By Rob Patz
Josh and Ashley Franks both grew up in the church and with Gospel music in their home. Josh was traveling as a soloist and an evangelist when he met Ashley who sang with her mother in Hope’s Journey in 2006. They were married in 2007 and now have two children, Priscilla and Joshua. Since their marriage they have been traveling and singing as a duet as well as promoting several Gospel concert events throughout the year.
I’m glad this busy couple paused for a moment to answer my ten questions!
Rob: Brand New Single: “I’ve Not Seen A Mountain”…Does this song have a personal story or meaning for you?
Josh: I think back to Myrtle Beach two years ago when Priscilla was rushed to the head trauma facility in Charleston after she suffered a fall in the convention center during Singing in the Sun. That was a mountain we surely had no strength to move, but God stepped on the scene and moved it for us!
Ashley: This is one of those songs that can speak to any person at any point in their life. Personally, there has never been a mountain that I have faced in my life that God did not move for me. I am so honored to have the privilege of delivering this song to people night after night.
Rob: What is the best thing about having kids? What is something you could do without?
Ashley: The very best thing about having my kids is that there are two people on earth who think I am the best at everything. The love that a child has for its parent is comparable to nothing else. I could, however, do without the thousand loads of laundry I wash each week.
Josh: The best thing is watching them grow and learn. I’m amazed! I could do without the mounds of toys that are taking over our home.
Josh: 1. My Bible! 2. My ipod! [That’s all Josh needs!]
Ashley: The first thing I would want to take is my Bible. The second thing is a notepad and I guess number 3 would have to be a pen. I love to write everything! Feelings, lyrics, whatever. I just love to write!
Rob: What song do you each wish you had sung and charted first?
Ashley: Definitely “Four Days Late”!
Josh: “God on the Mountain”
Rob: What song do you each wish you had written?
Josh: “Amazing Grace”
Ashley: “Through The Fire.” That song defines my life; I feel like it came right from my own heart! Gerald Crabb is an excellent writer!
Rob: There are a lot of awful things happening in the world right now. What advice do you have for people who can’t understand why God would allow them to happen?
Ashley: My mom and I actually just finished a new song about this very thing. We don’t need to understand why God does or doesn’t do the things that we think He should do. We just need to trust that He knows more than we do.
Josh: I would tell them to keep holding on and fighting the good fight of faith. Unfortunately I don’t believe it is scriptural that things will get better, but God will protect His children.
Rob: Do each of you have a favorite Bible character? Who and why?
Josh: The Apostle Paul. He preached Jesus with boldness and told it like it was!
Ashley: I love the story of Elijah and Elisha. A true example of how we, in this generation, should have an even larger burden than the last generation to do God’s work. The elders paved the way and it’s our job to continue reaching people for Christ!
Rob: What is your favorite thing to do with your children at Easter?
Ashley: This year Priscilla is old enough to understand when you teach her about Jesus. She is learning already about the Cross and Resurrection. I love to talk with her about the Bible.
Josh: Celebrate the Resurrection in church, of course!
Rob: What is (each of) your favorite Easter song?
Josh: ‘There Rose A Lamb.”
Ashley: “He’s Alive” by the Talley Trio.
Rob: What are some new and cool things happening for you this coming year?
Ashley: God has opened many new doors for us in 2014. We are very excited about having a very busy schedule. A couple things we are excited about: being included on the Friday night program at the Singing in the Sun. We are also going to be appearing on Gerald Crabb’s Gospel Fest this August. For complete details, see www.joshandashleyfranks.comhttp://www.joshandashleyfranks.com/
Thanks to Ashley and Josh Franks for answering our questions and letting us in on their lives and their ministry. Be sure to visit their website and their schedule to find out when they will be appearing near you. Support this lovely family and their ministry as they reach the world for Jesus!
First published by SGN Scoops in April 2014. Written by Rob Patz, Publisher of SGN Scoops.
For current SGN Scoops issues visit http://www.sgnscoops.com/
Tags: Ashley Franks, Christian artists, gospel music, Josh and Ashley Franks, Josh Franks, rob patz, sgn scoops, southern gospel
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Find Out More Information About The Mark Trammell Quartet Homecoming Here
Tags: southern gospel, southern gospel concerts, The Mark Trammell Quartet
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We’re seeing it now more than ever: second and third generation singers in Gospel Music. Look at the vast amount of young people that are singing or playing with their respective family groups: Madison and Morgan Easter, Austin and Ethan Whisnant, Jordan LeFevre, Amber Nelon Thompson and Autumn Nelon, and the list grows longer each year. Southern Gospel is alive with many of today’s youth, and I get to prove my point with these artists, The Mylon Hayes Family.
I must admit that this article was piece of cake to write. It was also very difficult to write. It was easy in the fact that I know this family well and count them as dear friends. There’s lots I can say about them. It was difficult in the fact that, well, I know this family well, count them as dear friends, and there’s lots I could say about them!
