Mountain Gospel Radio Sharathon features Perrys, local artists

Libbi Perry Stuffle, shown in a 2019 concert, has been singing with The Perrys from the group’s beginning in 1971,

By John Herndon,

If you need or want more gospel concerts the week after the National Quartet Convention, Mountain Gospel Radio could be the place for you this week. 

The station, which is affiliated with Kentucky Mountain Bible College in Vancleve, Ky., is sponsoring a week-long “sharathon” featuring online concerts from some of the top regional southern gospel and bluegrass gospel artists from the Appalachian region. In addition, the station will be sponsoring a concert from The Perrys, one of the nation’s most popular and enduring Southern Gospel groups.

“We usually have a group of local artists that come in and at least one nationally known group,” says Seth Stevenson, the station’s general manager. “This year, our local group pool has been limited so we have groups that are further away than normal.”

The concerts will be presented each evening during the week of October 3-7 and will be live on Facebook and YouTube each night beginning at 7 p.m.  The concerts are scheduled to last two hours each and  will be archived on YouTube.

Jared Stuffle sings bass for The Perrys. (File photo by John Herndon)

Stevenson says this is the third year that Mountain Gospel Radio has sponsored the online concerts.

Crossroads, a bluegrass gospel group from Maryville, Tenn., area will be singing on Monday night, October 3. Stevenson says the group has performed several times in eastern Kentucky, including appearances at the Williamsburg Gospel Barn. Crossroads is new to the station’s sharathon.

The Fisher Family, based in Winchester, Ky., is another newcomer to the sharathon. Stevenson says the group travels around eastern Kentucky and is popular at church events through the area. They will sing Tuesday, October 4.

Rejoice Trio is from Kentucky Mountain Bible College and travels the country as represntatives of the school. Stevenson says Rejoice Trio delivers a mix of Southern Gospel and contemporary Christian music. Rejoice Trio will perform Wednesday, Oct. 5

Family Sowell, a bluegrass gospel band from Knoxville, Tenn., returns to the sharathon for the second time. “They have a respectable following in the bluegrass genre,” Stevenson said. “They are five siblings that perform together full time.” The Family Sowell will be performing Thursday, Oct. 6.

The Perrys will punctuate the week with a Friday concert. One of Southern Gospel’s most popular groups for more than 50 years, the Perrys have received numerous Dove Awards and Singing News Fan Awards. The Perrys deliver a pure Southern Gospel sound, highlighted by alto Libbi Perry Stuffle, who has been with the group since its first performance on Dec. 25, 1971.

Family Sowell, a popular bluegrass band from Knoxville, will be singing during the Mountain Gospel Sharathon. (Facebook photo)

Stevenson says Mountain Gospel Radio can trace its roots to radio station WMTC, an AM radio station that was one of the first all-Christian stations in Kentucky when it went on the air in 1948. Eventually an FM frequency (99.9) was added in 1991. The station is now only broadcasting on the FM frequency but Mountain Gospel Radio purchased another station, Stanton’s WBFC (1470 AM) and added an FM translator to begin simulcasting at 98.7.

“The two stations are carrying a Southern Gospel/Christian Bluegrass format that is known as Mountain Gospel,” Stevenson says.

The stations sponsor two Sharathons a year but the online guests began in 2020 as a response to the Covid pandemic.

“In the past, we have had a concert on the Friday night of Sharathon along with a fish fry outside the station. Local folks would come to give their support largely in person during that night,” Stevenson recalls. “We knew that would not be possible in 2020, so the switch was made to do an online concert. That first time, there weren’t even any groups in the studio but they live-streamed it from their homes to here at the station then out to Facebook and YouTube as well as radio. Since then, a small video studio was built (at the station) and the artists come on-site.”

Rejoice Trio, which represents Kentucky Mountain Bible College, will be singing Wednesday night. (Photo furnished.)

The Sharathons are presented to raise money for Mountain Gospel Radio and the concerts are supported by the generosity of the listeners. Stevenson says some businesses sponsor an hour of the Sharathons but the actual concerts are supported by listeners’ gifts. “There aren’t any sponsors for (the concerts),” he said. “We just rely on people’s generosity to give at that time. We have staff that can take phone call pledges, or folks can give on our website.

“Our hope is that the music is a blessing and people will help to not only fund Mountain Gospel, but these concerts as well.

“The real blessing is that now folks from around the country can enjoy a Southern Gospel concert free from their home. We have heard comments of how encouraged and uplifted some of our watchers were that were a part of these concerts and we weren’t reaching those people before.”

To participate

You can register to receive notifications when the artists are live by registering at Concert details and a link for giving are also found at the link.

