In the studio with BMG/FMG & REAL Southern Gospel Records

Nashville, TN BMG/FMG/REAL SG Records have been working diligently to bring you new music. Producer Les Butler has been busy on these projects, with even more around the corner. The Inspirationals QT of Texas has been working on multiple projects. “He Rescued Me,” their new studio album, is a great mix of up-tempo songs, ballads…

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JOE BONSALL, LONG TIME MEMBER OF THE OAK RIDGE BOYS, PASSES AWAY

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – Joseph S. Bonsall (76) of Hendersonville, Tennessee passed on to Glory on July 9, 2024, from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. He leaves behind his precious wife, Mary Ann, daughters Jennifer and Sabrina, granddaughter Breanne, grandson Luke, two great grandsons, Chance and Grey, and a sister, Nancy. He is preceded in death…

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Ark Encounter Welcomes the Return of the World’s Largest Christian Music Festival

WILLIAMSTOWN, KY – For the fourth year in a row, the world’s largest Christian music festival returns to the Ark Encounter, July 30-September 7, 2024, in Williamstown, Ky. “40 Days & 40 Nights of Christian Music” will feature more than 150 music artists, playing a variety of music styles.

The award-winning group Cain, best known for the hit song “Rise Up,” and popular singer Crowder will be top highlights at the themed attraction south of Cincinnati. The Grammy Award-winning group Casting Crowns will close out the festival. Abraham Productions has organized these multiple concerts Monday through Saturday at 4 p.m. daily. A special music and praise service will be held each Sunday, also at 4 p.m.

Concert attendance is free with regular admission to the Ark Encounter for that day.

The musical roster features artists who will perform Contemporary Christian, Worship, Southern Gospel, Country and Bluegrass Gospel, Inspirational, and other musical styles over 40 days and nights at the attraction’s huge 2,200-seat Answers Center. Musical performances will also be held at the Creation Museum, 45 minutes away in Petersburg, on Wednesdays and Thursdays mornings at 10:45 a.m. (free with museum admission that day).

In addition, outdoor concerts will be held during the day at Noah’s Village at the Ark Encounter, Monday–Saturday, with the main-event concerts at 4 p.m. in the Answers Center. On Sundays at 4 p.m., the Ark’s resident artists TrueSong will lead a special worship time along with speakers from Answers in Genesis, operators of the Ark and museum.

Music artists and groups include:

Cain
Casting Crowns
Crowder
Mac Powell
The Isaacs
Triumphant
The Inspirations
Karen Peck and New River
TrueSong (the Ark’s resident artists)
And dozens and dozens more. For a full lineup of artist by date go to www.40DaysOfChristianMusic.com

Music enthusiasts will also hear from speakers such as Ark founder and popular speaker Ken Ham, plus dynamic speaker Ray Flynn, President/CEO of Abraham Productions, and other guest speakers.

Cain declared: “We’re coming to the number one Christian attraction in America. The Ark is amazing, and we want you to join us for this incredible event.”  The Ark Encounter attracts more than one million guests a year.

Ham noted: “Millions of people across America love the various styles of Christian music we offer. Abraham Productions, the Ark Encounter, and the Creation Museum present a unique combination of award-winning groups.” Ham added: “The Ark and Creation Museum are the top family-friendly Christian destinations in America. Festivalgoers can tour the life-size Ark, explore the beautiful grounds, take their children or grandchildren to the playground and large carousel, and meet the zoo animals.”

Abraham Productions is well known for producing large Christian music events, such as “Singing in the Sun,” a six-day event with 30 major artists and national speakers held in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and also co-hosts the musical cruise experience “Crystal Caribbean Christian Cruise.”

Daily admission to the Ark Encounter gives free access to all the concerts and speakers that day and allows guests to explore the Ark. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, concerts are free to Creation Museum ticketholders for the musical events.

What’s New at the Ark

This week, the Ark Encounter launches the Macropod Experience. The zoo’s Macropods (animals with big feet), the red kangaroos, and Bennett’s wallabies can be enjoyed up close in a behind-the-scenes experience. Tickets are limited, with portions of the proceeds going to the humanitarian group Samaritan’s Purse for its work in Oceania. Guests can feed and touch these remarkably designed creatures and take photos. Also, at the growing zoo, guests can now observe giant anteaters (they grow up to seven feet long) and a stunning green anaconda (growing up to 10 feet long). See: https://arkencounter.com/zoo

Admission prices, discounts, hotel options, and additional details are available at www.40daysofchristianmusic.com. Tickets can be purchased through www.arkencounter.com or by calling the Ark Encounter at 800-721-2298.

CHRIS FREEMAN CELEBRATES 50 REMARKALBE YEARS IN GOSPEL MUSIC

Nashville, TN – This June marks a monumental occasion in Gospel music as Chris Freeman celebrates her 50th anniversary since embarking on her distinguished career with The Hinsons, 2006 Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees. This golden milestone is a testament to her enduring talent and dedication, as well as a celebration of the profound…

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Countdown is on for the 2024 James D. Vaughan Quartet Festival in Lawrenceburg, TN!

