An Interview with Mike LeFevre
At the 2008 National Quartet convention, I had the chance to sit down and talk with Mike LeFevre for several minutes. LeFevre sang with the Alphus LeFevre Singers, the Singing Americans, Gold City, and Brian Free & Assurance; he now leads his own group, the Mike LeFevre Quartet (www.lefevrequartet.com). (EDIT: 8/5/2011: Broken link removed)
Here is the formatted interview: /features/200809.pdf.
The text of the interview is after the jump.
DJM: In the 80s, your name was familiar in Southern Gospel circles, but the nature of Southern Gospel news websites is that they attract many newer fans, who might not be as familiar with you. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
LeFevre: I started out on the road full-time at the age of 16, traveling with my uncle Alphus LeFevre. He’d retired from the LeFevres and started a family group with his son, myself, and some other people. I sang there for a few years.
Then I traveled in the early 80s with the Singing Americans. When Ed Hill got hurt, I filled in for him, and after that, when he had to go in for some surgeries. That was during the Clayton Inman / Danny Funderburk era. Then later on, when Michael English was there, I filled in some.
Brian Free and I had traveled together in a local group way before any of this—
DJM: He joined Gold City at 18, so he must have been pretty young then.
LeFevre: It was right before he went with Gold City. We sang together some. Gold City called me in December of ’84. I started with them in December of ’84, right at Christmastime. I sang with those guys for seven years—Brian Free, Ivan Parker, Tim Riley, Garry Jones era.
I left there and went home for a little while. Not because I was mad, or hurt, or anything—it was just time. Brian called me when he left and wanted to start Brian Free & Assurance with me, so I joined him and was there for about four years.
The same thing that took me off the road with Gold City brought me off again—my children. I wanted to see my children grow. And, I needed to be in church. You can go a lifetime singing Gospel music but not be in the meat of God’s word and really learn about what the promises of God are. I was at a place, a faraway place—even though I was saved, just not where I needed to be. That time period I spent in repentance, in learning about God’s word, in drawing closer to God, and learning what His promises actually were.
I go to Hopewell Baptist Church in Gainesville, Georgia. My pastor was constantly teaching on your calling, and we even did studies there at my church about your calling. I knew what my calling was, and that was to do this.
God has just taken this group, and this ministry part of our group, and has just blossomed it. So that brings you up to date.
DJM: So how many years ago was it that you started to get a sense that this was God’s calling on your life, and that He wanted you to get back on the road?
LeFevre: Well, I think I’ve always known it was my calling. I’ve always had a passion for it; I loved it, and the fact that God had put me with some wonderful groups was a neat thing. But spiritually when I learned about what God’s calling is, that was about four years ago during that eight-year stint when I stayed at home, off the road, going to church and working a job.
I love it! If God says “it’s over” tomorrow, I can say that these last four years I feel like I spent doing what God wanted me to do, not just what I wanted to do. And there’s a big difference.
DJM: So going back to your Gold City era, what would you say would be your favorite project and your favorite feature song from that time period?
LeFevre: That’s tough. Of course, one that would be the most special to me would be the first project I did with them, which would be Double Take Live in Charleston, South Carolina. That was special to me because first, I’d never done a live album, and second, being the first live album, it just sticks in your mind.
“When I Get Carried Away” was the first song that I had with the group, and that song ended up going to #1. So that was probably one of the most memorable for me. But we had so many wonderful songs over my time with Gold City. I look back on those songs—“Once Upon a Hill,” “Midnight Cry,” during my era there, and it’s hard for me to pick a favorite.
One of my favorite projects that we did was a Christmas CD that was partly a capella and partly tracks that Lari Goss produced. I enjoyed that; that was a favorite project.
That was just such a special time. I made some great friends, and Brian and I remain buddies to this day, and Tim, Ivan, and Garry. So that just was a special time in my life.
DJM: Could you tell us a bit about your group and current personnel?
LeFevre: Our tenor singer is Gus Gaches. What’s so unique about that is that he’s got such a beautiful tenor voice, and nobody ever hired him! I can’t believe that. But I guess that gets back to God’s timing. Actually, he did sing some with Calvary Construction Company. They had a song that did real well, but I can’t remember the name of it…
DJM: “No Blues in Heaven”? “You Had Your Hand on Me”?
LeFevre: “You Had Your Hand on Me.” He’s a studio engineer, a studio singer, and an incredible guy. Just an incredible guy.
Our lead singer, David Staton, has a history in Gospel music that goes way back. He’s written songs for Gold City—we did “Do it By the Book,” he wrote that; “In His Will There is a Way” that Jeff & Sheri Easter did, that went #1. The songs we’ve done so far—“Do Whatever it Takes to Get to Jesus,” and he’s got four cuts on our new CD, writing by himself and co-writing. He, Gus, and Joel Lindsey did a song together on the new project called “Time to Sing.”
Our bass singer is Stacey Bragg. In the 80s when Hovie Lister & the Statesmen started up for a short time there with Gaither, Stacey sang bass for them for a while. He studied bass singing under LeRoy Abernathy. He’s a really great guy. He’s comic relief, man! He’s got that dry sense of humor, and he’s just incredible.
My son, a great Christian young man, is our drummer—Jordan LeFevre. Our pianist is Trey Ivey; he’s 18 years old. He both attends Truitt McConnell college and travels with us. So both of those young guys have full schedules.
Our bass player, Gary Coursey, goes with us when he can. He’s got 20-something years in with Delta and wants to get that retirement. I used to travel with him with the Singing Americans, and he played some for the Hinsons and for Exodus, years ago with Pat Hoffmaster, Rick Strickland, and those guys.
That leaves me.
DJM: What makes your group unique?
LeFevre: It’s hard for me to look at us and say that we’re something that somebody else is not. One thing that I think is unique is that we’re all friends. We all love each other, have a great time, we laugh together, we do things together. If the bus is leaving on a Saturday morning, all the guys will come in Friday and we’ll go to a movie or do something fun together, go bowling. We have a good time as friends. Sometimes in some groups, that’s not a common thing. I think that’s a uniqueness.
I think we blend together, not only as friends, but when we sang together for the very first time, it was one of those things where you kinda know, “That’s it.” What I think is so neat for me is that God gave me the privilege to sing with some great groups in the past. Now, here I am, however many years later, and He’s given me the privilege to sing with a great group again. I’m very humbled by that, and very humbled by all of the great things that are happening.
DJM: Any other things you’d like to comment on?
LeFevre: I wanna mention Canaan—Dave Clark, Emily, and Rhonda who does the radio, and Crystal that does our publicity, they’re a team in and of themselves, and they do such a great job for us. And see, here’s a neat thing, and this will show you how God works. Really, we’re still a new group. We’re three and a half years old. Yet God somehow placed it in David’s heart to say, “You know, these guys have got something to offer.” We didn’t have big numbers to show them—we sell this many records, we do this or that—we didn’t. But their heart—we had a kindred spirit there.
Recently Ed and Jeff Harper and Dana Harper, we talked with them, and they wanted to book us. That was another blessing. Those were two things that have been a wonderful thing.
DJM: How can people get in touch with you?
LeFevre: For bookings, they can contact us at www.harperagency.com. Or they can go to our website at www.lefevrequartet.com and contact us. You can contact any of the guys in the group—they have their own email address there.
DJM: Thank you very much!
LeFevre: Thank you, Daniel.