SGM- The Kingsmen have one of the most storied traditions in gospel music. Tell us how you ended up singing with the Kingsmen and what the experience has meant to you.
RC- I started my first tenure with the Kingsmen in 2001. Eldridge and Greg Fox called and offered me a chance to sing lead, which I accepted! I knew the guys from my years with Brian Free & Assurance, so it was an easy transition on to the Kingsmen bus. (Answer to an obscure trivia question; I am the last man Foxy hired before he passed away.) As far as meaning, it is more than an honor to be associated with the heritage of a multi-hall of fame group like the Kingsmen. So many who love this music, and desire to sing it, have dreamed about becoming a member. Having been one for 10 years now, I can say it was everything I thought it would be.
SGM- Is singing southern gospel something you aspired to do from an early age?
RC-No. I never thought about singing this style of music until I was a Freshman in college.
SGM- You are the groups Emcee during concerts. Was that a natural transition for you?
RC- Sort of! You can ask the guys, and my wife Caroline, I love to talk…A LOT! So having a reputation with the friends and fans who come to see us, I was a natural fit when Ray asked me to Emcee. It takes some work, however. It’s not all about talking and setting up songs. It’s reading a crowd, a moment, a spirit when you must go down a path you hadn’t planned on. Switch up things to best benefit the service or concert. That’s why we never have a set program.
SGM- When you perform Justified, the song really seems to resonate with the audience as you perform it with emotion. Does this song hold special meaning for you?
RC- It is just the message of redemption. Christ showing you His love and forgiveness. When man is ready to condemn and destroy, Jesus sees an opportunity to show Grace and compassion. And in doing so, creates another soul, another soldier to champion the cause of Christ – which is love and redemption. Christ said in Luke 7, he who is forgiven much, loves much. I, like the woman in this song, was sinful and bound for death. But Jesus forgave my sins, restored me, justified me through my faith in Him and His sacrifice. So now that I believe, I am condemned no more.
SGM- What is a favorite memory you have so far in singing with the Kingsmen
RC- The first time I stepped on stage with the guys at NQC. We closed that stand out with Jim Hamill singing, “Love Lifted Me”. Thinking about it now still brings chills!
SGM- What would you say is the biggest challenge about singing gospel music professionally?
RC- Having a family. It’s beyond difficult having a wife and children (being really involved in their lives) when you are away from home over 200 days every year. Some might think they can “get through it”. But trust me, you can only do that for so long. I’ve watched countless families disintegrate because of the schedule this job demands. It’s a shame, but it happens. You miss anniversaries and birthdays, you’re never in church with your family, never see a special program your kids are in, never see a dance recital, never see the big hit your son gets on Saturday to win the game…saying its not easy is an understatement. If your’e not called of God and sold out to seeing His Kingdom furthered, you can’t make it for long.
SGM- Who were your musical influences growing up?
RC- Gospel influences were the Hinsons, Cathedrals, Gold City, Inspirations, Kingsmen, and Larnelle Harris. Many influences in secular music.
SGM- When people attend a Kingsmen concert, what should they expect?
RC- excitement in the Holy Spirit. We are excited about our Savior and His gospel. That message of salvation. We try to give that away every night on stage. You’ll hear old and new songs, testimonies, and encouragement to grab hold of Jesus and not let go. It’s a struggle in this life. We are here to help encourage the soldiers of God to press on and to recruit and welcome the ones who will take up this fight once we are gone.
For more information on the Kingsmen quartet:
For booking information contact:
- The Harper Agency
615.851.4500 ext: 14