Elaina Smith Music

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Les Butler and Friends: Kenny Smith

Written by Staff on May 5, 2020 – 12:27 pm -

Kenny Smith. Les Butler and FriendsI first heard Kenny Smith when he was a member of the Lonesome River Band (LRB) back in the 90’s.  They were my favorite bluegrass band at the time, and they still are great. His guitar playing was, and still is today, some of the best on the planet. His acoustic rhythm playing is on a short list of the greatest ever. It’s special. He’s special.

Today he travels with his wife as the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band, as well as some special dates as the Band of Ruhks featuring former LRB members, Don Rigsby and Ronnie Bowman.

Kenny Smith. Les Butler and FriendsHere’s more about my friend, Kenny Smith.

Butler: What is your earliest musical memory?

Kenny Smith: My dad and grandpa were both fiddlers. I had uncles and cousins that sang and played as well. I remember Dad always playing fiddle around the house.

 

Butler: Can you fill us in on your musical history? What bands have you been a part of? 

Smith: Dad made a guitar and would keep it in the closet. He told my brother and I to never mess with it. I was four years old at the time, I would get in there after he went to work and try to play it. My mom never told my dad because he was busy all day. One day, Dad came home early and caught me. He saw something in me that day, though. He taught me three chords and the next day I could do it. That Christmas, Santa brought me a guitar and my older brother a banjo.

We would go to these banjo and fiddle contests and I would back up the other contestants. It was an on-the-spot music education. I would record the other fiddlers if they knew a new tune that I didn’t know. 

I always played but it was never a career choice for me. I had moved to Tennessee after I graduated from high school. I was playing in a bluegrass band from Huntsville, Alabama and Claire and Larry Lynch happened to be out in the audience. They asked me to help play a showcase at IBMA in Owensboro, Kentucky. It was a real eye opener for me. I got to talk to a lot of the artists there that day. Everyone was encouraging and it changed my life’s path to a musical one. I played in the Lynch’s Front Porch String band for about two years. 

Through my travels, I met a Virginia banjo player named Sammy Shelor. We jammed backstage at Graves Mountain, Virginia. One day I got a call from Sammy to try out for one of my favorite bands, the Lonesome River Band. I remember trying out in Nashville in a hotel room. I recorded my tryout because it might be the only time I would play with my favorite band.

After playing for about 30 minutes, Ronnie and Sammy told me I got the job. I couldn’t believe it. I packed up my car and moved to southwest Virginia. My bluegrass journey was in full swing. I was also praying that God would send me someone to share music with.

One night we were playing The Milton Opry House in Milton, West Virginia, when I met a young lady, Amanda Collins, who would be my answer to prayer. We got married about a year after that first meeting. We would sing at churches and different gigs locally.

We started the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band in 2001, and recorded a project for our family and friends and one of the songs charted. We won IBMA emerging artist in 2003 and that jump started our career as a band.

 

Kenny Smith. Les Butler and FriendsButler: What is it like touring and recording with your wife?

Smith: It’s the best. I couldn’t imagine it any other way. It’s a tough business, but to have someone to pray with is worth it all. Recording is our favorite part of music. It’s exciting knowing a song could possibly affect someone’s life. We have always tried to pick songs that mean something and have substance. Our passion and strength comes from (God) and to relay that through our music is our goal. 

 

Butler: What’s the first instrument you tried to play and do you play other instruments?

Smith: My first instrument was the guitar. I also play clawhammer banjo and acoustic bass. 

 

Butler: Did you ever have a desire to do something else? If so, what?

Smith: While I was in high school, I wanted to be an artist. I could always draw at an early age. It’s like music; it’s something I’ve always done. I’m getting more serious about (painting) now. It kind of goes hand in hand with music. Painting has rhythm and music has colors. 

 

Butler: Which do you enjoy the most; playing live or in the studio?

