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Younger Perspective on Hutch Jordan of the Jordan Family Band

Written by Staff on January 19, 2019 – 9:53 am -

Younger Perspective on Hutch Jordan of the Jordan Family Band

Younger Perspective on Hutch Jordan of the Jordan Family Band

Musicians make the world go ‘round…or at least they provide a catchy tune as it turns. Whether you are a musician or you have friends that are, you will know right off the bat that musical folk are just plain quirky, and definitely a breed all their own. Making music is a language unto itself, and today’s guest speaks it quite fluently. A newer addition to the Southern gospel world, Hutch Jordan of the Jordan Family Band joins us today for a little pickin’ and grinnin’.


Hutch Jordan of the Jordan Family Band

Hutch Jordan of the Jordan Family Band

Erin Stevens: How old were you when you chose your first instrument? What was it and can you tell us a little about those early days?
Hutch Jordan: I was eight. My poppa bought me my first drum set for Christmas. I went through a plethora of sets through the years, but I’ll always keep that set, as it is the sole thing that began my passion for music. I’m pretty sure the people in the neighborhood I was living in at the time got tired of hearing me bang on them every day after school.

Stevens: If you had to pick only one instrument to play the rest of your life, what would it be?
Jordan: Definitely guitar. That’s such a hard choice, though. I love playing everything else just as much.

Stevens: What does a normal practice session look like for JFB?
Jordan: Most people might assume chaos, but in all reality, when mom, dad, and Alex get together with me playing acoustic, everything flows so naturally.

Hutch Jordan of the Jordan Family BandStevens: When did you get into studio session work?
Jordan: I came into the overdub world about two or so years ago. But it was early this year when producers started hiring me for tracking day at different studios.

Stevens: Which do you enjoy more, playing on stage or in the studio?
Jordan: I enjoy both, but for different reasons. I love the energy of the stage, and I love the creativity in the studio.

Hutch Jordan of the Jordan Family BandStevens: If you could hand pick your favorite musicians to play with on an album, who would make up your dream team?
Jordan: I think I’ve already done so. I’ve worked with so many great players including Mark Hill, Gordon Mote, Rob Hajacos, Jeremy Medkiff, Garth Justice, Stone Carter, Scott Sanders, Wanda Vick, Andy Leftwich, and many, many more.

November 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

November 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Stevens: Is there talk of a Hutch Jordan solo CD in the future?
Jordan: I’ve given that a lot of thought. I will definitely do an instrumental record sometime in the future.

 

Stevens: Could you see yourself teaching private lessons someday down the road?
Jordan: Actually, yes. I would love to start Skype lessons, or something to that effect. I think it would go well.

Stevens: Knowing your talents come from God alone, how do you give glory to him through your musical abilities?
Jordan: I try my best to take what he has given me to wherever he wants me to go. I know I couldn’t ever give him enough praise for what he is allowing me to do, so, I’ll just accept it, and let him guide me.

Closing thoughts from Erin Stevens…
Sometimes it’s hard for us to just ‘accept it.’ We fight it, kick against the grain, and try to do our own thing. But really, the Lord gave each of us unique abilities, specifically designed to fit our very unique callings. Maybe you have been running from what or where he is calling you to. May Hutch and I urge you to simply ‘accept it?’ Do that crazy thing Christ is nudging you towards, take that job, return that phone call, take that leap of faith. Accept the calling, accept the Master’s plan, and just do it.

And that’s my take on it.

Until next month, Scoops fans.

Connect with Erin via Social Media:
• Blog: erinfluence.wordpress.com
• Instagram: @erincolleenstevens & @photosforkeeps_byerin
• Twitter: @photosforkeeps

 

By Erin Stevens

First published by SGNScoops Magazine on November 2018

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Younger Perspective on Conner and Bailey Hayes by Erin Stevens

Written by Staff on July 6, 2018 – 4:03 pm -

The Hayes Family

The Mylon Hayes Family

A word from Erin Stevens…

What’s better than one “younger perspective,” you ask? How about two? It’s a twin takeover, featuring the sons of Mylon and Wendy Hayes. Conner and Bailey’s lights shine brightly for the Lord, as they travel and sing with their family. Today they share from their hearts as their individual personalities lead the way. Are you ready, guys? We’re all ears.

 

Erin Stevens: For those that aren’t a twin, are not related to a twin, or haven’t spent much time around twins, what are some insights and fun facts you can share about being your own, unique self while still having a look-a-like to enjoy life with?

 

Conner Hayes: It really is fun to be a twin and have a built in best friend. We are very similar in many ways, but our personalities are sometimes complete opposites. I can be a very quiet and reserved person, while Bailey is a little more talkative and outgoing; we balance each other out well.

