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Creekside Gospel Music Convention

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Pray for the family of Jonathan Pierce

Written by Staff on May 10, 2020 – 5:13 pm -

Jonathan PierceJonathan Pierce, former member of the Gaither Vocal Band, has passed away in his 50th year from possible complications following heart surgery. Kelly Nelon Clark posted this sad news several hours ago HERE.

Jonathan PiercePierce was a member of the GVB prior to David Phelps. He was a member of the Imperials as well for two years. He also released several solo albums.

Please pray for the family and friends of Jonathan Pierce.


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Gary McSpadden passes away

Written by Staff on April 15, 2020 – 10:25 am -

Gary McSpaddenAccording to Mark Trammell’s Facebook, well-known and loved vocalist Gary McSpadden has passed away from this life. Trammell posts:

“Just got word that another hero has gone home this morning. One of the kindest men I’ve ever known. RIP Gary McSpadden. We’ll see you soon!”

McSpadden had a long and illustrious vocal career, performing with the Statesmen, Oak Ridge Boys, Imperials, Bill Gaither Trio, and Gaither Vocal Band. He was also a soloist, songwriter, producer, television host, speaker and pastor of the Faith and Wisdom Church in Branson, Missouri.

Gary McSpaddenAfter a battle with pancreatic cancer,  McSpadden leaves behind his wife Carol, his sister Cheryl Kartsonakis and her husband Dino Kartsonakis.

Please join us in prayer for the family, friends, and congregants of Gary McSpadden.



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Joe Moscheo of The Imperials passes away

Written by Staff on January 12, 2016 – 9:57 am -

Joe Moscheo

Joe Moscheo

Joe Moscheo passed away Monday, January 11, at the age of 79. Moscheo is known for being a part of Elvis Presley’s Imperials, joining them in 1965, after having create the ground-breaking sound of The Prophets, and before that, The Harmoneers. He was also a part of history with Jake Hess and The Imperials, along with Jim Murray, Armond Morales, Terry Blackwood and Roger Wiles. The Imperials recorded with Elvis beginning in 1966 and then toured with him from 1969 until 1972. Moscheo left the group in 1975.



Moscheo was a musician, songwriter and manager, as well as producing several Elvis recordings, and worked with many well-known artists like The Judds, Pat Boone, Bebe and Cece Winans, and Michael English. He rose high in the music industry, working for BMI and NARAS and others. He also wrote a book entitled, “Th

Joe Moscheo was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 2007. He was a past president and permanent board member of the GMA.

Elvis' Imperials

Elvis’ Imperials

More recently, Moscheo continued to tour with Elvis’ Imperials until his official retirement in 2014.

Some time ago, Moscheo was diagnosed with a neurological disease that ended up taking not only his mobility but also his life. Friends set up a fund to help cover medical expenses.

Joe Moscheo

Joe Moscheo

SGN Scoops expresses their sympathy and prayers to Joe Moscheo’s family and friends.


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Jim Murray of the Imperials

Written by Staff on July 31, 2014 – 9:39 am -

jim murray one, main for front pageBy Philip Foster

I doubt there are many people in Gospel music who will not recognize the name Jim Murray.   Every once in a while, it seems that someone will come along in Gospel Music who stands out from all the rest. Such a person, in my opinion, is Jim Murray.

I have wanted to interview Jim for some time now, but the opportunity never presented itself. Recently, I had the good fortune of connecting with Jim and asked if he would be willing to have an interview. To my great surprise and pleasure, he agreed.

j murray group - twoThe first time I heard Jim was while attending a Gospel concert at PCVS School in Peterborough, Ontario. The mighty Imperials were in the city playing at the high school. The Imperials were the crème de la crème back in the day. I have mentioned before, that in these early years, groups like the Imperials, the Blackwood Brothers, the Speer family, the Cathedrals and so many more, were a major influence on this young Christian man. I was literally mesmerized listening to the Imperials, but especially a young tenor named Jim Murray.   Jim was hitting what seemed like impossible notes and doing it with such ease and a gentle power, with songs such as “Even The Praise Comes From You,” or “Behold The Man,” or “I’ll Meet You in the Morning.” I didn’t know much about four-part harmony in those days and didn’t know a tenor from a baritone, but I did know what was good!

imperials with elvis threeEvery time I came out of these concerts, I knew beyond a doubt what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be involved in some capacity with Southern Gospel Music. Never in a million years did I ever once think that I would be talking to men like Jim Murray and having the pleasure of conducting an interview with him. What a gracious and gentle man of God.

Jim was born in March of 1944. His hometown is Lansing, Michigan and he now resides in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, where he is the Minister of Music and Senior Adults. (what church??) I asked Jim how old he was when he first started to sing. “I remember singing in the little children’s choir in Lansing, Michigan. I would have been about five years old. My first solo singing engagement was for our Sunday School program when I was about six or seven years old. I can’t remember the song, but I’m sure it was a short solo.”

imperials - fourMurray shares that his parents were very supportive of his career. “Even though I never got a degree from university, I have gathered some wisdom from my 50-plus years on the road. “They came to concerts as long as they could and were always there to encourage me in my efforts for the Lord, through music.” I asked Jim if he took vocal training.   “Yes, I studied voice for two years at Michigan State University with Dr. Gene Greenwell who at one time had been with the Metropolitan Opera Company.” Dr. Greenwell gave Jim what he says was the best advice he’s ever received. “Dr. Greenwell told me, “If you don’t take care of your voice, no one else will.”

