Northern Gospel

Question: What does Northern Gospel sound like?


  • The Cathedrals (Ohio)
  • Gaither Vocal Band (Indiana)
  • Signature Sound (Ohio)
  • Collingsworth Family (Ohio) (sort ofโ€”Greater Cincinnati is more South than not)
  • Joseph Habedank and Matthew Holt of the Perrys (Ohio)
  • Jacob Kitson of Greater Vision (Michigan when with Kitsons)
  • Mercy’s Mark (Ohio)
  • Ball Brothers (Illinois natives)
  • The Spencers (Ohioโ€”in fact, my hometown)
  • Couriers (Pennsylvania)

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50 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Loren Harris is from Elizabethton, TN, where he still lives. I don’t know if he was born in the area, but he and his family have been in Elizabethton for a long, long time. If I remember correctly from when I was very young, our dads worked together.

  2. Neat. I’ll edit my post and remove him from the list. I wasn’t sure (and still am not).

  3. Steve Green is from Portland, OR. My group will be from Albany, OR. More Northern Gospel.

  4. You’re also forgetting Lorne Matthews. He’s from Toronto, if that’s considered the North.

  5. Sure is! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. A few others include…
    Soulโ€™d Out Quartet
    Georgetown, OH

    Washington Court House, Ohio

    Liberty Quartet
    BOISE, Idaho

  7. Duh! I’d forgotten about Liberty Quartet. I had been thinking northern as in east-of-the-Mississippi northern, but Liberty is definitely toward the northmost full-time SG groups in the U.S.

  8. I’ll go ahead and throw my name in the ring…I’m from PA!!

  9. It seems that I can’t spell my own name. Sorry!!

  10. I’ll go ahead and throw my name in the ring..I’m from PA!!

  11. I think Albany and Portland are actually further north of Boise. I know Idaho and Oregon are both in the Pac Northwest.

  12. I forgot about the Birdsong Family and the Cunningham Sisters.
    I’m not sure about DayBreak. Their baritone and bass singers are from Oak Harbor, WA.

    • I am looking for the Cunningham sisters family
      I believe the fathers name is James.
      He was a baptist minister in Niagara Falls Ontario, and moved west in the 90s

  13. I’m from Cincinnati, born and raised. Steve Ladd (Gold City) is from Dayton, OH, a “secret headquarters” of Northern Gospel.

  14. Good point!

  15. Wasn’t the Collingsworth family originally from Kentucky though?

  16. They lived there for a while. Phil and Kim met in Cincinnati and, I believe, began their music ministry there (long before anyone heard of them). Then they moved across the river to Kentucky, but they moved back across to Ohio a year or two ago.

  17. I would guess the only reason Mercy’s Mark was from Ohio was because Garry Jones was there when Signature Sound was formed. Not sure where he lived before but I would assume he lived in Alabama or Georgia when he was with Gold City. The original Mercy’s Mark members were all from Alabama with the exception of Facello who was probably in KY (The Journeymen) or GA. I don’t know if any of them relocated or not.

  18. True…but as of the last time his website was updated, and it’s updated fairly regularly, Garry had still chosen to stay in Ohio:

    [EDIT, 11/6/10: Regrettably, the link seems to be broken, so it has been removed.]

  19. Not denying that but Garry is originally from FL. That’s about as far south USA as you can get without being in Puerto Rico. lol
    So are we going by current location and not hometown then? If so then you need to remove the members of The Perrys and Greater Vision from your list since both groups are based out of Morristown, TN.

  20. Oh, I wasn’t really going by any formal rules. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Probably half the list could have some legitimate claim by some Southern state. ๐Ÿ˜†

  21. No thanks, we aren’t claiming The Spencers.

  22. Also, I think Bill & Gloria Gaither have never (at least since their marriage) lived anywhere but Indiana, but some of the members of their groups have.