 

Bailey Hayes: Even though we are so alike, we are different—our hair parts on opposite sides; our vocal ranges are opposite, in the fact that he sings bass and I sing tenor. Whenever we are shopping, everything I pick out is always more expensive than what he picks out. Even without looking at the price tag, his purchases come out cheaper. Conner tells me I have expensive taste, but I prefer to think I enjoy the finer things.

 

Conner Hayes

Conner Hayes

Stevens: Who is older and by how many minutes?

 

Conner: I am the oldest, but only by one minute. I try to tell Bailey to respect his elder, but he doesn’t seem to like that very much. 

 

Stevens: From school subjects, to hobbies, musical interests, and even favorite foods, where are you different in these areas?

 

Bailey: In school, we had the same strengths and weaknesses. In our hobbies, we are really the same, so we’re identical twins in those areas. But we are a little different in music; Conner is a drummer and I don’t have enough coordination to drum, but I do play the bass guitar. My brother has no clue how to play a stringed instrument. When it comes to food, he hates cheese and I love cheese, he likes green beans and I don’t necessarily care for them, but in almost all other foods, we like and dislike the same things.

 

Stevens: What are the most entertaining (and comical) comments fans have made to you two over the years? 

 

Conner: It’s a head scratcher when people come up and ask if we’re twins. When Dad introduces us from stage, he mentions the fact that we are twins, but we still get that question every night. 

 

Bailey: When fans come up and ask if we are brothers, I still have to laugh. We do get a lot of people asking which one is the smartest, to which I answer, “I am,” and which one is the meanest, which I answer, “He is,”…problem is, he says the same thing.

 

Bailey Hayes

Bailey Hayes

Stevens: Golf or baseball? Being at home or on the road? Neck ties or bow ties? Salty or sweet tooth? Biking or hiking?

 

Conner: Definitely baseball. I’m terrible at golf.

I love being on the road. I get excited to pack up and go somewhere new.

Neckties are my go-to. 

I have a bad sweet tooth. Candy and chocolate are my weaknesses.

I absolutely love to hike, especially with friends.

 

Bailey: I am a huge baseball fan.

I have to go with the road. I love traveling to new places and meeting new people. Living out of a suitcase is the best.

I love a good neck tie. I like to shop for unique patterns and colors in my ties.

Sweets. Kit Kats and Milky Ways are a bad weakness of mine.

I enjoy hiking. Hiking up a mountain or by a river are some of my favorite outdoor pastimes.

 

The Hayes Family performs at NQC 2017

The Mylon Hayes Family performs at NQC 2017

Stevens: Is there a song off your latest album that speaks to you personally? If so, why does its message specifically impact your heart when you sing it?

 

Connor: I love the song “God, Give Us Christian Homes” off our “Hymns And Classics Vol. 2” record. I was very blessed to grow up in a Christian home, with parents who loved the Lord and strived to teach us kids to live for Jesus. I hope to one day follow in the footsteps of my father, raise a Christian family, and be the kind of man that God wants me to be.

 

Stevens: How would you encourage other teenage boys as they try to fit in, while still upholding a godly example to their peers?

 

Bailey: My encouragement to other teen guys would be: Don’t compromise your faith or your convictions just to be cool. God has placed you where you are to be an example to others and shine a light for him. People may ridicule you for your faith, but you will make a larger impact on those people by walking the walk in front of them.

 

Erin Stevens

Erin Stevens

Closing thoughts from Erin Stevens…

We live in troubled times. Our faith is tested on every side. The temptation to give in to the ways of the world can be strong at times, but that is why we put our trust in the one who made the way straight for us to follow. Just as Bailey said, we may be ridiculed for our beliefs, yes, but we are striving to one day experience that great, eternal reward. Press on, friends. It will be worth it in the end.

And that’s my take on it.

Until next month, Scoops fans.

Connect with Erin:

Twitter: @photosforkeeps

Instagram: @photos_for_keeps

 

By Erin Stevens. First published by SGN Scoops in May 2018

Read the June 2018 SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

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The Allen Family welcome new member

Written by Staff on June 27, 2018 – 2:37 pm -

Danielle Allen with the entire Allen Family

The Allen Family

It’s time to congratulate the Allen Family and welcome their newest member!

Gospel music group, the Allen Family, makes their home in Branson, Missouri. Band members include Todd and Michelle, Caleb and Steffanie, Gabrielle, Joshua, Jared, Danielle, Abigail, Zachariah, and Christian.

The Allen Family posted on Facebook today about a sweet new arrival:

We are pleased to announce the birth of Cecile Danielle Chartier to Robin and Gabrielle Chartier!

Born June 24, 2018. 8 pounds 1 ounce and 21” long.

Congratulations from all of the SGNScoops family to Robin and Gabrielle!

Catch up with the Allen Family on Facebook here.

