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Southern Gospel Sweethearts: Kari Gooch of Karen Peck and New River

Written by Staff on July 28, 2017 – 1:19 pm -

Kari Gooch of Karen Peck and New River

Kari Gooch of Karen Peck and New River

Cancer. If a word could physically punch you in the gut and knock the wind right out of you, that one would. It’s a word that sends shivers down your spine and pierces fear right to the heart. It knows no limits and holds back none of its wrath. It is no respecter of gender, age, race or status. Even now, as you read these words, at least one person will come to your mind that you know who has battled this relentless disease. It’s a word that you wouldn’t wish for your worst enemy, and you especially wouldn’t want for your dearest loved one.

In 2015, the reality of that dreaded word hit home in the Gooch household. Kari Gooch of Karen Peck and New River explains how that one of her family’s hardest trials became one of its greatest triumphs.

February of 2015 was the month that the Gooch family found out that Rickey Gooch, Kari’s dad, had cancer.

“After a neck scan, two biopsies, a CT scan and a PET scan, Rickey was diagnosed with squamous carcinoma, a type of cancer” (K.P. Gooch, 2015, In an open letter to KPNR

Rickey and Karen Peck Gooch of Karen Peck and New River

Rickey and Karen Peck Gooch

followers, Karen Peck said, “Thank the Lord,” as they were relieved to find out the cancer was “confined to Rickey’s left tonsil area and had not spread anywhere else within his body.”  In that same letter, Karen explained the difficulty of watching her husband suffer through all of his symptoms. It was certainly a trying time for all of them, including Kari’s older brother Matthew.

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Karen Peck and New River Makes Global Impact

Written by Staff on December 7, 2016 – 2:09 pm -

Karen Peck and New River in Honduras

Karen Peck and New River in Honduras

Group Ministers In Honduras For First Time

DAHLONEGA, GA (December 7, 2016) Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning group Karen Peck & New River recently saw the impact of their ministry on a global level. The award-winning progressive Southern Gospel group received an invitation to perform in Honduras earlier this year.
A local businessman from Honduras invited Karen Peck and New River to come to Roatan to sing “Four Days Late”, the group’s career-making hit single, after hearing the song on the radio. The message of the song had touched his life along with so many from the island. The plan originally was to hold the concert out in the open air, but due to the rain, it was moved to a pavilion.
Karen commented, “This trip literally changed our lives. In all of the years that we have traveled, we have never been so blessed by an audience as we were from the people of Roatan. They sang along at the top of their lungs as we sang “Four Days Late” and “Special Love”. Tears began to flow as the Holy Spirit moved in those services. Needs were met and souls were saved. Thank the Lord for using that radio station to spread the Gospel in Roatan. We hope to travel back there again someday!”
Karen Peck and New River Win at 2016 Diamond Awards

Karen Peck and New River

The local residents gathered for hours in advance to hear the song they have loved hearing on the radio and listen to Karen Peck and New River sing it in person. The group also performed in a local church the following day. The group recently won two GMA Dove Awards for Southern Gospel Artist of the Year and their single “I Am Blessed” winning Southern Gospel Song of the Year. The group also took home two Diamond Awards last month, and this past April was awarded two Absolutely Gospel Music Awards.

This recent trip to Honduras capped off an already impressive year for the group. “Calling”, the current single from New River’s Dove Award-winning project Pray Now, hit the #1 spot on multiple industry charts. The project’s debut single, “Pray Now”, also reached the #1 spot on all the major charts in the Southern Gospel industry, including the Singing News Top 40 and Top 40 Weekly Chart.


The group is in the early planning stages for a new recording. It is tentatively scheduled for an early Spring 2017 release.

