For more than six decades, John Daniel Sumner has been known as J.D. Sumner. His voice and personality place him solidly in a list of Southern Gospel’s ten all-time most remembered singersβ€”to the point where, in our industry, someone can jut say “J.D.” and everyone knows who is being discussed.

Or do we?

It turns out there have been quite a few other people with the first two initials J and D.

  • J.D. Vaughan – James D. Vaughan, the man credited with starting Southern Gospel in 1910.
  • J.D. Habedank – Joseph David Edward Habedank, seven-year lead singer for the Perrys and noted songwriter.
  • J.D. Brady – James David Brady, Jim Brady of the Booth Brothers.
  • J.D. McGlamery – Jon Devin McGlamery, lead singer for Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (and, previously, for Karen Peck & New River and the Dixie Melody Boys)
  • J.D. Rowsey – John Darin Rowsey, former member of Karen Peck and New River, and noted songwriter. He has written or co-written “Singing With the Saints,” “Freedom Band,” “Hey,” and “It Ain’t Gonna Worry Me Long.”
  • J.D. Smith – Joseph David Smith, Booth Brothers baritone and Mark Trammell Trio lead singer.
  • J.D. Walbert – James D. Walbert, grandson of James D. Vaughan, was a noted Southern Gospel pianist in his day. Today, he is best remembered for his compositions, “Peace Like a River” and “Tell It, Sing It, Shout It” among them. He has been inducted into the Southern Gospel Piano Roll of Honor and the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame.
  • J.D. Byler – Author of “Nobody Saved but Me,” recorded by the Kingsmen Quartet on their 1986 Stand Up at Opryland project. (Byler went by J.D.)
  • J.D. Miller – Co-writer of a number of Gaither songs, including “I Just Can’t Make it By Myself,” “I’ll Worship Only at the Feet of Jesus,” and “Still the Greatest Story Ever Told.” (Miller went by J.D.)

Are there any others?

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44 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Interesting post, but will still think Sumner when I hear “JD”

    • Oh, I probably will, too – at any rate, first think of Sumner and then think of this post! πŸ™‚

      • another singer with the same initials: Jon Devin McGlamery – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and I agree, when you hear “J.D.”, only Sumner comes to my mind.

      • Thanks! I had not known that!

  2. Those other people may have the same initials, but there was only one J.D.

  3. There’s probably a reason he chose to go by J.D. Too many John’s out there!!

    I went to school with a Justin Dennis, whom we often called “JD.”

    It’s not just JD. Think of two relatively common names: George and Glen. That could mean anyone, but everybody knows it’s George Younce and Glen Payne.

    • …at least when you say George and Glen together.

  4. Must be a slow news day?

    • As of 8:27 A.M. EST, but somehow, just saying that seems to bring on huge stories. πŸ™‚

  5. Here is some news, Daniel! We had a “packed house” concert last night in Ohio with Gold City! It was great! Steve Ladd was filling on tenor! That was worth the price of admission (to this free will offering concert)!

    • Fascinating, and no doubt Steve was incredible. But any word on Brent Mitchell?

      • I wondered why Brent wasn’t there either. Is it taking some time for him to get ready to start hitting the road with the group?

      • They said that their new tenor would be with them starting Nov. 11, but I don’t believe they mentioned his name.

      • OK. I’m assuming the plan is still for it to be Brent.

      • I think so…but I sure which Steve would come back…they really sounded good with him!

  6. Don’t know if her ever went by his initials, but there’s James Dean with Kevin Spencer’s group.

  7. OOps, the word above should be “HE” , not “her”.

  8. Daniel,
    You need to read your own website! :o)

    When they announced the hiring of Brent Mitchell, they said his first day would be November 11.

    • Ah. Sometimes things slip my memory!

  9. The other JDs you mentioned either are so obscure, the general public doesn’t know them or they don’t normally go by JD anyway. For example, I never have heard Joseph Habedank or John Rowsey going by JD. So, unless someone who goes by that name all the time makes a bigger impact on this industry than JD Sumner, he will be the JD whom everyone knows by those two initials, in my opinon.

