Arden, North Carolina (January 3, 2024) — “2022 was a bit of a stressful year for the Kingsmen,” confesses Alan Kendall, baritone singer for storied Southern Gospel quartet, The Kingsmen. “Not only were we tasked with finding a lead singer and tenor singer almost simultaneously, but Ray Dean Reese also began experiencing voice problems, and began relinquishing his spot in the front line of the group to Drew Laney. Thankfully, God knew that Thomas Nalley and Cole Watson would be facing similar transitions in their lives, and sent them our way. To my pleasant surprise, 2023 has probably been the best year the Kingsmen have had since I joined the group.”
Now, as if to put an exclamation mark on the assessment, The Kingsmen will release their first full-length album for Horizon Records since 2021’s More To The Story. Featuring the current lineup of Kendall, Laney, Nalley and Watson — and, on two memorable tracks, legendary bass singer Ray Dean Reese — Unstoppable God, now available for pre-save/add ahead of its February 16 release, offers convincing proof that, though the voices may have changed, the talent and faith that have sustained the group for more than half a century are as strong as ever. From the up-tempo opener, “Sound of The Righteous,” which employs piano, five-string banjo and fiddle to frame its joyous message of redemption at hand:
The time is near, it won’t be very long
The saints are on the move, and soon we’ll walk on holy ground
I hear the sound of the righteous marching home
to the majestically orchestrated closing “No Other King,” with its acknowledgement of Jesus’ sacrifice:
No other King would come here to be
Despised and rejected and nailed to a tree
Lay down His life for a sinner like me
I will ever sing
To no other King
the collection speaks with the blend of conviction and artistry that have animated The Kingsmen’s musical ministry from their earliest day. Working with creative director Brandon Reese, producer Jeff Collins has assembled, starting with first single, “Unstoppable God,” a set of fresh new songs — the lone exception being long-time fan favorite and current single, “I Just Stopped By On My Way Home” — that exemplify the quartet’s ability to place a wide range of styles and sounds in the service of their single message of faith.
“When we finished in the studio,” recalls Kendall, “Our producer Jeff Collins said, ‘Well, the Kingsmen have done it again.’ As flattering as that kind gesture is, I’d have to say that God did it again. I could not have put this team together myself. The dedication and obedience of Ray and Brandon Reese to God’s calling on their lives is strong, and God has just proven that His favor in our ministry supersedes anything that the enemy may try to use against those who belong to Jesus. Unstoppable God is a testimony of my life, it’s a testimony of the Kingsmen, and I believe it will be the testimony of a lot of our listeners. I’ve seen His hand work miracles in my life, in such a way that I knew it was His will and not mine. We serve an unstoppable God, whose word, whose love, and whose plan for our lives is infallible!”
Pre-save/add Unstoppable God HERE.
About The Kingsmen
For more than half a century, no other group has secured such a far-reaching legacy as that of The Kingsmen Quartet. Since 1956, this group has risen from humble beginnings in the mountains of western North Carolina to become one of the most beloved and innovative groups in Christian music. Countless renowned artists have been a part of this great lineage, such as Eldridge Fox, “Big” Jim Hamill, Ray Dean Reese, Squire Parsons, Johnny Parrack, Anthony Burger, Ernie Phillips, Gary Sheppard, and a host of others. The momentum has not stopped as this group continues to help define the Southern Gospel genre for a whole new generation of music lovers, perhaps more so than any other group.
In the mid-fifties, brothers Raymond, Reese, and Louis McKinney formed a gospel group, traveling locally throughout the western part of the Carolinas and completing dozens of recordings by the late 60’s. By the early 70’s, area natives Eldridge Fox and Ray Dean Reese joined this emerging quartet and in 1974 released their first live recording, “Big & Live” consisting of Fox, Reese, Jim Hamill, and Johnny Parrack. This Dove award winning album brought to gospel music, fresh arrangements and catchy melodies that would later become southern gospel classics, such as “Glory Road,” “Look for Me At Jesus Feet,” and “Love Lifted Me.” This would be the start of many legendary live albums for the Kingsmen. Traveling with a live band, the Kingsmen became one of few groups during this era to be able to perform with three to five musicians, granting them individuality and innovation in the industry.
Always seeking to have a creative edge, they began introducing themselves as, “The Ton of Fun.” Through the late 1970’s and 80’s, more hits were churning from albums such as “Chattanooga Live,” “Live Naturally,” & “Live at The University of Alabama.” These albums combined with high energy and up-tempo music brought music lovers an exciting brand of showmanship. Songs like, “Old Ship of Zion,” “Shake Hands with a Poor Boy,” “Beautiful Home,” “Saints Will Rise,” and “Child, Child” became gospel music staples. In 1981, “Excuses” became the Kingsmen’s biggest hit of that era; it was steady at number one for 18 months, making it the longest running number one song in Southern Gospel Music history.
The successes of The Kingsmen have led to many prestigious opportunities. In 1977, The Kingsmen performed on the south lawn of the White House for President Jimmy Carter and in 1982 they performed at the opening ceremony of the World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN which was broadcast on local and regional TV, with President Ronald Reagan present to open the fair. The Kingsmen was also the first group to film and record a live performance at the famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and in 2000 they were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame followed by the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2008. They’ve garnered multiple dove awards and numerous Singing News Fan awards including favorite bass vocalist, tenor, baritone, lead, instrumentalist, video, the 1992 favorite song “Wish You Were Here” as well as favorite album by the same name, male quartet of the year, and group of the year. The Kingsmen band was voted favorite band a record 17 times making this quartet one of the most awarded groups in Southern Gospel Music.