Saturday, February 9, 2019

Interview with Daniel Ashmore of The Old Paths Quartet!

Hey y'all!  

Mercy here, and I am so excited to be sharing this interview with you all! The Old Paths are one of our family's favorite groups and we consider them all dear friends.  They are one of the best quartets out there, and we are so thrilled to bring you this interview with their bass singer, Daniel Ashmore. So, without further ado...

Mercy: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Daniel and his wife, Katelyn
Daniel: I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but grew up in Mississippi.  I come from a wonderful family and have an older brother named Raymond and sister named Amanda.  My brother and sister are incredibly talented and played a huge role in sparking my musical interests.  My family has been instrumental in loving and supporting me throughout my life, especially in my call to ministry.  I grew up going to the racetrack nearly every weekend and made many wonderful memories with family. I am married to Katelyn Ashmore.  We met each other at an Old Paths concert in Albemarle, NC in 2011, shortly after I joined the group. My wife and I are currently expecting our first child in April. We currently live in Buford, Georgia, with our dog Buddy, and cat, Callie.  I honestly know that without the wonderful support of my wife and my family throughout the years that I would not be where I am today. God has blessed me beyond measure.

Mercy: Can you share your salvation testimony?
Daniel: I grew up in church and was told about Jesus from the time of my birth.  My family made sure they taught me about the historical events of the Bible and about what Jesus did for me.  All things that were taught to me for many years were facts, and I believed them without a doubt. I was taught to pray and to have faith in God.  When I was 13 I realized that I had already believed in Christ for my salvation and needed to make a public profession of faith followed by baptism.  I felt that my profession of trusting Christ and believing that He is the Son of God needed to be made public. I wanted everyone to know that I am not ashamed to call Christ my savior.  I was baptized when I was 13 and have been following Christ ever since.

Mercy: What started your interest in singing gospel music as a career?
Daniel: My interest in singing gospel music began on a ride home from a football game with my family.  I remember sitting in the back of the car listening to a Randy Travis gospel album. My grandfather and dad were in the front seats listening while I began to sing along.  My grandad and dad encouraged me and told me that I sounded great singing. My grandparents listened to me when I felt like I sounded terrible. They always encouraged me no matter what.  Shortly after, my grandad purchased The Cathedrals Farewell Celebration DVD. I noticed that I was able to sing along with a few of the notes that George Younce could sing. I had always heard the great hymns while being raised in the church, but this was my first encounter with gospel music of this type.  I absolutely fell in love with the four-part harmony coupled with the amazing songs about our Savior. Then we had the “Commonwealth Quartet” come to our church and sing a concert. This was the first group I heard live after falling in love with gospel music. They sang “Oh What a Savior” and other incredible songs. These guys were so good and so encouraging to me.  The bass singer that was singing with them that night, Larry Mayfield, was one of the kindest and most encouraging people I’ve ever met. They graciously allowed me to get up and sing some songs with them after the concert even though I was so far from a good singer. They allowed me to sing “The Old Rugged Cross” with them and a few other songs. The harmony was so awesome that I struggled to sing along.  I just wanted to listen. This meant the world to me and it was that night that I remember saying, “this is what I want to do.” 

Mercy: What is your favorite song to sing and why?  
Daniel: That is such a difficult question to answer because I love so many songs! I have always been a quartet guy, so even if I don’t get to sing a lead on a song, I am okay with that.  One of my favorite songs is “Long Live the King”. I know I don’t sing lead on this song, but I also feel that it is one of the most powerful songs ever written. When Jesus was crucified, they mocked him by calling him king and smashed a crown of thorns onto his head.  The mocking and scourging of Christ was so ironic because while they mocked him, they spoke the truth and didn’t realize it. The king of kings hung on the cross for the very people who were crucifying Him. The same is true today. There are people all over the world still mocking Him and trampling on His blood, even though He still shows mercy to them.  All this mockery and cursing the Son of God will come to an end. All of creation will bow down and proclaim Christ as Lord whether they believe in Him now or not. To me this characterizes our Savior. Even to the point of death He cried out “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This song exemplifies the sacrifice of Christ to me and is also a song that brings Him glory and that is why I love it. 

Mercy: Who are some of your bass-singing heroes or mentors?
Daniel: I have had so many people that have influenced me when it comes to bass singers.  I have to say thank you to the first bass singer that I ever heard live and that would be who I mentioned earlier, Larry Mayfield.  He didn’t have to take the time to get me up and sing with him, but he did and that made a difference in my life. I have always appreciated so many of the bass singers that have sung down through the years.  I have always enjoyed George Younce, Tim Riley, Jeff Chapman, Mike Holcomb, and many more. The list literally could go on and on. The one I probably have listened to the most would be Jeff. I have always appreciated his singing as well as his heart for others.  

