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Christian Country at the Creek artists speak out about family and faith

Written by Staff on July 22, 2019 – 12:59 pm -

2019 Christian Country at the CreekIt’s almost time to come down to Christian Country at the Creek. Four months from now, the newest event in Christian Country music will debut at Mill Creek in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on Oct. 30 and 31, 2019. Concerts will run daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

2019 Christian Country at the Creek“We are excited to begin this new event running alongside Creekside,” says Patz. “Come hear more than 30 Christian Country artists during two music-packed days of concerts. This is one of the greatest musical styles today. Don’t miss it!”

Patz says he is excited to have Pardoned, Jessica Horton, Sara Lewis, and Bonita Eileen, among those slated to perform during Christian Country at the Creek.

“These artists have many different musical influences, but they all come full circle, back to what these events are all about: Family,” Patz states.

Jessica Horton will be appearing at Christian Country at the Creek

Jessica Horton

Jessica Horton shares, “I owe almost every part of my musicianship to my grandpa. I called him ‘Pop.’ We were two peas in a pod. I was his shadow and sometimes he’d pretend he was mine. We spent nearly every weekend of my childhood at the Sparta Opry, then later Blackhawk and Longview Opry. I remember traveling with him to Bruce for country music singings. We even went as far north as Illinois, singing at old school houses or for festivals. Every weekend there was some music adventure for us. Pop sang and played for every child in his life for his whole life, and I think that’s how we all remember him. So as soon as I could make a sound, he had me learning the old songs, and as soon as I could wrap my fingers around a fret, he had me strumming chords. I couldn’t reach all the strings for the G chord, so you’ll still catch me playing it how he modified it for me! It’s hard to break old habits.”

“I’ve certainly had other influences, of course,” Horton continues. “My dad always played guitar beautifully, and a lot of folks on my mom’s side of the family know how to pick and grin. I joined the band in school and learned to play the French Horn. My band teacher Mr. Hawkins taught me all the fundamentals of music theory and reading notes. This proved to be the perfect foundation for my college musical education experience. At the university I studied classical voice, and I was able to learn how to understand and control my breath and voice. I took some theatre classes that taught me about diction. Music and theatre together taught me so much about making intentional choices when I tell a story through song.”

Horton is inspired about her journey ahead as she reflects on God’s direction in the past. “I truly believe God orders every step we take, even when we think we are taking them ourselves. I get excited when I look at all these people and how God loved us so much that he put us together to help us along our journey. I would not be who I am without them, and I certainly wouldn’t be half the artist.”

“I’m very excited to meet some new influences at Christian Country at the Creek. It’s an honor to be a part of something so amazing. I can’t wait,” exclaims Horton.

Pardoned will be appearing at Christian Country at the CreekChristian Country at the Creek is thrilled to welcome new artist, Pardoned, whose members are Donnie Marr, Rusty Rowan, and Parker Rains.

Donnie Marr sings tenor for Pardoned and is responsible for the vocal arrangements of the group’s songs and the sound production of each show. He was influeneced by his “Paw-Paw Marr” who played guitar and piano and sang bass. It was Donnie’s “Paw-Paw Marr” who helped birth Donnie’s love for music.

A gentleman named Mike Spears taught Donnie Marr to “hear the harmonies” in the music. Spears was an electrical engineer and passed his knowledge and understanding of sound systems down to Marr.

“Rusty Rowan is a musical hero to me. He is one of the greatest musical influences in my life,” Marr says. “Rusty’s talents are second to no one and even Rusty himself doesn’t recognize how good he is. He really is one of the most talented people I have ever known.”

Rowan and Marr are co-owners of Pardoned and also own stock together in a retail automotive dealership.

Marr’s spiritual influences were his Maw-Maw Reid and Jimmie Rowan (Rusty’s father).  Marr says his Maw-Maw Reid taught him how to pray and was his spiritual rock. Jimmie Rowan helped Donnie understand what real ministry is.

“He taught me that ministry has to go beyond the walls of the church to really be effective, and that it has to come from the heart,” Marr says  He can still hear Jimmie Rowan tell him, “No matter who they are or what they have done, its our duty to show them the love of Christ.”

Pardoned will be appearing at Christian Country at the CreekRusty Rowan sings lead for Pardoned and writes most of the group’s songs. His biggest influence were his parents.

“When I was a kid, my mom and I would listen to country radio every night until my bedtime,” says Rowan. “I couldn’t have been more than five or six years old at the time. I remember my excitement when she would let me call the show and request a song. It was always ‘Coca-Cola Cowboy,’ by Mel Tillis. My dad took me to see Mel Tillis when I was six and we went to a concert every year after that. My favorite concert memory is of Marty Robbins. I was only eight years old.”

Rowan says his parents always encouraged him to follow his dream of playing music. He laughs and says, “There’s no telling how much money they spent on lessons and traveling, trying to help me achieve my goals musically.”

As for the daily business of operating a musical group, Rowan credits Lynn Fox and Jackie Wilburn as his biggest influences.

“Those two men were professional in every sense of the word,” says Rowan. “They operated in different areas of music and ministry but their morals and ethics were perfectly in line with each other, in my eyes they were the best.”

