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Southern Gospel Music promoter Robert York of Georgia is taking a new direction for one of his upcoming shows

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on July 31, 2014 – 11:10 am -


September 13th

Southern Gospel Music promoter Robert York of Georgia is taking a new direction for one of his upcoming shows.

Included among the top promoters in the U.S., York has hosted the top talent in the industry for his North Metro Atlanta Gospel Singings.

“We have decided to add to our concert lineup an evening of acoustic and bluegrass gospel,” York said. “Many people in our area have requested we do some of this type of show.”

York decided to include artists that enjoy success in several genres – Randall Franks, the Watkins Family and Les Butler.

The music ministries will appear on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. in the 600-seat Shiloh Hills Baptist Church auditorium at 75 Hawkins Store Road in Kennesaw, Ga.

Franks, a TV/Film star, columnist, musician, and entertainer is well known for his role as “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night.”

“Randall is a Top-20 selling Christian artist who has acted in several recent films and appeared for the Grand Ole Opry several times,” York said. “He is recognized by the International Bluegrass Music Museum as a Legend for his contributions to bluegrass.”
Adding to the entertainment of the evening will be emcee and musician Les Butler.

“Les is your weekend afternoon host on Solid Gospel radio across the country as well as the host of the popular weekend programs – ‘Front Porch Fellowship’ (bluegrass gospel) and ‘The Old Country Church’ (country gospel),” York said. “He is also host of popular TV show Harmony Road.  It’s not unusual to find him on stage at any given concert adding his talents from mandolin, piano, guitar, and Dobro to playing the bass. His show won the annual Achievement In Radio Award in 1999.”

One of America’s best loved acoustic music families – the Watkins Family have served as gospel music ambassadors from the state of Georgia to the world for more than three decades,

“Many family groups have made a name for themselves in the fields of gospel, bluegrass and country music but few can claim performance success in all three genres while never veering from their sincere dedication that their music should always reflect the love of Jesus,” York said.

York said whether the Watkins are performing on a grand stage with country stars such as Randy Travis and Diamond Rio, bluegrass festival or National Quartet Convention in front of thousands, or in the pulpit of a small country church, 2008 Impact Award nominee the Watkins Family raise spirits and hopes of the life to be led as servants of Christ through their harmonies.

“While the musical legacy of the Watkins family reaches back for generations in the mountains of northeast Georgia, their music today reflects the best in harmonies and musical instrumentation that can be heard,” York said.

According to York, if response for the concert is positive, then he will be looking seriously at adding more events that share the music of the mountains with Southern gospel audiences of Atlanta.

Tickets for the event are $20 at the door or $15 in advance by mail to Robert York, 4030 Ebenezer Drive, Marietta, Ga. 30066.

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Randall Franks and the Watkins Family perform at the premiere of “The Solomon Bunch”

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on April 20, 2012 – 10:59 am -

Actor/entertainer Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” recently attended the premiere of his new film – “The Solomon Bunch.”

“This is such a wonderful film that is tailored for youth,” he said. “In the story five youth learn a lesson as they seek the wisdom of Solomon while solving a summer mystery in their small town.”

Franks made a special appearance in the film as the somewhat quirky “Edgar Albert,” he said.

“I was honored to do a cameo in this project,” he said. “I am sure kids around the world will enjoy this movie for years to come. It was beautifully directed and filmed.”

Franks and The Watkins Family joined cast members on the red carpet before entertaining over a thousand attendees at the debut at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Ga.

The Watkins Family opened the event with songs from their latest CD “Heaven’s Worth Waiting For” including their upcoming single “What Love Has Grown.”

The Watkins Family is Judy Watkins, Todd Watkins, Lorie Watkins and guitarist Jeff Stanley.

“What an exciting event to be part of,” Lorie said. “It is amazing the sweet spirit that was present throughout the night.”

For more information about the Watkins Family, visit

Later in the program, the Watkins joined Randall Franks on stage as he brought the attendees to their feet with his award-winning fiddling and performances from his “Handshakes and Smiles” CD.

