The Williamsons


Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Old Paths Quartet Announce New Pianist

Written by Staff on September 20, 2014 – 12:33 pm -

Josh Townsend Press Release PhotoThe Old Paths Quartet are thrilled to officially announce Josh Townsend as their pianist.

Josh previously had been flying from his home in Dallas Texas to play select dates, but after he and his mother made the move to Atlanta Georgia, he accepted the position on a full time basis.

At the age of 16, Josh is not only a prodigy at his gift but is a testimony to the Lord’s healing power and touch on his life. Shortly after birth, doctors informed his family that Josh had suffered a devastating stroke which would impact his ability to walk and speak correctly. The doctors said Josh would never be able to fully use his left hand, but today Josh is doing more than just proving the doctors wrong, he is using both hands to glorify God with the gift of music.

Be sure to come by and visit us at our booth at NQC to meet Josh and see the rest of the guys!

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Wanted: Your NQC Memories!

Written by Staff on September 20, 2014 – 12:28 pm -

Mainstage NQC editThe National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge is approaching quickly. Soon the town will be filled with artist buses and fans as the massive event opens on September 21.  From Sunday, September 21 to Saturday, September 27, Pigeon Forge will echo with the sounds of Gospel music as they host the NQC for the very first time.


Do you remember the first Louisville NQC? How about the last Nashville NQC? Do you remember when it was in Memphis? Do you have memories of great performances by JD Sumner, George Younce, Glen Payne, The Happy Goodmans or The Blackwood Brothers? Who did you see in the Exhibit Hall and talk to for the very first time? Whose autograph did you get and which of your favorite artists did you see there for the very last time?


SGN Scoops wants to hear YOUR memories. Please send us your memories and your pictures and we will post them in a special series during the week of NQC.


Let us hear from you today! Please send your NQC memories and pictures to


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WATC To Cover 2014 Creekside Gospel Music Convention And Diamond Awards

Written by Staff on September 19, 2014 – 1:45 pm -

2014 creekside largePigeon Forge, TN.(September 19, 2014) – WATC Television out of Atlanta, Georgia, has announced they will be covering the SGNScoops’ 2014 Creekside Gospel Music Convention and   Diamond Awards Celebration at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on November 3rd and 4th. The television station, which also streams their programs on the web, will be at the Smokey Mountain Convention Center to record the Monday night presentation, “Lou Hildreth Honors Willie Wynn” as well as Tuesday night’s Diamond Award celebration, the event to honor Gospel music’s finest artists as chosen by the readers of SGNScoops digital magazine. Many of these special moments will be shown on a TV Special and viewed online at at a later date to be announced.


watc_web_adCoastal Media Group is hosting the Creekside Gospel Music Convention, which takes place from the 3rd through the 6th. As well the special events mentioned above, the Convention includes daily Chapel services, specialty showcases and evening concerts.


Patricia Mathis, Vice President of WATC TV, Atlanta’s TV 57, is looking forward to returning to Pigeon Forge. “It’s exciting to once again be a part of the Creekside Gospel Music Convention and for being able to share this with the viewers of WATC TV in Atlanta,” says Mathis. “While it is nothing like being in the audience at Creekside, we are glad that we can bring a little part of Creekside and the great gospel music being performed there to our audience. Creekside just keeps getting bigger and better ever year!”


Rob Patz, CEO of Coastal Media Group and publisher of SGNScoops commented, “We are grateful to Patricia and WATC for their professionalism, experience and dedication in airing quality Gospel music programs. We are thrilled that they are returning to Creekside and we are glad to be able to share some of Creekside with fans across the nation and the world by television and internet.”


