We’re seeing it now more than ever: second and third generation singers in Gospel Music. Look at the vast amount of young people that are singing or playing with their respective family groups: Madison and Morgan Easter, Austin and Ethan Whisnant, Jordan LeFevre, Amber Nelon Thompson and Autumn Nelon, and the list grows longer each year. Southern Gospel is alive with many of today’s youth, and I get to prove my point with these artists, The Mylon Hayes Family.
I must admit that this article was piece of cake to write. It was also very difficult to write. It was easy in the fact that I know this family well and count them as dear friends. There’s lots I can say about them. It was difficult in the fact that, well, I know this family well, count them as dear friends, and there’s lots I could say about them!
I spent some time with Mylon, Wendy, Conner, Bailey, and Kennedy at the Whisnant’s Homecoming in Morganton, North Carolina, last weekend, and this is what they had to say…
MB: Give us a brief history of your family’s heritage in Gospel Music, how you got started and how you started singing with your family now.
MH: Dad and Mom were singing and playing in groups before they were married. In fact, they met at a singing. Mom was playing for a group and Dad was singing with another group. After their marriage, they started the Goodwill Quartet which was a combination of Dad and Mom’s families. This was in the late â€˜50’s and â€˜60’s.Â Then my sisters and I came along and Dad and Mom started singing with us in the mid-â€˜70’s as The Hayes Family. We made our first recording in 1978. God blessed us to sing together about 40 years.Â In 2011, Dad went home to be with the Lord. But even before his home going, Wendy and I, much like Dad and Mom, had a desire to sing with our kids. After Dad’s death, we felt the Lord leading us to start with our kids as The Mylon Hayes Family. So we were able to record our first CD in late 2011, early 2012 and we started singing in local churches at that time.
MB: Did you ever hope something like this would happen, or did the Lord just seem to work it out this way, for you to travel with your family and pass on the heritage?
MH: As I mentioned, we had the desire to do it and it seems that the Lord has done the rest. For sure, we have seen God’s hand working out the details for this to happen. He has provided everything from transportation to the sound system, financial arrangements for the recordings to opportunities to minister.Â We’ve just tried to be obedient and available. It’s really been all God and we praise Him for it.
Â MB: What people or groups influence your family’s sound?
MH: Well, we do some things that are reminiscent of The Hayes Family. So that’s the biggest influence. The kids, Wendy and I love Convention-Style music and have studied it at various singing schools over the last several years. The kids have many groups they love to listen to as well and each of them would be an influence on the way they sing and interpret songs. Of course, Wendy and I were both influenced early in our lives by The Nelons, the Speer Family, The Lefevres, The Inspirations and others.
MB: Wendy,Â what does it mean to you to travel and watch your kids use their talents for Christ?
WH: It just thrills me to know that they want to. They could be out doing many other things but yet they have such a great desire to go each time we have the opportunity. They don’t complain about being gone on weekends. I can’t tell you the joy it brings to me to watch God use them even at this young age and to see Him work in their lives.
MB: Conner, Bailey, Kennedy…Most people might not know that each of you also play instruments. Tell us what instruments you play and who your favorite musicians are…
KH: I play piano and my favorite musicians are Kim Collingsworth, the Collingsworth sisters, Danny Crawford and Gerald Wolfe.
BH: I play piano and electric bass. My favorite musicians are my Dad, Stephen Butler, Gerald Wolfe, David Johnson, Stan Whitmire and Danny Crawford.
CH: I play piano and drums. My favorite musicians are Tony Creasman, David Johnson, Gerald Wolfe, Jeff Collins, Danny Crawford and Dad.
Authorâ€™s Note:Â If you look on the credits of some recent CDs from your favorite groups, you might recognize Mylon’s name on the back. Mylon is a very sought-after studio musician, arranger, producer, and background vocalist. He also does post-production audio work for groups.
MB:Â Mylon, we know how popular Convention-Style music was and continues to be today. What role does Convention-Style music play in your music now?
MH: I grew up singing this style so it’s always been a huge influence in my life.Â I’m trying to pass it on to our kids as well. As I mentioned earlier, we take them to the music schools that teach this and we also attend some of the Convention singings. Just as in my early years, they have been able to witness how the Holy Spirit moves through the great messages in many of these songs.Â In addition to the great messages, the structure of the harmony is different than any other style. This music moves me and I’m so thankful it’s a part of my heritage and hope it will continue to be an influence in many Hayes generations to come.
MB:Â Here’s a fun question: What’s in your CD player or on your iPod right now that you’re listening to?
Kennedy – The Collingsworth Family
Conner – Greater Vision
Bailey – Greater Vision
Mylon and Wendy – The Whisnant’s
There are lots of others we listen to frequently.
MB:Â You’ve got one last song left to sing. What song is it and why?
MH:Â “Jesus Can Change Your Life” because the message is the heart of what we want to say.
If you don’t recognize that song title, it’s a great song written by Rebecca Peck and it’s the latest single off of their new project, Spreading His Word.Also, the group just got word that â€œJesus Can Change Your Lifeâ€ is number 13 on the Singing News Chart for April 2014.
Most of us know that family harmony is some of the best harmony you’ll hear. Well, if I may post my personal opinion on the matter, when you listen to the Mylon Hayes Family, you’ll hear the cream of the “family harmony” crop! I encourage you to take a look at their website listed below. You can keep up with their schedule there as well. If they’re in your area any time, go see them. They’ll surely bless your heart and be an encouragement to you. Thanks guys, for visiting with me!
We’ve mentioned briefly about having a great heritage of Gospel music in families. This second and third generation family is spreading the good news of Christ all over the country, and something tells me their heritage will continue for a long time to come.
Visit the Mylon Hayes Family online at Â http://www.themylonhayesfamily.com/
See their Facebook page as well https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mylon-Hayes-Family/348217278568579
Written by Matt Baker for SGM Radio
First published by SGM Radio website in March 2014
For current SGM Radio features click on toÂ http://www.sgmradio.com/