What if the Kingdom Heirs hit the road?

Right now, the Kingdom Heirs have one of the nicest deals possible in Southern Gospel: A steady job (at Dollywood) where the fans come to you, you get a predictable paycheck, and you can go home to your family almost every evening.

Other groups have had theater gigs for a while; Triumphant does this currently, and the Inspirations did for several years in the 1980s. Only time will tell what course Triumphant will take, but the Inspirations ended up choosing to leave the theater and hit the road.

It’s not out of the question that someday, whether by choice or by necessity, the Kingdom Heirs will someday hit the road full-time.

What would happen?

Would such a move cause them to lose some popularity, or would exposure to more dedicated Southern Gospel fans propel them into supergroup status?

Right now, they sing in front of quite a few people every year, 2.5 million by some generous estimates. But numerous Southern Gospel fans have never made the trek to Dollywood, and never seen the Kingdom Heirs come close to their area in one of those rare winter tour dates.

I don’t know the answer, but the questions are interesting thought to ponder.

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7 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. If the Kingdom Heirs were to hit the road full-time, I believe you would see their fan base grow exponentially. But it would be hard to start traveling full-time when I’m sure that they are already decently paid for their gig at Dollywood. I for one would hate to see their time at Dollywood expire, but that is because I’m only a couple of hours away.

  2. I think it would be awesome if they hit the road. We would like to have them for our church homecoming, but, it is in September. We will just have to listen to them at the NQC.

  3. I think it would be great if they did tour. I’ve traveled 65 miles the last two years to see the KH. And if they are there next year I plan on going back to Rutherfordton, N.C. again. For this is the closest I can get to hearing them live.
    They are well worth the trip!

  4. I would love to see the Kingdom Heirs hit the road full time, I feel they would be one of the mainstream strong, hard ticket, drawing artists out there, the Dollywood gig is, “one great job” if you are a southern gospel artist, and I am sure that hitting the road full time would have to be something unavoidable, if Steve French decided to do this, but the Harper Agency would again, be very honored to handle the full time booking for them, they were a pleasure to work with…

  5. That would rock! I’ve only seen KHQ in Dollywood one day, but I stayed for all 3 shows. I’ve also seen them at NQC, but never in a church setting. I think they would become the new supergroup if they did this.

  6. I think that it depends upon the Kingdom Heirs’ sense of ministry. While at Dollywood, they are performing before more non-Christians, who happen by to see the show. I think that is why they knock songs like, “The Empty Tomb Says It All” and “He Locked the Gates” completely out of the park. I had not heard this group, or at least noted it, until I heard them on solidgospel.com, and already I have two of their CDs! I am a life-long fan of SGM quartets–as a child, I was listening on my grandmother’s radio, when I heard of the crash of the Blackwood Brothers’ airplane in 1954. This group is among the best I’ve ever heard–Statesmen, Cathedrals (and their former members), Gold City (and their former members), etc. It also depends upon family situations: Herman Harper left the Oak Ridge back in the day, because he missed his family at critical ages. At any rate, whether in Dollywood or on the road, I hope to be hearing Billy, Arthur, Steve, and Jeff for a long time!

  7. Subliminally, I must have noted the posting by Jeff Harper three years ago, and remembered that his dad was a terrific bass for the Oak Ridge Quartet. I used to have several Oak Ridge albums from the early ’60s, and I especially remember “Folk Minded Spirituals for Spiritually Minded Folk.”