Smith:  I like the spontaneity of live music and meeting people. I really enjoy the whole process of recording. We have had the great pleasure of recording at the same studio for the last 20 years. Our dearest friends Glenn and Susan Tabor at GAT3 studios in Charlotte, North Carolina, have helped us produce and preserve a special part of our lives. That studio always inspires us to do our best because it is the best. 

 

Butler: What is your favorite song to play and why?

Smith: “You Know That I Would.” Ed Williams wrote this song for his wife for their anniversary. It tells about how you would give anything you could for your special someone. It meant something totally different to Amanda, and it was about the baby we were waiting for at the time. Amanda was pregnant, and (we would) do anything for this beautiful baby that was about to come into our lives.

 

Butler: When you’re not picking and singing, what are you doing?

Smith: I like to cook and B.B.Q. I also fix up and restore vintage guitars, pickup trucks, Schwinn Sting-rays and Accutron watches.

 

Kenny Smith. Les Butler and FriendsButler: Can you please give us a brief testimony?

Smith: I had been going to church in high school and was under conviction. Around that time, I had a near-death drowning experience that changed my outlook on everything. I literally saw my own funeral while under water. I soon moved to Tennessee from Indiana to get to know my grandma better. I started going to my cousin Richard Gulley’s church. He always sang and played, so I was drawn to that. They had a trio and wanted to do quartets. So, they asked me if I could sing baritone. I tried and I could hear the part. Up until then, I had never sung much at all. There was a spring revival, and that morning the preacher stood in front of everyone individually in the pews and asked us point blank, “If you were to die would you go to heaven?” I stepped out of the pew and rushed to the altar. I asked Jesus to come into my heart that day and was forever changed. I was so lucky to be given another chance after my drowning incident and I didn’t take that for granted, never have. I was 19.

My cousin, Steve Mowery was a huge influence and witness on my life. Since I was little, I remember him singing and playing guitar. He would always sing gospel songs. Songs about a beautiful place where there are no tears and no pain. He would also sing about a man called Jesus that made a way for us to go to this wonderful place. Growing up I always knew Steve was different, but I didn’t realize why. I felt it every time I was around him. I want to be more like that.

 

Thank you, Kenny, for giving us a look into your life. You can learn more about Kenny and Amanda at facebook.com/kennyandamandasmith on Facebook, or at kenny-amandasmith.com.  

 

Did you know that you can receive the printed, full-color version of SGNScoops Magazine by subscription? Find out more HERE.
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook HERE.
You can download the latest edition of SGNScoops Magazine HERE.
Read the latest edition of SGNScoops Magazine online HERE.
Listen To Today’s Gospel Music HERE

 

 

 

 


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Family Music Group Bluegrass Chart Successes

Written by Staff on May 3, 2020 – 3:23 pm -

The Britton Family and Friends. Family Music Group.In both major publications, Singing News and SGNScoops magazines, Les Butler and Family Music Group have promoted this month’s No. 1 and No. 2 songs. “When He Speaks,” by the Britton Family was No. 1, and  “Which Thief are You,” by Bama Blu-Grace was No. 2. Heaven’s Mountain Band’s song, “For a Moment of Grace” is No. 3 in Singing News and No. 5 in SGNScoops.

Family Music Group. Butler Music Group. Les ButlerFamily Music Group also promoted these top charting songs in the SGNScoops Bluegrass Charts:
#9  “A Brighter Day” by the Primitive Quartet
#11 “Near My Lord” by Fields of Grace
#13 “If you Want To” by Journey Home

Bama Bluegrass. Family Music Group.In total, we were blessed to have three of the Top 10 in the Singing News Bluegrass Gospel Charts.  In the SGNScoops Magazine, we have the top two songs, three of the top five songs, and six of the top 13!

Heavens Mountain Band. Family Music Group.Famiky Music Group is truly honored to work with such great artists and is thankful for the D.J.’s who work tirelessly to spread the good news through Bluegrass Gospel music!

