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Creekside Gospel Music Convention

New Decade – New Members – New Excitement – Ed O’Neal’s Dixie Melody Boys Pressing Forward In 2020

Written by Staff on January 9, 2020 – 7:14 am -

Dixie Melody Boys 2020

Dixie Melody Boys (pictured l-r): Willie Sawry, Cayden Howell, Ed O’Neal, Derrick Boyd and Earl Roberts

Kinston, NC – The year of 2019 was one filled with numerous changes for a man who is no stranger to change. Ed O’Neal, long-time Dixie Melody Boys’ owner/manager, SGMA Hall of Fame member and 60-year Southern Gospel Music veteran has endured the test of time. As has often been stated, Ed O’Neal is no stranger to changes and adversities. In fact, over the past five and a half decades he has seen over 90 personnel changes. “That has to be a record in this business,” Ed says with a chuckle.

The past year saw more group personnel changes for the seasoned veteran; however, the adversity he personally experienced throughout much of 2019 seemed to be one of his biggest challenges. “On April 1, I was involved in a pretty serious automobile accident,” he recalls. “It has been a tough recovery, and it

Update On Ed O'Neal of Dixie Melody Boys

Update On Ed O’Neal

seemed when I was getting past the injuries from the accident, more health issues popped up. I will admit that it has been a tough road, but I am so thankful that I am doing much better and able to get back on the road and enjoy singing and traveling again.”

During the summer and fall of 2019, health issues made it difficult for O’Neal to travel. “During the time I wasn’t able to travel, Willie (Sawrey) and the other guys worked really hard to fulfill the commitments we had, and they did a very good job. I continued to manage the group, just as I always have, even though I couldn’t be on the road,” Ed explains. “There were a lot of rumors circulating that I was never coming back on the road and that I was selling the group or that the group was coming off the road, but we were able to prove those rumors to be false. The truth is, I am committed to managing The Dixie Melody Boys as long as I am able to do so. I’ve put a lot of years into The Dixie Melody Boys. I love the promoters and the pastors who have supported us over the years. They are lifelong friends, and I am thankful that over the past month or so I have been able to get back on the road and have enjoyed seeing many of those friends again.”
Mr Ed, as he is affectionately known by many of those lifelong friends, is delighted with the group of young men who are now a part of the Dixie Melody Boys, and who are helping him carry on the musical tradition that began nearly six decades ago. In addition to Ed and Willie Sawrey, who has been with the group for almost four years and serves as the quartet’s baritone and road manager, former Dixie Melody Boys’ tenor, Derrick Boyd has rejoined the group. “Derrick is a great tenor who traveled with me back in the 90s,” Ed states. “It’s really good to have him back. He has made a lot of friends over the years, having traveled with groups like The Kingsmen, The Anchormen and The Toney Brothers. He has over 30 years experience and that is very valuable.”
Serving as the group’s lead singer is Booneville, MS, native, Cayden Howell. Unlike his fellow quartet members, Cayden is new to the Southern Gospel Music field but he is delighted to have the opportunity to be a part of a group with such a rich history. Being a part of the Dixie Melody Boys fulfills a life-long dream for the Southern Gospel newcomer who grew up loving the quartet sounds. “There’s just something about the four-part harmony. I’ve loved quartet music since the first time I heard it, and I am so thankful and blessed to be singing with The Dixie Melody Boys. I’m ready to see what God has in store for the future,” Cayden states. “We are delighted to have Cayden on board with The Dixie Melody Boys. He is a talented young man who comes from a wonderful family,” Ed shares about his 18-year-old lead vocalist.
As a result of the numerous health issues encountered during 2019, Ed made the decision to add yet another vocalist to The Dixie Melody Boys. “It became pretty apparent to me that there would be some weeks that I physically would not be able to travel with the group,” he explains, “but I felt it very important that even when I was unable to be at an engagement that the Dixie Melody Boys would be delivering what the audience was expecting. It was important for me to find the best person to fill the role of bass singer.” Ed found this in 40-year veteran and Tunnel Hill, GA, resident Earl Roberts. Earl first began singing at the tender age of 15 and over the past four decades he has sang with numerous regional groups from the state of Georgia and is delighted to join the ranks of the full-time road warriors. “I had been seeking a full-time position in Southern Gospel Music for a while and had been praying for God’s direction. This led to the position with The Dixie Melody Boys, and I am having a great time.”
With new excitement Ed O’Neal and The Dixie Melody Boys look forward to new opportunities in 2020. “We are very excited about the future. I believe I have four guys who are willing to work hard and embrace whatever 2020 brings. I will admit the past year has been really tough but God has brought us to a great place,” Ed states.
Ed O’Neal’s love for the people, his desire to always present quality music, united with his desire to never compromise his responsibility to spread the Gospel through Southern Gospel Music in a professional manner has allowed The Dixie Melody Boys to remain at the forefront of Southern Gospel Music for nearly six decades. A brief conversation with this Southern Gospel living legend confirms the vigor and vitality he possesses. It’s that spirit and love for singing Gospel music that drives him each day. “I want to see The Dixie Melody Boys continue the great tradition I started a long time ago. At 83 years of age, I still love to do what I do. As I have said many times, the faces and the names may change, but The Dixie Melody Boys still have a message to share, and even after all these years I still believe God has great things in store. I’m excited about the good guys I have with me, and I’m excited about what lies ahead in 2020. I think it’s gonna be a great year!”
Anyone interested in scheduling The Dixie Melody Boys may contact the Beckie Simmons Agency at 615-595-7500 or via email at beckie@bsaworld.com.

