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Beyond the Song: Eagle’s Wings sing “When I Close My Eyes”

Written by Staff on July 17, 2019 – 6:18 pm -

Beyond The Song: Eagle's Wings sing ‘When I Close My Eyes"

Eagle’s Wings

For this edition of Beyond the Song, Jantina de Haan-Baksteen reached out to Eagle’s Wings to talk about their single, “When I Close My Eyes.”  Darryle Wilson of Eagle’s Wings agreed to join her for this interview.

1. Please introduce yourselves to the readers of SGNScoops for those who have never heard about you before.

Eagle’s Wings consists mostly of family members. Debbi and I (Darryle) have been married 46 years (as of June 15.) I sing and play the bass.  Matthew Wilson (our son) sings and plays the guitar, mandolin, and dobro. Kevin Chambers sings and plays guitar, mandolin, and bass. Jacob Patterson plays the banjo, mandolin, and bass. 

Beyond The Song: Eagle's Wings sing ‘When I Close My Eyes" 2. I believe you had a recent No. 1 song on the charts, was that ‘He Hung the Moon’?

Actually “If He Hung the Moon” only went to No. 2, I think. We did have a No. 1 with “King Jesus” back in November, 2018. 

 

3. You have a rich musical background, can you share something about that?

Debbi and I sang together in a country band before getting married. We got married in 1973, got in church in 1979. I rededicated my life to the Lord, Debbi got saved, then her sister, mom, and dad got saved. They had only done country music, but had a desire to sing in church. Her dad, Floyd “Bill” Busby, wrote three songs, one of which will be on our newest project. 

Beyond The Song: Eagle's Wings sing ‘When I Close My Eyes" 3. Darryle is the writer of this beautiful new song, “When I Close My Eyes.” For those who believe the message, we hardly need an explanaition. But to those who haven’t commited their lives to Jesus, it’s a serious message. Can you tell us what the song says?

The song actually reaffirms the fact that we all have an appointment with death, but for the Christian, it’s only going to get better when we close our eyes here. “Pain is a stranger, there’ll be no danger, it’s glory forevermore.” Because God holds the appointment book, we just need to be ready. 

 

4. Do you write most of the songs yourselves?

In fact, our current project will be nothing but originals. However we like throwing a little (blue) grass seed on a Southern gospel song, just to see if we can get the grass to grow.

Beyond The Song: Eagle's Wings sing ‘When I Close My Eyes" 5. Is there anything more you’d like the readers to know?

In July, 2012, because of scoliosis, I went into complete respiratory failure and was placed on a ventilator. The doctor had told Debbi and Matthew that I would never preach or sing again and, that if I lived, I would probably be bedridden and on a respirator for the rest of my life. They were not given much hope. But, after a week, on my 65th birthday, I was off the ventilator and breathing on my own. God raised me up, and after three weeks in the nursing home for rehab, I went home. I returned to my pulpit on September 2, 2012, where I’ve been ever since. 

6. What is ahead for Eagle’s Wings in the near future?

As far as the future – we have no clue. We just leave that up to God. We would like to add another musician, if God allows. We just pray for open doors and the good sense to walk through them when He shows us one. 

7. What is the road routine of each member of the group?

Our families travel with us. Matthew’s wife, Jennifer runs our product table. They have two daughters, Anna and Emma. 

Kevin’s wife, Rhonda, runs our sound. They have one son named Jonathan. 

We don’t have a bus. We travel in four separate vehicles. We just make sure everyone has the correct address and hope we all show up at the right time and place. 

8. Where can readers find you on the internet?

Each member has an individual Facebook page, except me. The group also has a page.

 

 

 

For a complete schedule, go to eagleswingsband.com

Thank you so much, Darryle, for your time and for allowing us a sneak peak into what happens with Eagle’s Wings.

The SGNScoops’ team wish you God’s blessing and safe travels for all the miles ahead.

Read the July SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE

Download July SGNScoops Magazine On PDF HERE
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Listen To Todays Gospel Music HERE

 


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Les Butler and Friends: Jeff Tolbert of the Primitive Quartet

Written by Staff on July 14, 2019 – 2:53 pm -

Les Butler and Friends: Jeff Tolbert of the Primitive Quartet

Primitive Quartet

Les Butler and Friends: Jeff Tolbert of the Primitive Quartet

I’ve known Jeff Tolbert for many years, and I like him a lot. He’s a great husband, father, musician and one of the all-time greatest singers I’ve ever heard. I thought I knew most everything about Jeff, but even I was surprised at some of his answers to my questions. For example, did you know that over the years he played for Jeff and Troy Tolbert, the Stanleys, the Easter Brothers, Jeff and Sheri Easter, and he filled in with the Lewis Family, Karen Peck and New River, the Isaacs and Ricky Skaggs. Of course, it feels like he’s been a member of the Primitive Quartet forever. You’ll enjoy getting to know my friend, Jeff Tolbert.                                                                                                                        