About WATC TV: WATC TV provides Atlanta with a mix of family, Christian and educational programming. It is known to viewers as the home of Atlanta Live and is seen over the air throughout the metro Atlanta market and also in over one million cable and satellite homes. WATC is the home of many original series and has been honored with numerous Angel and Telly Awards, as well as receiving it first EMMY in 2010. The station’s programming can be seen around the world via video streaming located on the WATC website at


About Creekside Gospel Music Convention: Creekside Gospel Music Convention will be held at the Smokey Mountain Convention Center, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee from November 3rd through 6th, 2014. The CGMC is presented by SGN Scoops and Coastal Media Group at Pigeon Forge and is the home of The Diamond Awards and other special events. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance at . For more information on Creekside Gospel Music Convention visit



About SGNScoops: SGNScoops Digital is a fully-downloadable monthly magazine that exists to promote the gospel by unveiling what is intriguing and real about Southern Gospel and Christian Country music. SGNScoops offers music news and views as well as concert and book reviews, inspirational articles and features reaching beyond our gospel music world. For more information:


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If you’d like more information about the Creekside Gospel Music Convention, The Diamond Awards or SGNScoops, or to schedule an interview with Rob Patz, please contact Rob Patz at 360.933.0741 or e-mail Rob at


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The Dominion Agency Welcomes Music Duo, Zane and Donna King

Written by Staff on September 19, 2014 – 10:41 am -

zane and donnaWaynesville, NC (September 19, 2014) – Michael Davis & Associates is thrilled to welcome the highly acclaimed music duo, Zane And Donna King, to the Dominion Agency.  The couple inked an exclusive booking agreement with the agency today.
Zane and Donna have been working in the music industry full-time, collectively, for 40 years.  Between the two of them, they’ve produced upwards of 400 albums, launched countless careers for some of today’s top Gospel music acts, and celebrated numerous hit songs as songwriters.  Zane owned a record label, Journey Records, which was home to many accomplished artists.  Donna toured for years with one of Christian music’s top Gospel music trios, Hope’s Call.  It seems only fitting that the couple combine their musical gifts and share them, together, with audiences in churches and concert halls wherever God opens the doors.
Michael Davis, president and CEO of Michael Davis & Associates shares, “Two of the most talented people I know are Zane and Donna King.  This dynamic duo will bless you to pieces.  I am very excited they have chosen to take their music ministry on the road and look forward to representing them as their booking agent.”
Their exclusive agreement with the Dominion Agency will be the vehicle by which churches, fans, and event goers can experience, not only the impeccable talent of the duo, but, most importantly, their heart for GOD and their deep love for people.  Donna will also be available for limited solo appearances, including womens’ events, both speaking and singing.
“Many folks know, in addition to making music with my precious wife,  Donna, I am blessed to work fulltime for Compassion International,” expresses Zane. He continues, “I have learned, first hand, that there are many forms of poverty on this mighty big planet. Those in extreme physical poverty are often the most grateful people you’ll ever meet.  One of the most devestating forms of poverty is to have a wealth of possessions while, at the same time, starving spiritually.  My wife and I feel blessed to have an opportunity to offer the hope of Christ, through music, to a hurting world.  We want to help make people smile, breathe, laugh a little, tap their toe, and, most of all, come to decisions that will make their lives richer.”  Zane concludes, “A rich life is not one that contains a large bank account.  It’s found in simply knowing the grace of God and walking closely with Him.”
The duo has already experienced a remarkable response to their music.  Recent radio hits “Hallelujah, Jesus Saves” and “SHINE” both landed in the Top 15 on the Singing News Top 80 charts over the past year.  And, both songs were co-written by Donna.
Their newest single, heading to radio next week, is entitled “No One Like God.”  And that is the message they look forward to expressing to the world.  Donna states, “Truly, there is “NO ONE LIKE GOD.  What a privilege to point others to His love.”
To find out more about hosting Zane and Donna King at your church, conference, or concert event, contact Michael Davis at the Dominion Agency.  You can do so through the website,, or by calling 828-454-5900.
To learn more about all of the artists who call the Dominion Agency and Michael Davis & Associates home, visit
To learn more about Zane and Donna King visit
Like them on Facebook at
Follow Donna on Twitter @mrsdonnaking.
You can also visit Donna’s website.  (She is available for limited speaking and singing events, including women’s events and music teaching events).  That website is
If you would like to learn more about a ministry that is near and dear to Zane and Donna, Compassion International, visit
The following companies make up the family of stellar talent agencies of Michael Davis & Associates-
* Dominion Agency
* Adoration Agency
* Mountain Top Talent
* Blue Ridge Artist Agency
Editor’s Note: More information on Donna King can be found in the latest edition of SGN Scoops in the Rob Patz’ feature, What America Wants To Know About Donna King. Read SGN Scoops September edition here:

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High Road III, Freemans, Triumphant Featured on Harmony Road TV

Written by Staff on September 19, 2014 – 10:16 am -

Program Also Includes Brian Free and Assurance,  
Woody Wright and Friends
highroadiiiSignal Mountain, TN  September 19, 2014    This week’s Harmony Road TV program, features styles ranging from concept videos from new and established artists to classic quartet performances.  Included are the touching video “Lead me Home” featuring Darrell Freeman, High Road III and their popular “Angel at the Crossroads”, and Willie Wynn, Woody Wright and friends with the classic “Jesus is Coming Soon”.   Two top quartets, Triumphant and Brian Free and Assurance are also included.
Hosted by Les Butler, this week’s episode originates from the Family Room Studios in Gallatin, Tennessee.   The Family Room has been home to gospel music’s top artists and has produced many memorable hits.  Robb Tripp and the staff at the Family Room welcomed the Harmony Road crew and provided a great setting for this week’s program.
Harmony Road is a weekly Southern Gospel TV program featuring the best in Southern Gospel music and video. Through its family of networks, cable systems  local television stations, DirecTV, mobile app and ROKU, Harmony Road is now available to over 85 million homes, making gospel music and its message available to people across the country on a range of secular and Christian outlets.  The program is also streamed online from multiple locations.
Harmony Road

Harmony Road

Harmony Road can be found each week on The Heartland Network Sundaymornings at 8:00 Eastern as well as Saturday afternoons on WATC57 in Atlanta and WGNM in Macon. You can also find Harmony Road on Saturday evenings onWBYU in Columbus, GA and the NRB Network Saturday evenings at 8:30(including DirecTV, ROKU, online streaming and a mobile app).  In addition the program is aired on the WALKtv network, WMJN29 in North Alabama and  TV24 in Northeast Alabama, Charter cable in multiple cities across Tennessee and more. For more information on these and other affiliates, viewers can

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CATHEDRALS FAMILY REUNION makes an appearance at NQC!!!

Written by Staff on September 18, 2014 – 4:02 pm -

catsSaturday Morning Matinee!!!
The Cathedral Quartet was the most loved and most popular Gospel Quartet of their generation. Their legacy continues with some of today’s most popular Gospel Artists.
Cathedral Quartet Alumni know they have something special in common…they are part of what Glen Payne and George Younce called the “Cathedral Family.”
Scott Fowler, Danny Funderburk, Ernie Haase, Mark Trammell, and Gerald Wolfe traveled with the Cathedrals during the height of the Cathedrals’ popularity. Now, for the first time in almost two decades, these Artists come together for an unforgettable event, reliving the music and memories from the “Golden Age” of the Cathedrals.
We are so pleased to announce that we have been invited to showcase the highlights of the Cathedrals Family Reunion during the week at NQC! This 90-minute showcase on SaturdayMorning Sept 27th will be filled with your Cathedral Qt favorites as well as many laughs, tears and memorible moments that you will NEVER forget!
Visit the Cathedrals Family Reunion website for more information about the new Cathedrals Family Reunion and see pictures from past events! Click here to visit www.CathedralsFamilyReunion!
*To purchase a ticket by phone call 800.846.8499 and HIT OPTION 1
OR, To purchase online, CLICK HERE!

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Candi’s Catch Up: The Nelons In Concert

Written by Staff on September 18, 2014 – 12:05 pm -

2014-09-13 18.27.11            The Blue Ridge Mountains were recently filled with the melodious sounds of one of Southern Gospel’s most talented families! The Nelons were guests of Crossroads Baptist Church in Fishersville, Virginia. After an introduction from Melody Vaughn of Joy FM’s Morning Joy Ride, The Nelons took the stage with Jason, Kelly, Amber and Autumn.