Did you know that you can receive the printed, full-color version of SGNScoops Magazine by subscription? Find out more HERE.
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook HERE.
You can download the latest edition of SGNScoops Magazine HERE.
Read the latest edition of SGNScoops Magazine online HERE.
Listen To Today’s Gospel Music HERE

 


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Tonja Rose Begins a New Chapter

Written by Staff on May 1, 2020 – 1:02 pm -

Tonja Rose Begins a New ChapterFranklin, TN (April 30, 2020) The launch of the new single, “Little Talk With Jesus” by Tonja Rose, signifies the beginning of a new chapter for the singer/songwriter. Tonja scored four Bluegrass Gospel Top 10 chart songs from her debut album, ‘Me, Jesus & The Highway’, produced by Tonja and John Mathis Jr. She also secured five Diamond Award Nominations with two Diamond Award wins for Gospel Music Today Video of the Year (“When The Mountain Can’t Be Moved”) and Country Christian Song of the Year (“Hide Me Behind The Cross”). The notoriety the album brought saw Tonja featured on the legendary 650 AM WSM in Nashville and nods from such outlets like CCM Magazine and sharing the stage with artists such as Selah.
Tonja Rose Begins a New Chapter“Little Talk With Jesus” is the first single release from Tonja’s second album with Mansion Entertainment/BlueGrass Valley Records and it marks a step into a new chapter of music. The new single has already been delivered to Christian radio and will be available on all digital streaming platforms May 1st. While the current COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the progress of the completion of the new album, listeners will get a taste of what is to come. The new album is being targeted for completion during the summer. The single is being promoted by Vonda Armstrong and Hey Ya’ll Media.
For more information visit: TonjaRose.com
ABOUT MANSION ENTERTAINMENT: Mansion is a Nashville TN based record label with distribution through The Orchard (a division of Sony Music). Mansion has distributed artist projects in Southern Gospel such as the Palmetto State, Triumphant Quartet, Three Bridges, Sherry Anne LIVE! DVD (Top 5 Billboard Music Video chart), The Griffith Family, Steve Hess & Southern Salvation, and others. Bluegrass Gospel by Tonja Rose and The East Ridge Boys. The GRAMMY Nominated ‘Forever Changed’ album by T. Graham Brown (Billboard Album Sales Top 100), “Because You Love Me” by T.G. Sheppard and ‘A Bluegrass Tribute To George Jones’ by GRAMMY Winner Brad Davis. Mansion has recently expanded with releases into the Praise & Worship and the Spanish Language Market.
Did you know that you can receive the printed, full-color version of SGNScoops Magazine by subscription? Find out more HERE.
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook HERE.
You can download the latest edition of SGNScoops Magazine HERE.
Read the latest edition of SGNScoops Magazine online HERE.
Listen To Today’s Gospel Music HERE

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April 2020 SGNScoops Magazine

Written by Staff on April 21, 2020 – 1:08 pm -

April 2020 SGN Scoops Magazine

April 2020 SGN Scoops Magazine

It’s Spring and we are happy to present this fresh issue of SGNScoops Magazine for April 2020. We trust this month of social changes and new beginnings brings you fresh joy and hope in this time of isolation and distancing.

One lady who is experiencing many new beginnings this year is our cover artist, Lauren Talley. From her professional to personal life, Ms. Talley shares all of her news with Justin Gilmore. We know you will be engaged in this feature.
Also new this month, we welcome Andrew Ishee as he starts a series on the beginnings of your favourite artists. Gene McDonald from the Gaither video series is his first guest.
The Chuck Wagon Gang, Autumn Isbell, GloryWay Quartet, Wilburn and Wilburn, and Jeff Parker are also highlighted this month, along with so much more! Take time to read it cover to cover.
This Spring, we hope you take time as well to consider new beginnings in your own life. Jesus Christ came to this earth, lived, died, and rose to life, so you could feel the freedom of an abundant life. He wants to save you, cleanse you, heal you, and lead you to a closer walk with him today. This is a great time to discover what Jesus has for you. Open your Bible and find out what that is!
We hope you enjoy this issue of SGNScoops Magazine. If you have any questions or concerns, please write to me at lorraine@sgnscoops.com.
Did you know that you can receive the printed, full-color version of SGNScoops Magazine by subscription? Find out more HERE.
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook HERE.
You can download the latest edition of SGNScoops Magazine HERE.
Read the latest edition of SGNScoops Magazine online HERE.
Listen To Today’s Gospel Music HERE

 

 

 


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Southern Gospel Weekend in Oxford Alabama Returns!