MB: Give us a brief history of your family’s heritage in Gospel Music, how you got started and how you started singing with your family now.
MH: Dad and Mom were singing and playing in groups before they were married. In fact, they met at a singing. Mom was playing for a group and Dad was singing with another group. After their marriage, they started the Goodwill Quartet which was a combination of Dad and Mom’s families. This was in the late ‘50′s and ‘60′s. Then my sisters and I came along and Dad and Mom started singing with us in the mid-‘70′s as The Hayes Family. We made our first recording in 1978. God blessed us to sing together about 40 years. In 2011, Dad went home to be with the Lord. But even before his home going, Wendy and I, much like Dad and Mom, had a desire to sing with our kids. After Dad’s death, we felt the Lord leading us to start with our kids as The Mylon Hayes Family. So we were able to record our first CD in late 2011, early 2012 and we started singing in local churches at that time.
MH: As I mentioned, we had the desire to do it and it seems that the Lord has done the rest. For sure, we have seen God’s hand working out the details for this to happen. He has provided everything from transportation to the sound system, financial arrangements for the recordings to opportunities to minister. We’ve just tried to be obedient and available. It’s really been all God and we praise Him for it.
MB: What people or groups influence your family’s sound?
MH: Well, we do some things that are reminiscent of The Hayes Family. So that’s the biggest influence. The kids, Wendy and I love Convention-Style music and have studied it at various singing schools over the last several years. The kids have many groups they love to listen to as well and each of them would be an influence on the way they sing and interpret songs. Of course, Wendy and I were both influenced early in our lives by The Nelons, the Speer Family, The Lefevres, The Inspirations and others.
MB: Wendy, what does it mean to you to travel and watch your kids use their talents for Christ?
WH: It just thrills me to know that they want to. They could be out doing many other things but yet they have such a great desire to go each time we have the opportunity. They don’t complain about being gone on weekends. I can’t tell you the joy it brings to me to watch God use them even at this young age and to see Him work in their lives. Read more »
Tags: Christian artists, Christian Music, gospel music, Matt Baker, Mylon Hayes, Mylon Hayes Family, sgm radio, southern gospel
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Forty three years ago, God sought out a few individuals from Morganton, North Carolina for a special purpose. He knew they had a heart to minister to others. He knew they would tell others about Jesus. He knew they were up to the task, despite the long drives, the sleepless nights, and the struggles along the way. For more than four decades, these individuals have stayed true to the calling that God has placed on their lives. Through every bump in the road, The Whisnants know that God is in control and they can say with confidence, all is well.
Jeff Whisnant is the only original member of the group. As owner and manager for the group, Jeff sings baritone and runs sound on stage. He said, “We placed our ministry in God’s hands 43 years ago and have watched Him do miraculous things. There is no doubt in my mind that God has His hand on this ministry.”
Jeff’s parents influenced his decision to enter into the Southern Gospel Music industry, along with Eldridge Fox, former owner of the Kingsmen. Jeff’s wife, Susan says herdad is the one whom she says has been the greatest musical influence on her life. She said he taught her to love to sing. In fact, she sang with her dad up until she met Jeff. She fell in love with this genre of music when the Singing Americans came to her church years ago. She said the Nelons also inspired her, including songs such as “Oh, For a Thousand Tongues” and “Come Morning.” Susan stated, “That’s when I fell in love with Southern Gospel Music.”
Susan continued to say, her greatest life achievement so far has been raising their sons, Austin and Ethan.
“Being a mother is the greatest gift God ever gave me,” Susan said. “I’d do it again. I’ve got two of the finest boys that I could ever pray for. And I love my mom. My mom is probably is my best friend. Being able to be a mom and watch these boys grow and become men of God is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever been able to do. On this Mother’s Day, I’m thankful for being able to be their mom and being able to be an example for them.”
When asked how she balances time between family and ministry, Susan said it was about the same. “The boys love being home,” Susan said. “When they were little, we’d just say that home is wherever mom and dad is, and if it’s on the bus, then that’s home, and if we’re in Morganton, that’s home. Wherever we are is where home is. It’s tough balancing it out sometimes. I missed my grandfather’s funeral about two months ago. That was tough, because we were booked. I was going to cancel and my dad said, absolutely not. You go do what you’ve got to do. It’s tough to balance, but at the same time, I could not imagine not doing it with my family. That has been a blessing.”
For the Whisnants, the best part of traveling on the road together is just that: being together. Susan said her favorite part of singing with the Whisnants is being with her family.
“We watch movies together and just spend time together,” Susan said. “I love it. We eat together. We do it all. I love it all. That’s the best part, just being with my family. I couldn’t do it if I had to dread getting on that bus, and I’m thankful I don’t dread it.”
Jeff added, “The Southern Gospel life is not an easy life, but it is an extremely rewarding life. As for traveling and singing, I am having the time of my life. Getting to travel with our family and the guys who work with us, I consider myself a VERY blessed man.”
