Southern Gospel Weekend

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Getting To Know The 2014 Diamond Award Nominees

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on September 30, 2014 – 8:34 am -

Diamond Awards 2014

Diamond Awards 2014

The annual Diamond Awards recognize the best in Southern, Country and Bluegrass Christian music and are hosted by SGNScoops digital magazine and Coastal Media Group. Originating in 1991, they were the first Southern Gospel fan-based awards and are still open to everyone, no subscription required.

Since January 2014, voting has been held to select the nominees for this year’s Diamond Awards, to be held at Creekside Gospel Music Convention at Pigeon Forge on November 3rd through 6th. Artists were selected by voters from across the internet to become a top-ten nominee and then a top-five nominee. Voting commenced on the top-five selections and has now closed.

SGN Scoops would like you to meet our top-five finalists for each category of the 2014 Diamond Awards. Today’s category is the JD Sumner Living Legend Award.

J.D. SUMNER LIVING LEGEND AWARD: 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. (Note: previous winners are no longer eligible for this award)

2014 Top Five Finalists:
1. Michael English
2. Karen Peck Gooch
3. Tim Riley
4. Ed O’Neal
5. Gerald Crabb

Get Your Free Tickets For The Diamond Awards At Creekside 2014 Here

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SGN Scoops at NQC – Thursday

Written by Staff on September 26, 2014 – 9:21 am -

Singing News' Fan Awards Choir

Singing News’ Fan Awards Choir

Photographs by Craig Harris

Lauren Talley Alvey, Brian Free

Lauren Talley Alvey, Brian Free

The Isaacs

The Isaacs

Once again, SGN Scoops’ reporter Craig Harris gives us a look at the evening performances during the National Quartet Convention. Thursday’s events also included the Singing News’ Fan Awards.

Bill Shivers, Mike Rogers, Jeremy Lile-Brian Free and Assurance

Bill Shivers, Mike Rogers, Jeremy Lile-Brian Free and Assurance

The Taylors

The Taylors


Ed O'Neal of the Dixie Melody Boys

Ed O’Neal of the Dixie Melody Boys


Rodney Griffin of Greater Vision

Rodney Griffin of Greater Vision

Randy Shelnut Sr., George Shelton Jr. of the Dixie Echoes

Randy Shelnut Sr., George Shelton Jr. of the Dixie Echoes

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My NQC Memories: Philip Foster

Written by Staff on September 25, 2014 – 2:38 pm -

Philip Foster and Ed O'Neal

Philip Foster and Ed O’Neal

My Southern Gospel Experience : A Canadian’s Journey Into An American Tradition

By Phil Foster

As I walk in the front door of the huge auditorium, a smell of caramel popcorn invades my nostrils! I can hear the sound of some group singing in the background and find myself unconsciously singing along to whatever song is being sung. I see hundreds of people walking in every direction. Then, all of a sudden, I see Mark Trammel, or Gerald Wolfe or Peg McKamey walk by! I’m at the National Quartet Convention for the very first time. It seems that every emotion I possess has been activated!

A few years back, I think it was in the late 80’s, I had the privilege to go to the Quartet Convention in Kentucky. Wow! What an experience. The first time I went to Louisville, or Looville, or Looeyville, however you pronounce it, I was wide-eyed like a little kid in a candy shop.

Everywhere I turned, I saw many of the artists I had listened to over the years. I saw a particular group, and recalled singing along with them to some song on one of my old cassettes. I remember walking down one of the aisles, gawking at everything in sight, not really paying attention to where or what I was doing. At one point, I was walking, looking to my left at the Nelon’s display and bumped into Naomi Sego, nearly knocking her over. I was so embarrassed, but being the woman of God she is, she was very gracious. She smiled and said, “Excuse me.” She apologized to me!

Jake Hess

Jake Hess

That was a very small thing but something I never forgot.   It was not just the “excuse me”, that she said, but the manner she said it, the look of kindness in her eyes and the smile on her face. This woman shone with the love of God in her life. Believe it or not, that simple incident left a huge impact on me.

