I delightfully chose to write on one of my favorite male trios this month. With its roots tracing back to 1998, Brad Strider, Greg Gainer and Jake Wood make up what is collectively known today as Mercy’s Well. I have personally grown to love these guys and appreciate the heart that they have towards the music that they sing. Their 2014 released project, Today, has become one of my most played albums. It has 10 outstanding songs, such as “Come As We Are,” “I’ll Trade This Valley For A Mountain,” and “I Wanna Hear The Gospel,” to name a few.
Mercy’s Well officially had its beginning in 2000. Group owner, Brad, tells us: “A friend of mine asked me to go with him to a revival service one night. He wanted me to play bass guitar with him and ‘sing a few’. The people enjoyed it and we started receiving invitations to go to different revivals and other services. We eventually added a third part and changed the name to Mercy’s Well.”
Brad Strider makes his home in Greensboro, NC, where the trio has its base. He serves in all areas for Mercy’s Well, from booking to emceeing on the stage. Brad began singing at the age of eight, following the footsteps of his parents and grandparents. “My grandpa had a quartet in the 40’s and 50’s. Also, my parents were in a quartet in the 70’s. That led to a family group, containing my brother and I,” he tells us. “I am so grateful for the musical examples that were lived in front of me. My family still sings together to this day, just without me,” he laughingly interjects.
Brad is also the owner of the graphics design company, b.creative, which keeps him extremely busy when he is not on the road singing. The company serves the graphic needs for several Southern Gospel groups, such as the Hoppers and Tribute Quartet, as well as the designs for the well-known event, National Quartet Convention. Brad’s most favorite past time also comes in the form of music. “I am an avid collector of classic Southern Gospel records. My collection is currently over 1,000 and is constantly growing in number,” he proudly admits. “I thoroughly enjoy collecting and listening to the albums of the classic groups that I grew up listening to. My all-time favorite is definitely the Cathedral Quartet.”
Long-time member, Greg Gainer, makes his home just down the road in Kernersville, NC. Greg’s smooth vocal ability and gentle spirit make him a favorite with audiences wherever the group performs. He also occasionally accompanies Mercy’s Well on stage with his piano abilities. During the week, Greg sells security systems for ADT. In his free time at home, he enjoys home improvement projects and working outside in his yard.
Greg says he took interest in the piano around the age of seven. “I would listen to choirs that came to the Christian school that I attended. Then I would go home and try to pick the songs out on the piano. My mom started taking me to piano lessons. Like any kid, I fought it at first. But today, I’m glad that I stuck with it,” he says. Greg later developed his vocal talents while in school. Before singing with Mercy’s Well, he spent about three years with the Pathfinders Quartet.
The newest member for Mercy’s Well is the young, talented Jake Wood. He makes his home in Trinity, NC. Although Jake has been with the trio for only a few short months, he is already singing his way into the hearts of those who are listening. “I have already had such a great time on the road with the guys,” says Jake. “I am excited to see the doors that God is going to open up for us in the future.” Jake began singing at the age of 11 and is the odd one of his family, being the only singer. He shares Brad’s love and musical influence of the memorable Cathedral Quartet, as well as Gold City. Jake spent roughly four years with local groups before joining Mercy’s Well. He is currently a student, enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is working towards a music performance major. Between traveling and school, Jake does not have much free time. But when time permits, he does enjoy outside activities, such as hiking.
Anyone who has ever traveled can attest to things going wrong from time to time. So was the case with a trip to Texas for this group of guys back in the spring. “We got all the way to Texas and our Sprinter decided to lay down on us. I had to find a way to get us to our dates by whatever means possible. So three full grown men piled into a U-Haul truck and drove to our next date,” Brad says with a laugh. “Looking back, it’s comical to me, although at the time, it definitely was not!”