Les Butler: What is your earliest musical memory?                                                              

Jeff Tolbert: My earliest memories (for me) were singing with my dad. We sang everywhere; in our community, churches, outdoor festivals and at many radio stations. We were featured a lot on the Saturday Morning Merry Go Round at WPAQ in Mt. Airy, N.C.                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

Les Butler and Friends: Jeff Tolbert of the Primitive Quartet

Jeff Tolbert

Butler: What was the first instrument you tried to play?                                                               

Tolbert: I started playing the guitar and bass guitar about the same time, around the age of seven. After that, I started picking up other instruments. I remember my dad telling me when to change chords on the guitar. I couldn’t wait for him to get home from work so we could pick.

 

Butler: What instruments do you play now?                                                                                   

Tolbert: I play the bass guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, harmonica, autoharp and a little on the dobro.

 

Butler: Who are your top three musician mentors?                                                                         

Tolbert: I would definitely say my dad is my first musical mentor. He taught me so much about music as well as life. His spiritual influence and walk with the Lord started me on my journey many years ago, playing music and living for my Savior. I miss him dearly, but I know we will sing together again.  

The Easter Brothers would be my second mentors as well as much of their family. The Easter Brothers were from my home town of Mt.Airy, N.C. Their music has always been a part of my life. I still say, no one can sing three-part harmony like Russell, James and Edd.  My third musical mentor would be Ricky Skaggs. From Ralph Stanley and JD Crowe until now, he’s always been my favorite singer and musician. I grew up learning how to sing harmony with Ricky’s records. After reading Ricky’s autobiography that he published, I realized our upbringing was so much alike, as we were both raised in a godly home with a love for music. I cherish his friendship and appreciate his music.

 

Butler:  If you could only do one thing; sing or play, which would you choose?                         

Tolbert:  As much as I love to play, I would have to choose singing. Dad always told me, (when)  you sing a song, listen to the words. If the song helps you, it will help others. I want to be a help and encouragement to someone. I want to be able to tell folks there’s hope in a lost and dying world, and there’s joy in knowing Jesus.

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Sarah Reith of Southern Raised Band

Written by Staff on July 7, 2019 – 10:20 am -

Sarah Reith of Southern Raised

Sarah Reith of Southern Raised is the first in a new series featuring younger artists in Southern, Bluegrass and Country gospel music. We hope you enjoy the journey as we travel into the lives and hearts of the new generation of gospel artists.

Southern Raised call themselves a Christian acoustic band and their sound certainly crisscrosses over all types of music, hitting Southern and Bluegrass a little more often than others, but you can hear a lot of influences in their style. The Ozark mountains cast their shadow as well as the infiltration of a Celtic resonance. The sibling harmony is sweet and the instrumentation is adept.

 

The members of Southern Raised are all close in age, but among family members Lindsay, Sarah, Emily, and Matt Reith, Sarah was chosen for this feature. She is the second oldest of the four, and has been nominated for her excellent vocals and banjo picking. Since the group started in 2007, they have all received several nominations for songs, vocals and instrumentation, and Sarah plays a major part in this groups’ popularity.

 

Justin McLeod: What was the first musical instrument that you learned to play?

Sarah Reith: I was eight years old when my older sister started piano lessons. She took them for a couple of weeks and of course ‘lil sis wanted to take lessons if big sis was, so I started piano as my first instrument.

 

Sarah Reith of Southern Raised

Sarah Reith of Southern Raised

JM: What instruments do you currently play?

SR: I play banjo, piano, violin and a little guitar, but my true love is banjo.

 

JM: What are the positive things about being part of Southern Raised and what are the challenges?

SR: I love the opportunities we’ve had to meet so many sweet loving people and the friendships we’ve made over the years. One of the more difficult moments behind the scenes is the all-night drives we occasionally have to do to make it to our next venue. Our bus is currently out of commission, so sleeping in a vehicle all night while someone is driving can be interesting. But the hardest part is being away from my fiancé and not getting to see him as often.

 

Southern RaisedJM: What is it like to travel with family?

SR: I love traveling with my siblings. We were raised to be best friends and we truly all are best of friends. They’re wonderful people to work with, and to do what you love with the people you love is great. Sometimes it can be challenging, working up new arrangements and ideas with siblings, since growing up we’ve all had the same musical influences so we end up having the same ideas. So we try to think out of the box and be creative.

 

JM: What song do you like the most, out of all the Southern Raised tunes?

