Singing to spread the Word

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Joe Land, left, and his sister, Sharon Kramer, have been sharing the gospel in song since 1983. (Photo courtesy The Land Family)

Land Family uses ‘Weekend Warrior’ status to share gospel in Tri-State area and beyond

By John Herndon,

BUTLER, Ky. — It doesn’t take long to understand why The Land Family continues to sing weekend after weekend.

You aren’t likely to hear the veteran duo at a large auditorium or arena. The CD’s at the product table are self-produced but have a high quality sound. There won’t be a huge bus parked outside.

But there will be a lot about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus, just as it has been since the first time the family sang together in 1983. It was about Jesus then and it’s about Jesus now.

And it always will be.

“That’s the importance of the selection of songs,” Joe Land said as we talked outside his northern Kentucky home recently. “You want to reach out to people and the music has to have a message.”

And the message that is always communicated in The Land Family’s music is to glorify Christ and share the blessings that come from Him.

“One of our favorite songs is ‘Miracle in Me,’ which The Greenes recorded back in 1987 or 88. We started singing that pretty soon after it came out. It’s a powerful song,” Land says as he summarizes the lyrics. “I may not have seen all the works Jesus did, but I know what He did in me.”

Joe Land and his sister, Sharon Kramer have committed their lives to sharing what Jesus has done in their lives and providing opportunities for others to do the same. They will be singing and hosting The Kelleys, a southern gospel group from Hampton, Va. The concert will be at Land’s home church, the Alexandria Church of God, beginning at 6 p.m.

The Land Family will also be hosting the Second Annual Tri-State Gospel Musicfest at Griffin Amphitheatre in conjunction with the Pendleton County Fair on Aug. 1. There will be no charge for the concert but an offering will be taken to defray the artists’ expenses. However, there is an $8 charge for fair admission.

The full day of music had been originally scheduled for May 30 but was rescheduled because of the large group restrictions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fourteen different artists, most from Kentucky and Ohio, will be singing that day.

All on the program are singing simply because they love to spread the gospel.

It’s the way The Land Family operates. “We are weekend warriors,” Land says with a big smile. He works in a warehouse near his home during the week while Kramer, who lives more than four hours away, near Cleveland, Ohio, works in child care.

We asked if an area in Land’s basement where several musical instruments were stored was the group’s practice area. He laughed, “We don’t practice.”

He wasn’t kidding.

The distance between the siblings means they often arrive at an engagement separately and depend on that family tie to shine in the music and the message.

“We have been singing together so long, it’s just natural,” Land says.

His sister adds, “If we find a song we like, we say, ‘Hey, let’s listen to this song or listen to this group.’ Then we get our parts down.”

The repertoire includes covers of southern gospel favorites from groups such as The Greenes, The Hinsons and The Perrys along with a generous supply of Land Family originals. Most of all, it’s all about Jesus.

“There are a lot of ‘weekend warriors’ who really put their hearts in what they are doing. They are in it for the ministry,” Kramer says.

While The Land Family has remained regionally popular throughout its history and has earned some radio air time, there have been no Top 40 hits to their credit.

“The biggest royalty check I have received was for about $10,” Land says with a laugh. “We see this as a ministry. Three have been weekends where we have paid out of our pockets, but we want to get out there and get the gospel out.”

Seeing people respond to the gospel message is enough reward.

“We went over to a church in Kenova, W. Va. and started singing,” Land remembers. “When we started singing, cars stopped on the side of the road and rolled their windows down to listen.

“We didn’t have to be paid!”

It’s about getting the gospel out whether singing on cruises or sharing the stage with some of gospel’s biggest names, both of which The Land Family has done, or in a small church surrounded by cow pastures.

Unfortunately, those opportunities have been limited in 2020. “A lot of our concerts have been canceled. We had a lot of bookings cancel because of the virus,” Kramer says. “We had been very busy.

“We want to sing about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”



June 27: The Land Family and Friends with The Kelley Family, Alexandria Church of God, 5 Washington Street, Alexandria, Ky.  6 p.m.

Aug. 1: Second Annual Tristate Gospel Musicfest, hosted by The Land Family. Fourteen different artists. Griffin Centre Amphitheater, 330 Fairgrounds Road, Falmouth, 2 p.m.  Scheduled to appear: The Land Family, Work In Progress, The Riddells, Beyond Grace, Blood Bought, The West Va. Couriers, English Legacy, Crimson Chord, The Spiritual Echoes, Michael C. Gardner, Tammy McCallister, Ron Shamblin Sr., Tim Cook and Tonya Blakeslee. For more information, call 859-628-9413.

Another Musicfest is planned for Sept. 12 at the Griffin Center Amphitheater.

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The Land Family in concert. (Photo courtesy The Land Family)

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