Jeff and Susan will celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary on May 28. Their relationship with each other is evidence that they each have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Whisnants have had 13 number one songs, several Top 40 songs, and Singing News Song of the Year titles, including their latest nomination in 2013 for “All Is Well.” They have been nominated for Trio of the Year nine times and have received multiple individual nominations. Their list of appearances is extensive, including 18 appearances at the annual National Quartet Convention, as well as appearances on the Gospel Music Southern Style Program (INSP Network) and at the Gaither Video Taping in Nashville in 2007. By earthly standards, they have achieved success in this industry. But the greatest success is the fact that none of this matters to them.
“We’ve always said if we never had a charting song, if the radio never played our music, or if we never sang at a big venue, we would still sing, because that is what God has called us to do,” Susan commented. “Even if we were working full time jobs and singing on the weekends, we would do it because we love it that much. Back in 1988, we were interviewed and that was the one thing we said is that we want to be consistent and stay within the calling, being content with where we are.”
Susan also gives the following advice to young artists just starting out: “Stay within your calling. There are a lot of people that want to sing, but they can’t. If God’s called you to do it, He’s going to make a way. If that means singing in your church or wherever, stay within your calling. To a young group that is starting out, be consistent. Be content with where you are. Pray diligently that God will open the doors.”
Having traveled with the group most of his life, Austin Whisnant is no stranger to life on the road. In 2009, he felt called to step onto the stage with his family as the group’s bass player. At the young age of 19 years old, he loves traveling with his family. He gives the following advice to young artists just starting out: “Make sure you like traveling on a bus!”
Jeff and Susan’s youngest song, Ethan, is 16 years old. He says that he is destined to be a gospel singer as he gets older.
Austin and Ethan are currently working on a new project and there are plans for a new Christmas project by the group, which is tentatively scheduled to be released before the National Quartet Convention.
The final member of the group has been singing lead with the Whisnants since 2001. Aaron Hise was saved at the young age of six years old. He says the best part of traveling with the group is seeing the country, being on the bus with people he loves, eating different foods, and seeing people encouraged by their music and hopefully coming to know the Lord.
In 10 years, Susan said she hopes to be doing the same thing she is doing now. She added, “Austin would be 30, so hopefully he is going to be married and maybe have a kid, maybe I’ll be a grandparent. But I want to be doing the same thing I’m doing and loving every minute of it!”
The group sees a lot of things in their travels, but two things rank as the funniest incidents thus far. Susan said a woman came to them, asking for pray for her feet because they were hurting. They looked down and the woman had her shoes on the wrong feet. Susan recalls another humorous encounter: “Another lady asked us if she could pray for our hearing because we all, she thought, wear hearing aids, but we all wear ear monitors. She was praying that God would touch our hearing. That was pretty funny.”
So many wonderful songs have been written, but Susan would like to write a song titled, “Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Your Heart Be Also.” She said, “I wish I could write a song about that. I’ve always thought, there are so many people, their treasure is in the wrong place and if they only knew that that is where their heart is, there’s no denying it. It’s just simple, where your treasure is, there will your heart be. And if our treasure is in the Lord, I want my heart to be there. I want to live daily like it’s my last day. Jesus is my hope, my salvation, my whole world.”
Susan’s favorite scripture is Psalm 28:7: “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” She commented, “I think I’ve always loved that scripture.”
During the interview, I asked Susan what she would say to God if she could talk to him face to face. She said she would thank Him for loving her unconditionally. She added, “I would thank Him for dying for me. If I’d have been the only one, He would still have loved me that much. And I want to thank Him for that. Also, I was thinking about this yesterday: ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart’. I really want to thank Him for doing that for me, because every desire I’ve ever had. I’ve tried to delight in Him and He has proven His word is true. It may not always be what I want, but He’s given me the desires of my heart and I want to thank Him for that. Thank Him for my family, my parents, and my upbringing. For every aspect of my life, I want to thank Him. So if I could talk to Him face to face, I would thank Him for every blessing and every detail of my life.”
The Whisnants would like to invite everyone to join them at the Gatlinburg Gathering in Tennessee this July. Mark your calendars now for the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge for the first time this fall, and of course, don’t miss Singing in the Sun in April 2015.
“We were recently part of an entire week of Singing In the Sun in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,” stated Jeff. “Eight-three people were saved. There is no way to put a price on that type of reward. Every once in a while God just blesses in such a way that there is no explanation except to say, that’s God. Those times keep us going.”
It is in the difficult times of our lives that we need to remember that all is well. Susan said, “The song ‘All is Well’ is something I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that I want to say that. I want to try and fix everything, so when I can’t fix it, I get frustrated. I don’t care what problem it is or whose problem it is, I want to try to fix it. To stand and be able to say, even if the world’s crashing in on me, that God’s still God and all is well. I’ve had to really think through the words of that song and say, God help me to not only sing it, but to live it. I want to be able trust in Him in all things and even if it’s coming unraveled, I can still put my trust in Him and know that all is well.”