As I wandered around up and down the aisles that seemed at times to go on forever, I found myself at the end of one of the aisles in front of the Gaither display. There, standing all by himself, his arms folded in his familiar pose, stood Jake Hess. I am sure I must have looked like a complete idiot standing there, gawking and staring. Then he walked over to me. I wasn’t sure if I should run or stay. He smiled at me, stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Jake Hess.” WOW! Jake Hess is introducing himself to me! I can’t remember if I said anything back or not, but he asked me, “What is your name?”   WOW again!    Jake Hess wants to know my name! I told him and then he asked, “Where are you from?” WOW again. I told him I was from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

I finally composed myself and found myself thanking him for all the years in Gospel Music, and for all the blessings that came my way, because of him and the Statesmen. I babbled on and on for what seemed like an eternity. Jake stood there the whole the time, with that famous hand on elbow; hand on face pose of his. He was genuinely moved by what I was saying.

He had tears in his eyes as I thanked him.   Before I left, he asked me one more time, “What did you say your name was?” I won’t say “Wow” again, but I was amazed that he was genuinely interested in knowing my name and what I had to say. In my whole lifetime, I can honestly say, Jake Hess made more of an impact on me than any other person has to date. I vividly remember floating back to my seat in the auditorium; my wife looked at me and said, “Who did you meet?”

As the years passed from that moment, I have often wondered to myself whether what I felt was just infatuation over one of my heroes, or was it a genuine presence of the love of God in this man? Personally, I think it was both. But there is no denying the presence of God that Jake Hess had in his life. It shone from him. It poured out of his mouth when he talked. It flowed from him when he sang. It will be a moment in time that I will never ever forget. I remember reading somewhere that Elvis Presley had said that Jake Hess was his favorite singer. I wonder whether Elvis felt that love of God that flow from Jake? I’m sure he must have.

James Blackwood

James Blackwood

After I came down from that experience a little, I wandered around to the far side of the hall. Standing there, all alone in a little booth, was James Blackwood. I instantly felt sorry for him. Here was a pioneer in Southern Gospel Music, all by himself. It did not seem right to me. I walked over to him, and basically said the same thing that I said to Jake. I thanked him for all those years and informed him that his group was one of the first professional concerts I had ever been too.

I don’t know who the promoter was, but I remember going to PCVS School in Peterborough, back in the 70’s where I saw the Blackwood Brothers and the McDuff Brothers. I told him that and he said he remembered being in Peterborough. As we chatted, I recalled the same type of experience that I encountered with Jake Hess. James Blackwood was a gentleman all the way. We both reminisced about days gone by and I asked if I could take his picture,. I walked away from that experience once again amazed at the presence of God that I felt. I was learning great life lessons but didn’t realize to what extent for many years after.

There were many experiences from attending the National Quartet Convention in Louisville. I met many people, and so many of them had an impact on my life. I learned that they are people just like you and me. I guess what I mean by that is I had a tendency of putting people on pedestals, whether they were a Gospel artist, or a minister of the Gospel. Certain preachers that I used to put on that proverbial pedestal let me down. The media just loves it when a man of God slips up and it goes public. Well guess what? They are human. I had to learn that. I believe God allows things to happen to people in the public eye, if only to bring the focus back to Him.

Jake Hess taught me that. James Blackwood taught me that. Just having a simple conversation with these men of God, they taught me to put my focus on God, not man. They are just people, ordinary men and women that make mistakes just like I do. Man will let you down every time.   God will never let us down.

Written by Philip R Foster

First published by SGM Radio website in March 2012

For current SGM Radio features visit



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Monday Night at the National Quartet Convention

Written by Staff on September 22, 2014 – 4:50 pm -

The first night of NQC in Pigeon Forge as captured by SGN Scoops…















Tribute onstage at NQC

Tribute onstage at NQC















Ed O'Neal and the Dixie Melody Boys

Ed O’Neal and the Dixie Melody Boys




















































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Matt Felts To Leave Dixie Melody Boys

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on August 22, 2014 – 8:21 pm -

Matt Felts

Matt Felts

From Matt Felts

For the last four years I’ve had the honor of sharing the stage with Ed O’Neal and the Dixie Melody Boys. I’ve been so blessed to be embraced by their wonderful friends and fans all across the country. This season has seen some great times for the group including the 50th Anniversary Reunion, numerous awards and many great concerts. When I joined I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be a member of the “Ed O’Neal University”. It’s more than just a group. It’s being part of a fraternity that you’re always a part of. As many of you know, I fly from Nashville to North Carolina every week to meet the guys. Like many things the cost of flights have gone up drastically over the last couple years. This coupled with God’s leading in a new path have brought me to announce my departure from the Dixie Melody Boys. I want to thank Ed for an incredible four years. I will never forget the songs, the miles and the many laughs. Some may say I’m graduating but you never truly leave the Dixie Melody Boys. It a family you’re always a part of. There will be an announcement soon about the new doors God has opened but for now I just wanted to thank all of you and Ed.