Gospel music, whose traditional roots have influenced many styles of music over the years, was first popularized largely thanks to James D. Vaughan, who started in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.

Vaughan is widely hailed as the founder of Southern Gospel Music because of his work as a musician, music teacher, publisher, and radio station owner. The James D. Vaughan Quartet Festival will be held July 24-27 to celebrate his influence on gospel music’s past, present, and future.

In the 1900s, Vaughan started publishing his own music to promote his quartet. James D. Vaughan Music Publishing Company eventually grew to be one of the biggest publishers in the country and sponsored touring quartets to sell songbooks that we still sing in churches and revivals today. Vaughan’s radio station, WOAN, brought gospel to the masses.

This year’s lineup includes some of the biggest names in Southern Gospel Music.

At 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, you will hear the music of the Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet, Guardians, and a special rare appearance by the Second Half Quartet.

Thursday, July 25, at 7:00 p.m., will feature The Inspirations, Gold City, Mylon Hayes Family, and The Whisnants.

Friday, July 26, at 7:00 p.m., there will be a Dove Brothers Quartet and a Spencer Family (JB, Barbara, Kevin, Geniece) Reunion along with the Kingsmen and the world-famous Chuck Wagon Gang.

Gaither Homecoming Artist Ernie Haase & Signature Sound are scheduled for a performance on Saturday, July 27, beginning at 2:00 p.m. The Saturday all-star line-up includes the Triumphant Quartet, The Perrys, Down East Boys, and Josh & Ashley Franks.

Two additional FREE matinee shows will be at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Gerald Wolfe’s Gospel Music Hymn Sing will return on Thursday and feature Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet, Mylon Hayes Family, Whisnants, Jim & Melissa Brady, and the Hymn Sing BandThe Dixie Echoes & the Blackwood Brothers will sing traditional quartet music on Friday.

Host Quartet and Lawrenceburg’s own, The Kellys, will appear during the week.

Josh Franks will be the MC for the entire festival.

Lawrenceburg, known as the birthplace of Southern Gospel, celebrates the life and the music Mr. Vaughan loved each year downtown at the historic Crockett Theater. For more information or tickets, call 1-931-762-4231. You may also order your tickets online at www.lawrenceburgtn.gov.

Joseph Habedank Re-Signs with Daywind Records

NASHVILLE, TN (June 26, 2024) – Daywind Records is honored to announce the re-signing of 2X GRAMMY® nominated, 3X GMA Dove Award-winning, and 6X Singing News Soloist of the Year, Joseph Habedank to its family of artists. With more than two decades in partnership with Daywind Records featuring multiple critically acclaimed albums and songs, the re-signing marks a continuation of a relationship that has significantly contributed to the Southern Gospel songbook and broadened to the Church at large. Habedank’s career is marked by his captivating performances and powerful testimony of redemption and forgiveness.

“Daywind is not just a record label to me. They are family. After being on their roster for more than two decades now, it made perfect sense for me to re-sign with them. They signed me to my first record deal as a solo artist when I was only 6 months out of rehab, and I will never forget the chance they took on me. I am so grateful to Ed Leonard, Dottie Leonard, Dusty Wells, and the entire Daywind team for taking a chance on me yet again. The best is yet to come,” says Joseph Habedank.

Dusty Wells, director of artist & label relations at Daywind Records celebrates the re-signing by stating, “Joseph’s unwavering dedication to his gift, his redeeming testimony, and his remarkable talent have always been a perfect match for Daywind Records. Joseph has been with us since the beginning of his career, and we are absolutely thrilled to be able to walk alongside him and continue supporting him throughout his journey. We look forward to witnessing and helping get his music, story, and message out to not only his present fans and friends but helping and watching him garner a new audience along the way. We are so excited to be a part of this next chapter of his illustrious career.”

Chris Freeman Celebrates 50 Years in Gospel Music by Adding ‘The Hinson Side of Me’ to Streaming Platforms

Nashville, TN – This June marks a monumental occasion in Gospel music as Chris Freeman celebrates her 50th anniversary since embarking on her distinguished career with The Hinsons, 2006 Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees. This golden milestone is a testament to her enduring talent and dedication and a celebration of her profound impact on the Gospel music community. To honor this 50-year milestone, Chris’s acclaimed album, The Hinson Side of Me, initially released in 2016 and her only solo recording, is now available on streaming platforms for the first time via Symphonic Distribution. Stream HERE.

