Committed To Spread The Gospel Even Through Present Challenges
Kinston, NC – Since organizing nearly six decades ago, The Dixie Melody Boys have enjoyed much success, including a Grammy nomination and numerous Fan Award nominations. Hit releases have flowed their way in bunches. The goal of delivering a first-class performance filled with excitement, energy and lots of great traditional, Southern Gospel Music are traits which have been instilled in each group member by their leader Ed O’Neal, a 55-year Gospel Music veteran, who was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 2004.
Ed O’Neal is no stranger to changes and adversities. In fact, over the past five and a half decades he has seen over 90 personnel changes. “That has to be a record in this business,” Ed says with a chuckle. Even with all those changes, the adversity he is currently experiencing seems to be one of his biggest challenges. “On April 1, I was involved in a pretty serious automobile accident. It has been a tough recovery, but I am doing much better and starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Ed stated while recuperating from his daughter’s home in Kinston, NC.
Throughout the past six weeks Mr Ed, as he is affectionately known to countless fans and promoters, has been going through rehabilitation, and although he still has more treatment and therapy ahead, he is excited about eventually making his way back on the road, even if it’s only on a limited basis. “Willie (Sawrey) and the guys have worked really hard to fulfill the commitments we have, and they’ve done a very good job. I am managing the group, just as I always have, even though I presently can’t be on the road,” Ed explains. “There have been a lot of rumors out there circulating that I am never coming back on the road and that I am selling the group or that the group is coming off the road. I can tell you that I am committed to managing The Dixie Melody Boys as long as I am able to do so. I’ve put a lot of years into The Dixie Melody Boys. I love the promoters and the pastors who have supported us over the years. They are lifelong friends, and I look forward to seeing many of them again when I am able to be back on the road.”
Ed O’Neal’s love for the people, his desire to always present quality, quartet music, united with his desire to never compromise his responsibility to spread the Gospel through Southern Gospel Music in a professional manner has allowed The Dixie Melody Boys to remain at the forefront of Southern Gospel Music for nearly six decades. Those are also the forces that are compelling him to recover and get back out and see folks he has missed seeing during his recovery time. “I don’t know what the future holds. I am almost 83 years old now and not getting any younger,” the veteran bass singer says smiling. “But I can tell you this, Beckie Simmons and her great staff are booking dates for The Dixie Melody Boys every week, and we’re excited about that.”
A brief conversation with this Southern Gospel Music living legend quickly confirms the joyful spirit he has always possessed, as well as his desire to see The Dixie Melody Boys continue on for many years to come. “I want to see The Dixie Melody Boys continue the great tradition I started a long time ago. The faces and the names may change but The Dixie Melody Boys still have a message to share, and I still believe God has great things in store.”
Those who would like to send cards of encouragement to Ed O’Neal may send those to The Dixie Melody Boys at 1802 Oxford Road, Kinston, NC 28504. Churches and promoters interested in scheduling The Dixie Melody Boys may contact the Beckie Simmons Agency at 615-595-7500 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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