“Even though I’ve had three throat surgeries on my vocal chords, I have been able to sing with God’s help,” says Murray. “I’m not as high as I once was, but as I have always said, it’s not how high you sing, but how well you sing up high. Most people don’t know if you are singing a high C or a high D. They just know if it sounds good or not!”

Murray had already gained much experience by the time he joined the Imperials. “The first group I sang with was a gospel group called the Melodaires. We were in high school together and that’s when I was introduced to Southern Gospel Music. After that, I sang with the Orrell Quartet out of Detroit Michigan. Then in 1964, I got married and moved to Dallas, Texas, where I sang with the Stamps trio. From there I moved to Arlington, Texas, and sang for a short while with Bob Wills and the Inspirations. It was in 1966, that I joined Jake Hess and the Imperials. I sang with the Imperials for 20 years from 1966 to 1986.”

Jim Murray and Family

Jim Murray and Family

While he was with the Imperials, Jim would back up such singers as Jimmy Dean, Elvis, Pat Boone and Carol Channing. During that 20-year span, Jim was part of over 50 albums, five Grammys and 15 Dove Awards. Eventually, the Imperials started to drift from their trademark four-part harmony, into a more aggressive pop style and Jim decided to move on to other things. In 1998, the Imperials were inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of fame. (1)

I asked Jim if he enjoyed any other genre of music. “Yes, my father was a real jazz, big band buff and so I was raised on Stan Kenton, Glen Miller, the Dorsey Brothers, Dave Brubeck along with the Ray Coniff singers and so many more I can’t name here.” Other family members were also blessed with vocal talent. “My mother was a very good alto singer. My older son Brent sings very well and my wife Loretta had a very nice alto voice; in fact, we did an album together several years ago and traveled and sang together for over 12 years.”

When asked if he had a favorite singer or group, he answered, “Over the years there have been, so many groups that have been so spectacular in our industry. I really enjoyed the Blackwood Brothers and the Statesmen back in the day. Now I enjoy the Booth Brothers, of course the Gaither Vocal Band and Legacy Five along with the Mark Trammell Quartet and Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and……as you can see, I have a lot of favorites.”

Of course, Jim sang with the Gaither Vocal Band and is on the Gaither Vocal Band Reunion DVD. My final question to Jim was, “What do you want people to remember about you?”He replied, “I hope they look beyond the gift that God has given me and remember that I loved my family and that I wanted to be in the center of the Lord’s will for my life. My life verse is Psalm 27:1. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (KJV)

Since my initial conversation with Jim and his willingness to do this interview, I learned the tragic news that his beautiful wife Loretta had passed away and was promoted to Heaven. Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to do. Of course, I most certainly did not want to bother Jim during this sorrowful time. After a few weeks passed by, I nervously touched base with him again. I offered Jim my sincere condolences and he was very gracious, thanking me for my sensitivity and informed me that he still wanted to do the interview.

Jim and Loretta were married 50 years and had raised two sons, James Brent and Christopher Michael. Jim said to me, “I would love for you to pay tribute to Loretta as she was the one who was so supportive and encouraged me throughout the years.” He explained that Loretta had been ill, and expressed how empty he now feels with the sudden change that has been forced upon him. As we chatted on the phone, it was such a joy to know that beautiful Loretta is cheering Jim on and anxiously waiting for that glorious day, when all God’s children will be forever reunited!

Jim Murray solo - fiveAs I write these articles and I know I have mentioned this before, the hardest thing for me is trying to sum up a career that spans well over 50 years, into a few paragraphs. It’s impossible to do. I would encourage the reader to contact Jim and thank him for all the years he has ministered and all the amazing songs he has recorded. Thank him by ordering some of his anointed music. You will be glad and blessed that you did! You can contact Jim at one of the numbers or email below.

(1) WIKIPEDIA in 1998, The Imperials were inducted into the Gospel Music Association‘s Gospel Music Hall of Fame. All five original members, Jake, Armond, Gary, Sherrill, and Henry; as well as Terry Blackwood, Sherman Andrus, Joe Moscheo, Jim Murray, and Russ Taff were there to accept the induction.

Even the praise comes from you

Behold the Man                       

I’ll Meet You in the Morning 

Contact Jim Murray at: Minister of Music and Senior Adults, Victory Baptist Church, 1777 Tate Lane, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122

Email Jim Murray at:


Questions? Comments? You can email Phil Foster at

Written by Philip Foster, first published by SGM Radio in July 2014.

