The Fosters

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

New Speer Family continues to “Let the Songs Go On” again

Written by Staff on July 29, 2019 – 1:27 pm -

New Speer Family striving to “Let the Songs Go On” again

New Speer Family continues to “Let the Songs Go On” again

Brian Speer just knew he needed to get back on stage.


It didn’t matter that it had been 36 years since he stopped traveling with his legendary family. It didn’t matter that he really didn’t know what direction he would take or who would sing with him. He just knew he needed to keep the Speer Family legacy alive.


“After all of Brian’s people were gone, he woke up one day and said, ‘I think we need to do a quartet,’” Brian’s wife, Allison Speer, says. “It shocked me! We had never talked about it and had never discussed it.”


Ben Speer

Ben Speer

But something had been burning in Brian’s heart ever since his uncle, Ben Speer, and his aunt, Rosa Nell Speer-Powell, the last surviving members of the Speer Family, died in 2017. He knew someone should carry on the legacy of the Southern gospel pioneers who were active from 1921-1998.


Brian Speer of the New Speer Family

Brian Speer

With Allison, who has had a successful solo ministry for 35 years, fully on board with the idea, the New Speer Family was born, first performing last summer in Lawrenceburg, Tenn.


We caught up with the New Speer Family before their concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church in central Kentucky, less than an hour’s drive from Allison’s childhood home of Parksville. 

Read more »

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Ben Speer: Memorial and Funeral arrangements

Written by Staff on April 4, 2017 – 5:48 pm -

Ben Speer

Ben Speer

SGNScoops is sad to bid farewell to a Gospel music pioneer, Ben Speer. Speer passed away April 7 at age 86, leaving behind wife Rebekah Long and many other family members and close friends.

Ben Speer

Ben Speer and wife Rebekah Long Speer

Ben Speer was an original member of The Speer Family and helped to form their sound with his distinctive voice and piano playing. He launched the Ben Speer Music Company in 1950. Speer also produced many hit records and revived the Stamps-Baxter School of music.

Speer Family

Speer Family

SGNScoops’ writer Justin Gilmore wrote recently: “The Speer Family was the first to receive the Gospel Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to this, the group received 14 Dove Awards and was inducted into both the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Later in the group’s career, Faye and Brock along with Ben, Mary Tom, and Rosa Nell Speer appeared frequently on Bill Gaither’s Homecoming videos and concerts. The family was instrumental in the development and popularity of the series as well.”

The Speer Family

The Speer Family

Wikipedia tells us: “Speer was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1995,[2] the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1998[8] and the Southern Gospel Piano Roll of Honor in 2002.[9]” ( April 4,2017)

We don’t have room to share every way in which Ben Speer touched and enriched Gospel music, his family and friends.

SGNScoops extends their prayers and sympathy to Ben Speer’s family and friends and all who will miss this great man.

Funeral Arrangements are:

Visitation will be Monday, April 10th, from 4-7 p.m. at Woodlawn Funeral Home on Thompson Lane. Woodlawn Funeral Home is located at 660 Thompson Lane , Nashville, TN 37204.

Visitation prior to service at First Church of the Nazarene located on Woodland & Fifth starting at Tuesday, April 11th, 11 a.m.

Service will begin at 1:00 p.m. with burial at 3:30 p.m. at the Woodlawn Cemetery also on Thompson Lane.

First Church of the Nazarene is located at 510 Woodland Street, Nashville, TN 37206. The service will be live streamed for those who are unable to attend.

Cards may be sent to P.O. Box 40201, Nashville, TN 37204-0201,

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Written by Staff on July 27, 2015 – 3:17 pm -

Joseph Habedank and Ben Speer

Joseph Habedank and Ben Speer

Singer-Songwriter Surprises Students, Faculty and Staff During Guest Appearance

July 27, 2015 (Nashville, TN) – Joseph Habedank, award-winning soloist, songwriter and Daywind Records artist, had a little surprise up his sleeve this past week. During an appearance the week of July 20, 2015 at Ben Speer’s Stamps Baxter School of Music, Habedank surprised the school by announcing that he was funding a full scholarship for the 2016 Class. The announcement, a visible surprise to Ben Speer and others, was received with a standing ovation, applause and cheers from the crowd.
Ben Speer, President, commented: “We are so appreciative of Joseph’s support of the school. His gift of a full scholarship will enable a deserving student to attend that otherwise would not be able to do so.”
“It’s great to see a young guy like Joseph already giving back to Gospel music by making the way a little bit easier for those who will be the future!, said Stephen Speer, Vice President.
“I truly believe we are blessed to be a blessing to others,” stated Habedank. “I would not be doing what I love today had it not been for people who believed in me and gave me a chance. I consider it an honor, privilege and blessing to be able to give back to someone through this scholarship fund. I love Ben Speer and the entire Speer family and their legacy of excellence is continued through this school.”
Joseph Habedank