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Written by Staff on October 8, 2019 – 9:08 am -

A DREAM COMES TRUE - NATHAN POTTS JOINS DIXIE MELODY BOYSA set of grandparents who took their twelve old grandson to a Southern gospel concert gave Nathan Potts a new outlook on the music.

Here is his story, as told by Nathan Potts, the new lead singer for the Dixie Melody Boys. Nathan makes his home in Yale, Virginia, along with his wife, Megan, and their children.

“Gospel music started for me at the age of twelve years old. I remember it like it was yesterday, with Ivan Parker and The Harvesters Quartet. It was a cold October evening, and my grandparents Hugh and Carol Mayes asked if I would like to go with them to a gospel concert. For the first time ever, I went, and life was never the same. That night was a ticketed event and I walked into the auditorium with over a thousand people inside. I was in awe. From the time they started singing, ’til the end of the service, I was on my feet; and the incredible thing is, that night they did a ticket drawing and you could have guessed it –I won. It was a CD of the Harvesters Quartet.


Nathan Potts

“From that point, I started a solo career, that I continued until 2008. At that point, I, along with Thomas Nalley (Gold City) and two others, began singing as Calvary Calls Quartet.

“After the group disbanded, I joined a group for the next five years, called Promise Land Quartet, and those were some of the most special moments of my career, where I learned a lot.

“To make a long story short, years later, I started with Ed O’Neil and the Dixie Melody Boys.

“There I have been able to share the gospel in song on a national scale, and I thank God every day for giving me talents to sing, and I will forever use them to uplift his name.


Nathan and Megan Potts

“A lot of people have asked when and where I sang my first song. This would be in Petersburg, Virginia, with the Harvesters Quartet. When they pulled me up to sing, it was a wonderful time.

“I would have to say, my biggest influence singing gospel music would be between two people, and that would be Allan Hunter of the Harvesters Quartet, and Ricky Carden of The Down East Boys. Allan was always pushing me to keep going even when things got tough. And Ricky, well I’ll put it to you this way, when he let me travel with them he kept me in line; I couldn’t get away with anything. I am very thankful for people like that and everybody who has stuck by me as true friends. I truly could not say thank you enough.

A DREAM COMES TRUE - NATHAN POTTS JOINS DIXIE MELODY BOYS“If I wasn’t singing, I would most likely be doing carpentry work.

“I’d have to say, if there was an embarrassing moment — and really it more comical than embarrassing — it was New Years Eve, when Promise Land Quartet was performing in West Virginia, and I did a song which I did some choreography on, and I decided to have Joey Wilson the tenor do a 360 with me. He did, but could not stop spinning and just fell flat on his back! Needless to say he never did it again.

“I couldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for my family, mainly my grandparents, Hugh and Carol Mayes. Hugh is no stranger to gospel music.  For many years he helped the Hoppers with different things, and has been a big help to several different groups. We are from a little town called Yale, Virginia, which is currently where we all make our home.

A DREAM COMES TRUE - NATHAN POTTS JOINS DIXIE MELODY BOYS“In closing, my favorite bible verse is, ‘I am crucified with Christ and yet I live; not I, but Christ who lives within me.’”

As told by Nathan Potts to Robert York, regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine.

Read more about The Dixie Melody Boys in an upcoming issue of SGNScoops.

