Elaina Smith Music

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

SGN Scoops Fast Five: Adams Call

Written by Staff on May 4, 2015 – 11:37 am -

adams call

Adam’s Call

Adams Call began in 2012 as a male trio, but became a mixed trio in 2013.  Bobby Davenport, Melissa DuVall and Riley Dotson have received award nominations for Sunrise Artist of the Year, Christian Country Album of the Year and video of the year. This breath of fresh air in the music industry has been watching their songs chart nationally and seeing their schedule grow and expand.
SGN Scoops recently asked Adams Call to answer our Fast Five questions…
SGN: What is the name of your newest CD and newest radio single? What’s your absolute favorite song on this recording?
AC: Our latest radio single is entitled “Back to God,” which is featured on our brand new album that is currently in production, and expected to release late summer/ early fall. This song could not be heard at a better time! With all of the violence and destruction everywhere we look, it’s clear that there is only one hope for our country and that is Jesus Christ. The song “Back to God” boldly says that we as christians have to cry out to God like never before, as He is the only thing that can sustain us now.
SGN: What song do you wish you had written and why.
Some of our favorite songs are the songs that have completely ignored the limits of time and fads, the songs that are anointed and carry a message that is absolutely timeless. When I think of those things, my mind immediately goes to people like Mosie Lister and Albert Brumley. But if there is one song I would have loved to have written, it would be: “Sheltered in the Arms of God,” by the songstress herself, Dottie Rambo. For us it just doesn’t get any better than that!
SGN: You have finished the concert, finished eating, driving down the highway…what are you doing?
AC:Most Likely listening to a new episode of “Cold Case” and trying to solve the mystery before the end, or keeping up with what is happening in the world on Fox News on our satellite radio.
SGN: You have stopped the bus because a big turtle is crossing the road. Which one of you gets off to usher it to the other side?
AC: Most likely Riley! He has quickly become the Go-Getter and takes care of all of the little quick stops, like running into a store to get batteries and water. He already has some experience shooing animals out of the road, after a recent trip to a Florida tourist stop where peacocks enjoyed standing in the middle of the road. Next time you’re at an Adams Call concert, ask him to show you his “Peacock Call”.
SGN: What is your favorite song to sing and why.
AC:You know it really changes from night to night. When you’re on stage and see the audience connecting with a song, or see tears falling because someone can relate to the message, it becomes a priceless moment, and those times are our favorite!
Please be sure to visit Adams Call on Facebook and on the web, and attend an Adams Call concert near you!


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Praying the Lord’s Prayer

Written by Staff on May 1, 2015 – 9:21 am -


Karen Peck & New River Releases Highly Anticipated Album, PRAY NOW

Karen Peck & New River Releases
Highly Anticipated Album,

In respect of the upcoming National Day of Prayer on May 7, 2015 and the release of Karen Peck and New River’s album and video, Pray Now, we have posted this devotional on the Lord’s Prayer by Lorraine Walker and Stephen Widener. We encourage you to visit Karen Peck and New River’s website and view their video, “Pray Now.”


For several months now I have been praying Our Lord’s Prayer as part of my daily devotions. God has been teaching me and I’ve been trying to comprehend at least part of what Jesus was saying when He gave the disciples this prayer in Luke 11:2–4 and in Matthew 6:9-13.


I asked my friend Stephen Widener, an assistant Pastor in Lenoir, North Carolina, to give his thoughts as well. My prayer is that this will lead you into your own study as we take a deeper look into these words from our Lord.


Stephen: “Let me say this, it is the model prayer of how we’re to pray. The Bible clearly says to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). God wants to have an intimate relationship with us, as He did with Adam in the Garden of Eden before Adam sinned. This is why God sent His Son, Jesus to bring us back to the Father, God Himself.


“When you’re intimate with someone, not in a sexual way, but have a relationship where you talk consistently with them, it creates a special type of intimacy. That is what God wants and that’s what prayer is: talking to a Holy, Sovereign God. You are special to Him.


“Prayer is not getting God to do things for you, even though He wants to, but getting you to do His will. (v.10) His will does not go against His Word. When we are praying, we are to pray specifically.” Read more »

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The Jim Brady Trio Takes A Leap…Of Faith

Written by Staff on March 3, 2015 – 12:18 pm -

Jim Brady Trio

Jim Brady Trio

Twelve years. Jim Brady spent more than 12 years of his life singing, sharing, laughing and living with the Booth Brothers. His mellow baritone and incredible range made him fit in the group like another brother. However, beginning January 1, 2015, he followed God’s call to begin his own journey with his wife Melissa, and Tim Parton. So the obvious question is…why?

“Well it’s been a dream of (mine),” Brady begins. “My wife and I actually sang together as The Shulers. Her father was an evangelist, and we did revivals, crusades and churches; a little bit of concert work and a lot of church work.”

After 10 years, Melissa’s father came off the road. Jim and Melissa continued as The Shulers with a man who would play a role in Jim’s future: Paul Lancaster. Then came the call that would alter Jim’s life significantly. The Booth Brothers asked him to fill in until they found another singer.

