Willis, VA -- Dove nominated bluegrass gospel group, The Churchmen, are joining forces with Virginia based Mountain Fever Records on their spring release Mercy Road, the inaugural venture for the band on the label. The first single from the album, “Bread and Water,” hits radio today, March 5th.
The Churchmen, a bluegrass gospel group based in Collinsville, Virginia, was formed in 1989 when they began singing in local churches. Their Southern Gospel style, four part harmony, and bluegrass instrumentation gives them a unique sound that has gained them national and international attention.
The first radio single from the new album, Mercy Road, is the song “Bread and Water,” co-written by the newest member of the band, Carroll Arnn and Jerry Salley. “We are so excited and blessed as we begin a new version of the band with the addition of Carroll. We started performing “Bread and water” and started getting crowd responses that showed us we had something special. Carroll wrote this song and brought it to the group as soon as he started in the fall of 2012. We hope everyone received the same blessings that we did,” said Gerald.
The title track from Mercy Road is penned by longtime bluegrass songwriter Becky Buller. Buller is well known in bluegrass circles and Bluegrass Unlimited said, “Buller seems to be carving out a niche for herself as the designate muse of contemporary bluegrassers…”
The group features founding member, Keith Clark on lead vocals and acoustic bass, longtime member Gerald Harbour on vocals and mandolin, former SPGMA “Male Vocalist of the Year-Traditional,” David Guthrie on lead and harmony vocals and guitar, Carroll Arnn on banjo, guitar and fiddle, occasional guest Rick Keene on resonator guitar, and Jerry Haga behind the scenes on sound.
Longtime gospel favorites and Grammy winners, Jeff and Sheri Easter said, "The Churchmen are one of the fastest growing, hottest sounds in Bluegrass Gospel Music today. We have worked with these guys a lot, and they really live what they sing.”
The Churchmen’s CD On the Journey Home was nominated for a Dove Award for Bluegrass Album of the Year while the CD Traveling Through gained widespread acclaim, including attention for the Dove nominated song “Bedside Prayer,” previously up for Bluegrass Song of the Year. Their most recent CD, I’ll Be Long Gone garnered strong reviews and continues to get substantial radio airplay.
David Higgs, host and curator of the nationally syndicated radio show Bluegrass Breakdown says, "The Churchmen certainly know how to sing a good gospel tune. More than just about any other band, they have figured out how to successfully marry the Southern Gospel style of singing to Bluegrass and the result is a compelling, exciting and powerful combination.