For more artist features on SGM Radio website, please visit


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Three Bridges Signs Publicity Agreement

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on October 13, 2012 – 4:36 pm -

Absolutely Gospel Publicity, an arm of Absolutely Gospel Music is pleased to announce an agreement with multiple award winning, Three Bridges for intense publicity. Deon Unthank, President of Absolutely Gospel Music said, “We are thrilled to represent Three Bridges and to bring their name to the forefront of the public’s eye. These are three men who have dedicated their lives to spreading the Gospel and are giving their best to see that the message of Christ is delivered to the world.”

Three Bridges represents a style of music that reaches to all generations with inspirations from Southern Gospel, Black Gospel, Traditional Gospel and even Classical music. Group manager, Elliot McCoy, states, “We feel that we have everything in line to go to the top of our industry and with the help of AG Publicity we are confident that we will attain that status“. Unthank agreed saying, “With lead singer Shannon Smith and tenor Jeremie Hudson, both formerly of the Imperials, Elliot has put together the most dynamic sound in Three Bridges history, and certainly one of the most powerful sounds in Gospel music today. “ AGP Client Relations Manager, Pamela Unthank, added, “I am so excited about working with these guys, not only is their musical ability superior, but their integrity is impeccable.”

Three Bridges is in the process of putting the final tweaks on their newest CD and it will be available for purchase in just a few weeks. Elliot, Shannon, and Jeremie all agree that this is the finest album Three Bridges has ever released. Stating further, Unthank says, “With music like this, talent like this, and the exciting stage presence of this group, it’s going to be a natural step to go to the head of the line in the Gospel Music world.”

For more information on Three Bridges go to www.
To book Three Bridges contact: Beckie Simmons Agency – 615.595.7500 //

About Three Bridges
Three Bridges’ music is rooted in traditional ”southern gospel” and ”black gospel” music. This blended style has made Three Bridges an internationally-acclaimed Gospel group — one that is known for tight harmonies, a unique vocal style, an exciting and energy packed stage presence and, most importantly, for spreading the joy of the Good News of Christ. They have entertained and ministered to millions through their recordings, TV appearances and live shows — which is why Three Bridges has quickly become one of the most prominent Gospel groups in Christian music today.

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Gospel Music Legend RUSS TAFF Releases All-New Recording

Written by SGN Scoops on August 23, 2011 – 9:14 am -

Nashville, TENN.—August 23, 2011–Gospel music legend Russ Taff took a few steps off the beaten path—actually, more than a few steps–all the way to a remote corner of the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean–to record his all-new release, Faroe Islands (Spring Hill Music Group). The project, which hits the streets today, was produced, recorded and partially penned during a series of visits to this mystically beautiful group of ancient islands.
“I have performed in the Faroe Islands several times over the years,” Taff recalls, “and just fell in love with the country and the people. Some incredible musicians there formed a band to accompany me during my performances, and three of them also happened to be very celebrated producers. When I began to discuss recording a new album, they wanted to be a part of it. We decided to create most of it on site in the Faroe Islands, which was an entirely new recording experience for me. The whole project just developed and fell into place so naturally.”The result is a collection of songs, written by the album’s producers/engineers Jakup Zachariassen, Oli Poulsen and Kristoffer Morkore, as well as Russ and Tori Taff, Jesse Butterworth, Joy Williams, Regie Hamm, Gloria Gaither and Suzanne Jennings, among others.  The album includes a cover of the Bob Dylan tune “I Believe in You” as well as a cover of Larry Gatlin’s “Help Me,” in addition to the classic Swedish hymn “Day by Day.”“This album is very close to my heart,” Taff describes. “It reflects so many things that make up the sum total of who I am today. You know, I’ve been doing this for over thirty years now—performing, traveling, learning how to be a father and husband, experiencing in a greater way how endless and relentless the love of God is. There’s a richness in my life now that I didn’t have at 25, and it goes way beyond religion or music. It’s all about Jesus and mercy and grace…it’s about looking to Him continuously and knowing that His love will walk me through whatever ups and downs life can bring.”
Taff has certainly had many “ups” to celebrate.  In addition to his numerous honors, which include five Grammys® and nine GMA DOVE Awards, Taff has traveled the world alongside everyone from Andraé Crouch to The Gaither Vocal Band.  As a former lead vocalist for The Imperials, Taff’s unique, commercial sound hit the airwaves; and he quickly became a national fan favorite and critics’ pick.  Soon after, he began recording solo albums that would not only defy genre categories with an unprecedented Christian music mixture of soul, blues, pop, country and rock—but would, according to industry pundits, completely revolutionize the face of contemporary Christian music, giving it such gems as “Praise the Lord,” “I Still Believe,” “Not Gonna Bow,” “I Cry,” “I’m Not Alone” and the classic “We Will Stand.” Taff’s voice has been a mainstay and benchmark in the world of Christian music for years, and that voice is now back with an all-new recording reflecting a unique place in the life and heart of this lauded singer.  Taff travels nationally and internationally, singing and speaking in venues ranging from churches to conferences to festivals. He is also seen regularly alongside Bill Gaither on the HOMECOMING tours and videos.Faroe Islands is distributed exclusively through EMI CMG Distribution. For further information, please visit or contact Celeste Winstead at

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