SCOOPS ........... Magazine
table of contents 3
Publisher’s Point with Rob Patz
Can You Handle It? With David Staton
Chonda Pierce by Craig Harris
Southern Gospel Weekend WrapUp
Easter with the Artists by Justin Gilmore
A Younger Perspective on Layke Jones by Erin Stevens
Day by Day with Selena Day
SGNScoops’ Top 100
Maria Kramer Wolfe by Fayth Lore
Christian Country Top 40
American Pride by Roger Barkley Jr.
Hope To The Hill by Nathan Kistler
Randall Reviews It! by Randall Hamm
Debra Perry and Jaidyn’s Call by Robert York
DJ Spotlight by Vonda Easley
The Reliever: Rob Callistro by Stephanie Kelley
The Sheltons by Charlie Griffin
Creekside Update with Lorraine Walker
A Look Through The Lens: The LeFevres
Editor’s Last Word by Lorraine Walker
Our Mission SGNScoops exists to promote the gospel by unveiling what is intriguing and real about Southern Gospel and Christian Country music. With integrity, we aspire to strengthen Christians, highlight people who are fulfilling a call to minister and emphasize the music that inspires audiences and glorifies God. Publisher- Rob Patz Editor- Lorraine Walker Feature Editor- Craig Harris Layout/Design- Pete Schwager, Staci Schwager Cover Design- Stephanie Kelley Founder- Dr. Allen Smith
Have a SCOOP to share? For news consideration, email us at email@example.com
Publisher’s Point by Rob Patz
Jesus has risen. Those are amazing words when you think of what He had to go through three days earlier. To be able to hear the words from Mary that Jesus had risen, what joy that must have brought to the disciples when they heard the news. But those same words should resonate within us as Christians just as much as it did with the disciples. How often do we take for granted the salvation that we have as Christians, to realize that Jesus not only died on the cross but three days later arose from a borrowed tomb? I think of the fact that during this season, even more than Christmas, we should be inviting people to church, and we should be sharing the Gospel. In a world that currently is full of turmoil, we should be sharing the good news of a risen Savior, who is truly the answer to all of our questions. In the past few months, I have been searching for answers to questions in my life, and I am comforted to realize that all of the answers that I look for are found in the Bible. No matter how difficult you think your current circumstances are, or how hopeless they might feel, we as Christians have a hope for our future. I want to tell you this … over the last few months I have struggled with decisions that I had to make and choices that I had made previously that caused me a great deal of stress and sleepless nights. Then, I really started to seek what God wanted and what the Bible said about these situations. I realized that if I followed what the Bible said that He would bless me and bless my future. I know that is something that’s not popular to talk about, but it is truthful. If we take the words of scripture and use them as a guide for our personal life or business decisions and choices we make, we will see God’s blessings. As I close out this Publisher’s Point, I think of my past three months much like I’m sure the disciple thought of those three days between Jesus’ death and resurrection. It seemed like they had been defeated, like the decisions that they had made had not come to pass the way they had hoped. See, they believed that Jesus was coming to be their King and rule at that time. Instead, He was crucified and laid in a borrowed tomb. I’m sure they had lots of questions, but at the end of those three days, they were victorious. Let me tell you, whatever decisions and
choices you have made, if you will follow and trust in God much like the disciples did, there are great rewards. Whether itâ€™s three days or three months, if we stay faithful to God, He will stay faithful to us.
Happy Easter from me and the entire staff of SGNScoops Magazine and know that He has risen!
“Can You Handle It” Easter: The Greatest Event for Mankind
By David Staton There are key events that happened in scripture that are staples for those who follow Christ. Christmas is a big one. Scripture says that Jesus was conceived supernaturally and born through a virgin girl. While most Christ followers believe this, it is still debated and argued by those who refuse to believe that Jesus was God in the flesh. The many miracles that Jesus performed were witnessed by hundreds of people, many of whom wrote about what they saw. Despite the strong historical evidence of these events, many dismiss, deny or try to explain them away. The deity of Christ has always been disputed and attempted to be disproven. Ask any politician or public figure who has ever made a false claim, and they will tell you that you are asking for a huge magnifying glass to be placed over your life by those who want to prove you wrong. Before Jesus was ever born, it had been prophesied and Mary let it be known that her firstborn son would be the long-awaited messiah. With such a claim, you know that every day in the life of Jesus was scrutinized and examined by those who were just waiting to prove that Mary’s story was a lie. Then, after He predicted His own death, Jesus faced the cross. If you are the harshest skeptic, you could say that
Jesus was not the first and certainly not the last religious leader to lay down their life for their cause. If you want to ignore the earth becoming dark in the middle of the day, the earthquake, the veil in the temple being torn
from top to bottom and dead people walking out of their tombs, then I guess you can debate the purpose and the epic battle that took place at Calvary. You can ignore, argue, debate, dismiss and deny all of these things, but there is one thing that forces each one of us to face the glorious reality of who Jesus is, and that is the empty tomb. Because Jesus had said that He would rise from the dead, all eyes were on that tomb. The Romans sealed it and guarded it with their lives. On that Sunday morning, when the immovable stone was rolled away, and what seemed impossible became possible, it had to have set off the greatest search for a body that the world has ever known. Finding the body of Jesus would have done what they thought they had accomplished with the cross. It would have killed any thought that Jesus was the Son of God. The body of Christ was in fact found, but not by those who were looking for a corpse. The body of Christ was found by over 500 people, but they found that body very much alive. That is why we celebrate Easter. That is what proves every word that Jesus ever said, explains every miracle He ever performed and opens our eyes to the meaning of the cross. That empty tomb is what drives us to our knees and brings us to our feet when we hear the name above all names, Jesus. He is alive.
Photographs courtesy of David Staton.
Getting your ears
Highly-acclaimed comedian to release her second documentary-style film later this month By Craig Harris Chonda Pierce will be unveiling her second cinema event over a two-year span later this month. The best-selling female comedian of all time is hoping that the documentary-style film is good enough to convey the intended message. “We decided to do it because of what I was learning as a woman, as a widow,” Pierce says. “The more you travel, and you share with other women, then suddenly, you realize that you’re not alone in your struggle and in what you’re going through. You begin to voice that.” Pierce’s life took a drastic – and unexpected – detour in July of 2014 when her husband David died. “It’s been hard,” Pierce admits. “I was married to a good man for 31 years. He was my high-school sweetheart. “At first, you’re numb … you’re broken … you’re missing your man. Then, you have to learn to live again. You have to learn to let God be enough for you when that’s all you’ve got.” The life-altering event took place while the filming for her last film – “Laughing in the Dark” – was in its final stages, and it changed the ending of the 2015 release. “Laughing in the Dark” consisted of four years’ worth
of footage. The sudden ending of a 31-year marriage wasn’t her only challenge during that period of her life. Pierce’s mother died in 2012, and then Chonda’s daughter ceased contact with her. “You have this vision of what your life is supposed to look like as you get older,” Pierce explains. “I’m supposed to be enjoying being a grandparent. I have a daughter who walked out of our lives. I have a son who is struggling and missing his dad and thinks God has been unfair to him. It is life. I walk a dark road. Yet, I walk with my head help up because God is holding me up.” Pierce is pointedly transparent. She openly discusses her husband’s alcoholism, which didn’t begin until he was 50 years old. The disease caused a stroke that ultimately ended his life in 2014. “Walking through personal tragedy and being honest about it is your ongoing testimony,” Pierce points out. “We all have one. I, as a performer and entertainer, if I try to sweep tough times under the rug, I have just completely not allowed people to see a living God. My
time on Tuesday, April 25. A list of theaters that will have “Enough” can be found at www.FathomEvents. com. “‘Laughing in the Dark’ was just living life and filming it and putting the story that you were living out there,” Pierce notes. “What I love about ‘Enough’ is that we have a very intentional message. The few people that have seen it … I think it is really needed. Somebody saw the trailer, and God used it to help it speak. That’s just the trailer. I can’t wait to see what He does with others’ lives as well.”
life is a living, breathing testimony. Your testimony is strongest in brokenness. It’s more powerful to stand and say that life just stinks right now, but I still love the Lord and He loves me.” Filming for “Chonda Pierce: Enough” lasted just 10 months, concluding in mid-February. “The message is that you cannot let your circumstance define you,” Pierce says. “You cannot let your relationships define you. You have to find your identity through Christ. “The world is going to tell you that you that need to be skinny or successful. What God is going to tell you is that, ‘you just need more of Me.’ For women that find themselves alone all of a sudden … women are bombarded constantly with how we are supposed to look and how we’re supposed to feel. We’re supposed to be CEO (chief executive officer) and mother of the year. God is telling us constantly that ‘I died on a cross for you and that you are righteous only in Me.’ Watching that freedom come into women’s lives, it was worth putting it on film and in theaters.” The one-night cinema event – backed by Fathom Events (which also partnered with Chonda for “Laughing in the Dark”) and Fuseic Entertainment – will appear in more than 700 movie theaters at 7 p.m. local
Despite the serious nature of the subjects, Pierce – who is the best-selling female comedian of all-time according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and who has six platinum DVDs, three gold DVDs and five Daytime Emmy Award nominations – isn’t steering away from the Southern charm that she’s delighted audiences with for more than two decades. That charm led to a series of events that helped launch her comedic career. “I got a job at Opryland (a Nashville, TN amusement park) as a college kid,” Pierce – whose father was a pastor – recalls. “I thought I wanted to be an actress, so I was definitely interested in music. When I got the part in Country Music USA (a performance show held at Opryland), I didn’t know how to dance, so they gave me the part of Minnie Pearl. I impersonated Minnie Pearl for eight years. I got to meet her. Evidently, I did a good job. Then, I got called to fill in for her.
“I have just kept my head down and done good work,” Pierce says. “I’ve tried to be funny. I have a message of what God is doing in my life. My faith has always been very important to me. “Every bit of music, every dance, every song, every painting … all of it was created to honor God. The devil has the job of destroying anything good and perfect. Even when God made comedy – ‘laughter doeth good like medicine’ – the devil hates that. It’s the same thing with music. You have these wonderful words that are honoring God. I love seeing the church world winning back a lot of hearts the devil has perverted.” Pierce – an Ashland City (a suburb of Nashville) resident and mother of two adult children – is also optimistic that God will restore her relationship with her daughter. “God is working in little ways,” Pierce shares. “There’s always hope. God is in the business of reconciliation. “Dysfunction is the gift that keeps on giving.” “I was interested in all the arts, but impersonating her for that long and seeing the medicine that comedy can be, it certainly did narrow down the focus.” Pierce’s brother was serving as a pastor at the time and asked her to accompany him to a senior citizens’ convention. In addition to performing as Minnie, Pierce also intertwined some comedic elements when asked to give a “few words of testimony.” An acquaintance of Bill Gaither was in the audience that day, and before long, she was touring with Mark Lowry, a comedian who was also a member of the Gaither Vocal Band at the time. “I got to see the power of comedy, especially watching Mark, how he could open a heart through comedy,” Pierce points out. “I could see what a great ministry tool that comedy could be.” Pierce appeared on a Gaither Homecoming video – the 1995 release “All Day Singin’” – and began performing at Women of Faith conferences in 1996, a role she continued in for 10 years. As her fan base rapidly grew, she began to tour on her own.
In addition to the debut of the upcoming film, Pierce has some other goals in mind as well. “I’d like to do bigger buildings and less buildings,” Pierce explains. “I’m preparing for a women’s conference I have in my head. I’ve been a special guest for so many (conferences). I’ve worked on a (upcoming) women’s conference called Fusion (that will likely include author/speaker Dee Eastman, writer/speaker/ counselor Dr. Mike Courtney and worship leader Karen Williams). We’re going to go out with that in the fall.” In addition to her professional endeavors, Pierce is hoping to fill up her social calendar as well. “A date … that’s it … that’s what’s on the horizon … someone to buy me supper,” Pierce says laughing. “Whatever the Lord places on my plate … that’s enough.” Photograph credits: Chonda Pierce.