Getting the crowd engaged right from the start, The Nelons opened with a Gaither classic, “I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted” and then went right into “We Shall Wear A Crown”. The classics continued with “And I Know, Yes I Know”.

2014-09-13 19.56.44   The Nelon’s most requested song was performed next, bringing everyone into a spirit of worship. Kelly Nelon has sung, “O For a Thousand Tongues To Sing” for many years, yet it always moves the heart.

Kelly Nelon is the daughter of the quintessential Gospel icon, the late Rex Nelon. Rex brought Southern Gospel into the hearts of thousands. As Kelly shared her heart regarding the legacy that Rex brought, his granddaughter, Autumn, stepped to the microphone to sing a song dedicated to his memory, “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ole Days.” Autumn has become quite an accomplished mandolin player which she played while Jason Clark backed her on an acoustic guitar. The music world needs to take notice; this young lady is the real deal. Her vocal range is wide and strong. It is refreshing to watch her as she is standing on the threshold of breaking wide open.

Fresh out of the studio is the Nelons’ latest project, “Hymns, The A Capella Sessions”. The Nelons’ tight family harmony was best demonstrated in Jason’s arrangement of “The Hallelujah Chorus”. With precise vocal artistry, they raised the roof to this precious song for the ages.

2014-09-13 18.24.25  The award winning music video featuring Jason, “Excuse Me, Are you Jesus?” was performed while telling the story of a man hurrying through an airport when he disrupts an apple cart vendor operated by a visually impaired woman. The anxious passenger misses his gate call in order to restore the cart. There is great imagery in the video of how God restores our dismantled lives.

The next set began with “He’s More Than Wonderful” which featured the Nelons’ special four-part harmony. Joining the Nelons on stage was Crossroads’ Pastor who joined in with, “We’re Going Home To Jesus”. The entire house was standing and clapping to this crowd favorite.

2014-09-13 18.25.50 The group also sang, “Keep On the Firing Line,” performed to Jason’s arrangement using only vocals and including a chorus of “Onward Christian Soldier”.   With a twist on vocals and the powerful voices of each Nelon, this song featured multiple key changes, which they performed with amazing accuracy.

Several years ago, Jason penned an arrangement especially for a very young Autumn. Even as a senior in high school, Autumn delivered “I Choose To Live” with complete confidence. This young Nelon is rising with a style unique to her own talents.

2014-09-13 18.26.00The program varied in a way that kept the audience entertained. Jason, Autumn and Amber began bringing the evening to a focus on salvation with “Blessed Assurance”. Kelly took over with “Settled At the Cross”. Amber, with perhaps the purest vocals in music today, then took center stage with “I Stand Amazed In the Presence”. Jason contributed on the acoustic guitar as Amber joined in with her mandolin. The group concluded their concert with an emphasis on prayer.

After loading the bus following the concert, the Nelons shared a meal at a nearby restaurant. Somehow Jason got word that the woman taking payment for the meal was disappointed that she was unable to attend the concert due to her work schedule. Always ready to minister, the Nelons sang a song of encouragement for her benefit and to the thrill of the entire crowd gathered around.

2014-09-13 18.34.02Always prepared to share their faith anytime, and anywhere, the Nelons touched many on this night in Virginia! Check out their itinerary and enjoy a live concert by visiting .




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Artist to Artist with Miles Pike and Buddy Greene

Written by Staff on September 18, 2014 – 11:13 am -

Buddy Greene

Buddy Greene






















It was on a Gaither video about eighteen years ago that I first saw the face of Buddy Greene and heard his finesse on a harmonica. I never forgot that, and now Buddy’s CDs are some of the most listened to in my music collection. His messages strike a wonderful balance between encouraging and admonishing as he exhorts believers on to good works and to remember their first love. The Church needs more music like his that spurs us onward and upward. His presentation is always far above par and it is obvious that he feels great responsibility in putting his best foot forward to make the Gospel musically appealing to his audience.

