The music keeps turning for Victory Road


Victory Road performs at the Kentucky State Fair last August. From left are David Stevens, David Jones, Larry Dennison, Jerry Franklin and Tim Edwards on keyboard.

Gospel veterans host concert with Hilltop Trio on Feb. 24

By John Herndon,

If anything, Victory Road’s concert at Taylorsville’s First Baptist Church is just another revolution of a circle that keeps turning.

And growing.

“I met David (Jones, the group’s tenor) back in 1981 at First Baptist,” says David Stevens, the group’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist. “That was kind of the beginning of our quartet.”

Stevens and Jones, who still work together in a Taylorsville grocery store, started singing at church as part of what Stevens calls “a pickup quartet,” then became The Gloryland Quartet. “We started going to a few churches in the area and things just took off,” Stevens says.

There have been a few changes over 38 years but things keep getting better for what started out as guys singing together at church.


Lead singer David Stevens, left, and tenor David Jones have been singing together since 1981.

Seven years ago, the group became Victory Road and is now one of the most popular Southern Gospel groups in central Kentucky. Victory Road stays busy — over 40 dates last year and over 50 in 2017 — playing largely in the areas served by Louisville and Lexington, but the group has had dates in other areas of Kentucky and often plays in southern Indiana. Several years ago, the group even made a concert trip to Virginia.

But on Sunday night, Feb. 24, the group will be back home, hosting a concert that was originally set for Jan. 20 before a winter storm had other ideas. The Hilltop Trio, from Lawrenceburg, will also be singing in the concert.

“We are looking forward to it,” says Stevens, who noted the group plays at his home church often and leads worship there several times a year. Stevens, Jones and pianist Tim Edwards are members of the church while other members of Victory Road worship in other churches in Spencer, Shelby or Anderson counties of Kentucky.

But the scope of the group’s ministry is broad. In addition to the many church appearances, the group is sometimes asked to sing on “Great Day Live,” a morning news and talk show that airs on WHAS-TV in Louisville. Stevens says the group has also appeared on radio programs.

And the musical offerings are more diverse than the southern gospel label would suggest. Victory Road performs anything from old hymns to gospel classics — think the Blackwood Brothers, The Cathedrals or The Happy Goodmans — to Glen Campbell’s “Try a Little Kindness.”

Victory Road has recorded two albums, “Sweeter As the Days Go By” and the latest, simply called “Victory Road.” The second album was produced by Jaydee Miller, who has toured with Kenny Rogers and the Gaither Homecomings.

Over the years, Victory Road has had relatively little turnover, but has expanded from a quartet with a pianist to a full band that includes a bass guitar and drums. Stevens, on rhythm, and baritone Larry Dennison, on the lead guitar, add to the instrumental sound.


Baritone Larry Dennison.

Bassist Carroll Ingram and drummer Freddie Sharp round out the group. All of the group’s members are gospel music veterans.

“It’s been amazing how the Lord has brought people to us when we needed them,” Stevens smiles.

He offers the addition of bass Jerry Franklin, a well-known gospel veteran throughout Kentucky, as an example. Victory Road had been without a bass singer for about a year and the remaining members were performing as a trio.

Stevens took a chance and called Franklin, who had not been with a group for several years. Stevens had no idea if Franklin would be interested, but he says, “Jerry said, ‘That’s an itch I have had that hasn’t been scratched for a while.”


Bass Jerry Franklin has been singing gospel around Kentucky for almost 50 years. He has two solo CDs.

Stevens can only smile with the story. He says Franklin, whose smooth, deep tones make him popular wherever the group goes.

Victory Road stays busy, singing somewhere nearly every weekend. The group sees the ministry as its calling. Any money received for the ministry is just a blessing, Stevens says. “Everyone we have is working full-time so we don’t care about that part of it. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways.”

On Feb. 24, as well as every time it steps to the microphones, Victory Road hopes to be a blessing to those attending the Taylorsville concert. Chances are the group will do just that.


Victory Road, front row, from left: Carroll Ingram, David Stevens, David Jones and Larry Dennison. Back row: Tim Edwards, Freddie Sharp, Scott Riggs (sound) and Jerry Franklin.


Hilltop Trio to join Victory Road in concert

The Hilltop Trio, of Lawrenceburg, will be joining Victory Road in concert at Taylorsville’s First Baptist Church on Feb. 24.

The trio has been singing together since 2006 when they recorded a CD, “Praises from the Prayer Room” for the Relay for Life. Since that time, the trio has sung in Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio and Tennessee, according to group member Leigh Lilly.

The group, consisting of Lilly, Kaye Etherington and Angie Woods, has released other albums, including “Renewed Praises from the Prayer Room” and “A Hilltop Christmas.” Lilly says the group only seeks to bring honor and glory to God through music.

The Taylorsville concert will reunite the group with First Baptist pastor Chance McConnell, who was on the staff at Lawrenceburg’s Alton Baptist Church when the trio came together while members of the congregation. “We loved Chance and Brittney and are very excited they are back close to the area with their sweet new addition, Layli,” Lilly said.