Mercy: What do you like to do in your free time?
Daniel: I really like to spend my free time by being at home with my wife and enjoying each other’s company.  We really enjoy going for walks together when we can. God gave me the perfect wife because we both enjoy the simple things.  Most people feel the need to go somewhere and do something big! We can sit around, drink coffee, watch old tv shows and be content.  I also love to spend time with my family whenever I am able. If I could choose, I would always spend my free time with my wife and family.  If time would allow, I would also enjoy spending time at the racetrack with family.

Mercy: What is a typical day on the road like?
Kim Lancaster Photography
Daniel: The typical day on the road with this group is always an adventure.  Some trips are exhausting, but very fulfilling. The guys I travel with make traveling fun and enjoyable.  We love to cut up and have a good time. The coolest part about traveling are the people you meet in various places.  We’ve met people while on the road and became lifelong friends with them. We are all coffee drinkers, so most of our trips include the search for good coffee and food.

Mercy: Favorite Bible verse?
Daniel: Colossians 3:1-4 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

Mercy: What are 3 things you can’t live without?
Daniel: God, my wife, and coffee.

Mercy: Can you share about TOP’s new project “It’s Real”?

Daniel: The new project that we have coming out has got me extremely excited!  We can’t wait for people to hear this new album. There are some songs on here that I believe will really speak to people.  In this day and time where there is so much evil in the world and people being so discouraged, we desire for people to know how real Christ is.  The culture around us wants the world to believe that the Bible is just a book of fables about things that didn’t really happen. The suicide rate and abortion rate is incredibly high because people feel there is no hope.  There is hope in Christ! The album “It’s Real” is a reminder that the God we know is real and the sacrifice He paid for our sins through Christ is also real. People think they will have to face the storms of life alone, but that is not the case.  God knows what we are going through and He is more than able to forgive us and help us face life’s trials.

Daniel, thank you so much for taking the time to be on our blog! I was an absolute pleasure, and we hope to see y'all soon!  
Readers, make sure to go check the Old Paths schedule and see if they'll be around you this year. Remember they are back full-time on the road so they'll have a lot of dates, and more being added. Also be sure to head on over and pre-order their new album releasing March 22nd.  
If you don't already click through the links below and follow The Old Paths on all their social media.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Old Paths share authentic stories of Christ’s power on It’s Real!

Arden, North Carolina (January 25, 2019) — With a renewed passion and dedication to their ministry, The Old Paths are returning with It’s Real, a collection of songs that carries an authentic message rooted in personal experience. The album will be available everywhere March 22 from Sonlite Records. After taking a break from the road, the quartet wanted to release music that serves as a testimony to the power of faith and the work God has done in their own lives.
Photography: Kim Lancaster
“For us, what we missed the most being at home, were the people,” says Doug Roark, baritone singer and founding member of The Old Paths. “The thrust of our ministry has always been encourage, encourage, encourage. Of course you always want people to be enlightened in Christ, but our ministry has been, ‘If God did it for me, He can do it for you.’”  The 7-song EP’s title track, written by Kenna West and Janice Crowe, has Beatles-style harmonies with Roark taking the lead. The lyrics spoke to Roark, who says the message relates to what Christ did for him. “It’s real, just ask, I’m a living testimony to the fact, that it’s real, that’s that,”  Roark sings.  “Lord Knows,” the first radio single, features bass singer Daniel Ashmore. The song builds to an upbeat and uplifting chorus about how God always knows what someone needs even if they’re at wit’s end.  It’s followed by “The God I Know,” a Lee Black and Jerry Salley song. When Roark first heard the lyrics, they spoke to him deeply. In a time when people say “If God was real, tragedy wouldn’t happen,” Roark says he knows otherwise.  “If He can do it for me He can do it for them. I told Tim you gotta sing that song,” Roark says. Lead singer Tim Rackley sings the power ballad, testifying all of life’s trials can be solved through God. “In a broken world where there’s so many lost and desperate souls burning with no hope. The only answer that I know is the God I know.”

