Scott Fowler leads Legacy Five into the future
By John Herndon
Rooted in one of the greatest traditions in gospel music, the Legacy Five has embarked on a 2019 schedule that will see the group pay tribute to history, yet do so by embracing the changes of the times.
I was fortunate to talk with Scott Fowler, one of the quartetâ€™s founding members, after a concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church, in Lawrenceburg, Ky., on Jan. 24. It was a performance that drew a good crowd on a bitterly cold night and prompted several extended standing ovations.
Fowler was excited to talk about the groupâ€™s plans for the coming year. â€œWe are getting ready to release our first video in about five or six years,â€ he said, noting that 21-year-old pianist Josh Townsend will be prominently featured. â€œA couple of things people have been asking for are J.T.â€™s testimony, which you heard tonight, and the song that he sings.â€
Townsend, who has overcome two childhood tumors and a massive stroke while being carried in his motherâ€™s womb, shared his testimony with a mesmerized audience before singing the tear-filled â€œGodâ€™s Been Good,â€ a bonus track from the â€œFaith and Freedomâ€ album released in late 2017.
â€œPeople ask a lot if weâ€™ve got the patriotic segment we did tonight on video,â€ Fowler continued. â€œThatâ€™s going to be on the video with â€˜I Made it to Arlingtonâ€™ along with the â€˜Tribute to the Troopsâ€™ we do. Those are two big items that will be on the DVD. It will be called, â€˜Live in Peoria.â€™
â€œIt will come out around the first of March, maybe the 15th. Then we are working on a new studio album. We donâ€™t have it titled yet, but it will have 10 brand new songs on it. That will be coming in the late spring or early summer.â€
Fowler said the Legacy Five will be on a normal tour schedule of about 135 concerts, too.
The Sand Spring concert was heavy on songs from â€œFaith and Freedom,â€ including â€œGod Bless the USA,â€ â€œHallelujah Chorus,â€ and a rousing version of â€œWhen the Saints Go Marching In,â€ as the finale.
Fowler explained the reasoning behind the album. â€œI have always been very patriotic personally,â€ he said. â€œI have always had a deep sense of gratitude. I have been to El Salvador. I have been to the Dominican Republic. I have been to the nation of Colombia. They are great places with great people, but the kids there will never have the opportunities of kids in America because of where they were born. I realize that the only difference between my kids and those kids in other countries was where they were born. There is no other difference.
â€œThey may speak a different language and their skin might be a different color but God doesnâ€™t love them any less than he loves my kids. I am very grateful that my kids were allowed to be born in America.
â€œThen you have the political climate. The culture got there for a while there that people were apologizing for America and not standing for the Anthem, just not being respectful. I wanted people to know where Legacy Five stood on those issues, so that is what we did.â€
The group took time to recognize veterans from all branches of the service. â€œVeterans deserve everything our government will give them and more,â€ Fowler said.
Fowler is one of the veterans of gospel music, singing with the Cathedrals for 10 years before legends George Younce and Glen Payne retired the group. Fowler and Cathedrals pianist Roger Bennett formed Legacy Five to begin touring in January of 2000. Bennett died in 2007, but the group continues as one of gospel musicâ€™s most popular.
Part of Legacy Fiveâ€™s appeal has been its ability to adapt to a changing world. â€œThe actual style has changed. It always gets a little more progressive,â€ Fowler said, noting the same thing happens in other styles of music.
â€œThe biggest change is technologically. You know with all the social media, now your music is available online and on YouTube. You can stream it. Nobody knew what those terms were 20 years ago.â€
When Fowler talked about CDâ€™s and other merchandise available at the product table, he noted the group had a USB-drive loaded with several albums available.
Fowler smiled, â€œThe message doesnâ€™t change. The package changes, but the message never changes.â€
Itâ€™s why Legacy Five remains near the top of gospel music.
All images by John Herndon, except for promotional photographs.
By John Herndon
John Herndon is a writer for SGNScoops Magazine and also has a website called KentuckySings. John is a Kentucky native who was raised listening to gospel music. As a child, the Sunday morning routine always included the Gospel Singing Jubilee and his summers were filled with all-day-singings-and-dinner-on-the-ground listening to local groups just about every Sunday. He remembers seeing The Prophets at his county fair when he was seven years old and eventually, he became a huge fan of The Oak Ridge Boys, The Imperials and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps. John spent 20 years in the located ministry and during this time, he began writing local sports for The Anderson News in Lawrenceburg, Ky. For the last 16 years, he has been the full-time sports editor of that paper. John has won over 100 awards from the Kentucky Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and Landmark Community Newspapers.Â He loves listening to gospel music or playing one of his guitars.Â John lives in Lawrenceburg with his wife, Stephanie, and 17-year-old daughter. He has three grown children and four grandchildren.
***Note: This article was written before the announcement that Josh Feemster is leaving this popular quartet. See elsewhere on this website for more information.
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