Southern Gospel Weekend

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

SGN Scoops TV: The LeFevre Quartet on Singing at Sea

Written by Staff on February 26, 2015 – 11:30 am -

Once again our SGN Scoops’ reporter, Marcie Gray, shares a video from the Singing at Sea cruise. We hope you enjoy the LeFevre Quartet as they perform “Jesus Saves.”

Click on the picture below for the amazing vocal ministry of the LeFevre Quartet.


LeFevre Quartet


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SGN Scoops TV: Interviews from the Sea with the Erwins

Written by Staff on February 25, 2015 – 4:21 pm -

Marcie Gray, SGN Scoops intrepid roving reporter recently returned from the Singing at Sea Cruise where she was able to catch a few artists on the big boat.

Today, Marcie talks to popular young group, The Erwins. Click on the picture to watch! For more artist features, visit

erwins cover

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November 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on November 15, 2014 – 7:14 am -

November 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

November 2014 SGNScoops Magazine

It’s November and we are thrilled to present the latest edition of SGNScoops for you to read and enjoy. Creekside Gospel Music Convention was a blast and we have lots of pictorial coverage in these pages, as well as on the fabulous front cover. Inside we have an update on the event with a list of the Diamond Award winners and so much more. We say an extra thank you to all of those who went above and beyond to help make Creekside the best ever. If we were to make a list, we might leave someone out, so to each and every one of you: we are so grateful to have you as part of our team.

Thanks to our artists for brightening our pages this month! Featured guests for November are: Soul’d Out, Tim Parton, Melanie Walker, the LeFevre Quartet, Triumphant, Hannah Webb, Canaan’s Crossing, Sherry Anne, the Jordan Family, Quinton Mills and DJ Ron Foster.

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and you will find several articles with different views on this holiday. We appreciate all of our artists for contributing what they are thankful for and also their favorite holiday food!
Our monthly devotional writers are back with more insights, as well as a new column entitled “Pastor’s Corner”. This month we welcome Music Pastor, Terry Snyder.
Since this is the month of giving thanks, we would like to thank all of our current authors that spend so much of their time and talents on SGN Scoops. Special thanks to Candi Combs, Chris Clay, Craig Harris, Dan Duncan, Dean Adkins, Dixie Phillips, Erin Stevens, Hannah Webb, Jennifer Campbell, Laura Kennedy, Lynn Mills, Marcie Gray, Paige Givens, Scott Rhoades, Tina Wakefield, Robert York, Sandi Duncan Clark and Vonda Easley. There are others who contribute in other ways and we are thankful to you as well: Vivian Belknap, Michelle Drummond and Bev Byrd.
We so appreciate all of our columnists, including Lou Wills Hildreth, David Staton, Laurette Willis, Jeff Steele, Kelly Nelon Clark and Sherry Anne.
SGN Scoops would look really dull without the artistic team of Stephanie Kelley and Staci and Pete Schwager. Joan Walker makes sure all of our i’s are dotted and our t’s are crossed. Lorraine Walker as acting editor pulls it all together. And of course, SGN Scoops’ Publisher Rob Patz keeps us all focused and enthusiastic about the future of the magazine. And SGN Scoops would not exist without our founder, Dr. Allen Smith.
Above all we give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, for Whom we give our gifts and to Whom we give all praise and thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Chuck Wagon Gang: A Steadfast Message Leaves a Legacy of Hope

Written by Staff on September 16, 2014 – 8:38 am -

Chuckwagon Gang

Chuckwagon Gang

By Marcie Gray

We celebrate such a rich musical heritage and the legacy lives on through those working hard to keep it alive. I can just picture heaven lined with Cracker Barrel rocking chairs filled with the legendary folks who gave us these memories, sipping sweet tea and telling stories. It’s up to this generation to carry on that sweet Southern musical legacy, and to leave our children with unforgettable stories to tell of the music that moved their hearts and the groups that brought it to them.

The Chuck Wagon Gang is one of the legendary groups still carrying on and making more memories. With 78 years of ministry behind them, they are honored to be a part of keeping the rich heritage alive.

chuckwagon 2 The Chuck Wagon Gang was formed in 1935 by D.P. Carter and son, Jim (Ernest), along with daughters, Rose (Lola) and Anna (Effie). The Carters were cotton farmers, who migrated from place to place to harvest, so they were no strangers to travel. They found themselves in Lubbock, Texas with a very sick child and no means to pay for medicine. Dave Carter and two of his children, Lola and Ernest went to KFYO radio station seeking employment on radio, hoping to buy medicine for Effie. They were hired, Effie recovered quickly and joined them and the Carter Quartet radio career was born.

