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Did You Know?

Did you Know?

Most of our listeners would be shocked to know and realize how much our region has to play in the part of Southern Gospel Music history and the shaping of what Southern Gospel Music is today. We hope you’ll enjoy reading about some of your favorite Singers and artists.

Local Gospel Singers and Performers from our area:

Jim Hill was from Portsmouth, Ohio and had a background in opera. He cut his teeth in his early years singing with Harold Patrick and John Conley in a group called the Campmeeting Boys. In 1955, Hill's song "What A Day That Will Be" was presented for the first the song became a classic and is now found in many modern hymnbooks.

Squire Parsons is from Newton, West Virginia. is a Southern Gospel soloist. He was formerly the baritone singer for the  Kingsmen Quartet and briefly sang lead for that group as well. He also had two groups of his own, the Squire Parsons Trio and Squire Parsons And Redeemed. He also performed with West Virginia's Calvarymen Quartet. Aaron McCune is from Clay, West Virginia. He Presently performs with Dailey and Vincent. Previously he was with Gold City and the Anchormen.

Conrad Cooke was from Crites, West Virginia (Logan County). He traveled as Conrad Cook and the Calvary Echoes and was the writer of such noted songs as "The Glory Road," "Is That The Old Ship Of Zion," "Saints Will Rise" and many others.

Harold Lane is from Huntington, West Virginia. He sang lead for the Gospel Harmony Boys from 1953-1955 and then again from 1956-1967. In 1967 Harold joined the Speer Family as lead singer, remaining with the group until 1989. He has also written or co- written several Southern Gospel songs such as “I’m Standing on the Solid Rock” and “Touring that City” to name a couple.

John Darin Rowsey is from Ashland, Kentucky. John was one of the original members of New Journey. He co-wrote the smash single “Singing with the Saints” that was part of the original Homecoming Series from the Gaither organization. John toured briefly with Karen Peck and New River and now tours with the Guardians Quartet.

Ernie Phillips is from Southern West Virginia. He sang tenor for the  Kingsmen Quartet in the late 1970s and early 1980s. After his stint with the Kingsmen, Phillips traveled with Squire Parsons And Redeemed for a number of years and performed as a soloist.

Dennis Murphy is from Oceana, West Virginia and has performed with the Greenes. He has also played drums for the Kingdom Heirs since 1990.

Gary Casto is from Ripley, West Virginia. He performed with the  Wilburns. He is also the lead singer and a founding member of Tribute Quartet, and a songwriter.

Ed Crawford sang lead with the Singing Americans and baritone with the Kingsmen Quartet. He also performed with the  Calvarymen Quartet Of West Virginia.

Harold Patrick is from Huntington, West Virginia. He played piano for the Gospel Harmony Boys from 1955-1957. He also played piano and sang lead for Jim Hill And The Golden Keys Quartet.

Dickie Mathews is from Charleston. He played piano for the Downings from 1969-1970. He also played piano for the Deep South Quartet, the Crusaders, the Homeland Harmony Quartet, the Impacts, the Roger Horne Trio and the Scenicland Quartet. In addition to playing for these Gospel music groups, Mathews was also a riverboat musician.

Robert Fulton is from Gallipolis, Ohio. He sang tenor with Forgiven 4, the Palmetto State Quartet from 2009-2011 and Gold City from 2012-2015. Presently he is the Program Director for Radio Station WYNL-FM in Charleston and sings with Southern Gospel Quartet, River of Life.

Jamie Caldwell is from Charleston and spent time with the Dixie Melody Boys, the Weatherfords and The Gospel Harmony Boys.

Kenneth Tanner was from Nebo, West Virginia (Clay County). Sang with the Tanner Boys Quartet and wrote several popular songs including “Runnin My Last Mile Home” which was made popular by the Singing Cookes.

Betty Jean Robinson is from Hyde, Kentucky. She has recorded a total of thirty-six albums and over six hundred songs. [5]  She is most noted for Christian music anthems such as, "Jesus Is Alive and Well," " On the way home," "Jehovah Jireh," "Ride Out your Storm," and "He is Jehovah."

Tank Tackett is from the Charleston, West Virginia area. He briefly sang tenor for the Statesmen in 1993. He also performed with the Plainsmen and the Weatherfords.

James Rainey is from Gallipolis, Ohio. He briefly played piano for the Melody Masters QuartetAnchormenGospel Harmony Boys, the  Greenes, and the Singing Americans.

Famed Gospel Groups from Our Area:

  • The Perry Sisters-Huntington, West Virginia
  • Gospel Harmony Boys-Charleston, West Virginia
  • Calvarymen Quartet-Charleston, West Virginia
  • Golden Keys Quartet-Portsmouth, Ohio
  • Tribute Quartet-Ripley, West Virginia
  • New Journey-Ashland, Kentucky
  • Lore Family-Minford, Ohio


Special thanks to Jon Snodgrass for his contributions to this page and also to

St. Marys