I delightfully chose to write on one of my favorite male trios this month. With its roots tracing back to 1998, Brad Strider, Greg Gainer and Jake Wood make up what is collectively known today as Mercy’s Well. I have personally grown to love these guys and appreciate the heart that they have towards the music that they sing. Their 2014 released project, Today, has become one of my most played albums. It has 10 outstanding songs, such as “Come As We Are,” “I’ll Trade This Valley For A Mountain,” and “I Wanna Hear The Gospel,” to name a few.
Mercy’s Well officially had its beginning in 2000. Group owner, Brad, tells us: “A friend of mine asked me to go with him to a revival service one night. He wanted me to play bass guitar with him and ‘sing a few’. The people enjoyed it and we started receiving invitations to go to different revivals and other services. We eventually added a third part and changed the name to Mercy’s Well.”
Brad Strider makes his home in Greensboro, NC, where the trio has its base. He serves in all areas for Mercy’s Well, from booking to emceeing on the stage. Brad began singing at the age of eight, following the footsteps of his parents and grandparents. “My grandpa had a quartet in the 40’s and 50’s. Also, my parents were in a quartet in the 70’s. That led to a family group, containing my brother and I,” he tells us. “I am so grateful for the musical examples that were lived in front of me. My family still sings together to this day, just without me,” he laughingly interjects.
Brad is also the owner of the graphics design company, b.creative, which keeps him extremely busy when he is not on the road singing. The company serves the graphic needs for several Southern Gospel groups, such as the Hoppers and Tribute Quartet, as well as the designs for the well-known event, National Quartet Convention. Brad’s most favorite past time also comes in the form of music. “I am an avid collector of classic Southern Gospel records. My collection is currently over 1,000 and is constantly growing in number,” he proudly admits. “I thoroughly enjoy collecting and listening to the albums of the classic groups that I grew up listening to. My all-time favorite is definitely the Cathedral Quartet.”
Long-time member, Greg Gainer, makes his home just down the road in Kernersville, NC. Greg’s smooth vocal ability and gentle spirit make him a favorite with audiences wherever the group performs. He also occasionally accompanies Mercy’s Well on stage with his piano abilities. During the week, Greg sells security systems for ADT. In his free time at home, he enjoys home improvement projects and working outside in his yard.
Greg says he took interest in the piano around the age of seven. “I would listen to choirs that came to the Christian school that I attended. Then I would go home and try to pick the songs out on the piano. My mom started taking me to piano lessons. Like any kid, I fought it at first. But today, I’m glad that I stuck with it,” he says. Greg later developed his vocal talents while in school. Before singing with Mercy’s Well, he spent about three years with the Pathfinders Quartet.
The newest member for Mercy’s Well is the young, talented Jake Wood. He makes his home in Trinity, NC. Although Jake has been with the trio for only a few short months, he is already singing his way into the hearts of those who are listening. “I have already had such a great time on the road with the guys,” says Jake. “I am excited to see the doors that God is going to open up for us in the future.” Jake began singing at the age of 11 and is the odd one of his family, being the only singer. He shares Brad’s love and musical influence of the memorable Cathedral Quartet, as well as Gold City. Jake spent roughly four years with local groups before joining Mercy’s Well. He is currently a student, enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is working towards a music performance major. Between traveling and school, Jake does not have much free time. But when time permits, he does enjoy outside activities, such as hiking.
Anyone who has ever traveled can attest to things going wrong from time to time. So was the case with a trip to Texas for this group of guys back in the spring. “We got all the way to Texas and our Sprinter decided to lay down on us. I had to find a way to get us to our dates by whatever means possible. So three full grown men piled into a U-Haul truck and drove to our next date,” Brad says with a laugh. “Looking back, it’s comical to me, although at the time, it definitely was not!”
Mercy’s Well just celebrated 15 years of music by releasing a project with a compilation of fan favorites. Thanks To You: Fifteen Years of Making Memories and Music consists of songs like “More Like Jesus, Less Like Me,” the never-released radio cut of “I’ll See You Soon,” and a remake of the trio’s most requested song, “Nothing But the Blood (Still Saves the Lost).” Also, the project includes three brand new songs with the vocals of the newcomer, Jake. They give their kudos to the superb producer and vocal arranger, Donna King. To order this new project, or any of the trio’s other music, visit www.mercyswell.com. You can find their tour schedule on that site as well.
Mercy’s Well is currently preparing for their annual Christmas tour. It will be kicked off by a banquet, which will be held on Friday, November 27 in Asheboro, NC at The Exchange. This is sure to be an exciting evening. So if you are close to that area, do not hesitate to call and make your reservations. The guys would love to sing you into the Christmas spirit.
By Jaquita Lindsey
First published by SGN Scoops in October 2015
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