Matt Felts

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Written by SGN Scoops Staff on June 7, 2014 – 11:04 am -

DMB BAND LIVENashville, TN – It’s been nearly 30 years in the making, and now music from The DMB Band is returning to radio this month, with the release of Tell Me The Story. The brand new single from the talented musical group will be available to radio this month via the latest compilation from Rhonda Thompson Promotions.

In the mid 1980s, The DMB Band was on the cutting edge of Christian County music. One might say the group was “country before country was cool.” “We were certainly pioneering the ground,” laughs DMB Band member Kent Humphrey. “It is kinda neat to see how the music we were doing back 25 years ago that was so progressive at the time, is now acceptable and embraced so well.”

The DMB Band was birth by long-time Gospel Music veteran Ed O’Neal, who took his Dixie Melody Boys Quartet into a genre that really didn’t exist at the time. “We were simply ahead of our time,” states O’Neal’s son, Allen, who was a member of the group during the 1970s and 80s and has been instrumental in the revival of The DMB Band.

The rebirth of The DMB Band is the result of a reunion that took place in honor of  The Dixie Melody Boys’ 50th Anniversary. “Many of the former members of the Quartet got together for a Reunion concert, and it allowed us to renew some great friendships,” O’Neal conveys. “We had lost contact with each other and when we got back together, the friendships just picked right back up where we had left off 25 years ago,” Humphrey shares. “It was very special. We had so much fun being together again that we decided to get together again the next year.”

O’Neal and Humphrey teamed together with former DMB Band members Frank Sutton, Craig Ham, Jerry Kelso, Olan Witt and Ron Wells to revive a sound that is classic DMB Band. The Band hit the studio and recorded The DMB Band Reunion Greatest Hits. The recording features songs like You’re The Light, Reflection, Run Little Brother, Love Them Home and He’s Gonna Make A Comeback. “It includes some of our favorites that were on the Good Ole Boys and the Too Much Thunder albums from the mid 80s. We had a lot of fun back in the studio so we decided to do a few concerts, and things just clicked,” O’Neal explains.

Things “clicked” so well in fact that in 2014, the Band reunited again for several concert dates and to record and release the Still Believing CD. Still Believing contains songs the Band recorded 30 years ago, as well as five new songs, several of which were written by Humphrey, including the radio release Tell Me The Story. “This song shares the straight-forward message of the Gospel. It’s a lot of fun to sing. Kent is a great songwriter and he did a very good job on this song. We hope listeners will enjoy it and we hope it will be embraced by radio,” O’Neal says.

“At this stage in our lives, we are just having fun,” Humphrey relates. “We are very blessed to walk into this 25 years later and pick up where we left off. We’re having a blast, singing, playing, just hanging out and telling people about Jesus. We’ve all grown individually so much. We really don’t have a desire to be on the road 200 days a year, but we are open to whatever God has in store.”

Radio stations interested in obtaining the Band’s latest single may contact Rhonda Thompson Promotions at DMB Band fans interested in order the new CD or promoters interested in scheduling the Band may visit

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Joy O’Neal, wife of Ed O’Neal,  Recovering From Stroke

Written by Staff on May 14, 2014 – 2:15 pm -

“As many of you know, Ed O’Neal’s wife, Joy, travels with the Dixie Melody Boys. We affectionately call her Mama Joy because she is like a mother to us. On Saturday, she suffered a mild stroke and was rushed to the hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ed O’Neal made the right decision and stayed with her at the hospital while she was treated and as a result had to miss the performance later that night at The Assembly in Broken Arrow.
The guys all stepped up to fill Ed’s shoes the best we could and we had a great concert.
We want to thank everyone last night including Peter Enns for their understanding and prayers for the O’Neal family.
Miss Joy was released from the hospital and is recovering. She will receive additional treatment this week back in North Carolina.
Ed was able to be back on stage with us on Sunday morning and does not expect to miss any future dates. We covet your prayers for Mama Joy and for Ed.” said Matt Felts of the Dixie Melody Boys.

