Entries tagged with “Rev. Mathew Mickens & The New Highway Travelers”.


2012 New Year's CelebrationThere are programs that happen each year that you can actually plan your quartet gospel calendar around. For instance, anyone involved with quartet gospel know that on the First Sunday in October, all roads lead to Augusta for The Swanee Quintet’s Anniversary. And, for over 30 years the Blockbuster Showdown has taken place in Florence, South Carolina during the first part of March. Likewise, each valentine weekend, quartet gospel enthusiasts journey to Albany, Georgia, for the Family Reunion Fest. Don’t forget the Mississippi Burning near the end of May. The Burning has been a mainstay on the Gospel Quartet concert calender for over 27 years.

And, of course there is the American Gospel Quartet Convention held the third (3rd) week of January in Birmingham, Alabama. This will be the twentieth (20th) year for the Convention. The “2012 AGQC will exhibit a strong atmosphere with a mixture of church and music industry presentations, seminars, record company showcases, special luncheon, and powerful preaching.”

Another annual event is the New Year’s Day program sponsored by Loretta Coleman in Columbia, South Carolina. January 1, 2012, will be the twelfth (12th) year for the program. The 2012 program is headlined by Doc McKenzie & The Hi-Lites. Joining the Doctor will be The Fantastic Violinaires, The Sensational Nightingales, The Legendary Singing Stars, Lil’ David & The Bells Of Joy, Lil’ Sonny & The Peacemakerz, Faithful, Rev. Mathew Mickens & The New Highway Travelers, and God’s Bless.

What a FANTASTIC way to begin the new year.

The Legendary Singing StarsThe Singing Stars are still “doing their thing.” With the death the legendary Tommy Ellison, there was a serious question of what would happen to The Singing Stars. Well, from a conversation with Sam Williams today it was clear that the guys recognized they had to regroup and bring in new members to still be a ‘national’ group in gospel music.

They called up one of the original members of The Five Singing Stars, Billy Hardie. For many years Mr. Hardie was the second lead singer for Tommy Ellison & The Five Singing Stars. After leaving the group, he recorded the very popular CD Call On Jesus as Billy Hardie and The Gospel Soul Brothers. He has returned as one of the lead singers for the current line up of The Legendary Singing Stars.

Guitarist Dennis Bowers also shares lead duties. Rhythm Guitarist Sam Williams is the glue that keeps it all together. He is joined by Franklin “Big O” Hardnett on the Bass Guitar, Joe Dawkins Jr. (Drummer), Dennis Da’Quan Bowers (Lead Guitar), Justin Mickens (formerly of Rev. Mathew Mickens & The New Highway Travelers) is another guitarist, and Joseph Ricks Horns (keyboard). All the musicians contribute to the background vocals.

Notice that there is now a keyboard player in the group. This addition represents a big step forward for The Legendary Singing Stars. We have often said Williams, Big O and Dennis together sounded like you were listening to a ten piece band. They had developed the right ‘plucks’ to make 3 guitars sound like a huge band section. Now with the addition of the keyboard player and a fourth guitar one can only imagine that the group’s on stage performances will be taken to another level.

According to Sam Williams, the new musicians bring youthful energy to an already energetic group and “we are blessed to have them.” The group is also working on new material. It is safe to say that by 2011 there will be many new songs from The Legendary Singing Stars.