The Hilltop Trio will be part of a Southern Gospel concert at Taylorsville’s First Baptist Church on Feb. 24. They are, from left, Leigh Lilly, Kaye Etherington and Angie Woods.


Victory Road will host a concert with Hilltop Trio on Feb. 24 at Taylorsville’s First Baptist Church.

Unchanging message in changing times


The Legacy Five, from left, Scott Fowler, Josh Feemster, Scott Howard and Matt Fouch, get together in singing “When the Saints Go Marching In” at Sand Spring Baptist Church on Jan. 24.

Legacy Five gives a night of tradition and patriotism

By John Herndon,

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. — Rooted in one of the greatest traditions in gospel music, The Legacy Five has embarked on a 2019 schedule that will see the group pay tribute to history, yet do so embracing the changes of the times.

I was fortunate to talk with Scott Fowler, one of the quartet’s founding members, after a concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church on Jan. 24. It was a performance that drew a good crowd on a bitterly cold night and prompted several extended standing ovations. Continue reading “Unchanging message in changing times”

I left a job I had loved

at 2009 sweet 16 with billy gillispie

I was seated next to former University of Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie during the Kentucky High School State Tournament in 2009. That’s my wife, Stephanie, sitting in front of us, checking her camera for photos.

(This is also appearing on our sports website, 110forChrist. Enjoy.)

By John Herndon, and

I had seen the day coming for quite some time. I’d been the sports editor at The Anderson News since 2002 and sports writer for the same paper for 17 years before that. I’d won over 100 awards for journalism, with over 60 of those trophies or plaques being for first place in various competitions.

I’d meet literally hundreds, probably thousands, of people through my work. I’d written stories on people playing in the NFL and had written stories about horseshoe pitchers and people playing pickleball. Continue reading “I left a job I had loved”

Holding to the hope in times of change


Jim and Melissa Brady and Steve Ladd sing “Through It All” near the end of the annual New Year’s Eve concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church.


On night of major change in my life, Sand Spring concert provided timely reminder

By John Herndon,

I so needed Monday night.

Let’s make that soooooooooooooo neeeeeeeeeded what I experienced Monday night.

It was Dec. 31, 2018. When I left my office at The Anderson News in Lawrenceburg, it marked the end of a run that lasted almost 34 years. I’d started writing as a freelancer and worked my way up to to sports editor.

When the last day is a holiday deadline, meaning an earlier deadline, it was easy to get worn down. It was a great run but you just know when it’s time to step away. Continue reading “Holding to the hope in times of change”

Sand Spring announces 2019 concert series


Triumphant Quartet, shown during its 2018 appearance, returns to Sand Spring Baptist on June 14.

By John Herndon,

Sand Spring Baptist Church, located just south of Lawrenceburg, Ky., has announced its 2019 gospel concert schedule. The lineup includes several returnees from 2018, including Ivan Parker and a concert featuring Triumphant Quartet and His Heart.

The series also includes The Old Time Preachers’ Quartet for the first time and features a stop by The McKameys on their farewell tour.

The complete schedule is as follows:

Jan. 24    The Legacy Five

March 7    The Perrys

April 11    Ivan Parker

May 16    The New Spear Family

June 14    Triumphant Quartet and His Heart

July 25    Greater Vision and The Jaystone Singers

Aug. 8    Carolina Connection: Carolina Boys Quartet and The Shireys

Sept. 12    Old Time Preacher’s Quartet

Oct. 17    The Hoppers

Nov. 14    The McKameys

Dec. 31    New Year’s Eve: Old Paths and The Coffmans

(7 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.)

All concerts start at 7 p.m. There is no admission charge but a love offering is taken each concert.


Ivan Parker shown during a 2018 appearance at Sand Spring, returns on April 11.

Jeff Stice to headline Sand Spring Christmas


Jeff Stice on the piano at a concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church in 2017.

By John Herndon,

Renowned pianist Jeff Stice will join the Sand Spring Baptist Church choir for the church’s annual Christmas program on Dec. 23. Performances are scheduled for 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Stice has been a regular part of the Sand Spring Christmas Homecoming program for several years. He returns for one of central Kentucky’s most popular Christmas programs.

The program will also feature the Lawrenceburg Children’s Choir and soloist Jeremy Dickerson. Dickerson, who lives in Lawrenceburg, sings tenor with the popular quartet, His Heart.

Sand Spring has also announced its 2019 Southern Gospel Concert Series Schedule. That schedule, along with some other area concerts can be found here.

A love offering will be received at all of the Sand Spring concerts.


Jeremy Dickerson. (Photos by John Herndon)

It Must Be Christmas when David Phelps sings in December


David Phelps in concert in Shelbyville, Ky. on Dec. 9.


By John Herndon,

If the calendar says “December” and David Phelps is ready to sing, it can only mean one thing: It Must Be Christmas!

Phelps, the powerful tenor who is one of gospel music’s most recognizable voices, has been bringing the message of hope through Jesus Christ across the country in his annual “It Must Be Christmas” tour.

We caught up with David after he performed to an enthusiastic crowd at Shelby Christian Church in Shelbyville, Ky. It had been a night of dynamic worship, fun and a challenge to help others. Continue reading “It Must Be Christmas when David Phelps sings in December”