Joseph Habedank

During the evening concert appearance at the school, Habedank performed familiar favorites and a few new tunes from his Welcome Home project – including his current single, “Beauty of the Blood,” a powerful song that is connecting with audiences across the country and impacting lives. “Every week, someone shares what this song has meant to their lives – either through a conversation after a concert, through social media, or email. It truly is amazing the power of a song. I am thankful God chose to bless me with this song.” It currently hold’s the #7 position on the Singing News Radio Chart.

Habedank, the reigning Singing News’ New Soloist of the Year, shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to his vocal talents, Habedank is an acclaimed songwriter. Between songwriting sessions, traveling and performing, Habedank along his wife Lindsay keep the roads busy and they’re loving every moment of it!


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News From Ben Speer

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on March 23, 2015 – 10:49 pm -

From Ben Speer

Ben Speer

Ben Speer

Recently, I have been told that I am one of the millions who is being afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease. Upon learning this news, Rebekah and I had to decide whether we would keep this a private matter or whether we would make this news known in a public way.

After some consideration we have decided to share this with you. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done. I will continue to share life’s journey with my beloved Rebekah and family. I plan to enjoy many more singing schools and singings and stay in touch with my friends and supporters.

Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. One my family is all too familiar with. I only wish there was some way I could spare Rebekah and the rest from this painful experience. During this time and those to come, I am confident that with your help they will face it with faith and courage.

Ben Speer

Find Ben Speer On Facebook Here

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My NQC Memories: Charlie Griffin

Written by Staff on September 24, 2014 – 11:36 am -

Charlie Griffin

Charlie Griffin

The NQC – The Grand-daddy of them all!

I was a teenager and had started singing with a regional group. I had been to a few concerts at the Lake Norman Music Hall to see the big names of gospel music. But that year, 1979, as “Convention time “ came around the word came down that we were going to the NQC in Nashville, Tennessee. I was told of the singing, the groups, the booths around the main level of the Municipal Auditorium and how much fun it would be.

Nashville municipal auditorium

Nashville municipal auditorium

October came and there I was in Nashville at the NQC. The first night I heard the Blackwood Brothers, Kingsmen and Cathedrals and about a dozen more groups.  I sat enthralled at every singer on stage. I remember walking the circle and meeting the artists and the fans. They were everywhere! I spoke with Eldridge Fox, George Younce, The Speers and got to meet so many artists that I had grown up with. I was in heaven.

We went to the Auditorium early, to walk around Nashville. Then at the auditorium I met NQC volunteer worker Jim Sheets, who became a dear friend. We walked the circle and talked to the groups

Elliston Place Soda Shop

Elliston Place Soda Shop

getting ready for the night. Walked around the auditorium looking at buses and talking to other fans doing the same thing. Then we talked with DJs from around America. Yes I was truly in heaven.

In Nashville we ate at Hap-Towns Diner, Elliston Place Soda Fountain, went to Opryland, the Grand Ol’ Opry, Printers’ Alley and had a picnic in Centennial Park. We went down Music Row, saw the historic studios, met JD Sumner at the Stamps Building, talked to Ben Speer in the Speer Recording Studio, went to the Country Music tourist sights and just saw it all! Yes I was in Gospel music

JD and Mary Sumner

JD and Mary Sumner


I will never forget those memories and the people! The smells, the excitement and most of all the music!


Submitted by Charlie Griffin 

Please submit your NQC memories to

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Woody Wright Announces Release of Willie Wynn & Friends

Written by SGN Scoops on December 18, 2013 – 11:59 am -

Woody Wright  announces that the long awaited, much anticipated WILLIE WYNN & FRIENDS CD is now available! The project includes 11 new recordings of popular songs from Willie’s days with the Oak Ridge Boys, new versions of great woodyhymns and classics, and a new autobiographical song called “The Oak Ridge Boys & Me” that features background vocals by the current Oaks!

Ponder Sykes & Wright (who first sang together as members of Willie’s group, The Tennesseans) are featured on several songs, along with other former Tennesseans Elmer Cole and Dave Maddox. Bill Gaither, Ben Speer and Gene McDonald provide support vocals, as well as Willie’s great friends Darrell Holt, Gary Clark and J.T. Hicks from the group Sweetwater. The musician crew is a who’s who of some of Nashville finest players.

