As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the back area of the Klondyke Gospel Music Center in Ozark, Alabama. Tara did a concert here two weeks ago, and that night the organizer announced, “I need to cancel the concert on the 27th because we have no one to perform.” Tara’s hand shot up, “I have someone.”
We left this morning for the six hour drive. The Klondyke Gospel Music Center has been hosting Southern Gospel concerts for over sixteen years. The first year, they booked 48 concerts. By the third year, they were doing a hundred. Every Friday and Saturday night, people gather in this small building to hear Gospel music and praise the Lord. The walls are lined with 8x10 autographed photos of all the artists who have graced this stage. Some are local artists that have never left their own region. Some were just starting out when they did their first concert here, and are now in solid standing within the SG community. And some are recognizable artists who make regular appearances on the NQC main stage.
The crowd was a bit small due to severe thunder storm warnings, but the faithful core audience showed up at 7pm for the concert. Actually, we found out later that one man had driven over 100 miles just to see me tonight! He heard the concert announced at a singing last weekend, and he made the trip just for the show. Amazing!
Gerald wasn’t able to come tonight, and as I’m writing this, I can’t remember the last time I did a solo concert without him. I actually think it must have been before we met, because not long after we became friends, I invited him to join me in a show I was doing, and then he just became part of everything I did. I guess marriage was inevitable...
I did several songs from the CD, opening with “Neighbour,” “Wedding,” “Sin Ain't’ Nothing,” and “Abide.” Tara and Kyle had driven me to Ozark and brought their sound system, but we didn’t have the right equipment to mic the guitar. The church isn’t very big, so mid-concert, I grabbed my guitar and walked down the aisle into the audience. It made things very casual, which was great. I did “Jesus Loves Me” and “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” People started to sing along on that one, so I also invited them to sing along on “I Call Out Your Name.” After “Real Big Fan,” they took the love offering and Tara sang “God’s Got a Word.” I finished with “Gloryland,” “Shepherd,” and “Faith With Take You Farther.”
They closed with a time a prayer and a blessing, and we got the chance to chat with several people on the way out. After a quick change into comfy clothes, we all went off to the Waffle King for a late night dinner. We were treated by Ron Jeffers, the concert organizer, and several audience members were also at the restaurant. Ron has been in Gospel music for ages, and we could have sat there all night listening to his stories.
It’s now very late, and I’m very happy I don’t have to do any of the driving tomorrow. I’m also anxious to get home to my family and show them the pictures of today. They videotaped the concert, so I’m hoping I may have a bit of video to post soon. But for now, I’m just so happy for a great night in Ozark, Alabama.