I’ve attended several Buddy Greene concerts in my life and I’ve always left blown away by his talent and lifted up by the Spirit that I felt there. Check out his website to find out when he’ll be coming your way, “Like” him on Facebook, join his mailing list, get his music, and much more at!


Miles: You obviously have a broad taste in music and because of that, someone listening to your CDs or attending your concerts never gets bored. So, if we were to see Buddy Greene just sitting around listening to music, what artists would we be likely to hear playing in the background?

Buddy: You might hear some Doc Watson, or something instrumental like old time or Celtic fiddle music, or something classic like Stevie Wonder (i.e. Songs in the Key of Life) or the Beatles or Paul Simon. I really enjoy Fernando Ortega, Andrew Peterson, Andy Gullahorn, Sara Groves.  Sometimes I’ll pull out some old country like George Jones or Jerry Reed. A couple of weeks ago I was cleaning up the office and put in Beethoven’s 9th.  You’re right – it’s all over the map!


happyMan300Miles: What pastimes do you really enjoy outside of concerts and studio work? And if you hadn’t made it in the field of music, what do you think you would have found yourself doing today?

Buddy:  I enjoy running and golf, especially solitary golf.  Both of these pastimes allow me time to myself and to exercise, which I’m never getting enough of on the road.

I think I would have enjoyed teaching, which I get to do from time to time in ways related to my work (songwriting, harmonica workshops, etc…).


Miles: I know with my concerts and traveling, I could not begin to do it without the support and love of my wife, Martha. There is an amazing amount of teamwork needed and sacrifices made in order to successfully travel on the road full-time. Tell us about your wife Vicki and about your family.

Buddy GreeneBuddy:  Vicki and I have been married 30 years and we have two grown daughters, one who is married and the other in college.  Vicki has been the ideal mate.  I think, because of the way she sets priorities, especially when it comes to our home, community, and raising our girls, I’ve been less inclined to get caught up in my preoccupations, i.e. music, career. In other words, because of her example, I’ve worked harder to be more present as a husband and father.


Miles: Who is your favorite songwriter? And my wife wanted me to ask who your favorite author is. What’s a book that you just couldn’t put down? And what’s your favorite song that you have written and why?

Bill Gaither, Buddy Greene, Gloria Gaither

Bill Gaither, Buddy Greene, Gloria Gaither

Buddy:  I have so many favorite songwriters it’s hard to just name one, so here’s a few: Lennon and McCartney, Jimmy Webb, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  I love great melody writers like Mancini, Bacharach, McCartney, Jimmy Webb.  From the list you could probably tell I’m amazed at songs like Wichita Lineman, Eleanor Rigby, and Alfie.

When it comes to non-fiction writing, I’m a big fan of C.S. Lewis, Eugene Peterson, N.T. Wright.  I love the writing of Wendell Berry, both fiction and non-fiction.  His Jayber Crow really grabbed me.  I also love Flannery O’Connor’s short stories.  I really don’t spend much time with contemporary fiction, although I know I’m missing a lot of great stuff.  I have a list of old books that I’ll never finish, so they’re the ones I reach for first.

Well I like “Mary, Did You Know” for obvious reasons, it being the most popular thing by far that I’ve ever written (thank you, Mark).  But I also think it’s a really good marriage of melody and lyric.  Also in that category I would put “I Don’t Belong” and “O The Precious Blood of Jesus”, both written with Gloria Gaither.  “Grace For The Moment”, written with Tricia Walker, because it’s reminded a lot of people in rough circumstances that God’s grace is always sufficient.  There are a few I never get tired of performing, like “Recovering Pharisee.”  And then there are some that were written and recorded and hardly ever get performed for various reasons like “Man Against Man” or “Kingdom Hymn”.


buddy greene oneMiles: As long as you’ve been on the road and in music, I’m sure you have more stories to tell than could fit into a set of encyclopedias. Tell us one of those funny moments. Also, what has been the greatest challenge you have faced as an artist and minister of the Gospel?

Buddy:  I have many that are unprintable.  Seems like the best ones always include some sort embarrassment.  I once was the opening act for an attack dog. On another occasion, an insect dive-bombed up my nose during mid-song.