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Ed O’Neal needs our Prayers

Written by Staff on September 15, 2019 – 6:01 pm -

Ed O'Neal and the Dixie Melody BoysAllen O’Neal has requested prayer for his dad, Ed O’Neal. Ed is receiving a new pacemaker tomorrow morning, September 16, 2019.

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Josh Garner resigns from the Dixie Melody Boys

Written by Staff on May 17, 2019 – 3:02 pm -

Dixie Melody Boys

Dixie Melody Boys

Josh Garner of the Dixie Melody Boys has decided to leave the Dixie Melody Boys. He announced his decision publicly on Facebook today. He wrote:

“It is with great sadness that I announce I am resigning from my position with the Dixie Melody Boys. Ecclesiastes tells us that to everything there is a season. After much counsel and prayer, it is evident that this season of my life is ending. I am not saying that I am done with Gospel music, but I may need to step away for a while and reexamine my path. I don’t believe for a moment that God is done with me. In fact, I believe He is preparing me for my greatest season of all. I know that it won’t be easy and there are trials to come. However, I rest assured that thanks to God’s faithfulness, I have “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”

“I know how these departures are typically received, so let me clear the air. I love Ed O’ Neal! I can’t thank him enough for providing for my family these last six years. Working alongside Ed has been a great joy and I will miss being with him on a regular basis. Throughout his wife’s illness, I witnessed firsthand the meaning of a biblical marriage. I came to know his heart through many late night conversations. He is truly a man of character and dignity and it is my great honor to call him friend for over 25 years.

Josh Garner of the Dixie Melody Boys

Josh Garner

“Secondly, it has never been my intention to take over the Dixie Melody Boys after Ed O’ Neal. I told him when I came that I am with him until he retires or dies. Unfortunately, I am forced to break that promise. However, please know I joined the group and have remained with the group because I love Ed and I saw the potential to be an asset to HIS group. As far as I’m concerned, the Dixie Melody Boys will ALWAYS be Ed O’ Neal’s group.

“Finally, I have been under personal attack for many months now. My name and reputation have been slandered, but I have remained quiet as I had no doubt that the truth would eventually come out. I appreciate the many friends who approached me firsthand about the false claims and I am so thankful for their confidence in me. Sometimes it takes a difficult experience like this to learn who your friends really are. I am blessed to say that I am rich with true friends.

“Unless I am instructed otherwise, I intend to fulfill our scheduled dates through June 2nd. That will be my last official date with the Dixie Melody Boys, along with Jerry Skaggs, who submitted his resignation a week ago. I ask that you pray for Ed as he continues to recover from his automobile accident. Nothing would please me more than to see him on stage one more time. I, also, ask that you pray for me and my family, as I currently have no prospect for employment and am seeking direction. I know the last thing Gospel music needs is another soloist, but if you are so inclined, I would be very happy to come sing for your church, organization, etc. to help with our financial needs.

“Thank you all for allowing me to share my talents with you for the last 22 years. I am fully trusting on God during this time of indecision and I am not anxious. I know that He will provide as He always has. God bless you and hope to see you soon!”

Fans and friends can contact Josh Garner through his Facebook page .

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Pray For Ed O’Neal

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on April 3, 2019 – 3:25 pm -

Pray For Ed O’Neal

Pray For Ed O’Neal

SGMA Hall Of Fame member and Dixie Melody Boys owner, Ed O’Neal, was involved in an automobile accident Monday April 1. O’ Neal suffered multiple fractures, but does not require surgery. He is in a great deal of pain, however his spirits are high. He states, “Thank God I’m alive. You can just call me “Lucky” from now on!” O’ Neal is recovering at home and appreciates all of your prayers.

In the meantime, the Dixie Melody Boys will continue to meet all of their scheduled engagements. Please keep them in your prayers, as well, and continue to support them in concert.

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Written by Staff on November 10, 2017 – 3:49 pm -



Nashville, TN – Popular Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame member, Ed O’Neal, manager of The Dixie Melody Boys (pictured in attached jpg), has announced that a scheduling agreement has been reached with the Beckie Simmons Agency. BSA will immediately begin scheduling The Dixie Melody Boys for events throughout the remainder of 2017, as well as 2018. “We look forward to this new working relationship with Beckie and her staff,” O’Neal states. “Beckie’s reputation speaks for itself, as does her work ethic. I consider it a great honor to have the opportunity to work together. We are very excited.”