“After about three weeks of filling in, my wife came to me and said, ‘you know what, if you think that’s where God wants you, then I’m behind you.’ The Bradys had just built a home close to her parents and Melissa’s father was ill. Jim wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do. In fact, he didn’t even consider it.

“Melissa said, ‘you know my home is wherever you are and if you feel like this is God opening a door for you, I don’t want to hold you back.’ We felt like God had opened up a great door and I didn’t realize He was doing that, because I was truly just going to help the guys because I loved them and respected them. So, after a few weeks of filling in I said to the guys, ‘If you guys are interested, you know, I’d be interested.’” Then Michael and Ronnie Booth admitted that they hadn’t actually auditioned anyone else. Jim Brady was officially a Booth.

Jim Brady Trio At SiriusXM

Jim Brady Trio At SiriusXM

“The first night I ever sang with the guys was with the Gaithers in Nashville. I met Bill on stage, in front of all those people.” Jake Hess was there, and told Brady that he really “fit” with the Booths. “That was a great compliment. You know, I’m nervous, I’m around all these heroes of mine and Mosie Lister, the great legendary songwriter, said to me: ‘you could be a (Booth) Brother, you sound like a Brother.’” Terrific compliments, from a couple of gentlemen who embodied Gospel music.

Jim Brady had an amazing start with the trio that would take his voice and his music to the top of the charts and to the heart of every listener. Many thought the three men would continue on until they rode off into the sunset together.

One of those, however, was not Michael Booth. “It’s one of these things that we always knew was a possibility because he had his own group before he came with us. So we are just grateful for the amount of years we got,” says Michael. “You can’t fault a guy for wanting to be working with his wife! She has spent an enormous amount of time alone. With our [Ronnie and Michael’s] wives, we have children. Ronnie’s are grown and out of the house, but my wife home schools our kids and although it is hard for her to do that job by herself, she is not alone. She has the burden of being the guy and the gal, raising our kids by herself. But for Melissa it got pretty lonely.”

Michael immediately adds, “We want to make sure everybody understands that it was not a situation where Melissa talked her husband into quitting the Booth Brothers. That was NOT the case. I think it was Jim realizing that if he was ever going to do it, he needed to do it now. We are just grateful we got almost 13 years to sing with him.”

Scoops staff with Booth Brothers

Scoops staff with Booth Brothers

Brady knew it was the right time. “I felt like God was really putting it on Melissa’s and my heart to do this ministry. God has opened up doors for her and I, the last couple of years. It was hard to tour with the Booth Brothers and then do what we wanted to. We have a Ladies’ Ministry and conferences that she does. We do a lot of traveling together, banquets and marriage conferences.”

The Booth Brothers were doing 150 concerts a year, which kept the Bradys apart for 200 days a year. “The reason ‘now’ is the right time is because first of all, I’m not getting any younger, and we cherish the moments we have together. We can now minister and do what God has called us to do – together – for those 200 days. You can’t get those back.”

How does it feel to begin again? “It’s a leap of faith, it’s exciting, it’s crazy and it’s hectic right now, but I feel like it’s the right thing. Once we made that decision, we just had peace that God was leading every step of the way.”

“It’s hard to leave. This is a great job! When you think about the familiar and the safe and it’s all laid out for me; all I do is walk on the bus.” With the Booth Brothers, everything was provided that the Jim Brady Trio may not have at the first, from the sound engineer to the driver to the product person. “I just walk on stage and they hand me my mike and I sing, and it’s very easy. It’s awesome, it’s been rewarding to do this but I’m in some ways starting over and now it’s all up to me to do all that.”

Sometimes when God asks you to leap, it doesn’t make sense. “You walk through those doors and He provides, and He opens. It’s been amazing the doors He’s already opened, the concerts that are being booked. It’s like the floodgates of heaven have opened up and He’s given us the opportunity that we had hoped for.”

“So you take that leap of faith, and I don’t know why we’re surprised, we know God says He’ll take care of us and walk with us and it’s funny how we’re surprised when He does.” The Jim Brady Trio has signed on with the Harper Agency, the same booking agency that works with the Booth Brothers. The dates are coming in fast.

“Our first date is at Opryland Hotel with Legacy Five. It’s kind of neat; December 31st is Paul Lancaster’s first day with the [Booth Brothers] and I’ll do a little bit (with them) that night. The very next day is our first date as the Jim Brady Trio. It’s kind of a goodbye and then the start of a new chapter of my life.” On January 4th, the Trio is scheduled to be Dr Charles Stanley’s church. “What a way to start out! God has opened the doors and we hope to walk through them and just be faithful.”

Jim Brady Trio

Jim Brady Trio

The Jim Brady Trio is working hard to get their new music to their audience. They have completed a project that was recorded in four days, over the Thanksgiving break, and Daywind will release it, with the first single to be determined. At press time it was tentatively self-titled, but Brady says that may change.

“We wrote a lot for this project, and a couple of songs were written directly to where we’re at right now in our life (lives). One of the songs is just called, ‘Stepping Out in Faith.’ There’s another one called, ‘The God of What’s to Come.’ We wrote it specifically for what our life is right now. We pulled a few songs that I’ve written through the years that I felt would fit, and what we need for our live performances right now. I did some familiar songs that I’ve written that [people] would know and then we pulled some classics, then the rest are fresh and new.”