Southern Gospel Weekend
By Debbie Seagraves Southern Gospel Weekend attendee and SGNScoops writer, Debbie Seagraves, gives us a first-hand report from SGW 2017: Southern Gospel Weekend took place from March 2325 at the Oxford Civic Center in Oxford, Ala. Doors opened at 4 p.m. with more than 30 artists filling the Civic Center with lots of Gospel music. On Thursday night, veterans, police officers and first responders were honored at the beginning of the program. So many wonderful artists sang their hearts out, and the Chandlers closed out the program at the end of the evening. Pat Barker was the emcee, and many attendees commented that he did a fabulous job. Each night ended with midnight prayer at a restaurant. Karl Isaac Rice led worship and spoke on Thursday night to a packed out IHOP. He spoke on having a vision for your life and ministry, and his beautiful voice blessed all. On Friday morning, showcases began at 9 a.m. The room was filled to overflowing with artists and fans, and the presence of the Lord was so sweet. Pat Barker
taught Pat Barker University on Friday afternoon. More than 30 artists chose to participate, and so much valuable information was conveyed to help artists with their ministries. On Friday night, Scott Roberts and the Five O’Clock Band started the evening off. Again, many wonderful artists graced the stage, and Mark209 and Eagle’s Wings were the featured groups. Each artist did a 14-minute set, and the featured groups performed a 20-minute set. Midnight prayer was at IHOP, and the restaurant was packed to overflowing once more. Kristen Stanton was the speaker, and the Chandlers filled the room with praise and worship music. Stanton spoke on spiritual warfare and how Satan plants seeds of doubt in our minds and makes us question what we are doing. Often, fear takes over our lives, and we wonder if we really belong and if we are good enough to do what the Lord has called us to do. On Saturday morning, the showcases were held in the main auditorium as the room from Friday’s showcase was not big enough to contain the crowd. Later on,
Scott Roberts and the Five O’Clock Band kicked the evening off. Again, a host of great artists sang, and SGW closed out with an old-time Red Back Hymnal Sing, led by Charlie Sexton with all the artists onstage. The altar was filled with people getting help and making things right with the Lord. The weekend was filled with great gospel music and awesome fellowship among all the artists. New friends were made, and old friendships were rekindled. It’s always sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I am sure everyone is already looking forward to SGW 2018. Many of the artists and fans commented on the events of the weekend … The most stirring moment of Southern Gospel Weekend is always the tribute to the veterans. The patriotic music included Pat Barker opening with the National Anthem, then “American Christian” by Broken Vessels. Mark 209 sang, “In God We Trust,” and The Williamsons closed the special tribute part with Donnie doing a recitation of Red Skelton’s “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.” This was followed by “God Bless the USA.” Pat Barker joined the Williamsons singing bass. This was a crowd pleaser when they sang, “I’ll Have a New Body.” I would close saying The Pine Ridge Boys are still sounding great with their new lead singer, Steven Craps. Their new radio single “I’ve Got A New Song To Sing” is tops. It’s from their latest CD “A New Song.” Pat Barker said Steven “tore it up.” Many other artists on Thursday’s program were also good. Pat Barker and Matt Felts were the emcees for the evening. – Robert York The first night of Southern Gospel Weekend went amazingly well. God was there, and the city of Oxford welcomed us with open arms. I feel so blessed that God has allowed us this opportunity to spread the gospel in a wonderful city like this. – Rob Patz, SGNScoops, board
member of SGW Every so often, as an artist, you have the opportunity to participate in something that’s special and makes you feel blessed to have been a part of. Thursday night at Southern Gospel Weekend in Oxford, Ala., we had the opportunity to participate in something that holds significant meaning for Mark209. It was a night reserved to honor our men and women who have served in the armed forces and our public safety departments. We have dedicated ourselves and our ministry to making sure we recognize those who have served and are serving, so for us, this was an exciting night. Our service men and women sacrifice and take great risk to help protect our freedoms, sometimes paying the ultimate cost. Our public safety is our first line of defense, and our first responders in times of crisis and health issues. To those men and women, we extend our sincere gratitude and our prayers. John 15:13 (reads), “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – Jimmy Reno of MARK209 Southern Gospel Weekend 2017 is in the books. I am so proud of all the artists that were involved. There were folks at the altar at Southern Gospel Weekend, and that
This was my first time at Southern Gospel Weekend. I had such a great time singing and co-hosting with Pat Barker. The lineup was wonderful and truly blessed me. It definitely won’t be my last time there. --Matt Felts It’s always a treat for us to attend Southern Gospel Weekend in Oxford, Ala. Not only do we see friends we haven’t seen in a while, we get to enjoy great gospel music and feel the Spirit of the Lord. That’s what we appreciate the most. There have been people saved at these events. When that’s happening at a Southern Gospel concert, someone is obeying God. -- Lisa Williamson
truly is what it is all about. I am excited and already working on 2018. Hope that you can be a part. – Vonda Easley, Hope’s Journey, board member of SGW All I can say is, God showed up and showed out. I love getting to be with all of my Gospel Music family, but for me, the best part was at the close of each night, the touch from God that folks received in the altars. And yes, at the end of each evening concert, an altar call was given, and the power of God came down. That’s what it’s all about. Can’t wait for next time. – Ava Kasich, board member of SGW What an awesome night. Many groups and soloists blessed us with their talents and love for God. It was awesome to be able to spend time with our wonderful friends, sharing stories during midnight prayer. – LaVerne Sanders, Mercy Rain
For more information on SGW 2018, visit www.facebook.com/southerngospelweekend.
An Act of Love: The Cross and the Resurrection
By Justin Gilmore Easter is a day to reflect on the powerful act of pure love that was the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died and rose again so that we can live forever with Him. In celebration of this, I asked many of our favorite Southern Gospel artists what the resurrection means to them. Here is what they had to say: Justin Gilmore: What does the cross and the resurrection mean to you?
Randy Byrd (Mark Trammell Quartet): The cross means the finished work of Christ. His resurrection means victory for all who will accept Him. Had He just died,
we would have no hope, but God never fails. Jesus arose victorious over death, hell and the grave.
Ernie Haase (Ernie Haase and Signature Sound): Life wins. Jesus is life, and no grave could hold Him. So, with Christ in us we have hope. Death is just a vehicle to eternal life. Life always wins. Jesus never fails.
Jerry Pilgrim (Masterâ€™s Voice): In a nutshell, the cross is the cost of our salvation, and the resurrection is the completion and fulfillment of our salvation. These are essential to the Christian faith. To me personally, both are my joy and hope for eternity.
of a new life beyond death. Jesus is the ultimate gift to believers, and He arose. The cross is a place of sacrifice where even Jesus had to bear the pain of the world’s sins. We all carry crosses. But none are as significant as our Lord’s – Jesus, Yeshua Savior of the world. He carried the cross and met His human death on that cross but did it with conviction and perfection.
Josh Feemster (Legacy Five): It means everything to me. Had it not been for those two events, Jesus would have just been known as a great prophet and man. He forever changed history with the work of the cross and His resurrection. How different our world would be without these events. Praise God for His ultimate plan of redemption. McCray Dove (New Dove Brothers): The good news.
Gary Casto (Tribute Quartet): Well, that’s easy. The cross and the resurrection, to me, means life, period. Without it, we have no life. Without it, we would have been condemned to hell a long time ago. Thank God for it.
Darin Hebert (The Williamsons): When I look at the cross and think of the resurrection, I think of new life.
Thomas Nalley (Gold City): It’s the whole reason why we do what we do. It’s an example and reminder of the hope we have in Christ, proof there is life after death and no limit to God’s power.
Lily Isaacs (The Isaacs): The resurrection means freedom of spirit to me. It’s the only hope we all have
Matt Felts (general manager of Butler Music Group): When I think of the cross, I am reminded I am valuable. Jesus loved me so much that He would endure unimaginable suffering so that my sins could be forgiven. The resurrection reminds me that death has no hold on me or my loved ones. Someday, because of the promise of the cross, I too will shake off death’s chains and live with my Savior forever. Duane Allen (The Oak Ridge Boys): When I think of the cross, I think forgiveness. When I think of the resurrection, I think of eternal life.
Josh Allen (The Allen Family): I guess to me what the cross and resurrection mean together is mercy, grace, and hope. When Christ died on the cross, He took upon Himself what I deserved – mercy. Now through that payment for my sin, I am offered salvation that I do not deserve – grace. Then, by defeating death, Jesus gave us the assurance that if we trust in Him, we can live with Him eternally – hope.
Michael Helwig (The Blackwood Brothers): The cross, to me, is a double-edged sword, because it represents pain, torment and unspeakable anguish resulting in certain death. It’s a despicable item, right up there with the iron maiden or the brazen bull. However, the flip side of the proverbial sword is this … my Savior Jesus willingly hung on that horrible torture device in my place. So, along with all of those abhorrent attributes, I also think of love. The resurrection is easy. It represents the impossible being made possible and the result being redemption of the human race.
and the victory we have because of that. Thank God for the sacrifice on the cross and the victory of the resurrection.
Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band): A new beginning. A fresh start.
Ed O’Neal (Dixie Melody Boys): When we talk about the cross, we rightfully always talk about the incredible sacrifice and suffering of Jesus. However, we often fail to consider what the Father must have been going through. I am a father, grandfather and now a great grandfather. I love my friends and all the folks we sing to, but I could not and would not sacrifice one of my children to save someone else’s life. I cannot even begin to imagine how agonizing it must have been for God to give up His only son, but I’m so thankful He did. The resurrection of Jesus was the proof that death, hell, and the grave had been defeated forever. Thanks to the cross and the resurrection, we have the hope of Heaven and eternal life with the Savior.
Matt Fouch (Legacy Five): Victory. All seemed lost after the cross. I’m sure the disciples were confused and felt like they had lost, but then the resurrection
Maria Kramer Wolfe (The Kramers): The cross and resurrection means everything to me. Without the cross, there would be no payment of our sin. Because Jesus Christ willingly went to the cross in my place, my sins are paid for, in full. If Jesus had not gone to the cross, there would be no bridge between me and the Lord, because God is pure and cannot be near sin. Because of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, the Lord now looks at me covered by the blood of Christ. I’m forgiven and can have a relationship with God. Hallelujah. The resurrection means that I have hope of eternal life. Because Jesus rose from the dead, He triumphed over death, proving that He is the Messiah. Since I’ve placed my trust in Him, death is not where my story ends. I’m so thankful for the hope and gift of Heaven where we will be with Him forever. Monica Matthews (The Wilbanks): He who knew no sin became sin, came to where we were and paid a debt that He didn’t owe so that we can gain a reward that we could never earn and certainly don’t deserve. Because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have the promise of living forever with Him instead of the punishment of a death sentence. It’s unfair. We didn’t get what we deserve, and I’m forever thankful. Kanah Dunaway Lovern (The Dunaways): It means that my precious Lord who knew no sin took all of mine upon Himself. (He) allowed Himself to be mocked, beaten, and crucified so that He could become the sacrifice for my sin. Then, just when the devil thought he had won the war, my Lord rose
to me, but knowing He (is) resurrected and sits at the Father’s side means everything. My faith is centered around the resurrection. Because of that, I will live in eternity with Him forevermore, amen and amen.
again on that third day conquering death, hell and the grave. Praise God, He is risen. I’m so thankful for the good news of Jesus Christ. Peg McKamey Bean (The McKameys): The cross and the resurrection means life, salvation and the love of God for the whole world. This is what it means to me.
Tammy Burns (The Troy Burns Family): The cross without the resurrection would not mean anything
Troy Burns (The Troy Burns Family): The cross and the resurrection are the very basis of our faith. Thousands of people have been crucified throughout history, but only one – Jesus Christ – was resurrected. This miracle culminates our salvation and separates Christianity from all other religions.
YOUNGErPERSPECTIVE Layke Jones
BY ERIN STEVENS A word from the writer… Newbie alert: A fresh face has recently hit the Southern Gospel scene. Today, I’d like to personally welcome Layke Jones of The Jim Brady Trio to the Younger Perspective corner. No need to waste time. This is your chance to meet the new dude on the block. Erin: It has quickly become known about the impressive accolades you have to your credit in all things musical, but where did it begin for a young Layke Jones discovering his voice? Layke: Music has always played a big role in my life. My family enjoys listening to music and attending the occasional concert that comes into town, but I don’t think any of my family members would consider themselves musically inclined. All that to say, I’m confident that my passion for making music is a God thing. I cannot think of a time that I haven’t been drawn to quality music. I remember as a young child being attracted to classical music, because I was fascinated by the big, robust sound that the human voice could produce. Growing up, I spent a good deal of time in choirs, band, dance and church worship programs. I believe the time spent in those activities were, without question, beneficial to what I am doing now. Erin: For those that may not know the backstory, how did you come to fill the third part with Jim and Melissa? Layke: During my sophomore year of college, I auditioned for Mark Lowry’s position in the Gaither Vocal Band. While I did not get the job, I did form a relationship with Bill Gaither, which has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. In March of last year Bill informed me that Jim and Melissa were in need of a third singer for their trio, and he believed our voices would mesh well. Three months after Bill connected me with the Bradys, I was a part of the group.
So, I, along with several others, have Bill Gaither to thank for my employment. Erin: In your career thus far, what are some “No way, I can’t believe I got to do that” opportunities you’ve already crossed off the list? Layke: My top three opportunities would be: 1) Being a part of the newest Gaither Homecoming taping. Spending the day in Studio C, with all those talented folks, will be a memory I won’t soon forget. 2) Singing on the Gospel portion of the Dove Awards last fall. 3) Spending the weekend in rural Tennessee, with a handful of artists for the Gaither Artist retreat. It’s a weekend that allows gospel artists to recharge, reflect, and because it’s a Gaither event, make some beautiful music too.
Erin: How are you personally adjusting to life on the road with the Brady Bunch? Layke: I’ll be honest, adjusting to the road life has not been the easiest for me. That said, I’ve yet to find a job that doesn’t have some sort of minor difficulty. I try to remind myself that although being home more consistently would be my preference, I get paid to sing and share the gospel every week. That is a huge blessing for any Christian musician, especially at the ripe age of 23. Another blessing is that Jim and Melissa are great to travel with. We have a mutual respect for each other, and we do our best to accommodate each other while on the road, so that makes the traveling much easier.