After receiving overwhelming radio response, Mr. Carter decided to move the family to Fort Worth, Texas, where they were hired by WBAP and instantly became Bewley’s Chuck Wagon Gang. Bewley Mills flour company sent the group on location advertising flour. Hot biscuits were served at each venue. For simplicity’s sake, their individual names were changed, as well, to D.P. (Dad), Anna (Effie), Rose (Lola) and Jim (Ernest). Their repertoire consisted of ballads, folk, western, popular songs of the day and one hymn or gospel song each day. After recording a combination of gospel and country music, the decision was made to record only gospel music, because of the popularity of the gospel songs. Before long, The Chuck Wagon Gang was under contract with Columbia Records, fostering a thirty nine-year relationship during which they recorded 408 known masters.

chuck wagonDuring their 15 years doing radio programs, The Chuck Wagon Gang was reluctant to travel far from home. They eventually accepted two dates, in Atlanta and Augusta, with the late promoter Wally Fowler, for his “All-Nite Singings.” Eventually, they would travel to Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, The Grand Ole Opry and many other notable locations.

Howard Gordon, Anna’s husband, joined The Gang playing acoustic guitar from 1930’s until 1954, then electric guitar until his death in 1967. Most of the groups like the LeFevres, Blackwoods and Statesmen used pianos, but The Gang kept the guitar. Harold Timmons played piano for The Gang in the 1980’s through early 90’s, for nine or 10 years. He was the first and last piano player and though he no longer travels with them, he is their Historian and Marketing Director.

With eight decades behind them, 49 members leaving a legacy and over 40 million records sold, The Chuck Wagon gang has certainly seen the changes in technology and the times, but the original style and sound and, most importantly, the message of their music remains unchanged.

The current Chuck Wagon Gang members are: Shaye Smith, granddaughter of the Gang’s original alto, Anna Carter Gordon Davis, who was married to Howard Gordon, the group’s guitarist for many years. Shaye sings alto and is the group’s owner/manager. She originally joined the group in 1993 as the soprano and sang until the Wagon was parked in 1996. In 1999, she helped get the group back on the road. Julie Hudson sings soprano for the Gang. Stan Hill sings tenor. Singing bass and playing guitar is Jeremy Stephens.

The Chuck Wagon Gang sings approximately 200 dates per year. They have recorded over 900 songs. When I asked Shaye if she knew most of them, she chuckled and replied, “Oh, no! We’ve got songbooks that have most of the songs in them. At our concerts, we take requests and even if we kind of know the song, we try it. Sometimes it’s a train wreck. I think the crowd loves it when we mess up. We probably know 150 that we can do well. Just to think that there’s another six or seven hundred left that we don’t know is mind-boggling.”

CDTheBestA little over a year ago, The Chuck Wagon Gang got involved with Marty Stuart. Marty is a champion of old Bluegrass, Western songs and old Gospel. He is a huge fan of The Gang and was thrilled to learn that they are still out on the road. They met in Nashville through a mutual friend, Eddie Stubbs. Marty wrote some songs for The Gang and produced an album that will be coming out in September. “We’re working with him and working on a documentary,” said Shaye. “This documentary and the Bear Family Box Sets bring back the complete works of Johnny Cash, Connie Smith, Jimmy Rogers, Ray Price, Earnest Tubb, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and The Gang.”

Shaye continued, “I was so excited when I found out about that and we have been digging and finding out all of these pictures and discovering that we were mistaken about certain facts. It’s been amazing as we’ve found all of these facts. It has taught us that The Gang has never really been a Southern Gospel group. In the 30’s they were on Columbia.   Some of the legends who shared the Columbia label were Country legends Ray Price, Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash, Carl Smith and Hank Snow, just to name a few. When those people became stars in the 40’s and 50’s, The Gang had already been on the label for 20 years and these people looked up to The Gang.”

“They did what’s called package shows. The Gang would appear on The Grand Ole Opry with Roy Acuff and country stars of the time. They would do concerts with Statesmen, Blackwoods, The Speer Family, but they would be the Country Gospel act on these shows. Marty wants to educate people on who The Gang really is. The Gang has been influenced by Country stars such as Ronny Milsap, Bill Anderson and George Jones. It’s really humbling to me to know that those same stars listened to The Chuck Wagon Gang years ago.”

“We are hoping for a September release for this documentary. The Bear Set will be coming out almost simultaneously and will include seven CD’s with 25 years of songs going back to the 1930’s.”

The Chuck Wagon Gang recently had an incredible experience. They were booked in Quinnehock, Alaska. The Eskimos flew them out there for three days to sing. They arrived in a little tiny fishing village on the Bering Sea, 80 miles from Russia. There were no roads and the town had only had running water for six months. There were 600-800 Eskimos both nights. It was hard to imagine where they all came from! Bethel is the biggest next village, then Anchorage. “That was the first time The Gang has been to Alaska,” said Shaye.