Without doubt, the Whisnants live their lives in an effort to spread the Good News of the Gospel through song. Susan, Jeff, Austin, Ethan, and Aaron realize that the days are short and that Jesus is coming soon. Susan said, “In these last days, it is imperative that we as Christians get a backbone about us and to realize that there’s a lost and dying world out there. We think that we’re infringing on their privacy when we share Christ with them, when the truth is they are longing for someone to share with them the Good News of Christ. It is time for us to tell the lady at Wal-Mart she needs Jesus. We have a job to do, and we only have a little bit of time to do it. We need to encourage each other and to be bold and be strong.”
No matter what is going on in your life, stand up for Jesus, even if you have to stand alone. Follow the lead of the Whisnants and share the message of Jesus Christ with everyone you meet. Tomorrow may be too late. Put your trust in Jesus, lean on Him, and remember all is well.
For more information about the Whisnants, visit http://www.whisnants.com/.
Written by Jennifer Campbell.
First published by SGN Scoops digital magazine in the May 2014 edition.
For current issues of SGN Scoops, log on to http://www.sgnscoops.com/
Tags: Austin Whisnant, Christian artists, Ethan Whisnant, gospel music, Jeff Whisnant, Jennifer Campbell, sgn scoops, southern gospel, susan whisnant, The Whisnants
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If there is anyone in this country that hasn’t heard High Road III I suggest you run, not walk to your nearest digital media and play some of their music. A combination of Bluegrass, Country, Gospel and Appalachian mountain music, this female trio will speak to your heart and squeeze every drop of passion from your soul. The live instrumentation and honed vocals of Sarah Davison, Anna Grace Kimbrough and Kiley Phillips have allowed them to share the stage with The Martins and Jason Crabb, taken them to the main stage at the 2013 National Quartet Convention and brought them to the notice of Ben Isaacs who produced their latest album. Look for High Road III and their latest release, Angel At The Crossroads to start hitting charts and award nomination lists this year.
Sarah, Kiley and Anna Grace are all graduates of Belmont University’s School of Music and reside in Nashville, Kentucky. They sing everything from Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” to Kari Jobe’s “Revelation Song” with ease, taking the melody from low and thoughtful to high and crying accompanied by violin, piano, guitar, drums and even stand-up bass.
High Road III has been gaining fans in the industry as well as in their listening audience. Jonathan Edwards of SGN Scoops Radio says, “They are sweethearts and very talented. In fact, they have the most musical talent I have seen in any group in a long time.” Lottie Squires of WCKB 780 shares, “I’ve seen them on a couple of showcases at NQC, and met them briefly…they’re amazing musicians and singers!”
Over the past year, the trio has sung with another well-known trio, The Martins. Jonathan Martin says he and sisters Judy and Joyce thoroughly enjoy singing with these ladies. “The Martins love High Road III! We have shared the stage with these girls and their talent and musicianship is outstanding! Add that to their sweet spirits and love for Jesus and you can’t help but love them.”
The heart of High Road III is in sharing the gospel through their music, as Anna Grace explains. “My love is to be able to relate to the audience when I sing or speak; not for my sake, but for the sake of Christ. There were and are still so many times in my life when I need someone to encourage me and lift my spirits. God has brought and continues to bring those people into my life, and through them He shows and reminds me just how precious I am to Him. My goal is to show His love and compassion to those who I come across just as I have been shown love and compassion.”
“Angel At The Crossroads,” the title song of High Road III’s latest album is all about how God intervenes in our lives in different ways through His love and compassion. “It is a beautifully written song that captures the thoughts of someone who is at a crossroads in their life and God provides someone to steer them in the right direction,” says Sarah. “I think we have all had angels at the crossroads at some point in our lives.”
One of the people God brought to the lives of this trio was Ben Isaacs, producer of Angel. “Working with Ben Isaacs for the first time was a dream come true,” says Sarah. “All of us have listened to the Isaacs sound and absolutely love them. To have Bill (Gaither) sing on our project was a huge honor for us; what a wonderful and genuine man he is! This project is honestly exactly what we sound like. We played all of our own instruments and sang just like we do in a concert, and I love that aspect of this project. It just sounds real.”
“Ben Isaacs and Mark Capps worked very hard on our latest project, and I feel above all else, we gained two new, great friends,” says Kiley. “They are so humble and down-to-earth; not to mention absolutely hilarious. We had a blast working with them. I think we all would like to work with the Gaither crew in the future. Bill Gaither was sweet enough to sing a bass part on a track called “When God Dips His Pen of Love” on our new album. What an amazing honor! We hope to work more with them in the future.”