Mercy’s Well just celebrated 15 years of music by releasing a project with a compilation of fan favorites. Thanks To You: Fifteen Years of Making Memories and Music consists of songs like “More Like Jesus, Less Like Me,” the never-released radio cut of “I’ll See You Soon,” and a remake of the trio’s most requested song, “Nothing But the Blood (Still Saves the Lost).” Also, the project includes three brand new songs with the vocals of the newcomer, Jake. They give their kudos to the superb producer and vocal arranger, Donna King. To order this new project, or any of the trio’s other music, visit www.mercyswell.com. You can find their tour schedule on that site as well.
Mercy’s Well is currently preparing for their annual Christmas tour. It will be kicked off by a banquet, which will be held on Friday, November 27 in Asheboro, NC at The Exchange. This is sure to be an exciting evening. So if you are close to that area, do not hesitate to call and make your reservations. The guys would love to sing you into the Christmas spirit.
By Jaquita Lindsey
First published by SGN Scoops in October 2015
For more artist news visit SGN Scoops on Facebook.
Tags: Donna King, Jaquita Lindsey, mercy's well, sgn scoops
Posted in artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest, exclusive report, sgn scoops magazine | Comments Off on Mercy’s Well: One New Member, Same Heart for Music
Sometimes I think as Americans we all want the perfect holiday setting. I mean the Norman Rockwell kind in the photos, complete with the big turkey and all the trimmings with family all around. Yes, even those meals with the kid’s table, because the adults filled the big dining table. But in reality, life is not picture perfect. It is so much more.
Being from a family of four boys in the South, sports always had a place on our Thanksgiving day. Mom did the cooking and getting things ready for the big supper and all the activities that normally followed. Thanksgiving also meant the Christmas tree was going up after we ate. Thanksgiving was the start of our holiday season. It was tradition.
One year it was a bit different. As teenagers, life was all about being with friends and not being at home. Our Thanksgiving tradition was our community football game with all the kids in the neighborhood. As we stepped outside on that crisp Thursday morning, we all knew the game would end when our moms called out, “Dinner time!” The smells filled the neighborhood and we all talked about what our moms were cooking.
As our football game started, our neighbor down the hollar was smokin’ a few turkeys for families in the neighborhood. You could see the smoke from his smoke house and smell it as the wind whiffed by. There was lots of laughter and some yelling as the game was in full swing. Yes it was Cowboys and Indians…well kinda….more like the Dallas Cowboys vs the Washington Redskins. We were having a blast, when the smoke began rolling heavy. It was as if the wind was blowing down hard!
A few minutes passed and then everyone heard the yelling from the holler; the smoke house was on fire! With garden hoses, rakes and hoes, men stormed the old smoke house. In a flash the fire was out. The building was partially destroyed but the damage was done. The turkeys were a lost cause.
It seemed like the whole neighborhood was in a down state of mind after that. We tried to start the game back but that did not work. Everyone went back to their homes feeling blue. But within the hour, the phones were ringing. I remember hearing the command: “Get me the cooler and bring me the boxes from the basement.” In a bit there was food being packed up, more ingredients to finish the meal were boxed and we were heading to the church fellowship hall.
Well we got there and the parking lot was full. All the guys in the neighborhood were there and before you knew it, we were playing football on the church lawn. Our mOn my way! were in the kitchen cooking up a storm. In an hour or so the call went out: “SUPPER TIME!” As we filtered into the fellowship hall, neighbors greeted one another once again. There were smiles, laughs and handshakes going round.
The preacher strolled up and a gentle hush settled around us. Preacher said, “We have a lot to be thankful for today. We’ve got family, food, friends and a loving God.” He went on to say, “The smoke house burned today, but it was just a house. What was in it was replaceable. I mean, look what’s here!” There were amen’s across the room.
I guess the preacher-man came out a little more as he said, “If you don’t know this loving God, today’s a good day to get to know him. He really cares. Just look what He did here in a matter of a few minutes.” I remember hearing more amen’s in the room.
Now, no one was saved that day that I know of. But what I do remember is people caring about one another. I remember people asking what could they do for one another. I remember there was more food than I could ever imagine. There was some singing, lots of laughter and just good people caring about their neighbors. I also remember people talked about that Thanksgiving for years. Why, when the smoke house was rebuilt, it was a community affair once again. Neighbors helping neighbors.
