We are happy to present the August edition of SGNScoops Magazine! Our cover story features Canton Junction, a terrific group that has undergone many changes in the last year and now has a new CD, a sound that still excites and uplifts, and a spirit that remains steadfast. Enjoy their continuing journey in a story written by Craig Harris.
Tags: Canton Junction, SGNScoops Magazine, southern gospel, Southern Gospel News, Southern Gsopel Music News
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Welcome to another edition of the Fast Five by SGN Scoops! Today we meet the McKay Project. Dennis and Leslie McKay are from Columbus, Mississippi. They occasionally bring onstage their daughter, Mary Katherine, who is ten years old. With a style described as a mix of Southern Gospel, Blues, and Country Gospel, the McKay Project presents musical program that touches the hearts of all ages.
With only four years of traveling to their credit, this lively couple have several nominations and charting songs to their credit. Read more about Dennis and Leslie and their current missions project!
SGN: Tell us about how McKay Project came about and how long the group has been together.
MP: We married in 2010 and the Holy Spirit began doing a work in our lives by bringing about a lot of changes. It wasn’t long until we felt His leading into some kind of music ministry. At the time we didn’t know if it would be writing songs, doing more in the recording studio, starting a record label, or traveling and performing Gospel music. As it turned out, it has become all of the above. We started traveling and getting bookings in churches and other venues in 2011. As far as our name, we decided on McKay Project because we will always be a work in progress as far as God’s plan for our lives.
SGN: I see that you guys wear many hats. Other than music ministry and traveling, what else are you guys involved in?
MP: Dennis has been a full time music instructor since 2003. He has a teaching studio in Columbus where he teaches various stringed instruments and gives vocal lessons. In 2011, we revived a record label previously owned by Dennis’ dad called M.A.C. Records (McKay Audio Company Records). Of course, the first artist on the label was McKay Project. We now have five artists on the label and it is exclusively a Gospel/Christian record label. In February of 2015, M.A.C. artists, The Reed Brothers, had the number one song in Cashbox Christian Country, and four of our artists have had songs in the Top 100 Charts. Also, going hand in hand with the record label is our recording studio called Studio 115A which keeps us extremely busy with label and non-label artists alike.
SGN: Tell us a funny road story.
MP: We purchased our 40’ diesel motor coach in the summer of 2014. On the day we got it, we were getting ready to head out to a singing in northeast Georgia. As Dennis backed the coach out of the driveway for the first time, he miscalculated and backed into the neighbor’s yard. We had had a LOT of rain and guess what? We were stuck. Dennis made a couple of attempts to drive out but the more he tried the deeper the tires and the back end sunk into the ground. Needless to say ALL of our neighbors came out to see what was going on. It was like a block party. Two of our neighbors quickly got their 4-wheel drive Ford tractor and 4-wheel drive Dodge truck and it took both of them hooked to the bus to pull us out of the yard. This was quite a blow to Dennis’ ego because he grew up driving his family’s bus to singings and later spent several years as an over the road truck driver.
SGN: How did the two of you meet?
MP: I (Leslie) was one of Dennis’ guitar students. Dennis broke one of his hard and fast rules about not dating students. We just knew it was meant to be from the beginning and two years later we were married.
SGN: What are some goals you have for McKay Project for the upcoming year?
MP: McKay Project will be starting on their third CD soon. We are also making plans to film our first video project in the fall. This year, we have become involved in mission work and one of our projects is called Socks-N-Souls. Our goal is to deliver at least 500 pairs of new socks to Church on the Street America, which is a ministry to the homeless community. We will be making our delivery in October when we return to Branson, MO for an engagement.
Thanks so much to the McKay Project for their participation in the SGN Scoops’ Fast Five! We hope that all of our readers will go to hear this couple in concert and bring them many new socks!
Please visit the McKay Project’s Facebook page for more information or call Dennis and Leslie at 662.889.2829.
Tags: christian country, McKay Project, Socks For Souls, southern gospel
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Oak Grove, AR The popular trio, 2nd Generation, is asking for prayer support. Linda Barnes, wife of group member Randy Barnes, has been diagnosed with lymphoma. At this time, further testing is being done to determine the stage of the cancer and a treatment plan is being developed.
“Doctors have stated there is no present cure, but we know the Great Physician. He is the ultimate Healer and the One on whom we depend,” Randy stated. “We also know He is going to walk through this with us because Joshua 1:9 says, ‘Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’”
“Elaine and I love and appreciate Linda and Randy more than we can say,” Brenda Denny added. “We are praying and believing for a GOD report.”
