Gospel greats The Kingsmen Quartet tell the joyful story of Christmas with original song “Tell It On The Mountain”
The Kingsmen Tell The Christmas Story
Legendary gospel quartet The Kingsmen is telling the joyful story of Christmas again with “Tell It On The Mountain,” an original song with an imaginative nod to an earlier retelling, written by the group’s Chris Bryant. Though time has passed, the truths of Jesus’ birth remain the same, and the story and good news should still be shared everywhere.
“As The Kingsmen sat down and began looking for original Christmas songs, I had the idea for this upbeat traditional quartet tune. I wanted to write something that would spread not only the joy of the Christmas story, but also the promise of hope that it still means to the world today,” says Bryant. “‘Tell It On The Mountain’ is an exciting declaration of the good news that we still need to go out and share. It was an honor to have the rest of the guys fall in love with this song and to be able to record it. It’s my first venture back into writing since I was a kid. I believe that all Southern Gospel fans will really enjoy it.”
Though it references familiar Christmas songs, “Tell It On The Mountain” delivers the story of Christ’s birth to listeners in a contemporary form, driven by Bryant’s lead, a tenor vocal from Chris Jenkins, and the award-winning quartet’s rich blend of harmonies.
“Tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and everywhere
Tell it on the mountain
Good tidings now to share
What we knew before is now no more
There’s a baby born let us adore
Peace and Good will to man
Tell it on the mountain”
The Kingsmen deliver a high energy song that makes the hallowed story new again, and is sure to keep the spirit of Christmas alive through the season.
Listen to “Tell It On The Mountain” HERE.
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Who Are The Kingsmen
For more than half a century, no other group has secured such a far-reaching legacy as that of The Kingsmen Quartet. Since 1956, this group has risen from humble beginnings in the mountains of western North Carolina to become one of the most beloved and innovative groups in Christian music. Countless renowned artists have been a part of this great lineage, such as Eldridge Fox, “Big” Jim Hamill, Ray Dean Reese, Squire Parsons, Johnny Parrack, Anthony Burger, Ernie Phillips, Gary Sheppard, and a host of others. The momentum has not stopped as this group continues to help define the Southern Gospel genre for a whole new generation of music lovers, perhaps more so than any other group.
In the mid-fifties, brothers Raymond, Reese, and Louis McKinney formed a gospel group, traveling locally throughout the western part of the Carolinas and completing dozens of recordings by the late 60’s. By the early 70’s, area natives Eldridge Fox and Ray Dean Reese joined this emerging quartet and in 1974 released their first live recording, “Big & Live” consisting of Fox, Reese, Jim Hamill, and Johnny Parrack. This Dove award winning album brought to gospel music, fresh arrangements and catchy melodies that would later become southern gospel classics, such as “Glory Road,” “Look for Me At Jesus Feet,” and “Love Lifted Me.” This would be the start of many legendary live albums for the Kingsmen. Traveling with a live band, the Kingsmen became one of few groups during this era to be able to perform with three to five musicians, granting them individuality and innovation in the industry.
Always seeking to have a creative edge, they began introducing themselves as, “The Ton of Fun.” Through the late 1970’s and 80’s, more hits were churning from albums such as “Chattanooga Live,” “Live Naturally,” & “Live at The University of Alabama.” These albums combined with high energy and up-tempo music brought music lovers an exciting brand of showmanship. Songs like, “Old Ship of Zion,” “Shake Hands with a Poor Boy,” “Beautiful Home,” “Saints Will Rise,” and “Child, Child” became gospel music staples. In 1981, “Excuses” became the Kingsmen’s biggest hit of that era; it was steady at number one for 18 months, making it the longest running number one song in Southern Gospel Music history.
The successes of The Kingsmen have led to many prestigious opportunities. In 1977, The Kingsmen performed on the south lawn of the White House for President Jimmy Carter and in 1982 they performed at the opening ceremony of the World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN which was broadcast on local and regional TV, with President Ronald Reagan present to open the fair. The Kingsmen was also the first group to film and record a live performance at the famous Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and in 2000 they were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame followed by the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2008. They’ve garnered multiple dove awards and numerous Singing News Fan awards including favorite bass vocalist, tenor, baritone, lead, instrumentalist, video, the 1992 favorite song “Wish You Were Here” as well as favorite album by the same name, male quartet of the year, and group of the year. The Kingsmen band was voted favorite band a record 17 times making this quartet one of the most awarded groups in Southern Gospel Music.
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