Cecile Danielle Chartier born to Robin and Gabrielle Chartier of the Allen Family

Cecile Danielle Chartier born to Robin and Gabrielle Chartier of the Allen Family

About the Family:
Since 1996, The Allen Family has traveled internationally. The group was launched onto the Gospel music scene with a first place finish in the 2000 National Quartet Convention Talent Search. Since then, the group has had three nominations for Singing News New Mixed Group Of The Year and multiple appearances on the Southern Gospel Top 80 radio charts. Todd, Michelle, Joshua, Jared, Danielle, Abigail, Zachariah, and Christian live in their bus 365 days a year and fill over 275 engagements each year. In October of 2014, their original television pilot, Home Sweet Bus, premiered on TLC. The show is based on their unique lifestyle and follows their travels as they share the Gospel in song.

Erin Stevens of SGNScoops Magazine featured Danielle of the Allen Family recently here.

Read the June 2018 SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

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A Younger Perspective on Danielle Allen of the Allen Family

Written by Staff on June 18, 2018 – 1:32 pm -

Danielle Allen with the entire Allen Family

Danielle Allen with the entire Allen Family

A word from author Erin Stevens about Danielle Allen of the Allen Family …

I am delighted to introduce a face you may recognize and a humble heart that deserves a spotlight all her own. My friend and roommate – while serving in Uganda, Africa – Danielle Allen of the Allen Family is my special guest this month. Traveling on a bus with seven other people is not for the faint of heart, but this is a special girl with a profound call of ministry on her life. Now it’s her turn to take a solo. Let’s listen in …

 

Erin Stevens: Beginning with some Allen history 101 – for those that may not know the story of the early days, share with the readers where and when your parents met and how they began their ministry.

 

Danielle Allen: My parents met in Hattiesburg, Miss., at William Carey College. When they first met, they didn’t like each other at all. My dad was a country boy from Louisiana, and my mom was a city girl from Florida. They were both in the music department. With some clever matchmaking, they were thrown together with a trumpet and soprano duet. The rest is history. They were married seven years before they began this ministry. My dad was the pastor at a church in Michigan when he began to sense God was calling them into full-time evangelistic ministry. He was afraid to tell this to my mom. When he finally told her what he believed God was calling them to, she admitted she had been sensing the same thing and had been afraid to tell him. They sold their house, bought a motorhome, and hit the road with my four older siblings. I joined the scene a year later. 

 

Danielle Allen of the Allen Family

Danielle Allen of the Allen Family

Stevens: Is there a place of ministry that you go to on a regular basis that is memorable to you personally? If so, what is the story behind it?

 

Allen: One of my favorite places to minister is Freedom Mission in Louisiana. We have been a part of their yearly bible conference for as long as I can remember. Freedom Mission is a ministry for recovering addicts. Throughout the years of being there, I have witnessed the power of God transform lives, I have been inspired by those who have given their lives to His service, and every year, I leave encouraged and strengthened to continue my own ministry.  

 

Stevens: Is there a hobby outside of your music ministry you enjoy that the readers might find intriguing? 

 

Allen: I love to sew. My interest in sewing began a few years ago when I had an idea for a cosmetic bag that was white on the outside and bright and colorful on the inside. It carries the message that real beauty comes from within. I have sold these bags across the country. My sewing skills are still young, but I would like to eventually design unique, modest clothing. I believe we can point people to God even with the type of clothing we choose to wear. I would love to demonstrate that belief with clothing specifically designed to honor God. 

 

Stevens: Is there a book you are currently reading or recently have read that has impacted your life?

 

Allen: I recently finished reading, “If I Perish,” an autobiography on the life of Esther Ahn Kim. She was a Korean Christian who spent six years in a Japanese prison during World War II because of her faith. As an American, I am protected from the type of persecution she suffered. While this is a great blessing, it also comes with its disadvantages. I have never experienced the power and grace of God the way Esther Ahn Kim did. Though her trials were great, her God was greater. 

 

Stevens: Is there a scripture you consider to be your life verse?

 

Allen: One of my favorites is Psalm 61:2 … “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” A life of ministry can be crazy and stressful. I love this verse, because it reminds me that when I am overwhelmed with the pressures of life, God is my Solid Rock. I can cry out to Him no matter where I am, and He will lead me to Himself.  

 

Danielle Allen and the Allen Family

The Allen Family in concert

Stevens: Since I’ve had the privilege to travel to Uganda with your family and share your heart for this country, I’d love for the readers to better understand what your role is behind the scenes in this missions outreach. Also, describe what this ministry means to you personally.

 

Allen: The mission work in Uganda is literally at the heart of everything we do. I am deeply passionate about ministering to teenagers and young adults. Last summer, while in Uganda, I was privileged to lead, with my brother, a leadership conference for young adults where I taught several young women how to be leaders in their generation. I am also very involved in a program we started called the Straightway Education Project to protect girls from trafficking. Ugandan girls are very much at risk for trafficking. By enabling teenage girls to stay in school, the Straightway Education Project protects them from that risk. Additionally, I am the accountant for our ministry. I know that sounds boring, but it is essential to the efficiency and integrity of the ministry. I am blessed that God has given me the opportunity to be involved in His work. He truly is an awesome God.

