Kinston, NC – Long-time Dixie Melody Boys owner and SGMA Hall of Fame member Ed Oâ€™Neal is pleased to introduce Buddy BatesÂ as the new tenor vocalist for The Dixie Melody Boys.Â A lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Buddy brings decades of music experience to The Dixie Melody Boys.
A talented musician and vocalist, Buddyâ€™s roots are deeply tied to Southern Gospel Music. He first began singing and playing for New Creations, a group founded by his father, Merle. Over the years he has traveled with such talented groups as The Ball Family, The Mercy River Boys, Stone Ridge Quartet, New Voice Quartet, The Crownsmen and most recently The Blackwood Brothers. Over the past couple years Buddy served as Music Director at First Millville Baptist Church in Millville, OH. â€œWhile serving at the church, I was given the opportunity to fill in for The Blackwood Brothers while their tenor recovered from a heart attack,â€ Buddy shares. â€œWhile I love working in the church, singing with a quartet again reignited my lifelong dream of singing Southern Gospel Music full-time, and I am so grateful to be able to be with Ed, Willie and all the Dixie Melody Boys.â€
Buddy and his wife, Lisa, have five children and one grandchild, with two more expected to arrive this fall. While Buddy will miss the extra time with his family, he is thrilled to join Ed Oâ€™Neal, as well as baritone Willie Sawrey, lead vocalist Cayden Howell and bass singer Earl Roberts, who joined the quartet at the beginning of the year.
Like everyone in Gospel Music, as well as around the world, The Dixie Melody Boys have experienced their share of challenges in recent months as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic; however, ever the optimist, Ed Oâ€™Neal is excited about the future of The Dixie Melody Boys. â€œWhen we kicked the new year off, we were so excited about the group and what we expected for 2020. Then the Pandemic hit. Little did we know how it would change things for us, but we know God is in control and He has great things in store.Â We are happy to have Buddy with us, and as I have said many times, the faces and the names may change, but The Dixie Melody Boys still have a message to share. Even after all these years I still believe God has great things in store.â€