Tim Parton

Tim Parton

Brady wanted to make sure all the songs were exactly right for the new Trio. As a prolific songwriting couple, it was hard to decide between all of their ‘babies.’ “You know you kind of love your ‘kids’ the best. We didn’t want to play favorites, so we bounced it off a lot of friends. So Scott Godsey and Ed Leonard, and the people at Daywind have been really helpful to give opinions and ideas of what would be the best. I think we’ve got the right collection. We’re excited!”

At first it was surprising for Booth Brothers’ fans to see who the new voice would be in the Jim Brady Trio, a man who has been known more for his piano work than his vocals. Jim first met Tim Parton when Parton was with the Missouri family group, The Lesters.

“I’ve known him all these years, but we toured together for several years with the Christmas Jubilee tour and then the regular Jubilee tours, because he was part of Legacy Five. When we recorded all those Jubilee projects, he was arranging and producing and we became great friends. Through the years we’ve just worked together; even on some Booth Brother dates, Tim would be opening, playing the piano, and then he’d sing a little.”


Jim Brady

Jim Brady

Jim and Melissa invited Parton to join them in their Nashville conferences entitled Something Beautiful. “We’ve worked with him on stage, in the studio, we’ve had him in our home, so we just felt a good connection with Tim. Not only is he an unbelievable talent, he’s also a great singer, and he’s just a great guy. He’s just a great human being; he has a sweet, gentle spirit. We loved him and we knew that the personalities would click. When we started singing, the blend just worked. There’s something magical that happens when three voices blend well together and that’s one of the things that the Booth Brothers have been known for and people love, is that chemistry that those voices have. We actually talked to him about coming before we ever sang together. When we did, it felt right. You know as a singer if you think you can blend with somebody, and then more than that, you got to think about living together on the road in a 45-foot bus or 40-foot motor home.”

“Whatever you’re in, you’re in tight quarters, so you have to be able to get along, work together, and be like-minded in ministry as well as music. We knew that with Tim we would also connect spiritually and in ministry.” The Bradys knew that there would be harmony with Parton on and off the stage.

Jim & Melissa Brady

Jim & Melissa Brady

As exciting as this new leap of faith is for the Bradys, Jim says that there are things he will miss, from the Booths, to their driver, to all the men who work with them. “I’ll miss those moments of fun with these guys. The music has been wonderful. It’s those moments on stage that are so priceless to me: when you feel God working, and you feel the song with the audience. I’ll miss that. I’ll miss the laughs on the bus I’m sure, because we absolutely had a wonderful time.”

“My wife and I love to be together and there’s nothing like it, it’s just wonderful, but I think sometimes you get out with the guys and you laugh a little more and it’s different. We’ll have that too, it’ll just be a different dynamic.”

jim brady trio cover editThe Jim Brady Trio’s goals are much the same as the Booth Brothers’ and as Jim’s personal goals: to bring hope. “It seems like everywhere you turn, people are hopeless; tragedies are happening, and they feel like they have no hope. But we want to remind people that there is hope, there’s always hope in Christ. It’s more than success, if you can help an audience, help a Christian in their walk with the Lord, to know that it’s not just about the here and now. You can remind them of the things we have to look forward to. It’s significant when you help people for eternity; whether it is salvation for those that do not know the Lord, or just encouragement for those who do know the Lord, who are going through a hard time. That’s really what I would love, that would be huge to us if we felt that we could do that successfully. That would be fulfilling for us.”

Find out more about the Jim Brady Trio HERE

Visit the SGN Scoops website to read a follow-up story called Getting Personal with Jim Brady HERE

By Lorraine Walker

First published by SGN Scoops in January 2015. Download this issue HERE.




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Joseph Habedank: Telling the Truth

Written by Staff on February 21, 2015 – 7:00 am -

Joseph Habedank

Joseph Habedank

Joseph Habedank is an award-winning vocalist and songwriter, who traveled with beloved family group The Perrys for 10 years and has just been announced as the Singing News Favorite New Soloist for 2014. He has waged a war against an addiction to pain killers and has been sober for over a year. Habedank found strength in the Lord to start again, returning to the stage, the music and the community that has surrounded him with love and support.

In August, Billboard magazine released an indepth interview with Habedank about his addiction and how he moved into recovery. Following that, he assisted SGN Scoops with a feature called Christians and Addictions, published in September 2014. He says it wasn’t so much deciding to take his addiction issues public, but just answering questions with honesty. “I think it had less to do with me talking about my problem and more to do with telling the truth when we were asked. Lindsay and I decided early on that if I was going to truly recover, I had to tell the truth.”

In telling the truth, Habedank admits that losing his job with the Perrys was his rock-bottom. “Music was my life, it defined me and when I lost that, it was like losing myself and I almost had to reinvent myself as an individual. I had to relearn how to think and even how to live. That wasn’t easy.”