 

April 2017 SGNScoops Magazine

April 2017 SGNScoops Magazine

Closing thoughts from Erin Stevens…

I told you that reaching people and shining the light of Christ is at the center of everything she does. You never know what corner of the world you were meant to reach. Wherever God has called you, I urge you to live the life He gave you as vivaciously and passionately as Danielle Allen endeavors to live hers. May we be challenged to answer the call. “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”

 

And that’s my take on it.

Until next month, Scoops fans.

Connect with Erin on Twitter at @photosforkeeps and on Instagram at @photos_for_keeps.

By Erin Stevens. First published in April 2018 by SGNScoops Magazine. Erin Stevens is a regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine.

Read the June 2018 SGNScoops Magazine HERE.

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Logan Smith shares his Christmas Perspective

Written by Staff on December 31, 2017 – 10:41 am -

Logan Smith

Logan Smith

Younger Perspective on Logan Smith

By Erin Stevens

A word from the writer…
Tis the season for yuletide cheer, fa la la la’s and Grandma’s famous cookies. But it’s also time to give a little more and be a little sweeter. There’s a young fellow I thought of when I was preparing for this Christmas edition. Not a kinder, sweeter, more down-to-earth guy came to mind than Logan Smith. You may already be a fan of his pipes, but perhaps there are some things you don’t know about him…quite yet. With that said, let’s jump right in!

Erin: For those that might not know your backstory, when did your love for music begin?
Logan: My parents and grandparents raised me on classic Southern Gospel groups such as The Happy Goodmans, The Hinsons, The Rambos and The Speers. I admired them all, but the Goodmans brought an excitement to the stage like I’d never seen before. They inspired me to start singing this incredible music that lifts and encourages. I’ve been hooked ever since!

Logan Smith

Logan Smith

Erin: It appears you have successfully bridged the gap from being “the boy who sings like Vestal” to the talented young man you are now who has come into his own. How have you accomplished this and was it a smooth transition?
Logan: It’s been very smooth. It’s an honor to carry on the legacy of such a dynamic vocalist. I’m enjoying mixing in new songs from such talented writers of our time today, and still throwing it back and singing Goodman classics every night! The music never gets old. The singers fade, but the message in these songs is timeless.

Erin: What are some favorite Smith family traditions that take place during the holiday season? And is there a specific Christmas dish or treat you can’t wait to have every year?
Logan: Christmas is my favorite time of year! Mom and Dad have always made the holidays exceptionally special for my brothers and me. We always wake up every Christmas morning to see what Santa Claus has brought, then we make cream cheese biscuits. I’m excited to see what changes are gonna be taking place this year since my first nephew was born back in April. Oh, and my favorite edible tradition is Mom’s dressing! I’m a little biased, but I believe it’s the best there is.

Erin: Who are your top musical inspirations? How have they impacted you personally?
Logan: I’d have to say Jeff and Sheri Easter. They’ve had a huge impact and been so influential in my life. I sang with them for the first time when I was 10 years old at a church just a few miles from home. That night, Jeff called me up to sing, and immediately called Bill Gaither and said, “You gotta hear this kid.” I did my first Homecoming concert two weeks later at Gaither Fest in Myrtle Beach, SC. They deserve so much credit for getting me where I am today, and I’m beyond grateful for them.

Erin: What is the strangest thing a fan has ever said to you?
Logan: “You need to cut your hair.” When I was younger, I had longer hair and a lot of elderly ladies would come up and tell me my hair was too long. I look back at pictures and laugh about it now!

Erin: Tell us all about your new CD. What is your favorite song from the album and why?
Logan: I’m so excited about the new record titled Hits Before My Time. It’s been four years since the release of a mainline project. I took 11 classic songs that I grew up on, and made them my own. Songs like: “Amazing Grace,” “Sheltered in the Arms of God,” “My Lord Will Send a Moses (feat. Jeanette Cooke),” “Go Rest High on that Mountain,” “He Set Me Free (feat. Vestal Goodman),” and many more. I’d have to say my favorite would be “He Set Me Free” with Vestal. It was such a surreal moment the first time I heard her vocal in the studio and I thought to myself, so many people would be stoked to get to duet with their musical hero. I’m ecstatic that Jeff Easter and modern technology made that possible.

Erin: What are some exciting things the fans can be expecting from you in 2017?
Logan: I’ll be going back in the studio in February to work on another new record. This album is gonna feature mostly all new material and I’m excited to say I’m writing a few for this album. I’m also celebrating 10 years of full time ministry as well next year. There will be a “Decade” album and a select number of special tour dates aside from my regular touring schedule to celebrate.