You will love hearing Willie back behind the studio mic for the first time in decades. His voice is crystal clear, and his style and heart are bound to inspire his many friends and fans for years to come.

Song Listing
Mama’s Last Amen
My Friends
The Oak Ridge Boys & Me (featuring the Oak Ridge Boys)
Lord I Hope This Day Is Good (featuring Sweetwater)
What You’ve Done For Me
While I’m Here
Time Has Made A Change (featuring Ben Speer)
Stay Near To Me
Man of Sorrows
‘Til The Last Leaf Shall Fall From The Tree (featuring Bill Gaither)
Yea, Though I Walk Through The Valley
 (featuring Ponder Sykes & Wright)

Order your copy today!

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Leaving Louisville: SGN Scoops Staff Share NQC Memories

Written by Staff on September 11, 2013 – 1:04 pm -



As the National Quartet Convention prepares to move from Louisville, Kentucky to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, several SGN Scoops magazine staff writers share their memories of NQC past.


Lou Wills Hildreth

Lou Wills Hildreth


Lou Wills Hildreth shares: My family –the Wills Family of Ft. Worth, Texas–sang at the first NQC in Memphis, and many years thereafter. I have only missed one NQC in all 56 years of the event. Howard and I will be greeting friends this year at the Scoops Booth. Praying God’s blessing on every song and testimony!!!!



Ben Speer

Ben Speer


Dixie Phillips shares: When I was 16, my Mom and Dad started attending church. The new pastor was an avid southern gospel fan. He and his wife invited my parents and me to attend NQC in Memphis. I was so excited when my parents agreed to go. I will never forget when Ben Speer sang “The Brush.” My life was changed forever. I was hooked. Southern Gospel Music is music with a message and I am so honored to be a part of it.


Jake Hess

Jake Hess

Lorraine Walker shares: I began to attend the NQC when it was still in Nashville. I remember a few highlights as well as the long cement slope to the basement  exhibit hall . I remember hearing one of the last times that JD Sumner and the Stamps sang together, the announcement of Kim Hopper Greene joining the Hoppers, Tony Greene’s proposal to Taranda Kiser, as well as what would be the last NQC of Jake Hess, Vestal and Howard Goodman, George Younce and Roger Bennett. I remember watching a new family group called The Crabb Family come on stage with their whole church in one section of the auditorium cheering them on. I am sorry to be missing this last year in Louisville but I know great things are in store for future NQC’s!

The Nelons

The Nelons

Craig Harris shares: Moments and memories are what life in general is all about. They are what make anything that is important to you special. This is my 14th year of attending the National Quartet Convention and it’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. A one-song spot on the main stage on Tuesday evening surprisingly took me back to some of my earliest of days at NQC here in Louisville, which is the only NQC venue that this Southern Gospel follower has ever experienced.

As the Stephens Family stepped out on the stage, I had no idea that the soprano singer – Melody Stephens – was going to lead me on a brief stroll down Memory Lane. Stephens was the soprano for the Nelons when I first started following Southern Gospel music. I didn’t grow up around the genre as so many did. I simply discovered it – with the assistance of a few friends and borrowed CDs – around 1998. But the Nelons were one of those groups that came to the main stage in those early days and just brought it.

Melody Stephens

Melody Stephens

I was still learning and understanding the dynamics of Southern Gospel music when I attended my first NQC in 2000. I only stayed for two nights that year. NQC has been a week-long event ever since. That configuration of the Nelons – with Melody, Paul Lancaster (one of my favorite singers) and Dan Clark (who had a pleasant-sounding bass tone that simply fit the group well) – was probably my favorite. Songs like “Where Sin Had Been Pardoned,” “He Called Me Out,” and the vastly-underrated “You Ain’t Seen the Last of Jesus” suckered me in to this genre of music hook, line and sinker. In fact, “He Called Me Out” was on the NQC Live 1999 DVD and CD (along with the Perrys unbelievable version of “When He Spoke”), prompting me to want to make the journey from the Nashville area to Louisville to see what this Quartet Convention was really all about.

The Nelons followed that era up with more great singers like Katy Van Horn Peach and more great songs, such as “He Rolled Back the Stone.” They are still producing great music today and undoubtedly making memories for some person out there who is just figuring out what NQC is all about. The Stephens family brought some memories back to life for me on Tuesday night. I hope that you all are not only having fond remembrances this week but are also making new memories. Don’t waste an opportunity to truly live and experience all that there is to offer. Have a great week and simply enjoy.