SR: One of my favorite songs we sing is an original one that Lindsay co wrote, called “Letting Go.” The message in that song really ministers and speaks to my heart every time I sing it. It’s so encouraging that we can let go of the hardships, difficulties, trials or whatever it is we are holding onto and know that God will lead, that he never fails us and we can fully and completely trust him.

 

JM: Is there a song you’ve always wanted to record but never have?

SR: I’ve always wanted to do a hymns project. Some of my favorites are “Blessed Assurance,” “I Love to Tell the Story,” “Rock of Ages,” and my very favorite hymn is, “It Is Well With My Soul.” My fiancé just surprised me for Valentine’s Day and taught himself the right hand on the piano and played “It Is Well With My Soul.” It was so special. (Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Sarah and David Noland who got married in April!)

 

Sarah Reith of Southern Raised

Sarah Reith and David Noland

JM: If you could create a perfect musical group, who would be in it?

SR: I would put my musical inspirations together in a band: Alison Krauss, Jens Kruger, Mark Hall, and my arranger would be John Williams, he’s so phenomenal.

 

JM: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

SR: I love to read; you just can’t beat a good book snuggled up by the fire. I enjoy watercolor painting, quilting, sewing, kayaking, and hiking. Within the last year it’s changed to spending any spare time with a very special someone.

 

Southern RaisedJM: What is your favorite scripture verse?

SR: My favorite verse is Psalms 66:16 “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” This became my verse after we started ministering through singing. This is why we do what we do, to declare what mercy and grace God has bestowed upon each one of us. It’s a joy to “declare” it through singing.

 

JM: Can you describe a typical Southern Raised concert for our readers?

SR: We would love to see each one who is reading this at a Southern Raised concert down the road sometime. We have a wonderful time praising God together. We mix in our classical background with our current music and style. We’re also doing some songs off a new table project that is Americana in flavor. A couple of my favorites are an Armed Force patriotic medley we do and the lyrics to “Heaven’s Shore” to the familiar melody of “Shenandoah.”

 

Southern RaisedJM: Do you have a dream you’d like to share?

SR: Yes. I have always loved old cars and trucks. It has been my dream for years to one day own one. My ultimate dream one is a 1950’s baby blue truck. I’ll just keep dreaming!

 

The Freemans grace the cover of the May 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

The Freemans grace the cover of the May 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

A special thank you to Sarah Reith of Southern Raised for candid and personal responses. For more information on Southern Raised, you can find them online at southernraisedbluegrass.com.

By Justin McLeod and Lorraine Walker

Justin McLeod is a regular writer for SGNScoops Magazine.

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in May 2019.

Read the June SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE

Download June SGNScoops Magazine On PDF HERE
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook HERE
Listen To Todays Gospel Music HERE

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Lorraine Walker: June issue of SGNScoops and building relationships

Written by Staff on June 28, 2019 – 4:08 pm -

June 2019 SGNScoops Magazine

June 2019 SGNScoops Magazine, Lorraine Walker, Editor

Editor’s Last Word By Lorraine Walker for June 2019

Here is the June edition of SGNScoops Magazine and we are halfway through another year. It’s hard to believe we are almost finished the second decade of the second millennium. I’m relieved to see sunshine and blue skies today, as we’ve been deluged with rainstorms ever since it stopped snowing, or so it seems. I hope that today we’ve brought some light into your day through SGNScoops and the artists we have introduced in its pages. 

The New Speer Family graced our cover and John Herndon had the pleasure of speaking to the members of this fantastic group which is rejuvenating the celebrated sounds of the original Speer Family. I also had the pleasure of speaking to various members through email even though I’ve never personally met them. Allison Durham Speer communicates like few are able to, regardless of the type of music. If you ever had any doubt that faith in God can move mountains, one look at the smile on her face will assure you of her belief in a God who does the impossible. 

John Schneider is also an artist we have never featured before, but Jimmy Reno has introduced a man who has struggled with many losses, yet retained his faith in God. Schneider’s anticipated new release, “Recycled Grace,” is bound to be heartfelt and eloquent. 

One artist that readers will already be familiar with is 11th Hour since member Jaquita Lindsey was on our writing team for some time. The group itself has been featured in the past and now Rob Patz has asked them to join the Creekside Gospel Music Convention family of artists. This trio is loved by so many and their songs continue to light up the charts months after release. 

We appreciate the time all of these artists and writers took to tell the story of faith through music, along with new trio Avenue, as well as pianist virtuoso Jeff Stice, who both spoke with our esteemed writer, Robert York. Les Butler is also highly valued here, as he brings a touch of Bluegrass to our pages, through the story of Randy Spencer of the King James Boys. What a great issue, along with Jennifer Campbell showing us the greatness of our Heavenly Father in this month where we celebrate Father’s Day. Randall Hamm, Vonda Easley, and Rob Patz also lent their talent and pens, and we salute our whole staff, including our creative and design team.

