Most Underrated – #15 – Cumberland Boys/Quartet

cumberlandboysThe most underrated series continues this week with the artist ranked 15th; the Cumberland Boys/Quartet.

cumberlandqt2000newshipsailing150Being resident group of the old Opryland theme park in Nashville TN, The Cumberland Boys released their first album in 1981 as the Opryland Gospel Quartet.  By the time they released their 2nd album in 1982, the group had changed their name to the Cumberland Boys, to coincide with the Cumberland River that flowed by the Opryland theme park.

Tenor Depp Britt (owner/manager) was the only original member to remain with the group during their entire existence.  The most well-known vocal configuration of the group consisted of Britt (tenor), Jim Worthing (lead), Bill Britt (baritone) and Steve Goforth (bass).  That line-up remained together for nearly ten years.

The Cumberland Boys had the distinction of being one of the first artists to be signed to the newly formed Daywind Records in the late 1980s.  Their 1989 album A Matter Of The Heart gave the group one of their biggest chart songs in “I’ll Keep On Leaning”.

cumberlandboys1989matteroftheheart150The year 2000 saw the group change their name to the Cumberland Quartet and release one of the best albums in Southern Gospel music that year, New Ship Sailing.  This is the type of album that every Southern Gospel collector should have in their collection.

Kevin McCaw (Brian Free & Assurance) and Ian Owens (Imperials/Signature Sound/Soul’d Out) spent some time with the quartet in the early 2000’s.  The Cumberland Quartet would release their final album in 2006 and that was the year they would also stop touring, capping off a 25 year career.

Here are several YouTube clips of the Cumberland Boys/Quartet.  Enjoy!

1.  “Steadfast On The Harvest” (first two YouTube clips from our MusicScribeBlog channel).

2.  “He Built A Bridge”

3.  “Don’t Give Up On Victory” (published by herecalico).

Steve Eaton

(1) Southern Gospel collector (30+ years) (2) Author/Editor of

  1. Actually, Depp Britt is not on the “Opryland Gospel Quartet” album from 1981. A friend at church has the album, and I borrowed it from him. I’ll have to look again at the vocal lineup to see who all is in the group, but Depp is not the tenor. He did sign the front cover, however, and I have the 1982 album and he IS on that one.

  2. I loved their song with the Gospel Brass, “Hallelujah Heavenly Horn”. That song did very well for them.

  3. “New Ship Sailing” & “Worth Every Mile”, should be two albums every Southern Gospel music quartet lover should own. Those albums in my opinion were just incredible and didn’t get the recognition they deserved. Depp Britt, Kevin McCaw, Michael Chambliss, Michael Means/Ian Owens were a much underrated quartet.

  4. I have tried to find the song New Ship Sailing as accompaniment and can’t. Is it not available out there. I love the message of this song.

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