NASHVILLE, Tenn.—GRAMMY® nominees and multi-award-winning Jeff & Sheri Easter have just recorded an all-new release, Small Town, Celebrating 30 Years of Music & Marriage (Spring Hill Music), which will hit the street on June 23rd, coinciding with their June celebration of 30 years of marriage.
The recording, produced by Jeff and Sheri Easter, Madison Easter and Greg Cole, features 11 songs, several of which were co-written by Sheri along with some of Nashville’s most noted songwriters. Small Town captures the warm, country-influenced musical style the group is known for and covers faith and family topics that have been important to Jeff and Sheri since they started the group three decades ago.
“Kenna Turner West, Sue Smith and Jason Cox wrote ‘This Side of the Dirt’ specifically for Jeff,” explains Sheri. “They created a beautiful story about him and the men who shaped him. Jeff remembers sitting on the front porch with his Grandpa Sechrist, who owned a junkyard. They would listen to the Osborne Brothers’ Favorite Hymns album, and they loved this style of music. That junkyard was an incredible teacher for Jeff, and it honed his skills as a mechanic. His daddy always shared that love of fixing things that are broken, and it crossed over into his preaching and singing. Encouraging folks to live better every day on this side of the dirt is a wonderful way to help fix a broken world.”
Another way the Easter Family is encouraging people offstage these days is by caretaking. Jeff and Sheri’s daughter and group member Morgan addressed this with the song “Someone’s Listening.”
“On weekdays I am a caregiver for my grandma,” says Morgan. “It is sometimes hard to sing about God’s faithfulness while witnessing during the week what seems to be ‘unfair,’ as a godly woman is confined to her bed with no means of communicating because of a crippling disease. I am learning how to walk with grace through struggles and hardships, and I am discovering through these real-life doubts and questions that songs I sing, like ‘Someone’s Listening,’ can be a lifeline for folks who are hurting.”
The group’s debut single from the new release, “Jesus Loves You,” is also a song for those who are hurting. “After hearing a discouraging news report one night, I was thinking that the reason we hurt one another is because we do not recognize our own value,” Sheri recalls. “We sometimes forget we are loved, and we forget we are important. I simply wanted to remind our audiences that no matter what they are facing, no matter how hard it seems, God still loves them with a love that never ends.”
The song marks the first time in the group’s history that they have included a choir of vocals and added a full string section to one of their songs.
Well-known for including love songs on their albums, it was fitting for Jeff and Sheri to record “I Love You” on the new release. Jeff’s uncle Edd (The Easter Brothers) sang this song to him backstage. Edd had written “I Love You” for his wife, Ann; and he sings it every morning when they wake up and every evening when they go to bed to remind her of his love for her always. Jeff loved the song, knew that its message is the way he feels about Sheri and recorded it for this anniversary recording.
Continuing the family dynamics of this special collection, Morgan paid tribute to the family’s rich history with “When the Harvest Comes,” written by Sheri as a celebration of the musical heritage that she and Jeff received from their respective families—The Lewis Family and The Easter Brothers—and also as a representation of what she and Jeff want to leave to their children. Jeff and Sheri’s son and group member, Madison Easter, asked to join his father for a verse of the song “My Wave,” creating a special moment for the two of them, who were also joined by longtime family friend Michael English, featured on background vocals.
Small Town, Celebrating 30 Years of Music and Marriage will be available online and at retailers everywhere and will be distribued by Capitol Christian Distribution. The new release will be highlighted in Homecoming Magazine, and the group’s family legacy is captured with the cover story of this month’s Singing News Magazine. Jeff & Sheri will be featured on SiriusXM’s “Daniel Britt & Friends,” tonight at 7 p.m. EDT; Thursday, June 11th, at 10 p.m. EDT; and Saturday, June 13th, at noon EDT. They will talk about the new recording on the one-hour gospel music radio show, where they visited on air with Gospel Music Hall of Famers Bill Gaither and Mark Lowry. The radio show is available to nearly 40 million satellite subscribers throughout the U.S. and Canada on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s enLighten (Channel 65).