If you would like to interview Karen Peck and New River contact AG Publicity at

About Karen Peck and New River

No doubt the most popular mixed trio in Gospel Music, Karen Peck and New River is a music powerhouse in the music industry. With hit after hit and multiple number one songs, they are one of the most sought after groups today. Karen is known country flair and for having possibly the finest soprano voice in any genre of music. Karen was also recipient of the Susan Unthank Memorial Award, an award given by Absolutely Gospel Music only to women who have excelled in their work in a man’s world. Karen had a feature role in the hit movie “Joyful Noise”, starring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah. New River’s hit song “Four Days Late” has become a classic in Gospel music.

To learn more about Karen Peck and New River go to their website here.

You can follow the group on FaceBook or or on Twitter at

Karen Peck and New River is booked by The Harper Agency. Contact them at or by E-mail at

For more Gospel music news, click here.

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Special SGN Scoops’ Fast Five for Friday: Karen Peck and New River

Written by Staff on August 14, 2015 – 11:49 am -

Karen Peck and New River

Karen Peck and New River

Today we present SGN Scoops’ Fast Five for Friday, a special edition of our feature that you usually see on Monday! But we thought you needed a smile for your Friday as well, so here you have it:

Karen Peck and New River

Karen Peck and New River

SGN Scoops talked to Karen Peck and New River during the last weekend that Jeff Hawes was with the group. We have included his answers here as well for this Fast Five. Each artist was asked five questions, and they answered with the first word that came to mind, in true game-show fashion. Unfortunately there were no prizes, but we consider each member of Karen Peck and New River a winner!


SGN Scoops: What is your favorite perfume/cologne?


Susan Peck Jackson: Mademoiselle by Chanel

Kari Gooch: Daisy by Marc Jacobs

Jeff Hawes: YSL [Yves Saint Laurent]

Karen Peck Gooch: Jimmie Choo


Karen and Susan Peck

Karen and Susan Peck

SGN Scoops: What was the last book you read?


Susan Peck Jackson: Hear My Heart [by Sheri Easter]

Kari Gooch: The Vacationers [by Emma Straub]

Jeff Hawes: The Bible. That’s a given… but it really was. Before that: To Kill A Mockingbird. I’ve read that many, many times.

Karen Peck Gooch: God’s Generals. I read a lot of books at the same time. But my favorite book is God’s Generals [by Roberts Liardon]


SGN Scoops: What is your favorite thing about Canada? [Editor’s note: The concert took place in Coburg, Ontario, Canada.]


Susan Peck Jackson: I love Canada! Everything is great. We were talking about all the things we like about Canada: Maple Syrup, the Hockey Team [We hope she means the Toronto Maple Leafs!], and the Baseball Team [We are sure she means the Toronto Blue Jays!]…we were talking about that, but really, we love the way y’all talk. Eh?

Kari Gooch: The accents.

Jeff Hawes: The people; they are so sweet, genuinely sweet.

Karen Peck Gooch: The people. Absolutely.


SGN Scoops: What is your favorite hymn?


Susan Peck Jackson: The Old Rugged Cross.

Kari Gooch: Amazing Grace.

Jeff Hawes: It Is Well With My Soul.

Karen Peck Gooch: Amazing Grace.



SGN Scoops: What is your favorite vacation destination?


Susan Peck Jackson: Destin, Florida. That’s where we go every year because it’s not that far from where we live. Every summer we go to the beach and stay for a week. It’s a good family time to get together.

Kari Gooch: Destin, Florida.

Jeff Hawes: The Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, Pigeon Forge. I love it and it’s not that far from home.

Karen Peck Gooch: Destin, Florida. I like Destin because I love the beach. The beach is white sand, it’s clean and it’s family-oriented. We like the water, we like the food; it’s just someplace we always go and it’s also the kids’ favorite place.


SGN Scoops thanks Karen Peck and New River for being so gracious to chat with us after the concert at Lakeshore Pentecostal Camp in Coburg, Ontario. We urge our readers to continue to pray for Rickey Gooch so he can regain his health. A special greeting goes out to Matthew Gooch who seemed to vanish as soon as a voice recorder was brought out!