I story you’d be willing to share? Layke: I could very easily write a book on all the embarrassing moments that took place during my time at Kings Island, but I’ll spare you the long list. I’ve flubbed words during solos, my retainer has fallen out of my mouth during a dance break, and I’ve chipped a singer’s tooth on a microphone. Again, these are just a few incidents that occurred during my five years at the amusement park. It was a crazy season of my life, but getting to perform during my college years with so many talented young adults was incredible. Erin: What musical genres inspire you? Also, who are your top five favorite artists? Layke: I grew up on a steady musical diet of big band, classic rock, Broadway, folk, and Christian music. I don’t know that any one genre inspires me. I am however, inspired by originals, true creatives, and anyone who writes/sings/plays quality music. At the moment, my top five favorite artists, in no certain order, are: James Taylor, David Phelps/GVB, Voctave, Thirdstory, Frank Sinatra. Erin: Can we be expecting a new album from The Jim Brady Trio in 2017? Layke: I think at this point we can share that we will be releasing some music in 2017. This new album will be balanced, giving the listeners some new/progressive tracks, but also some songs that lean more on the traditional side. I am very excited about this project and I think the folks who follow JBT will love it.
Erin: Congratulations on recently graduating from Anderson University. How would you describe your college years? Layke: I would describe the years spent at AU as busy at times, and trying, but overall memorable. I was involved in our university chorale, symphonic band, jazz band, private voice lessons, dance classes, and on occasion, I attended my actual liberal arts classes. Aside from the busy workload, I was able to form lasting friendships with both students and professors, and I am forever grateful for what AU offered me during my time there. Erin: I believe I read recently that you play the trombone. Any chance it will be making a grand appearance in the Southern Gospel world? Layke: I was almost certain my band-geek days were behind me, but who knows. I definitely have a passion for playing and listening to good instrumental music, so if Jim would want to shoot a trombone feature my way, I wouldn’t turn it down. Erin: Looking back on your time spent singing and dancing at Kings Island, is there perhaps a silly or embarrassing
Erin: If you could give your younger self advice about the future ahead, what would you say? Layke: I would encourage my younger self to be present in all that I do. Life has so many beautiful things to offer, and making an effort to stop and smell the roses will drastically change the way one lives their life. I would also encourage my younger self to be more confident in what I believe to
be true and not worry about what others might think. We should always be willing to listen to others as we can gain great insight from doing so, but I would encourage younger self to hold firmly to what I believe in. Erin: With all these new and exciting changes coming your way, how do you keep Christ at the center of it all? Layke: This is an excellent question, because to be honest, I think that is a big struggle for artists on the road. We don’t have the luxury of going to church every week, and it can be draining. That said, the benefit to being on the road so often is that my devotional time has become more of a priority. I also do a lot of reading while on the bus. I am presently hooked on the written works of Christian authors Anne Lamott, Brennan Manning, and Donald Miller. Also, on occasion, I am able to attend a midweek service at a church here in Nashville, so any time spent there is a blessing. Closing words from the writer… It’s easy for any of us to make excuses when it comes to a lack of quiet time spent with the Lord. Life is crazy and the endless demands can become overwhelming. Do you ever reach the end of your day, only to realize you hadn’t talked to God, not once? Though our schedules and occupations come in all shapes and sizes, the need to prioritize Jesus should be our number-one desire. Sit in His presence with coffee or tea in hand, listen to a sermon in rush hour, jam
out to some gospel music while getting ready, or read an encouraging devotional book to unwind at the end of a long day. Get quiet, get alone and get with the Lord every day. I appreciate Layke’s honesty in admitting it can be a struggle, but as the saying goes, we make time for what is really important to us. How nice to know that Jesus doesn’t have to make time for us. He’s right there, friend, waiting for you. And that’s my take on it. Until next month, Scoops fans.
Photographs courtesy of Layke Jones. Pictures from the Gaither video taken by Daniel Meigs. Jim Brady Trio in concert photograph taken by Craig Harris. Connect with Erin: Twitter - @photosforkeeps Instagram - @photos_for_keeps Who would you like to see Erin interview next?
Day By Day What makes you feel alive?
By Selena Day
God is calling you to live your life to the fullest. What makes you feel alive? I discovered a song recently by the group One Republic, “I Lived.” If you’ve never heard it, visit the youtube web site and give it a listen. I think I want this song played at my funeral. It says so much about how I feel about life. Each one of us was created for a special purpose, to do and be what our Creator designed in this realm. When you do not live your life to the fullest, you are missing out on the purpose for your life. When you spend your life running from God, it is like a toaster or a vacuum cleaner running from the electricity that gives it power. So many times, we are like the toaster that longs to be an oven. We think just because we are small that we are not as powerful. Many times when life doesn’t seem to be working out the way we believe that it should, we begin to compare our own journey with another, and it creates jealousy, bitterness and greed within our hearts. I am no different than anyone else. It is hard to see another succeeding in an area that you have been trying to succeed in for a long time. But as a believer, we must always filter what is going on in our life through the lens of God’s grace over us. Gideon is a beautiful example of this. Gideon became the judge of Israel, and God told him that he would defeat the Midianites. But when the time came to gather his
troops, God reduced them down to only 300 men. I often wonder what those 300 thought when they were separated from the rest; did they for a brief moment think that they were being sent home? Did they believe that Gideon was crazy to think that God would only choose to use such a small amount? What is even crazier is that they never actually went to battle. Gideon gave them each a ram’s horn and a jar and when instructed they begin to play their instruments, holding their light and singing the song of the timem “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon.” The enemy panicked, and the warriors began to fight against each other while the rest fled. God has called you to big things in your life, and when your focus is on the external, you only see the deficit.
God has called us to become Gideons in the world and to fully live our lives with great intention. Keep your gaze on the Eternal and what He is saying to you about your assignment. When your gaze upon Him, then when He calls you to the great battles in your life, you may be fearful, but you will be fully equipped, knowing that the battle belongs to you. When you see another succeeding, then your heart will be open to joy for their success. Your heart will be cleansed from any junk that may be lying dormant inside of it. Sometimes God allows you not to succeed – and others around you too – so that you can confront what lays hidden in your heart. We do not even know what lies there until it is triggered. When you lay the blame on another for your negative thoughts, you cannot dig out the weeded roots within yourself to become a great warrior. The Old Testament is littered with difficulties that resulted from jealousy and envy. From Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, to Joshua and his brothers. we see how polluted life can become when you judge your journey by the success or defeat of another’s journey. God has designed you to be one of a kind, and our supreme example of how to live is Christ. God sent the Holy Spirit to live within us so that by His Spirit we can be guided to finding those hidden jewels of success in our life. It is not by might, nor by power, but it is by His Spirit that we find the truth and live the life He has called us to. Therefore, at the end of our life, we can lift our cup to the world and say, “I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places and things that I did. I lived.”
April 2017 This chart was compiled from a list of reporting stations. Each month we will be adding more stations.
He Welcomes The Beggar
Karen Peck and New River
I Choose Christ
We Are Not Ashamed
If I Shout
Never Will I Ever Again
A Good Song
Josh and Ashley Franks
It’s The Blood
Only Faith Can See
The Pine Ridge Boys
I’ve Got A New Song
Wilburn and Wilburn
Thy Kingdom Come
Headed For Higher Ground
I've Got A Lot To Thank The Lord For
I'm Gonna Need A Hand
Let The Hallelujahs Ring
The Mylon Hayes Family
It's Not A Problem For The Answer
I Love You This Much
The Hoskins Family
Unbreak The World
The Second Half Quartet
I’m Standing On Holy Ground
The Mark Trammell Quartet
Already In Canaanland
Why Can't Christians Share The Love Of Christ
He Lived To Tell It
Debra Perry and Jaidyn's Call
It's Time To Walk On Water
I Hear A Song
Greg Logins and Revival
Put Your Hand In The Hand
There He Is
Can He Count On You
The Bowling Family
Praise God He's Alive
Joy In The House
The Bates Family
The Bowling Family
Mourning Into Dancing
The Kingdom Heirs
Never Made A Promise
What The Preacher Said
There Is Coming A Day
The Broken Vessels
Something Worth Saving
Josh and Ashley Franks
In The Midst Of It All
Cry No More
Aaron and Amanda Crabb
I've Seen What He Can Do
I'm Never Gonna Give Up On You
I've Got To Tell Somebody
Austin and Ethan Whisnant
There's Nothing God Can't Do
What A Glad Reunion Day
He Was There
Brian Free and Assurance
He Will Carry You
Go Down To The River
It Was Jesus
Jim Brady Trio
Homesick For Heaven
The Mylon Hayes Family
I Choose To Stand
The Triumphant Quartet
Living In The Promised Land
That's When It's Time To Pray
The Carolina Boys Quartet
Treasures In Heaven
Somebody Give Him Some Praise
My Father's House
That's When It's Time To Pray
The Carolina Boys Quartet
Treasures In Heaven
Somebody Give Him Some Praise
My Father's House
Here I Stand Amazed
No Greater Song
The Old Time Preachers Quartet Waving This World Goodbye
Little White Church House
The Blackwood Brothers Quartet
When I Cross To The Other Side Of Jordan
Mama's Rocking Chair
One More River
The Collingsworth Family
Gotta Get To Jesus
The Down East Boys
The Song Of The Ransomed
If He Hadn’t Been There
Jeff and Sheri Easter
Let The River Run
Mark Bishop and Forget The Sea
Pick Me Up And Carry Me
God Bless America Again
Never Let Me Down
They’re Still Fighting
It Still Takes The Blood
What All The Shouting's About
The Lore Family
Because Of Calvary
Wilburn and Wilburn
It's What He's Done
God Of Always
The Ball Brothers
It Doesn't Get Better Than This
Here He Comes
Come Drink This Water
Come Drink This Water
Oh The Blood
When Grandpa Sang Amazing Grace
I Can Smile
The Blackwood Brothers Quartet
I'd Rather Have Jesus
They Don't Know
The McKay Project
Karen Peck and New River
Everybody's Going Through Something
It Ain't Gonna Worry Me Long
Southern Gospel NY 3250 Big Ridge Road Spencerport, NY 14559 585-329-3840 585-208-0916
www.sgny.net Help Spread the news We are bringing Southern Gospel Music Back to the Rochester, NY Area
Introducing Bob and Joyce Spamer of Spencerport, NY They have a mission to bring Southern Gospel Music back to the Rochester, NY area and are asking that you pray God’s blessings on what they are doing. It has been a real struggle they say, as there as not been anyone in the area to promote Southern Gospel for years and with God’s help and your Prayers they believe this will be a success. Do you know someone in area? Tell them about SGNY and join us in prayer for Bob, Joyce and Southern Gospel NY
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The Sweethearts of Southern Gospel featuring
Maria (Kramer) Wolfe By Fayth Lore
Through the last several years, I have met a lot of outstanding young people who have true hearts for Jesus. But, it’s not very often that I meet a young lady that takes on the humble heart of a servant and tries to share sunshine through kind words to everyone she meets. Our featured artist this month is one of our Sweethearts of Southern Gospel. It’s rare that I ever see her without a bright smile on her face. She’s gone through some hardships in her life, but she has learned to use the challenges as stepping stones to draw closer to God. Through it all, God has tremendously blessed our artist. One of the biggest blessings in her life has been her newly-wed husband, Ben. I hope you enjoy reading Maria’s story as much as I have. Maria Ashley (Kramer) Wolfe is 20 years old. She is from Peoria, Ill., but now resides in Tennessee with her husband, Ben Wolfe. Maria travels in singing ministry with her family, The Kramers. The Kramers are made
up of Maria, her dad (Scott), and mom (Rachel). Also traveling with them is Ben and Maria’s younger brother, Weston. The Kramers have been involved in ministry for quite some time, but the group is still an emerging artist in the world of Southern Gospel Music. “My parents have been in full-time ministry since 2000,” says Maria. “They had begun traveling on the road at that time, but then, my brother was diagnosed with autism in 2001. They needed to come off the road to care for his needs. During that time, the ministry was a regional ministry, and my parents led worship at our home church in Peoria, Ill. “In 2013, our family felt called to go on the road full time in music ministry. I left public school and joined my parents that year. It’s been an incredible journey of trusting the Lord and going where He leads.” While Weston may not make an appearance on stage at
hope, joy and strength by abiding daily with the Lord. “My dad has a radio program with Gaither artist Woody Wright called ‘Good News Music Radio With Woody Wright.’ It’s a 25-minute program with encouraging music and interviews from today’s Gospel artists.”
each family concert, he still leaves a special imprint on the heart of each Kramer Family fan. Maria said that Weston also has a beautiful voice. The family hopes that one day he will be able to join them on stage for a few songs.
The Kramers have sung in concerts with many Southern Gospel favorites such as Russ Taff and Jeff and Sheri Easter. They have been invited to share their music at places such as the Gaither Fall Festival and the National Quartet Convention. Rachel Kramer even sang at The National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., with President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush in attendance.