“We would love to have people all over Kentucky and around the world join us,” Stevenson says. “I know you will be blessed.”

Station to sponsor in-person concert with Mark Bishop

“We are having an in-person concert with Mark Bishop on November 12 at Harvesttime Church in Stanton, Ky.,” Stevenson says. “This is only about 45 minutes from Lexington. We would love to have a good crowd that night. It will be on a love offering basis. Follow us on Facebook to learn more about this event as we get closer.”

A Touch of Heaven Touching People for 50 years

Primitive Quartet at Sand Spring Baptist Church on September 23. From left are Reagan Riddle, Randy Fox, Jeff Tolbert, Mike Riddle and Larry Riddle.

Primitive Quartet in final months of amazing ministry, still giving God all the praise

By John Herndon,

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. – Little did some fishing buddies know that a springtime camping trip would be the beginning of a career that has been reeling in accolades from almost every corner of the gospel music industry.

But that’s how God has worked through Primitive Quartet ever since April 1973. 

The Primitives have cast their influence through a true-to-their-roots music and a faithful-to-their-Savior faith that has led them to touch more people than could have ever been imagined when the Riddle brothers and Wilson brothers were sitting around a campfire picking and singing.

Continue reading “A Touch of Heaven Touching People for 50 years”

Kingsmen, Perrys, KPNR on powerful Paramount card

Belcher expecting special night in Ashland

By John Herndon,

Gospel music fans near Ashland, Ky., can experience a night of powerful worship when The Kingsmen, The Perrys and Karen Peck & New River come to town on Thursday, Oct. 6.

The stellar lineup of southern gospel greats will be at the Paramount Arts Center that night. The singing begins at 7 p.m.

“Ashland is a very special town,” promoter Paul Belcher says. “Folks come to worship. It’s totally different than any other market we come to promote. People rejoice and praise the Lord. It’s a church service.”

Belcher has put together a lineup full of southern gospel history but all three groups continue to receive accolades after decades in the business.

The Kingsmen in concert earlier this year at Crab Orchard, Kentucky. (File photo by John Herndon)

The Kingsmen, formed in 1956, features Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Famer Ray Dean Reese singing his distinctive bass. The group’s sound blends the best of traditional southern gospel with more contemporary sounds.

The Perrys first performed on Dec. 25, 1970 as a family trio that Libbi Perry Stuffle continues to lead today. She remains one of gospel music’s favorite altos and her late husband, Tracy Stuffle, who sang bass with the group for more than 30 years, was inducted into the SGMA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Karen Peck & New River. (Photo submitted)

Karen Peck and New River has been one of gospel music’s top groups since forming in 1991. Karen Peck Gooch is also one of gospel music’s beloved performers, being named to the SGMA Hall of Fame last year.

All of the groups have multiple No. 1 hits and have been awarded many times by the industry.

The Paramount Arts Center routinely brings high-quality acts to the Ashland-Huntington, W.Va.-Ironton, Ohio area and Belcher says it is a great venue for southern gospel. “The history of the Paramount is so rich,” he said. “We go to the Paramount because it’s a neutral location.  We seldom go to a church for a ticketed event. Every denomination feels comfortable coming to a service there….Sonny and Barbara Sites promoted there for years. I love Ashland, Ky.”

The Perrys have been singing gospel music for more than 50 years. (Photo submitted)

Belcher said he has been promoting at The Paramount since 2019 when he booked the McKameys there for part of their farewell tour. Common Bond, based in Ashland, was also on the card that night. “It was special. Being there last year, folks responded very well,” Belcher said.

Belcher said tickets, which are priced at 20 and 25 dollars, are “going rather well.” He advised that even with tickets available less than two weeks before the concert, fans should not wait.

“The last week is always the busiest with ticket sales,” he said. “I believe we will have a great crowd.”

**Tickets for The Kingsmen, The Perrys and Karen Peck & New River at The Paramount Arts Center in Ashland can be purchased at or at The Friends & Memories Tour featuring: Karen Peck & New River, The Perrys, and The Kingsmen Tickets | Ashland, KY | Paramount Arts Center (

Life is Good for Steve Bridgmon

Steve Bridgmon sings during the Ichthus festival on Sept. 10.

Owensboro native enjoying success on several fronts

By John Herndon,

It’s hard to imagine anyone enjoying life more than Steve Bridgmon these days.

Not just any country music artist. Not just any Christian music artist. Not just anyone in Nashville, from Kentucky or any other designation.

Just anyone. It’s hard to imagine anyone having more reason to smile of late than Bridgmon, the Owensboro native who has built a successful career as a soloist in Inspirational Country music, sometimes called “Christian country.”