Yes even today I think fondly of that Thanksgiving; not for the food or even the smoke house burning. I think of it, knowing I have untold blessings too numerous to mention. Many are forgotten during the year. But this Thanksgiving I lift up thanks for the blessings of life so lovingly given. Blessings that are given to those who believe in more than just a day.
I believe when we live according to the Christian road map, our life is richer than we can comprehend or receive. Thanksgiving is more than one day of the year. It is a way of life for the Christian.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
By Charlie Griffin
Special to SGN Scoops
For more news visit SGN Scoops on Facebook.
Tags: Charlie Griffin, thanksgiving, turkey
Posted in christian entertainment, exclusive report, special feature, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Thanksgiving and the Smokehouse!
Haven Hester of SGN Scoops captured some great pictures at the Atlanta Hymn Sing, with Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet, The Whisnants, Karen Peck and New River, and the Jim Brady Trio. The artists were backed up by a large choir, led by John Whisnant’s father. Other participants included Pat Barker, Dr. Jerry Goff, TaRanda Greene, Mylon Hayes Family, Tribute Quartet and Scott Fowler. A live performance video was being taped during the evening.
The popularity of concerts based on the Red Back Hymnbook and led by Gerald Wolfe has been growing with each event. The Atlanta venue was filled to the rafters with a lively congregation that came not just to listen but also to participate in the singing of favorite hymns.
For more news visit SGN Scoops on Facebook.
Tags: Gerald Wolfe, Gospel Music Hymn Sing, Greater Vision, Jim Brady Trio, karen peck and new river, sgn scoops
Posted in announcements, artists, christian entertainment | Comments Off on SGN Scoops goes to the Atlanta Hymn Sing
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (November 20, 2015) – Rob Patz and all of the Coastal Media team are pleased to announce the addition of Salina Clay as head of Lodging and Tours. Salina will be looking after all hotel registrations for the 2016 Creekside Gospel Music Convention. Due to increased interest in Creekside, more staff is needed so that the Convention experience remains comfortable and accommodating for guests.
“I’m really excited to bring Salina on board as part of our staff,” says Patz. “She has an outstanding ability to communicate and organize, and we know she will bring those assets to our Lodging and Tour division for Creekside and our other events.” Coastal Media and SGN Scoops also present the Christian Country Expo, Southern Gospel Weekend and the Diamond Awards.
Creekside 2016 will be held at Pigeon Forge, TN, from October 31st through November 3rd, 2016. Fans are invited to contact Salina Clay for their Convention accommodations as soon as possible to obtain their desired rooms. This would also make a great Christmas gift for Christian music aficionados.
For more information on Creekside Gospel Music Convention, visit the website www.creeksidegospelmusicconvention.com and the Facebook page www.facebook.com/Creeksidegospelmusicconvention . To contact Salina Clay for hotel reservations, email Salina at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 256 239 7716.
Tags: Creekside Gospel Music Convention, rob patz, Salina Clay, sgn scoops
Posted in announcements, artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest, industry news | Comments Off on Creekside introduces Salina Clay as head of Lodging
November has arrived and with it the 2015 Creekside Gospel Music
Convention! Held from November 2nd through 5th, it was a wonderful experience for all involved. We hope that those of you who attended are already making plans for next year. If you didn’t make it, keep watching the SGN Scoops and Creekside websites for all the details for the 2016 Creekside Gospel Music Convention!