Part of Habedank’s recovery included finding the strength to start again in his musical career. “I think it was two things, neither of which had much to do with me. First, it was a matter of trusting that the Lord wasn’t through with me, and then having the courage to do what most people said I couldn’t. And secondly, I had an incredible behind-the-scenes support system. Not to mention, the Lord specializes in the impossible. I thought I was a hopeless case, but He saw what I could be and not just what I was.”

Joseph Habedank

Joseph Habedank and his wife Lindsay

Joseph and his wife Lindsay found that their friends in the industry were there to support them in his return to Southern Gospel. “Daywind was very quick to hop on board, as was the Dominion Agency, and Ricky Free was on board from day one,” Habedank says. “The songwriting community really rallied around me as well.”

One result from this experience has been the new project by Habedank entitled Welcome Home, which was a labor of love for the soloist. “We started recording in the spring, but it feels like I have been writing for this record for years. It is definitely the most personal album that I have ever been a part of; it’s my heart.” Habedank continues, “I had the privilege to work with the brilliant Ricky Free, who I now consider ‘my producer.’ He totally outdid himself on this record. I also got to work with Cliff Durren, orchestration arranger, for the first time. I just love his attitude and heart. Not to mention he’s a genius. And of course all of my wonderful co-writers as well. I had an amazing team around me.”

The first release from Welcome Home is “Never, No, Never” which Habedank co-wrote with Tony Wood and Lee Black. The song contains a great promise and a message of encouragement that Habedank hopes will help his listeners.

Another special tune on the album is “Empty”, which Habedank says follows the theme of the album. “We aren’t who the Devil says we are,” Habedank states. “We already have a name, we are part of a Royal Priesthood and we are because Jesus says so.” He was also thrilled to have one of his favorite people sing with him on this song. “Russ Taff was one of the first people to help me when I came off the road last year. He has been an amazing mentor and an even greater friend. I love him dearly and will forever be indebted to him. I just asked him to sing on my record and he said ‘Absolutely’ as he so often does. It was that simple. He’s a great man.”

“The Beauty of the Blood” is Habedank’s favorite on Welcome Home. “I feel something different when I’m singing that song, more so than almost any other song I’ve sung before.  I think it’s because my life reflects the message that I’m trying to convey when I’m singing that song, so it’s much easier for me to communicate it. I’m extremely grateful for Tony Wood and Michael Farren, who helped to make it what it is.”

Joseph Habedank 2Joseph Habedank admits it wasn’t easy to step out alone on that stage after having shared it with the Perrys for so many years. To tell the truth, he says it was both “terrifying” and “wonderful.” However, traveling as a soloist has allowed him to see the country along with Lindsay, as well as being able to choose his own material, to say what he wants to through his songs.

As a soloist, Habedank’s personal goal is not much different from when he was part of group. “I say this a lot, but I really just want to help people by pointing them to Jesus. I want to be a better man, a better husband and a better kid to my Heavenly Father.”

Some people might question Joseph Habedank’s decision to tell the truth about his addiction, or even just admire his courage to be transparent, but he just has one response: “You don’t have to hide what Jesus has already redeemed.”

Find out more about Joseph Habedank and Welcome Home at http://www.josephhabedank.com/

Written by Lorraine Walker

First published October 2014 by SGN Scoops digital magazine.

For current editions of SGN Scoops visit www.sgnscoops.com


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Getting Personal With Jim Brady

Written by Staff on January 13, 2015 – 8:51 am -

Jim Brady Trio

Jim Brady Trio

As 2015 began, Jim Brady joined with his wife Melissa and co-singer Tim Parton to form The Jim Brady Trio. Jim sat down with SGN Scoops to talk about the transition from the Booth Brothers to his own group and most of this interview is covered in the January 2015 edition of SGN Scoops. However, because of the length of the interview, we have continued the conversation here. So join us, as we get personal with Jim Brady.

The initiation of the Jim Brady Trio will mean a shift in some of the activities of the Bradys. Jim and his wife Melissa have been putting together marriage counseling seminars and the women’s conference Something Beautiful over the past couple of years. Although the increased tour dates together will cause their schedule to become stretched even more, Jim says they have no intention of putting that part of their ministry aside.

“We’re going to work those in as time will allow. We’ll just do some marriage conferences and some banquets. We do kind of a two-set thing; we do a ‘love song’ set of classic ‘40’s and ‘50’s music that my mom and dad love, and then we have a set where we do original love songs that we’ve written from a Christian perspective. Melissa will also continue her Something Beautiful women’s conference. We will not do it this year due to the starting of the new group but we plan on doing that again in 2016.”

“We’re also going to Norway and Sweden in March.” Brady shakes his head. “It’s crazy when I look at the schedule! I say thank you Lord, I’m thankful that it’s so full but wow, we’re going to be tired. But you know, when we are weak, He is strong. I pray our voices and our bodies hold up. But He’s faithful, He’s there, and we shouldn’t be surprised when He takes care of us because He said He would. I’m really grateful.”

