Willis, VA -- Dove nominated bluegrass gospel favorites, The Churchmen, released their brand new project, Mercy Road on Mountain Fever Records. This is the inaugural venture for the band on the label and their first release in over 5 years. The first single from the album, “Bread and Water,” was released to radio on March 5th to a stellar reception.
The well know bluegrass gospel group, based in Collinsville, VA, was formed in 1989 when they started singing in local churches to a great reception. They were suited perfectly from the beginning for national and international notoriety as their Southern Gospel style, four part harmony, and bluegrass instrumentation gives them a unique and welcome sound.
They will celebrate with a CD release event and concert on July 20th at the Spencer-Penn Center, located at 475 Spencer-Penn Road, Spencer, VA, located in Henry County, VA and near the home base of The Churchmen. Festivities begin at 7:00 PM. There is no admission cost and refreshments will be provided. The group will perform new songs from the album.
"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."
David Higgs Bluegrass Breakdown
The new album, Mercy Road, features the title track penned by respected bluegrass fiddler and songwriter, Becky Buller along with songwriting master Jerry Salley. Buller has become a designated muse of sorts in the contemporary bluegrass world. Bluegrass Unlimited agreed that she is "carving out a niche for herself...." Salley has long been a respected go-to for his mastery of putting feelings into words.
The first radio single from the new album was the song “Bread and Water,” and was written by the newest member of the band, Carroll Arnn. Arnn wrote the song and presented it to the group as soon as he started in the fall of 2012.
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.
Gospel Grammy winners Jeff and Sheri Easter are fans of the group and 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 were previously nominated for a Dove Award for Bluegrass Album of the Year for their album Journey Home and Traveling Through 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.