Continue reading “Life is Good for Steve Bridgmon”

Capital City Boys stay in tune with their musical roots

The Capital City Boys sing at Graefenburg Christian Church in July, 2019. From left are Alan Taylor, Kelly Briscoe, Josh Martin and Chris Woodyard. Taylor retired from the group last year and has been replaced by Jason Witten.

‘If they don’t like the old style Southern Gospel quartet style they would be bored with us’

By John Herndon,

The Capital City Boys have sung in many places and seen just about everything in over 20 years of performing gospel music. 

They’ve sung in small country churches and opened for nationally-known gospel artists. But they’ve never forgotten their roots.

They’ve sung in nearly every kind of church found in central Kentucky and have even had a stint working as a barbershop quartet. But they’ve never forgotten why they sing. 

They are enormously talented and could probably sing many more dates if they opened their calendar a bit more. But they’ve never forgotten their commitment to local ministry.

Continue reading “Capital City Boys stay in tune with their musical roots”

More of God’s victories in their lives

Wayne and Darlene Shirey sing at Sand Spring Baptist Church on August 18.

The Shireys are back on the road after a year of medical setbacks

By John Herndon,

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. — You simply can’t spend time around Wayne and Darlene Shirey without being uplifted and reminded of God’s goodness.

It doesn’t matter if you are watching them on stage or interacting with the gospel music veterans at the product table or in a church lobby. Their lives and ministry is always about the wonderful nature of God.

They’ve sung about it for years. They’ve lived it up close and personal over the last 12 months or so.

And through it all, Darlene says, the devil tried to bring them down. “He ain’t going to win,” she says with that South Carolina accent. 

Continue reading “More of God’s victories in their lives”

Highway 62 Jubilee celebrates in many ways

Won Life, a trio based in Hardinsburg, Ky., sings during the Highway 62 Jubilee on August 20.

Louisville-area program features southern, country, bluegrass gospel from local and national artists

By John Herndon,

Putting together a night of gospel music that reaches across its varying sounds can be a difficult proposition, but the Highway 62 Jubilee seeks to bring them together each month.

Created by promoter Ray Lawrence, the Jubilee endeavors to bring together southern, bluegrass and country gospel one Saturday a month while serving as a vehicle for multiple ministries. It has been meeting since March 2021.

Continue reading “Highway 62 Jubilee celebrates in many ways”

God is All she needs

Victoria Shirey Bowlin sings during 11th Hour’s concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church on Aug. 18.

11th Hour’s Victoria Shirey Bowlin shares His power and providence through music

By John Herndon,

When Victoria Shirey Bowlin joined 11th Hour last summer, she could only see it as another way God worked in her life. 

“Honestly, God threw it in my lap,” she says with a huge smile. “I had no intention of ever joining another group when I stopped singing with my family.”

Victoria had sung with her parents and sister for 20 years when she decided to concentrate on ministry with her husband, Aaron Bowlin, and do solo work in 2014. And she was happy in those roles when the opportunity to sing with 11th Hour presented itself. 

Continue reading “God is All she needs”

Where he’s supposed to be

Will Lane sings during the Mark Trammell Quartet concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church on July 22, 2022. It was Will’s first performance with MTQ.

Will Lane believes the latest life chapter is authored by God

By John Herndon,

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. – Will Lane could not have sung more appropriate lyrics than those of his first solo Friday night.

Oh yes, oh yes, I’m a child of the King

His royal blood now flows through my veins

And I who was wretched and poor now can sing

Praise God! Praise God! I’m a child of the King!

– Child of the King by Bill and Gloria Gaither

“I am not going to lie to you. I was NERVOUS,” Lane smiled a few minutes after his first concert as a member of the Mark Trammell Quartet. “At the same time, I knew God had me. He has continued to bless me more than I ever deserve and He gave me the strength to get through tonight.”

Praise God! Praise God! I’m a child of the King!

Continue reading “Where he’s supposed to be”

‘The Message Has Never Changed’

‘I’ve got a joy that the world didn’t give me … And the world can’t take it away.’ Triumphant’s Scotty Inman sings at Sand Spring Baptist Church on June 9.

Triumphant’s Scotty Inman continues his acclaimed quartet work, loves his new church plant challenge

By John Herndon,

It was more than a bit ironic to see one of the Facebook memories that popped up on my timeline just before typing out this entry for

There they were, almost jumping out of my computer screen, Triumphant Quartet all decked out in matching dark suits – they had displayed some individuality in their shirt and tie selections – during a concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church on June 19, 2014. 

On that Facebook post, I had commented “These guys can sing gospel music!” and that the house had been packed.

It was Southern Gospel music at its absolute best.

Some things change and some don’t. 

Continue reading “‘The Message Has Never Changed’”