Another showcase group that won its way to the main stage of National Quartet Convention was Emmaus Road Quartet. They are based in Dalton, Ga, and was established in 2003. The group consists of Greg Witt (tenor), Scott Marshall (lead), Adam Bradford (baritone) and Brandon Barry (bass). Get to know more about Emmaus Road.
Question - When did you become interested in singing Southern Gospel music? What are some of your earliest memories of Southern Gospel?
Greg Witt - I was raised up in Southern Gospel music thanks to my wonderful parents. My dad was a pastor and played the guitar, and my mom was the singer of the family. All of the children played an instrument, sang or both. My older brother really adapted to the music side and began teaching me and my nephew to play. I adapted more to the singing side and took after my mother.
My favorite memories of gospel music was when I got to go to the Memorial Auditorium to see Big Jim Hammil and the Kingsmen Quartet. I was amazed at how he was just the general of the stage and how he utilized every member of the quartet and band throughout the evening. I was always amazed, that no matter what other group was on the card, when they took the stage, you remembered the Kingsmen Quartet.
Q - How did you get started as the Emmaus Road Quartet? How long have you been singing?
Greg - I played for several different groups until I was 19 years old, that’s when I started my first group with my older sister and my best friend. But before that, I played bass guitar for a male quartet from Chattanooga, Temn. called the Happy Harmony Quartet and absolutely fell in love with quartet singing. I was really fascinated with the tenor singer, and secretly wanted to sing but they never knew I actually sang. After my first group disbanded, I took a year off and started up Emmaus Road Quartet. It’s been 10 years now and slowing down is not in our future. And hey, I finally got to start singing tenor! LOL!
Q - How did you come up with the name the Emmaus Road Quartet?
Greg - During the year I was off, I was really searching what God had in store for me. I met another guy a couple of counties away, and ironically, he had been in the same boat. He was in the process of starting a quartet, all he had was a lead and baritone singer. Well, all I had was a tenor and a bass singer. Me and him met, prayed a lot and really sought God's will for us. He actually suggested the name, and I loved it. I mean after all, he and I were both on a road, both kind of disappointed and both wondering why God wasn't putting this together for us. Well, after he and I met, we met with the Lord, and it’s like it all fell in place.
Q - Do you have a favorite song that you sing? And what song from another group has ministered to you?
Greg - One of my favorite songs to sing is "I Got My Healing Today." I wrote this song during a funeral of a friend of mine who fought a battle with brain cancer for two years. This song came to me in about three minutes, and I’ve never wrote a song that has touched so many people across the country. It was nothing that I done, it was all God. But I believe his promise that one of these days, we will all get our eternal healing.
Q - What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)?
Greg - Jim Hammil, George Younce and a good friend of mine Rick Price. I loved watching Jim and George and the way they could just keep the attention of the audience. Rick was the first person who really opened up and taught me all he knew about the business side of music ministry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning, but he really taught me a lot about expanding our ministry to a full-time ministry from just a local weekend group.
Q - What has been your favorite memory so far in your ministry? Do you have a particular concert that stands out?
Greg - It’s got to be without a doubt a service from this past August. We were at Pathway Baptist in Ooltewah, Tenn. with Pastor Mark Smith. God just showed up during that concert, and nine people got saved. There were even people getting saved out in the parking lot, it was amazing.
And on a different note, our first appearance this past September on the main stage during quartet night at the National Quartet Convention during the final year in Louisville was a memorable event as well. I think about every Southern Gospel group dreams of singing on that stage, and for us it became a reality that night.
Q - What new things are coming up for the Emmaus Road Quartet?
Greg - We’re working on a new project right now which is mostly older quartet style songs. It’s gonna be filled up with all kinds of good harmonies. We’re also doing a lot of studio work with other groups with Emmaus Road Records. And we want to do our first Western tour this next year as well. That’s all exciting, but in the future, we will be having our own brand of men's conferences. It’s still a ways off, but it’s in the works. I guess that’s what I’m the most excited about.
For more on Emmaus Road, check out their website at http://www.emmausroadquartet.com. Thanks Emmaus Road for taking time to answer all my questions!