Logan SmithErin: Pick your favorites – Bow ties or skinny ties? Hot chocolate or coffee? Elf or Home Alone? Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Gift giver or gift getter?
Logan: Skinny ties/Coffee/Home Alone/Christmas Day/Gift giver.

Erin: As we celebrate the birth of Christ, in your own words, what does Christmas mean to you?
Logan: If it weren’t for the birth of Jesus, there would be no Christmas season. I’m grateful for the beauty He allows the human eye to see through all the lights and decorations and the excitement when we hear classic Christmas songs. It’s amazing to me the change in people’s moods, how light hearted they are, and the love we all share between one another. I have to believe God smiles down on us during this time of year. After all, God is love. It makes you wonder why the love, joy, and smiles can’t be shown year round.

Closing words from the writer…
Maybe this year it will be different. Maybe this year, we will take that love and joy with us into the new year. It’s easy for folks to hit a brick wall as soon as the Merry Christmas’s cease. Reality swoops back in, and the frightening newness of the coming year can be a crippling thought. I wish I had the perfect answer for how to keep those thoughts at bay, but here’s a great reminder from Isaiah 26:3:“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.” We serve the same Lord on January the first as we do on December 25th. Don’t get bogged down in the what if’s ahead. Treasure those that you love, be thankful for what you have, and anticipate what the future holds while believing in the One who holds the future. May our festive spirit truly spill over into the next 12 months. Thanks for reminding us to keep smiling, Logan. A very Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good read!

Until next year, Scoops fans.
And that’s my take on it.

Connect with Erin Stevens:
Twitter – @photosforkeeps
Instagram – @photos_for_keeps

Who would YOU like to see Erin interview next?

First published by SGNScoops in December 2016

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Erin Stevens’ Younger Perspective on Chad McCloskey of the Ball Brothers

Written by Staff on September 12, 2017 – 1:27 pm -

Younger Perspective on Chad McCloskey of the Ball Brothers

Younger Perspective on Chad McCloskey of the Ball Brothers

A word from Erin…

Today, we turn our attention to one of the most underrated and incredibly talented young men in our industry. Chad McCloskey masterfully fills the baritone position for the Ball Brothers. Aside from the strong vocal abilities the Lord has blessed him with, what matters most is his soft-spoken manner and tender spirit, which is noticeable the moment you meet him. Whether you’ve been a faithful Ball Brothers fan for years, or if you’re newer to their music, this is your chance to get to know Chad a little better.

 

Erin: Being born in Wisconsin and growing up in Michigan, what did those early days look like once you discovered your love of singing? 

Chad: I come from a very musical family. My dad was the music director at our church, and my mom was heavily involved with various musical outlets such as choir, ensembles, and church specials. Growing up, I was fairly shy musically. I wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of standing up in front of people for anything, let alone to sing. As I got older, I was given somewhat of an ultimatum when it came to music. It was either sing or nothing, so I chose to sing. Once I got over my apprehension of crowds and my incessant fear of critique, I grew to love singing and jumped at the chance to sing whenever an opportunity presented itself. Fast forward 20 years, I now sing for a living, and I love what I do.

 

Chad McCloskey of the Ball Brothers

Chad McCloskey of the Ball Brothers

Erin: How did you and your wife Sarah meet?

Chad: I’ve actually known Sarah since I was around 10 years old. Her family, while in evangelism, used to come to our church and sing, and my family would occasionally take them out to eat while they were in town. We lost contact over the years, but in 2006, (we) reconnected at the church her dad was pastoring when my family went into evangelism. 

 

Erin: An early congratulations on the newest addition to your family coming soon. How do you personally juggle being a gospel singer, a husband, and a father to Brooklyn and Mason?

Chad: Thank you. We are excited about the new addition. When it comes to juggling family and work, I find it prudent to keep the two separate. When I’m at home, I always try to focus on my family’s needs above anything else. We have dinner around the table every night and try, if we can, to do an activity together any chance we get. When I’m traveling, I try to focus on the task at hand to ensure I do my job accurately and efficiently, but at the end of the day, I always call home to check in on everyone. Fortunately, with the development in technology, staying in touch with my family while I’m away is pretty easy. 

 

Erin: What are some new and exciting happenings the fans can be expecting from the Ball Brothers for the last half of this year?

Chad: We are currently working on a couple different projects. We have been in the studio working on a new Christmas album. We’re hoping to have it finished and out this year. We are also getting ideas together for some music videos we are hoping to shoot later in the year. 

 

Chad McCloskey of the Ball Brothers

Sarah and Chad McCloskey of the Ball Brothers

Erin: With the Ball Brothers’ incredible internet success, how has it impacted your ministry and opened new doors of opportunity?

Chad: The impact from our online success has been substantial at the very least. With the change in the market, almost anything can be accessed online, so we see it as beneficial to cater to that outlet more. Since the views on the Ball Brothers’ Facebook videos have skyrocketed over the last few years, we’ve seen immense growth in our fan base, as well as concert dates. God has truly blessed our ministry and we are so humbled by everything He has done for our group.