Written by Staff on March 19, 2020 – 7:46 am -

Southern gospel weekend Oxford Alabama rescheduledIt’s back! Southern Gospel Weekend, Oxford, Alabama presented by Donnie Williamson, Vonda Armstrong, and Rob Patz, cancelled this spring due to the Corona virus, is returning this fall.

Originally scheduled for March 19 – 21, 2020, Southern Gospel Weekend in Oxford Alabama has been rescheduled to September 3 –  5, 2020. Thursday night, September 3rd, is Veterans’ Night, saluting all first responders and veterans, and will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday night and Saturday night concerts will begin at 6:00 p.m.

Williamsons at Southern Gospel weekendSouthern Gospel Weekend will present Southern Country Grass, a combination of Southern gospel, Christian Country, and Bluegrass gospel music. A great mix of quartets, live bands, soloists and wonderful music, fellowship, and fun will be enjoyed at daytime showcases beginning at 9:00 a.m., and evening concerts.

On Saturday, the daytime showcase will take place in the number eight pavilion, the largest pavilion in the park area. It will be a Picnic/ Showcase beginning at 9:00 a.m. The park will be open all day on Saturday, offering a chance for good family fun in the outdoors, complete with fishing.

Happy Thanksgiving from Rob Patz

Rob Patz and Vonda Armstrong

Josh and Ashley Franks, Hope’s Journey, The Williamsons, Jessica Horton, New Ground, The Bibletones, ClearVision Quartet, MARK209, Eagle’s Wings,  and The Connells are just a few of the artists that will be appearing at Southern Gospel Weekend. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. for each evening concert and parking is free. You don’t want to miss this weekend packed with some of the best in gospel music with over 30 artists on the schedule. 

SGW will be held at the Oxford Civic Center. Accommodations are available at the host hotel, the Sleep Inn Oxford. Please call 256-770-4804 and mention that you are a guest of SGW for a special event rate.

 For more information, or VIP tickets, call 256-310-7892 or email vonda@sgnscoops.com. Visit the SGW Facebook page HERE

For more Gospel Music News, read the latest issue of the SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

Download SGNScoops Magazine PDF Here
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Listen To Today’s Gospel Music Here

 

 

 


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Congratulations to The East Ridge Boys and The SGNScoops Bluegrass Top 20 – April 2020

Written by scoopsnews on March 16, 2020 – 7:43 pm -

 SGNScoops Bluegrass Top 20:

Congratulations to The East Ridge Boys for the Number 1 Song in Bluegrass for SGNScoops April 2020! Here’s the SGNScoops Bluegrass Top 20:

April 2020

1. Turkey Buzzard —  East Ridge Boys/Mansion
2. Which Thief Are You —  Bama Blu-Grace/Family Music Group
3. When He Speaks — The Britton Family/Independent
4. One Such As I — Eagle’s Wings/Independent
5. Place No Wreath — Balsam Range/ Crossroads
6. For A Moment Of Grace — Heaven’s Mountain Band/Family Music Group
7. Nothing At All — HighRoad/Billy Blue Records
8. Up All Night — Southern Raised/StowTown/Provident-Sony
9. A Brighter Day — Primitive Quartet/ Independent
10. The Back Of The Church — Jerry Salley/Billy Blue Records
11. Here and Now — Joe Mullins and The Radio Ramblers/Billy Blue Records
12. I’m Going To Heaven — Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver/Billy Blue Record
13. He Knows My Name — The Rochesters/UIA
14. How Can You Refuse Him Now — Rhonda Vincent/Rounder Records
15. The Great I Am -The Waymasters/Independent
16. I’m Not Who I Used To Be — Tonja Rose/Mansion
17. If You Want To — Journey Home/Independant
18. I Am Just A Pilgrim — The Appalachian Road Show/Billy Blue Records
19. A Mountain To Climb — The Churchmen/Mountain Fever Records
20. Near My Lord — The Fields Of Grace/Independent