 The EP closes with “Come Sunday Morning,” featuring tenor singer Steve Ladd. The ballad about the Resurrection story has a strong hook and chorus and uses a common, unspectacular phrase to describe a miraculous story.  Tim Rackley says, “I am so excited about this new recording It’s Real. We were so fortunate to find such great songs with a theme throughout the whole project. Each song really gives a great definition of how the Lord has been ministering in our everyday lives. I really feel this new project will let our friends hear the new sound and know ‘it’s real’ we are back on the road ministering.”
 Pre-order It's Real HERE.
 About The Old Paths -
 In 2003, The Old Paths began its ministry taking the group's name from Jeremiah 6:16 which says, "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for The Old Paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." With this vision in mind and a heart for ministry, founding members Douglas Roark and Tim Rackley started The Old Paths as a trio.  The group morphed into a quartet shortly after. They signed with Crossroads Music's Sonlite Records in 2012. Their album Right Now was a breakout project for them producing two #1 hits, "Battlestand" and "God's Great," within a six-month span. In 2013, the group was named Favorite New Quartet, and songs like "Love Them to Jesus" and "Ordinary People" also quickly became fan favorites.  The quartet made the decision in 2015 to come off the road for a while due to family circumstances. While the decision was not easy, they left the door open for a possible return to gospel music and touring. And when God opened that door for them in 2017, they were ready to walk through it. With a renewed passion for ministry, The Old Paths took the stage again the Memphis Quartet Show in June 2017.  The group now consists of founding members Tim Rackley and Douglas Roark, longtime bass singer Daniel Ashmore and tenor Steve Ladd.  Tim, Doug and Daniel found the right blend with Steve to be able to come together as The Old Paths again. Their project together, Long Run, was released in July 2017. The goal of the group has stayed the same after all these years to see people come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and to encourage fellow believers. They are thankful that God gave them the chance to return to the platform again to sing and encourage. They could not be more excited about this new stage of their ministry and to see what God has for the group in the future.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Riley Harrison Clark's Debut Album, Welcome to Me

Hey, y'all!

I'm sure all of you have seen the announcement regarding Riley Harrison Clark's departure from Tribute Quartet to pursue his solo career.  About six years ago, we attended our first full Tribute Quartet concert (although having seen them at events previously), and there we officially "met" all of TQ.  We throughly enjoyed the evening of music, and that was the first of many.

A photo from the first full Tribute Quartet concert we attended!  Feb. of 2012.
Riley and his wife Megan very quickly became dear friends of our family, and we've had the pleasure of proudly looking on as he had many highlights in both his personal life and ministry over the years...getting married, becoming a father to two, winning many nominations and awards, the recent release of his debut album (Welcome to Me), etc.  While we will certainly miss seeing Riley with Tribute, we are very excited to for him and look forward to seeing how the Lord continues to use him in this new chapter of his life.

We were honored to be at the release party for Welcome to Me at NQC 2018.  After immediately purchasing a copy, we played it all week long and heard it probably half a dozen times before we even left Pigeon Forge.  Riley has a fantastic voice-- combine that with his heart for people and ministry, and you have this album of nine songs that will truly touch and bless you.  I think every song on here will resonate with you in some way.  I'm going to share about just a few of our favorite songs off the album, and then you have to go get your own and listen to the rest!

  • Glory to Glory
  • Welcome to Me
  • Still
  • I Surrender
  • You Will Be Found
  • Running Down My Fear
  • Then He Opened His Arms
  • One With You
  • Remember His Faithfulness

The first song we heard from this project was You Will Be Found, live from the NQC Main Stage, and it quickly became a favorite.  For those of you that have not heard this song, go listen to it...this song is basically a tribute to those friends (and sometimes strangers!) that help keep you going just when you're struggling the most.  When you feel like it could not get any worse, reach out... you may just be surprised at who comes running to lead you home.

A personal favorite is Running Down My Fear, written by Riley Harrison Clark and Lee Black.  It seems there are so many things to fear in this world, and it's easy to let those fears get the best of us.  Living in constant fear can be paralyzing and keep you from fully living the life the Lord has for you, but we need to realize that as a child of God there may be bumps in the road, but we truly have nothing to fear.  With the Lord's help we can face anything, even what may seem impossible at the time, with His peace that passes all understanding.  

(Take a moment and listen as Riley shares about his album.)

Another track on repeat is Remember His Faithfulness, written by Riley Harrison Clark, Sue C. Smith & Lee Black.  This song is a great reminder that is all too often needed.  When we go through a hard time, what's the response of our human nature?  To let it get us down, have doubts, fears, and sometimes bitterness regarding the situation.  But if we'll take a minute and think back to other moments in our life (as well as others' lives), we'll see that Christ has never failed us, or any of His children, even once.  It's important to remember that although there may be struggles along the way, He'll see us through just like He has so many times before.  Whatever else changes, He never will.