 

Erin: The jazzy, Michael Bublé-influenced tones to your voice are obvious to the listener. Besides him, who else are some of your top musical influences, and who would you normally be listening to?

Chad: I have a pretty wide range of music that I enjoy. I grew up listening to the Gaither Vocal Band, so they are an absolute must in my musical lineup. But I love groups from Journey to MercyMe to the Mullins. Some of the more singular influences would include Marshall Hall, Stevie Wonder, David Phelps, Michael Bublé, Frank Sinatra, and Bryan Duncan.                                                                                        

Erin: What’s the strangest thing a fan has ever said to you?

Chad: Where to start? While I was dating my wife, I had a man approach me after a concert asking if I would be interested in his daughter. After I told him I was already dating someone, he quickly took the defense and came behind the product table, got in my face and very angrily asked why I thought his daughter was ugly. I just slowly backed into the crowd in a desperate attempt to get away. Who does that?

 

Chad McCloskey of the Ball Brothers

The McCloskey family

Erin: Favorite food on the road/favorite food at home?

Chad: Mexican food. It’s a favorite at home and on the road.

 

Erin: Is there a particular song you sing night after night on stage that has a profound, personal impact on your heart?

Chad: The song “It’s About the Cross” is a definite favorite of mine. The message of the song to me is too penetrating to ignore. It’s an unbelievable and humbling thought that a sinless, perfect Jesus willingly laid down His life for mine. 

 

Erin: It’s true that music speaks when words fall short. But after all the songs have been sung, how would you encourage that listener out there who has come to the end of their rope?

Chad: I know this sounds cliché – and we hear it all the time – but the most comforting thing to me when I’m at my weakest is prayer. We may not have all the answers, but God does. One passage in the Bible that stands out to me on this particular topic is Isaiah 40:29-31 … “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.”

 

Chad McCloskey of the Ball BrothersClosing thoughts from Erin…

Our strength doesn’t come from our own efforts. It comes from Christ. When we’re on the mountaintop, we sometimes forget to give Him the thanks that He deserves. But it’s in our weakest moments that we remember that we are nothing without Christ. He is the breath in our lungs and the fire in our souls. May we not fall prey to forgetting that all glory and honor are due His mighty name. Isaiah 40:29-31 was an excellent reminder Chad gave us. I appreciate his heart, and I’m thankful we have men like him still singing the gospel and spreading the good news for all to hear.

 

And that’s my take on it.

 

Until next month, Scoops fans.

Connect with Erin: Twitter – @photosforkeeps Instagram – @photos_for_keeps

Who would you like to see Erin interview next?

By Erin Stevens

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in July 2017

For the current issue of SGNScoops Magazine click here

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Younger Perspective on Elena Cragun of the Craguns

Written by Staff on August 23, 2017 – 2:47 pm -

Elena Cragun with the Craguns

Elena Cragun with the Craguns

A word from (author) Erin Stevens…

My heart is so full as I write to you this month. As I was putting the final touches on what you’re about to read, I realized how deeply touched you will be by my special guest’s heart for Christ and her love for His people. Elena Cragun of the Craguns is that special someone for you to get to know a little better, whether you’re an old or new Cragun fan. I know you will be blessed. Here goes …

 

Erin: Growing up as a pastor’s kid, what is your story of how you came to know Christ?

Elena: I was 13 years old when I became a Christ follower. I don’t remember the details of the message that was delivered in the evening service of the family camp I was attending, but I do remember the conviction that gripped my soul. I have no story to tell of terrible sins committed, but I can tell you that my heart was cleansed when I confessed my need of a Savior and received His gift of salvation. Being a (preacher’s kid), I had a lot of knowledge on what it meant to be saved and how to live a life for Christ. That night, head knowledge became heart knowledge. It was the best decision I ever made.

 

Erin: When did you begin singing with your sisters?

Elena: I began singing with my sisters when I was five years old. We sang for church services, camp meetings, and speaking engagements that my daddy held. We sang in both English and Spanish.

 

Elena Cragun with the Craguns

Elena Cragun with the Craguns

Erin: How did you and your husband Jordan Cragun meet? 

Elena: Jordan and I met the first time at a family church camp in Oklahoma. I hung out with his older sister, and he seemed to be always hanging around. He was 11, and I was 13. Our love story, however, didn’t really begin until five years later when we met again at Jordan’s cousin’s wedding.

 

Erin: How do you juggle being a mommy, wife, psychosocial therapist and singer?

Elena: I no longer work as a psychosocial therapist. I loved working in the mental health field, but I became a full-time gospel singer in August of 2013. So it’s juggling wife, mommy and singer. Basically, I survive by making lots of lists. I have two planners and a calendar that I live by, and I try to take it one day at a time. My favorite things to buy are Post-It notes, pens and notepads.