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Dixie Melody Boys Finish Historic Album

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on May 10, 2011 – 12:32 pm -

The Dixie Melody Boys were recently in Nashville finishing work on their 50th Anniversary album, “The Call Is Still The

Steven Cooper, Matt Felts. Ed O'Neal, Devein McGlamery and Ken Humphrey

Same”. The monumental project is a long time in the making. “It’s been nearly ten years since we have done a project of this scale. It will be a milestone for the Dixie Melody Boys. “said Ed O’Neal, Hall Of Fame bass singer and owner. To honor the history of this legendary group, they have included two previous DMB songs on the album. The rest of the project includes new material written by Gospel musics top writers including Daryl Williams, Marty Funderburk, Greg Day and Rodney Griffen. The album also boasts two songs written by lead singer Donald Morris. The new album highlights the current groups new direction and sound. “We are excited to blend our traditional Southern Gospel roots with a fresh approach reminisant of the DMB Band era.” stated Donald Morris.

The Dixie Melody Boys will be joined on this historic album by many former DMB Alumni as well as a few friends. “When we started working on this, so many of our friends wanted to be involved. It evolved from there into having them lend their talents on several of the songs. It will truly be a special event for us.” said tenor Matt Felts. Jason Crabb, Ernie Haase, Ben Speer, McCray Dove, Rodney Griffen and Harold Reed are just a few of the guests appearing. This will be the debut album for the group since signing with Song Garden Music Group earlier this year. A release date of July 1st has been set. A “CD Release Event” will be announced soon. For more information on the new album or where you can purchase a copy of this years must have album, go to or to .

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Homeland Quartet Charts for First Time with Latest Single

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on February 3, 2011 – 12:38 pm -

{EHA-Nashville,TN} Bill Traylor, Ben Speer, Joe Thrasher, and Mike Allen are not newcomers to tremendous Southern Gospel success. The four men have individually made huge marks on the stage, winning multiple awards, and sharing their talents on television, radio, and the largest venues in the country. Although the Homeland Quartet has been together for quite sometime, Traylor, the manager of the group, has been more involved working diligently with those artists he represents as Vice President of The Mansion Entertainment Group. With the assistance of successful promotional company, Patterson Promotions, the quartet debuts on March 2011 Singing News Chart, at #67 with When He Set Me Free. Homeland Quartet will appear in an EHA-Nashville concert, along with Eyewitness at Gethsemane Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, May 14, 2011. 

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Homeland Quartet Signs Booking Agreement with EHA-Nashville

Written by Rhonda on August 25, 2010 – 11:36 am -

Nashville, TN- Homeland Quartet members, Bill Traylor and Ben Speer, were recently in Evie Hawkins’s Nashville office to finalize their booking agreement with EHA-Nashville. The fast pace of the group’s schedule is not expected to slow down as they prepare to release a single to radio October, 2010 through Patterson Promotions. The quartet consists of Bill Traylor, Ben Speer, Joe Thrasher, and Jerry Sowards. Joe Thrasher, who is an original member of the renown Thrasher Brothers Quartet, sings tenor. Bill Traylor is Vice-President of Mansion Entertainment and founded several record labels, including RiverSong Records and Homeland Records. Most recently he founded Mansion Records and Manor House Records under the Mansion Entertainment umbrella. Traylor’s career has been decorated with numerous Grammy nominations and Dove Awards, and most recently he received the Lou Hildreth Award at the 2010 Diamond Awards ceremony in Branson, MO.
Jerry Sowards sings bass for the group and has traveled extensively with quartets. His voice has been compared to Rusty Goodman’s. Ben Speer, baritone, and known for his famous Speer family roots, organized the Ben Speer Stamps-Baxter School of Music, over 20 years ago and his classes still meet each summer in Nashville to assist young artists. Speer is a producer, teacher, artist, executive, and beloved fixture within the Southern Gospel arena who is well-known for publishing many Gospel standards.
Manager, Bill Traylor, notes, “We are very excited to bring Evie Hawkins on board to book dates for us. We are looking forward to the road ahead for Homeland Quartet and our affiliation with EHA-Nashville.”
Hawkins notes, “I’m really honored to be working with this group of men who continues to set a standard of excellence in Southern Gospel Music!”
Submitted by: Ray Cooper, EHA-Nashville

To book the Homeland Quartet::
Music Row
11 Music Circle South
Suite 106
Nashville, TN 37203

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