“Marty told us, ‘You take a camera out there and film those Eskimos.’ I asked them, ‘Why The Gang… why us?’ They told us that in the 50’s when the Meridian Missionaries made their way from Bethel across the tundra, they brought Chuck Wagon Gang records with them and introduced them to the Eskimos and now, they are Gang fanatics. We flew in on a little bitty plane and landed on a gravel airstrip in the middle of nowhere. We were surrounded by beautiful mountains and were just in awe. When we got off the plane, there were all these Eskimos there and every one of them had a cell phone filming us getting out of the plane. They made you feel like celebrities.”

chuck“It was unseasonably warm and there was not much snow. It was in the 30’s and 40’s, so cold to us, but not to them. They are used to it being in the teens and 20’s. Some of them were singing Chuck Wagon Gang songs in Yipik (their native tongue). We recorded it on video so we could include it in the documentary. God is laying all of this in place. We couldn’t orchestrate all of this in the right timing. It was an incredible experience and we look forward to returning.”

The best selling CD for The Gang is called Timeless Hymns. The songs were chosen from a list emailed to them by their fans. Their Timeless Hymns – Volume 2 CD was recently released. In September, their newest project, The Chuck Wagon Gang Sings the Songs of Marty Stuart, will be released.

When asked what is the one song that moves their audience most powerfully, Shaye shared that the new project, Hymns Volume 2, has a song on it called “I Must Tell Jesus.” “Julie sings it and every time, you just watch the response and you can tell that it blesses people. She shares about singing it with her family… that was one that she sang with her mom and dad and she talks about all the things that go on in our lives and we think nobody understands, but you can always tell Jesus… you must tell Him.”

Shaye shared that she is still inspired by the sweet harmony of Rose and Anna, the foundational female voices of The Chuck Wagon Gang. Rose’s piercing soprano voice and Anna’s chocolaty alto voice were the distinction of The Gang. The strum of the guitar and those voices were two things set them apart.

The Chuck Wagon Gang currently records under the New Haven label and is booked by Jubilee Agency. You can read more about The Chuck Wagon Gang at:

The history of our Southern Gospel heritage is richer than most of us realize. It’s up to us to keep it alive, and groups like The Chuck Wagon Gang are doing a wonderful job of sharing the gospel using the same message their ancestors did over 70 years ago. That message remains steadfast, and so do those who are called to share it. Thank you, Shaye and Harold, for taking the time to share your memories with SGN Scoops, and for your dedication to keeping the legacy alive!

Written by Marcie Gray.

First published by SGN Scoops in August 2014.

For current SGN Scoops issues please visit


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Southern Gospel Music Association’s Hall Of Fame

