Gardners Renew Publicity Contract

I received the following press release yesterday:

The Gardners Renews Contract with Southern Spin Entertainment

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Zion Music Group recording artist The Gardners have renewed their contract with Southern Spin Entertainment. The group has signed on for another full year of exclusive publicity from Southern Spin Entertainment. The up and coming artist will continue to have access to all media publications serviced by Southern Spin Entertainment, as well as marketing possibilities with the organization.

“What an amazing year it has been for the Gardners,” mentioned Chris Unthank, Executive Director of Southern Spin Entertainment. “This group is really starting to make some major headway in this industry. We are so excited that they are partnering with us for another year!”

Mitchell Gardner of The Gardners said, “We have really enjoyed our time with SSE. They are a fantastic company to work with.”

The Gardners had an eventful year in 2007. The group was recently the big winner at the United States Association of Gospel Entertainers and Musicians (USAGEM) Awards ceremony. The Gardners were awarded Artist of the Year, Group of the Year, Song of the Year (“Great Big God” written by Mitchell Gardner), and the Southern Gospel Crown Jewel Award.

Fans are encouraged to listen for The Gardners’ current radio release, “More Than Anything Else” at Southern Gospel radio now.

The group’s new single, “More Than Anything Else”, can be found on Zion Music Group’s Compilation 41, cut #6. “More Than Anything Else” is the follow-up single to “Great Big God” – the debut single from their Zion Music Group recording The Gardners.

More information on the Gardners can be found at

About The Gardners
Based out of Huntland, Tennessee, the Gardners are a Southern Gospel music ministry that has spanned more than 40 years of musical excellence. Whether performing in small churches or major Gospel music events, the Gardners are a busy group, frequently performing and proclaiming their musical Gospel outside the traditional boundaries of the four walls of a church. Today the group is made up of twin brothers Michael and Mitch Gardner and Mitch’s wife, Regina. Together, they form a dynamic trio that features tight harmonies and well-written songs that are penned by the siblings.

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25 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. Okay…what makes this news?

  2. Running out of stuff to talk about? lol

  3. I agree. I beg to ask the definition of terms such as “major events,” “amazing year,” “major headway,” and “eventful” to describe a group who is not working events by major promoters, not in a major national marketing campaign, not hitting the top ten with their songs, etc. I’ve been been in gospel music over 20 years and a fan twice as long, and I’ve never heard of the USAGEM awards. If I were Southern Spin, I’d be embarrassed to try to dress this up as a legitimate press release and force its relevancy on the rest of us who know better.

  4. I will try to say this as nicely as possible……what did SSE do for this group during the last year? Did they get a little story on Is that all? What made it worth signing for another year? I don’t want to trash the group or the website…..I just loook at this stuff aas a waste of money that could be put into a retirement account.

    This seems like the exact sort of stuff Nick Bruno is always talking about. If it is not, I would love to have someone explain to me what great services the have recieved….maybe we all would want to sign up then!

    I get tired of these press releases that groups send out that really mean nothing. Groups get so excited that they updated their website after 9 months of no updates…they send out a press release! woohooo! How about updating it evey week? They send out press releases to announce they signed with a company who sends out press releases. ha!

    Again, I dont know this group and don’t want to be critical of the Unthanks, I just don’t see what the poit is or what most of these groups are getting for the money.

    I also think there are too many “award winning” groups ….with awards that no one heard of and only 30 people voted for.

  5. Do something that makes news.
    What you do is good enough, it will make the news.
    Signing a lease contract for $1500 a month is not news.
    Signing a lease contract for $50,000 a month for the same space would be news in the business section of the local newspaper.
    Press releases is a means for free advertising.
    Ask your local newspaper retail display advertising rep. what they think of a press release.
    They tell you you get what you pay for as the editors can cut the release to fit the news space which might put the release out of context.
    The reps. will tell you that paid advertisers get very upset when the “free” press release promotes the competitor product while they paying for display ads.
    You will never see a press release on my website unless I make the decision that it is truly news worthy to post.

  6. I should have hired SSE to spell check my previous post! Re-reading is my friend!

  7. The only Gardner I have ever heard of is Joy Gardener.

  8. If you have any questions or concerns about SSE or what we offer – please direct them to the company. You can email me at or visit for my information.


    BTW – Nick Bruno has not only approved of our services and been a huge cheerleader and supporter of SSE, but has utilized our company’s services himself many times and included the company in his new venture, myTeamABC.

  9. Chris,

    I went out of my way (including the bruno comment)to say it was not an attack of your work(as is popuar in some circles), but a question to others about the benefit of your services.

    I am sorry , but there is no way anyone should only get their info from the company that offers it. I did not sign the papers to build my new house last year just based on the builders word. I knocked on doors of houses that the builder had built and asked those homeowners what they thought. After getting good opinions from them….I built the house.

    I have been full time in this industry for 14 years. In that amount of time I have had dozens of “record companies” , “agents” and the like try to take my money.

    My question here on this public forum was, has anyone used the services of SSE and had measurable growth because of it? That is not a question to ask of you, but of those who use the service.