Riley's last U.S. concert.
If you haven't yet, make sure you head on over to Riley's website to purchase your own copy - it's a decision you won't regret! You can also go Like his Facebook page to stay up to date with any news regarding his solo career.  Riley, you've been a dear friend and blessing to our family for many years now.  We'll miss seeing you and Megan as frequently as we've been able to, but look forward to seeing you soon at a solo concert!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Gold City-Hope For The Journey CD Review #GoldCity #HopeForTheJourney

The name Gold City is well known amongst Gospel music fans, and they have been a standard of solid quartet singing since their beginnings in 1980. While the group has undergone some changes through the years, they have consistently remained a favorite with fans, and with our family in particular. We were among those who (very anxiously) waited for Hope For The Journey, their recent release. When the cd arrived in the mail, we wasted no time in getting it into the cd player!

The album kicks off with I Can Tell You Why, a Dianne Wilkinson song that showcases both Scott Brand and Thomas Nalley on vocals. I've seen this one performed live at NQC, and it's a rousing song that gets you ready to enjoy all that follows.

Next up is Those Same Hands, which we were actually introduced to a few months ago at a Gold City concert we attended. This is a strong ballad that reminds us that the same Hands that healed the blind and fed the 5,000 are the same Hands that reach from the Cross. This is one of those songs that each time you hear it, you like it just a little bit more!

Someday is somewhat different stylistically, but it definitely works for the group. It's a fun sound, yet with an important theme that we can trust the Lord knowing that we'll be with Him in heaven someday.

Same God is the fourth track, and it's probably my favorite song on the project. It starts out describing a wedding scene at a church, then shifts to a funeral at another church just down the road. These two life events are so different; one joyous, one heartbreaking, yet through both of them, God remains the same - our one constant through life. This song usually gets hit on repeat and the message is one that every believer in any and every season of life needs to hear.

I Will Not Be Shaken gives us yet another listen to how talented a singer Daniel Riley is and starts off with the account of the Israelites at the Red Sea and Moses' faith as he trusted the Lord to deliver them. It's a great reminder for Christians that no matter what we face in life, we need to stay strong and keep faith in the Lord.

Alabama Mud is a rather unique song title, and I really wasn't sure what to expect from it but it has quickly become another favorite! This one features Thomas Nalley and describes an old fashioned baptism down at the river. It's another one that gets put on repeat quite often!

Jesus Frees The Fallen has another powerful message and shares the story of a man who grew up in church, fell away, and years later visits a church trying to find forgiveness. It's a wonderful song that encourages you whether you have a friend or family member in a similar situation that you're praying for, or if you are/have been in that same place in your life, wondering if God could truly forgive you.

A Bible Loving Man is one that some gospel music fans may be familiar with as it was recorded by the Florida Boys back in the '70s. I had heard the Florida Boys' version (I used to own the record it was originally recorded on) and I was excited to hear Gold City was recording this one. It's a classic SG song that features both tenor and bass and serves up traditional southern Gospel music at its finest.

All My Hope is Gold City's current radio single, and with good reason. I heard this for the first time at NQC and absolutely fell in love with the song. Thank God that no matter what we may have done or been through in life, as believers, our hope is in Christ and our sins are all forgiven.

This album ends with an a cappella song, Resting Place. I love hearing a group sing a cappella because it gives you a glimpse into the amount of talent and harmony they have. As you might expect coming from Gold City, this one is excellent!

All in all, Hope For The Journey is an incredible CD that is guaranteed not to disappoint! To be honest, it's my favorite album release of the year. The songs all have an important message, and the vocals are amazing. This lineup has developed their own Gold City sound that is fresh yet remains true to their heritage, and it resulted in a must-hear album!! You can purchase it digitally through iTunes, Amazon music, or call the Gold City office to order a physical copy at (256) 492-0942.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Interview With Dustin Doyle

Hey Friends!

I'm so thrilled to be back sharing another interview with you all!
We were able to sit down for an interview with Dustin Doyle (baritone singer for Ernie Haase And Signature Sound) while at NQC this year.
Dustin is no stranger to gospel music having spent 3 years with the popular group Beyond The Ashes before joining EHSS after Doug Anderson's departure in 2015.

"His excitement of joining EHSS in 2015 is self-explanatory-  "Singing with Signature Sound is a literal dream come true," said Dustin. "I've been listening to them since they started and I feel that God has answered my prayers. He's given me the platform that I’ve always wanted which is to sing amazing music and to make His name great."
Dustin plays several instruments, including guitar, piano, bass, and drums, and also enjoys writing songs and leading worship while at home.

In addition, he's a huge movie buff, specifically Superman and Star Wars, and proud to 'claim' he knows pretty much all trivia-related questions regarding both series'. Dustin also enjoys all things comic book and super hero-related.  He's also a big sports fan, especially the NBA and Major League Baseball.
Family is most important and comes first, however."