Joan Walker, Vonda Armstrong and Lorraine Walker

Joan Walker, Vonda Armstrong and Lorraine Walker

I don’t often get a chance to visit with our SGNScoops team, but recently I went with my sister Joan, our proofreader and all-around error-catcher, to enjoy an afternoon with Vonda and Jack Armstrong. We had a good time with this fun couple and we appreciated that they would carve out a few hours in their too-short Niagara trip to visit with us. Vonda and I have been acquainted for several years but don’t really get to chat very often. We met Jack for the first time and I was reminded that regardless of accent, a sense of humor is something that connects people. A like spirit is also a positive connection and we all enjoyed the time of discussion and fun.

Strengthening relationships is something we all need to do, to either have an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to an unbeliever, or to build our own faith circle with people we trust. If you are an introvert like me, you find it difficult to step beyond basic greetings with your neighbors or the cashier you see regularly at your favorite store. Perhaps you are an extrovert who loves to chat but finds the deeper realities harder to discuss. It’s a learning curve for all of us to gain the trust of those around us enough to have the right to discuss our faith. I’m still learning and beyond talking about the random raccoon that appears to ravage our roofs, I haven’t built that many friendships on my street. But I’m trying.

I’m so glad we have the encouragement of gospel music, whatever style we happen to listen to, on any given day, to lift our spirits and strengthen us with the message of Jesus to face that day, whether we are asked to become uncomfortable or just watch for raccoons. Jesus loves us. The world needs to be reminded of that. 

Lorraine Walker, Editor, SGNScoops Magazine

Lorraine Walker, Editor, SGNScoops Magazine

Thank you, as always, for spending your time with us at SGNScoops. We appreciate our readers and we know that we wouldn’t be here without you. If you are struggling and need encouragement, or need to hear more about the love of Jesus, please write to me or anyone on our staff. We read every note and email. Please write to me at lorraine@sgnscoops.com

By Lorraine Walker, Editor, SGNScoops Magazine

First published in the SGNScoops Magazine in June 2019.

Read the June SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE

Download June SGNScoops Magazine On PDF HERE
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook HERE
Listen To Todays Gospel Music HERE

 

 


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Vote today for 2019 Diamond Awards Top Five

Written by Staff on June 25, 2019 – 11:08 am -

Diamond Awards

Diamond Awards

SGNScoops Magazine is proud to announce that voting for the Top Five nominees for the 2019 Diamond Awards is now open on the SGNScoops website HERE.

Vote today for your favorite artists from the Top Five nominees and make plans to attend the 2019 Diamond Awards ceremony, as the best in today’s Southern, Country, and Bluegrass gospel music are celebrated.

The Diamond Awards will be presented on Oct. 29, at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., during the 2019 Creekside Gospel Music Convention. Don’t forget to make sure your voice is heard by voting HERE.

Diamond AwardsCreekside Gospel Music Convention brings national and regional gospel music to Pigeon Forge from Oct. 27 through Oct. 31. This year, special features include Creekside Bluegrass, and Christian Country at the Creek, as well as the Lifetime Achievement award, keynote speakers and preachers, chapel services, live concert tapings, and midnight prayer.

2019 Creekside Gospel Music Convention Reserve your tickets at www.creeksidegospelmusicconvention.com and your space at the Convention headquarters, the Ramada Inn. Book your place today as rooms are filling up fast. For reservations call Rob at 360.933.0741.

Don’t forget to order your Creekside VIP pass today! There are a limited number of bracelets available, so please contact Rob today at 360.933.0741.

Find out more about the 2019 Diamond awards by visiting the Creekside Gospel Music Convention Facebook page HERE.


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Les Butler and Friends: Earl Wheeler of the Marksmen Quartet

Written by Staff on June 17, 2019 – 6:08 pm -

Earle Wheeler and the Marksmen Quartet

I’ve known Earl Wheeler, and his son Mark, for nearly 40 years. Earl has stood the test of time. Through decades of changing musical styles, he has planted a flag in the ground that says, “I ain’t changing!”

 

Earl Wheeler

Earl Wheeler

Earl still sings and teaches shaped notes, and has attended the same church for nearly 80 years. The Marksmen Quartet sounds like a Southern gospel quartet with bluegrass instrumentation. When you hear Earl and the Marksmen today, it’s like taking a time machine back 50, 60 or even 70 years. I’m proud to introduce you to my friend, Earl Wheeler.

 

Les Butler: What is your earliest musical memory?

