For 25 years, Jeremy was part of his family’s southern gospel group The Singing Echoes. But, when he saw the pieces falling into place to work with his two teenage children, he couldn’t resist.
The new project is called Meadow Lane, comprised of Jeremy, Anais, 17, and Bryson, 14. They live in Cleveland, Tenn.
“God has really blessed us,” Jeremy said. “I was thinking about it today. God had kind of given me some idea for a couple or three years before all this kind of jelled that he had something different in mind for my ministry. And, I began to pray accordingly and to ask him to kind of reveal to me exactly what it was.”
The result was somewhat of a surprise. “I would’ve never guessed my two kids would’ve been involved in it,” Jeremy said. “My daughter, maybe; but my son, if you would’ve told me 3 years ago I would be singing with my daughter and my son, I would’ve told you that you are a fool, because I never expected Bryson to come along and be interested in it. But, God had a plan, and as soon as we began singing I thought, ‘This is pretty nice. I really like it.’”
He said parting with The Singing Echoes in Feb., 2014, was difficult, but added, “It became obvious what God was really looking for me to do in my ministry. That, of course, was for me to sing with my two kids. And, I’ve just been enjoying his blessings ever since. You know, you can’t out-give God; and, when you’re in his favor and doing what he wants you to do, the blessings just come and they don’t stop coming. It’s unbelievable. We’ve just really been enjoying It.”
He said Anais is a natural vocalist. “The nurses will swear up and down she was singing while she was in the delivery room,” he said with a laugh. “It’s always been a part of her life. She really makes dad proud. She would rather sing as do anything. There’s not a night she is on stage with me that she doesn’t completely knock my socks off with something new,” he said. “She’ll just absolutely surprise me every time, and, she’ll pull something out of her little bag of tricks vocally and just knock me off my feet.”
Bryson was somewhat of a different story. “He never showed that much interest in singing until a couple of years ago,” Jeremy said, “And, I started working with him a little bit.”
He explained, “I do the music for our middle school program in our church, and my daughter had already been singing with me in that. And, I said, ‘We could use somebody to sing baritone in here,’ and, reluctantly – at first – Bryson started singing a little bit and really liked it. So the three of us began singing.”
In the past 15 months, Meadow Lane has come into their own with their first album set for release Monday (May 11).
“We’re really excited about it,” he said of the album. “We’ve got some of the biggest writers in Southern Gospel music contributing to this album – writers like Jeff Steele, and Gerald Crabb, Kenny Webb, Gerald Sweatman, Michael Wee, Gary White. I’ve been honored to have a couple of songs put on there as well. I’ve written songs for several years, and It’s just nice to be among that gang of fantastic writers. We’ve got some great material on there.”
The album’s first single is called “Praise the Lord” written by veteran singer-songwriter Barry McDonald, also of Cleveland, Tenn.
“Barry is a great guy,” Jeremy said. “And, we had sung that song when I was with The Singing Echoes. But, when Barry pitched that song to them, I can remember the style he pitched it to. He’s a way different style than the Singing Echoes are of course.
“He kind of sings that singer-songwriter style. And, he pitched it to them a whole lot more contemporary than what they are. I always remember that. I loved the song the way (The Singing Echoes) did it too, but I could always remember the way Barry originally pitched it.”
Jeremy explained how “Praise the Lord” ended up on the Meadow Lane album project. “We decided to record this song by happenstance,” he said. “It was about two weeks before we were supposed to go in to do tracking for the album, and we realized we needed another song for Bryson. We said, ‘Let’s find something we’re somewhat familiar with so we can train him real quick.’ We listened to some songs we knew, and we put that one on, and he said, ‘I want to do that.’”
Barry’s song had to beat out a lot of competition to make it as the first single release, Jeremy said. “I believe we’ve got about five or six we can release to radio. They’re that good, and I’m not saying that because I’m partial to them. We just got that good of a cut on five or six songs.”
He explained, “I was having a hard time figuring out which song we were going to release (first). I was really worried about it; and, I got a call from Barry, and he said, ‘I’ve been kicking this around, and if you don’t like this idea it’s no big deal, but I’m starting to promote some of my own songs, and I would love to put this “Praise the Lord” song on the disc if you’d be willing to do that.’”
Then the decision became obvious. “The more I thought, and the more I prayed. And, I said, ‘I can’t pick another one,’” Jeremy said.
The song is already having radio success. “It charted high for a breakout artist, so we’re really excited about that,” Jeremy said – though he is quick to point out that spreading the gospel is more important than accolades and recognition.
“God is doing great things and making waves for us,” he said. “And, I’ll tell you what, we just can’t thank him enough. It’s amazing what God can do when you just let go and let him take the reins, and you sit in the passenger seat for a while.”
But, of course, being a proud parent isn’t such a bad feeling either.
“It’s an honor to stand and sing for the Lord any time you can do that, but I have found the honor and privilege that my dad has known for several years to be able to stand on stage with your son and your daughter and sing,” he said. “There’s a pride in that I can’t explain to you because it’s just a feeling you feel and nothing else can surpass that.
“It’s a great feeling to know that’s exactly what he wants you to do because he’s blessing you. When he starts opening doors you never expected to be opened, and closing doors you never expected to be closed, It’s a great feeling. It is,” Jeremy said.
Judging by Meadow Lane’s energy, those doors are going to stay open for a long time.
(Meadow Lane is performing at the Gospel Music Fan Fair Somerset Ky., May 18-23. Visit www.meadowlaneministries.com for their full schedule. Listen to “Praise the Lord” here.)