For those who wish to follow Linda on this journey, a Caring Bridge page will be set up under lindabarnes2. The link will be published as soon as Caring Bridge has this ready.
As 2nd Generation asks for prayer they are choosing to stand on the Word of God during this difficult time. I John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He heareth us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”
Tags: 2nd generation, southern gospel, Southern Gospel News
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Joplin, Missouri – Quickly rising in Southern Gospel Music, family group, The Goulds have released their most exciting project yet. With songs written by some of the best writers ever, this CD is going to become a must have for every Gospel Music fan.
Being a young group they had some obstacles to overcome, but this CD proves that they have been up to the task and are now well on their way to the top of the field in Gospel Music.
One of the biggest hurdles was crossed when outstanding producer Jim Brady came on to take charge of this project. Jim has a way of bringing the best out in an artist and even taking them to levels they never dreamed they could go to. That’s exactly what happened on with this CD. You are going to hear matured voices, tighter harmonies, and progressive arrangements that are impressive.
Having some of the greatest songwriters in Gospel Music supplying the songs The Goulds have a new recording with ten strong songs on it. With writers like Rebecca Peck, Kenna West, Dianne Wilkinson, Rodney Griffin. Jim Brady, and others this CD can’t help but be a winner.
The enthusiastic Patriarch of the group, Tim Gould stated, “We are so excited with what God is doing with our family and the music He so graciously allows us to sing. To be able to work this closely with Jim Brady is an incredible opportunity. Not only is he a great singer and songwriter, but he is a genuine man with a heart of gold who believes in our family. His friendship and mentoring means the world to us. This project has so many well known songwriters that we still have to pinch ourselves to make sure we have really recorded such a project. We had dreamed of recording songs from some of the top songwriters in our genre but never thought God would bring it about this quickly. Our hope and prayer is that the songs on this project not only lead people to Jesus but that it also inspires, encourages and meets the listeners needs in a way that only God could do.” .
Producer Jim Brady commented, “I have a special place in my heart for family groups, because it was with my family that I sang my first notes. The Goulds are a special family who works extremely hard at what they do and I can’t help but appreciate how they minister with so much heart.” .
Song List (in order of appearance on CD)
Tags: southern gospel, Southern Gospel News, The Goulds
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Ripley MS, July 30, 2015 (A&G Entertainment) Gerald Crabb has come through triple bypass surgery this morning with everything looking well. As expected, he will have to spend some time in the intensive care unit before being moved into a regular hospital room. The family would like to express appreciation for the outpouring of love, encouragement and support and asks for continued prayers as Gerald recovers.
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HENDERSONVILLE, TN -Nationally known and multi-award winning Gospel artist, The Freemans bus caught fire in Canada about 30 minutes after leaving a show on their last Canadian Tour Date late Sunday evening as they were headed back home to Hendersonville.
Caylon Freeman, drummer for the band saw smoke in the bunk area of the bus and went for the fire extinguisher. The driver was able to pull over immediately where everyone exited the bus. Witnesses say it appeared to be an electrical fire which was isolated to the bunk areas. The fire was contained and they were able to travel the rest of the way home with the power cut off to that area of the bus. There were three other people on the bus at the time the fire started which included singers Chris, Darrell and Joe Freeman.
Chris Freeman stated, “We are so grateful to have been on the bus at the time and were able to take immediate action. We had just fueled the bus and were headed home. If we had been away from the bus it could have been a very different story. We thank God for his protection over us.”
If you would like to interview The Freemans contact AG Publicity at email@example.com .
To learn more about the Freemans go to http://www.the-freemans.com .
Tags: southern gospel, Southern Gospel News, the freemans
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By Marcie Gray
“While time marches on for a world in need of Jesus, you can find 11th hour using each moment for His glory.” What a great introduction on the 11th Hour website for this Southern Gospel trio from Monroe, Louisiana! In 2007, at the tender age of 16, Amber Eppinette answered the call when she and a friend formed 11th Hour. Amber was at a revival when the Lord revealed to her that she was to take her music ministry on the road. Raised in a family full of preachers and singers, it was only natural that Amber felt comfortable when called to ministry.
Two years ago, Grant Gibson, from Jasper, Alabama departed Debra Perry and Jayden’s Call to join 11th Hour as second tenor. Jaquita Lindsey completed 11th Hour by filling the alto position. Hailing from Camden, Arkansas, Jaquita was introduced to Amber by Nicole Watts Jenkins who was singing soprano for The Perrys at the time. Each member of 11th Hour brings significant vocal experience to the group, and the harmonies flow freely. Equipped with a unified mission, smooth harmony and cherished friendship, 11th Hour is blessed with a powerful ministry that spans the gap between generations.