There are so many people who contribute to Creekside, that it is
impossible to name them all. However, we will begin by thanking our wonderful artists who came and gave of themselves during the week. These artists include:
|11th Hour||John Lanier||The Connells|
|2 Determined||Jordan’s Bridge||The Drummond Family|
|Alliance Quartet||Keith Stapler||The Epps Family|
|Billy Hodges||Kelly Coberly||The Freemans|
|Broken Vessels||Kristin Stanton||The Guardians|
|Clear Vision Quartet||Mark 209||The Hinson Family|
|Common Love||McKay Project||The Hoskins|
|Crosspointe||Mercy Rain||The Hyssongs|
|Dave Williford||Nicki Ellison||The Riders|
|Dave Mumford||Pine Ridge Boys||The Schofields|
|Exodus||Redeemed Trio||The Sharps|
|From The Ashes||Revived Quartet||The Sneed Family|
|Glad Heart||Sara Hambrick||The Webb Quartet|
|Glory Way Quartet||Sojourners Quartet||The Williamsons|
|Hope’s Journey||Surrendered||Three Bridges|
|Jerry and Jan Goff||Terry Collins||Tim and Lana Chandler.|
|Jim Sheldon||The Branscombs||Tina Wakefield|
|Watts Rowsey and Bean||Jerry and the Singing Goffs||Ava Kasich|
We were thrilled to welcome all of the special guests and surprise artists that entertained us at various events. The Lou Hildreth Honors Jerry and the Singing Goffs on Monday night as well as the 2015 Diamond Awards held on Tuesday night were arranged and produced by many who are associated with SGN Scoops. The Tuesday and Thursday Showcases were put together and hosted by Vonda Easley and Ava Kasich. On Wednesday, Jason Runnels and Hope’s Journey hosted a special reception for the Pine Ridge Boys, and we appreciate all who were involved with the administration and procuring the refreshments for it.
From the Jam Sessions to the Evening Concerts to the Midnight Prayer services, so many people worked tirelessly to set in motion Creekside for this year, and you are all so valued and respected for your abilities and dedication.
SGN Scoops would also like to thank Patricia Mathis and WATC TV, Ken and Jean Grady of Gospel Music Today, the SGN Scoops Social Media team, all the volunteers and the staff of SGN Scoops who assisted in any way with the Convention.
This event was constructed prayerfully and thoughtfully, and after four years we can see the growth and the touch of God on Creekside. We are so thankful that He is part of our gathering and we pray He will always be an integral part of all that is done through Coastal Media, SGN Scoops and Creekside Gospel Music Convention. See you next year!
The 2016 Creekside Gospel Music Convention will be October 31 through November 5 at Pigeon Forge, TN. Start making your plans today. Be sure to watch postings on the Facebook pages of SGN Scoops and Creekside for all the latest news!
Tags: 2015 Creekside Gospel Music Convention, Creekside, Freemans, Guardians, hinsons, southern gospel
Posted in announcements, artists, christian entertainment, gospel events, industry news, sgn scoops magazine | Comments Off on 2015 Creekside Gospel Music Convention Wrap-Up
MORRISTOWN, Tennessee, November 4, 2015 – Bethany Baker, wife of Greater Vision’s bus driver, Chad Baker, releases her first Historical Christian Romance Novel. A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, published by Mantle Rock Publishing, is available to order on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
A Light in Bailey’s Harbor is a Historical Christian Romance Novel set in the 1880’s at Cana Island Lighthouse in Bailey’s Harbor, Wisconsin. The story is centered on a young man trying to heal from his past and a young lady who enjoys life with childlike faith, accidently breaking the decorum of the day every now and then. In addition, hymn writer Horatio Spafford appears as a secondary character in the novel with the lyric of his hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul,” as key to the outcome of the characters’ future. Upon the publishing of A Light in Bailey’s Harbor, the author shares, “I know God has given me my words for a reason. I think my novel will make a difference in someone’s life. I pray that it will.”
In November, Bethany will be hosting a Launch Party for her novel on Facebook, this event is free for all to join. For further information about the author, visit her website: www.bethanybakeronline.com. Bethany can also be found on Facebook as an author or on Goodreads.
About Bethany Baker: Bethany Baker is a stay-at-home-mom who lives in Morristown, Tennessee with her husband and two sons. She began writing A Light in Bailey’s Harbor at age sixteen after visiting Cana Island Lighthouse on a family vacation. Recently, Bethany signed with Mantle Rock Publishing.
