Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with an up-and-coming trio in Atlanta when they were in town to tape Gospel Music USA at WATC TV. Avenue, based out of Nashville, Tenn., is climbing the radio charts across the country.
Formed by Kasey Kemp, a name known to many in gospel music, Avenue records on the Song Garden Label. Their current project, “Songs For Every Mile,” includes the radio singles, “One Of These Mornings” and “Reach the World,” the latter which was originally recorded by the Bishops.
“We sang (“Reach the World”) 20 years, four times a week, (for) many years,” says Mark Bishop. “(I’m) proud Avenue has put their touch on it and recorded it.”
Kemp was a member of Naomi and The Segos for several years, as well as with the Toney Brothers, and Allegiance. In Avenue, he is joined by Jacob Lagesse who sings lead, and Corey Lackey, on tenor.
Lagesse and Kemp sang together in Allegiance, and they met Jacob through their pastor, Steve Hurst. Steve Hurst and Gary Casto helped Kemp create Avenue.
“We are passionate about the Gospel and music,” says Kemp. “We believe music is a great avenue in which to share the gospel. Plus, those of us that are born again are on the avenue to heaven.”
Avenue recently made their first appearance in Akron, Ohio, opening their concert with the popular gospel song, “The Heavenly Choir.”
Kemp is pleasantly surprised at the reception Avenue has received. “We choose songs that everyone is familiar with and that we feel would work together well on stage,” says Kemp. “Our first project was meant to be nothing more than a table project; meaning no radio releases. However, when it was complete, we felt it deserved more than (being) just a piece to sell on our table. We sent ‘One Of Those Mornings’ to radio and it topped out at number 23.” The song was on national charts for two months.
Kasey is the oldest member of the group. He is married to Haley and they have two children, Avaline, age two, and Autry, four months old. Growing up, Kemp was influenced by the Cathedrals. He took private vocal, piano and trumpet lessons as a child, and also went to the Steve Hurst School of Music. Avenue’s audiences are blessed when Kemp brings out his trumpet during their performance on stage.
Lackey, 24, is a college student who is majoring in business management. Being from Wayne, Michigan, Lackey has been influenced musically by a trio with its roots also in Michigan, the Booth Brothers. The group’s tenor has great support in his career from his parents, sisters and brother.
Lagesse, 22, just graduated from Trevecca University in Nashville, where he studied music business and performed in school musicals. He likes to spend his time off at the beach or at a baseball field. When asked about special memories at university, Lagesse says, “Not sure on embarrassing college moments, but one of my highlights was getting to perform on the Grand Ole Opry stage.” His experiences have seasoned both his vocals and performance ability.
All three artists in this group are ready for this moment that God has brought them together to be his avenue to share his love to the world, including the audience of WATC TV. Avenue’s “Gospel Music USA” episode is scheduled to air July 27.
WATC TV has taped over 200 episodes of “Gospel Music USA” with more than 80 artists and airs on numerous stations across the nation. It airs in the Atlanta area on Saturday afternoons at 2:30 p.m.(EST)., and is also available on the internet at www.watc.tv.
This powerful trio’s strong vocals are sure to put them on the charts often and to grace stages across the country. Find out more about Avenue at avenuetrio.com
By Robert York
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in June 2019
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