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

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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, KentuckySings.com

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

 

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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, KentuckySings.com

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

We’ve been quiet at KentuckySings.com 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 KentuckySings.com 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, KentuckySings.com

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

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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, KentuckySings.com

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”

Making a difference with a heart of faith

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Oak Ridge Boys’ lead guitarist and Corbin, Ky. native Roger Eaton, right, solos during the “Did I Make A Difference?” at Renfro Valley Saturday night. At left is Oaks tenor Joe Bonsall.

Corbin native Roger Eaton of the Oak Ridge Boys shares how a relationship with Christ guides his life

By John Herndon, KentuckySings.com

RENFRO VALLEY, Ky. — It was more than fitting that the main spotlight shone on Roger Eaton midway through the Oak Ridge Boys’ annual trip to Renfro Valley Saturday night.

He’d smoked his electric guitar with a sizzling solo to punctuate “Did I Make A Difference,” a song where Duane Allen has the lead and asks if we have done enough to help others. Continue reading “Making a difference with a heart of faith”

Taking their songs to the state

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Rayna Warford (left) and her sister, Ramsey Nicholson, will be performing at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame on April 13. (Photo furnished)

Sisters to make first visit to Hall of Fame

By John Herndon, KentuckySings.com

There aren’t many people who can say their first visit to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame is a performance gig.

Meet Rayna Warford and Ramsey Nicholson, sisters who will be making their Hall of Fame debut on Saturday, April 13 as the regular Saturday afternoon performance by Kentucky artists.

Continue reading “Taking their songs to the state”

Finding more than a song

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The cover of an album by The Ambassadors Quartet, of Hopkinsville, Ky. is a connection Leslie Chrisman has with the father she never knew, Howard Johnson. He’s at the lower right in the photo.

One woman’s search for her father leads to gospel roots

By John Herndon, KentuckySings.com

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. — There are times when the word “amazing” cannot begin to capture how God can work in our lives.

This story is not one to chronicle the life of someone singing about Jesus Christ, even though that has played a role. I don’t know much about Howard Johnson, who sometimes went by the name “Sherrill” and played bass guitar for The Ambassadors Quartet in Hopkinsville, Ky. He was only 58 when he died in 1994.

But I learned a little bit about Mr. Johnson as the result of a daughter’s persistence in trying to learn more about the father she never knew. It seems like something out of Cold Case — without the crime — coupled with the some results that can only be attributed to God working. Continue reading “Finding more than a song”