To arrange a book signing or interview, contact Lynn Mills at email@example.com.
Tags: Bethany Baker, Christian Historical Romance, Greater Vision
Posted in announcements, artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest | Comments Off on Bethany Baker Releases First Historical Christian Romance Novel
The 2015 Creekside Gospel Music Conventionn began November 2nd at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center. Daily showcases, jam sessions, nightly concerts and Midnight Prayer are all scheduled from now until Thursday night. The 2015
Diamond Awards are held on Tuesday, November 3rd.
Some of the favorite groups so far have included The Williamsons, singing their Number One song, “Shout!” Continuing on in the family theme, the Sneed Famly also brought the house down with their energetic harmonies.
Ava Kasich was a featured soloist as well as an emcee for the event. Also handling emcee work were Rob Patz and Vonda Easley.
For more information on tickets call Rob Patz at 360.933.0741. For all the latest news, videos and pictures, visit Creekside on Facebook.
Tags: Creekside Goispel Music Convention, Sneed Family, southern gospel, Williamsons
Posted in announcements, artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest | Comments Off on Creekside Gospel Music Convention Scrapbook featuring The Williamsons
Pigeon Forge TN (November 3, 2015) – The 2015 k hosted a very special evening on Monday, November 2nd. Lou Wills Hildreth and all of Creekside honored Dr. Jerry Goff and the Singing Goffs during the Monday evening segment of the four-day event at Pigeon Forge TN, happening now November 5th, 2015.
Jerry and the Singing Goffs were well known for their great singing, performance of songs that still are being sung today, and the communication excellence of Dr. Jerry Goff. One of best-known lineups was Jerry Goff, Tank Tackett and Bill Dykes. Other members included Barry Hess, Gary Buckles, Art Ross, Wally Goff, Bobby Howard, Gary Valentine, Dave Thomas, David Harvell, Dave Rowland, David Hoskins and Gene Jones, among others.They had several hits including “I’ll See You In The Rapture,” “Please Search The Book Again” and “I Am Blessed.” The most memorable part of their concerts was when Dr. Goff brought out his trumpet and thrilled the audience with his playing.
“Wow!” said Dr. Jerry Goff. “I was truly excited to learn about a night to honor The Singing Goffs at the Creekside Gospel Convention, but it’s also humbling to receive such honor from your peers. They are the ones who know you best.”
Lou Hildreth, part of the legendary Wills Family, remarked, “It gives me great pleasure to honor my longtime friends, Jerry and the Singing Goffs. Dr. Jerry Goff is known and respected by the Gospel music industry and fans as a great singer, an MC who set the banner high, a preacher of the gospel, a television legend and pioneer, a trumpet player who left us overwhelmed with the beauty of the moment, a songwriter who expressed our deepest concerns, and a Godly man who consistently presented top talent as Jerry and The Goffs.”
Rob Patz, Publisher of SGN Scoops noted, “We are so happy to welcome Dr. Jerry Goff to Creekside. He and his group made inroads in Gospel music and a night to honor them is long overdue. We are thrilled that so many of his friends, fans and family were able to travel to Pigeon Forge for this event.”
Creekside Gospel Music Convention began November 2nd at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center. Daily showcases, jam sessions, nightly concerts and Midnight Prayer are all scheduled from now until Thursday night. The 2015 Diamond Awards are held on Tuesday, November 3rd. For more information on tickets call Rob Patz at 360.933.0741.
Tags: Creekside Gospel Music Convention, Dr. Jerry Goff, Jerry and the Singing Goffs, southern gospel
Posted in announcements, artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest, sgn scoops magazine, special feature | Comments Off on Creekside honors Jerry and the Singing Goffs
For anyone who has been to a gospel concert or involved in the church, there are two things that are taught.
1. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
2. The preacher’s kids are trouble too! Just ask the kids who are in trouble.
Although the preacher’s kids are often the banter of jokes and fun, Ivory Luke was instilled with those Christian values and morals. Today that up-bringing still shines as an example of doing the right thing.