But, as Maria said, they are still fairly new to full-time Southern Gospel Music ministry. So, I asked Maria what folks could expect to hear and see when they came to a Kramer Family concert. “Weston just turned 18 in February,” says Maria. “My brother holds a very special place in my heart and many hearts around the country. When he was just two years old, he was diagnosed with autism. It’s been a very challenging journey, but it’s drawn us all closer to the Lord. We learned to thank God for autism, because through it, we’ve gotten to know our Lord so much better.” Maria shared with me about some of the other outreach ministries that the Kramers are involved in. “Besides singing, my mom and I are involved in women’s events around the country,” Maria explains. “We are thankful for every opportunity to share our testimonies and encourage women to find freedom, peace,
“When someone attends a Kramers concert, they can expect a time of worship,” Maria says. “They will hear several familiar hymns and worship songs intertwined with some fun Gospel songs as well. We love to give a variety of music with the same message: Jesus is our Hope. “As far as parts go, my Mom is the lead singer. She is the soprano of our group, and I’m so thankful for the gift God has given her. She truly has one of the most spectacular voices, and she uses it all for His glory. My dad sings the tenor/baritone harmony and plays guitar. He is such a talented musician. I’m constantly blown away by his heart for ministry and music. I am the alto of the group. I sing lead on several songs as well. “Growing up, Dad always encouraged me to play
instruments and learn music theory. While I didn’t like it at the time, I’m so thankful I have all of that experience. I was started on piano at age two. I also play guitar, mandolin, flute, ukulele and guitalele. In concert, the instrument that you will most likely see me play is the ukulele.”
“In June, Ben made the 8.5 hour drive to Illinois to hang out with me for a couple days. We decided we needed to see if this friendship was worth taking to the next level. By this point, I already knew that doing life without Ben would be so sad. He had become my best friend. He was different from anyone I had ever known. A man with a heart of gold. He made me feel treasured and always pointed me to God. By the end of his time with me and my family, he was asking my dad if he could date me. I had made a list of qualities I hoped for in a future husband, and prayed over them for years. Ben matched everything on that list. The peace that we all felt from God was incredible. That’s when our journey as a couple began, and God has been with us every step of the way, leading to our special marriage on Dec. 12, 2016, at First Baptist Atlanta.” The newlyweds have enjoyed the first four months of marriage.
A new addition to Kramer Family concerts is Ben. Ben used to work a lot with his dad, Gerald Wolfe of Greater Vision. But he has recently made the transition into traveling full time with his wife, Maria and her family. “When he’s with us, he’s a big help in loading in, tearing down, running the product table, and being a blessing to the people,” Maria says. “Currently, he joins us on the platform for a song with me, ‘In the Sweet By and By.’ He’s been playing the ukulele bass, and he does a fantastic job. He’s in the process of learning the bass parts of all our music to be on the platform for the whole concert.” Maria was more than thrilled to share her and Ben’s love story with the SGN Scoops followers. “Ben and I first met at National Quartet Convention in 2015,” Maria shares. “Jeff Easter was the one who introduced us. After that, we became friends on social media. We didn’t talk much at all until January of 2016 when dad hired Ben to do the graphic design for our new CD, Revive Us Again. It was then that Ben and I began texting and talking on the phone. It was all strictly business-related at first, but then, we slowly became best friends over the span of five months. As time progressed and we talked with each other every day, I realized that there was something different about Ben. Not only did he have a special relationship with the Lord, but he felt like home to me. It’s something that I can’t really put into words.
“I know that’s a long story, but it’s a testimony,” Maria says. “When we commit our desires to the Lord, and really give them into His hands, He goes beyond what we could ask or imagine. The key is waiting on His timing. His timing happens when we are least expecting it.” “Taking upon yourself the form of a servant, means that you live to please God and to serve others. Living that life cannot shield you from trials, but it will result in immeasurable blessings from God. Romans 12:1 says, ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.’”
What you may not know about this Sweetheart of Southern Gospel: Q.) Do you have a favorite scripture? A.) I have so many. I love John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” Q.) Where was your first date? A.) A day trip to Chicago. Q.) Where did he pop the question? A.) My home church in Peoria, Ill., at a Hymn Sing concert. So special. Q.) Who is the biggest Disney Fan? A.) Oh my, I don’t think I have an answer to that one. It’s equal. Q.) Who is the better cook? A.) We both enjoy cooking together, so again, equal. Q.) Who is the most directionally challenged? A.) Me, me and me. Q.) Do you have any hidden talents or random facts that SGN Scoops should know about? A.) A hidden talent for both Ben and me is that we are dancers. We both enjoy dancing and danced when we were in public school. To find out more about the Kramers, visit their website at thekramersmusic.com/. Photographs courtesy of Maria Kramer Wolfe. Wedding pictures by Photos by Courtney: Courtney Collingsworth Metz.
1. The Arenos - Never Let Me Down 2. Austin Zimmerman - You Ain’t Looking Hard Enough 3. Shellem Cline - Hello Daddy 4. The Tacketts - Greatest Love 5. Jordan’s Crossing - The Reason 6. Hillary Scott - Beautiful Messes 7. Ryan Watkins - Red 8. Cliff Waddell - The Church Pew 9. Peter Christie - Rest 10. Caleb’s Crossing - Good Things 11. Lisa Daggs - Well Worn 12. Butch Tinker - That’s What It’s All About 13. Jonathan Dale - Still Standing 14. Chris Golden - On the Sunny Banks 15. Taylor Hope - He Never Changes 16. Trevor Bohannon - It’s Time 17. Arkin Terrell - If This Is All There Is 18. Greg McDougal - Father I Praise You 19. Tony Bates - Living Right 20. McKay Project - Get Saved 21. Appointed 2 - Two Shoes 22. Kenny Gardner - My Favorite Singer 23. Sherry Damron - God Bless America Again
24. Debbie Bennett - He’s Coming Back 25. Jim Sheldon - Old School 26. Ava Kasich - Looking Back 27. Gene Watson - Help Me 28. Kali Rose - What A Valley 29. Bev McCann - You are Welcome Here 30. Bryan Carroll - God’s Not Me 31. Steve Bridgmon - Angels By Another Name 32. Branded - Lay It Down 33. Cornerstone - What The Preacher Said 34. Jayne Carter - Dusty Road 35. Reed Brothers - The Creek 36. Debbie Seagraves - Where You Could Be 37. Chelley Odle - Why Didn’t I 38. Mike Manuel - Trophy of Grace 39. Bruce Hedrick - Grave 40. Brent Harrison - Follow Your Heart Home
This space could be yours! contact Rob Patz via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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It’s Time for some
American Pride By Roger Barkley Jr.
What do you get when you combine traditional quartet sound, family-friendly entertainment, the good old days, and a desire to pay homage to one of America’s all-time country quartets? You get American Pride. American Pride is a Statler Brothers tribute quartet, honoring the sound that has inspired many artists in Gospel Music today. Traveling for only five years as American Pride, the guys are excited about the innovative outreach of this musical adventure. A lot of hard work, finances and imagination has been required for this group to transform into the Statler Brothers. Since it is a tribute band, the men must look the part. It took nearly a year and a half to have eight suits made, acquire shirts, boots, belts, the right public address system, and even a replica of the famous Statler Brother Flag of yesteryear, as well as the difficult task of getting the music just right. All this was done to get the crowd’s attention with a familiar sound so that American Pride (AP) can spread God’s message. AP’s roots grow deep in gospel music, and their influences reflect their diversity in musical preferences and vocal mentors. Other than the Statler Brothers, brothers Mike and Jim Whetsel of AP have been influenced by the Hinsons, Florida Boys and Downings among others, while the bass singer of the group, Bill Tomlinson, has been heavily impacted by the Gaither
sound. Jamie Lambert loves many of the same gospel groups, as well as secular groups from Boston to the Little River Band. Making their home in Morristown, Tenn., the Whetsel brothers are no strangers to gospel music. Mike played for the Perrys and can be seen playing on the 25th Anniversary DVD of Greater Vision. Jim ran sound for the Speers and also for the Talleys for more than 13 years. Tomlinson is from Anderson, Ind., where he met Jim at a Talleys concert. Imagine Jim’s surprize when a Tomlinson walked up to him, a man that could have been a double for Harold Reid from the Statlers. Tomlinson looks so much like Reid that when he was at a taping of the Tony Orlando Show, Tony Orlando had put Tomlinson under a spotlight and then announced
that “superstar and country music legend Harold Reid is here today.” As Orlando got closer, he noticed his mistake, telling Tomlinson, “It’s okay, just smile and wave.” They even went on to sign autographs that night. Fourth quartet member Jamie Lambert makes his home in Morristown and jokingly claims that he is a cousin to country star Miranda Lambert. No definitive results on his claim have come in to date.
AP has performed with many top artists in country and gospel music. They have opened for Ronnie McDowell, Little Big Town, Pam Tillis, Three Doors Down, Alabama, 38 Special, Kellie Pickler and Chris Tomlin, among others. It is a fact from the sold-out crowds that people still want to hear the Statler’s music. Whetsel claims that AP has picked up where the Statlers left off at retirement. Singing this genre allows AP to go into places that some Southern Gospel artists may not have the opportunity to go. Whether it is a civic center, fair, theater or festival, Jim says that they get to see people that
they leave the show.
are possibly unchurched, been hurt or even given up on life. Though AP is billed as a tribute show to one of country music’s most awarded acts, the audience will always hear the word of God before
The Pride is currently working on a new project, and they are more determined than ever to continue their mission. We asked Jim what the message from AP is and what could we take away from their concert. He begins to tell the story of the birth of American Pride.
“I was with the Talleys at the time,” Jim recalls. “It was 2:12 a.m. I was driving headed to Shelby, Ohio, when God placed on my heart to do this. Why? I didn’t know. Friends, family and others in this industry thought I was crazy. It took a while to figure it out, that the unchurched needed to hear the gospel.
“Are we tricking them? No way. The Statlers were a gospel quartet before teaming up with Johnny Cash. We want America to know that we are still the greatest country on the planet.
“What America stands for is slowly coming back. Since the election and with President Donald Trump, we have seen a surge in patriotism at our shows. We wear the red-white-and-blue suit each show. We carry a 30-foot flag behind us. We have the red, white and blue microphones. We stop and salute the men and women in the crowd that have given up – and many have given up – sons, daughters, husbands, wives and brothers for the freedoms each of us have. The suits. The flag. It’s not our show. But each color, each thread, is a symbol for the one who gave it all.” The group intertwines the gospel songs throughout its program.
“Before the night is up, we do the gospel songs, and they are received,” Jim shares. “We have never been
asked not to do them. That’s a group of people that hear the gospel, and God is using it. “We are being asked by more churches to use our group to reach their community. The name Statler Brothers is a household name. It brings in people that need to hear the gospel without going to a gospel concert. They are not intimidated by the pastor or message. “We go to Sacramento California again this year for a church event, supporting a prison ministry. This will be our second Folsom Prison Show, the recording that everyone will remember from 1968. We, along with Johnny Price (a good friend of Johnny Cash,)
and W.S. Holland who was Johnny’s manager and a member of the Tennessee Three for more than 35 years. … we bring a show that brings back that historic recording. Local TV will be doing a documentary of the 1968 recording.” Jim told us of other plans that are in the works for AP and what God is entrusting them to do. The obedient guys use their talents to share the Gospel through the sound of a traditional quartet, reaching audiences outside the church with the message of the cross. Find out more about American Pride at AmericanPrideCountry.com. Photographs courtesy of American Pride and the Statler Brothers.
Hope To The Hill By Nathan Kistler
This new year has brought so much in the form of ministry for us here in Washington, D.C. We have spent much time doing daily ministry in Washington while also traveling outside the country to sing and speak. I have been so encouraged by what I see happening in our nation spiritually. God is doing something amazing.
I have had some very interesting meetings as of late with members of Congress and their staff. I am constantly reminded that God uses our gifts to open doors of ministry. Always be ready to give an account of what God has done.
I was walking back through a congressional office building after lunch with a staffer when I decided to stop by an office to say hello to old friend. As I walked in the office, I began to exchange niceties with the new front office staffer when he said, “I know you.” I’m sure there must have been a surprised look on my face as I asked how he could know me. He said, “I saw you sing with the Hoppers a few years back, and you mentioned a Bible-reading marathon during the concert. So, my family came for the Bible marathon.”
He had only been working in Washington as a staffer for nine weeks, and I was so excited to be one of the first Christian people to welcome him. It has opened a new door into that office for our ministry by my musical connection with the young front office staffer. It was a blessing to my heart to have that encounter. There have been many more just like that, and I am just so
thrilled for what God has in the days ahead. We are entering the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch, who will – God willing – be the newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States. He needs our prayers as he will be dealing with much over the coming days. We need to pray for all of our leaders and ask God that He would give them wisdom for the task ahead. I ask that you would continue to pray for our ministry as we are daily trying to minister and share the Gospel with our nation’s highest officials. We need your support to continue the work in Washington. If you would like to find out more about our ministry and how you can help, you can visit us at HopeToTheHill.com or call our office at 202770-7300. I would personally love to chat with you and share what God is doing. Your friend in Washington, Nathan Kistler nathankistler.com
Randall Reviews It - April 2017 by Randall Hamm
April showers bring May flowers, but this April review will bring you new CDs that I hope you’ll add to your collection. This month, I review the Brent Rochester Family from South Carolina, the Isbell Family from Tennessee and the Jordan Family Band from Calhoun, Ga. Yes April is family month. But lest we forget, and we should never forget, Easter is here with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. He arose, no longer in the grave. With His triumph over death, we have the opportunity to live again. With Him, we too can triumph over death. I am so thankful for that. And as always, pick up a copy of these CDs wherever you get your Gospel music. Randall Please send your latest releases for review to Randall Hamm, c/o Q-100 WFLQ-FM, P.O. Box 100, French Lick, IN 47432. Now, let the reviews begin.
