The Southern Gospel Music Association is currently accepting nominees for the Hall Of Fame. Each member of the SGMA is asked to submit two living and two deceased individuals for consideration. I am pleased to be nominating: 1. comedian/songwriter and former Gaither Vocal Band baritone Mark Lowry 2. producer and former singer/group manager Roger Talley 3. Gospel Music Association and Sons Of Song founder Don Butler 4. popular historian, author, and columnist Bob Terrell
Roger Talley first performed with his sister Diane and brother Kirk as the Talley Trio in the late 1960s. He became the pianist for the Hoppers in 1974. In 1983, he launched the Talleys with his brother Kirk and wife Debra. In 1993, the group took a break from traveling. During this time, Roger continued to work in the industry as a record producer. In 1996, Roger resumed traveling full-time again with his wife Debra and daughter Lauren as the Talley Trio while developing a reputation as a specialist for producing up-and-coming groups including Tribute Quartet and others. Roger has continued to work as a record producer since he and Debra retired from full-time traveling in 2020.
Mark Lowry’s first album on the Impact label was released in 1970 when he was only 12 years old. Lowry was represented by Skylite Talent Agency at that time alongside other top gospel artists. By 1988, Lowry’s entertaining combination of stand-up comedy and singing had attracted the attention of Bill Gaither who invited him to join the Gaither Vocal Band. Lowry was instrumental in the success of the Gaither Homecoming Series beginning in 1991, while simultaneously carrying on a solo/comedy career including both audio and video releases for Word Music. He continued to headline his own tours after leaving the GVB in 2001 and after returning to the GVB from 2009-2013. In addition to singing, Lowry wrote the lyrics to the most popular Christmas song of the modern era, “Mary Did You Know”, which has been recorded by dozens of artists spanning various genres. In recent years, Lowry has remained in the public eye through his successful podcast series.
Bob Terrell was a noted newspaper columnist with the Asheville Citizen-Times in Asheville, NC from 1949-1986 and became a regular columnist for Singing News after that publication launched in 1969. Terrell wrote his first book in 1971, a biography of J. D. Sumner initially titled Gospel Music Is My Life which has since been updated several times to include the rest of Sumner’s career and is now titled The Life And Times Of J. D. Sumner. Terrell authored several more books including histories of The Chuck Wagon Gang and The Inspirations as well as what is arguably Southern Gospel’s most cherished anecdotal history, The Music Men (1990). Terrell also traveled extensively with Rev. Billy Graham and conducted tours to the Holy Land.
Don Butler was a co-founder of the Gospel Music Association in 1964 and served that organization for many years. He also served as president of Sumar Talent Agency, vice-president for Stamps-Blackwood School of Music, and chairman of the board of directors for the International Gospel Music Hall Of Fame. Additionally, Butler held executive positions with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the organization which produces the annual Grammy Awards) and the National Music Educators Association. Butler also administered music catalogs for several major publishers, sang with several groups including the Sons Of Song (which he co-founded), and produced several major television productions including Singing Time In Dixie and the GMA Dove Awards.