11th Hour is gifted with a unique style, giving them a versatile approach to ministry. They are just as comfortable singing classic Southern Gospel music with friends like Greater Vision as they are leading worship for a youth camp, where they incorporate contemporary worship music into their repertoire.
Amber, Grant and Jaquita all agree that they are a very close-knit group of friends who enjoy spending time together, even when they’re on the road between dates. When asked to share a memorable moment on tour, Grant said, “We were singing at a church one night and during our introductions, a gentleman walked up onto the stage and interrupted the concert, insisting that we sing, “Have A Little Talk With Jesus.” We all just looked at each other, unsure of what was coming next, and before we knew it, the man ended up leading the entire congregation in the song.
“He was a veteran and had plenty of scars to show for it. He was pleased to share each scar with us at the product table, and if that wasn’t disturbing enough, he proceeded to pop his fake eye out right there at the table, in front of everyone standing there! When you tour 230 dates per year, you’re bound to run into some very interesting people, but that particular memory was one we will never forget!”
The group has been nominated in the Top 10 in the Singing News Fan Awards for “Favorite New Trio” for the past two years, and was awarded a Diamond Award in 2014 for “Favorite New Trio.” “It’s wonderful to be recognized by fans and friends who love your music, but it’s not the glory and fame that keeps us going when we get discouraged,” said Amber. “I’m always reminded by the Holy Spirit that this is a calling, not a job. Recently, God has shown me that when He places a call on a person’s life, He doesn’t take it away. We have a purpose to fulfill what God has set believers here to do, and even when we feel discouraged, we have to remember that our purpose and calling hasn’t changed. When we stay focused on the calling even through challenging times is when we will start seeing souls saved and hearts turned toward Him, which is confirmation that we are doing what we are called to do!”
Jaquita shared, “I’ve been asked before why I won’t sing secular music. My answer is simple. I would never use my talents for anything other than God’s glory. I was raised by a family of ministers. My parents and grandparents are both in the ministry and I’ve been singing in church since I was eight years old. I can’t imagine singing for any other reason but to use the talents God has given me to serve Him.”
“Well, the girls got all spiritual,” said Grant, “but I have something to add. This is fun! It’s a calling, most definitely. That’s where it starts and ends, but there’s a lot of fun in the process and there is nothing else I could see myself doing. We all have a purpose in life. God gives each of us abilities and talents and I believe it’s very foolish if you don’t use them for the Lord, but we just have a blast together singing and meeting new people. It’s different every time we get up on the stage.”
Greg Bentley from Crossroads Entertainment shared, “Crossroads has had the privilege of working with 11th Hour since 2012. We always do our homework before we agree to talk with anyone about a label deal, and when we started digging into the background of this talented group of young people, we knew we wanted to take the next step. Working with them – from picking songs, doing the recording sessions, radio promotions and even publishing – we have found them to be steadfast and faithful in their goal of ministering through music. Now that we are starting on our third recording with them, (Steppin’ Out released in 2012, Picture This released in 2014) we are even more convinced that Amber, Grant and Jaquita are more focused than ever on presenting 11th Hour in the best possible way.
“Obviously, many fans and industry people are seeing what we see in them, as well. Their popularity continues to grow from album-to-album. We’ve already picked some great new songs for their new Sonlite Records release that they will be tracking in August, and expect this new 2016 release to take them even farther into the hearts and homes of Gospel music followers.”
Every artist has someone they look up to and seek ministry advice from. 11th Hour is no exception. Amber said, “Karen Peck is one person who has always been there for me with open ears. She has been a huge source of encouragement and has literally watched me grow up through the years.” Grant shared that Claude Hopper has been one of the biggest influences in his ministry life. “Claude has been around the block a few times and he has a whole lot of wisdom.” For Jaquita, Kelly Bowling and Libby Perry have both had a big personal influence on her life in ministry. These strong influences come from common ground. Each one of these influences answered God’s calling on their lives and have been faithful to serve Him in ministry for many years. That same legacy is what Amber, Grant and Jaquita hope to pass on to future generations of Christian artists.