Jim Brady

Jim Brady

Keeping their own marriage strong is extremely important to Melissa and Jim. “We try to make sure each one is a priority. When we first got married we were together 24 hours a day, we traveled and sang together, everything was together. Then the last 12 and a half – almost 13 – years I’ve been on the road with the Booth Brothers, so I’ve been gone 46 weekends of the year and she’s been home alone. She said, “I really miss you when you’re gone for that long.” I said, “Well, lets start our own group, you’re going to really want to miss me but you won’t be able to,” Jim says, laughing.

Brady says that even when he was home from the road, he was still caught up in the music business as songwriter, engineer and demo singer. “We try to take one day a week and say this is our day for each other. I really tried to make her my priority. I won’t let anything pull me from what’s important and that is ‘us’ and our family and our marriage. She (Melissa) does the same thing for me, even though she works out of our home. She’s a writer for a lot of publications, she also writes songs and sings demos and then does some conferences. What is very cool for us is that she has really organized her time to match my schedule too. So when I’m home she tries to not take on too much, and when I’m gone, she loads up her work schedule.” Read more »

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December 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on December 9, 2014 – 4:30 pm -

December 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

December 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

Merry Christmas from SGNScoops! We hope you are enjoying this special time of year. Take a moment to relax and share this gift we are giving to you this Christmas.

You will see from the wrapping that our December SGNScoops is full of special words from your favorite artists as they share their Christmas thoughts and memories.
We hope you enjoy the special features on the Purple Hulls, Bryan and Yvonne Hutson, Phillip Collingsworth, Randy Byrd of the Mark Trammell Quartet, The Griffins, Southern Raised, The Perrys, Heather Ruppe, The Preachers Kid Retreat and more.
Special Christmas memories are shared by the Chrisagis Brothers, the Hagees, Tim Duncan, Ann Downing and other artists.
Be sure to settle in by the fire and enjoy the articles by Lou Wills Hildreth, David Staton, Laurette Willis, Dr. Jeff Steele, Kelly Nelon Clark, Sherry Anne, Scott Rhoades and more.
We are thrilled to welcome Dusty Wells to our staff as he shares his own words of wisdom.
Please unwrap this gift and enjoy each part, specially made for you, cover to cover.
Thank you for being a part of our world as we shared our hearts with you.
Merry Christmas from all the www. SGNScoops.com and Coastal Media Group!

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The Kingsmen: Alive and Well

Written by Staff on November 18, 2014 – 12:53 pm -


Ray Dean Reese and The Kingsmen

Ray Dean Reese and The Kingsmen

Today’s Southern Gospel music is a range from traditional quartets to country-styled family groups to edgy trios and everything in between. The shift can be heard as radio deejays play an early Statesmen record followed by The Booth Brothers and then perhaps an Isaacs’ song. One group that has survived this evolution of sound is The Kingsmen and they have done it with flare, winning Dove Awards, being nominated for Grammy Awards and becoming members of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The Kingsmen came on strong in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s with several live albums, showing that they were the best in live performances that engaged the audience.   Now they are back with a new live album, demonstrating that the Kingsmen of today are still the masters of live quartet performance. [Editor’s note: Feature first published in July 2013 in SGN Scoops.]


front row liveFront Row Live showcases the best of the current Kingsmen lineup, including Bob Sellers, Chris Jenkins, Randy Crawford and the patriarch of the group, Ray Dean Reese still belting out a powerful bass. Ray’s son Brandon, who serves as the drummer and bandleader whenever the group appears with a live band, handles their live sound and co-produced this recording. The recording was made during the 2012 National Quartet Convention and highlights some older favorites like “Traveling Home” to newer ones like “He’s Everything I Need”, a number one song and song of the year nominee from their 2010 recording, Grace Says. The Kingsmen’s current radio single off the live recording is “Land Of The Free”, written by Phil Cross, a patriotic anthem that is garnering a lot of airplay.


Live Kingsmen albums have always had their own place in Southern Gospel history and Front Row Live is long overdue. Brandon Reese says, “I think people have wanted a great live recording from the Kingsmen for a long time and the best way to give them that live Kingsmen sound is to mix some old and some new music that everyone will love.”


Kingsmen twoKingsmen fans know that the group’s sound is still much the same as it was when the group became known as the Ton of Fun in the 1970’s, and baritone Randy Crawford says that is not just by chance. “The Kingsmen have always been filled with excitement,” says Crawford, “Excitement for the music and the message.  The reason the style has changed so little over the years is because it works!  You find a formula and stick with it.  Each group must find its own style and sound to really set themselves apart.  The Kingsmen established theirs in 1973 with Big and Live and have never looked back.  Because of the excitement in the music and message it continues to ring with old and young listeners alike.”


Ray Dean Reese explains that the reason the music still clicks with so many is a mixture of several ingredients. “The Kingsmen have a 57-year heritage of spreading the Gospel,” says Reese. “We have always tried to keep the presentation of the message of the Gospel as a priority, down through the years. As for our sound, we try to stay in touch with what the people want to hear and would open their hearts to the message of Jesus. We have been blessed to have talented singers through the years who have each added their particular gifts to the mix.”