Read SGN Scoops Magazine HERE
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Diamond Awards 2019 to be aired December 27, 2019

Written by Staff on December 24, 2019 – 1:14 pm -

Diamond Awards aired on WATC

Williamsons at Diamond Awards 2019

Atlanta, GA. (December 24, 2019) – WATC Television out of Atlanta, Georgia, will be airing the SGNScoops 2019 Diamond Awards celebration on Friday, December 27, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. The ceremony was held at Creekside Gospel Music Convention on Tues. Oct. 29, 2019, at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. This year’s awards honored industry veterans Eddie Crook, Jan Goff, Kenna Turner West, and Gerald Crabb, as well as newcomers Jessica Horton, Chronicle, Day 3, and Justified. “King Jesus” singers, Eagle’s Wings, swept the Bluegrass awards, winning all four categories.

Diamond Awards 2019

Ken and Jean Grady of Gospel Music Today produced the 2019 Diamond Awards op

Patricia Mathis and her crew of WATC TV, Atlanta’s TV 57, recorded the 2019 Diamond Awards. Those outside of the Atlanta, Georgia viewing area can view it online at www.watc.tv.

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. We are glad to be able to share the 2019 ceremony with fans across the nation and the world by television and internet. We are grateful to Patricia Mathis and WATC-TV for their professionalism, experience and dedication in airing quality Gospel music programs. We had a great time at the Awards and we hope everyone will tune in and watch!”
2019 Diamond Awards on WATC

Rob Patz and Jan Goff at the 2019 Diamond Awards

The Williamsons, The Dodrill Family, Mark209, Cami Shrock, The Pine Ridge Boys, and Josh and Ashley Franks, were a few of the artists on the Diamond Awards schedule. The program will re-air again in 2020 on the WATC network.

About WATC TV: WATC TV provides Atlanta with a mix of family, Christian and educational programming. It is known to viewers as the home of Atlanta Live and is seen over the air throughout the metro Atlanta market and also in over one million cable and satellite homes. WATC is the home of many original series and has been honored with numerous Angel and Telly Awards, as well as receiving its first EMMY in 2010. The station’s programming can be seen around the world via video streaming located on the WATC website at  http://www.watc.tv/

About Creekside Gospel Music Convention: Creekside Gospel Music Convention held its inaugural event at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in 2012. The CGMC is presented by SGNScoops and Coastal Media Group at Pigeon Forge and is the home of The Diamond Awards, Jerry Goff Award, Christian Country at the Creek, and other special events. Next year’s dates are October 25 – 29, 2020. For more information on Creekside Gospel Music Convention visit http://www.creeksidegospelmusicconvention.coms

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, Bluegrass, and Country Gospel music. For more information: http://www.sgnscoops.com/


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Kevin Chambers: Are you “gifted” or “called”?

Written by Staff on November 12, 2019 – 11:57 am -

Kevin Chambers: Are you "gifted" or "called"?Be Who You Are — For God’s Glory! By  Kevin Chambers

I surrendered the call to preach in 1997. It was some time after that when I began to seriously study the scriptural concepts of gifts and calling. I’d like to share some things that I learned on that journey, in the hope that it might help you in your daily pursuit of Godly wisdom.

The best place to begin a study of these concepts is Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” I found in my studies that gifts is plural but calling is singular. I searched the Bible diligently for every occurrence of any form of the words “call,” “called,” “calling,” etc. 

Kevin Chambers: Are you "gifted" or "called"?After extensive study, I found exactly one calling in the Bible. It is the call to be saved, to come to Christ, to join the family of God. I discovered that every other religious use of that word was something invented quite recently (in terms of the age of the Church) and outside the Bible.

