Beyond the Song by Jantina Baksteen
It was the song “Let’s Carry On,” from the group New Ground, that caught my attention for this edition of Beyond the Song. I got in contact with Robbie Fortner Maxwell, who is one of the founders of New Ground, and she agreed to join me in this interview. Robbie is joined by Dale Maxwell and David Owens to form this exciting trio. Read on.
Jantina Baksteen: Please share a little background on how you got started with New Ground.
Robbie Fortner Maxwell: On June 19, 1993, we started our group New Ground as a quartet with a full band. Our first singing was held at our home church, and needless to say, we (were) a bunch of scared individuals on a new journey to share our music. After just singing where we were called locally, we began to venture out a little further with our message. During this time, we saw our group go from a quartet to a trio, and full band, to piano and tracks. We have been traveling this way for the past 23 years.
JB: Who are your music influences?
RM: The McGruders, Hinsons
JB: Do you have a testimony to share?
RM: My testimony was when Dale was traveling with the groups, I wanted to be a part of a group – I just wanted to sing. I couldn’t carry a tune, but I loved the music. I was reading my Bible one day and read the verse Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee desires of thine heart.” (KJV). Wow. I got ahold of that verse and began to believe that the Lord would do that for me, and at 26 years old, I just began to sing! What an awesome God we serve.
JB: How is it like to travel as a couple and with ýour longtime friend David Owens?
RM: David is on year 23 (of) traveling with Dale and I. He has been a part of our family for many years. We love David and his entire family (wife – Stacy, children – Brandon, Chelsea and Celeste). David is an only child and he says that if he had ever had a sister it would have been me!
JB: You have Mickey Bell back on board again?
RM: Mickey has been a friend since New Ground first got started in 1993. He has been with us on three different stints. Mickey still plays piano for us on special occasions but he has embarked on a Christian Comedian Tour and is doing great. Check him out at www.themickeybell.com.
JB: You already celebrated 25 years of singing. Can you share a little about that?
RM: Well we are working on year 27 now. When Dale and I started the group many years ago, we had said that we were gonna sing as long as the Lord allowed (and He) is with this group. I’d never dreamed that it would have been going this long, with no breaks. He keeps blessing us more each day to sing His songs. Who knows where I’ll be at age 80. I hope it is still singing for Him!
JB: You have a single put out to radio that’s called ‘Let’s Carry On’ that caught my attention, and I’ve requested it almost every day. Can you share the message of that song?
RM: The message actually tells us that the path was paved before us through the Word of God that we received by the many pastors/preachers/instructors – and we should be found faithful carrying on what we were taught to a lost and dying world.
JB: Who is the writer? What does this song mean to you personally?
RM: A great friend of ours by the name of Tim Fugatt, co-wrote the song with Regina Walden. We were at Tim’s church a little over a year ago and he sat down and sang the song to us and we knew then we wanted to record the song. We have known Tim for probably 20 years. He was a 13-year-old young man and he was at our studio and told Dale that he wanted to be able to work in music when he grew up, and at 20 years later he has written some phenomenal songs (as a matter of fact, we have recorded four of them) and is an unbelievably talented musician. He is a music minister in a church near Mobile, Alabama sharing his talents. The song encourages us to keep singing and carrying His message!
JB: You travel all over the country and made it even to Scotland. Is there a difference in how the audience receives the message or in how they respond?
RM: We have been so blessed to travel to many different places to sing. One of the biggest events in our lives was to be a part of the Scotland Music Convention. We were chosen to come and share our ministry with fellow Christians in Scotland. When fellow Christians unite to worship, it is the same no matter where you are. We had so much in common being His children and just inviting Him in with us. Everyone has a common connection – no matter where we are at.
JB: What is on top of your bucket list?
RM: My bucket list: Just continue to sing, sing, sing wherever He sends us!
JB: What is your favorite Bible quote to hold on to?
RM: Like I already mentioned, it is Psalm 37:4 – that’s my promise.
JB: What is ahead for you?
RM: Every singing is a special time for us! Just looking at many more great days in the Lord.
JB: Where can we find you on the web?
RM: You can find us at www.newgroundministries.com on the web and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NewGroundMinistries
We hope you enjoy New Ground singing “Let’s Carry On.” You can hear it on Facebook HERE.
Thank you Robbie for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your wonderful ministry. Hope God keeps blessing you and New Ground to “Carry On” and reach out to those who are lost and share the Gospel with them.
By Jantina Baksteen
Jantina Baksteen is a gospel music writer and a regular contributor to SGNScoops magazine and website.
Jantina Baksteen – biography:
I live all the way overseas in the Netherlands. I’m married and I have three adult children. I grew up in a Christian home and knew in my early years that I wanted to belong to Him. I surrendered my life to Christ was baptized one day before I turned 11 years old. Somehow, the seed of loving gospel music was planted by the style of music my parents played at home. Around 2006/2007, I was listening to Gaither homecoming music that I found on the internet. The song, “Oh, What A Savior,” by Ernie Haase hit me with the so-called Southern gospel bug. From there, I’ve been reading /studying all I can find. I found the digital SGNScoops Magazine. I started praying for God to please give me a job in the Southern gospel industry. Now I do the “Beyond the Song” article that really has my heart as I am reaching out to artists, asking about a current song and having a sneak peak behind the scenes.
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