The Hyssongs have watched their latest album, Believe Me, be accepted and applauded by the Gospel music audience, taking three of their songs to the top 10 in the music charts. After 20 years, Dell, Susan and their son, Richard, say that hard work along with encouragement from Chapel Valley has boosted their sound up the charts.
“The real reason for our recent recognition and success is God’s hand of blessing upon us,” says Richard. “We are humbled and thankful for all the ways the Lord has led us step by step.
“Radio has really embraced our family and our sound. Whether it is the brass that we use, the live strings, or the sounds of fiddle and steel guitar, they have accepted it all.”
It has been a year since Believe Me was released and reviewed by Randall Hamm in SGNScoops January 2016 issue. Hamm wrote, “Believe me, if you do not have a CD of the Hyssongs in your collection, this is the one to start with. It includes 10 great songs of faith, hope, love and belief, from the upbeat, ‘I’ve Got A Love,’ from the pen of Steve Dunlap and Russell Balway, that will you will be humming and singing long after the track ends; to the last track, the classic ‘The King Is Coming,’ that will have you saying, ‘Come quickly Lord.’”
WCKB 780 has a well-known deejay, Lottie Squires. She says, “I absolutely adore the Hyssongs! I first met them at NQC about 10 years ago; I looked for their booth after seeing their showcase performance. I remember being so impressed by their energy (though trying to catch an unblurry photo of Richard drives me batty to this day) and surprised by how much I enjoyed the trumpet and trombone! Since then, they’ve become dear friends, and I always look forward to spending time with them whenever possible—they’ve even taken time to stop in Dunn for lunch when their travels allow! I’m thrilled at their success, because even though they don’t sing for the chart numbers and big concert dates, it’s nice to see my friends being recognized and rewarded for dedication and hard work.
SOGR’s Brandon Bearden says he loves the Hyssongs’ music. “The latest single, ‘It Doesn’t Get Better Than This,’ is a great song.” Ken Grady, of Gospel Music Today tells us: ‘We’ve known The Hyssongs for many years since our days in New England. We’ve watched Richard grow from a boy to a man with his own wonderful family. It has been great, too, to watch The Hyssongs’ ministry grow to a national level.”
“As a ministry, we want to have a purpose every time we step onto a platform,” says Richard. “Our goal is that our songs, stories, and testimonies make a difference in lives. We also want to relate to today’s generation and just be real.”
The Hyssongs have experimented with different instrumentation, but say that the message has never changed. “We have always desired to see people come to Christ and believers to be
encouraged,” says Richard. “This year, we have also been speaking about family time and values. We really believe we should get back to the basics. We need to love God, serve God, and spend more time with the family. That is not only our message, but we have clearly sung about it in our latest radio single.
“What has been such an encouragement is that our audiences have also gotten much younger. We have a wide diverse
crowd when it comes to ages; however, to see young children and teenagers all the way up to retirement age is really neat. We try to have an updated southern gospel sound and ministry, and people of all ages seem to enjoy it. The fact that we have three generations on stage also seems to be something that families want to come out and see.”
Richard has lived and worked with his parents for 20 years, watching how they lived. “They taught me by example of how Christians should act, behave and live. One of the major lessons that I have learned is that no matter what, do the right thing and always have integrity. I watched as many times they could’ve taken an easy road, but they never did.
“They instilled in me the value of hard work, the love of God, and that we should love others.
“My dad was a pastor, and growing up as a pastor’s kid was not always easy. I saw them always put others instead of themselves. We always had extra people at our house during Christmas that were in need. My dad would visit the hospital at all times of the day and night. However, at the end of the day, even though they may not have had time to eat or sleep themselves, they tried to make sure that they were at one of my ball games or events.
“What I want to pass on to my children is that they always love the Lord with all of their hearts and to always do the right thing regardless of whether it is popular.” Richard’s wife, Kelly, and daughter, Makayla, sing with the trio every night and their son, Richard IV, is showing the same interest.
“The other day I took a few hours just to play with my kids and to see them smile. I realized that they are more important and the work will still be there when I return to my desk. In 2017, I am already planning date nights with my wife and special times and places to take my kids. I’m laughing right now because my cell phone has been ringing off the hook as I answer this question. You bet that it will be turned off more in 2017! It is also important to spend more quiet times with the Lord as well.”
Recently, this family was threatened although they didn’t know it at the time. Thanksgiving weekend was lovely in Pigeon Forge and the fires burning in the mountains didn’t seem ominous. “The Sunday after Thanksgiving, we drove into Pigeon Forge for six nights of concerts. As we approached, we could smell smoke from the fires that were burning in the distance. By late afternoon it looked like it was snowing, but actually it was ashes blowing and falling from the sky.”
Richard and his family didn’t know that danger was imminent. “Monday night we were singing to a sold-out crowd and had no idea how close the fires were coming. We stepped out the back door of the auditorium and the entire sky glowed with orange from the flames that were getting closer.
“We got online and discovered that they had evacuated everyone up to light eight and we were at light six. The police told us they would knock on our coach door if the fire got any closer, but we decided to drive out to Sevierville to make sure we were safe.”
Richard and his family didn’t take time to snap pictures. “We had several hundred scared people. I was on the fourth floor packing and [we] got out of there.”
“As we drove away from Pigeon Forge, the roads were empty except for the 30 or more fire trucks we passed coming in from all over the state heading toward Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
“On Tuesday, we went back into Pigeon Forge to continue the event. God sent the rain and brave men and women continued to fight the fires. In town we heard story after story from people who had lost their homes, businesses, and even friends in the fire. It was heart-wrenching to talk with people who had lost everything.
“Tuesday night as we slept, our telephones began to sound an alert at 2:45 am. With blurry eyes we read the tornado warning on the cell phone. It told us to take shelter immediately. We went across the street and sat in a hotel hallway with many other people who were also taking shelter. What a relief when the warning was lifted. [Our] four-year-old son broke the tense moments when he asked, ‘Is the tomato over?’ We are so thankful for God’s protection.”
Photographs courtesy of The Hyssongs.
By Lorraine Walker
First published by SGNScoops magazine in January 2017.
For more information on the Hyssongs click HERE.
For the latest issue of the SGNScoops magazine click here.