Earl Wheeler:  In 1946, Wahoo Baptist church ran a bus to Lyman Hall School where they held the Stamps Baxter singing school. I went for two weeks. Wahoo Baptist also had singing schools from 1946 into the 60’s. They taught voice, theory, piano, etc.

 

Earl Wheeler of the Marksmen QuartetButler: Did you grow up in a musical family?

Wheeler: Yes, everybody in the family could sing and my granddaddy was Georgia’s champion banjo player two years in a row. My mom played guitar and sang alto, and my dad played guitar and French harp, and he pastored until he was 82. My other grandpa played a harmonica and all of my cousins sang and played.

Butler: How long have you been singing, and do you recall the first time your ever sang in public?

Wheeler: It would have been 1944 or 1945. Granddaddy sat me on a piano stool and said, “Sang, boy!” And I remember thinking I’m a singer now. I believe that’s what I was born to do…sing. The first group I ever sang with was in our church. We had a quartet and had a radio show in Gainesville, Georgia. I did some recording and traveling with a group called the Gospel Hearts Trio in the early 60’s. We were Southern gospel; three singers and a piano player.

 

Butler: Early on, were you more of a Southern gospel fan or a Bluegrass gospel fan?

Wheeler: Both, because I listened to the Blue Ridge Quartet on a radio station in Spartanburg, S.C. and Carl Story and the Ramblin’ Mountaineers on a Knoxville, Tenn. station. We didn’t have a TV when I was growing up, so I would go to my bedroom and listen to the radio and read. I ended up being friends with Carl. When the Marksmen recorded for K-Tel records, we recorded a Carl Story song. We sold tons of those albums and he liked getting those checks!

 

Earle Wheeler and the Marksmen QuartetButler: When did you start the Marksmen quartet, and were they originally a Southern gospel quartet or a Bluegrass quartet? If it started as a Southern gospel quartet, what happened to change your musical style?

Wheeler: I started the Marksmen in the fall of 1967. We were a Southern gospel quartet; four guys and a piano. Around 1977, our son Mark played guitar, and we had a piano player quit one weekend and we sang with just the guitar and bass. Our tenor singer said he used to play mandolin in a Bluegrass band, so we never went back to a piano

 

Butler: Your son Mark is a master musician. Do you play any instruments?  

Wheeler: I play a little guitar and bass.

 

Butler: Give me your all-star quartet, filled with your favorite singers on each vocal part.

Wheeler: My all-star quartet would be James Sego on lead, Steve Gulley on tenor, Jack Laws on baritone and Ray Dean Reese on bass. James Sego could really get to singing and it looked like he was riding a horse. We used to sing a lot with the Kingsmen.

 

Butler: What is your favorite song and why?

Wheeler: “Oh, Happy Day” (the page 86 in the red book version) because it says it was a happy day when Jesus washed my sins away…and it was.

 

Earl WheelerButler: You teach shape note singing. When and where did you learn and how is it going today?

Wheeler: (I learned at) Stamps Baxter singing schools. It does well when you can get people to listen long enough to learn it. We are teaching it at our Marksmen Mountain Music camps and a lot of young people are catching on.

 

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

Wheeler: (I’m working) with my cows and my VW beetles, and eating my wife Shirley’s cooking. She cooks the best biscuits I know of.

 

Butler: How much longer do you see yourself traveling?

Wheeler: (Until) I can’t do it any longer.

 

Butler: Give us a brief testimony…

Wheeler: I had struggled with my salvation for about eight years (until) finally on August 10th, 1956 the Lord saved me in the morning service of a revival meeting, in the choir at Wahoo Baptist Church.

Les Butler

By Les Butler

First published by SGNScoops Magazine April 2019.

Read the May SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE

Download SGNScoops Magazine On PDF HERE
Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook HERE
Listen To Todays Gospel Music HERE

 


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Les Butler and Friends: Roger Johnson of Heaven’s Mountain Band

Written by Staff on May 31, 2019 – 11:25 am -

Roger Johnson and Heaven's Mountain Band

Roger Johnson and Heaven’s Mountain Band

I first met Roger Johnson and Heaven’s Mountain Band in 2012. I’ll never forget that day. They were so nervous to meet me. You will see in this article that they hold me in high esteem. Might I say they hold me in too high esteem? Without this knowledge, some of this article would sound self-serving. I promise you, I’m not the big wig they think I am. To quote my friend Aaron Wilburn, “bless their hearts.”

 

I wanted to write about Roger Johnson and not the entire band for this article. We’ll write about the band at a later date I’m sure. Roger is such a  standout songwriter and driving force for old-time religion and old-time gospel music, that I really wanted to shine the spotlight on him alone this month. I am proud to introduce you to Roger Johnson.