Brent Rochester Family Lead Me To Calvary Independent 2017 Nothing But The Blood (Robert Lowry/PD); He Strengthens Me (Joe Kirby); Seeking The Lost (William Ogden/PD); Paul and Silas (Ralph and Carter Stanley); The Savior Is Waiting (Ralph Carmichael); Lead Me To Calvary (Jennie Evelyn Hussey-William Kirkpatrick/ PD); Be Assured (Ron Block); He Heard My Simple Plea (Kidron Rochester); Scarlet Purple Robe (Odel McLeod/Tommy Nichols (fourth verse)); Down From His Glory (William Cliborth/PD); Let Him In (JB Atchison & EO Excell/PD); God Be With You (Jeremiah Rankin/William Tomer/PD) If you love your gospel on the bluegrass side, you’ll love this CD, introducing the Brent Rochester Family from Blacksburg, S.C. It’s a true family unit with Franci (mom), Brent (dad) and their children – Kidron, Isaac and Micah Rochester. Their ministry began in 2001,
but this is my first time hearing of them and, boy, was I blessed. The CD is entitled “Lead Me To Calvary” and kicks off with a wonderful version of “Nothing But The Blood,” featuring lead vocals by Kidron, which are absolutely beautiful. “He Strengthens Me” … I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, a song based on Philippians 4:13. One of my favorite songs to sing as a youth was “Seeking The Lost,” because of the bass part. But what a great message. He still seeks the lost, and aren’t you glad? Traditional bluegrass at its best with “Paul and Silas.” Family harmony and great picking make this old standard just a pleaser of a song. One of my favorite songs on the CD is “The Savior Is Waiting.” Imploring vocals bid us to wonder, why haven’t we answered His call? Beautiful acoustic guitar, along with stellar vocals, make this the true standout on the CD. “Lead Me To Calvary” is a hymn that I had not heard, and after listening, I wondered why this hasn’t been recorded more often. “Be Assured” … if you’ve trusted in the Lord, we’re going to live forevermore. “He Heard My Simple Plea” … it’s that easy, just a heartfelt simple plea is all we need, saying we need you, Lord. It’s all He’s waiting for. He lived, bled and died for us and awaits our cry to accept Him and make Him our Savior. Going into the Easter season, they recorded the classic “Scarlet Purple Robe,” with a new fourth verse written by Ron Block. It’s absolutely the best version of this classic I have heard, and it is in rotation at WFLQ in French Lick for the Easter season. “Down From His Glory” is given a Spanish flavor, and it works well. “Let Him In” and “God Be With You” close out the CD. If you like the Isaacs, Rochesters or others of this type of bluegrass, you’ll love the Brent Rochester Family. You’ll be hearing more of them in months and years to come I am sure. To follow the Brent Rochester Family visit allabouthimministries.com or on Facebook at thebrentrochesterfamily. Strongest Songs: “The Savior Is Waiting,” “Scarlet Purple Robe” and “He Heard My Simple Plea”
Isbell Family To Keep Our Country Free Producer: Shane Roark 2015 Chapel Valley
Songs: To Keep Our Country Free (Eric Isbell); I Feel Closer To Heaven; He’s My Shepherd (Eric Isbell); What We’re Here For (Autumn Isbell); One More Chance; Cornbread, Taters and Pinto Beans (Eric Isbell); A Million Ways (Eric and Autumn Isbell); Breathe (Eric Isbell); You’re The Best Thing (Eric Isbell); I Want To Stroll Over Heaven (Carl Trivette); Do Lord (PD) The Isbell Family based out of Savannah, Tenn., has made a name for itself in these past few years since this release. The group’s first release, “To Keep Our Country Free,” did well for the group, and the video was nominated in the top five at the SGNScoops Diamond Awards for video of the year. The Isbells consist of Eric and Rachel Isbell and their children, Autumn and Kaleb. Family harmony abounds, as does anointed singing. They started as the Accents of Praise and changed their name to the Isbell Family in 2014. The CD begins with the patriotic “To Keep Our Country Free,” a story of a veteran who feels he’s not a hero but gives those honors to others who fought beside him, those who also lost their lives in battle. Because of their bravery our flag never touched the ground. “I Feel Closer To Heaven” features Rachel and Autumn. “He’s My Shepherd,” is based on Psalm 23. “What We’re Here For” is to show love, be a friend, let others know about the Lord. “That’s What We’re Here For” is written by Autumn, and she gets the lead … love it. What if the Lord would come today, and I was left behind? I would say, “Give me just One More Chance,” if I had not been faithful.
“Cornbread, Taters and Pinto Beans,” is smack dab in the middle of the CD and is the current single. This is proving to be the true breakout hit of the project. According to Eric, he combined the histories of several in his family into this story of Maggie, her husband and 16 children. A beautiful story of love of family, God and “Cornbread, Taters and Pinto Beans,” which sustained them through the hard times. “A Million Ways” … friends, we’re so blessed in a million ways that we can’t count them all. It would take more than a day, so we’ve just got to say thank you. “Breathe,” “You’re the Best Thing,” and two classics – “I Want To Stroll Over Heaven” and “Do Lord” – close out the CD. Bluegrass picking, family harmony and strong vocals make this CD a delight. The Isbells are one of the upand-coming families in Gospel Music that you’ll be hearing about more and more in the future. They have a new CD being released in the next few months, so be watching for that as well. But be sure to visit the Isbell Family web site at isbellfamilymusic.com and on Facebook at TheIsbellFamily. Strongest Songs: “Cornbread, Taters and Pinto Beans,” “To Keep Our Country Free” and “What We’re Here For”
Jordan Family Band Joshua 24:15 2017 Skyland
Songs: Our Time to Shine (Joshua Jordan BMI); I’ve Got You Covered (Joshua Jordan BMI); Better Than I Used To Be (Joshua Jordan BMI); The Day (Joshua Jordan BMI); It’s a Big, Big World (But I’ve Got A
Big, Big God) (Joshua Jordan-Phil Cross); My God Is Faithful (Joshua Jordan BMI); I Miss Them All (Joshua Jordan BMI); How Much The More (Joshua Jordan BMI); Joshua 24:15 (Joshua Jordan BMI); Remember The Ember (Joshua Jordan-Phil Cross); Heart Healer (Randa Jordan, Jeremy Medkiff, Joshua Jordan BMI) It’s not that often that you find one group that does it all – writes their own material, plays their own music live and has the heart and talent to do it all in first-class fashion. The Jordan Family Band is one of those rare finds. In October of 2009, Josh Jordan’s dad – Fain Jordan – passed away unexpectedly. It was shortly thereafter, while struggling with shock and a great sense of loss, the Lord allowed Josh, his wife Randa and their three boys to hear the single, “Dealing With Gold,” by the Inspirations while driving down the road one evening. Through this song, the Lord brought great comfort to their family and touched their hearts deeply. It quickly became a favorite of the entire family. After
purchasing the album in its entirety, the Jordan children – Hutch, Alex and Grant – quickly started singing along with each of its tracks. “Inspired by the Inspirations,” Josh and Randa like to say, they realized that this was a great opportunity to start a family group. They began by learning the boys’ favorite track, “Dealing With Gold” and from the first time they stood and sang it in church, the response was overwhelming. The rest, as they say, is history. There are 11 great songs on this CD, anchored by the first release, “The Day.” At the time of this review, it’s at No. 28 and climbing. The song is talking about the day that Christ was to be crucified and about the events and places of that day. It is a strong debut song, which could end up a top-20 song. All tracks are country-tinged with a Southern Gospel flair. If the first single has caught your attention, you’ll love the CD. From start to finish, it’s an enjoyable delight, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from this family in the future. As the first track proclaims, “It’s Our Time to Shine” … it surely is for this family. Visit the Jordan Family Band at www.facebook.com/ thejordanfamilyband and get a copy of the CD at jordanfamilyband.com/store or wherever you get your Gospel music. Strongest Songs: “The Day,” “Our Time to Shine” and “I Miss Them All”
Debra Perry and Jaidyn’s Call
Walking on Water By Robert York
It was Christmas 1970 in Dahlonega, Ga. A family had gathered without their son Johnny, who died earlier that year due to an accident. Three of the other children gathered around the piano. The oldest, Debra, along with her brother Randy and sister Libbi, began singing. That evening they would make their first public appearance at their hometown church, Mill Creek Baptist. The group became known as the Singing Perrys. Around 1985, the group changed their name to the group we now know as The Perrys. Sister Debra stayed with the group until 1989, during which time she was nominated twice for favorite soprano by Singing News Fans. Randy left in 1994 and today has his own ministry singing and preaching. Debra came off the road to raise her children. She also served as worship leader at a couple of churches as well as directing a youth choir. Debra met her husband Christopher (Chris) Reed on a Singing At Sea cruise. Chris is from Bismark, N.D., and is no stranger to Gospel Music. His dad was a pastor, and Chris started singing at the age of 13. He has sung with several different groups and is currently a co-host of the radio program, “Gospel Music Now,” which is aired on more than 40 stations. Chris is also the owner of the record label, Gold Rush Music. In 2010, Debra and Chris started a group called Debra Perry and Jaidyn’s Call. Debra states, “In the beginning, we used the name of Jaidyn’s Call, but with many people suggesting
to us that we needed to use a name that was familiar in gospel music, they convinced us to add my name – Debra Perry – along to that, and so the name Debra Perry and Jaidyn’s Call was put into place. I really didn’t want to use the Perry name, because we wanted the emphasis to be on Jaidyn. “Jaidyn is our grandson and was born with a brain abnormality called Hydranencephaly, which means major portions of the brain can be missing. For Jaidyn, he is missing upper lobes of the brain, which has caused him to be profoundly disabled. We wanted people to know our story and to know there is hope in desperate situations, and we wanted people to join with us in celebrating a life that has counted for so much.”
In 2013, Zack Smith from Toccoa, Ga., joined the group at age 19. Zack’s dad, Tony Smith, has been the person he most admires. He tells us, “I would like to be skinny,” and if he wasn’t singing he would be a chef. Asked about his most embarrassing moment, he says, “I was singing and I went to raise my hand and dropped the mike, throwing it out into the audience. Thank God it didn’t hit anyone.”
when they were the winners out of 250 artists and were invited to sing on the main stage. They are scheduled to sing in the Power Hour at this year’s NQC. They have had six top 80 songs on the Singing News charts, which include “The Waiting Room,” “Gone, Gone, Gone” and “He’s All The World to Me.” They are finishing up a new project – It’s Time to Walk on Water – which is also the title of the group’s current radio single.
Zack is also a caretaker and helps care for his grandmother. Debra stated that her most embarrassing moment was when they were singing to a packed house and a man got up and started walking toward the altar. Debra assumed he was coming to pray, but when he got to the altar, he turned and started back up the aisle. She thought he was in the spirit, and she said into her mic, “Walk it out, brother.” He sure did. He walked right out the door.
As Debra Perry and Jaidyn’s Call continues to travel, ministering to lost and hurting people, they each have a special Bible verse that encourages them on the way. Zack says, “John 16:33 because it’s a promise that even when we go through trials while here on earth, that God is always with us.”
“I could have crawled under that church, because I thought he was having a spiritual moment,” says Debra. “Then, I noticed chairs had been placed in the back of the church, and there was no way to exit other than coming up front.”
Debra points out, “This verse is my favorite because when you lose your loved ones to heaven, it makes you want to be there! Revelation 21:4 KJV, ‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying. Neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.’”
Debra Perry and Jaidyn’s Call has sung in the showcase at National Quartet Convention several times, including 2012
Chris shares, “Romans 8:28 because not everything is good, but God works it out for the good to those who love God.”
Photographs courtesy of Robert York.
Phillip Greene By Vonda Easley
This month, we shine the spotlight on Phillip Greene at WECR in Newland, N.C. According to the WECR web site, Phillip’s station plays “Southern Gospel, Bluegrass and ‘Heart Music.’” For listeners in North Carolina, the on-air station covers Avery County, including Newland, Banner Elk, Linville Ridge and Grandfather Mountain. Here’s what Phillip Greene had to say. Vonda: Tell us all about your radio experience including your current title and station. Phillip: I am the station manager/air talent at AM 1130 – WECR AM in Newland, N.C. – Glory 1130. Vonda: Tell us about a special day on the air. Phillip: The first day I became station manager and on-air talent was Feb. 27, 2012, a month after my father passed away, taking his place on the air and continuing the ministry that he was instrumental in starting here at the station. Vonda: Will you share your testimony? Phillip: I was raised in the church and came to an understanding for myself that Jesus was the way to God as
a young man of 13. I’ve had ups and downs but thank God I serve a Lord who loves and forgives when I let myself get in the way of greater things planned for me. I have been in ministry since the age of 13, because we are all called to be ministers, but have been actively serving in the church for the last 14 years and am blessed to be able to share the Gospel on a daily basis. I can’t even begin to describe how God took a young man with a heart for others from a struggling seeker to a truth speaker. He has given me the opportunity to minister in many capacities. Vonda: Where is your favorite vacation spot? Phillip: Anywhere I can share the Gospel is a place where I don’t mind going. I’m not so much of a beach person. I love to get away from things in the solitude of the mountains. Thank God I’m blessed to live in this solitude on a daily basis. Vonda: At what age did you know that you would love working in radio? Why? Phillip: At the age of 16, I knew ministry was my calling, and at the age of 19, God opened the door for me to pursue radio and ministry in my life. He has been opening the doors in ways I never imagined. I have been blessed to see that call take shape over the past four years. Thanks to Phillip Greene for introducing us to his work on WECR. You can find him online at wecrglory1130. wordpress.com. You can also hear Phillip live every day on 8:20 a.m. (EST) during “Glory1130 Morning Devotion” with Phillip Greene.