There is one song that never fails to move the hearts of those who hear it, and that is “Adam’s Fall,” recorded in 2010 by 11th Hour on their Gather Round project. The most important message 11th Hour can carry to their audience is summed up in this song and the words simply speak for themselves:
As I journeyed through His precious word,
I find where Adam fell and lost our souls,
As I turned another page, I find His blood shed,
For human race, and then I saw my own sin,
My condemnation, without Him,
Then I stood at Calvary’s place, and that’s where I found,
I saw You nailed, to the tree,
Gave Your life freely, for unworthy me
Heaven’s angels You did not call, rescued my soul,
From Adam’s fall.” – Written by Amber Eppinette (2007)
The territory is expanding for 11th Hour. Grant commented, “Within the next year, we hope to plan a trip out west and potentially overseas, as well. We are considering options and always setting new goals.” The trio is excited about traveling to new places and singing where the Lord opens a door for them to go. “Concerts are a great way to network and make friends… whether it’s a fan or another artist. We’re just regular people and always trying to make new friends,” said Grant.
The Lord’s call has been answered by three talented, young artists. They share the love of Christ with everyone they come into contact with, knowing that the return of Christ is imminent. Even their name seems to ask the question, “What are you waiting for?”
Find out more about 11th Hour by visiting their website: www.11thhourgospel.com. Look them up and help us express our appreciation to Amber, Grant and Jaquita, for taking the time to share the ministry of 11th Hour with the readers of SGN Scoops Magazine!
By Marcie Gray
First published by SGN Scoops magazine in June 2015. For current issues of SGN Scoops and more great artist features, visit the SGN Scoops mainpage.
Tags: 11th Hour, Amber Eppinette, gospel music, Grant Gibson, Jaquita Lindsey, Marcie Gray, sgn scoops, southern gospel
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Singer-Songwriter Surprises Students, Faculty and Staff During Guest Appearance
During the evening concert appearance at the school, Habedank performed familiar favorites and a few new tunes from his Welcome Home project – including his current single, “Beauty of the Blood,” a powerful song that is connecting with audiences across the country and impacting lives. “Every week, someone shares what this song has meant to their lives – either through a conversation after a concert, through social media, or email. It truly is amazing the power of a song. I am thankful God chose to bless me with this song.” It currently hold’s the #7 position on the Singing News Radio Chart.
Tags: Ben Speer, gospel music, Joseph Habedank, music, School of Music, southern gospel, Stamps Baxter School of Music
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Tags: Clarke Beasley, gospel music, national Quartet Convention, nqc, southern gospel
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Are you one of the many Southern Gospel fans that enjoy family groups? If so, then the Kent Curtis Family is one group that you need to hear! Kent sings with his wife Lea Anna, son Nathan and daughter Neeka. Kent Curtis pastors a church in McEwen, Tennessee, and is the lead singer, emcee and patriarch of the group. Lea Anna sings the soprano part and manages the Kent Curtis Family office. Nathan is the bass singer and soundman. Neeka fills in the alto position, manages the product and is also a budding photo-journalist, as she recently shot some video spots for SGN Scoops while attending the Singing In The Sun concert event.
We recently took the opportunity to find out more about this lovely young lady.
Rob: Tell us about Neeka Curtis. What should we know about you?
Neeka: I’m 17 years old and a junior in high school. I am homeschooled, so that makes traveling easier. My dad pastors the Open Bible Assembly church in McEwen, TN. When not busy with schooling, traveling, or church work, I enjoy styling hair and drawing Disney characters!
Rob: How long have you been singing and who do you sing with?
Neeka: I sing with my mom, dad, and brother as the Kent Curtis Family. I started singing as soon as I could talk, but joined them on stage around age five.
Rob: Tell us about traveling and singing with your family…
Neeka: We enjoy singing at various churches for concerts, revivals, and other events. Our goal is to show the love of the Lord to everyone we meet, encourage the saints, and win people to Him!
Rob: When in the road, where is your favorite place to eat?
Neeka: Chick-Fil-A. Hands down. It’s just good!
Rob: Tell me about a special moment in your singing career…
Neeka: I have many special memories, but the one that stands out the most is when we went to a Karen Peck and New River concert at a local church and I was honored to get to sing a chorus of “Four Days Late” with her. I will never forget that!
We hope you enjoyed learning more about the Kent Curtis Family and young Neeka Curtis. Please visit them on the web and on Facebook to find out more and listen to their music. Don’t be surprised if you attend one of their concerts and Neeka wants to interview you on camera for SGN Scoops! Thanks Neeka!
Kent Curtis Family on the web: www.kentcurtisfamily.com/
Kent Curtis Family on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Kent-Curtis-Family/236392803158396
Tags: Fast Five, gospel music, Kent Curtis Family, Neeka Curtis, sgn scoops, southern gospel
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