Written by Staff on August 19, 2014 – 10:38 am -

Hall of Fame SignBy Marcie Gray Imagine walking down a hallway filled with familiar faces and voices, some of whom you have listened to since you were a small child, some whom you have met, and perhaps, a few you may be privileged to call friends or family! Just inside the gates of The Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee lies a journey through the history of Southern Gospel music, just waiting to be explored. Quartet SingingEstablished in 1994, and opening its Hall of Fame and Museum doors in 1999, the Southern Gospel Music Association (SGMA) is a professional preservation association of artists, songwriters, industry workers and fans, founded to preserve, protect and promote Southern Gospel Music, its history and heritage. The artists within have dedicated their ministries to delivering a message built around biblical truths and spiritual values, and what a legacy they have left and are still leaving! It’s like homecoming week every time I walk through the SGMA Hall of Fame. As I enter the doorway, the first thing that catches my eye is a shaped note typewriter, surrounded by various song books and a chalk board with a music staff on it. Originally, Southern Gospel music was sung by quartets, many who used songbooks with notes identified by their shape. Lou Hildreth PlaqueThe tour continues as I sit in a church pew and listen to an animatronic quartet singing “Give the World a Smile.” There is literally something to look at in every corner as I wander through the museum. A collection of vinyl records, a replica of The Blackwood Brothers’ bus, instruments and clothing from legendary artists and collectibles, each having a story of their own to tell, are displayed throughout the museum. The centerpiece of the museum is the Hall of Fame, where bronzed plaques of legendary faces line the corridor. One hundred and fifty-five faces grace the walls of the corridor. Each individual who is inducted is honored with a plaque that bears their picture and a list of achievements in the Southern Gospel industry. Danny Jones, Editor of The Singing News and Executive Director of the SGMA shares, “The Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame is the home to more than 3,000 Southern Gospel artifacts, not to mention a place where 155 members of the Southern Gospel community are honored. Earlier this year, as we were getting the museum ready for Dollywood’s opening day, I cleaned all 155 of those 40-pound bronze plaques that hang in the Hall of Fame. It was impossible not to re-read what each plaque said and truthfully, the memories of many of those special people came flooding back to me. It almost like I could talk to George, Glen, Jake, Rex, Brock, J.G. Anthony, Roger, J.D. —and more—again. Suddenly they didn’t feel so far away now that they’ve gone on to their eternal reward. Hall of Fame Wall 2“As I cleaned each plaque I was reminded of how each of those men and women are on the Hall of Fame roster shaped this thing called Southern Gospel Music. Long-time fans need to come to the Hall of Fame and just relive those days. New fans need to come to the Hall of Fame and learn about those made Southern Gospel Music what it is today. It’s more than a roomful of plaques–it’s a roomful of incredible memories.” One of our own SGN Scoops contributors and one of those who have helped shape Southern Gospel Music, Lou Wills Hildreth, was inducted into the SGMA Hall of Fame in 2007. Golden Age of QuartetsIn early February of this year, SGMA President Arthur Rice was minding his own business in Florida, preparing to board a cruise ship with The Kingdom Heirs when his cell phone rang. On the other end one of Dollywood’s fine maintenance men was calling to let Arthur know that a water pipe had burst inside the Hall of Fame and was spewing water throughout the building. Though the water flow was stemmed before any harm could be done to any of the artifacts housed there, substantial facility damage requiring significant repair work was experienced. In the ensuing days, the Dollywood maintenance and construction teams worked diligently to return the Hall of Fame and Museum to its “pre-flood” condition in time for the 2014 opening day festivities. Early QuartetsWe recently talked to Travis Bridgeman of the Advisory Board of the SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum. “In September 2013, I was elected to the Advisory Board,” says Travis Bridgeman. “I had the privilege to walk on the red carpet during SGMA Day at Dollywood for the 2013 Hall of Fame Induction. I am an administrator for the SGMA Facebook and Twitter pages. I post news and facts about the Hall of Fame, as well as recognize the birthdays and anniversaries of the deaths of Hall of Fame members. As a member of the advisory board, I also make recommendations to the executive board to help them with policy and promotion.” Bridgeman continues, “Our theme for this year is Raising the Awareness, which is our campaign to make Southern Gospel music fans and artists aware of the contributions of the Hall of Fame members and how they can keep their memory and our music alive. The SGMA operates the Hall of Fame and Museum from the support of its membership. It is important to join the SGMA to help us preserve the heritage of Southern Gospel music for the generations that have no first-hand knowledge of the pioneers of our music. Each month, over 30,000 people visit Dollywood and have an opportunity to walk inside the only brick-and-mortar museum paying tribute to our legacy and the genre of Southern Gospel music. It is the living link to our past, and stands as an example of the excellence we should strive for today.” Roots of SGThe SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum welcomes more than one million visitors annually to read and observe displays and memorabilia from a century of gospel music. Thousands of items from some of the greatest singers, writers and musicians are displayed. The facility includes a gift shop, which carries one of the country’s largest Southern gospel music selections. The SGMA also specializes in vintage and difficult-to-find Southern gospel music products. The SGMA current membership ranks in the thousands with members from almost every state and several foreign countries. Members come from all walks of life joined by a love for the music, an appreciation for the positive, uplifting lyrics and the music’s central message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The artists in this industry have traveled thousands of miles, often through adverse conditions, to entertain, minister and create a musical genre for which the SGMA is committed to preserving. In 2014, inductions will be conducted during the week of the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Some of the inductions will take place during the nightly NQC programming while other inductions will take place during the Singing News Fan Awards. These inductions are included at no extra cost in your NQC admission. SGMA StoreIf you have not yet visited the SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum, a wonderful time to do so would be during Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel And Harvest Celebration, which takes place from September 22, 2014 through November 1, 2014. During those six weeks of wonderful Southern Gospel music, there are opportunities to see your favorite artists in concert, all included in the price of your Dollywood ticket! Visit to view the schedule of artist appearances. Blackwood Brothers Bus (1)You can be an important part of helping the SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum to preserve the rich heritage of Southern Gospel music we all love. Visit to find out how you can join the SGMA family. Annual membership is $20, and a lifetime membership can be received for a gift of $1,000. You can also contact the SGMA at (865) 908-4040. From all of us whose hearts are touched by Southern Gospel music and the history that has shaped it into what it is today, we want to say “Thank you” to the SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum Directors and staff. Thanks to your efforts, the legacy of those who came before us will be remembered for generations to come. Photographs and Written by Marcie Gray First Published July 2014 in SGN Scoops digital magazine. For the current issue of SGN Scoops, visit the SGN Scoops website at

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