If you love Southern Gospel Music, tight harmony, and scripture-filled music, you are probably well aware of “The Female Quartet of Southern Gospel Music” known as Sweetwater Revival. They hail from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Yes, you heard that right, Minnesota! Many find it surprising that a Southern Gospel group of ladies would come from the far North, but Sweetwater Revival has found that people are hungry for Southern Gospel music everywhere, and Minnesota is no exception! This year their quartet will celebrate a decade of music ministry.
In 2004, founding member Katie Paull was living in Nashville, Tennessee, and singing with “The New Speers.” This was a ministry was formed by Faye and Brock Speer’s oldest son, Marc Speer. Katie states, “To even be a small part of the Speer Legacy was a phenomenal blessing. I had lived in Nashville for about four years waitressing and pursuing every music contact I could get my hands on. This included meeting with various A&R reps from record labels around town, doing demos with producers, pitching myself to songwriters to be a demo singer, and singing all over town in various venues. I learned so much during this time about the music industry and I will never regret my time there.
“I eventually felt the Lord leading me back to Minnesota,” Katie continues. “I had sold my bed and a lot of my furniture, and then I awoke one Saturday morning to a message from Marc Speer saying he’d heard about me from a friend. He was interested in me auditioning for his alto position. I almost fell off my couch! Upon auditioning and joining The New Speers, one of my greatest joys became reality. At that point I decided to stay in Tennessee indefinitely.
“Singing and traveling with The New Speers was one of the greatest joys of my life. Eventually Marc decided to disband The New Speers and I was heartbroken. During that time of transition, I felt the Lord leading me back to Minnesota. Moving home was very difficult in some ways because I thought that had to mean I was giving up my dream. In reality, God provided just the opposite. I moved home to discover my songwriting mother was in rapid speed, having written hundreds of gospel songs and my dad said, ‘Why don’t you just start your own quartet?’ And thus the vision for Sweetwater Revival began. I don’t think it would have happened without my parents’ belief in my vision for an all-female quartet.” Through much prayer and many auditions with various singers, Katie and her mother Cathie formed Sweetwater Revival. Their deepest desire was to find quality women who could sing and harmonize, but most importantly had a heart for Jesus Christ both on stage and off.
Through prayer and seeking the Lord’s guidance for their ministry, Katie and Cathie were inspired to call the quartet Sweetwater Revival. They took inspiration from John 7:37, “Jesus stood and said, if any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.” Also Isaiah 55:1, “Ho, everyone who thirsteth, come you to the waters.” Cathie states, “I love the analogy of water and Jesus being the Living Water that quenches our thirst. He truly is the only One Who can transform our lives and revive us on a daily basis.”
The group currently consists of Katie Paull, Korissa Olson, Amanda Ellison, Kayla Krizek, and songwriter/manager Cathie Paxson. These ladies, known as “The Female Quartet of Southern Gospel,” work together to minister to people all over the country through meaningful lyrics and beautiful harmonies.
When an audience experiences Sweetwater Revival in concert, they will find out that the concert is much more than music alone. Katie says, “One thing that has been important to us is having scripture-filled music. That is a vital part of each project that we record. In addition to that, we have found that our music ministry is more than just music. Anyone who has ever attended a Sweetwater Revival concert will tell you that the sharing of God’s Word is a big part of our ministry. We also share our testimonies and words we feel God has placed on our hearts but as Isaiah 55:1 tells us, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” I know and have faith that if we choose to be His vessels in this way, whether through the singing of a song or a spoken word, God’s Word will not return void. He promises us that.”
Radio personality Vivian Belknap enthusiastically applauds the group’s songs. “We’ve been playing their music for some time now at KKGM AM 1630 in Dallas, Texas, and also streaming at www.kkgmam.com. I’m live on the board for three hours on Sunday afternoon, and I play at least two, sometimes three cuts of their music during that three hours. I always get phone calls about their music, with people asking ‘Who was that?’ One listener even ended up calling our corporate office asking who was singing!” Vivian happily informed the listener who was singing. She adds, “One song that many listeners respond to is ‘Colossian 3:1-3.’ We also get a very positive response for ‘A Hallelujah Homecoming,’ ‘Until Then,’ ‘He’s The Alpha and Omega,’ and ‘Blessed Assurance.’ We love them in Ft. Worth/Dallas!”
Radio stations are currently playing “A Hallelujah Homecoming,” written by Cathie Paxson Music (BMI). The song just charted on the Singing News Chart at #55 in March. Other radio singles listeners may recognize are “When Someday Becomes Today”, “The Night is Coming”, “We Will Arise”, and “Daddy’s Hands”. Katie points out that without wonderful radio promoters like the group’s own Susan Whisnant and United Independent Artists, many spirit-filled, life-changing songs would never make it out to impact listeners.
Sweetwater Revival has released eight CD projects, a DVD, “LIVE at the Mall of America”, and a complete line of vocal tracks and sheet music. Any of these can be ordered online at www.SweetwaterRevival.com . Their brand new project Heirloom (A Collection of Hymns and Harmonies) was released this past spring. Listeners will find a fantastic array of beloved hymns, harmony filled original music, and a cappella favorites on this newest project, produced by multiple Emmy, Dove, and Certified Grammy Award winning producer Darren Rust.
Sweetwater Revival continues to minister at various concerts. Katie shares, “One event we are heavily promoting and excited about, is our Annual ‘Hallelujah Homecoming Concert’ featuring The Talleys as our special guests. This exciting night of Gospel music will take place on Saturday, June 6th at 6pm. The Concert will be held at Bethel University in Benson Great Hall, St. Paul, Minnesota. Tickets can be purchased through our website or through Bethel’s Box Office at 651-638 -6333. All seats are reserved, so please call now to get your best seats!”
You can find Sweetwater Revival online at www.SweetwaterRevival.com and on facebook at https:// www.facebook.com/SWRMinistries. For booking contact the group’s Nashville Booking Line (615) 300-1283, visit the website, or send mail to Gospeltown Records, c/o Sweetwater Revival 1934 130th Lane NW, Minneapolis, MN, 55448
By Paige Givens and Katie Paull
Photos Courtesy of Josh Stokes of http://stokesfoto.com and Katie Paull
First published March 2015 by SGN Scoops digital magazine. For current issues of SGN Scoops visit the main page.