Jason Prisk directed the children’s film from Creekside Films and Pinecrest Pictures. It also stars Craig Crumpton, Audrey McCroskey, Todd Maynor, Abbey Kochman, Landon Dodson, Ethan Meeks, Micah Courtland, and Ashton Williamson.

For more information about Randall Franks, visit

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The Watkins Family gains new chart song and adds a new musician

Written by SGN Scoops on November 4, 2011 – 4:04 am -

The Watkins Family adds talents of a full-time musician to their ministry as their latest song climbs the charts.
The group which includes matriarch Judy Watkins and two of her adult children Todd and Lorie. They continue a path sharing their love of Jesus through acoustic music touring across the United States and Canada since 1982.
Josh Blankenship, 26, of Floyd County, Va., who plays guitar and mandolin, recently joined the group.
Blankenship was previously part of the bluegrass gospel band – Statement with his sister Ashlee Blankenship.
“We often meet talented musicians but Josh is more than that, he also has the heart for ministry it takes to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Judy Watkins.
Blankenship who began playing just six years ago said his focus is to reach the lost and encourage people through the music.
“The reason I wanted to play with the Watkins Family is I could tell they really believe what they are singing about,” he said.
Lorie and Todd agree that his talents add wonderfully to what they share musically.
“Josh and his wife Brooke, who also lends her support to our work, are wonderful additions to our ministry,” Lorie said. “He ably adds to what we do musically and vocally and brings a wonderful songwriting talent to the mix of our material as well.”
The group’s latest project “Heaven’s Worth Waiting For” including their new chart single “What a Wonderful Name.” Gerald Crabb penned the song.
“We are excited to have our third Singing News chart recording from this CD,” Lorie said. “It is a wonderful song that we have seen touch those that attend our concerts.”
Grammy winner Mark Fain, Grammy nominated Karen Peck Gooch, and Danny Jones, produced the CD.
For more information, visit

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Appalachian Regional Commission highlights talents of Randall Franks and the Watkins Family

Written by Rhonda on November 2, 2010 – 12:30 pm -

The Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” and bluegrass gospel performers The Watkins Family entertained leaders from 13 Appalachian states at the Appalachian Regional Commission Conference at the Forum Civic Center Arena in Rome, Ga. recently.
“I was so honored that the Watkins Family and I were selected to represent Georgia, our hometowns of Toccoa and Ringgold, and our wonderful musical heritage in front of these distinguished guests to our state,” Franks said. “It is wonderful the opportunities that God allows us in life.”
The focus of the conference was Appalachia’s Educational Assets – Investing in a Skilled Future.
Franks is president of the non-profit Share America Foundation, Inc. that awards Pearl and Floyd Franks scholarships to musicians carrying on the tradition of Appalachian musical styles each year.
The Watkins Family includes matriarch Judy Watkins and her three adult children Todd, Lorie and Shanon and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Maness. The group includes several educators that share their skills with youth.
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, who serves as ARC 2010 states’ co-chair, hosted the event. He and Earl F. Gohl, Appalachian Regional Commission federal co-chair, welcomed both performers and Perdue even took a little musical advice from them as he pulled the bow across Franks’s fiddle strings.“Georgia is full of really good people, hard working folks that I love, you are going to hear from some of those tonight, musicians that talk about the music of our land, our hearts, our spirits, they really tell you who we are…the soul of the South is our music,” said Gov. Perdue. Mike Beatty, Georgia Department of Community Affairs commissioner, brought Franks to the stage telling attendees they were “in for a treat” as Franks presented a program of country comedy also sharing from Georgia’s rich musical history spanning Fiddlin’ John Carson’s 1923 recording of “The Little Ole Log Cabin in the Lane” to his own hit “The Old Black Fiddle,” a prequel to Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”The Watkins Family shared a selection of songs from their “Heaven’s Worth Waiting For” CD including their current two chart songs “Sometimes You Gotta Rock the Boat” and “She’s Working on Her Testimony.”
“The opportunity to continue our family legacy of hope and encouragement through music in front of these influential attendees from across the Appalachian region just took our breath away,” said Lorie Watkins. “We were so honored to be included.”

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