The first memories of Gospel music really came at the young age of five. Reverend Wesley Luke pastored and held revival meetings throughout the southeast. Many times the family provided the special music. Ivory states, “Even back then I knew I loved Gospel music and singing!” Yes, Ivory was brought up right.
The first real opportunity to sing organized Gospel music came when Ivory was nineteen. He began singing tenor for The Shepherds Quartet of Columbia, SC. Ivory reflects, “The Shepherds sang mostly in the South Carolina region. We rode an old Flex bus with no heat or air conditioning. One of the coldest nights of my life was on the bus in Charleston, SC. And to boot our lead singer could not sing harmony. So it was take the lead on a verse and jump to the harmony on the chorus. You know our bass singer then was Thomas Brazell. He is still singing today!”
In his twenties, Ivory married and began a family, having one daughter. As a matter of record he met Gwen Smith with the group he joined in 1975, The Saints. Gwen was a winner of the Stamps/ Blackwood School of Music. They sang Gospel music, married and had one daughter, the apple of Dad’s eye, Jaime. Now the offers to sing full time Gospel music came, but his family, business career and singing on weekends took priority. In 1979, Gwen and Ivory formed the group, Sonrise. The group travelled for five years with a full band and was often compared to the Hinsons. After that time the focus was family and career.
Read more »
Tags: Charlie Griffin, Creekside Gospel Music Convention, gospel music, Ivory Luke, Pine Ridge Boys
Posted in artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest, special feature | Comments Off on Preacher’s Kid Fulfills His Dream: Ivory Luke – the Little Tenor
Blessed by Young and Old Friends
Bill Gaither sings a song that resonates with so many of us: “Old friends, after all of these years, just old friends; through the laughter and tears, old friends…” and I thank God for blessing my LIFE with both old and young friends.
Recently, Howard and I were guests of Russell Allen and the Dignity Gospel Quartet at the Houston Gospel Song-fest and we LOVED hearing Gospel music sung by dynamic young artists, plus some of our LEGENDARY longtime friends. Emotions were at a high level as Roger, Debra, and Lauren Talley met us backstage. My mind went back to those early years in Nashville when I was hosting a daily TV show and was thrilled to have the Talleys as guests on the program. They were already well known and loved in Gospel music. The interview with Roger and Debra was easy and smooth as we talked about our passion for singing about Jesus. Lauren was just a kid, and she was adorable with her comments. She captivated our TV audience! I reminded Lauren of that long-ago event as she, Debra, and Roger left to go onstage for the concert.
Joining the Talleys for the Songfest was the fabulous male group Tribute Quartet. Gary Casto, manager and lead vocalist, is also a dear longtime friend. Josh Singletary, baritone and keyboardist, laughed as we remembered teasing each other about our red hair many years ago. Riley Harrison Clark, tenor, and Anthony Davis, bass vocalist, are two of the finest young artists gracing gospel platforms today. The concert was a lively blend of talents featuring the Talleys and Tribute.
We loved every minute of it, including hearing our host Dignity Gospel Quartet with their new lead vocalist Josh Flynn. Josh is excellent and works well with Russell Allen, Clint Hebert, and Wally Shuttlesworth. Howard and I thank Russell and the group for treating us to this wonderful concert. A couple from our church, West University Baptist, Paul and Willene Gutenberger, drove us and joined us on the front row. They said it was the best Gospel concert they had attended.
I thank God for my LIFE in gospel music, and the LOVE of our precious LEGENDS of gospel music. My heart overflows with gratitude for the multitude of young friends who are dedicated to the spreading of the gospel and the privilege of “shining a light for Jesus,” Matthew 5:16.
By Lou Wills Hildreth firstname.lastname@example.org
For more artist news, visit the SGN Scoops Facebook page.
Tags: Lou Wills Hildreth, southern gospel, The Dignity Quartet, The Talley's, Tribute Quartet
Posted in announcements, artists, christian entertainment, Christian interest | Comments Off on Life, Love, and Legends: By Lou Wills Hildreth