Rowan cannot say enough about either of these men or their families. “They taught me how to talk to people, how to work with churches and talent buyers, and how to enjoy life on the road. They were great men.”

Rowan says he still turns to Lynn Fox for advice and encouragement today. “Jackie Wilburn passed away a few years back, but I think about him everytime i drink a Coca-Cola; he loved them.”

Parker Rains sings baritone for Pardoned. He is the youngest member of the group and takes care of merchandise and lighting. Rains says his mom and dad raised him on Southern Gospel music. “My parents had a Southern Gospel group and I became amazed by anything that was related to drums and percussion.”

Rains says he was playing drums for his church choir when he first had the opportunity to sing: “I realized that music could give me a break from everyday life and allows me to express myself while sharing the message of the gospel.”

Pardoned’s baritone is drawn to the harmonies of music. “I love the way Diamond Rio, Lonestar, and the Gatlins structure the harmonies of a song; and nobody can deliver like Vince Gill.”

Rains hopes to help bring more attention to the fact that young people can enjoy Christian music. “The stuff we do right now is really cool. If we can get more folks in my generation to give it a chance, I have no doubt that they will love it as much as I do.”

Bonita Eileen will be appearing at Christian Country at the Creek

Bonita Eileen

Another talented Christian Country artist that will be appearing at the Creek is Bonita Eileen. “My love for Christian music has been a passion to me since I was age five,” says Eileen. “Music strengthens the faith of believers and helps lead the lost of all ages to Christ. Music is an outlet of praise, joy, and refreshing that brings glory to our Father, changing lives one at a time.”

Bonita Eileen talks about her musical influences. “Being raised in a musically inclined, close-knit family, I would have to say my parents have been the biggest influence in my life through song. My mom played the piano and daddy led the singing. I watched their love for the Lord and their walk grow tremendously through Christian music.”

“My daughter Ashley will always be my hero and example of what love for gospel music truly is,” Eileen shares. “As she now sings with the angels in Heaven and I have the hope of singing with her again some sweet day.” A talented singer in her own right, Ashley died in 2003 at the age of 14, from a brain tumor.

Sara Hambrick Lewis is an artist who also allows the experience of grief to touch her audience in a special way. Her husband passed away two years ago. She says, “I began singing with my dad in church at a young age, then my mother and I started singing together in church when I was 12. My biggest influence and encourager had to be my late husband, Roy Hambrick, and a very special cousin, who I love like a dad, Rodney Eakins. He writes some of the songs I sing. He encourages me and supports me so very much. He will never know what that means to me and how much I enjoy getting to sing with him each week.”

Sara Lewis will be appearing at Christian Country at the Creek

Sara Hambrick Lewis

Lewis continues, “My biggest influences in gospel music are also Bill and Gloria Gaither, along with many of the Homecoming Friends. I was watching a Gaither video at the age of 12 and said then and there, this is what I want to do. Today I’m even more excited about what God has in store for me in gospel music”

“Sheri Easter has to be my biggest female influence,” Lewis continues. “I love that lady. I love her style and her voice, but most of all, her sweet spirit and her love for God and people.” Other musical influences for Sara include the Primitive Quartet, Heirline, and Heaven’s Mountain Band.

2019 Christian Country at the CreekThese artists and many more will be appearing Oct. 30 and 31. The inaugural Christian Country at the Creek is the exciting sister event to Creekside Gospel Music Convention 2019 and will be presented at the Mill Creek Conference Center, which is located at 3785 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. One Christian Country artist will be chosen from each day’s concerts to perform that evening during the Creekside Gospel Music Convention.

The Creekside Gospel Music Convention, Oct. 27 – 31, 2019, offers Bluegrass, Country, and Southern gospel afternoon music showcases, evening concerts, and the 2019 Diamond Award presentations.

For more information on the Christian Country at the Creek, Creekside Gospel Music Convention, or the 2019 Diamond Awards ceremony, as well as accommodations and VIP tickets, contact Rob Patz at 360-933-0741.

Read the June SGNScoops Magazine Online HERE

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Jessica Horton jumps with Both Feet In

Written by Staff on July 1, 2019 – 10:55 am -

Jessica Horton: Both Feet In

Jessica Horton: Both Feet In

Jessica Horton’s love of music and singing began 27 years ago when she was just three years old.

She would travel with her grandparents to old school houses and opry houses where they would sing for the people.  People would leave donations, and later on, this would actually pay for her first year of college.

As Jessica got older, she encountered others her age who began making fun of her for singing the classic country music and for dressing like a cowgirl for her family’s concerts. This peer pressure led Jessica to focus on other interests during her high school years and put her dreams of a music career on hold. “Looking back, I would give anything now for some of those moments with my grandparents,” Jessica says.

Jessica Horton: Both Feet InJessica continued to dream of the day she would be singing professionally. As she began college, she feared her passion and dream seemed unattainable and thought it may never be more than a hobby, but God had other plans in store for her life.

She would go on to study classical voice in college and receive her degree in music education. She began teaching piano and voice. She discovered a new passion for her teaching when she began tutoring English to Chinese students online.

