Chicken in the country and a Tennessee Moon

Great Country Moments is a special internet production of Springer Mountain Farms® that in January will feature episodes with Janie Fricke, Oak Ridge Boys, Rex Allen Jr., Mark Chesnutt, Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Confederate Railroad, Charley Pride and Ronnie McDowell. The program is available online at
Through the one-of-a-kind story segments, the featured country stars will take viewers through some of the best times of their career and reveal emotional, exciting, and memorable moments that fans have never heard first-hand. Along with the videos will be trivia questions that viewers can answer to enter a contest to win a variety of prizes. A grand prize of a free freezer full of chicken will be given away to one lucky winner who participates in the trivia contest.
The “Great Country Moments” series features a new video being released each week. The recipe segments will reveal the artist’s favorite homemade recipes using Springer Mountain Farms® chicken, along with a written recipe that will be available to viewers. Some of the stars featured in the series include Charlie Daniels, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker, Ronnie McDowell, Deborah Allen, Jimmy Fortune and many more.
“Springer Mountain Farms enjoys many wonderful partnerships with the country music community. Great Country Moments is another great outlet to feature some of country music’s finest with an added bonus, their favorite chicken recipe! We have created a living cookbook that fans and Springer Mountain Farms® chicken lovers can follow along with. I can’t wait to try the recipes out in my kitchen!” said Gus Arrendale, President of Springer Mountain Farms.
On the bluegrass front, check out the new Pinecastle release Jan. 17 from Ray Cardwell called Tennessee Moon
Tennessee Moon has a clear New Grass influence in producer Pat Flynn. However, with nine out of twelve tunes written by Cardwell, the album is his own take on that classic sound.
“I feel my music is based upon the traditional style of bluegrass and old timey music my parents raised me on, and the collection of musical experiences I’ve had in my journey through life, Cardwell said. “My songwriting is a direct reflection of new ideas balanced with the traditions of the past.”
Flynn also adds his talents on guitar and harmony vocals to the album along with fellow New Grass Revival alum John Cowan lending tenor and harmony vocals on many of the tracks. Cardwell has already built a touring band of incredible musicians to take his music on the road as Ray Cardwell & Tennessee Moon.
Ray honed his musical chops playing in The Cardwell family bluegrass band in the late 1970’s. In the ‘80s he spent time playing rock and reggae before moving to Nashville in the ‘90s to be a member of the bluegrass band, the New Tradition. He returned to his home state of Missouri a few years later to raise a family while teaching vocal and instrumental ensembles. Along the way he has had experience with an eclectic mix of musical genres from bluegrass and Americana to musical theater and Motown. Now living in Nashville,  Cardwell has returned to his musical roots while blending in his varied influences to create a style all his own. For more information, visit

Karen Peck wins Dove Award, Oaks launch Christmas show

Karen Peck and New River won the Southern Gospel Album of the Year for their newest CD titled Pray Now. The Award was presented at the 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards Ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee on October 13th. Wayne Haun produced the project.

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Sharing memories with the Oak Ridge Boys

Country Music Hall of Fame members the Oak Ridge Boys have entertained fans around the world for more than 40 years including numerous U.S. Presidents. They have earned every award in the industry.

From their roots in southern gospel to their chart-topping career in country music, the Oaks have become one of America’s most beloved music groups. Read more

A Southern gospel hall of fame event

A few weeks ago I was privileged to attend the Singing News Fan Awards along with the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductions at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

The streets of Dollywood were lined with fans as the musical stars of the genre walked the red carpet to cheers and flashing cameras. They then packed into the theater that housed the event as the fan favorites were announced and the industry legends were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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SGMA will honor The Oak Ridge Boys

One of the most prolific groups in country music history also shares one of the longest tenures in the business – The Oak Ridge Boys.

The group actually began as the Oak Ridge Quartet a gospel offshoot of Georgian Wally Fowler’s Georgia Clodhoppers.

They were a regular part of the Grand Ole Opry ® in the 1940s and Wally helped to foster the all night sings concept as he carried the music in to large auditoriums around the country.

He sold the group to Smitty Gatlin in the 1960s and the group eventually changed its name from quartet to boys while featuring some of the field’s greatest singers such as Willy Winn, Gary McSpadden, Jim Hamill, and Herman Harper.

The group was one of the best known on the gospel music circuit of the 1960s and 70s.

Duane Allen and William Lee Golden became part of the lineup and with the additions of Richard Sterban and Joe Bonsall in the 1970s; the group known around the world took shape.

It was at the urging of Roy Clark’s manager Jim Halsey, they chose to step into country music. Initially, the move distanced the group from its established gospel audience.

Many who are exclusively familiar with their post 1974s career transition to country music may only know them for their songs such as “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue” and “Ya’ll Come Back Saloon.”

Because of their wide platform, they continued sharing the gospel music sound around the world in concerts and recordings.
It is for the impact that the group had to carry the stylings of Southern gospel music to a wider audience due to that bold choice to come to country music that they will be honored this year with the 2012 James D. Vaughan Impact Award on Oct. 3 during a special ceremony at Dollywood at the Southern Gospel Music Association’s (SGMA) annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Singing News Fan Awards.

“It is a huge honor for The Oak Ridge Boys to be presented with the James D. Vaughan Impact Award,” said Duane Allen, lead singer for the Oaks. “Southern style gospel music is the foundation of harmony, which is the sound of The Oak Ridge Boys. We all grew up loving the great gospel quartets and gospel music. We are very humbled to have been chosen to receive this award and look forward to its presentation.”

Group members Duane Allen, William Golden, Joe Bonsall and Richard Sterban will attend to accept the award, named in honor of James D. Vaughan, a Southern gospel music pioneer and one of the genre’s founders.

Past recipients include Bill Gaither, James Blackwood, Les Beasley, Bob Brumley, Mosie Lister, Paul Heil, Eva Mae LeFevre, J.G. Whitfield, Lari Goss, BarbaraMandrell, Dolly Parton and the Statler Brothers.

“The name Oak Ridge has long been associated with gospel music,” said Charlie Waller, SGMA Executive Director. “Even today the Oaks are still delivering the gospel sound to their audiences in their own inimitable fashion.

“Their endeavors to persevere have not gone unnoticed,” he said. “Their rich gospel music legacy makes us proud to honor them with the James D. Vaughan Impact Award.”

The Oak Ridge Boys enjoyed 25 top ten singles, including 13 number one hits while continuing to tour and record today, he said.

Their most popular gospel songs included “I Know,” “King Jesus” and the ever popular, “Jesus Is Coming Soon,” written by SGMA Hall of Fame member, the late R.E. Winsett, according to Waller.
The SGMA Hall of Fame Induction  Ceremony/Singing News Fan Awards are Oct. 3, 2012 at DP’s Celebrity Theatre at Dollywood, home of the Southern Gospel Music Museum and Hall of Fame.

Seating is reserved, and tickets are $75 ($55 for Dollywood season pass holders) and include one-day Dollywood admission, parking and lunch as well as Dollywood’s more than 40 rides, shows and attractions.

Tickets go on sale March 1 and must be purchased in advance by calling the SGMA office at (865) 908-4040.

The SGMA is a non-profit organization that maintains the Southern Gospel Music Museum and Hall of Fame, the only facility honoring Southern gospel music and dedicated to the historic preservation of the genre’s accomplishments, both for the music and the people. Museum hours coincide with Dollywood’s operating schedule. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information about the museum or its inductees, visit