The First Legacy-The Quartet
So you want to build the ideal Gospel Music male quartet
from scratch? What sort of components do you need?
A good lead singer, one who has power and finesse and can
take the feature part, yet one whose voice can
blend well with the rest of the group.
a great tenor -a guy with tremendous range who can reach the high notes time
after time, song
without any noticeable strain?
got to have a solid baritone-he's the singer who is often the best in the group and who
everyone else sound better.
bass singer is also essential. Proficient at hitting the low notes as well as singing in
this guy needs to add that extra flair when needed.
male quartet needs one of those guys who is as equally talented as a singer or musician.
never worries about being in the spotlight and is the real blue-collar member of
Throw in an accompanist who can provide great rhythm piano playing. Then add a bass
guitarist who can slap
out a steady beat that rounds off the sound of the group.
While you're at throw an absolute must for any group-a string of quality songs filled with
a strong message,
along with a sound business organization led by an astute business
person. Then to make the group complete,
follow with THE most crucial factor-a constant
following of God's will.
Hmmm. Sure sounds like you're describing The Inspirations. But after all, they are one of
the top male quartets
in Southern Gospel Music.
The story of this Bryson City, NC-based group is well-known throughout
every musical spectrum. Over 50 years
ago, in 1964, Martin Cook, a science teacher at Swain County High School,
and several of his students held nightly
singing sessions in the basement of his home,
purely for fun. Very soon, however, singing became serious
and Martin and four high school kids,
(Archie Watkins, Ron Hutchins, Jack Laws and Troy Burns) became
They soon went on the road to sing professionally.
focal point of the story was that despite their youthfulness, the Inspirations quickly
rose to the top of the
gospel singing world, and they have remained at its forefront.
Based on their longevity and continued success,
the Inspirations have been a blueprint for
consistency in the industry.
This particular cast has no peer on the Gospel Music circuit for harmony, song
arrangements, delivery and energy.
Now let's take a closer look at the men
who make up this remarkable group.
Through the 50+ years, Martin
has been the group's manager and pianist. Today, Martin's son,
the upright bass, and Jon Epley sings bass; Daron Osbourne
sings tenor; Mat Dibler sings lead; and Melton Campbell
supplies the baritone.
The newest and youngest member of the group, Luke Vaught plays several
concentrating primarily on steel guitar, violin and
occasionally even piano.
Martin Cook is arguably the most respected individual in the industry. In fact, he has
been referred to as the
best manager in the history of professional Gospel Music. His
skills as a leader, visionary and businessman
are unsurpassed. As a pianist, his style is
so distinctive that no one ever doubts who's playing when he takes off
on the ivories. His
piano-playing features a mixture of great intros and runs.
native of Caney Fork, USA (aka Cullowhee, NC), Martin says that no matter how much talent
a Gospel group
or artists has, there is one dominator most crucial to remaining on the
"The secret to being successful in Southern Gospel Music is to foremost stay close to
the Lord and never forget
the primary purpose you're in this field is to serve Him and
fulfill His will. This is true in every other profession too.
God has a job for every one
of His children, and He will make a way for you to carry it out," Martin says.
"I've come to love singing more than I ever have in the last couple of years. I feel
like Southern Gospel Music
in the best shape its been in quite some time, "Archie
contends. "There are more groups on the road than
ever before, and there are also
more people attending the concerts than there's ever been. As a result, there's
witnessing happening about the love of Jesus and what happiness He can bring to one's
most importantly, there's more people getting saved because of the wide exposure
of Southern Gospel Music.
This is what it's all about."
"There is a Bible verse that reads, 'Many are called, but few are chosen'. I know the
been chosen. Our purpose has always been to uplift and magnify His name,
and then to bless and help
people realize the dire need for God in their lives,".
has a reason for everything, and I'm very thankful that He allowed me to be a part of
It's songs can move us to tears and make us shout for joy. God truly answers
prayers, because this is the
only profession I've ever really wanted to be in, and He's
the reason I'm in it,".
Myron says that one of the best things that's ever happened in his life is
my association with Gospel Music;
"I've developed a lot of lasting friendships, seen many
people saved and I've become closer to the Lord because
of it. For these and many other
great happenings, I'm grateful to Him."
Content and happy. Those are two terms that definitely describe the Inspirations as they
continue a legacy
dedicated to spreading the wonderful news of God's great love. And may
He richly bless them as they continue
on this journey.