The Dunaways are a family trio whose music defies description. It’s Country, Gospel and Bluegrass. It’s a mix of the Isaacs, the Freemans and the Goodmans. The one thing you can know for sure is that the message is the love of Jesus, undiluted. Nominated and winners for a multitude of awards from the Singing News, the Diamond Awards, SoGospelNews and the Southern Gospel Music Guild, this family has been traveling and recording for over two decades. Their music will touch your heart and their message will stay there, both making an indelible imprint on your soul. If you’ve never heard The Dunaways, then chances are you’ve never quite had “Church In The Kitchen.”
Tammy Dunaway is the matriarch of the trio, singing alongside her husband Randall and daughter Kanah. Tammy is also a frequenter of Facebook, but little did she know a random status that she would type would end up being the title song and radio release of their latest project, “Church In The Kitchen.”
“The truth is, since we became a born again Christians, I have always had church in the kitchen, in the car, over the washing machine, cooking, you name it!” exclaims Tammy. “More than once a song on the radio just blessed me until I had to stop what I was doing and praise Him! I may be wrong but I think this is what the Lord meant when He said for us to ‘pray without ceasing’.”
“One morning, I just simply posted a facebook status that said: ‘It Feels Like A Church In The Kitchen Morning.’ Songwriter Lee Black saw it and it just so happened that he had a writing session with Sue C. Smith and our producer Jerry Salley that week.” Tammy continues, “We had already picked all the songs for the project. Kanah and I left for a week in Nashville to work on arrangements with Jerry and go do the tracking sessions. When we got about half way to Nashville the phone rang and it was Jerry. They had written “Church In The Kitchen.” It was love at first listen!”
Randall Dunaway says “Church In The Kitchen” is his favorite track on the album. “It reminds me of my grandmother and the church we found the Lord in.” Kanah agrees. “Again and again, it stirs memories of where it all started!” Tammy adds, “This song is fun and you can count on great big smiles from every audience. People who were raised by a real woman of God or had a grandmother that loved the Lord are reminded of how special that was. They were not shy about letting you know where they stood with the Lord. We need that back in our homes in America!”
It appears this writer isn’t the only one unable to put a tag on the type of music The Dunaways play. Tammy says that it’s ‘gumbo’. “It comes from our blood, over time molding us with what we were surrounded with. Through my maternal blood comes a combination of Bluegrass straight out of, and flavored by, Louisiana. Paternal, Pentecostal Music. We grew up surrounded by the Blues of Mississippi, Country, Rock, and Gospel, and then add the natural bluegrass. Put all that in a pot and you’ve got ‘Gumbo’. Very eclectic.”
Kanah was raised in a house filled with music, so it’s no surprise that she began her singing career early. She first sang in church at three years of age, performing a tune her Mom wrote. She debuted with The Dunaways at eight, singing, “Jesus Has A Way Of Making Things A Whole Lot Better,” which she says scared her to death.
Wherever she sings, the audience appreciates Kanah’s lovely voice, but some of her fans sometimes compliment her in a way that catches her off-guard. “Somebody told me I sounded like Peg McKamey one time, and though I love her, our voices sound completely different.” Tammy says that she enjoys some of the surprising things that fans share, especially when they think that Randall is her Dad and Kanah her sister!
Fans also share some very serious situations with these musical ministers, often family situations that need a lot of prayer. Kanah says people will come to talk with her, “…mostly about situations involving sick children or miscarriages because I minister about that sometimes in concert.” The Dunaways will often steer people toward their local church or pastors for follow-up.
As they look toward the upcoming weeks and months, the Dunaways share some goals they have made. Personally, they say they determine to be more organized and focused. Randall adds, “To continually do my job as unto the Lord.” From a ministry point of view, Tammy says she hopes the Dunaways will ‘reach as many people in person as possible’ and Kanah wants to see more people encouraged. Randall shares, “Our main goal is always to lift up the name of Jesus and yield ourselves to Him.”
As the Dunaways travel from coast to coast, many audiences fall in love with their music and message. Fellow artists are also beginning to know this family trio and respect them for their consistency and honesty. The group recently performed at the Ozark Gospel Music Convention, where Rob Patz, one of the hosts of the event, said, “These folks are amazing in concert and they connect well with an audience.”
Lindsay Huggins, Christian artist and fellow performer at the Ozark Convention says, “The Dunaways are genuine, talented, anointed! The title cut from their new project “Church in the Kitchen” will stick with you. In fact, I was singing it in my kitchen just this morning!”
“Having heard the Dunaways for the first time live at The Ozark Gospel Music Convention, I was totally blown away with their talent and their heart for people,” says Jonathan Edwards of Faith’s Journey and co-host of the Convention. “I was so impressed and I can’t wait to bring them back to Missouri.”
After all the singing is done and the lights have gone down on the stage for the last time, the Dunaways have a few parting words for their audience and the world. Tammy says, “The Word is alive and obeying it will change your life. Don’t waste any more time doing life your way.” Kanah adds, “It never too late, it’s never too hopeless, God specializes in those types of situations. Keep an open line of communication with Him. When you quit praying, that is when things get all messed up in your mind.”
Be sure to hear The Dunaways when they are in your area and ask your local radio station to play their music. You will find yourself having “Church In The Kitchen!”
For more on the Dunaways, visit http://www.dunawaymusic.com/
Visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dunawaymusic
By Lorraine Walker
First published by SGN Scoops in June 2014
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