Chris’s journey began as Chris Hawkins in 1974 when, at 17, she moved from California to Nashville to join The Hinsons, a group renowned for their captivating harmonies and inspiring messages. With her powerful voice and heartfelt delivery, Chris quickly became a beloved figure in the Southern Gospel scene, winning numerous awards, consecutively being voted the Queen of Gospel Music in 1976 and 1977, and multiple Singing News Fan Awards for Favorite Alto. Chris is loved for her emotive vocal performances and genuine connection with her audience. Her singing has been described as “soul-stirring,” “profoundly moving,” and “a beacon of faith and hope.”

She spent seven years recording and touring with The Hinsons, and in 1980, she married Darrell Freeman of the Ohio-based family Gospel group, The Pathways. In 1983 Chris and Darrell moved to Hendersonville, TN, becoming The Freemans. For over four decades, The Freemans have been a driving force in the world of Gospel music, infusing their Southern-Country Gospel style with rich family harmony and a timeless message. Alongside their children, Misty and Caylon, and Darrell’s cousin, Joe Freeman, this powerhouse ensemble has recorded over twenty-five albums and earned numerous accolades, including multiple number-one hits on the Singing News charts. They have continued uplifting and inspiring audiences with their unwavering faith and musical artistry.

Chris reflects on this significant milestone: “It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years since I first joined The Hinsons. I was just 17 years old, and joining them was one of the most challenging yet rewarding decisions of my life. I loved them with all my heart and learned so much during those years. Leaving them to marry Darrell was a difficult decision, but it was part of God’s plan for me. Together, Darrell and I have built a legacy with The Freemans, continuing to spread God’s word across the country. We are blessed with two wonderful children and four grandchildren, and I truly believe the best is yet to come. All I can say is, ‘My, how blessed I am.’”

The Hinson Side of Me is Chris’s first-ever solo recording, featuring mostly songs identified with her time with The Hinsons. This album highlights Chris’s roots while infusing her own unique style. She is joined by several guest artists, including the late Larry Hinson, Weston Hinson, Bo Hinson, Ronny Hinson, Mike Bowling, The Isaacs, and others, as she puts her own spin on The Hinsons classics.

 

Obituary: Dixie Jane White McKeithen of Madison, Tennessee | 1946 – 2024

Dixie Jane White McKeithen, beloved wife, mother, and respected Southern Gospel music artist and songwriter, was born on November 4, 1946, and passed away peacefully on June 22, 2024, at the age of 77.

Dixie was a devoted wife to Timothy McKeithen for 58 years and 4 months, and a loving mother to her daughter, Angelina McKeithen. Though she had no siblings, she grew up from infancy with her cousin Bonnie White, and they shared a middle name and a close bond like sisters that continued throughout their lives.

Dixie’s life was a testament to her deep faith, treasured marriage, love for her family and friends, and remarkable talents.

Dixie and Tim met at Bible College in Tupelo, Mississippi and were inseparable from then on, bound by their faith and love of music. Dixie’s contributions to the Southern Gospel music industry touched countless lives as a vocalist, songwriter, producer, and then as a booking agent. In her earlier years, Dixie was a cherished member of several Southern Gospel groups, including The Gospel Keys, The Hemphills, and The McKeithens. Dixie traveled for 21 years with the family group, The McKeithens, with Tim and Angelina. She sang and played piano and wrote and arranged many of their songs.

After retiring from the road and until her passing, Dixie worked for the Beckie Simmons Agency (BSA), a premier booking agency for Southern Gospel artists. She was instrumental in booking and advancing dates for the artists, and ensuring their tours ran smoothly. She loved Beckie and the entire BSA family dearly and enjoyed her role immensely.

Dixie was a member of Cornerstone Church until last year when she began attending World Outreach Church online. She was always ready to lend a helping hand and share her faith. She also enjoyed hosting gatherings around a meal at the kitchen table and was known to informally adopt a few people who did not have family nearby for holidays and Sunday dinners. Dixie was generous and refused to be turned away from “her blessings” when she saw someone in need.

Dixie was known for her love in action faith, hearty laugh, warmth, kindness, straight talk, and unwavering support for her family and friends. Dixie’s legacy will continue through her music and the many lives she impacted. She absolutely knew and loved her Lord and is resting peacefully in his arms today.

A graveside memorial service will be held at Christ Church Memorial Gardens on Thursday, June 27, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. when friends and family will gather to celebrate her life and share memories.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Dixie McKeithen’s honor to Alive Hospice, 1718 Patterson Street, Nashville, TN 37203. https://www.alivehospice.org Their kindness and care in her final days was a comfort to Tim and reflect the loving care and community that were expressed in Dixie’s life.

STOWTOWN RECORDS RELEASES LABEL DEBUT FROM POET VOICES

Nashville, TN – As the summer season gets into full swing, StowTown Records has announced the release of a brand-new recording from beloved quartet, Poet Voices. It Won’t Be Long marks the debut release from the group on the StowTown label and features the quartet at its finest. Throughout the past three decades, Poet Voices,…

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