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Ed O’Neal Honored By SGN Scoops

Written by Staff on October 31, 2013 – 12:15 pm -

Ed ONeal and DMBPigeon Forge, TN (October 28, 2013): Hall of Legend Ed O’Neal was honored on Monday night by the SGN Scoops Digital Magazine. The tribute was held in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Presented by Rob Patz and SGN Scoops, the evening was hosted by Gaither Homecoming star Larry Ford and Jonathan Edwards.
Several former members including Bryan Walker and Joe Kitson were on hand to pay tribute as well as a letter from Rodney Griffin and touching comments from the current members.
The evening included performances by Three Bridges, the Skyline Boys, Pauls Journey and the Dixie Melody Boys.
The audience was also able to hear incredible memories as Ed told many stories from the past. It was an special night in Gospel music history honoring one of its true treasures, Ed O’Neal.
The event will be televised at a later date.


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Tribute To Ed O’Neal Hosted By Lou Hildreth And Larry Ford

Written by Staff on October 28, 2013 – 6:41 am -

Ed ONeal and DMBCreekside Gospel Music Convention, Pigeon Forge, TN (October 28, 2013) – Monday, October 28 is the date to honor the legacy of Ed O’Neal at Creekside Gospel Music Convention, Pigeon Forge, TN. Hosts Lou Wills Hildreth and Larry Ford will present an evening of memories, music and merriment as they lead the audience through the life and career of this Gospel music great.

Ed O’Neal will be joined by current and past members of the Dixie Melody Boys, the group he has led for several decades.

SGN Scoops is very excited that Three Bridges will also be making a guest appearance Monday night for the tribute to Ed O’Neal at the Smoky Moutain Convention Center.

three bridges“I was a young Gospel singer in the early 70’s when I first met Ed O’Neal and one thing that sticks out in my mind is that he has never changed,” says Elliott McCoy of Three Bridges. “He was a true gentleman then and he is still a true gentleman today.”

The tribute will begin at 7:00pm and will be held at the Smoky Mountain Convention Centre, 4010 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863. The admission is free so if you can, please come and join us and a host of Gospel music groups for a great evening of Gospel music.

hildreth_lou_willsFor more information on Creekside Gospel Music Convention, visit The Convention which is being held from October 28 through 30, encompasses three nights and two days of music, showcases and devotionals by Dr. Jeff Steele.

Tuesday afternoon is the Patterson Promotions showcase and the 2013 Diamond Awards. Wednesday brings the Old Time Gospel Sing and another evening of great gospel music.

larry fordTickets are free for the entire event but must be reserved. For more information click on to: or email Rhonda Frye or Rob Patz at

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Jeff and Sheri Easter to Perform at 2013 Diamond Awards

Written by SGN Scoops on October 23, 2013 – 2:01 pm -

jeff sheri easter familyCreekside Gospel Music Convention, Pigeon Forge, TN (October 23, 2013) – SGN Scoops and Coastal Media are thrilled to announce the addition of Jeff and Sheri Easter to the list of artists performing at the 2013 Diamond Awards. Hosted by Tim Lovelace, the Awards will be held on Tuesday, October 29 at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee as part of the Creekside Gospel Music Convention. Reserved tickets for this event are free and can still be obtained at .
Jeff and Sheri Easter join already slated artists Gerald Crabb and Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, among others. All of these special performances along with the entire 2013 Diamond Awards will be filmed by Atlanta’s Channel 57 to be aired at a date to be announced.
Rob Patz, CEO of Coastal Media Group and publisher of SGNScoops, commented, “I’ve enjoyed Jeff and Sheri’s ministry for many years, and Sheri’s appearance at the Diamond Awards last year was a very special highlight of Creekside. I know the Award celebration is going to be another great night and I’d like to welcome all of Jeff and Sheri’s fans and friends to join us next Tuesday!”
SGN Scoops encourages Gospel music fans across the country to attend the 2013 Creekside Gospel Music Convention. It will be a great week of the best in Southern Gospel music. Monday night will see Lou Hildreth honor the legendary Ed O’Neal. The Patterson Promotions Showcase will be presented on Tuesday morning with the 2013 Diamond Awards slated for 8:00 pm that evening. The Convention will also host an Old Time Gospel Sing on Wednesday afternoon and daily morning devotions with Dr. Jeff Steele.
The Creekside Gospel Music Convention will be presented on October 28, 29 and 30th at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Tickets for this event are free but must be reserved at . Special room rates are available onsite and can be reserved by phone or online.  By phone, call toll free at: 1-800-223-6707 or local call 865-908-3015. For online reservations, click onto .
For more information regarding the 2013 Creekside Gospel Music Convention, please email Rhonda at or Rob Patz at .

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