Anna Grace has enjoyed working with a lot of artists during the past year. “I got the pleasure of being able to play fiddle behind Karen Peck and New River last year at a Bluegrass Showcase during the NQC week, and just loved every moment with the players, including Ben Isaacs, Sonya Isaacs and Ben Rochester, among others. All of those folks were really sweet, and I loved Karen as well. Ben Isaacs has been so great to work with on our last project, and I was so blown away by how much he cared about our sound and about us doing the very best that we could. I felt like I was a better player and singer having been under his direction as a producer.” As she looks into the future, Anna Grace adds, “This is a huge dream, but I would love to work with someone like Dolly Parton or Alison Krauss. I know that they both demand a lot of themselves musically, and I know that I could learn so much from them about how to be a better musician.”
High Road III is already full of talented musicians. Kiley Phillips plays the acoustic guitar and sings the high harmony, though she says they all share the lead vocals from time to time. “My favorite song to sing live is ‘Redeemer’ because it’s such a powerful song and has an unfailing message; that our Redeemer lives. I love singing this song because it gets such an amazing response from people all over the States. People are familiar with the song and can really worship along with it.”
Sarah Davison is the trio’s pianist and sings both lead and harmony. “I love singing ‘Walk Beside Me’ the most for our live concerts because it has such a powerful message and musically it just speaks to me!”
Alto singer Anna Grace Kimbrough says, “The instrument I have been playing for 22 years is the fiddle. My favorite song to sing right now is “My Savior’s Love”. The words of that hymn are so powerful and remind me that my works don’t get me closer to Christ. I have the ability, through faith in Jesus Christ, to draw closer to Him because of what He did on the Cross for me.”
High Road III has been traveling more and more as their fan base grows, and they each have their own favorite place to sing. “My favorite place to sing would probably be at my home church, Scott Avenue Christian Church in Newton, IL,” says Kiley. “I grew up singing as much as I could in that church, and the people there are truly amazing. High Road has played there a couple times within the last few years, and I can truly say that the Holy Spirit showed up each time we played there. Along with an incredibly moving worship service, I have personally never felt so supported and loved as I do in that church. My parents and much of my family are very involved in the church, and I can whole-heartedly say that the members of SACC support me like family.” Kiley adds, “My ultimate venue would probably have to be the Grand Ole Opry. There’s just something so special about that place, to have the honor of standing on that stage where so many greats have stood – that’s something special.” Read more »
Tags: Angel At The Crossroads, Anna Grace Kimbrough, Ben Isaacs, Bluegrass Music, christian country, High Road III, Kiley Phillips, Lorraine Walker, Sarah Davison, sgn scoops, southern gospel
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Waynesville, Ohio (July 1, 2014) The Hoskins Family known for their huge hits a few years earlier, such as “Safe Thus Far” and “When The Savior Wipes The Tears From Our Eyes” is on a fast track to regaining the immense popularity they had before taking a sabbatical from the road for a few years to take care of an ill family member.
Their brand new radio single “God Is Big” has debuted at Number 22 in the Singing News Top 80 Chart. This brought some real excitement in the Hoskins Family camp.
Very enthusiastically, Angie Hoskins stated “We are on cloud nine for several reasons right now. Our latest radio single ‘God Is Big’ has debuted on the charts at Number 22. That is the highest number the Hoskins Family has ever attained for the first month on the chart. That’s enough to make me shout, but on top of that this song features my daughter and newest member of the Hoskins Family, Abigail, who is only 17 years old.” Angie continued saying “If that’s not enough to make my day, we are joined on this song by my good friend and awesome singer Joyce Martin Sanders. We really are on cloud nine.”
This is a big year for the Hoskins Family. Not only are they debuting at number 22, they are also charting in the number 5 spot on the weekly chart. The song hit in the top 25 on the Absolutelygospel.com site for the first 4 weeks of charting.
Released by Daywind Records, “God is Big” is featured in the Hoskins’ newest album “A Gathering,” an album that showcases the true talent and ability of the Hoskins Family. Along with charting for the month of July, “God is Big” was among the DJ Picks Chart.
In other news, the Hoskins will be making an appearance at the 15th Annual Absolutely Gospel Music Festival. Scheduled to perform on Wednesday, July 16, the Hoskins Family will surely ignite the crowd with their creative vocal stylings and great family harmony.
Tags: Safe Thus Far, southern gospel, Southern Gospel News, The Hoskins Family
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Often our Spotlight series has focused on artists whose names have yet to become well known. However, Jordan’s Bridge is a quartet that contains two gentlemen who were both part of the Singing Americans and whose names are familiar to fans of ‘80’s and ‘90’s Gospel music. Phil Barker and Joe Lane have been friends for many years and have now come together to form a traditional group with strong harmonies and familiar songs that will have audiences tapping their feet and clapping along. SGM Radio recently caught up with Joe Lane so we could turn our Spotlight on Jordan’s Bridge.