Read more »

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Thanks But No Thanks – Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Written by Staff on November 7, 2014 – 12:00 pm -

gift fixBy Lorraine Walker

I love free swag, whether it’s a stuffed owl from the local phone company or a squishy stress ball shaped like an apple from a life insurance agent. I especially love receiving music from artists that I’ve interviewed – and yes that is a not-so-subtle hint. I know these gifts are given for business reasons, either for what has been done or what might be done. I’m okay with that because it’s all up front. The strings attached are easy to see.

Have you ever been offered a gift with expectations attached that make you hesitate? Instead of saying, “Thanks!” you put your hands back in your pockets and walk away. Maybe the hidden agenda was something you just didn’t want in your life. Perhaps you thought the gift was too good to be true, even with the strings attached. Or perhaps the acceptance of the gift would cause a ripple effect that you didn’t know how to deal with.

When Jesus was on earth, He once asked a blind man if he wanted to be healed. At first glance we might wonder why He would ask such a thing. Of course Bartimaeus would want to be able to see! Who wouldn’t?

manA closer look at the culture of the day makes this question more understandable. In those days, a man had to have the approval of the Roman government to be able to beg for money. Upon receiving this approval, he wore a special garment showing he could receive alms. In our terms, it was his disability card to receive social assistance. The cloak was his guarantee of an income, no matter how meagre.

If Bartimaeus accepted Jesus’ offer of health, he would immediately lose his source of income. How much was it worth to him to give up guaranteed funds for a completely new life? For Bartimaeus, it was worth everything. He rose up, threw off his cloak, and asked Jesus to heal him.

Today Jesus offers us peace, joy and hope. But sometimes we only see what we might have to give up to accept those gifts. Maybe we have to give up habits that we enjoy or even a dream that we have cherished. Unlike Bartimaeus, we long for the comfort of the beggars’ cloak, the familiar everyday drudgery, rather than the amazing potential of a closer walk with the Almighty Unseen.

God’s gifts to us, unlike the free swag of the telephone company, are not meant to get something from us in return. He doesn’t demand repayment or expect our ‘business’. However in receiving these gifts we begin to understand the responsibility that is ours and we make the decision whether to invest these gifts in things eternal, or to squander them.

We see around us instances of great gifts given to people who are not able to utilize them effectively. People win millions of dollars in the lottery only to squander it all and end up owing more than they did initially. A generous parent gives a sports car to a teen who has not had the experience to drive it well, and the gift results in a great loss.

The difference here is in the Giver. God knows our hearts and He knows what is the very best gift He can give to you. Today He offers first and foremost a relationship with Him through His Son. Jesus gave His life, the most precious gift of all, that we could receive His life in us. It’s supernatural and unexplainable, yet He offers this gift because He loves each one of us.

As with most gifts, it is up to me and to you to accept it. We may be more concerned with our everyday lives and prefer the beggars’ cloak to the ‘crown of life’ He offers. We may look for the strings attached and decide that the price we pay by letting go of the past is too much. So many people don’t understand this incredible offer and say “Thanks, but no thanks”.

This Thanksgiving, my prayer for you is that you say “Thanks” to Jesus for His incredible gift. The only string attached is abundant life here, and eternal life to come. The ultimate in free swag and so much better than a stuffed owl.

Reality Check by Lorraine Walker. First Published November 2011 by SGM Radio website.

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In Depth With Jonathan Wilburn

Written by Staff on October 23, 2014 – 1:40 pm -

wilburnandwilburntracksJonathan Wilburn has been around Southern Gospel for as long as he has been alive. Son of Elaine and Jackie Wilburn, Jonathan learned his craft at the knees of one of the best duos in Southern Gospel. He sang with his parents until the age of 16 and then moved on to anchor the lead position of the award-winning Gold City Quartet for several years. His powerful voice now blends well with his son, Jordan, as they sing together in Wilburn And Wilburn, carrying on the family tradition as they sing about their faith. [Editor’s note: article first published December 2013]

Jonathan Wilburn has always been the friendly extravert who naturally falls into the position of group spokesperson. Just as he has had to answer the same questions from interviewers all his life, he must at times tire of giving the same answers. For our “In Depth” article, we tried to find out some different things about Jonathan that you may not know. We have tried to let Jonathan tell it in his own way.

Wilburn_cover72Jonathan began singing with his son Jordan in 2011, releasing their first CD, Family Ties. In 2012, they won the Singing News’ Horizon Group of the Year, with Jordan picking up the Horizon Individual Award. It seems like their group began at the top and stayed there, but Jonathan says it wasn’t as easy as it may have appeared.

“Getting started in a new business or venture is never easy but in our case was made some what easier due to the fact that I traveled singing Southern Gospel Music for most of my life up until 1996. That is when I took the lead position with Gold City. I stayed with Gold City for 12 years until 2008.

Jonathan continues, “That was a tough decision when I felt it was time to leave. Gold City had become like family to me. Tim Riley and Daniel Riley were great to live with and work with over those years. I could not have asked to be treated any better than I was with Gold City. My decision to leave was completely personal and all my decision.”