  23. George Younce often said the Cathedrals were from the Ohio – but that he was the only one actually from the North… That is “North” Carolina…


  24. How about the Isaacs? They live in TN now, but the kids were raised in Ohio and Lily is from New York City.

  25. I knew they lived in Ohio for a while; I just hadn’t remembered for how long.

  26. the Weatherfords made their home in Californy for a while.
    Is Oklahoma considered the South? If it’s considered Yankeeland, then GloryBound, Witness, and Assurance Trio are from there. The Brothers (quintet) are also from Ohio methinks.

  27. The LeFevres were from Philadelphia for a while – and my roots are from my native New Jersey. I cut my teeth with The Forerunners in Maine and New Hampshire (and then later in New Jersey) and then with The Gabriels from Pennsylvania, who worked closely with The Couriers. Then, I was Courier-tenor Duane Nicholson’s piano player when The Couriers temporarily quit in the early 80’s.

    As a result, our group has a definite distinctive Northeast leaning and influence, and I have learned that people from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, New Jersey and parts north of there understand what we do musically and why we do it – while some in the South do not “get it”. We can do a recreation of a well-known style of music or stylistic song from the northeast, and that crowd recognizes it immediately, but other regions of the country sometimes do not even know it is a recreation or homage to a bygone style of the northeast.

    Nick Bruno from New York City (Staten Island) is a great example of one who has thrived anywhere he has gone.

    Cliff Cerce
    The Cerces

  28. Actually, Portland, OR is north of Portland, ME(fwiw). Check it out!

  29. It is? I though Maine was the northernmost state next to Alaska.

  30. you southerners need a little geography lesson. Northern US is NOT Ohio. Look at your map. We do sing the Southern style” in the real north, ie, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, and yes we have real quartets up here as well.

  31. Northern US is not Ohio. It’s a much bigger space than Ohio.

    (whispers: But it does include Ohio! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  32. Micah Schweinsberg, drummer for Crabb Family and Crabb Revival is from Ohio. I see someone beat me in saying Steve Ladd of Gold City. Of course when you talk about Southern Ohio, it’s right by KY and WV. That is not even Yankee territory!

  33. Good grief! How could I forget the Calvarymen from Michigan! A great quartet!
    And that Jodi Hosterman from PA is a great singer(very average golfer though….sorry Jodi lol!!! ok, I wasn’t any better…) and I guess the Skyline boys could be considered north. They are Northwest of Washington DC. (farther north than southern IN or OH)

  34. #32 – Well…that’s almost as logical as saying that Southern TX is not US territory since it’s so close to Mexico! ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. The Freemans are also from Ohio. Darrell and Joe Freeman, were both born in South Amherst Ohio. Darrell was raised in Sandusky, and Joe in Kansas, Ohio. All their Family’s are still there.

  36. #35 – I totally should have remembered that. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

  37. Wouldn’t Jacob Kitson be considered northern? He came out of Michigan. Does northern also include Western states south of the Northwest that were not confederate?

    • Jacob was already on the list. ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. I think the Borthers (Faith Music Missions Group) were from Ohio.

  39. I’d like to throw the Dartts and the Hinsons in the hat. They bother started out in California, but they moved to Tennessee/Kentucky.

  40. Do bloggers count lol… I am from Indiana You Daniel are from Ohio and there are several others from the north… I notice that crowds in the North tend to be a little more rowdy at times… According to some industry friends… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ok, count bloggers if you like. Of course, this site’s other contributor (Sony) hails from Michigan, too.

  41. The Epleys, I think are from the North.

  42. The Northwest needs more groups. All the groups up here (except Liberty) are local groups that sometimes travel to the east for special occasions.

  43. Signature Sound ended up being based in Ohio, but most of the guys are originally from Indiana. And Ernie specifically I know grew up right across the river from Kentucky. He has a beautiful southern accent you could cut with a knife, so I wouldn’t define him as northern anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • It is kinda hard considering when people move from the south to the north. Up in Oregon, there’s a lot of people from Texas. I’m from California originally (Don’t tell anyone from Oregon that.).

      • I know…and two out of five of the members of the GVB are Texan as well! Plus Wes is from Alabama.

  44. Wouldn’t California be considered the North? then you got Guy Pendrod, the Hinsons, and Chris Freeman.

    • As the southernmost of the three coastal western states, I would say that California does not count as the North.


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