“I’ve had starting a new group on my heart for years,” says Joe Lane. “I wanted something new and different but never could find the time to follow through. Then one day while I was on the road with the Dove Brothers I decided it was time. I called Phil Barker and asked him if he wanted to sing with me, if I could find more people. He didn’t hesitate, just said, “let’s do it.” Keep in mind that just about everybody and their brother had asked him and he turned them down. I am really honored that he told me yes.”
“I met Rick while I was with the Dove Brothers and I talked to him and he said yes. I needed one more so I told my little brother that he had to sing and play bass with me. Jamey helped us get rolling but he couldn’t really do that much, so he told us that he would travel until we found someone. Phil called Kirk Henry and he has been with us for about nine months now and is doing a stellar job singing lead. The Lord has worked this deal out and I thank him for it.”
Phil Barker is known for his tenor-singing days with the Harvesters and the Singing Americans in the 1980’s. Joe Lane played the piano with the Anchormen and the Singing Americans in the 1980’s and 90’s, as well as more recently with the Dove Brothers. Baritone singer Rick Sheets has done a lot of promotion of Gospel music as well as running his own studio. Kirk Henry sang with a group called Adoration in the past and, according to Lane, is a singer with ‘a lot of heart’. Lane says, “I just appreciate their commitment to doing this and most of all their stand for Christ.”
Jordan’s Bridge’s debut, self-titled CD, contains many well-loved Gospel tunes. Lane says, “’Sheltered In The Arms of God’ is my favorite song from the CD, because I know that since Jesus saved me, He has been with me through everything, every problem. He has had my back the whole way.” Knowing that Jesus ‘has his back’ is especially important when starting a new music ministry. Lane says, “The challenges are getting the dates not too far away apart from one day to the next and also, making sure we make smart financial decisions. Leave me out of that last part,” he laughs. “What is the greatest blessing? That people have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I told the men that my desire for this group was people being saved and they are all with me on that one.”
As a band touring the country and singing Southern Gospel, members and managers can wonder at times if the sacrifices outweigh the rewards. Lane says, “As long as we have the support of our wives and kids, it’s worth traveling for sure. There are a lot of sacrifices to do this and the rewards are the lost that get saved.”
Jordan’s Bridge members are committed to their calling and their desire is to continue to sing Gospel music regardless of what others are doing or what the sacrifices may be. They would even like to see their ministry expand. Barker says, “I would like to be able to quit my job and travel full-time again. I would like to sing anywhere we are wanted.” His future bucket list is even more expansive: “I would like to have something nice for us to travel in and to sing at the National Quartet Convention.”
Sheets personal bucket list is similar to Barker’s. “I’d love to be able to sing to large crowds and see the lost come to know Christ. My fantasy venues would include the National Quartet Convention Main Stage and also to sing with the Gaither Homecoming.”
Kirk Henry has many things on his bucket list, some for the group and some on a more personal level. He says he would love to live debt free, something many of us would like. Henry continues, “I am constantly amazed at Creation. I want to visit the Grand Canyon, the giant sequoias in California, and Hawaii to see an erupting volcano.” Regarding his involvement in Jordan’s Bridge, Henry says, “I have been involved in gospel music in one form or other for most of my life, so although it may be hard for some to believe, I really don’t have a fantasy venue. If I were to have a fantasy, it would be to have so much demand for the group, that we could not possibly work in all the great places we were asked to go.”
Exciting things are beginning to happen to this group of men faithful to the call of God. They have recently worked out a deal with Mansion Entertainment and will be signing with Bill Traylor this month. The tracks are cut on a new album and the vocals will soon be recorded. “I’m so excited,” says Lane. “This is what we’ve been praying for. I know Bill. He’s a man of his word. We worked together when I was with the Singing Americans back in the ‘80’s. He is wonderful to work with. I can’t wait to get the CD finished!”
Jordan’s Bridge is working hard on their new material and the group is looking forward to a busy schedule in 2014. To keep their ministry strong both individually and as a group, the men say that prayer is vitally important. Rick Sheets says, “We try to always pray together before each concert and we keep in touch with each other almost every day so we can encourage each other in God’s way.” Sheets says that on a personal level he tries to remain diligent about fasting, praying and reading the Word.
Henry agrees with Sheets about the need for prayer and encouragement. “Obviously there are times we pray together prior to services or concerts, but we also love each other enough to share things that are going on in our personal lives. I don’t believe any of the guys have a problem coming to another member and saying, “I have this going on…”, or “would you pray about …” because we have all done it at one time or other.” Barker remarks, “I try to pray for each member of Jordan’s Bridge every day and when we are together I try to tell each member that I love them.” As well, Barker adds that daily prayer and scripture reading is important.
Kirk Henry is a little more high-tech in his daily devotional approach. “I have the Bible Application on my phone which allows me to import devotions and studies, and it sends me reminders each day just to make sure I don’t allow myself to get too busy. The current plan I am using is a yearlong plan called “A Passion to Serve.”