    Once again, I am not attacking your services. (maybe a line or two in my OP could have been better) I am just curious why someone renews a contract when I don’t see them anywhere else. Obviously they think they got their monies worth. If the Gardners are seeing great growth because of their contract with SSE that is great. I just watch groups pour money into things that make no sense a lot.

    Since they Amway days (another story hahahah) I am careful is all!

  10. To all–I did have something in mind when posting this story, something I plan to elaborate on in tomorrow’s post.

    Mark–I’ll let Chris answer the main question, but I will say that I think they have helped re-brand the Dove Brothers as the group transitioned from a traditional to a modern, more cutting-edge ensemble. I think that would be one noticeable achievement.

  11. Mark – my comment was in no way directed towards one person – and it in no way was meant to assume that we can only answer questions about our company. Just letting everyone know that we would be happy to answer any questions anyone had privately.

    I think what most people assume (notice the word I used here) is that SSE is only a Press Release supply house. Writing and distributing press releases is only a small portion of what we do. Most of what we do – and this includes (or should include in any PR firm) much more behind the scenes work.

    As to the remark – I’m not sure The Gardners were featured on SGN this past year. Besides that, I have to pitch any article ideas to SGN like I would any other media outlet – and if we are going to advertise on the site (like on the message boards) – we have to pay for that just like anyone else. We get no breaks just because family owns the site. (That’s another thing I think people assume or have a hard time understanding.)

    Daniel gives an excellent example of the Dove Brothers (though we can’t take full credit for that – McCray Dove really is a very smart and open minded business man). There are others – like rebranding The Imperials, breaking HisSong and Crystal River, and successfully launching Johnny Minick’s solo career. Those are just three examples. Now we are working with The Freemans in the same manner we have the Dove Brothers, and have already seen a very positive response from media outside of the SG market (another area that we work in that most people in SG will never see).

    Someone like The Gardners (who this press release is about) has seen some national exposure – but where they have benefited the most has been on a local level, where we focused a good portion of our energy with them. Again, this is something you probably don’t know anything about or don’t see directly.

    Each artist that we work with has a different focus and area that they want to build. Each artist is different – and so their success is going to be different. Not all the artists are going to see the kind of success that people like DBQ, Freemans, Imperials, or HisSong have seen – and we are very upfront with our artists in that aspect. (This is probably one of the big reasons that Bruno has been such a big supporter of the company.)

    We definitely aren’t one of those companies out there who are out to take the little guy – even though that seems to be something that people have assumed about us.

    I hope I have answered some of your questions. If not – please feel free to ask more. I’m very open to anything you want to know.

  12. >>Mark said, “I am sorry , but there is no way anyone should only get their info from the company that offers it. “

  13. …and Susan, that is why I commented with the success story of re-branding the Dove Brothers. 🙂

    I certainly don’t have anything against SSE. I’m not out to slam you guys, or anything like that. I posted this to start a discussion, which I hope to direct a little more in tomorrow’s post.

  14. Don’t know where the rest of my post went, but I would like to ask Mark, if he has ever inquired personally of the company? I agree that one should always check the references of any company they hire. But too many times in this genre I see my family’s name raked through the coals by people who do not know us or have ever taken the time to speak to us by email or in person and have no idea of who we are, what we do or what our goals are. It’s much easier to sling mud.

    Chris attempted to encourage anyone to contact him with questions. I think that is pretty transparent.

  15. <p>In response to what some have said—If I want to purchase a recording that the distributor or even the artist says is good,do you think I’m going to give in and go buy it on blind faith?I,like a normal person,would ask other people for their opinions on the quality of the recording.Are SG record companies so mentally challenged that they think everyone would bet their money on a recording before it gets in their hands? I’d have to say not! Or at least-I hope not!BTW-I don’t believe the majority of HisSong’s recent success has come from SSE.Ever since they started working with Wayne Haun/Kevin Ward aka Vine Records for their cd…most of the success came.It doesn’t add up that HisSong has had a publicity agreement for 6 months to a year with SSE and is just now getting rave reviews.It’s almost as if they had to sign a record contract to get a top 20 or receive nominations.</p>
    <p>Susan, [EDITED. No ad hominems please.]</p>

  16. HisSong has been with SSE for almost over 4 years.

  17. Sorry – that should be “over 4 years” not “almost 4 years.”

  18. [EDITED. No ad hominems please.] Quality always prevails. Not some news release, or signing with some media company. If you can REALLY sing, and have a God given talent, then your in. Nothing else will get you there. [DITTO.] Truly a joke.

  19. Why not ask HisSong if they are happy with the services and find them worthwhile?

    At least I have the nerve to sign my name to my posts 🙂

    Like, I said, mud slinging is easy when you are anonymous and when you don’t take the time or the effort to get to know anyone personally.

  20. To help you outm here is what SSE does:

    The services that helps builts the base beyond the “1000” true fans:
    [EDIT, 6/18/12: Broken link removed.]

    Look beyound the headline to see what they do: [EDIT, 2/21/13: Broken Link Removed.]