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Mama Joy passes away

Written by Staff on July 10, 2016 – 11:39 am -

Mama Joy

Mama Joy

Earlier today, the Dixie Melody Boys posted this sad news:

“We are heartbroken to report that Mama Joy has gone on to her heavenly reward. Please pray for Ed, Allen, Dara, Randy and the entire family at this difficult time. She will be missed.”



All of us at SGNScoops wish to express our deepest sympathies to Ed O’Neal and all the family and friends of Mama Joy and the Dixie Melody Boys.

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Update On Ed O’Neal

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on February 20, 2016 – 10:22 pm -

Update On Ed O'Neal

Update On Ed O’Neal

Update On Ed O’Neal: The Dixie Melody Boys were in Nashville on Friday doing a photo shoot. At the end of the session, it was clear that Ed was not feeling well. He had worried through the week that he felt a cold coming on, but nothing major. We took him to a nearby Urgent Care where his condition worsened. He was then taken to the hospital where they identified an infection, but could not trace the source. He was immediately put on antibiotics and measures were taken to control his blood pressure and lower the fever. He would doze off and on and every time he awoke, he asked about Mama Joy. Even in the midst of his own suffering, she was still his number one concern. We made sure she was well taken care of and assured Ed of such. Meanwhile, Ed’s son Allen and daughter and son-in-law, Dara and Bill, drove through the night from Kinston. Around midnight, Ed’s vitals were back to normal. He was exhausted, but feeling better. Just to be safe, he was admitted for overnight observation. He received the all clear this morning and the kids took him and Mama Joy back home. He gave us a good scare, but is doing much better. We ask that you continue to keep Ed and Mama Joy in your prayers while they rest at home and remember the Dixie Melody Boys as we soldier on in his absence. Also, we must send a huge thank you to Danny Jones, Rick Francis, and Bob Crawford for your support through the night and this morning. We cannot express enough how appreciative we are to these gentlemen. Keep in mind, it’s going to take a lot more than a little infection to keep the “old man” down. After all, all he ever wanted to do was sing a song.

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The Road To The 2015 Diamond Awards: The J.D. Sumner Living Legend Award

Written by Staff on January 22, 2015 – 10:53 am -

2015 Diamond Awards

2015 Diamond Awards

The prestigious Diamond Awards have a history of over 20 years, recognizing the best in Gospel Music from coast to coast. Many of today’s top artists have received Diamond nominations and awards, from Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver to the Booth Brothers to the Hoppers. We are pleased to salute Christian artists who strive to use their talent to the best of their ability and to God’s glory.

Ed ONeal. Living Legend. RY

Ed O’Neal. Living Legend 2014

The Diamond Awards began in 1991, hosted by Allen Smith and the Gospel Voice Magazine. The Awards continue today, hosted by Coastal Media Group and the SGN Scoops digital magazine.

The road to the 2015 Diamond Awards began on January 19, 2015, as the nomination polls opened on the SGN Scoops website. We invite you to watch this site as we continue down this road, introducing the 2014 winners and discussing each category.

Today’s Award: The J.D. Sumner Living Legend Award!

Defintion: A once-in-a-lifetime honor to recognize the living performer for whom the fans feel has made the greatest contribution to Southern Gospel music over a career spanning 25 years or more. Previous winners are not eligible.

The 2014 Diamond Award winner of the J.D. Sumner Award was Mr. Ed O’Neal of the Dixie Melody Boys (pictured).

The 2015 Diamond Award Nominations are open on the SGN Scoops website. Everyone is invited to the website to enter the Nominations area and list their top ten favorite picks for each Diamond Award category.

The list of nominees will be posted, and fans will then nominate their favorites from this list, with a maximum of five names nominated per award. In this way, the field of nominees will be narrowed to ten, voted on by fans once more and then narrowed to five. This final list of five will then be voted on by fans to find the one winner for each award.

Make plans now to join us for the 2015 Diamond Awards during the Creekside Gospel Music Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee from November 2nd through 5th, 2015. For more information visit www.creeksidegospelmusicconvention.com


2015 Diamond Awards Nominations can be found at  http://www.sgnscoops.com/2015-diamond-awards/

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2014 Diamond Award Winners Announced At Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Written by Staff on November 5, 2014 – 8:31 am -

Karen Peck and New River with Rob Patz.

Karen Peck and New River with Rob Patz.