Jordan’s Bridge members do indeed have a ‘passion to serve’ as do their families, who are involved with this musical ministry. Rick Sheets says his family is very supportive of his involvement with the group and his wife keeps his home in operation while he is on the road. “My wife goes with us as much as possible, but she is always available to do anything we need her to do. My children even help us by advertising on social media!”
Another family man, Phil Barker says that his family is very important to him and they are very involved in Jordan’s Bridge ministry. “When you have family behind you, it makes traveling easier because you know they are supporting you with prayer and love.
Kirk Henry says his family is not only supportive of his ministry with Jordan’s Bridge but also involved in local downtown ministry as well. “When we are not on the road I attend church with my family at Mountain Grove in Granite Falls, North Carolina,” says Henry. “My family fellowships and participates with one of the small groups from our church, and have volunteered to work with the food pantry at our church, which normally helps a couple of hundred families in need twice a month.”
The men of Jordan’s Bridge definitely see the group as their way to reach hearts that need to find Jesus. Barker says, “I sing Christian music because I believe it is the only music on earth that can change a life and make a person see their need for Christ.” Sheets adds, “I sing Gospel Music to allow God to use me in whatever way He sees fit, to be a blessing to His children and to see the lost become saved. And as Phil always says, ‘To tell you that Jesus loves you and wants to live in your heart.’”
Joe Lane says, “I sing and play Christian music because this has been my calling for one thing. I grew up listening to this music. My parents must have had over 1000 LPs and one song I remember that was played a bunch, was “Jesus Is Coming Soon,” along with “When I Walk in Streets of Gold,” by the Inspirations. I started playing piano at four years old. God plainly spoke to me at that age. He worked through me and until my Father led me to Christ on March 31st, 1975, I didn’t realize really what it was all about. I knew the music was different and made me happy, but I finally realized what it meant, when God saved me.”
“Gospel music inspires me and picks me up everytime I’m down,” Lane shares. “I went 17 years and didn’t play for anyone full-time but did fill in for a few groups. Oh, how I missed it. In November 2002, I had an accident that could have shut my piano playing down, but God had other plans and healed my right hand that was badly broken. I knew if I got another chance at playing that I would be all over it.”
“In September of 2011, McCray Dove called needing someone and I packed my bags and jumped on that bus. I’m thankful he did give this old guy a call. It got me back in touch with the best music in the world. I had a desire to start a group of my own. God gave me that desire and as long as I play His music for His glory then He will take care of the rest,” states Lane.
Kirk Henry sums everything up with his comment, “Other types of music may provide momentary enjoyment, but gospel music is the only music I have ever been drawn to sing because it has a message that tells of a Savior and changed lives!”
For more information on Jordan’s Bridge, click on to http://www.jordansbridge.com/
See them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sgJordansBridge
First Published by SGM Radio in December 2013. Written by Lorraine Walker.
For more artist features on SGM Radio website visit http://www.sgmradio.com/
Tags: Joe Lane, Jordan's Bridge, Kirk Henry, Lorraine Walker, Phil Barker, Rick Sheets, sgm radio, SGM Radio website, southern gospel
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Since 1975, we’ve had the awesome privilege and opportunity to travel together with our family ministry spreading the message of the gospel through song. While our roots will continue to be grounded in Southern Gospel music, God has been preparing our hearts, minds and ministry for a dramatic shift none of us were expecting.
We are excited to announce our new upcoming project “Atmosphere” scheduled to release later this summer. We will be taking a sabbatical from touring to focus our time and efforts on this new endeavor and look forward to sharing this new record with you all!
Stay tuned for more updates soon!
Kim, Heather & Valerie
Tags: sisters, southern gospel, Southern Gospel News
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Priorities thrust Chris Allman out of Greater Vision. Then, a lofty goal took him further away from Southern Gospel Music. However, the veteran tenor singer is enjoying his second stint as a part of the industry’s most-awarded trio. “We’re cut out of the same cloth when it comes to humor and personality,” Allman said of the group members. “We laugh all the time. We’ve all grown up too.”
Allman’s circular path to once again stand next to baritone Rodney Griffin didn’t have many stops.
In fact, Allman first performed a soloist for seven years after leaving Greater Vision in 1995, which was five years after the formation of the group. “I had three kids, and all were relatively young,” Allman said. “It was tough on me being away from them.”
During his tenure as a soloist, most of his performances took place on the weekends, and his family often traveled with him. However, it was while seated in a pew at a Bailey Smith Real Evangelism Bible Conference that Allman’s path took a significant turn. “I heard Jerry Falwell preach a sermon that said, ‘what is your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal),’” Allman said. “I already had the calling (to preach). I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know whether to go to school. Right then, I figured out that my Big Hairy Audacious Goal was to build a church from the ground up.”