I learned that when John Bunyan wrote of his calling in his amazing autobiography, “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners,” he meant something notably different from what we think of today. In the section “Imprisonment in November 1660,” he wrote of being examined by magistrates who urged him to “content (himself) with following his calling” and not preach, since that was against the law! Bunyan himself answered that he could “…do both these without confusion, follow my calling and preach the Word also.”

My point is that any religious “calling” (other than salvation) is a new concept that was not known as recently as Bunyan’s day. In that courtroom, all concerned knew that Bunyan’s calling was as a tinker (one who repairs pots and pans). In 1660 England, one’s calling was their regular job. There was no religious connotation in the word.

Eagle's Wings with Kevin Chambers

Eagle’s Wings with Kevin Chambers (far right)

I also noted in my Biblical studies in I Timothy 3:1-7, qualifications for a Bishop, generally understood to be equivalent to the modern idea of a pastor/shepherd/overseer, there is no mention of a calling. Verse one says “…if a man desire the office of a Bishop, he desireth a good work.” Honestly, there is no call to preach in the Bible at all. There are numerous commands to preach. There is desire to preach. But, you must look elsewhere to find the call to any ministry.

I learned that in the early church, any man who was of age, past his bar mitzvah, was welcome to read from scripture and make comments, or preach. They were to speak by two or three at most in any meeting to avoid confusion, and the pastor, literally “overseer,” should watch and call out any errors in love, not hostility; see I Corinthians 14:29-32. There was no “clergy” class. This was something conceived much later, for very questionable motives in the organized church hierarchy.

So, what does this have to do with Southern gospel music? I’m glad you asked.

Eagle's Wings with Kevin ChambersThere are many people in the ministry; preaching, singing, teaching, who at some point claimed or still claim an extra-Biblical “calling” on their lives. Once they made this claim and started down the path, they were trapped. They often have discovered that they do not have the gifts truly needed for that particular pursuit. That is not to say they do not have gifts, but they are afraid to manifest those gifts, since they have said that God called them to do some other specific thing, their “calling”.

Many times, this drives a person to literal despair, all while staying busy and active in their professed calling, knowing inside that they are not equipped to do the job.

The Bible is amazingly clear on the very plural subject of gifts. Paul, in Ephesians 4:7 and 4:11-12, speaks of the various gifts God has given to equip the Church. He also explains, like the body with many parts in I Corinthians 12, that we all have something valuable to contribute. Romans 12 puts it so beautifully. Please read Romans 12:3-8 if you get nothing else from this article.

Some people say they are specially called and that is between them and God. Others wait, pray and beg God for countless years, waiting for a mysterious calling, one that God never mentioned as necessary. Some believe they are gifted in one specific area, but, if they would be honest with themselves and God, then act logically and use their God-given strengths or gifts, they could lead much happier lives.

My earnest desire for you, the reader, is that you, courageously, “Be who you are… for God!”

We are all gifted in some way (Romans 12:3-8) 

We are all called (Philippians 3:14)

God has a plan for you (Ephesians 4:12) 

Don’t try to be something you are not (Psalm 84:10)

Never be afraid of failure (Proverbs 24:16)

Don’t let man’s idea of success be your standard. Noah and Jeremiah had public ministries that were dismal failures, by man’s account. Just do something to the glory of God. Keep trying until you find your gift. Remember this: “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” (Daniel 11:35)

Like the prospective pastor in I Timothy 3:1, if you have a desire to spread the good news of the Gospel in songs or sermons or books or any other way, then that desire is a good thing. I don’t believe the devil ever plants desires like that.

If you get to sing, “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Amazing Grace,” to a group of 10 people, God is praised. And one of them might understand a little bit more of the love of God, or how amazing his grace really is, that is a successful ministry.

Be who you are, for God. Don’t let religious language and concepts keep you from finding and using your God-given gifts to glorify him.

I hope this helps someone in their daily walk with the Lord.

Hey Y'all Media

Eagle’s Wings

By Kevin Chambers

Kevin Chambers sings vocals, plays mandolin, bass and guitar with Eagle’s Wings. He is the music director at Central Baptist Church in Jasper, Alabama. He is also a maritime security analyst.