By Stephanie Kelley
The crack of the bat, the smell of hot dogs and Cracker Jacks and the warmth of the sun belting down … the sights, sounds and allure of baseball drew Rob Callistro in at an early age and kept him intrigued for life. Like many young boys, Callistro had the dream of becoming a major-league baseball player. But unlike many young players, he obtained his dream. In spite of reaching his goal, he didn’t feel satisfied or complete. Rob Callistro was born in California in 1969. His love of baseball was evident early in life. At the age of five, Rob told his parents that he wanted to be professional baseball player, just like the guys he saw playing on television. “I was always playing with some type of ball,” Callistro says. “I must have broken a window in almost every house in our neighborhood.” There were plenty of ups and downs in life, such as his parents’ divorce and various injuries, but one thing remained constant – his love of the game. Throughout
his childhood, Callistro played on various Little League teams and practiced incessantly until he landed a place in the minor leagues. “My first year in the minor leagues was a very difficult time,” Callistro says. “When I wasn’t on the baseball field, I found myself trying to be someone that I wasn’t. I tried so hard to fit in with other players that sometimes I would exaggerate and tell lies to try to make myself appear better than I was. I understood that players needed to focus on their baseball careers, but selfishness, pride and backbiting occurred when players only thought of themselves.” Eventually, his career developed and grew, and his dream of playing Major League Baseball came to fruition. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners and was at the top of the world. Of course, playing in the Kingdome, and with baseball greats such as Jay Buhner, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Randy Johnson were all part of a dream realized. But with fame comes stress, expectations and disappointment.
He worked hard to stay in shape and trained for a second chance in the major leagues, which finally materialized when he was contacted by a scout from the Chicago White Sox. This second chance didn’t last long though as he was released from his contract a few months later. “I traveled back home, and I did what I had always trained myself to do,” Callistro says. “I called my friends, and we went to bars and nightclubs every weekend. I tried to drink my pain away. “I spent the next three and a half years living exactly the same way I had always trained myself to live – selfishly.” Callistro’s weekend partying turned into daily drinking and drug usage.
Unfortunately, Callistro chose to deal with his stress with unhealthy lifestyle choices. In his book, “The Reliever,” Callistro describes the moment he realized that obtaining his dream wasn’t as satisfying to him as he has assumed it would be.
“I was lost and hurting, and nothing I did seemed to fill the void in my heart,” Rob says. Rob hit rock bottom when he crashed a car while driving intoxicated.
“I stood alone in the kitchen of the house where I grew up,” Callistro remembers. “I leaned against the kitchen counter thinking, ‘Is this it?’ I spent countless hours practicing and playing baseball with my dad, friends, family, and many teams over the years. I spent years watching baseball games on TV and in person, and now I was a professional baseball player. So shouldn’t I be happier?” After a devastating injury which affected his performance, Callistro saw the career he had fought so hard to obtain slip through his fingers. “The development director wasted no time,” Callistro writes in his book. “He slid a piece of paper toward me on the table and asked me to sign it. I asked what it was, and he said, ‘We are releasing you from your contract.’ I wasn’t familiar with a release, so I asked what that was. He said that I had done everything they had ever asked of me, and much more, but they just didn’t have room for me in their organization. So, I got to take my ball and go home.”
Then a mysterious phone call from his mother led Callistro to move across the country to Missouri in order to live closer to his family. Soon, he found himself in the pew of the First Baptist Church in Waynesville, Mo., hearing the Gospel for the very first time. Callistro begin reading his Bible and felt a tug in his
heart to forgive others, to abandon his lifestyle and to turn towards God. The song, “When Momma Prays,” could sum up Callistro’s salvation. As he was out partying, his mother was on her knees, talking to Jesus about her son. Her prayers were answered on Sunday, July 21, 1996. Callistro went to church that day, knowing that he would accept Christ and start his new life. He accepted Christ as his personal Savior.
“As an athlete, I devoted about 20-plus years to being the best baseball player I could be, physically and mentally,” Callistro says. “Athletic training gave me a great foundation for spiritual training, and if we desire to spiritually grow, then we need to spend as much time with God as possible. I have never met an athlete that does not want to get better. We need Christians who want to get better, meaning spiritual growth. “For 26 years, my identity was as a baseball player. I lived my life selfishly and pridefully, but now my identity is with Jesus Christ.” The Lord blessed his decision to follow Him and started turning his life around. Rob met a beautiful girl named Jill at a Southern Gospel concert featuring the Missouri family group, Living Sacrifice.
“I was set free from the self-destructive behavior,” Callistro says. “I was set free from the hurt and pain that the alcohol and drugs caused me, I was set free from the guilt of my sin and the shame that came from the disappointment and the consequences of my decisions. I was no longer separated from a Holy God.” Callisto’s athletic training taught him the virtue of hard work, dedication and how to overcome losses. Much of what he learned on the mound and in the dugout has prepared him for a lifetime of spiritual training. “The gospel group and the deacons from our church worked together to fix us up by introducing us,” Rob says. “I proposed in 13 days, and we have been married for over 19 years and have two awesome kids.” Callistro’s life is much different than when he was focused only on obtaining a position as a professional baseball player. He starts his day by reading a Proverb and praying before heading to his job at Hibbett Sports in Rolla, Mo. In his free time, he likes to golf, go to the beach, share Christ’s love with others, attend Southern Gospel concerts (Jason Crabb is a favorite) and spend time with his family. “I love to spend time with my wife and daughter as we watch our son play baseball, and I love to listen to my daughter sing,” Callistro says. “I especially feel honored to preach after my wife and daughter sing.”
Rob continues to work with young athletes, where he not only encourages them to strive towards their goals on the baseball field but in their spiritual lives as well. “1 Timothy 4: 7-11 provides words to live by … ‘Train yourself to be godly,’ and the only way to train yourself is by spending time with God and live and play with humility of mind and spirit, and your speech,” Callistro says. “Whatever you do, go out of your way to give God His glory. Being an athlete is an honor and a privilege. You are an ambassador for Jesus Christ, and you represent Jesus in everything you do.” This is what Rob Callistro tries to do in his life too. He is currently writing a new book called, “Celebrate Jesus,” and hopes to travel full-time and preach Jesus Christ through his outreach evangelistic ministry. Interested individuals can pick up a copy of “The Reliever” and keep up with Callistro at www.robcallistroonline. org. Photographs courtesy of Rob Callistro.
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55 years... A Singing Family Tradition By Charlie Griffin The history of Southern Gospel Music is intriguing as it reflects the evolution of musical styles in combination with the culture, traditions and customs developed in different areas of the country. A group that demonstrates the earlier sound of Southern Gospel is The Sheltons from South Carolina. The Sheltons started singing in 1960 as the George Shelton Family from Pickens, S.C. They sang at local church revivals and homecomings in Pickens, Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg and Oconee counties. It wasn’t long until they found themselves also singing throughout Western North Carolina and North Georgia, releasing five recordings along the way from 1960-64. The group at that time consisted of siblings George Shelton, Jr., Sandra Shelton, Gail Shelton, Devon Shelton, Elwyn Shelton and their father, George Shelton, Sr., who played rhythm guitar. By the mid-1960s, they had won an Arthur Smith talent contest, gaining them an appearance on his television show. They also appeared on the nationally-syndicated
Bob Poole television program and the Harvesters Quartet TV show. As their albums started to receive increased radio airplay in 1967, they were offered a recording contract on the HALO label with MARK V recording studio in Greenville, S.C. It was from 1966-67 that their name was changed to the Sheltons, consisting of Sandra, Gail, George, Jr., Kenneth (brother/drummer) and George, Sr.
Left to Right: George, Sr., Sandra, Gail, George, Jr.
The first album recorded for national release was entitled Heartfelt Gospel and is the first known recording of the song “Jesus Is Coming Soon.” This song was the first No. 1 song of the year (1969) charted by the Singing News Magazine and went on to be recorded by every major group of the time. This album and others after it, on the HALO label, received a 4-star pick in Billboard Magazine. The group began touring full time across the United States, appearing in churches, city auditoriums, high schools and county fairs and were soon invited to become part of The Blue Ridge Quartet’s nationally-syndicated television show, touring the U.S. and Canada with the Blue Ridge Quartet from 1970-72. The Sheltons also appeared on the WWVA Jamboree in Wheeling, W.Va., and on the Grand Ole Gospel Opry at the Ryman Auditorium and Opryland in Nashville, Tenn. The group recorded one album with the Blue Ridge Quartet, Together, that cemented lifelong friendships with Kenny Gates, Bill Crowe, Laverne Tripp, Donnie Seabolt, Fred Daniel and Burl Strevel. The family is quick to acknowledge that they owe a debt of gratitude and respect to the men of the Blue Ridge Quartet.
A young George Jr. with The Senators Quartet 1974. George Shelton, Jr., went on to sing tenor with the Senators Quartet of Memphis, Tenn., from 1974-75. He then owned and operated his own recording business in Dade City, Fla. Most recently, George was touring with the renowned Dixie Echoes. Shelton and Randy Shelnut quickly became one of the iconic tenor-lead combinations performing quartet gospel music.
Dixie Echoes Randy Shelnut with George Jr.
One of their more celebrated recordings was Gospel and Guitars, which reflected The Sheltons’ roots of gospel music. On this recording, there are several songs that let their vocal talents shine. It has since become a benchmark for other groups when recording. The Sheltons retired from full-time travel and appearances in 1973, but continued locally on a limited basis throughout the years.
Over the years, the mainstay with the family trio remains Sandra Shelton, who continues to shine on the Sheltons’ classic songs. Her rendition of “Jesus Is Coming Soon” continues to be a timeless request for the group. At the Pine Ridge Boys’ 2016 Homecoming Sing, Sandra said, “Singing with my family is just wonderful. It is like we just know what everyone is doing on stage. It comes natural with us. Daddy taught us well.” When sister Gail died, Frankie stepped up to the plate to sing. She quickly became a fan favorite with her pas-
sionate, bubbly personality. “In a family, you have to wait your turn,” Frankie shares. “After Gail passed, I got my turn to sing, and I am loving it. Nothing beats singing with my family.” Their younger brother, Robert Shelton – who sang lead with the Dixie Melody Boys and recorded two projects with them – joined the group, continuing the rich family trio. After retiring from the Dixie Echoes, George, Jr., rejoined the family, and requests are coming in from across the nation as fans have learned of the Shelton concerts. Today Sandra, Frankie, George, Jr., and Robert (who joins the family on select concerts) carry on the family’s rich tradition of sharing their message of faith and hope through Southern Gospel Music. “Fifty-five years is a long time, but we still love singing as a family,” Rob says. “It gets better all the time.” In May 2016, The Sheltons were inducted into the South Carolina Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. It was the first time since the South Carolina Southern Gospel Music Hall Of Fame inception that an entire group was inducted at once.
George Jr., Sandra and Frankie onstage at the We Love Our Southern Gospel Music History (WLOSGMH) Convention. My first time booking The Sheltons was in the early 1980s at the Hallelujah Supper Club. When they hit the stage, gospel music fans were treated to rich, smooth harmony and music presented with passion and energy. The group remains one of the most requested groups from the Carolinas on Gospel One Radio. Over the past couple of years, the group has been featured at the WLOSGMH Convention, Pine Ridge Boys Homecoming Sing and Carolinas Song Festival concerts, and the requests for more personal appearances are growing. When you hear that smooth heartfelt family harmony, you understand why a 55-year tradition has made the Sheltons one of Gospel Music’s most loved legacy family trios.
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By Lorraine Walker The sixth annual Creekside Gospel Music Convention is coming soon to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Join us from October 30 - November 2, as we listen to Southern and Country Gospel music, enjoy the parks and trails of the Smoky Mountains and have fellowship with other fans and artists of Creekside at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center. During the convention, you will experience showcases Tuesday through Thursday afternoons, the Diamond Awards, evening concerts and midnight prayer. Tickets are free but must be reserved. Contact Salina Clay for hotel reservations by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org,Â or call her atÂ 256-239-7716. Go online to creeksidegospelmusicconvention.com to keep up with everything that is happening. The 2017 Diamond Award nominations are now open on the SGNScoops web site. Everyone is invited to the web site to enter the nomination area and list their
choices for each Diamond Award category. The nominations will be closed shortly, and the top - 10 artists will be tabulated. Keep watching the SGNScoops website for the chance to pick your favorites from the top-10 nominees. Fans, friends, artists and industry personnel are all invited to vote and to encourage their supporters to vote as well. To vote, click on www.sgnscoops.com/2017-diamond-awards. The 2017 Diamond Awards will be held on Oct. 31, during the Creekside Gospel Music Convention in Pigeon Forge. Guest hosts will be Dr. Jerry and Jan Goff. The awards ceremony is a unique evening of recognizing the best in gospel music. Be sure to be there for all of the surprises.
Last year, the Monday morning open-air showcase began the week, with a free breakfast for veterans, a talent contest and hot dog roast. It was also the first time for the Creekside Classic Golf Tournament. Keep watching for more exciting announcements and to become involved in every event. More information is available at www.facebook.com/Creeksidegospelmusicconvention.