 

Erin: Congratulations on the latest edition to your family. How has Scarlett adjusted to life with her baby brother, Grant? Better yet, how have Mom and Dad adjusted? 

Elena: Thank you. Grant is just the best. Scarlett took a few days to grasp that this was the baby (that) Mommy was talking about, but soon after we came home from the hospital, she was smitten. Now she’s extremely possessive. I’ve heard her exclaim on several different occasions, “Hey, don’t touch him. Dats my baby Nant.” She’s adjusted quite well. Adjusting for Jordan and me hasn’t been so bad either. We get less sleep and drink a lot more coffee, but Grant is really sweet and cuddly. It’s all worth it.

 

Erin: Are there any exciting happenings the fans can be expecting from The Craguns this year?

Elena: We have a new album in the works we are very excited about. (It) should be releasing later in the year.           

                                                                                          

Elena Cragun with the Craguns

Elena and Jordan Cragun and family

Erin: Is there a particular Cragun concert in recent years that stands out as having a big impact on your life?

Elena: The Cragun concert that stands out to me the most was in Oregon. A dear friend of ours was in the crowd. She was battling cancer. She was past the time limit the doctors had given her to live. She didn’t have much strength, but I remember her lifting her hands and praising the Lord with everything that she had left. Even at the very end, she was giving her all in praise and honor to the King. What an awesome testimony. That certainly impacted me. She went to heaven just a few weeks later.

 

Erin: What’s a favorite blooper moment you can recall from being on the road?

Elena:  The most memorable blooper moment would have to be when I had to leave the stage in the middle of a concert to take care of Scarlett when she was a newborn. The babysitter was struggling big-time that night and could not get her calmed down. The way the venue was set up, infant cries could be heard inside. As a new mom, I couldn’t hardly handle it. It was not funny at the time, as I left the guys hanging for what I was told later was 20 minutes, but looking back it’s quite hilarious.

 

Erin: Books or movies? Homemade or eat out? Heels or flats? Spring or fall? Coffee or tea? Night owl or early riser?

Elena: Books. Homemade, especially since we eat out so much. Heels, I’m 4-foot-11 and need all the help I can get. Spring. I love this time of year. All the new birth and growth makes my heart smile. Coffee. It’s mostly cream when I make it, but I love me some coffee. Definitely, early riser.

 

Erin: What is a Scripture that you’ve held tightly to that means a lot to you personally? Why?

Elena: “The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise Him,” Psalm 28:7. Life is full of surprises and setbacks, and I know I could not navigate through it all in my own strength. I am a weak, fragile, finite being. This fact was made very clear when I suffered a mini stroke on Christmas Eve of last year. I was still pregnant with Grant, and I was terrified. I had to lean on the Lord like never before, and I found that, with Him, I am indeed strong. I found that in this particular instance, He was my shield as the outcome could have been so much worse. Four months later, I am as healthy as can be, and I am beyond grateful. So, I will sing His praises and tell everyone what He’s done for me and what He can do for them.

 

Erin: Is the Lord challenging you to deepen your walk with Him in 2017? If so, how?

Elena: Yes. I have been challenged to deepen my walk with Him by committing to memory more of His Word and to teach my kids His Word. Scarlett is like a sponge. She literally repeats everything she hears. There’s no better time than now to teach her. I want more than anything for my kids to know what the Word of God says and for them to embrace it as the guideline for living this life.

 

Erin Stevens

Erin Stevens

Closing thoughts from Erin…

What did I tell you at the beginning? What a story this incredible woman of faith has to share. Thank you, Elena for challenging us and for being so vulnerable with our readers today. My prayer is that we will take the truth of Psalm 28:7 with us into these next hours, days and weeks. No matter the circumstance, no matter the struggle, may His praise be ever on our lips.

 

And that’s my take on it.

 

Until next month, Scoops fans …

 

Connect with Erin on Twitter (@photosforkeeps) or on Instagram (@photos_for_keeps).

 

Who would you like to see Erin interview next?

By Erin Stevens

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in June 2017.

See the latest issue of SGNScoops Magazine here.

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Erin Stevens gives a tribute to her Mum

Written by Staff on May 11, 2017 – 9:18 am -

Erin Stevens with her mum and dad

Erin Stevens with her mum, Tami, and dad, Rich.

People have the misconception that road life is glamorous. If you’re one of those folks, let me stop you right there. It’s hard. It requires a strong back bone, and a good sense of humor.

My mom grew up with the call of ministry on her life at a very young age. For the past 32 years, in full-time ministry, she has been the picture of grace and poise at my father’s side.

Erin Stevens with her family onstage

The Stevens onstage

So many know her as the eloquent lady on stage, but I know the hours she spends in prayer behind the scenes, booking our family’s dates, and I know the strength she possesses even on the toughest days. Not to mention, she makes the best Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake known to man.

