One of the definitions of the word anchor is a person or thing that gives strength or support. Many people place their trust and faith in things that cannot provide the strength or support they need. Those who place their faith in Jesus Christ receive His almighty strength. When Christ is your anchor, you can make it through the hardships that life brings your way. The Anchormen, one of Southern Gospel’s premiere groups, is a fitting name for this quartet co-founded by Terry Carter in 1979.
Carter reflects on the early days of the group. “The group started in the spring of 1979. We are now celebrating 36 years in ministry. We began singing in three or four states for the first five years of our ministry. In 1985, we were able to travel on a full-time scale. Even through personal changes and trials along the way God has kept his hand on the ministry of The Anchormen.”
The members of this stellar group hold to Christ as their anchor as their music reflects. For more than three decades, the Anchormen have been traveling the country and the world spreading the good news of the Gospel to thousands of people. They perform around 200 concert dates per year and dedicate their lives to praising Jesus Christ. Not only do they hope to bring joy to their listeners, the quartet’s goal is to effectively lead audiences to a sincere knowledge of Christ through His music. The men of this quartet have made it their mission to stay faithful to the call placed on their lives.
The award-winning quartet has maintained a unique and solid sound no matter the lineup. Manager Tim Bullins states that groups such as the Happy Goodman Family, Hinsons, and The Blackwood Brothers have inspired them musically. Carter adds, “Other influences on the group include: the Cathedral Quartet, the Kingsmen of the 70’s and 80’s, the Stamps, the Statesmen, and the Downings.”
Many great vocalists have taken the stage as members of this fine group including: tenors Benny Blackburn, Steve Ladd, Tony Jarman, David Sutton, and Karl Rice; lead singers Biney English, Dale Forbes, David Hill, Jason Funderburk, Chip Pullen, and Phillip Hughes; baritones Chad Smith and Michael Bartlett; and bass singers Jody Medford, Jeff Chapman, Aaron McCune, David Hester, and Paul Harkey.
Many former Anchormen now serve in other major groups such as: tenor David Sutton (Triumphant), tenor Karl Rice (The Williamsons), lead Chip Pullen (Gold City), bass Jeff Chapman (Kingdom Heirs), and bass Paul Harkey (Ernie Haase and Signature Sound). Each member brought a different dynamic to the group and helped to make this group what it is today.
The current lineup is marked by the return of several former members. Terry Carter, who was a founding member of the group, sang baritone for about 18 years before taking a nine-year break. Carter rejoined the group in 2010 and picked up right where he left off. His infectious energy makes him a great emcee, and his smooth baritone voice delights crowds all over the world. Carter has been nominated in the Top 10 Singing News fan awards and is considered by peers and fans to be one of Southern Gospel’s most beloved baritones.
Will Lane originally joined the Anchormen in 2003 at 23 years old as their bass singer. Lane remained with the quartet until 2006 when he left to co-found Driven Quartet. Last year, he returned to the Anchormen after the departure of Randy Byrd. Lane’s dynamic and rich bass voice has made him a fan favorite over the years.
Lead singer Phillip Hughes, whose previous tenure with the group lasted four years, rejoined this year after singing tenor for the Harvesters Quartet. Hughes is well known for his powerful voice and ability to communicate a lyric with great emotion.
Tenor Derrick Boyd is no stranger to Southern Gospel music having performed with the Dixie Melody Boys, Heaven Bound, The Carolina Boys (Kingsmen Quartet) and the Blackwoods. His incredible tenor voice, powerful testimony and great personality make him a vital part of this group.
The Anchormen are also known for excellent, well-written songs, many of which have made the Top 40 on the Singing News Charts. Terry Carter prides himself on producing top quality recordings as evidenced by the vast catalog of Anchormen records. Their latest CD only continues this tradition of quality songs and production.
Tapestry–Woven Treasures, which was released in March of this year, features a variety of old and new songs including a couple of Anchormen classics that have been re-recorded. Carter states, “We feel we have a great cut with our new single release called ‘You Ain’t Seen The Last of Jesus.’ We are excited to see how it will do on radio.” This mid-tempo song on the resurrection features the deep bass tones of Will Lane and the powerful lead vocals of Phillip Hughes.
The project also includes classics such as “Come To The Fountain,” and “I’ve Been Touched,” which are both Anchormen classics recorded in the early 90’s. The group recorded several other classics including “He Is Worthy,” which according to Carter is Derrick Boyd’s signature song, which he sang with The Dixie Melody Boys.
Now in their 36th year of full time Southern Gospel music, Terry Carter and the Anchormen have been blessed with longevity in the ministry and with this long history come many great stories. Carter says, “Some highlights for me would be singing at the NQC for the first time in 1982 in Nashville, and singing for the first time on national TV on Camp Meeting USA in 1987. But still today the greatest highlight is a soul coming to accept Christ as their Savior.”
The year 2015 brings even more good things for this stellar quartet. Terry Carter exclaims, “The group will be at Memphis Quartet Show in 2016 for the first time. We are also currently looking at material for an upcoming recording.” In terms of concerts, group manager Tim Bullins states, “Fans can expect high-energy singing and transparent testimonies along with songs ranging from old classics to today’s favorites when attending an Anchormen concert.”
Carter adds, “Our ultimate goal is to do our best for Christ our Savior and that through our efforts many will come to know Christ as their personal Savior.” The Anchormen have held steadfast to this goal and have been truly blessed in their career. Through all the changes, Christ remains their anchor.
By Justin Gilmore
First published by SGN Scoops in August 2015.
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