We want you to be a Creekside Very Important Person. For only $25, a VIP bracelet will be your entry into the preferred seating at each event, and you will also receive a Creekside gift bag and be the special guest at select backstage happenings. Purchase your VIP bracelet today from Vonda Easley by calling 256-310-7892 or by e-mailing at email@example.com.
For more information, latest news and artists scheduled to appear, visit the Creekside page on Facebook at facebook.com/Creeksidegospelmusicconvention.
Photographs courtesy of Robert York, Michelle Drummond, Meagan Pledger, and Creekside Gospel Music Convention.
A Look Through The Lens of Craig Harris: The LeFevres Photographs by Craig Harris
SGNScoops was recently on hand at the LeFevre Quartetâ€™s concert at Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Missionary Baptist Church. Bass singer Keith Plott recently joined group members Mike LeFevre (baritone), Jordan LeFevre (lead), Jeremy Peace (tenor) and Josh Townsend (pianist).
The Editor’s Last Word By Lorraine Walker
April is a soft month, a time of yellow and pink buds, newborn animals and bird nests with eggs nestled under the wings of a protective mother. However, this time of year we see the harsh lines of a cross on a hill shaped like a skull, the sounds of iron hammers against nails cutting through flesh and wood, and the cries of a mother watching her Son as His life drains from His body. The difference between the two scenes tears across the fabric of our daydreams and forces us to focus on the reality of life and death, the transient vs. the eternal. Within the pages of our magazine this month you will find a discussion of the cross and the resurrection, laughter and loss, history and present. We thank our artists and our writers for filling this issue with message of God sending His only Son, how His death and resurrection hold timeless significance and how our living Lord allows us to show His love to others. What does this holy time mean to you? Regeneration, new birth, bunnies and chicks, springtime and sunshine? It seems everyone walks with a lighter step when the air is warmer and flowers start to bloom. But is that all there is? If this life is just about what we find here on this earth, the changing of the seasons and the passing of the years, we know that death is just ahead. And then what?
Mary, the mother of Jesus, waited for 30 years for her Son to share with others the secret that she held in her heart. She remembered the angels and the shepherds, the magi and the star. Then Jesus began His ministry and watched the promise of God being fulfilled before her very eyes. Three short years of teaching and healing, travelling from place to place and being alternately adored and shunned by the crowds. The months sped by, only to come to a hideous stop on this hill. Golgotha. The Place of the Skull. Did Mary know, in the depths of her heart, how the soldiers would treat her precious Son? How she must have also cried out to God to end Jesus’ suffering. The brutal mortality of the horrific Roman crosses rose up in front of her. Even the presence of John beside her didn’t ease the sharp, jagged pain that cut through her heart. When they finally took His limp, torn body from that frame of death, she must have clutched Him close to her, desperate to feel the beat of His heart. Mary knew His origins better than anyone; was this end to her like the death of God Himself? When Mary dragged herself to the tomb that Sunday morning, did she feel the dread of seeing Jesus’ dead body again, or was it a balm to her soul that she and the other ladies could do this one last act of love for her Son? I can’t imagine how she felt when she arrived
to see the stone rolled away and the empty tomb… Matthew 28:5,6,9,10 (NIV): “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ He said. They came to him, clasped His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’” Mary was one of the first to really experience the eternality of Jesus and our own souls. Did she get a glimpse of heaven in the eyes of the Risen Savior? Her world must have changed completely in that instant. Life after death, heaven and hell, the eternal consequences of a choice to believe or not believe - the reality of all these things must have clicked into place in that moment.
Spring and its evidence of new growth and fresh starts is lovely and refreshing, but it only lasts a short time. Seasons come and go, years pass, and through the changes, one thing remains constant. Our eternal, unchanging God invites us to come into relationship with Him and move into His infinity. It is our choice. Believe it or walk away. Ignore His invitation and accept the consequences. Accept His love, His kingship, His protection, and His forever home. Either way, your soul will live on. Look into the eyes of Jesus today and get a glimpse of Heaven through our resurrected Lord.
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Contributors SGN SCOOPS
Rob Patz is the President and CEO of Coastal Media Group. Rob has an 18 year history in radio hosting the nationally syndicated radio show, “The Southern Styles Show” since its beginning in 1993. Rob is also the owner of the internet’s #1 Southern Gospel station, SGMRadio.com. In 2009, Rob Patz acquired SGNScoops.com, including the all- digital Scoops Magazine and the Diamond Awards. Rob has taken part in several Christian television projects working in front of the camera and also has helped create several syndicated television programs as well. Rob does voice work for various outlets including fortune 500 companies as well as emceeing concerts and special events. Email Rob at rob@sgnscoops. com. Stephanie Kelley is a public speaker and owner of QueenO-Q, a blog featuring coupon match-ups, freebies, samples and information on frugal living. She is married, has three children and lives in Washington State. Queenoq.blogspot.com
Canadian-born Lorraine Walker has a love for Jesus Christ, music and writing. The combination of these passions has produced artist features and monthly columns for Southern Gospel publications including SGM Radio website and SGN Scoops Digital magazine. Lorraine desires that the power of the written word will glorify her Lord and bring readers closer to the love, peace and majesty of the Almighty. Email Lorraine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Campbell is a singer, songwriter, musician, and middle school English teacher from McAlpin, Florida. Along with her passion for teaching, she has an even greater passion for ministering to others, sharing her testimony of how she was born lifeless and how Jesus raised her up to live for Him. Jennifer is a member of the Florida Worship Choir and Orchestra and has performed with them at Brooklyn Tabernacle, Carnegie Hall, Central Park, and Times Square. She serves as a group leader for Women of Faith, designs websites, and writes an inspirational blog at http://jennifercampbell.net/blog.htm and a food and travel blog at http://jennifersjourneys.net Learn more about Jennifer at http://jennifercampbell.net and www.christwillreturn.org. Joan Walker grew up with music in the house and first heard Southern Gospel in her early teens. With almost a quirky (some may say ‘weird’) need to make sure words are spelled correctly and the apostrophes are in the right place, she enjoys proofreading the articles for the SGN Scoops magazine each month...and looks beyond the letters and commas to the wonderful words each writer has written. Joan counts it as a blessing in her life to be part of SGN Scoops! Justin Gilmore, 22, a resident of San Diego, California, graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a B.A. in History in June of 2014. Passionate about Southern Gospel music and its history, he decided to venture into the blog world in January starting Southern Gospel Spotlight in order to share his love of this great style of music.
Contributors SGN SCOOPS
Dusty Wells is a man of many talents and multiple skills, from his speaking engagements across the country, to traveling and encouraging various artists in the Christian music genres. Dusty has a passion that is evident from the moment you meet him. Dusty is a man who remains passionate and secure in the calling and destiny upon his life. He has come to realize the importance of finding purpose and clear direction for not only his life, but also the lives of those he comes in contact with, no matter what stage of life they may be in. Growing up in a very dysfunctional home, surrounded by all types of abuse, Dusty had every excuse to be a failure in life. He grew up on welfare, having to steal his daily necessities of life at times, being surrounded by drugs, alcohol and pornography. He was raised by a mother who was married multiple times, living in a housing project on the wrong side of town. But in the midst of what seemed to be complete devastation, God had different plans of success for Dusty. At the age of 14, a precious couple took time out of their own lives to invest in Dusty…thus leading Him to the Lord. His life is a testimony of God’s relentless love and deliverance, and is one of the most triumphant stories told in modern Christianity. Dusty is confident in the fact that if God can do it for him, He can do it for anyone, no matter the situation. Dusty and his wife of 33 years have four children, and two grandbabies with one more on the way. They make their home in Nashville, Tn. Justin McLeod is the founder of the Justin’s World of Softball website, a site that he has built into one of the premier news outlets in the sport. Justin is a longtime Gospel music fan and enjoys researching the history of the genre, attending concerts, and reviewing recordings whenever possible. The son of a Southern Baptist pastor, he also works for a law firm as a legal secretary and is active in his local church. Justin is a native of Memphis and now resides in Northeast Louisiana.
Pete Schwager is a web developer and graphic designer with a passion for Christ. He was born in Santa Rosa, California and moved to Oregon where he spent most of his life. He now lives in the quiet town of Ringgold, Georgia and enjoys living in the country with his family. You can find him online at http://peteschwager.com
Staci Schwager helps with marketing and communication with her husband’s web design company, Cre8able Media. Together they make a great team! Staci being the “talkative” one, loves being able to communicate one on one with clients and organizing ideas. While Pete on the other hand is diving into the design and coding aspects to make the real masterpiece! Most of Staci’s days are filled with preparing homeschool lessons for her kids, couponing, gardening, tending to her chicken flock and spending as much time on the beautiful, country land God has blessed them with.
My name is Tina Wakefield and I am currently Music Minister for Amazing Grace Worship Center in Alabaster, Al. I have led worship for over 18 years as well as teach adults how to live everyday life in Victory as a Christian. I enjoy playing and singing Gospel Music whenever and wherever I am invited. I currently have three Cd s available on my website at www.tinawakefield.com and just released my first music video with Godsey & Associates called,” The Choice” available on YouTube. I write a lot of the music we sing at church and also record my original songs. My family is very ministry oriented with Pastors, Teachers, Musicians, and Singers. My heart’s desire is to spread the gospel of Christ through any and all open doors that I receive.
Contributors SGN SCOOPS
Robert York- During my childhood days my parents took me to the Atlanta City Auditorium for concerts hosted by Warren Roberts. That was the beginning of my love for Southern Gospel music. After 35 years I retired from USPS, during which time I got married. My wife and I often went to The Joyful Noise for dinner and concerts. Every known name in Gospel Music sang there at one time or another. After I retired, we decided to start promoting concerts. Our goal was not only to promote our concerts, but also to promote any Gospel concerts in our area and attend as many as we possibly could. I came to a crossroads in December 2013 when my wife graduated to heaven, not knowing what to do. After much prayer God led me to continue promoting concerts. Have promoted around 100 concerts and can’t tell you how many I attended. I still enjoy going to concerts and writing a little about the groups. Erin Stevens is a uniquely talented shutterbug, singer, guitar player, writer, blogger, and social networker. She is the owner/operator of Photos For Keeps By Erin. Along with running her own business, she is the official photographer for Abraham Productions (API). You will find her behind the lens at all API events, along with working behind the scenes on their social media. She also travels full-time on the road with her family’s gospel group, The Stevens Family. Photography is her passion and singing for Jesus is her calling. For several years, you have known her as our very own “Younger Perspective” writer. Check out her photography website www. photosforkeepsbyerin.com and her ministry website www. stevensfamilymusic.com. Vonda Easley is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Vonda draws on a vast knowledge of Southern Gospel Music for her expertise in the field. In addition to her many personal friendships within the industry she also hosts a weekly radio show which keeps her in touch with many of Southern Gospel’s leading executives and artists. It also allows her a fresh view of new music and the latest happenings inside the industry. Vonda is also a group owner and manager as well! A self starter Vonda has started and managed several “new” events in Southern as well as “Country Gospel” Music. These events are fast be
coming trend setters within the industry. She is a graduate of The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Vivian is the marketing manager at KKGM in Dallas/Fort Worth Texas, as well as hosting a program on Sundays where she features national, regional as well as local artists. She also brings news of upcoming concert events in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and surrounding area. Vivian has promoted various artists in this area for over 10 years beginning with Phil Cross and Poet Voices and later Sharron Kay King and Jerry Bennett to name a few. She has spent the past several years promoting Southern Gospel, Inspirational Country Gospel and Bluegrass in this area in order to preserve this part of our heritage. Hello, I’m Randall Hamm, Gospel Program Director of WFLQ French Lick Indiana, host of the Sunday Morning Gospel Show for the past 20 years on WFLQ French Lick Indiana and Singing News Top 10 Small Market DJ for the past three years. I now add something new to my resume! Record Reviewer, ok… CD Reviewer. I’m Old School, having started in the days of LP’s, 45’s and Reel to Reel along with cassettes as the main form of music played. If you’d like to listen to my program, you can visit https:// www.facebook.com/TheSundayMorningGospelShow and listen to archived programs, plus I post various Southern Gospel news updates, uplifting music and Gospel-related items. If you’re in the six-county area around French Lick Indiana, in the heart of Southern Indiana, tune in every Sunday 6:00am-12:00pm and listen to the Gospel Greats with Paul Heil, 6:00am to 8:00am and the Sunday Morning Gospel Show with Randall Hamm 8:00am to 12:00pm.