Allman didn’t waste any time. “I heard the sermon on a Friday,” Allman said. “Me, my wife (Kimberly) and kids (Dustin, Jillian, Emory and Jules) started the Church in Burlington (North Carolina) at my house. The next Sunday, my youngest son (Emory, who was nine years old at the time) was out getting kids in the neighborhood to come. I basically preached to a bunch of kids. In three weeks, one of the kid’s moms came. We eventually outgrew the house and went to the YMCA. We stayed in the YMCA for two years. We grew from (an attendance of) 35 to right at 200.”
Allman’s father – Max Allman – served as a pastor for 32 years before he passed away approximately 12 years ago. “As far as pastoring, I said, ‘I will never do that,’” Allman said. “My father was a pastor, and I saw what he dealt with. When God called me to do it, he literally changed my heart.”
Allman pastored the church for eight years. “Looking at in respect, it blows me away that it happened,” Allman said. “My wife Kimberly was a great pastor’s wife. She had a great ladies ministry. It was by far the best ministry in the church. I couldn’t have done any of that or any of this without her. It all happened very fast. To God be the glory.”
However, Allman knew when his time in Burlington was coming to a close. “In November of 2009, I remember specifically telling my wife that my season was ending and that if God opened the door somewhere else that I was going to walk through it,” Allman said. “It was a hard thing (leaving). I loved those people. That next March, I received a text (message) from Gerald (Wolfe, one of Greater Vision’s founding members and lead singer).”
Timing was everything. A month before that text message transpired, Greater Vision sang at Allman’s church. “I jokingly said, ‘if you ever need me, give me a call,’” Allman said. “On March 20, he texted. He said, ‘Are you serious about ever moving back to Morristown (located in East Tennessee)?’ I said, ‘yes.’” Read more »
Tags: Chris Allman, Christian Music, Craig Harris, Gerald Wolfe, gospel music, Greater Vision, Rodney Griffin, southern gospel
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Legacy Five Quartet Concert Review
By Vivian Belknap
Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas was the location for great southern gospel music featuring Legacy Five Quartet on May 31, 2014. The first song they did was “Great Day,” followed by “Blood Washed Band,” Scott Fowler reaching back to his days with The Cathedral Quartet, and finished that set with “Feelin’ Fine.”
Scott Fowler said they were happy to be in Texas, and said to baritone Scott Howard, “there’s just something about Texas; you can eat barbeque outside of Texas…” and they looked at each other and said, “but it’s not Texas barbeque.”
Scott introduced their ‘monster bass’ singer, Matthew Fouch, 31 years old, and told him the older he gets the more monster bass he will become. Then Scott introduced Bob Wills and legendary bass singer Big John Hall who were in the audience, and told Matthew to not be nervous, even though John Hall was sitting on the front row. The next set of songs featured Matthew, and he said they specifically chose John Hall classics, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”, “How Big Is God” and “How Great Thou Art”, which were all included in the “Great Medley”, off their Great Day album.
Gus Gaches, tenor, was introduced from Santa Rosa, California, and it’s been reported that he owns a suit that matches his surfboard; a comment that the audience really loved. Gus was featured on “I Stand Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.”
Trey Ivey, the piano player and youngest member of Legacy Five was introduced. Trey was conservatory educated and loves classical music. We were treated to a wonderful sonata, followed by “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” Both songs received rousing applause from the audience.
Scott then pulled out The Red Back Hymnal, turned to page 28, and they sang “A Grand and Glorious Feeling”, with piano accompaniment only. “After Awhile” was the next song and was also accompanied with piano only. The sound was incredible and loved by the audience.
The next song selection off their latest album, Great Day, was “He Is To Me”, followed by “There’s Just Something About That Name”, and Scott asked the audience to sing along as we experienced a great time of worship. Scott said, “I’m going to be politically incorrect, but when we are around people who are not believers, we should ask the following questions: ‘Do you know anyone born under the circumstances in which Jesus was born?’ ‘Do you know anyone who lived a sinless life?’ ‘ Do you know anyone raised from the dead after three days?’” He opened the Bible to Luke 24 and began reading verse one through verse 12. The group followed this by singing “Christ Is Still the King,” receiving a standing ovation.
The night was complete with, “What A Happy Day”, a medley of songs that includes, “What A Happy Day,” “Everybody Will Be Happy Over There,” “I’ll Live In Glory By and By,” “When We All Get To Heaven,” “I’ll Have a New Body,” and “Everybody’s Gonna Have A Wonderful Time Up There,” from their album, Great Day.
It was a fantastic way to end a wonderful concert of worship and laughter, with encouraging words from these songs about the New Life we as Christians see now by faith but one day we will see with our own eyes.
When Legacy Five is in your area, you will be so blessed to see them in person not only for their fantastic music, but their colorful personalities. Visit them at www.legacyfive.com.
For more concert reviews, see the latest edition of SGN Scoops digital magazine at http://www.sgnscoops.com/2014/06/14/june-2014-sgnscoops-magazine/
Tags: Christian Music, concert review, gospel music, Great Day, Hymns, Legacy 5, southern gospel, Vivian Belknap
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