Kevin’s credentials include: “U.S. Air Force Active Duty, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Civil Air Patrol-USAF Auxiliary, US Coast Guard AMSC Civilian… 35 years of working “in/for/with” the military in one capacity or another… I just hope we can keep a free country for the next generation… Then it would be worth all the trouble.”

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Les Butler and Friends: Brad Stevens of the Stevens Family Tradition

Written by Staff on October 18, 2019 – 3:37 pm -

Les Butler and Friends: Brad Stevens of the Stevens Family TraditionOver the past couple of years, I’ve been blessed to get to know, pick, sing and minister with a new group in Bluegrass gospel music called the Stevens Family Tradition (SFT).  They are talented, they are anointed and they are driven for the cause of Christ. I’d like to introduce you to one of their founding members, Brad Stevens. He is a great singer, a fine musician and an anointed preacher.

 

Les Butler: What is your earliest musical memory?

Les Butler and Friends: Brad Stevens of the Stevens Family Tradition

Brad Stevens: I’ve often said I cut my teeth on church pews and guitars; that being said, music has been a part of my life since a very early age. I remember standing in front of a church in my home town at the age of five, playing my guitar and singing a whole song. No doubt even before that I was joining in on the picking and singing at my nanny Shirley Stevens and Papaw Jess Stevens’ house. 

 

Butler: Who is your top instrumental mentor? Vocal mentor?  Preaching mentor? 

Stevens: For instrument mentors I would have to look no farther than my immediate family: my dad, Donald Stevens, my late papaw, Jess Stevens, and my brother, Donnie Stevens. My cradle was surrounded by their playing and singing.

Vocal mentors could be a long list of folks for sure, but one of the most influential ones would have to be a gentleman, who is my cousin, Danny Stevens. I grew up listening to him sing in church and I found myself trying to sing like him for years when I was a kid.

My preaching mentor is my pastor of nearly 22 years, who is also my father-in-law, Joey Burns. He has faithfully served the same church, which he started, for 31 years. He has taught me so much from delivering the word of God effectively to how to love people unconditionally.

 

Butler: Why is the word, “Tradition,” included in your group name?

Stevens: As you may have already noticed, music has been part of my brother’s and my life since birth. We certainly have inherited a love for music from our papaw and dad. We’re the third generation of our immediate family that has maintained a love for music…I’d say that’s tradition.

 

Butler: Tell us the history of SFT and introduce us to those who are in the group today.

Stevens: Stevens Family Tradition (SFT) started around four years ago as an album project. It had been over 15 years since I had been part of any music other than at church. Before I started preaching, my brother and I were part of a bluegrass band and made some of the fondest memories of our life doing so. After the long absence of that organized band music in my life, I really felt it was time to rekindle that with my brother, so we got together a group of friends to record an album. Next thing you know, after some conversations with our producer, Steve Gulley, who influenced us greatly to write songs, something we had never really done, the Lord began to give us lyrics, and the rest is history. The band started with myself, my brother Donnie Stevens, our long-time friend Frank Farley on guitar, and Jim Harp on the bass. These are the original band members and are still with us today. Frank’s son, Trey, played resonator guitar with us for about a year until life took him in a different direction; we enjoyed having him. We have had several different banjo players throughout the process but filling that position now is a local friend Tommy Couch. Our good friend, Gil Benson, sits in with us from time to time on the fiddle as well. 

 

Butler: What’s your biggest or most special musical moment?

Stevens: The Lord has blessed us to be able to play for a diverse group of people throughout our ministry so far; from Dollywood to congregations in churches throughout several states both large and small. We have been blessed to have our music on the radio and even on the charts, which is still a little hard to fathom. But if there’s ever a moment that is special, it’s when we’ve got to see those in need of the Savior lose grip of that pew and walk the aisle to the altar and pray through to salvation. That’s why we do it.

 

Butler: Tell us about your family. Are any of them musical?