“During the time I was off the road, working at a local Ford dealership, I began to notice that my son was developing as a singer himself. I would come home and all he wanted to do was watch or listen to Southern Gospel music. That is when I began accepting some dates for us to sing from time to time. One day at work God spoke to my heart. He said all He needed was a father and son to tell folks about The Father and The Son! Now I know there are some who might say, “Yea we have heard this before.” I will tell you this: my position as one of the top sales people at Ronnie Watkins Ford brought home a good living! This was not for fame or money. It is what God laid on my heart, period. It makes no difference if anybody believes that or not as long as God and I have it worked out. I guess I learned that from my Dad, Mr. Jackie Wilburn.”

wilburn“Wilburn and Wilburn was not an over-night success, by no stretch of the imagination!” Jonathan continues, “I have been singing now since I was 12 years old. I remember our first National Quartet Convention in Nashville, Tennessee and hoping one day to be able to sing on that stage. Well after a lot of hard work over the years, God has blessed me with an opportunity to sing and travel with my son Jordan. We have had some great songs written by some of the best writers in Southern Gospel music. That is the key! Good songs with good music.”

God has taken Wilburn and Wilburn along a path of rich blessing. “We were signed by Daywind Records with an awesome support staff there, then a very highly-sought-after booking agent, Michael Davis at The Dominion Agency. We have a great producer in Ben Isaacs. We also have wonderful support from pastors, promoters and many others that have become our friends over the years. God has truly blessed our efforts. It has not all been easy. This is hard work keeping a ministry on the road. I have a whole new respect for my dad and Tim Riley!”

Jonathan shares what it has been like over the last three years. “Traveling with my son Jordan has already been a great trip. We travel about 120 dates a year. Some may ask, “Is that healthy for a father and son to be together that much?” Well, Jordan and I have a unique relationship. We have always been able to just be very truthful with one another and get passed stuff. That means a lot when traveling. It’s putting disagreements and problems in the rear view mirror. He is my son who is also my best friend. He has even become more special since he and his wife, Lauren, are expecting my first grandchild. We know it is a little girl. My, my, my, I am done. Stick a fork in me because I am going to spoil that kid to death! 

For the time being, Jonathan and Jordan travel light. “Right now it is just two men and a truck,” Jonathan laughs. “I am going to try to add a utility picker one day, but for now economics won’t allow us to hire anybody. I will not hire a musician unless I can take care of him. From time to time we have a dear friend from Georgia, Jim Cox, who helps us drive on the longer runs we are required to make.”

WilburnIt is obvious that Jonathan loves his current career and singing with his son. However, there is a part of him that is still is a quartet-man. He says if he could sing with anyone for just one performance, it would be in one of the most beloved quartets of all time. “I have a wide selection of groups that I have loved and listened to over the years, but if I could just pick one that I have never sung with it would be The Cathedrals; the era with Danny Funderburk, Gerald Wolfe, Mark Trammell, Glen Payne and George Younce!”

However, as this is a dream that won’t come to fruition until all the members reach Heaven, we had Jonathan pick out some singers that he would choose in order to increase his current duet into a quartet. His choices for bass vocalist would be either Gene McDonald or Aaron McCune. On tenor, he would pick Steve Ladd or Jay Parrack. “I believe these four guys to be some of the best artists not traveling with a group full-time in gospel music!”

Jonathan and Sandra Wilburn

Jonathan and Sandra Wilburn

With Christmas swiftly approaching, Wilburn and Wilburn turn their thoughts toward home and hearth. “Christmas is very special to all of my family,” says Jonathan. “This is going to be a very special one, though, because both of my children are married now and we will be together for the first time. We always go to my Mom’s, Elaine Wilburn’s, on Christmas Eve. It is a tradition that has been in our family for over 40 years. I have never missed a Christmas Eve night on Wilburn Lane in Carthage Tennessee. Family and friends from all walks of life gather at my Mom and Dad’s house to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Yes, we really celebrate. I ain’t talking people forced to be there. We get there early and stay late. Singing, testifying, eating, telling old stories and yes we love it! Just family and friends enjoying each other’s company. The love we share on this special night is awesome. It may be a little too “country” for some folks but we like it just the way it is. Sometimes there are just as many outside as there are inside!” Jonathan laughs. “We always have a tender Tennessee Christmas!”

With the end of the year in sight and a new one just around the corner, we asked Jonathan what his goals were for Wilburn and Wilburn in the coming months. “I hope and pray Wilburn and Wilburn will stay in the will of God in 2014. I am not sure where that will lead us, but we pray He gives us enough wisdom to pursue the things and set the goals that will bring Him honor and glory.”

Jonathan has always been open and vocal about his desire to see lost hearts come to know his Lord and Savior. His music with Jordan is all about ministry and reaching those who are hurting and alone. Therefore, it was no surprise to hear his favorite scripture and a little Wilburn preaching too. “Romans 10:13- For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!” Jonathan continues, “This scripture is not just speaking to the lost souls. When Jesus was on that boat, with His disciples, they thought everything was going to be fine as long as Jesus was just there. Well the storm came, the lightening flashed and the thunder rolled! They were in fear for their lives. Then one called out to the Master! Remember Romans 10:13. Jesus got up from his sleep, walked out on deck and just spoke: “Peace, be still” and the waves fell, the thunder and lightning ceased. We are seeking for Jesus and the peace He brings but very few are calling on His Name! I will tell you this: if you are not in a storm, you are headed for one or coming out of one. Remember Rom 10:13 and before you go under, just call on Him. He will see you through!”

jw-lIt’s good to see a family tradition of faith that lasts throughout generations. The kind of personal faith, like that of Jonathan Wilburn, is more than something inherited; it is the kind of spiritual change that is experienced deeply and daily. We are so thankful that Jonathan is continuing on the tradition of communicating that kind of faith to his generation and beyond.

