The Dixie Echoes are a favorite in our family and I was so excited when I recently had the opportunity to interview their bass singer- Mark Cates. First, let me tell you a little bit about The Dixie Echoes and then we'll get started.
"The Dixie Echoes have performed throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada at well-known venues such as the National Quartet Convention, Gospel Jubilee Cruise, the Brumley Sing, Memphis Quartet Show, Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, and Carnegie Hall as well as churches, fairs, and on television. The Dixie Echoes have appeared on such programs as TBN, INSP and are most notably remembered for their regular appearances on the nationally syndicated television show, The Gospel Singing Jubilee which aired in the late 1960’s and 70’s. Although each individual presents his own musical styling, the members collectively share the common goal of doing everything they can to expose the audience to the power of a meaningful song. With arguably the best line-up of talent ever, the Dixie Echoes present the gospel message in song with a touch of class and excellence. Over the last 50 years God has trusted the Dixie Echoes with the huge purpose of telling everyone they can about Him. To do this He has provided talented men with a dedication to this grand style of music. In the timeless tradition of the Statesmen Quartet and the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, the Dixie Echoes will continue to sing songs in such a manner that no one can miss a single word, not one distraction from hearing what the songwriter wanted to share."
And now for the interview.
Mercy: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Mark: I grew up in Pensacola, Florida and went to church at First Baptist Church. I have an older brother and younger sister who both sing. I met my future wife in the youth group at First Baptist Church in Pensacola. We were married in February 1991. My wife gave birth to our son Coby in October 2001. He was born special needs with a condition known as micro-lissencephaly. He eventually went home to be with the Lord in February 2010.
Mercy: Could you share your salvation testimony?
Mark: I was saved at Camp-0-the Pines at 7 years old. I remember the preacher preaching on the “hell-train”. There was a lot more hell fire and brimstone preaching back in those days. During my years in the youth group at FBC I gained a greater understanding of what “Go ye therefore” and evangelism really meant. I thank God for that free gift of salvation. Everyone goes through difficulties in life, but when you go through the challenges of watching your son through his special needs challenges and his passing, then get beyond the grieving process you start to see the blessings God provided during that trial. You never fully get past losing a child, but you do learn how to live differently and if you allow God’s blessings, you will see them.
Mercy: What started your interest in singing southern gospel?
Mark: I guess the seed was planted when I was very young when Mom and Dad would tune to the Gospel Singing Jubilee on Sunday mornings. Later in 1982 or 83 I heard the opening “Roll Tide” on the Kingsmen Live at the University of Alabama. I was hooked!
Mercy: Do you have any hobbies? If so, what?
Mark: My hobby has always been singing.
Mercy: What is the funniest thing a fan has ever said to you?
Mark: When Ben Hart used to travel with the group, people would get us confused. People would come up and complement me on my fabulous piano playing. I can’t play the piano at all. 🤪
Mercy: What is your favorite vacation spot?
Mark: I don’t really have a favorite spot yet, but when my favorite spot happens, I will let you know.
Mercy: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Mark: I always wanted to be a gospel singer in a male quartet.
Mercy: What is something most people don't know about you?
Mark: I’m boring. I’ve never smoked, drank alcohol, or been wild. I like to go to bed at 9:00 pm and get up around 6:00. I have been married once in my life to the same woman I went on my very first date with at the age of 16 (we got married much later). We’ve been married now for 27 years. I have worked in the field of Neurodiagnostics for the past 27 years and continue to maintain a full time job doing that while also singing with the Dixie Echoes.
Mercy: What is a typical day on the road like for you/DE?
Mark: Going to Guitar Center and every thrift store from here to Timbuktu. Only after the guys wake up at 1:00pm. 😁
Mercy: What is your favorite Bible verse?
Mark: For by grace you have been saved, through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Mercy: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Mark: Yes, my wife just bought a Havanese puppy and I am the proud dad of a new dog. Oh!!! We also sell Plexus......doesn’t everyone these days. 😂
Mark, Thank you so much for taking time to do this! Readers, I hope you enjoyed. Make sure to go "friend" Mark on Facebook as well as "like" the Dixie Echoes Facebook Page .
Thanks for reading!