Pigeon Forge, TN.(November 5, 2014) – SGN Scoops and Creekside Gospel Music Convention was proud to present the 2014 Diamond Awards on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The gala celebration was hosted by Tim Lovelace and included appearances by The Blackwoods, Karen Peck and New River, the Dixie Melody Boys, the Freemans and many others. The evening was also filmed by WATC, Channel 57 of Atlanta, Georgia, to be aired/streamed at a later date.

The big winners of the night were Karen Peck and New River, who were honored with Song Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Mixed Group Of The Year and Trio Of The Year. Karen Peck Gooch was the 2014 Female Artist Of The Year.

"Living Legend" Ed O'Neal

“Living Legend” Ed O’Neal

Ken and Jean Grady of Gospel Music Today were award winners and Jean also contributed to the planning of the program. “It was a Southern Gospel star-studded night in Pigeon Forge at the Creekside Gospel Music Convention Diamond Awards. What a blessing to see so many artists and friends for the annual Awards show.  Although it was a lot of work, it was well worth it as the artists sang and the artists and industry professionals received their awards.”

Rob Patz, CEO of Coastal Media Group and publisher of SGNScoops, commented, “The Diamond Awards are always a special time of honoring the Gospel artists that fill our world with the music we love,” said Patz. “It’s great to take this opportunity to thank them and to be able to share the ceremony with fans across the nation and the world by internet. We are grateful to Tim Lovelace, our special musical guests and t

The Freemans, 2014 Christian Country Group Of The Year

The Freemans, 2014 Christian Country Group Of The Year

o WATC for recording the Diamond Awards. We had a great time at the ceremony and we hope everyone will tune in and watch!”

“What an awesome night at the Diamond Awards at Creekside Gospel Music Convention 2014. What a blessing to be a part of such a great event!” said Vonda Easley, from Strictly Southern With Vonda Easley. Vonda is also a vocalist with Hope’s Journey and part of the SGN Scoops staff. “The music was amazing and the winners were deserving. I loved it!”

Jonathan Edwards, from Faith’s Journey, is part of the Creekside crew and the voice of SGN Scoops Radio. He stated, “I am always thrilled at the amount of talent that is featured on the Diamond Award program and this year was no different. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a small part of this special event.”

Lorraine Walker, acting editor of SGN Scoops digital magazine, was unable to be present but noted that a lot of work goes into the planning and execution of the Diamond Awards. “Many people have contributed to this year’s Diamond Awards event and I am thrilled that it was such a beautiful night. My thanks to the volunteers and staff of Creekside and SGN Scoops for making the Diamond Awards an exceptional evening. Congratulations to each of the very deserving winners!”

Lou Hildreth Award Winner and MC, Tim Lovelace

Lou Hildreth Award Winner and MC, Tim Lovelace

The 2014 Diamond Award Winners Are:


MIXED GROUP OF THE YEAR: Karen Peck and New River

QUARTET OF THE YEAR: Brian Free and Assurance

TRIO OF THE YEAR: Karen Peck and New River

DUET OF THE YEAR: Aaron and Amanda Crabb




SONG OF THE YEAR: Revival – Karen Peck and New River

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Revival – Karen Peck and New River

Jeff Steele, 2014 Dottie Rambo Songwriter Of The Year

Jeff Steele, 2014 Dottie Rambo Songwriter Of The Year



CHRISTIAN COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR: James and Jeff Easter – Like Father, Like Son




VIDEO/DVD OF THE YEAR: Lead Me Home – The Freemans



Karen Peck and New River, multi-award winners.

Karen Peck and New River, multi-award winners.

PAUL HEIL AWARD (Broadcasting): Ken and Jean Grady- Gospel Music Today





The  Creekside Gospel Music Convention is being held now at the Smokey Mountain Convention Center, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee from November 3rd through 6th, 2014. The CGMC is presented by SGN Scoops and Coastal Media Group at Pigeon Forge and is the home of The Diamond Awards and other special events. For more information on Creekside Gospel Music Convention visit http://www.creeksidegospelmusicconvention.com/

Thanks to Robert York for the Diamond Awards pictures.

About SGNScoops: SGNScoops Digital is a fully-downloadable monthly magazine that exists to promote the gospel by unveiling what is intriguing and real about Southern Gospel and Christian Country music. SGNScoops offers music news and views as well as concert and book reviews, inspirational articles and features reaching beyond our gospel music world. SGNScoops is the home of the Diamond Awards, a fan-based annual awards program recognizing the best in Southern Gospel and Christian Country music.   SGN Scoops is always digital, always free. For more information: http://www.sgnscoops.com/


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