Steens: I have been married to my wife Candon for 21 years. We have been blessed with three kids; Peyton, 19, Hannah, 16, and Hope who is seven. Candon plays piano and has been the worship leader in our church for many years. Our middle daughter, Hannah, has recently begun to follow in her mommy and daddy’s footsteps, singing in church as well. As for little Hope, she’s like her daddy; she’s been a song bird since she could talk. All this music and singing hasn’t caught up with our son Peyton yet, but one day I believe it will.

 

Les Butler and Friends: Brad Stevens of the Stevens Family TraditionButler: Tell us about the music festivals you are involved with in your hometown of Manchester, Kentucky.

Stevens: My brother Donnie and I have recently been involved with a festival here in our home town called Saltworks Appalachian Homecoming Festival. We had a very small part in it before, and were blessed to have the folks ask us to take care of booking the bands. We did our best to provide them the best bluegrass music in America today. 

Les Butler and Friends: Brad Stevens of the Stevens Family Tradition

Brad Stevens at 2 Years Old

We also felt the urgency and believe the Lord has led us to organize and promote a gospel event in our community as well. We went before the Manchester Tourism Commission with our vision and they were kind enough to give us the financial boost we needed to make sure this vision becomes reality. With their help and other sponsors as well, what will be known as the 1st Annual Shaping Clay Jubilee will happen on October 4 – 5, 2019, right here at the Pioneer Village in Manchester. Appearing at the event will be Heaven’s Mountain Band, the Shepherds, Steve Gulley and Friends, Stevens Family Tradition, the Old Time Preachers Quartet, Jeff and Sheri Easter, the Hoppers, and the Isaacs. We are pleased to be able to offer this event for free to all who would like to attend.

 

Les Butler and Friends: Brad Stevens of the Stevens Family TraditionButler: Please give us a brief testimony.

Stevens: First let me say, I’m thankful to be saved. I remember the day when the Lord changed everything about my life. Since that day, life has certainly dealt me and my family some uncertain days. On December 23, 2010, I had a massive stroke in my brain stem. God gave us a miracle and I survived; however, there were many days over the next four months when I didn’t know if I would live or die. But through it all, God was with us and gave us the grace and strength we needed to endure. This experience has played a huge part of who myself and my family are today. I still deal with some issues from the stroke today, but I don’t regret it happened because as a result of this experience, my family has grown closer, our dependency on the Lord has grown stronger, and many sermons and songs have come into being influenced by this first-hand experience. I’m very thankful for life and the opportunity to minister the truth of the gospel through preaching and music. I don’t deserve to be where I am today, and give God all the glory for being not only my Savior, but the Author and the Finisher of my faith!

Butler Music Group 2019 Diamond Awards Top Five nominees

Les Butler

By Les Butler

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in July 2019

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Texas Hill Country Gospel Jubilee Welcomes Andrew Brunet 

Written by Staff on August 21, 2019 – 3:17 pm -

Texas Hill Country Gospel Jubilee(August 21, 2019)–Texas Hill Country Gospel Jubilee is excited to announce that they have partnered alongside 4 Christ Promotions and Andrew Brunet, as their promoter and booking coordinator.
“It’s seems to be just a surreal dream that I’m living in. It’s amazing what God can do when you allow Him to take control,” Brunet shared.

Texas Hill Country Gospel Jubilee was founded by Danny Lemons in May of 2019, with a mission of praising God through Southern/country and Bluegrass gospel music. Along with the old traditional hymns and testimonies, and sometimes even a little preaching, giving God all the glory as they strive to reach the lost for Him.

“I’m blown away at what God can do when we work together for the kingdom. I believe this is a divine partnership, and God loves to partner those who love Him most together,” Lemons shared.

Texas Hill Country Gospel Jubilee is a venue located in Brownwood, Texas. The Jubilee hosts Christian concerts, providing quality, family-friendly entertainment.

For more information on artist booking for this event or venue, call 4 Christ Promotions at 803-374-4069 or contact by email at 4christpromotions@gmail.com


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