Three-time Dove nominees the Marksmen Quartet of Murrayville, Ga. cross the “Generations” with their latest CD.
From the first song – Albert E. Brumley’s classic “I Firmly Promise You,” the smooth harmonies, which have made the group a Southern gospel and bluegrass mainstay for the last 47 years, blend the talents of three generations from the act’s most enduring families.
The quartet founded by Earle Wheeler in 1967 currently features Earle and his son Mark Wheeler along with 29-year Marksmen member Darrin Chambers and the latest addition Aaron Johnson. Darrin is the son of former long-time tenor singer and mandolinist Keith Chambers and Aaron is his grandson. The recording also features guest appearances by Mark’s children – Will and Sarah Grace singing and playing mandolin and fiddle, respectively.
“With the addition of Aaron to the group, it hit me that we reached our third generation of performers and audience,” Earle said. “So the theme of the latest project came to us easily.”
There are singers whose voices make them immediately identifiable; Earle’s unique Southern gospel vocal stylings have made the Marksmen sound recognizable in three music genres – Southern gospel, bluegrass and country. His leadership has garnered them countless awards in each genre including Dove nominations for their latest three CDs. Earle is featured on “Why Can’t You Believe?” and “Will You Meet Me Over Yonder.”
This CD features songs that highlight each member; it is Mark’s traditional country lead that through the years has become a pivotal part of the sound beside his father’s unique voice. Mark adds three more new songs to his songwriting catalog. He delivers a haunting performance -- “The Spirit Moved,” his song penned with Jim Green. He also features “No More Sin,” composed with Lance Carpenter.
Mark’s original song written with former Marksmen David Waller – “The Folly of a Fool” is sang by Darrin Chambers and is a commentary on believing in evolution.
A classic hymn written to feature a bass vocal “He Understands and Cares for Me” also highlights Darrin’s talents.
“Darrin continues to be a vital part of what we do musically and vocally,” Earle said.
Reaching back into some of the songs the group popularized early in their career with tenor Keith Chambers “I Have a New Life” and “Payday,” the group passes the torch now with his grandson carrying the prominent part in these audience favorites.
“Aaron’s approach is different vocally, but folks who follow us have shared how much they are enjoying his smooth sound,” Mark said.
The third generation of the Wheeler family adds their contribution as young Will Wheeler singing with his father and sister on “I’m Not Going to Hell.”
Sarah Grace joins her father and grandfather on “Time Has Made a Change.”
Mark features his banjo stylings on “the Old Cross Road” continuing a family tradition passed through the generations in his family.
Solid Gospel radio host Les Butler makes a guest appearance singing baritone and playing mandolin on the bluegrass standard “The Old Cross Road.” Fiddler Lynn Shook adds his talents to “Payday.”
“We hope that our friends will enjoy our latest CD,” Earle said. “This is my 44th album and each time we create a new one, its is just as exciting as the first time, the creativity, the love that is shared through the music, and the hope that God uses it to reach those who need to hear his message.”
The CD is available at for download on ITunes, Amazon.com and CDBaby. For more information, visit www.marksmenquartet.com, Fans may like Marksmen Mountain Music Camp on Facebook.