    • Well, they don’t go by J.D. out of respect to Sumner, but they are J.D.s, so they theoretically could if they wanted!

      • They could also legally change their names to Bill Gaither, but until they do, no one is going to confuse them. πŸ˜€

      • So have you asked each of these people if they want to go by JD and are not out of respect for Sumner, or are you just scraping around for something to discuss? Because, with all due respect, I’m finding it hard to believe that these men all want to be referred to by JD and are just keeping peace in the gospel world by not doing so out of respect for Sumner’s memory. You said “they don’t go by JD out of respect to Sumner” but then you say “theoretically they could” so is it their wish to be called JD or just your theory about their initials? πŸ™‚ Sorry, but I’m gnawing on ya today Daniel, because this is just not very reality-based in my opinon. I still love ya anyway. πŸ™‚

      • Umm, Brady, you’re taking this post way too seriously! πŸ™‚

      • LOL! Is that what you think? I was actually wanting to poke fun of you for such a ridiculous post. I guess it came out wrong.

      • Phrases like “with all due respect” lead one to think that the person talking is talking seriously, not tongue-in-cheek. πŸ™‚

      • Daniel’s just being tongue-in-cheek. It’s just a fun thing. I’m sure Daniel doesn’t seriously think that. πŸ˜‰

      • Exactly, and NSF, did you see my comment seven minutes before (and right above) yours?

      • I did, I was just backing it up. πŸ™‚

      • OK. πŸ™‚

    • I don’t even know if it’s occurred to some of them to go by JD.

      At any rate, there’s no denying that everybody knows who you’re talking about when you say JD. Just because some other people in theory could go by that nickname doesn’t mean that there’s any doubt who JD is. πŸ˜‰

  10. John Deere Tractors! lol

  11. I’ve got it!!! JAMES DAVID Brady of the Booth Brothers! Can’t believe some one didn’t beat to it … lol πŸ˜‰

    • Wow! I can’t believe that one took this long, either! Thanks!

      • I didn’t know what Jimmy’s middle initial was, so I wasn’t going to say, but I did wonder… πŸ˜‰

      • I wouldn’t have known either if I hadn’t seen this [EDIT, 6/18/12: Broken link removed.] . lol.

      • You know I think I saw that too. Now I remember. LOL. πŸ˜€

  12. Hey, talking about JD, I was wondering if anyone would agree with me that Elvis should be inducted into the sgma hall of fame. He not only sang it, but was a great ambassador for it all over the world. I think we should try to help get him in. What does everyone else think

    • I disagree.

    • Elvis undoubtedly loved it, talked about it publicly, played it for several friends (actors etc.) and took it places that no one else was (or at least to the level). However, I think the Hall of Fame should be for those in the industry or who was in the industry. Now, I am not adverse to an award for those outside the industry who helped it. People like Dolly, Barbara Mandrell, Elvis and I am sure others would fit in well that way.

    • Mmmmmm, maybe…not? I’m not denying all that Elvis may have done for SG music, but to say the man had problems would be putting it mildly…

  13. JD Miller is a truly talented gentleman.

  14. This is J D Miller. I am honored that you included my name with so many other great ” J D”s associated with Gospel Music. However, I did NOT co-write “Gentle Shepherd”. The other songs you listed are correct, as well as several others. The Gaithers were very generous to allow me the opportunity and honor to co-write with them, as well as play keyboard on tour for 5 years.
    I do not want to ever take false credit for something I didn’t do from some very kind and gifted writers like the Gaithers.
    My name was ” JD ” long before I got involved in songwriting. Blame Lowell Mason for shortening my name from “Jackie” to J D in 1972. God bless you all!

    • J D – it is indeed an honor to hear from you! I have edited the post to remove “Gentle Shepherd.” That is interesting that you got the nickname from before your time in Gospel Music!