, Ed O'Neal, gospel music, Monday night at NQC, national Quartet Convention, nqc, sgn scoops, Tribute Quartet
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I remember when I was 11 years old at the 2001 NQC. I was so excited to see the quartets I loved and the chance to meet them.
I got to meet some of my heroes that week like Jake Hess, Tim Riley, Howard and Vestal Goodman, Ray Dean Reese, Ed O’Neal, Bill Gaither, and others!
The moment that stands out the most from that week was when I got to meet my favorite singer of all time, George Younce, who was with the Old Friends Quartet at the time. He was so kind and joked around with me like George would always do.
About a year or two after that, he called to encourage me to keep on singing and follow the Lord’s guidance. He has made a lasting impact on my life.
I believe God used George Younce to influence me to sing in Gospel music. I will never forget that NQC!
Submitted by Aaron Perkins, Sound Technician/Bass Vocalist at The Taylors
Please submit your NQC memories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Aaron Perkins, Christian Music, George Younce, gospel music, Jake Hess, nqc, sgn scoops, The Taylors, Tim Riley
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By Matt Baker
While I was on the road full time, I made some great friends in the gospel music industry. Some friends were people I loved to cut up with and still do. Some I gained great amounts of wisdom from. Some poured incredible amounts of encouragement into my heart and life. The singer featured in this article has been all three of those to me. Aaron Hise of the Whisnants has anchored the lead part for the group for many years now, and he is a big reason that the Whisnants have enjoyed great success on the stage, as well as the airwaves. I had the chance to ask him a few questions recently:
Matt Baker: You’re a northern Indiana boy. How did you end up in North Carolina with the Whisnants?
Aaron Hise: While I was living in southern Illinois, I was filling in for a local quartet. One night we sang with the Poet Voices and Phil Cross asked me if I’d be interested in singing full time. Of course, I said yes. So Phil and I exchanged numbers and I never thought I’d hear from him again. Well, that was Friday, and on Monday morning Phil called and explained that Tim Greene of the Greenes was sick and they needed someone to fill his position. So I thanked Phil and immediately called Tony Greene. As I spoke to Tony he explained the details of what they were looking for and what they needed. Again…this was Monday morning. Tony then overnighted four CD’s and marked the songs I needed to learn.
I drove to Boone, North Carolina, on Wednesday morning. That afternoon we ran through a couple songs, got on the bus that evening and sang in Pearl, Mississippi on Thursday night. I stayed with the Greenes for four and a half months and loved it! While my venture with the Greenes was coming to an end, the gentleman that was currently with the Whisnants came off the road. Tony mentioned it to me and said he’d call Jeff and set up an audition. I had my audition in December of 2000, got the job and I’ve been here ever since. To this day, I’ll always be grateful to Phil Cross, Tony Greene and of course Jeff Whisnant for giving this Indiana boy a chance.
MB: Who were some of your early Gospel music influences and heroes?
AH: Being from Indiana we didn’t get a lot of Gospel Music but when we did it was mostly quartets. My very first concert I attended was in 1983 at the South Bend High School in South Bend, Indiana, featuring the Kingsmen and the Cathedrals. I was hooked! To this day, I’ve always admired Glen Payne. Not only for his voice, but how he carried himself on and off the stage. My Dad, Ron Hise, will always be my hero for instilling a love and respect for Gospel music into my life. His love for sharing Jesus through this music became a love of my own through his influence.
MB: You’ve been with the Whisnants for quite a while now. Do you have a favorite place/venue to sing at? Why?
AH: There are several different venues that I love, but one of my favorite places will always be the National Quartet Convention. Singing at an event where so many of the Gospel greats have sung before still excites me to this day. We are also blessed to be a part of many Bible Conferences through out the year. One in particular, Mims Baptist Church in Conroe, Texas, is another favorite. Being a part of their Conference every January always starts my year out right, they are a true blessing.
MB: Most folks who follow Gospel music know that you’re married to Suzanne (Taylor) Hise of the Taylors. How did you two meet?
AH: Suzanne and I met at a concert in Kankakee, Illinois, where both of our groups were singing that night. I told Susan Whisnant that I was going to talk to Suzanne and I’m glad that I did. A month later at the National Quartet Convention we met up again and went out a couple of times. At the time, Suzanne was still in college and like myself, very busy. So we decided to slow down and get to know each other as friends. I knew she would be graduating from Liberty University that May. So I messaged her and asked if I could take her out for dinner to celebrate. She said yes and we started dating. Suzanne said yes again when I asked her to marry me on November 8th, 2012. We were married May 21, 2013.
MB: Because of your busy schedules, time together at home is precious. What are some of your favorite activities that you both enjoy to make the best of your time at home?
AH: We are like most Gospel Music couples in that we love our time at home. We enjoy going to see movies or staying at home to watch our favorite TV shows. We love to take road trips to Pigeon Forge, Asheville, or even the Coast. We love going out on dates to our favorite restaurants. Suzanne loves to cook as well, so she usually tries to cook dinner at least once a week while we’re home. She’s a great cook!
MB: What’s your favorite Whisnants’ song that you get to sing and why?
AH: My favorite song that I have had the privilege to sing is “I’m Trusting The Blood.” When Joel Hemphill sent us the song, I knew I wanted to sing it. I’m a simple guy and I love simple songs that still have a message and say something. Sadly enough, there are people that are putting their trust in things to gain salvation. Worldly deeds are not going to get them to heaven. The bible clearly says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin”. I truly love this song and we sing it every night.
MB: Share with us your funniest road story.
AH: There are too many to list, Matt! Here’s one: We were singing at a church that was having a special celebration in their family life center. Like any church event there’s always food involved. During intermission, a gentleman came to the product table while eating a hot dog. While he was walking back and forth admiring the CDs, he literally dropped ketchup, mustard, onions, and chili all over my product table. Needless to say, he didn’t buy anything!
MB: Night after night, folks come by your table and share testimonies of how The Whisnants’ music blesses them. Share a story with us that motivates you each weekend out on the road.
AH: Recently, we had an 87-year-old man come forward and give his heart to Christ. After the concert, the pastor told us that this same man had told him that he would never give in to Jesus Christ. While singing, “I’m Trusting The Blood” that man came forward and said “I Give Up.” That is one night that I will never forget!
MB: You started out in Gospel Music while you were very young. What advice would you give to an aspiring Gospel singer?
MH: Have a love for this music, a love for people, and most importantly a love for the Lord. Pray that this IS what the Lord wants to you do. Do your best to listen and learn from your favorite singer or singers. Oh yeah, and practice.
MB: You’ve got one last song to sing. What song would it be and why?
AH: “And Life Is Worth The Living, Just Because He Lives.” In that line alone, we have all been given the hope that our Savior is alive and coming back for all of those who place their trust in Him!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short chat with one of my favorite singers. And judging by all those Number One songs they’ve been blessed to have, many of you who read this and listen to Gospel music, have made him one of your favorite singers as well. Keep Aaron and the rest of the Whisnants in your prayers as they minister each week across the country!
Find out more about Aaron Hise and The Whisnants here: http://www.whisnants.com/
Matt Baker writes for SGM Radio website.
First published in August 2014 on SGM Radio website.
For current features, visit http://www.sgmradio.com/
Tags: Aaron Hise, Christian Music, Gospel artist, Matt Baker, southern gospel, Suzanne Taylor, The Whisnants
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