There was a young man from Florence, Alabama who met a young lady from Anniston, Alabama in 2006 at the National Quartet Convention. They were both singing in a showcase. Was it love at first site?
Ashley Franks says, “Absolutely not!”
Ashley has many childhood memories of making mud pies at her grandmother’s house. She was born in a musical household with her grandparents playing and singing bluegrass music.
“My pawpaw loved to pick and grin!” Ashley smiles.
Ashley has two brothers, Brad and Michael, and attended Cleburne County High School. Later in life she sang with New Desire from Aragon, Georgia. When she was a junior in high school, she and her mother (Vonda Armstrong) formed Hope’s Journey where she would stay until 2007.
There isn’t enough space for Josh Franks, an only child, to tell about his childhood years. He attended Hardin County High School.
“Both sides of my family has some musical talent, however none of them ever did it professionally,” says Josh. “I was born into it. So I don’t know a life without music.”
God blessed Josh with the ability to play numerous instruments.
“Now I don’t claim to be the best, but I know a few chords and notes on most instruments,” says Josh. “I have so many wonderful people who have been a great influence in my life. I’ve been influenced by every day normal people, then there are church people, and of course many singers and musicians. Pastors and evangelist have also influenced my life. I am grateful for each person.”
Josh proposed to Ashley at Taco Bell with a sauce package that said, “will you marry me?”
They were married on December 8, 2007, at Liberty Hill Congregational Methodist Church, and began singing together as a duet known as Josh and Ashley.
“I got to sing background vocals on Josh’s last solo album,” Ashley says. “He recorded a song I wrote called ‘He Loves Me.’ We also sang on a couple of other songs. We first performed together in Columbia, Tenn. on New Year’s Eve 2007.”
Lauren Talley has been a big musical influence in her life. However, Ashley states that if she could be like anyone, it would be Karen Peck, with Karen’s heart and spirit.
A lot of milestones have been reached throughout the Frank’s 12 years of marriage and ministry together. They have had two great children, Priscilla and Eli.
“A couple of years ago, Priscilla loved to watch a show with a character named Michael,” says Ashley. “When she would play with her brother, she would pretend they were the show’s characters and called him Michael. For several months, Eli was totally convinced his name was Michael. We got a good laugh.”
Josh and Ashley Franks have had God’s true blessings and God has given them the desires of their heart. They have been privileged to sing on many stages including N.Q.C., Singing in the Sun, Gospel Music Winter Convention, Gatlinburg Gathering and many, many more. Also, Josh has been asked to speak at the Creekside Gospel Music Convention this year.
In addition to singing, the couple is involved in several other ministries including pastoring at Peoples Tabernacle Church in Savannah, Tenn., where they are getting ready to start construction of a brand new sanctuary. They also work with gospel music promoter Bill Bailey promoting concerts while doing some promoting on their own.
“Pastor Bill has been a dear friend of our family,” says Josh. “We are so much alike, yet we are 30 years apart in age. It is sometimes scary. We enjoy so many of the same things of life. I count it a high honor to be apart of such a wonderful ministry and share the same vision reaching people for Christ through Southern gospel music.”
The couple now have a regular TV program on WATC-TV that airs on Saturday afternoon, The Josh and Ashley Show.
What does the future hold for Josh and Ashley Franks? They don’t travel as much as they did. At one time they were up to 200 dates a year, but with their church and other activities they are only doing around 70 dates a year. This is still a great number for a pastor and his wife with all their church obligations where they try to be at every Sunday and Wednesday. They are thankful that God has given them a chance to do both.
“While we have a home base and wonderful church family who supports everything we do, I don’t ever see us off the road completely,” says Josh. “I think there will also be a part of us that travels and ministers to other people outside our home church. Either way, whether we are on the road or on the platform of our church, we are going to sing for Christ and pray that our music and message blesses people.”
You can learn more about Josh and Ashley and keep up with them and their TV schedule HERE
By Robert York
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in August 2019
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