Brian Stacy Free

Gospel Vocals Gold City

Born: 3/29/1963 Marietta, GA

Lived in Gadsden, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Southern Gospel Music's favorite tenor, Brian Free






The Mississippi-based Christianairs were renamed Gold City in Dahlonega, Georgia at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve to begin the year 1980 with bass Dallas Gilliland, tenor Bob Oliver, lead singer Jerry Ritchie, and baritone Ken Trussell. The group's owner was initially Floyd Beck, who sold the quartet to Tim Riley, Ivan Parker, Brian Free, and Gary Jones. Bass Tim Riley would replace Gilliland as the permanent bass singer in July of that same year. The group was an instant success in the industry, appearing on the main stage of the National Quartet Convention in October 1981. By 1982, tenor Brian Free, lead Ivan Parker, and pianist Garry Jones had joined Riley to form a consistent nucleus that remained together until the end of 1993. Mike LeFevre joined in 1985 to sing baritone, replacing Jerry Ritchie.


Brian Free of Brian Free and Assurance has one of the most recognizable voices in Southern Gospel music. The latest releases “Real Faith” and It's So God highlight the tenor voice has been gracing the airwaves since his early years with Gold City and continues today. In addition to being the founder, manager and owner of Brian Free and Assurance,he is also an ordained minister. He has been voted Favorite Tenor eight times, Favorite Young Artist twice. The group was voted the Horizon Group of the year in 1994 and their “4 God So Loved” project was named Favorite Album of the Year.

Brian Free and Assurance was formed shortly after Brian Free left Gold City. The current line up features some of the most talented men in Southern Gospel music.  Each member has a heart for God and to reach the world with the Gospel Message of Christ through Southern Gospel music. The group consists of: baritone singer Derrick Selph, lead singer Bill Shivers, bass singer Jeremy Lile, drummer Ricky Free (Brian’s son whom recently married Kelly Mcrae), Scott McDowell on piano and of course, Brian Free sings tenor.


Brian Free and Assurance stands out from the pack of Southern Gospel quartets. “There are a lot of male quartets in Southern Gospel music.”, Brain states. “This is not critical in any shape, form or fashion, but a lot sound alike. It is hard sometimes, when you listen to the radio to distinguish (groups).”

Brian Free describes their style of Southern Gospel music as, “We area Southern Gospel quartet but with a churchy, progressive edge. That’s our style, our desire, because our heart is in the church, it always has been.”

Brian Free clarifies, “We are not moving in any progressive direction, not going contemporary and not leaving Southern Gospel music, our core, by any means. We are just doing what we feel will be influential and beneficial to Christians and to the Church.”

“We want our music to stand out”, Brian states.” We want people to hear a song that we do and know that it is us because we’ve got a message, we’ve got something to say about the Kingdom of God and we want to be heard”.


Brian Free and Assurance showed their progressive edge when they recorded, “Live in New York City” with the Christ Tabernacle Choir. The single, “Long As I Got King Jesus” shot to the top of the Singing News Southern Gospel music chart.

Brian Free describes recording with the Christ Tabernacle Choir, “The Christ Tabernacle is just one of the greatest places on earth to have church and worship the Lord. The people there exemplify every loving, compassionate, servant’s heart truth. It was awesome to stand on stage and have the choir behind you with their talent and anointing. It was hard to sing because I wanted to turn around and listen to them.”

I asked Brian if he had learned any new dance steps when he was there and he chuckled. “No, No, No. We are not a dancing group. We are not a dancing bunch. Let me tell you, if you ever see Brian Free dance, or anyone in this group dance, you will know the Holy Spirit’s got a hold of us and it will be like David dancing before God. It will be the Holy Spirit and not the flesh I assure you of that! (more laughter)”.

One of my favorite songs from Brian Free and Assurance’s “Live in New York City” project is , “Healed”. Brian reflects that this song has an “extremely strong message reminding us that we serve a healing Savior. We can forget that in today’s society. Nothing has changed. His power hasn’t changed – He has not changed. What we see and view, technology and whats around us may have changed over the years, as far as the way we live, but God hasn’t changed. The Power of God hasn’t changed. He is in the healing business.”


Brian Free and Assurance’s latest project, “It's So God”, shows the group expanding the sounds of what a Southern Gospel quartet can achieve. The first single, “ If It Takes Valley” captures this quartet’s unique sound. “Usually in an up tempo song there is not a deep seated message”, Brian comments, “It’s just a feel good song. Every once in a while you run across a fast song that says something and this is one of them.”

“’If It Takes A Valley” has a strong message. It reminds us that we don’t need to be happy with where we are spiritually and we always need to be growing. We have to understand that in order for us to be refined the dross has to be burned away. We have to go through the fire. There is a price to pay to grow spiritually and that’s what this song says, ‘If It Takes A Valley and a hard time to get my attention, to help me grow, then that’s what I will take’”

I told Brian that that is exactly why I don’t sing this song to often – I can use a break from the refiner’s fire! He laughed. Brian has a wonderful sense of humor and his joyful spirit shines through.


Another song from Brian Free and Assurance’s “It’s So God” album is “It’s All About The Blood”. “This is an awesome song”, Brian smiles. “We love lyrically strong songs that talk about the Blood of Jesus Christ and this is definitely one of them”

Brian continues, “This song wraps it up. It reminds us that everything we do, everyday, every part of what we do is all about the Blood of Jesus Christ. It all comes right back to the Blood.”One of the songs that really struck me when I listened to Brian Free and Assurance’s, “It’s So God” CD, was “Man of Sorrows”. Indeed it kind of got stuck in my mind and I went about singing that song all day.

Brian says of this song, “When I heard it, the message really, really, really got my attention. In the first place you don’t hear songs like this much, it’s rare. When I heard that I said, ‘That’s the Truth’. A lot of times in society today we forget that when someone sins and asks God for forgiveness and they turn from sin – that’s the key, a lot of people forget that part of scripture – and that sin is no longer part of their life then its our responsibility as friends, acquaintances, to not bring that up, to not lay that in their face because that is a tool of Satan to keep somebody defeated and down.”

“ ‘Man of Sorrows’ is a neat song. It has a great tune and it has a great message. It has all of the ingredients. It’s not a song that will make people stand up and cheer. It’s not that kind of song. But it is one that you listen to and after its over you say, ‘yeah’. Great song.”

Brian Free and Assurance have produced some wonderful music through the lears including some of my personal favorites: So Close To HomeGreater Still and Lovin' This Livin' for the Lord













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