Three-time Dove nominees the Marksmen Quartet of Murrayville, Ga. cross the â€œGenerationsâ€ with their latest CD.
From the first song â€“ Albert E. Brumleyâ€™s classic â€œI Firmly Promise You,â€ the smooth harmonies, which have made the group a Southern gospel and bluegrass mainstay for the last 47 years, blend the talents of three generations from the actâ€™s most enduring families.
The quartet founded by Earle Wheeler in 1967 currently features Earle and his son Mark Wheeler along with 29-year Marksmen member Darrin Chambers and the latest addition Aaron Johnson. Darrin is the son of former long-time tenor singer and mandolinist Keith Chambers and Aaron is his grandson. The recording also features guest appearances by Markâ€™s children â€“ Will and Sarah Grace singing and playing mandolin and fiddle, respectively.
â€œWith the addition of Aaron to the group, it hit me that we reached our third generation of performers and audience,â€ Earle said. â€œSo the theme of the latest project came to us easily.â€
There are singers whose voices make them immediately identifiable; Earleâ€™s unique Southern gospel vocal stylings have made the Marksmen sound recognizable in three music genres â€“ Southern gospel, bluegrass and country. His leadership has garnered them countless awards in each genre including Dove nominations for their latest three CDs.
Earle is featured on â€œWhy Canâ€™t You Believe?â€ and â€œWill You Meet Me Over Yonder.â€
This CD features songs that highlight each member; it is Markâ€™s traditional country lead that through the years has become a pivotal part of the sound beside his fatherâ€™s unique voice.
Mark adds three more new songs to his songwriting catalog. He delivers a haunting performance — â€œThe Spirit Moved,â€ his song penned with Jim Green. He also features
â€œNo More Sin,â€ composed with Lance Carpenter.
Markâ€™s original song written with former Marksmen David Waller â€“ â€œThe Folly of a Foolâ€ is sang by Darrin Chambers and is a commentary on believing in evolution.
A classic hymn written to feature a bass vocal â€œHe Understands and Cares for Meâ€ also highlights Darrinâ€™s talents.
â€œDarrin continues to be a vital part of what we do musically and vocally,â€ Earle said.
Reaching back into some of the songs the group popularized early in their career with tenor Keith Chambers â€œI Have a New Lifeâ€ and â€œPayday,â€ the group passes the torch now with his grandson carrying the prominent part in these audience favorites.
â€œAaronâ€™s approach is different vocally, but folks who follow us have shared how much they are enjoying his smooth sound,â€ Mark said.
The third generation of the Wheeler family adds their contribution as young Will Wheeler singing with his father and sister on â€œIâ€™m Not Going to Hell.â€
Sarah Grace joins her father and grandfather on â€œTime Has Made a Change.â€
Mark features his banjo stylings on â€œthe Old Cross Roadâ€ continuing a family tradition passed through the generations in his family.
Solid Gospel radio host Les Butler makes a guest appearance singing baritone and playing mandolin on the bluegrass standard â€œThe Old Cross Road.â€ Fiddler Lynn Shook adds his talents to â€œPayday.â€
â€œWe hope that our friends will enjoy our latest CD,â€ Earle said. â€œThis is my 44th album and each time we create a new one, its is just as exciting as the first time, the creativity, the love that is shared through the music, and the hope that God uses it to reach those who need to hear his message.â€
The CD is available at for download on ITunes, Amazon.com and CDBaby. For more information, visitÂ www.marksmenquartet.com, Fans may like Marksmen Mountain Music Camp on Facebook.