Contributors SGN SCOOPS
After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Mass Communication degree, Craig Harris has been in the journalism field for more than 15 years, working daily as both a photographer and writer at one of the largest non-daily publications in the state of Tennessee. He has experience in feature writing, news writing, action photography, portrait photography, web-site maintenance and layout. Craig has been a part of numerous awards, both collective and individual honors in the journalism field. He has had articles published in numerous newspapers and magazines on a variety of subjects, most notably in the world of sports. Craig’s Southern Gospel interest dates back for approximately the same time span, having closely followed the industry since the later portion of the 1990s. He also performed for seven years with a local trio prior to joining the SGN Scoops staff. David’s distinctive sound and his ability to blend perfectly with a variety of vocalists has made him a valuable commodity on live events as well as in the studio. His compassionate and gentle spirit makes him more than an artist, it makes him a great friend! David began singing at age 6 with family. In 1990, he filled in for the Speer Family and later that year he became the lead vocalist for The Trailblazers. In 2002, Staton filled the lead position with Priority. While with Priority, the group was the resident gospel group at the Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson, MO and they performed for over one million people in one year. After the group disbanded in 1995, David continued to write for artists in many different genres of music while occasionally performing solo. It was during this time that his song, “Every Knee Shall Bow”, recorded by Dottie Peoples, was nominated for a Grammy Award. His song, “Together We Can” was adopted as the national theme song to bring awareness to violence in schools. The music video (Together We Can) that featured many Atlanta based artists was shown at the 1999 Grammy Awards show, which helped launch the careers of artists like R&B’s Jagged Edge, India Arie, and 4.0. In 2004, David partnered with Mike LeFevre to form The LeFevre Quartet. During the seven years that he was the lead vocalist, the group had many hit songs and won many awards. After leaving the LeFevre
Quartet in 2011, Staton began working on a solo project and also began singing with Palmetto State Quartet. The group appeared on television and toured with country music superstar, Wynonna Judd while Staton was there. Through the years, artists like Gold City, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Kingsmen, Singing Americans, Dixie Melody Boys, Imperials, Dottie Peoples, Ball Brothers, LeFevre Quartet, Palmetto State Quartet, Priority, Trailblazers, The Greenes, Ivan Parker, Brian Free and many more have recorded David’s music. From 2005 to 2013, Staton was the Executive Vice President for Song Garden Music Group in Nashville, TN. In recent years, the National Quartet Convention has asked David to be a part of an industry advisory panel to help artists who need assistance and training. Not only has David made a mark as an artist, he is passing on his talent and knowledge to new artists, influencing and shaping the future of Gospel music. Kelly Nelon Clark is the daughter of Gospel Music icon, the late Rex Nelon. As part of her father’s group, The Nelons, she blazed a musical trail bringing a fresh new sound to the traditional Gospel quartet style. That sound and style influenced a generation of Gospel music performers and can be heard today in the styling of groups like the Martins, Point of Grace, The Crabb Family and more. As The Nelons broke new ground, the Gospel Music industry repeatedly recognized their excellence. The group won four GMA Dove awards as well as multiple awards from readers of Singing News Magazine. Kelly was named female vocalist of the year on four occasions and received favorite alto vocalist award 3 times. At one time, Kelly was the most awarded artists in the history of the Singing News Fan Awards. The music industry at large also recognized The Nelons with 3 Grammy nominations. Today, Kelly currently performs throughout the United States, Canada and Europe with her husband and two daughters as The Nelons. The group is featured in hundreds of churches and concerts each year. The Nelons have been part of Gaither Homecoming concerts sharing their music with thousands of Gospel Music fans in sold-out arenas across the country. For more information, visit http:// www.kellynelon.com/.
Contributors SGN SCOOPS
Marcie Gray was born and raised in sunny California, yet always dreamed of moving to Tennessee. She had planned to move to the south as a young adult and sing with a gospel group, after being inspired to do so by her Great Uncle, Alphus LeFevre. Though it took longer than she had expected, in 2011, her dream of moving east finally came true when her husband, Don, retired from the CHP. They packed up their two youngest daughters, three dogs and two horses and headed east. What a blessing to finally be where the tea is sweet, the Southern Gospel music is plentiful and there’s a Cracker Barrel on every corner! Spend ten minutes with Marcie and you’ll learn that she is rarely lacking for something to say. Her passion for Southern Gospel music, combined with her instinct to be behind the camera, makes journalism a very enjoyable outlet for that “Type A” personality she has been affectionately labeled with by her family and friends. Marcie is a worship leader, vocalist and songwriter. She has directed choirs of all ages and given voice lessons for many years. Her solo CD, “Carry Me Home” was released in September of 2014. Having family in ministry has given Marcie a desire to support those who are on the road sharing the gospel through song. Visit her website at www.graydoveministries.com to learn more!
Lynn Mills is a talented writer who has a passion for music, specifically Gospel music. Lynn authors the site Lynn’s Chronicles where she shares her experiences attending various concert events and what people can expect should they want to attend. Also featured are CD & DVD Reviews, Devotionals, Photos, Video and News tidbits. Keep up with Lynn online at http://lynnschronicles.com or on facebook @ http://.facebook.com/lynns.chronicles
Hi, my name is Dean Adkins and I am honored to be a part of the SGN Scoops family. Perhaps some background information would be beneficial. I am sometimes called “Professor” because I was a Biology professor at Marshall University for 31 years and I retired in 2004. I grew up listening to gospel music (or as it is now termed Southern Gospel Music) and many of my relatives (Adkins, Toney, Booth families) are gospel singers/musicians. I collect records, primarily LPs, and SGM related items. Over the years I have studied the history of this genre. I would like to use these articles to describe events and the mind-set of the 1950s and 60s – sometimes called the Golden Age of Gospel Music.
Nathan Kistler was born on the road and was singing at the age of three years old. He has had the opportunity travel with groups like Southern Gospel’s beloved trio the Nelons, and most recently for almost two years with Americas Favorite family of gospel music The Hoppers. Nathan has had the privilege to be in 49 states and 24 countries singing about the wonderful story of Jesus Christ our Lord. He has also been a part of three crusades on the National Mall in Washington D.C. and while there, he had the privilege of singing in the Pentagon courtyard twice. Through his father’s ministry in Washington, Nathan began his work on the Hill as a ministry partner with different Christian organizations like Faith and Action and more. Nathan is a missionary to Washington and continues to work there during the week while singing Gospel music on the weekends around the country and being an artist in residence at the American Mountain Theater in Elkins, West Virginia.
Contributors SGN SCOOPS
Sheri began singing while traveling with her abundantly talented family, led by her father John LaFontaine, a minister for over 48 years. In 1994 with Grammy nominated singer Jeff Easter producing, she recorded her first solo project, Takin’ My Place. Shortly thereafter, Sheri received a call from the top promoter in southern gospel, Frank Arnold and was asked to join his group, The Arnolds on the road. After several years of traveling Sheri felt the Lord leading her to focus on her solo career and songwriting. In 2004 she signed a songwriting contract with one of the industry’s top recording labels, Daywind Music. Her songs have been recorded by Kim Hopper, Karen Peck, Sue Dodge, Brian Free & Assurance, Misty Freeman, Three Bridges, The Whisnants, The Browns and many more. Paige Givens is a Christ follower, wife, mother of two boys and kindergarten teacher to 18 five-yearolds. She is a writer, reader, singer, studier, and teacher of words. Paige lives in Hayden, Alabama with her husband of 10 years, Chris Givens, and their sons Parker and Peyton. Paige loves to blog about faith, writing, music, and teaching. Her goal is to serve the Lord by inspiring others to be who He has called them to be. You can listen to her music and read her devotionals at www. paigegivens.com.
Jaquita Lindsey holds the alto position for the Southern Gospel group 11th Hour. The group was originally based out of Monroe, LA but recently relocated to Hendersonville, TN. She comes from the small town of Camden, AR. She is also a licensed cosmetologist. In her spare time, she enjoys being crafty and spending time with family and friends. She’s been singing since the age of eight, but realizes that it’s much more than just singing. “Anyone can show off their talent. I’d rather hear someone that shows that they are anointed!” For more information on Jaquita, visit 11thhourgospelgroup.com
Roger Barkley Jr. is an awardwinning Christian artist and musical evangelist. With multiple charting songs reaching to the top 10, his goals remain the same: to win souls for Christ, use Gospel Music of any kind to reach the world with the Good News, seeing lives changed and being an encouragement to the saints. When asked about his ministry, Roger said, “I can remember the first time singing with my dad playing the guitar and standing beside my mom when I was four years old. I have always loved all types of music.” His vision is to lead as many people to Christ through preaching, singing, sharing testimony, comedy, drama and technology as possible. Having been labeled a Christian Entertainer, he believes it is possible to minister in an entertaining way, and in over 35 years of ministry has found that he can utilize all different types of music to let people know the love of Jesus Christ. Currently he is Artist-In-Residence with his wife, Dianna, and daughter, Chelsea, at Leestown Gospel Church in Frankfort, KY, and Redemption Road Community Church in Stamping Ground, KY where he leads worship when not spreading the Gospel across America. Fayth Lore is a young woman from southern Ohio with a love for God and people. Although she enjoys chocolate, oldies music and spending time with friends around the bonfire, her passion is ministry. In January of 2014, after pastoring for 20 years, her family decided to follow God’s call into music evangelism. In September 2015, they launched into full-time ministry. The Lore Family travels the country, spreading the Gospel through songs, sermons and seminars. While Fayth loves to sing, she also has a heart for encouraging young women in Christ. She has spoken at various youth/women’s events, as well as hosted her own blog for young ladies. To see more about The Lore Family, visit their website at www.thelorefamilyministries.com. To learn more about Fayth’s blog, visit www.truepurposegirls. weebly.com.
Contributors SGN SCOOPS
Selena Day is from Atlanta GA. During her twenties she worked in the field of fashion, as both a make-up artist and model. Selena became a Christian in her early 20’s and then quickly met her husband, Chuck Day, who is a songwriter and recording artist. Selena and Chuck have been in the ministry for 26 years raising three daughters and homeschooling them while they traveled together as a family. During this time God taught her how crucial intergenerational ministry is for the furthering of God’s kingdom. Selena travels the world speaking at conferences with the emphasis on empowering a multi-generation of women to rise up and become everything that God has called them to. Encouraging the next generation of the church to break the walls of limitations in their mind and rise to their full potential. Selena and her husband are life coaches for The World Race, which is an extreme missions trip for adults 21 through 35. They travel every two months somewhere around the world to mentor these missionaries. She and Chuck have been pastoring a home-church for 14 years where they have experienced God moving in community and seeing the body of Christ in action through each other. Auke Bijlsma- I was born in Zaandam, The Netherlands on September 21st 1966. I’m Head of Operations for a major airline. My home is in the countryside of Holland where I live with my wife Patty, and our two kids: Jake who’s 16, and Lexi who is 14, and our pack of dogs. My oldest children, son Jesse 23, and daughter Sarah 21, don’t live with me; they are all grown up building their own homes and lives. In my childhood, I went to church with my family, and I fell in love with harmony singing. I sang in choirs, a Southern Gospel Trio, and made a few television appearances with that trio here in The Netherlands. At the moment I am not active in music anymore, but you never know what comes along. In my teens, I started to listen to 50’s Rock and Roll, and of course, Elvis Presley. Through Presley I was introduced to the great Gospel Quartets. I started looking for music by The Imperials, Jordanaires, and J.D.Sumner and the Stamps at first, because these were the quartets that backed Elvis for many years. My first love is Gospel singing, particularly Southern Gospel. I love groups like The Stamps, The Imperials, The
Weatherfords, The Rambos, The Hinsons, The Cathedrals and many more. Besides being a music lover, I love vintage cars, architecture, books, movies and writing. I hold a Masters in Journalism and Communication. I will write articles about anything; music, faith and life in general. Hope you will enjoy the views of an outsider. Thank you SGNScoops for giving me this opportunity. Sarah Murray sings soprano for the Southern Gospel group Bless’d. The group is from Greeneville, Tennessee and has been together for over five years. Sarah was born and raised in Jonesborough, Tennessee, but now resides in Greeneville with her husband, Chase. She has a bachelor’s degree in K-6 Education and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development. Her daytime job is being the Human Resources Director for a small company in Greeneville, Tennessee. Her passion outside of singing, writing, and crafting, is simply God’s people. “I love the Lord and truly believe my mission in life is to reach his people, and that’s both on and off the stage, behind my desk, and in my community. I just want people to see Jesus in me! I’m so honored to be a part of Bless’d and love our tight knit family group.” For more information on Sarah, visit blessdministries.com Debbie Seagraves is a Gospel music soloist, songwriter and speaker from Hull, Ga. She and her husband, Mike have been married for 21 years and have five grown children, including four sons and one daughter that graduated to Heaven in 2009, as well as nine grandchildren. She loves singing, speaking, and writing her own songs. Debbie is currently working on her third project. All of the songs on this CD will be songs that she has penned. She is an award winning artist, having won Female Vocalist of the Year with Lighthouse Gospel Music Association, and Female Vocalist and Soloist of the year with the GGCBA (Georgia Gospel Country Bluegrass Association) in 2016. She enjoys speaking at Ladies Events, sharing her testimony of how God spared her life from a near fatal
Contributors SGN SCOOPS
motorcycle accident in 2011, how He brought her out of the depths of severe clinical depression, and through the
death of her daughter in 2009. Also, Debbie is an avid Georgia Bulldogs fan and loves to fish, read, and spend time with her children and grandchildren. Debbie says: â€œNo one can come as close as I did to dying and have it not change you. I am forever changed, blessed beyond measure, and just so grateful for every day that the Lord allows me to spend with those I love and to serve Him.â€? She considers Micah 7:8 her life verse as she says that verse has carried her through some of the darkest times in her life. If you would like to have Debbie at your church or venue, you can reach her through her website: debbieseagravesmusic.com/, on Facebook, or send her an email at: email@example.com.
It's April and we invite you to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with all of us at SGNScoops Magazin...
Published on Apr 7, 2017
It's April and we invite you to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with all of us at SGNScoops Magazin...