The Punches Family is a bluegrass gospel group who make their home in Ozark Mountains. The group consists of parents Bruce and Bobette and their kids Graham, Owen, Brooke and Emily. Get to know more about this family from patriarch Bruce Punches -
Question - Did you grow up with a strong southern gospel influence? When did you first become interested in southern gospel?
Bruce Punches - We’ve been involved in Bluegrass for many years and didn’t get exposed to much southern gospel until about 10 years ago. It was love at the first note. There’s something about great 4 part harmony and the drive of southern gospel music that really strikes a chord in us and we’ve been hooked ever since.
Question - How did you get started singing and traveling as a family?
Bruce - Bobette and I have been involved with music all our lives. Bobette grew up in a musical family where her parents and siblings all played and sang for years before we met. In fact, we met at a bluegrass festival and it was a natural fit. The kids all started playing when they were about 7 and it wasn’t long before they were good enough to play a part in the band. It was at that point in 2009 that the Lord seemed to be calling us into the music mission field and the rest is history.
One of our first performances was with Martin Cook and the Inspirations. Martin invited us to ‘Singing In The Smokies’ and it was through that event we met many great folks like Danny and Dee Kramer, the producers of Great American Gospel television. It wasn’t long before we filmed for their show and have been on national television ever since. It’s through Great American Gospel that we have met so many great groups and people that we count as friends. God has really blessed us with these folks.
Question - What's the one thing that you want people who walk away from your concerts to know about your family?
Bruce - I would want people to take away an impression of a real family with joys and struggles just like anyone else; nothing fake or put on. We just want God to shine through us and uplift our audience wherever we perform. We’re always striving to be a good witness and pray that God may use us to lead someone to Christ as well as encourage those who already know the Lord.
Question - Do you have a favorite song that you sing? And what song from another group has ministered to you?
We have so many favorites. Seems like we perform a handful of new songs for a while and can’t get enough of them. Then, a new batch of songs will come along and we’ll be hot on those for a while. Personally, I love every song we do and always look forward to sharing them with others.
Our newest song is one which was written by Jennifer Walley, a songwriter/singer in Alabama. She and her two daughters have a very good trio and they write all their own music. They gave us a couple of songs and we made one the title cut on our latest cd. It’s called "Can I Wash Your Feet." It’s a song about serving the Lord and it has a great melody with fantastic lyrics.
A song that made a huge impact on me and my family was one recorded by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver entitled "He Will Remember Me." Again, the melody and lyrics really ministered to my heart.
Question - What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)?
Bruce - We’ve always been a fan of Doyle Lawson, but the Isaacs have been a big influence as well. They are so creative and their music is obviously anointed. We don’t believe we’re alone when we say that the Isaacs rock!
Question - What has been your favorite memory so far in your ministry? Do you have a certain concert that stands out?
There are so many memories over the years that it’s hard to pin one down. However, we recall the time when we played a bluegrass festival in Pontiac, Illinois. The festival was held at a fairground where there had just been an Old Threshers Reunion a few weeks earlier. Old Threshers Reunions involve old tractors and steam equipment and the grounds had fist-sized lumps of coal scattered all over. Brooke was 9 at the time and had been listening to the song "I’m Just An Old Lump Of Coal, But I’m Gonna Be A Diamond Someday." She wondered how God can turn a lump of coal into a diamond and we explained to her that God places it deep in the earth and puts it under great pressure. Brooke picked up a lump, put it in a plastic baggie and brought it on our bus and sat on it for several days in hopes that the coal would turn in to a diamond. We explained to her 2 Corinthians 5:17, and we all had a great laugh and a great memory out of that.
The concert that stands out the most would have to be in Bemidji, Minn. at the Berge Family festival. This was an all gospel event and It was all family bands. There were probably 3,000 people in attendance and about 2,000 of them were kids. Lots of Christian homeschool and conservative families just like ours, we had great fellowship and the holy spirit was very present that weekend.
Of course, Silver Dollar City is always a favorite and they host a Bluegrass festival in the spring and a southern gospel festival in late summer. They’re always family friendly and we’ve been playing there for years. We always see many folks we know and make new friends every year. We go out in the evenings with other families and have some great fellowship every time we play there.
Question - What new things are coming up for the Punches Family?
Bruce - Our kids are leaving in a few days for a trip with the youth choir from our home church and they’re very excited. After that, we’re headed to Nebraska, Iowa and then down into Georgia again. At the same time, we’re working on a Christmas CD which will be out in November. Great American Gospel is also working on film footage that we shot not long ago in Charlotte NC and should be out soon on the airwaves. It’s our latest work and our newest songs. Our newest CD just came out a few weeks ago, and we’ve been getting lots of orders. It’s a blessing from God to be a part of a family.
Thanks Punches Family! Make sure to check them out on their website to order the group's new CD and find out when they will be near you!