Implementing both modern and classic Southern gospel styles, the Browders have taken gospel music by storm over the past several years. Their musical journey can be traced back to their hometown of Hiltons, Virginia. Hailing from the same town of the original Carter Family, the Browders take inspiration from the legendary country group, but are dedicated to being authentically themselves.
This family band is abundantly talented and committed to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to all. Formed by family patriarch Tommy Browder in 1990, the group features the talents of his two sons Matthew (rhythm guitar/vocals) and David Browder (bass guitar/vocals), Matthew’s wife Sonya (piano/vocals), Sonya’s brother Burton on lead guitar, and David Quillen on drums. The Browder men deliver power-packed, spot-on vocals, while the lone female voice, Sonya, brings emotion and clarity to their sound. These harmonies alongside great musicianship, provide an energetic and authentic vehicle in which to deliver the timeless message of the cross.
Matthew and Sonya Browder are married, and have a daughter, Sadie, almost 2 years old. David Browder and his wife Kimberly have two sons, and own Browder Brand clothing. Tommy is Matthew and David’s father, who thoroughly enjoys his grandchildren. Burton Ludwig, III, is married to Aphtyn. David Quillen, or “Q”, is the accomplished drummer who keeps everyone on time.
“It’s been quite a journey,” says Sonya Browder. “We started as a family of four in a Dodge Omni car. We started small, with the limited resources we had, and just followed the Lord’s leading the best we could. We’ve learned a lot along the way, tried to be teachable and learn everything we could about our craft, and be the very best that we’re capable of. That’s all that anyone can do.
“In the midst of all that, we’ve tried to keep our eyes on the calling we believe the Lord placed on us, and we continue to see people come to know Christ through our ministry and music, and Christians encouraged and challenged,” states the talented vocalist. “Where do we go from here? More of that.”
Awarded throughout 2013, 2014 and 2016, the Browders have headlined their own shows and have also opened for the Band Perry, MercyMe, Michael English and others. It may seem like the band has suddenly begun to grab the attention of the nation, but it’s been a gradual takeover of listener’s hearts across the country, with resulting awards and nominations.
“It probably seems sudden, but it’s really just been a steady growth over a long period of time,” says Sonya. “They (accolades) are not the goal, per se, but they are a lovely encouragement whenever they come our way!’
The Browders cite several influences on their unique sound including other top family artists, like the Hinsons, the Paynes, and the Crabb Family, sounds which are evident in the group’s latest recording, “Authentic.” This moving project, released last year, features well-crafted songs, including the No. 1 song, “You’re Not In This Alone.” Sonya is featured on this powerful song that reminds us of God’s faithfulness.
“I wrote most of the song, and Matt helped me finish it,” says Sonya. “It was very personal to me; it was not originally chosen for the recording, and I had to fight for it. There was another song picked for me, and we replaced it with ‘You’re Not In This Alone,’ which was not even finished at the time.”
Sonya has recorded a video about the writing of this chart-topping song that reminds us that Jesus will never leave us, even when we are in the middle of a situation. So many songs are written from the perspective of the end of a problem or difficult period in our lives. This song comes from the perspective of someone who is right in the middle of a storm.
In Sonya’s video, she says, “I was five months pregnant at the time and I was 37 years old and Matthew and I had been married for over 12 years. A pregnancy was not in the plan. We have never even had the hint of me carrying a child ever in our lives. It was a huge change to say the very least. I spent most of my days teetering between panic and excitement – equal parts of both.
“It brought me to a place of a new perspective where everything seemed so much more important, everything mattered so much more, including this song that I would sing. I just felt like it had to be something very deeply personal for me. It had to be something that meant something to me that I could portray to other people, and I knew that this song that we were working on was not it,” reveals Sonya. She brought out a different song that she had just started, and she and Matthew finished it in time to record on the new album. Sonya knew that this song was the right one, at the right time, for this project.
The “Authentic” album has many great heart-grabbing, soul-wrenching songs, that it is sure to gain new fans, nominations, awards, and – God willing – new believers. You can hear the hearts of the Browders in every cut. Songs like “Healed By The Stripes,” “I’ve Come Too Far,” “When God Says Wait,” and “My Home,” will take the listener from clapping to crying to gaining a new, eternal glimpse of life and heaven.
Including recent loss of loved ones who have gone on to heaven, Sonya and all of the Browders have come through difficult times, and they may still be in the midst of other storms. Sonya tells us to remember that our Master and Savior is there with us.
“There will come a time in my Sadie’s life, that Mom and Dad will not be able to be there,” says the new mother. “And as much as I want her life to be perfect and everything to go smoothly, and for her to never experience a heartache, that is just not life. That’s not reality, and that’s not reality for you, that’s not reality for me. There are times in our lives that things do not go the way that we have planned, and they do not go the way we expect them to.”
Sonya continues, “It’s in those times, for my Sadie, and for you and for me, that we can count on the fact, that regardless of how things are and how we are looking at life right now, what circumstances that we are in, Jesus is for us. Child of God, Jesus is for you. He’s not against you. He has great plans for your life and you are not in this alone.”
The Browders. Authentic, genuine children of God. Find out more at thebrowders.com.
Happy Birthday to the Browders
Congratulations to my friends the Browders as they celebrate 30 years of sharing the Gospel message! So many wonderful songs and such a loving spirit… It’s no wonder that so many people have fallen in love with their music and their hearts. I pray that the Lord will bless you guys with another 30 years (or more) of sharing the Gospel in beautiful song and testimony. Keep your hands on the Gospel plow and keep singing! — Mark Bishop
I met the Browders before any hit song and they are exactly the same people before they had success! Very talented family. Very real family! Congratulations on 30 years! — Steve Ladd of the Old Paths
I remember the first time I met the Browders, I was covering Singing at Sea for SGN Scoops magazine in 2014, sending pictures and videos from the ship. Their music was so touching and the way they connected with the audience was impressive. When they released the song “Fall On My Knees,” I was overwhelmed by how much I related to every word. I called Matthew and asked if he would mind if I recorded it on the album I was working on… and he was so encouraging. It ended up being the title track for that album and is still my favorite song!
So many of their songs speak right to the heart. Without the Lord, we would be utterly without hope. “Praise You in this Valley,” and “Whatever You’re Going Through” are two more songs that have undeniably touching lyrics. Matthew has worked with many of the artists I represent, helping them catapult their latest radio single to the top of the charts. It takes many years of blood, sweat and tears to achieve what the Browders have worked so hard to accomplish in the gospel music industry, and they give God all the glory for it. That’s what makes them so special. Congratulations on 30 years in ministry! You are a blessing to all who know you and love your music. May God continue to bless you and protect you as you serve him! — Marcie Gray of Marcie Gray Management
It takes way more than just desire and talent to stay the course, traveling and ministering the nation for 30 years; it takes divine dedication and that’s what comes to mind when I think of the Browders’ ministry! — Derrick Boyd of The Dixie Melody Boys
30 years is a long time to do anything! Especially the rugged roads and sometimes thankless life of a gospel singer. The Browders are celebrating three decades of unwaning dedication to spreading the gospel through song. Congratulations to this great family!! — Mark Trammell of the Mark Trammell Quartet
Congrats to The Browders for 30 years of ministry! Three decades is an accomplishment, no matter what you’re doing. They are great folks with an awesome ministry, and I know they’d be first to give all honor and glory to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Here’s to the next 30 years! — Bob Sellers
By Justin Gilmore
First Published by SGNScoops Magazine in March 2020