Getting a Hall of Fame debut

Ryan Wells Oak Ridge Boys

Ryan Wells, third from left, was one of several local and state policemen to appear onstage to sing Elvira with The Oak Ridge Boys at the Kentucky State Fair in August. Lead singer Duane Allen, baritone William Lee Golden and Oaks Band guitarist Roger Eaton are also visible in the photo. (Photo courtesy The Oak Ridge Boys/Anne Frances Pate.)

Lawrenceburg native appears onstage with Oak Ridge Boys

By John Herndon

NOTE: This story appeared in the Aug. 29 edition of The Anderson News. It was one fun story to write.

Ryan Wells has rarely shown off his singing pipes, but thanks to Twitter, he did so with Hall of Famers last week.

The Lawrenceburg native, who is now a patrolman for the Lexington Police Department, joined several of his colleagues, officers from around the state and Kentucky State Troopers on stage to sing “Elvira” with The Oak Ridge Boys during the group’s annual stop at the Kentucky State Fair on Aug. 19. Continue reading “Getting a Hall of Fame debut”

Finally hearing Brian Free and Assurance worth the wait


Brian Free and Assurance in concert at Sand Spring Baptist Church, Lawrenceburg, Ky., Aug. 30, 2018. From left art Brian Free, Mike Rogers and Bill Shivers.

Acclaimed group delivers a night of pure gospel

By John Herndon,

FINALLY, I got to hear Brian Free and Assurance in concert!

It seems odd that someone who loves gospel music as much as I do had not seen one of the most acclaimed groups of our day before its appearance at Sand Spring Baptist Church on Aug. 30.

It was well worth the wait. And more. Continue reading “Finally hearing Brian Free and Assurance worth the wait”

Heartland Gospel Sing set for Sept. 8 at New Hope Baptist


The Noblemen are one of the groups scheduled to appear at the Heartland Gospel Sing.

Some of the top Southern Gospel singing groups from Kentucky and surrounding states will be together for the Third Annual Heartland Sing on Saturday, Sept. 8 at New Hope Baptist Church, located at 3825 Tyrone Pike in Woodford County. The singing begins at 7 p.m.

There is no admission charge but a love offering will be taken for the homecoming-styled event.

Continue reading “Heartland Gospel Sing set for Sept. 8 at New Hope Baptist”

Teen wins Gospel Music Showcase


Waylon Bayes, of Johnson County, took the Best of Show and Best Soloist Awards at the Gospel Music Showcase at the Kentucky State Fair.

By John Herndon,

One of the coolest features of the Kentucky State Fair is the annual Gospel Music Showcase, presented by  the Kentucky Farm Bureau. It’s evolved over the years from a quartet contest, to a showcase featuring soloists, trios, quartets and other size groups all singing gospel.

The 2018 showcase drew 12 different acts from around the state who played before a nice crowd in the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center. Waylon Bayes, a teenager representing Johnson County, in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, took the Best Soloist and Best of Show awards. He will receive over $1,000 in cash prizes, trophies and ribbons. He will also receive $1,000 in complimentary promotion in the Kentucky Farm Bureau News.

Higher Praise, of Muhlenberg County in the western part of the state, took the Best Quartet award and The Waymakers, from the Lexington area, received the Best Gospel Variety award.  Higher Praise and The Waymakers receive $400 in cash prizes, trophies and ribbons.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery with photos of every act, except one, that competed.  (Sorry, but traffic did not cooperate with me on the way in and I was unable to get pictures of the first group.)


The Waymakers, of Fayette County, won the Best Gospel Variety award.



Highest Praise Quartet, of Muhlenberg County, took the Best Quartet award.

Unmistakable message, unmistakable passion


Michael Combs performs at Renfro Valley on Aug. 4, 2018.

Michael Combs communicates message of hope from his heart

By John Herndon,

When he steps to the microphone, Michael Combs delivers an unmistakable sound driven by an unmistakable passion for Jesus Christ.

Such was the case when Combs was in concert at Renfro Valley on Aug. 4. There were no stage pyrotechnics or fancy displays.

There was just fire from Michael’s burning heart as he started singing one of his signature songs.

This heart belongs to Jesus ‘cause He saved my soul from Hell;

This heart belongs to Jesus, This heart’s not for sale!

Not for sale! I’m not for sale,

No way, no sir, I’m not for sale! Continue reading “Unmistakable message, unmistakable passion”

Mikaya Taylor honored as state ambassador



Mikaya Taylor has been named one of the top young stars in Bluegrass music. She often sings in churches and worship settings.

Young Bluegrass star moving toward worship music

By John Herndon, Kentucky

(NOTE: I first met Mikaya Taylor three years ago, not long after one of her appearances on Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour. At the time, she was a fifth-grader. Now, she is an eighth-grader at Anderson County Middle School and still turning heads with her powerful voice. I wrote this story, which appeared in the Aug. 1 edition of The Anderson News.)

Mikaya Taylor’s singing is still turning heads. The rising eighth-grader at Anderson County Middle School, who was first featured in The Anderson News almost three years ago, has cut a CD, and continues to sing around Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio when she can.

It’s a good gig for one of Kentucky’s newest Commonwealth Ambassadors. Mikaya received the honor at the Military Freedom Fest, held in Nicholasville in June. Continue reading “Mikaya Taylor honored as state ambassador”

Resurrection of Faith tour a must see


Photos by John Herndon Singing News Soloist of the Year Joseph Habedank sings at Sand Spring Baptist Church while The Erwins back him up.

Joseph Habedank and The Erwins mesh for a night of energetic gospel

By John Herndon,

The experiment was simple enough in its beginning: Bring one of gospel music’s youngest groups together with a young, but veteran soloist.

The Resurrection of Faith Tour was born and has more than exceeded all expectations as it has taken The Erwins, who range in age from 17-25, and gospel music veteran Joseph Habedank, all of 32 years old, across the nation. The tour has introduced many young people to a distinct style of music and has reassured older fans that Southern Gospel will remain alive and well.

It’s almost hard to believe there was some uncertainty when the tour began in Texas in June 2017. Continue reading “Resurrection of Faith tour a must see”