New Speer Family striving to Let the Songs Go On again


The New Speer Family performed at Sand Spring Baptist Church in May. The group got together in 2018 as Brian Speer wanted to keep the songs of his legendary family going. From left are Brian Speer, Allison Speer, Ben Waites and Mike Allen.

(NOTE: This article, by John Herndon, originally appeared in the June edition of SGN Scoops magazine.)

By John Herndon,

Brian Speer just knew he needed to get back on stage.

It didn’t matter that it had been 36 years since he stopped traveling with his legendary family. It didn’t matter that he really didn’t know what direction he would take or who would sing with him. He just knew he needed to keep The Speer Family legacy alive.

“After all of Brian’s people were gone, he woke up one day and said, ‘I think we need to do a quartet,’” Brian’s wife, Allison Speer, says. “It shocked me! We had never talked about it and had never discussed it.” Continue reading “New Speer Family striving to Let the Songs Go On again”

Back where they started

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The Noblemen Quartet sings at David’s Fork Baptist Church on July 11.

Nearly 50 years after first coming together, The Noblemen Quartet is happy singing old style gospel music

By John Herndon,

LEXINGTON, Ky. — After nearly 50 years, The Noblemen Quartet is back where it started.

And the group, or its fans, could not be happier.

“We are having a lot of fun right now,” says bass singer Dan Clark, one of the quartet’s founding members. “These guys love to sing. They are all great Christian men and we really try to uplift Jesus Christ. We are not entertainers. We are just singers and try to sing for God.” Continue reading “Back where they started”

His Heart delivers “Truth” in latest CD


His Heart sings at Sand Spring Baptist Church, opening for Triumphant Quartet on June 14. From left are Kyle Harris, Jeremy Dickerson, Bill Sowder and Bob Abbott.

By John Herndon,

When His Heart Quartet went in the studio for the group’s newest CD, there might have been a bit of apprehension about a new work that emphasized the old.

The reception of “Truth” indicates there should never have been any questions about one of Kentucky’s most popular Southern Gospel groups. Continue reading “His Heart delivers “Truth” in latest CD”

“The first face I’ll see will be Jesus!”


Marlana VanHoose plays the keyboard during a gospel concert. She says she is “God-taught.” (Photo furnished)

Blind since birth and small in stature, Marlana VanHoose’s powerful voice blesses many


By John Herndon,

It was more than fitting when Marlana VanHoose told me the first concert she ever attended was one by The Oak Ridge Boys.

“I was three years old,” she says before breaking into “Elvira, Elvira!” as we sat in a Lexington restaurant. I didn’t know she sang the legendary group’s most famous hit but I knew the 23-year-old singer could deliver a rousing version of a song the Oaks are also known for today.

The National Anthem. Continue reading ““The first face I’ll see will be Jesus!””

Last two concerts have combined the past and present



The Kingsmen in concert at Christiansburg Baptist Church, May 30, 2019. From left are Chris Jenkins, Chris Bryant, Alan Kendall and Ray Dean Reese.

By John Herndon,

We are back after a crazy month that barely gave us time to breathe!

We’ve been quiet at for the month of May due to taking on some freelance work for three different publications. Add in my youngest daughter’s final month of high school — where DID the time go? — I’ve been away from the site more than I wanted. With being a labor of love, an unscheduled lull might happen occasionally.

However, I did make two concerts in May and conducted interviews for stories scheduled to appear in another publication in the next two months. Those two interviews might have done as much for my understanding of why gospel music stays vibrant despite warnings that it’s a dying form of music. Continue reading “Last two concerts have combined the past and present”

Larry, Steve and Rudy, The Gatlin Brothers proud of gospel heritage

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They are now known as “Larry, Steve and Rudy, The Gatlin Brothers.” Fans will notice no change in the music, but the name reflects their tight family harmony. “This just tells who we are,” Rudy says. From left are Steve, Larry and Rudy Gatlin. (Photo courtesy Absolute Publicity)

Legendary country stars to appear at Renfro Valley April 27

By John Herndon,

Long before All the Gold in California was in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills, The Gatlin Brothers were probably singing about walking on golden streets.

Before Houston was One Day Closer, they were undoubtedly singing about Heaven being the land of 10,000 years. You just know they were.

“We grew up around gospel music,” Rudy Gatlin said Thursday. “I started singing in church when I was two-and-a-half years old. That was 64 years ago in 1955.” Continue reading “Larry, Steve and Rudy, The Gatlin Brothers proud of gospel heritage”

Tying the past and the present


Josh Parker plays ‘Days of Elijah’ while his father, gospel music legend Ivan Parker, leads the crowd in waving their smartphones during a concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church on April 11.

Josh Parker and ‘Blondie’ have fun while praising God

By John Herndon,

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. — Josh Parker’s smile grows as he breaks into some rocking licks on one of his guitar solos.

Most of the audience at Sand Spring Baptist Church is much older than Parker, but that makes little difference as he rips into “Days of Elijah.” With Josh’s father, Ivan, leading them, many pull out their phones, turn on their flashlights and sway.

It’s just fun while praising God. Continue reading “Tying the past and the present”