    Finally, on the bottom on one of their web pages you will find this description what they do:

    “For more information on Southern Spin Entertainment, go to .
    SSE Group’s four divisions include Southern Spin Entertainment, SSE Design Group, Southern Spin Artist Direction, and Southern Spin Radio. SSE Group currently owns and operates Glorious Creations,,, and
    For more information on SSE Group, go to

  21. HisSong? Who are they? Just a spin-off of Heirline. Seems to be a lot of stigmata behind both those groups anyhow. I don’t see how anything you did could merit their success. Perhaps their connection with Wayne and Vine records have much to do with that. Not you guys. People are not ignorant. HisSong did not have any success till they signed with Vine. And have you heard these guys live? Reminds me of some sissys whining for Jesus, all the while being too loud. And their latest cd? Can we say stacked out the wazoo, so much so that you can notice that they aren’t even matching up to their vocals. Hmm. Sounds like someone in production is just getting their paycheck and letting things pass under the gun. But on a personal note. I could care less about HisSong, or the many other groups out there that have no business singing. They are mere church singers at best. But our fan base has been so oversaturated with this mess, that they don’t know good singing from apple butter. (Which Cracker Barrell has some of the best apple butter….yum!!) I’m not slinging mud, just trying to bring to light the truth about the companies and groups that really just leach of a market that they could never be a part of. If half of these groups walked up to the contemporary or country market, the record labels and industry executives would laugh at them for their lack of talent, and send them home. You know it, and I know it! You can prance around it all you want. Say what ever you will, but its the truth. Our market will entertain them awhile, and allow them to play with the big boys, such as press releases, or some chart success, but only because the market needs their money. Its sad, really, to watch these groups finance all they have, borrow from their family and friends, just to pay their way in. Seems they never really make it though. You think there is a reason as to why the NQC board, or most the market and industry leaders are part of, or associated with MAJOR, TALENTED groups? Its called security and survival. They are in the most control, and I seriously doubt they are gonna let a group like HisSong get any headway. Those major groups will remain on top, and that is the way they plan to keep it. But they don’t mind your money! It helps to keep their major group on the road, and on the top!

    By the way, it doesn’t matter who I am, just as it doesn’t really matter who you are. But just to level with you, my name is Marcus.

    And this really has nothing to do with being anonymous, or getting to know someone personally. Its only discussion about the subject posted, and will not really matter in 100 years. Perhaps focusing on salvation, instead of group success would merit a great discussion. Course I’m sure a business like yours would find a way to leach off of that as well….JK.

  22. It has a lot to do about being anonymous.
    Maybe the bloggers, the editor or the host or whatever you call them, in this genre should adopt the policy local newspapers do about letters to the editors being printed on the editorial pages.
    Name, address, email address and screen name be authenticated prior to posting with the screen identity be available for public view.
    It makes all the difference in the world how you post.

  23. GospelMusicFan,

    Why did you link to SSE does NOT run I even said that in the long post of mine above (#11). There is even a disclaimer on SSE’s Service’s page (which you linked to) that says we have no special dealings with SGN. I’m confused as to why you linked to that site?

    As for everyone’s comments about HisSong – this post isn’t really about HisSong – so I’m not sure why certain people have got on just to trash that group. I just brought them up as an example of a group that we helped to break. I didn’t say we did it all ourselves (just like I can’t claim to the recent success of DBQ solely).

    I have not stated our prices on this forum and they are not available publicly – so I don’t know where people get off assuming that we are “leaching” groups of their money. I’m pretty sure that if you knew our actual prices you might think twice about that assumption.

    Again – I would appreciate it if people had questions about our company and our services if they would ask me instead of making assumptions. (I’ve already posted about the assumptions part and it seems people just ignored it.)

    Thanks guys.

  24. Chris and Susan,

    First Chris:

    Thanks for your even handed reply. I find it interesting you pay for rates on SGN. If that is the case then that shows a fairness and unbias that most people don’t get a look at. I commend you for it. BTW, I happen to be one who likes your site and thinks you guys do a good job. My whole comments came from a position of I would like to hear an artist that pays for the services say how great they are.

    I do regret that I made the comment here because that allowed some peopl to start slinging mud and dive into comments about som of your acts being whiny, ect….stupid and uncalled for. Thanks for the comments Chris.

    Susan: As I said, I was lookig for someone besides the company to brag on it. Wrong venue I guess. Maybe those people don;t even read these blogs. I know you probably get gun shy because almost since day one there have been a lot of “haters” towards you…..but I was NOT slinging mud at you or your kids. I work my butt off in the SG field and know you guys do to.

    That said…..the main point of my comments still stands… artist should always check with others to see if a service is worthwhile. A lot of money gets spent in this industry because “everybody is doing it.” That is why most groups don’t have 3 minutes worth of reserve cash in their accounts , let alone 3 months like any good business should have.

    Keeep up the good work.(must be if everyone keeps renewing!)

  25. Mark,

    Thank you. As I previously stated, I agree that references should indeed be checked before doing any business.