Karen Peck and New River have been nominated for several Diamond Awards in 2015. We invite you to vote for these artists today! Make your plans to visit Creekside Gospel Music Convention for the Diamond Awards ceremony on November 3, 2015.

Return often to SGN Scoops mainpage for more SGN Scoops’ Fast Five.

Karen Peck and New River

Karen Peck and New River


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Karen Peck and New River in Concert: Final Weekend with Jeff Hawes

Written by Staff on August 6, 2015 – 10:04 am -


Karen Peck and New River

On August 1, 2015, we were privileged to be at a concert featuring Karen Peck and New River in Coburg, Ontario. The site was the Lakeshore Pentecostal Camp, a beautiful campsite on the shores of Lake Ontario. Inside the Tabernacle was seating for about 1000 people on old-fashioned wooden pews and we were happy to see modern fans and feel the air-conditioning on that exceptionally warm evening.

Karen Peck and New River stepped onto the stage to a very appreciative crowd

welcoming the artists for the first time to that venue. Many had heard this mixed group previously and fully enjoyed the first few renditions of top songs from the well-awarded history of KPNR.

Karen Peck Gooch, Susan Peck Jackson and Jeff Hawes were joined onstage in the first half by Karen’s daughter Kari on vocals and Matthew on guitar. Karen’s husband Rickey

was running sound and we were happy to note that he is on his way to better health after dealing with cancer for much of the year.

Some notable musical moments included “On The Banks Of The Promised Land,” where the guitar that Matthew was playing so proficiently turned into the sound of a mandolin, and then “Hallelujah For The Cross,” a song off of their newest release, Pray Now, which featured Jeff Hawes on the lead. This vocalist will definitely be missed!

I always enjoy the clear tones of Susan on her alto leads, especially the tune “Sustaining Grace,” which was another chart-topper for KPNR. Karen then had Rickey give his testimony of coming through his health battle, and we were all exhorted to “Pray Now,” in every situation, for God does hear and answer prayer!

During the intermission we were blessed by the instrumental sounds of Matthew on steel guitar and Jeff Hawes on piano. Jeff is a terrific pianist as well as vocalist and Matthew is working his way to proficiency on a variety of stringed instruments. They made a great team.

The second half was as wonderful as the first, and I don’t say that lightly. Karen has a way of edit 4drawing in her listeners and then taking them with her as her voice soars ever higher, bringing a special sense of worship and praise to God. After a full concert, Karen stepped down off the stage to present a song completely alone. Her rendition of “My God Will Always Be Enough,” was simply incredible. Her clarity, tone and strength in her upper register after a long evening were amazing and gave proof to why she is one of the top vocalists in Gospel music.

After a sensitive and encouraging prayer time, the artists ended the evening appropriately with the song, “Finish Well.” While the hall was filled with all ages, there was a predominance of older listeners who sometimes feel that their best years are behind them. What an encouragement and exhortation to everyone there, that while we still have breath we have a work to do for the Lord, and we all need to “Finish Well.”

The Karen Peck and New River concert at Lakeshore Pentecostal turned out to be the penultimate performance of Jeff Hawes with the group, and we were thrilled to have had that experience. We wish Jeff all the best in his new endeavors within the educational system, but we hope he knows how much the Southern Gospel world will miss his vocals and sweet spirit. Our prayers are with KPNR as they fill Jeff’s edit 5position with another Godly vocalist.

No doubt Karen Peck and New River will persist in expanding their boundaries and pushing the envelope, as they continue on their journey of excellence in Gospel music.

Special note to all you fashionistas out there: take special note of the ladies’ shoes and fashions onstage. KPNR always is in style with colors that flatter and never look immodest. Love that about these artists!


By Lorraine Walker

Photographs by Cindy, Joan and Lorraine Walker

Visit Karen Peck and New River on the web and on Facebook.

For more news, information and artist features, visit SGN Scoops online and on Facebook.

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