Roger Johnson of Heaven's Mountain Band

Roger Johnson of Heaven’s Mountain Band

Les Butler: What is your earliest musical memory?
Roger Johnson: At 12 years old, I got my first guitar. It was a Western Auto Trutone acoustic guitar and they were on sale for $12.50. If you purchased the guitar, they gave you a free set of Black Diamond strings. My mother purchased that for me the Christmas of 1969.   

 

Butler: How many groups have you been with, from the earliest to the most current?
Johnson: The only group I’ve been a part of is Heaven’s Mountain Band. We started in 1986 as a Southern gospel group. We were part of the Eddie Crook Company. We changed from Southern gospel music to Bluegrass Gospel about the time we met you (Les Butler) in 2012. We had so much trouble keeping a live Southern gospel band and we could play our own acoustic instruments, so it was a natural move. We always loved the groups featured on Front Porch Fellowship, and we wanted to go more that direction.   

 

Butler: When did you start writing songs?
Johnson: Around 1985. The first song I wrote was, “Latter Rain.” This was the first song we took to the Eddie Crook Company and they liked it. The first month they released it, it made the Top 80.   

 

Butler: What is your favorite song that you’ve written and why?
Johnson: My song, “I’ll Ride This Ship to The Shore.” I’m glad all this new religion stuff got to me too late, I was already on board the old ship of Zion, worshipping in the old-time way.

 

Roger Johnson of Heaven's Mountain Band

Heaven’s Mountain Band

Butler: How many songs have you written?
Johnson: I’m guessing, around 200. I really don’t know. I’ve written a lot of songs years ago and have forgotten I even wrote them. I frequently stumble upon songs that I wrote years ago that I’ve forgotten.

 

March 2019 SGNScoops Magazine featuring Roger Johnson of Heaven's Mountain Band

March 2019 SGNScoops Magazine features the Old Paths

Butler: Is there a song that you’ve written that came to you in a very unusual way or during an unusual circumstance?
Johnson: “The Empty Altar.” We need a burden for the lost. God has really used this song. When I wrote the song, I was just sitting at the house. We had just gotten off a weekend where folks just didn’t seem to want to worship the Lord. We gave altar calls and saw no movement of any kind.  It just seemed liked folks didn’t care. I got to thinking about that and how much I missed seeing tears on the altar. The Lord just started to stir my soul, and he gave me the lyrics to this song.

 

Butler: Did you ever think you’d have a group that has had seven consecutive No. 1 songs that you have written, with parades and special days honoring you and Heaven’s Mountain Band?
Johnson: I never thought we would have one. We just want to give God the glory.  I still can’t get over how much radio has responded to our simple message and the simple way in which we sing that message.   

 

Butler: What other artists have recorded your songs?
Johnson: Rhonda Vincent recorded, “Momma and God,” Paul Williams recorded, “That Ole Church Bell,” Marvin Morrow recorded, “Somebody Prayed,” the Primitive Quartet recorded, “Covered in Grace,” Terry Terrell recorded, “Heroes of Prayer,” and “Graveyard of Sin,” the King James Boys recorded, “Super Water,” and the Old Time Preachers Quartet recorded, “I’ll Ride This Ship to The Shore,” and “Empty Altar.” You (Les Butler) recorded, “When His Blood Fell.”

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Les Butler and Friends: Danny Roberts of the Grascals

Written by Staff on April 29, 2019 – 6:07 pm -

Les Butler and Friends: Danny Roberts of the Grascals

Les Butler and Friends: Danny Roberts of the Grascals

I first met Danny Roberts when he started the Bluegrass Gospel band, The New Tradition.  I loved them. They were, as their name suggests, both new sounding, as well as traditional sounding. And wow, could that mandolin player tear up a mandolin.

Over the years, I interviewed them and featured them many times on my nationally syndicated radio show, Front Porch Fellowship. When they stopped traveling, I was bummed out. But that closed door lead to another open door.  

Danny and Andrea Roberts started going to my church, Middle Tennessee Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn. For several years we got to play side by side in the church band. Those were great days. Now, he’s on the road full time with the multi-award winning, Grascals.  

Let’s learn a little more about my friend, Danny Roberts.

Les Butler: What is your earliest musical memory? 
Danny Roberts: The earliest memories of playing music are with my Uncle Jim. He was one of the few relatives I had that played guitar and he was always open to sitting down with me and helping me learn new things. He always played guitar at his home church, so I had that influence from the start.

 

Danny Roberts

Danny Roberts

LB:What’s the first instrument you tried to play? 
DR: Piano. When I was 12 years old, I broke my hip and had to homeschool that year and my mom was taking piano lessons. After a few days of playing, I decided I really liked playing an instrument but thought it should be guitar. Several years earlier my dad had bought a guitar and brought it home, but no one ever did anything with it, so I got it out and learned to play “Jingle Bells,” (my favorite guitar instrumental that I had heard on a Buck Owens’ Christmas record.)