By Lorraine Walker

First published by SGM Radio website  in December 2013

For current features on SGM Radio website, please visit http://www.sgmradio.com/


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In Depth With…Karen Peck Gooch

Written by Staff on October 9, 2014 – 11:27 am -


Karen Peck and New River

SGM Radio was thrilled to chat with the delightful Karen Peck Gooch, during our 2013 “In Depth With” series. We are excited to learn that Karen Peck and New River were the recipients of a Dove Award last night for their hit, “Revival.”

Karen Peck is well known to Gospel Music fans, having begun her singing career in 1981 with The LeFevres who then became known as The Nelons. Ten years later, Karen Peck and New River (KPNR) was born as Karen fulfilled a dream to travel full-time with her sister Susan. Today, Karen’s beautiful, soaring soprano voice is still joined by Susan’s melting alto vocals. The Peck sisters are joined by Jeff Hawes, who adds a rich lead/tenor that makes Karen Peck and New River an audience and radio favorite.

Karen Peck Gooch

Karen Peck Gooch

When asked to tell us something about each of the group’s members, Peck says: “Susan is loyal. Jeff is committed. Rickey is stable. Matthew is witty and smart. Kari is witty and organized. Trip is funny but is a great bus driver.” About herself, Karen says she has a “genuine love for people”. This love shows through Peck and her group, both onstage and off. The KPNR team has melded together to become a cohesive unit that continually strives to give their best. The trio has seen the fruit of their labors with several acknowledgments and nominations in Christian music awards.

Karen Peck and New River are multi-award winners with The Singing News and the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards. They have been nominated for Grammy Awards three times and many of their songs have reached number-one status on the Singing News radio charts.

Reach Out is the latest project for Karen Peck and New River, and the current single, “Sustaining Grace” is receiving a good response. Reach Out received two Dove Awards and has garnered at least two number-one songs at the time of this publication. The trio is in the process of recording a new album to be released this year. Karen also recently released her solo CD entitled How You Walk The Miles, to the delight of her many fans. Her lovely soprano is instantly recognizable and her passionate delivery makes each song an instant favorite.

With over 30 years in Gospel music, Karen Peck has sung hundreds of songs. However, “Four Days Late” is still her favorite song to perform because, she says, everyone can relate to the song. The Singing News proved the popularity of the song with the choice of “Four Days Late” as 2010’s Song Of The Decade.

Karen Peck seems to have accomplished so much in her illustrious career, but in the last couple of years she experienced something new: performing in the film “Joyful Noise” starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. “I had a wonderful experience filming this movie!” says Peck. “It was one highlight of my career. I walked away feeling very proud to be a Christian and meeting actors that proclaim His name! Right now, no plans have been made to do another movie but I’m waiting next to the phone!”

Karen Peck is not only an accomplished vocal artist and movie actress, but also has been honing her talent as a speaker. “I’ve done several ladies’ conferences,” says Peck.  “We do an annual conference in October at North Highland Baptist Church in Warrior, Alabama.” Peck speaks to the hearts’ of women through her experience as an artist, wife and mother. Karen and Ricky Gooch have two children, Matthew and Kari. When asked how she keeps her family strong, Karen replies, “By making sure that we live our lives to the best of our abilities for Jesus Christ.”

Karen Peck and New River performing at the Dove Awards. Photo Courtesy of Karen Peck and New River

Karen Peck and New River performing at the Dove Awards. Photo Courtesy of Karen Peck and New River

As a communicator and minister, Peck knows she needs to keep her own relationship with the Lord strong and vibrant. She does this through taking in all she can from Christian speakers and authors. “I love to read Christian books,” says Peck. “I also listen to Pastor Jentzen Franklin, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, T.D. Jakes and Johnny Hunt.” Bible study is also important and she says that one passage that has spoken to her personally is 1Corintians 10:13, which says, “God is faithful.”

Relying on God’s faithfulness in a new year is important for all of us, as we look ahead to what we hope to achieve. Peck says she has several personal goals for 2013. “ This year, more than ever, I want to draw closer to God,” says Peck. “To read His Word, and listen to His voice.”

Finally, we asked Karen what twitter-sized comment she would like our readers to remember about her. Karen laughs and replies, “I’m really not a blonde, I just act like one!”

For more information on Karen Peck and New River:

Website: http://www.karenpeckandnewriver.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/karen.p.gooch?fref=ts and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Peck-and-New-River/81762389595?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenpeckgooch

Written by Lorraine Walker

First published February 2013 by SGM Radio website. For current features, visit http://www.sgmradio.com/



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