Clayton Inman talks about Triumphant’s newest CD, one that ‘bridges the gap’
By John Herndon, KentuckySings.com
COLD SPRING, Ky. – There’s not even a group photo on Triumphant Quartet’s latest album.
The album title, “Hymns & Worship” along with the obligatory song titles and credits are there, but nothing else. Nothing, that is, other than a quote from the Old Testament book of Numbers.
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
– Numbers 6:24-26, New International Version ®
It’s more than fitting.
After all, Triumphant Quartet is about praising God and bringing people to a closer relationship to Him. Nothing more. Nothing less.
So yes, Triumphant’s newest project might seem to be somewhat different from anything the quartet has done, but the core of what someone hears is the same as it’s always been.
“It’s only different because people come to hear their favorite songs – ‘White Flag,’ ‘Somebody Died for Me,’” Triumphant lead singer Clayton Inman reflected shortly after the group sang before a full house at First Baptist Church of Cold Spring on March 16. “We have those songs and still sing those songs, but we were looking to do something that would bridge the gap.”
It’s that perceived gap that exists between fans of praise songs and traditional southern gospel and hymns. The group stays true to its deep southern gospel roots and routinely plays to crowds heavy on fans who grew up watching the Gospel Singing Jubilee. But over the past few years has reached into the praise and worship genre for hits such as “Chain Breaker,” “In the Eye of the Storm,” and “The Goodness of God.”
“There are people that don’t particularly care for praise and worship songs but there’s also people, that’s all they want to hear,” Inman explained. “It’s like a 50-50 thing in our audience. So, we don’t want to come out with a hybrid, if you will, but put together some hymns and praise and worship songs. Now there are some songs on there that aren’t really praise and worship but come from that genre.
“‘Help is On the Way’ is not a praise and worship song at all but it’s a great song. ‘Less Like Me’ is a praise and worship song, but if someone didn’t know the difference, they would say it is a great Southern Gospel tune, just the way it is structured.”
The “Hymns and Worship” album combines familiar hymns such as “It Is Well with My Soul” and “How Great Thou Art” with praise and worship standards like Chris Tomlin’s “My Chains Are Gone” and Anne Wilson’s “My Jesus.”
Inman says Triumphant looked for songs true to the quartet’s emphasis on lifting up Christ. “We don’t want to sound like anybody else,” he said. “We want to sound like Triumphant’s going to sound. So, we try to get the songs and pick the songs and make them our own. That’s the whole purpose of it.
“Our record company, StowTown Records, said they had been looking for a group that would do this very thing, marry the two together. We were already doing some but they were looking for someone to do it, so we were thrilled about that. This is who we are. We are thrilled that when people come to our concerts, we have something for everybody. We are not going to have something for just one group of people. We are going to have something for everybody.”
While Triumphant has been voted America’s favorite quartet 14 of the last 15 years by readers of The Singing News, there will always be those resistant to any changes, even when traditions, such as Inman’s hilarious rendition of “White Flag” at almost every Triumphant concert, remain strong.
“Here’s the thing,” Clayton says. “It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter if you are the ripest, juiciest peach out there, there’s going to be somebody that doesn’t like peaches. And that’s OK.”
Triumphant delivered at Cold Spring. The praise was heartfelt, electric and moving. The quartet sang many of the songs on the new CD, but also performed some of their most popular songs of recent years such as “Even Me” and “Yes.”
For his part, Clayton says there’s something special about a concert. “People hear the recording,” he says. “But it’s really different when you hear something live. There is a difference. I think the songs can sound great on the CD but you cannot, you cannot beat live. There’s a different feeling in the building when it’s being sung live.”
As always, Triumphant’s heart is in ministry and being part of planting Connect Church in Sevierville, Tenn., has sharpened their focus. Bass Eric Bennett is an elder at Connect Church with tenor David Sutton and Clayton are deacons. The fourth member of Triumphant, Clayton’s son, Scotty, helped plant Christ Covenant Church in Brownsville, Ky. in 2020 and serves as the church’s music minister.
“Being a part of all that, it changed my perspective,” Clayton says. “Planting a new church is a tough row to how in the mere beginning. But if it’s something that is supposed to happen and if it is something God has made and ordained and says it’s going to happen, then I tell you what, there is nothing that is going to stop it.”
And that’s all the more reason to praise Him with worship songs and hymns, like Triumphant’s new CD.
“I don’t care where a song comes from as long as it’s theologically strong and the lyric is good,” Clayton says. “I will sing it!”
Amen, brother! A big AMEN!
Triumphant will be in concert along with His Heart, a popular group based in Mt. Vernon, Ky., Thursday, March 23 at Sand Spring Baptist Church, 1616 Harrodsburg Road, Lawrenceburg, Ky. The concert is free but an offering will be taken. The music starts at 7 p.m.