 

LB: What instruments do you play? 
DR: Guitar, mandolin and fiddle.

 

LB: Who are your top three mandolin mentors? 
DR: Sam Bush, David Grisman and Bill Monroe.

 

LB: What’s your band history, first band to current band? 
DR: First band would be the New Tradition, then Ronnie Reno and the Reno Tradition and now the Grascals.

 

Les Butler and Friends: Danny Roberts of the Grascals

Danny Roberts and the Grascals

LB: What is your favorite song to play and why? 
DR: This changes for me fairly often. Right now, my favorite song to play is “I’ve Been Redeemed,” from the Grascals current CD, “Before Breakfast.” I love the message in the song. It’s in three-quarter time which is something the Grascals don’t do a lot of, but I really like it, plus I get to kick it off with the mandolin.

 

LB: Do you write lyrics?  If so, what’s the favorite song you’ve written?
DR: I do enjoy writing songs with lyrics and my favorite would probably be “Crucified by Me.” I wrote it and recorded it several years ago. Recently it’s been revived by a great young band called ClayBank and it’s receiving a lot of airplay. The song is about a having a dream where I was committing a crime, but I wasn’t paying for the crime – an innocent man was. That innocent man was Jesus.

 

LB: How do you give birth to your original instrumentals?  Do you have a favorite you’ve written? 
DR: The instrumentals I write usually come from a mood I’m in or from inspiration that I get from listening to other artists. If I must pick a favorite, I think it would be “Derrington Drive,” off of my “Nighthawk” CD. The song was inspired by the tuning Bill Monroe did on his tune, “Get up John,” and named in honor of Charlie Derrington – one of my best friends and mandolin building mentors. I’ve written several and many of them are special to me including “AndiWayne,” and “Old Paths,” from my “Mandolin Orchard” CD, and “Danielle’s Waltz,” from the “Nighthawk” recording.

 

LB: What’s your biggest musical moment?
DR: I’ve been very blessed to have many, awesome musical moments and I’m so grateful for each of them. However, I think the one moment that may stand out just a little more than the rest was playing the Grand Ole Opry with Dolly Parton and having Porter Waggoner join us to sing a couple of their old duets. It just so happens that this was the last time that Porter and Dolly sang together because Porter passed away not too long after, so it’s an extremely precious memory for me. Also, having the legendary Jordanaires join the Grascals on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry to perform our Dove Award nominated song “Did You Forget God Today” was also an amazing musical moment.

 

LB: Tell us about your wife and daughter, both of whom are very musical.
DR: I met my wife, Andrea, at a bluegrass festival where she was playing guitar and singing in her group Petticoat Junction (I was at the festival playing with New Tradition.) A few months after we first met, my band sold her band a utility trailer for hauling music equipment and, as they say, the rest is history. Andrea stopped traveling on the road after our daughter Jaelee was born and later started the Andrea Roberts Agency – a booking agency that books several top bluegrass bands including the Grascals.
Jaelee really didn’t have much of a choice but to be in music being that’s all that has ever gone on in our home since she was born. She started playing fiddle when she was four and now plays guitar, mandolin, piano, banjo and some bass. Jaelee has literally grown up singing in church which has been such a blessing and we’re so thankful that she has that foundation…THE Foundation. She is a very talented singer and her first single, a gospel song called “All My Tears,” will be released early in 2019.

 

LB: When you’re not picking and singing, what are you doing?
DR: I have an instrument repair shop in my home and I repair stringed instruments. I also give music lessons to folks all ages and skill levels wanting to learn mandolin and guitar.

 

Grascals

Grascals

LB: Give us a brief testimony…

DR: When I was 12 years old I broke my hip and spent the next year on crutches and pretty much in the house. During that time my life was forever changed…that’s when I started playing guitar and when I got saved. I had just turned 13 years old when I was attending a revival at my home church in Leitchfield, Kent., and the preacher preached on hell and preached it hot. I decided that was something I wanted no part of and accepted Christ as my Savior that night. There are a lot of decisions I’ve made in my life that I might change if I had the opportunity, but making the decision to accept God’s gift of salvation is the single greatest decision of my life.