We are so excited to share this interview with y'all so, without further ado- our interview with Dustin.

Dustin, thank you so much for taking the time out of a very busy week at NQC to do this!  Readers, If you enjoyed and would like to learn more about EHSS head on over to their website!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The 2018 Fall Singing In The Smokies

Hey, y'all!

Who all has been to one of The Inspiration's famous Singing In The Smokies events?  We have wanted to make it out for years, but due to it being so far from us (it was about a 12hr. drive) we were never able to.  Earlier this year we decided that we'd plan on the second weekend of the Fall Sing, and Lord willing we'd be spending Oct. 19th-21st in Bryson City, NC!

The Inspirations host two Singing In The Smokies every year.. one over the summer (this was a five day event), and one in the Fall (this one was two weekends in a row).  For us it made more sense to plan for the Fall Sing, and we decided to attend the second weekend of the event.

We took it slow driving down, and pulled into Bryson City on Friday evening.  Saturday morning we had time before we had to head to Inspiration Park, so we took advantage of the time to wander downtown Bryson City.  Tried a little coffee shop (MountainPerks - stop in if you're in the area!), wandered some of the gift shops, and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  We had plenty of time, so we grabbed lunch and then headed to the Mtn. at about 1:00.

It was pretty neat finally driving up the Mtn. into Inspiration Park after having wanted to go for so many years.  We parked and unloaded our camp chairs (they had folding chairs available, but a lot of people chose to bring their own for comfort's sake), and had time to admire the beauty before the sing started.  First up on the schedule was the ever-popular McKameys, followed by a family favorite and the host group, The Inspirations!  Each group had an hour to sing, there's about a 20 minute break, and then each group got another half hour to sing. In between you can visit with the artists, grab something from the concession truck, or just stretch your legs and enjoy the view!  After the sing is over you can either head out right away or feel free to hang around for a little while and raid the food truck, fellowship, etc.  We liked the schedule because even going out for dinner afterwards we were still back to the hotel in plenty of time to relax, edit and upload some photos, and get ready for the next day.

Sunday morning everyone was up bright and early, and ready to head out to the Park to hear a sermon by Roland Kesterson.  I really appreciate that they have preaching as part of the sing as it feels more like you're at a revival than just a normal concert, and it really helped set the tone for the day.  We hung around and chatted for a few minutes, went and grabbed lunch, and then headed back for the concert portion of the day featuring The Old Paths, and of course, The Inspirations!  The schedule pretty much followed the same routine as the day before with each group getting an hour to sing, a 20 minute break, TOP got up to sing a little more, and then both The Old Paths and The Inspirations got up to sing a few songs together and dedicate Amazing Grace to a friend of the Inspirations who was having health problems.

This is a wonderful event, and one we are definitely going to try making again next year!  The good preaching, singing, fellowship and more, made for such a refreshing and encouraging trip.  Being out on the side of a mountain, listening to good godly music, and being surrounded by God's handiwork like that.. you'd be hard pressed to try and beat it!  Add to that the quaint little town of Bryson City, getting the chance to hang out and fellowship with dear friends, and exploring the area for photo opps made it just about perfect.  When we headed out Monday morning we roamed Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for photos... in fact, we took so much time doing that we didn't make it hardly as far as we were first planning.

If you're looking at going next year we have just a few words of advice.. 1.  Bring a sweater/jacket.  It gets quite chilly on the Mtn. for some people, and you don't want to be freezing.  2.  Realize that you very well may have no phone service.  I know some people had sketchy reception in and around town, but ours was completely out except for when we were at the Park.  Not a big deal, but just a heads-up.

So, who wants to go next year?!  We definitely would like to, and highly recommend you make plans to join us!  A little later on you'll be able to find information for next year's sings on The Inspiration Quartet's Website, as well as their Facebook Page.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Interview With Jonathan Mattingly!

Hey y'all!

  We first met Jonathan back in June of this year, at the Memphis Quartet Show.  While we had previously heard a few snatches of him singing with the Blackwoods, it wasn't until MQS that we were actually able to enjoy a couple days of hearing them sing, as well as getting to talk to/meet him (thanks to Butch Owens for the non-introduction.. 😂).

A little bit later we contacted Jonathan and were able to set up an interview for NQC week!
 I couldn't be more excited to share this interview with you all so without further ado, my interview with Jonathan.

Jonathan, thank you so much for taking the time to be on our blog!  Readers, I hope you enjoyed.
If you'd like to check if the Blackwood Brothers are ever around you check out their schedule here!

Thanks for stopping by!