Musically, Jessica was influenced by the late Patsy Cline. She attributes much of her vocal warmness and tonal quality to her influence. Ministry opportunities began to open up for Jessica and she is currently serving as youth director for her church in addition to leading praise and worship.

Jessica Horton: Both Feet InDuring June of 2018, after some encouragement from her husband, David, Jessica reached out to M.A.C. Records. After hearing her sing, the label immediately knew she was a voice that should be heard.  Leslie McKay of M.A.C. Records received a message on Facebook from Jessica that said, “Okay…I’m ready to give this music thing a try.”

Leslie states, “There were three song files attached. I opened the tracks and after listening to them took them to my husband Dennis. I told him to take a listen. When I asked who it sounded like, neither of us could think of anyone. That’s a good thing.”


“We were very interested in talking with her. Her sound was very unique and pure and not like anyone else that we had ever heard,” Dennis McKay of M.A.C. Records says. A meeting was set up at Studio 115A to talk about Jessica’s vision and how she wanted to pursue her musical dream.  

Dennis states, “Initially, she was interested in pursuing secular music with an old country sound. We began talking about recording cover songs, but we encouraged her to think about writing her own songs. Jessica had never written any original songs, but she started trying her hand at songwriting. It wasn’t long before she had ‘Love Wins,’ and another song called ‘Motown Song.’ The songs just started flowing and she was on her way to writing and recording a secular project.”

However, there was another plan in the works; a divine plan.

Read more »


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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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Creekside, Where Family & Faith Come Together

Written by scoopsnews on April 1, 2019 – 8:42 am -

Creekside Gospel Music Convention is a convention like no other. The folks pictured above are the core of making this event possible.

They came, they participated, and they got the t-shirt to prove it!

Here’s what a few folks are saying about Creekside 2019:

Ricky Carden, Down East Boys said “I am excited to be a part of Creekside 2019.”  “I have watched this event grow over the past few years and am honored to be included in the great list of artists!”

Down East Boys to appear at Creekside 2019

Down East Boys to appear at Creekside 2019

Richard Hyssong , Hyssong notes, “We are looking forward to returning to Creekside 2019. Our family will be singing our radio hits along with playing our brass instruments. We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting many new ones as well.”

Rob Patz and Richard Hyssong of the Hyssongs

Rob Patz and Richard Hyssong of the Hyssongs

And finally, Rob Patz, owner of Creekside Gospel Music Convention adds, as I was writing this, I begin to think of what all went into the planning process of the first year of Creekside; how unprepared I really was and how awesome God was to step in and bring people of value from day one who would help with everything from seating the people to arranging the midnight prayer time.
So today, I want to share with you my heart. I want to tell you a little bit about what I hope you experience this year when you come and visit us for Creekside 2019.

I want you to experience the friendships that are cultivated during this time. You’re going to get the opportunity to meet new artists and new fans; people that you may never have heard of before. My prayer is that the time you leave this week they will be like old friends.

I hope you enjoy the experience of listening to new music and hearing new speakers. I hope above all that during the time we’re together for four and a half days, that we point you in the direction of Christ. We can spend an entire year planning an event, but that event will fall short if we don’t point you to Christ and a personal relationship with him.

During the next few weeks, you will see items on social media about everything that we are doing as we prepare. In my head, I began counting down the days several months ago. I’m ready to see what God has in store. I believe there is going to be a move of God and I hope to see you there!

Creekside 2019 will be held in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., Oct. 27 – 31. The event features the 2019 Diamond Awards, daily showcases and evening concerts, Christian Country at The Creek, and Midnight Prayer. For more information on lodging, VIP tickets, and convention details, contact Rob Patz at rob@sgnscoops.com, or at 360-933-0741. For news and event updates, click on the Creekside Facebook page.

Buy Your VIP Tickets HERE



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Christian Country At The Creek 2019

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on February 5, 2019 – 11:49 am -

Christian Country at the Creek 2019

Christian Country at the Creek 2019

There is something new happening in the Forge this fall! Hit the open road, head for the mountains and make plans today to attend Christian Country at the Creek, October 30 and 31, at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Taking place during Creekside Gospel Music Convention 2019, this new event will be held at Mill Creek located at 2772 Florence Drive, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Event organizer, Rob Patz, is thrilled to welcome Dennis and Leslie McKay as hosts for the two-day concert festival.
“We love Creekside and look forward to going to Pigeon Forge every year,” says Dennis McKay. “When Rob told us about Christian Country at the Creek and that it was going to be an opportunity to showcase Christian Country artists during Creekside, we were all in!. We are honored and excited to be one of the guest hosts for Christian Country at the Creek. This will be a great addition to the Creekside convention. We hope all of our Christian Country friends will check it out and join us!”
“We are excited to begin this new event running alongside Creekside,” says Patz. “Come hear more than 30 Christian Country artists during two music-packed days of concerts. My good friends, Dennis and Leslie, will make terrific hosts. Don’t miss it!”
For more information, accommodations and tickets, fans and artists can contact Rob Patz at rob@sgnscoops or by phone at 360-933-0741.
If you are an artist and want more info Go HERE

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