By Les Butler

Les Butler and Friends is published monthly by SGNScoops Magazine

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Congrats to The SGNScoops Bluegrass Top 20 for April 2019

Written by scoopsnews on March 21, 2019 – 10:20 am -

Bluegrass top 20

Chigger Hill Boys and Terri

Chigger Hill Boys and Terri

2019 April SGNScoops Bluegrass Gospel Top 20

1. Songs Like Those (For Days Like These) – Chigger Hill Boys and Terri

2. We’ll Never Walk Alone – Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver

3. That’s Grace – The Primitive Quartet

4. Let My Life Be A Light – Balsam Range

5. Most Requested Prayer – Heaven’s Mountain Band

6. Thinkin’ Outside The Box – Dave Adkins

7. Who But God – Eagle’s Wings

8. I Start Each Day With The Lord – Britton Family and Friends

9. On The Sea Of Life – Jeff and Sheri Easter

10. His Eyes – The Rochesters

11. Little Black Train – Barry Abernathy and Darrell Webb

12. On The Far Side – The Marksmen Quartet

13. Why Should I Worry – Canaan’s Crossing

14. Are You Ready To Go – Sally Berry

15. In A Whirlwind – The Little Roy and Lizzy Show

16. Wanna Be – Southern Raised

17. A Brighter Day – Primitive Quartet

18. Call On God – Tonja Rose

19. Was Nots – King James Boys

20. I Am The One – Walking By Faith

For more Radio Charts and other Gospel Music information read the latest SGNScoops Magazine HERE

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Inner Views of Doyle Lawson: Saved by Grace

Written by Staff on February 21, 2019 – 11:27 am -

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver: Saved by Grace

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver: Saved by Grace

While every single interview I have conducted for Inner Views has been distinctive and personally memorable to me, I must tell you that the Inner Views I am sharing with you today will forever hold an extraordinarily special place in my heart. Doyle Lawson, a humble man of God, is a legendary giant in the world of bluegrass music and is one of my biggest musical heroes, hands down.


Cheryl Smith:  Could you share with us about your childhood?  What are some of your favorite memories to recall from your time growing up?
Doyle Lawson:  As far back as I can remember I have loved the sound of music. Radio was the vehicle of entertainment in those days and there was an abundance of local, regional and national programs to listen to. The ones I remember vividly are of course the Grand Ole Opry on WSM in Nashville and the Farm and Fun Time show heard daily on WCYB in Bristol, Tenn./Va.. In the early 1950’s, my dad and mother, along with one of his nephews, started singing in churches locally, and I loved to watch them work out the harmony parts, and I absorbed everything I heard them do.After hearing Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys on the Opry, I was knocked out by Bill’s voice and mandolin playing, and decided that I was gonna be a picker and singer…When I was 11 years old, we were living in Hancock County, Tenn., and Dad was singing lead with the Clinch River Quartet, and I discovered that one of the men in the quartet (Willis Byrd) had a mandolin. I asked Dad to ask Willis if I could borrow it to learn to play.

In 1958, I got to meet the man who became my first professional boss in music. Jimmy Martin was from Hancock County, Tenn. and had gone to work for Bill Monroe in 1949. He went on to front his own band, the Sunny Mountain Boys in 1954, first teaming up with the Osborne Brothers. On the 3rd day of Feb. 1963, I went to Nashville and auditioned for (Jimmy) to pick the banjo, and that started my 55 years and country music career.

 

Doyle Lawson

Doyle Lawson

Smith:  Were you raised in a Christian home?
Lawson:  Yes, I was brought up in a Christian home after my dad rededicated his life in 1950. He and Mom along with one of his nephews started singing in church as a trio and later added a bass singer. At the age of eight during a revival service, I realized that I was lost, and I went to the altar and accepted Jesus as my Savior…

The music business can be full of worldly trappings and it can be easy to lose your way. And I did for a good while. But on the 1st Sunday of May in 1985, I humbled myself and asked God to take control of my life because I had made a mess of it.

On the outside things looked – and were – going great, but inside me I was miserable. I didn’t have the one thing I needed most of all and that was God. He never ever left me, I left him, but he was there when I truly asked for forgiveness. That was the best decision I have ever made as an adult.


Smith:  Who has most influenced you, musically?
Lawson:  Bill Monroe was my first musical hero and then came the first generation of what was to become known as Bluegrass music: Flatt and Scruggs, Mac Wiseman, Jimmy Martin, the Stanley Brothers, Reno and Smiley, and the Osborne Brothers and more.
Gospel music (influencers) would be: the Chuck Wagon Gang, the Statesmen Quartet, the Blackwood Brothers, the Masters Family, the Browns Ferry Four, and local and regional groups.

Doyle LawsonSmith:  Can you share with us about a special highlight in your career?
Lawson:  Oh my, there are many to draw from, but I suppose the first-time appearance at the Opry with Jimmy Martin was one of the standouts. I had always wanted to go see the Grand Ole Opry and as it turned out, the first time I saw it was from the stage. I was so nervous you could literally see my pants legs shaking. The National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship award is another treasured memory as well as being inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame in 2012.
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