I think the John the Baptist axiom “I must decrease that He may increase,” is probably as hard a thing there is to keep in mind for a people who work in platform ministry. It’s really hard not to love applause, compliments, and all the things that make Buddy increase.  But that reminds me of a funny story…

I once had a teenager approach me (this was about 10 years ago) and when he recognized me as the guy who had been on the stage earlier in the evening, exclaimed “Wow, you’re the guy that was up there playing and singing.”

He then went on to rave about my guitar playing and harmonica playing and songwriting.  “How long have you been playing guitar?”

“40 years,” I replied.

“How long have you been playing harmonica?”

“30 years,” I replied.

“Wow! Did you write all those songs?”

“Yes, most of them.”

By this time I was feeling pretty good about how I was growing in this young man’s estimation, until he finally said, “Wow, why aren’t you successful?”

Not sure if Christ increased at this moment, but I certainly decreased.
buddyMiles: What is the best advice you’ve been given? And what Bible verse speaks to you the most pointedly?

Buddy:  To stay true to who I am as an artist, it’s come from several places.  Bill Gaither once told me, “Just keep doing what you do Buddy”, and Charlie Peacock has been another one to encourage me to not worry about radio formats or current trends, or any of the other things that would distract me from staying focused on the kind of music I like to make.

There have been many verses over the years, currently, Psalm 116: 8, 9 are verses I return to.  “For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living”.
Miles: Give me a Twitter sized thought that you would like the readers need to take to heart.

Buddy:  Having never tweeted, I’m not sure I can confine myself to a Twitter sized thought, although one of the greatest of pithy statements I’ve ever heard came in the last line of a Wendell Berry poem: “practice resurrection.”  Of course, in order to appreciate the last line, one needs to read the whole poem, and it won’t fit a tweet.  The poem, by the way, is entitled “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”.


About Buddy:

Buddy Greene brings a wide variety of southern Americana influences to his music to create a unique musical hybrid of country, bluegrass, folk, gospel and traditional blues. In addition to his solid reputation as a singer-songwriter and guitarist, Buddy has established himself as one of Nashville’s finest harmonica stylists. His live concerts are equal parts hymn singing, jam session, church house revival, and journey through his own musical history. Among his long list of notable achievements, Buddy has collaborated with Mark Lowry to write “Mary, Did You Know,” which quickly became a modern-day Christmas standard.

Buddy Greene Website:

Buddy Greene Facebook:


Author/Artist Miles Pike

Author/Artist Miles Pike

Did you enjoy this issue of Artist to Artist? Email Miles Pike today at

First published on SGM Radio website in June 2013. For current features visit


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Written by Staff on September 18, 2014 – 10:46 am -

webbSeptember 17, 2014 – The Rick Webb Family is proud to announce a partnership with Energize Ministries, based in Winston-Salem, NC.

The organization provides encouragement and refreshment to local church pastors through counseling, unique retreats and ongoing accountability services. The Rick Webb Family will perform special benefit concerts throughout the year and provide exposure to the ministry through their yearly concert schedule.
The first concert is scheduled for Sunday, October 5, 2014 at Christ Wesleyan Church in Winston-Salem, NC at7:00 PM.
The Rick Webb Family is known for loving pastors and the local church so this partnership is a natural fit. “So many pastors and their families have nowhere to turn when they face discouragement,” says Rick Webb. “They give out so much every single day, and many times they have no one pouring into their lives and the lives of their families. Energize Ministries does just that and our family is proud to partner with them to help the families of the local church pastor.”
The Rick Webb Family is celebrating 30 years in music ministry. The group is known for their musical excellence and strong biblically based programs. They have appeared at some of the largest churches in America and alongside giants of the faith such as Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. Charles Colson, Dr. David Jeremiah and Dr. D. James Kennedy – just to name a few.
Their latest project Committed to the Call is available from Song Garden Music Group.
For more information on Energize Ministries,
For more information on The Rick Webb Family, visit

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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.

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