Erin Stevens

Erin Stevens

I am truly blessed and honored that God handpicked her to be my mum. 

By Erin Stevens, staff writer for SGNScoops, member of The Stevens Family, photographer at Photos For Keeps By Erin.

For more on Erin click here.

About The Stevens Family…The Stevens Family, from Warren, Ohio, has been traveling in music ministry since 1985. Rich, Tami and Erin effectively minister the gospel to people of all ages through a variety of musical styles. They have completed many recordings, which showcase their creative songwriting abilities. They have written songs that have been recorded by artists such as Greater Vision, The Whisnants and The Inspirations… The Stevens Family has a special message and an apparent sense of direction in their ministry. Their music could best be described as Christ-centered and family-oriented. The purpose of their ministry is to offer encouragement and hope through the message of God’s Word in song…(for more click here.)

Thanks to Erin Stevens for her eloquent tribute to her mum today. Would you like to tell us about your mother? Email me today at lorraine@sgnscoops.com

For the latest SGNScoops Magazine,  click here.

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Younger Perspective on Logan Smith

Written by Staff on February 13, 2017 – 3:47 pm -

Logan Smith

Logan Smith

By Erin Stevens [From the December 2016 issue of SGNScoops magazine]

A word from the writer…
Tis the season for yuletide cheer, fa la la la’s and Grandma’s famous cookies. But it’s also time to give a little more and be a little sweeter. There’s a young fellow I thought of when I was preparing for this Christmas edition. Not a kinder, sweeter, more down-to-earth guy came to mind than Logan Smith. You may already be a fan of his pipes, but perhaps there are some things you don’t know about him…quite yet. With that said, let’s jump right in!

Erin: For those that might not know your backstory, when did your love for music begin?
Logan: My parents and grandparents raised me on classic Southern Gospel groups such as The Happy Goodmans, The Hinsons, The Rambos and The Speers. I admired them all, but the Goodmans brought an excitement to the stage like I’d never seen before. They inspired me to start singing this incredible music that lifts and encourages. I’ve been hooked ever since!

Erin: It appears you have successfully bridged the gap from being “the boy who sings like Vestal” to the talented young man you are now who has come into his own. How have you accomplished this and was it a smooth transition?
Logan: It’s been very smooth. It’s an honor to carry on the legacy of such a dynamic vocalist. I’m enjoying mixing in new songs from such talented writers of our time today, and still throwing it back and singing Goodman classics every night! The music never gets old. The singers fade, but the message in these songs is timeless.

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Kari Gooch: The “Quirky” Member of Karen Peck and New River

Written by Staff on July 19, 2016 – 2:00 pm -

Kari Gooch of Karen Peck and New River

Kari Gooch of Karen Peck and New River

Younger Perspective on Kari Gooch: By Erin Stevens

A word from the writer…

I have kept you all waiting long enough for this exciting interview! I knew it was finally time to help you get to know the daughter of one of the most prestigious, highly awarded and well loved ladies of our Gospel music industry. Who else could I possibly be referring to other than Karen Peck Gooch? Today, let’s dive into her darling daughter’s life, the sweet Kari Gooch, and find out what roadie livin’ looks like through her eyes.

 

It’s your turn to take center stage, Kari…

 

Erin: What was it like growing up with your mom being such a prominent figure in Gospel music?

Kari: As I get older, I see how loved and respected my mom is in the industry. Honestly, she has just been mom to me. She has always been there for me, and has always tried to put my brother and me before anything else.

 

Erin: For those that may not know the backstory, share what your first night on stage was like.

Kari: About two years ago, my mom got sick and completely lost her voice. I have always been really shy, and the thought of going on stage and singing terrified me! However, when my mom lost her voice, my Aunt Susan came to me and asked if I would help her sing, and I’ve been on stage ever since. Sometimes I still get nervous when I have to sing, but I’m trying to work through that!

 

Erin: How would you describe what it’s like being raised on a bus? Feel free to share pros and cons.

Kari: Being raised on the bus has definitely kept my life interesting! I practically learned to walk on a bus, so I have great balance. I’m really blessed to get to go different places every week, and to see things that most people my age have never seen. One downside to being raised on a bus is the space. When I was little, my brother, cousin, and I would try to think of different games to play. It’s really hard to play hide and seek on a 45-foot bus.

 

Karen Peck and New River

Karen Peck and New River

Erin: If you could do a duet with anyone in the music industry (any genre) who would it be?

Kari: One of my favorite artists right now is Tori Kelly, so I’d love to do a duet with her.

 

Erin: Are there any good books you’re reading lately that you’d like to share?

Kari: I am currently trying to finish up my freshman year of college, so most of the reading I do is studying for my classes. However, the last book I read for fun was “Good or God” by John Bevere.

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