Sullivan Family

Bluegrass-Gospel group formed 1949 in St. Stephens, AL featuring hard-driving traditional sound highlighted by strong female lead voice and fiddle. Marty Stuart began his career with group.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

 

 

The Sullivan Family began performing as a band when it was invited to have a regular program on the first radio station in Jackson, Alabama, in 1949. But long before that its members had been playing traditional music. The family had settled near St. Stephens when it was the capital of the Alabama Territory.

Through the decades, many family members played fiddles and provided music for frolics or country dances in the area. In 1939, when Arthur Sullivan converted to the Pentecostal faith and became a preacher, his family gave up "worldly" music and dedicated their musical talents to the Lord. His son Enoch still honors this commitment with bluegrass gospel music.

 

The Sullivan Family began performing as a band when it was invited to have a regular program on the first radio station in Jackson, Alabama, in 1949. But long before that its members had been playing traditional music. The family had settled near St. Stephens when it was the capital of the Alabama Territory.

Through the decades, many family members played fiddles and provided music for frolics or country dances in the area. In 1939, when Arthur Sullivan converted to the Pentecostal faith and became a preacher, his family gave up "worldly" music and dedicated their musical talents to the Lord. His son Enoch still honors this commitment with bluegrass gospel music.

Similarly Margie Brewster, who became Enoch's wife, was the daughter of a Pentecostal evangelist. After her father's death, she traveled the South with evangelist Hazel Chain, playing guitar and singing gospel music in her resonant alto voice.

Throughout their long career the Sullivans have had two long-lasting and popular radio shows in Jackson and Thomasville, plus a highly-rated television program in Jackson, Mississippi. They have recorded scores of albums and performed at thousands of small churches around the world as well as at major bluegrass festivals in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands. Yet their delight in pleasing and inspiring audiences is still evident in their performances.

The song "Old Brush Arbor" by George Jones is one of Margie Sullivan's signature songs depicting a once common practice in Alabama of holding Christian revival services in the rural countryside under structures made out of tree branches to shade the worshipers at a "camp meeting" site.

Source: The Sullivan Family

 

 

Sullivan Family, a bluegrass/gospel group who have played extensively on the festival circuit, were known for their distinctive, driving beat and the robust singing of Margie Sullivan. The trio was founded by Enoch and Emmett Sullivan, both of whom were born in the Tombigbee Valley in southern Alabama. The sons of a minister, the brothers grew up with a love of gospel music; they also liked string-band music and were influenced by Bill Monroe and Johnnie & Jack. Born in northern Louisiana, Margie also grew up influenced by the traditional bluegrass singers she heard on the radio. In addition to Monroe's music, she was also influenced by such female singers as Wilma Lee Cooper and Molly O'Day. After touring with evangelist Hazel Chain, she met Enoch at a revival in 1949; they married and bought a farm near St. Stephen, Alabama. As a group, the Sullivans started out playing in local churches and then appeared on a local radio station in Picayune, Mississippi. In 1950, they moved to a station in Jackson, Alabama and six years later moved to Thomasville. In 1959, they made their recording debut for Revival and later that year were befriended by Walter Bailes, on whose Loyal Records they recorded for many years. The Sullivans primarily performed at churches, on television, and on radio. Longtime friends of Bill Monroe, the Sullivans began playing at his various bluegrass festivals in 1968 and soon gained a whole new following. Over the years, the band has included other family members, including father Arthur, uncle Jerry, and Margie's youngest daughter Lisa. The band continued to perform and record on different American and Canadian labels through the '80s up to the mid-'90s. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Source: The Sullivan Family: Information from Answers.com

Video: YouTube - The Sullivan Family

Video: YouTube - The Sullivan Family 2

 

Product Details

Book: Amazon.com: The Sullivan Family: 50 Years in Bluegrass Gospel Music (9781893693029): Enoch, Margie Sullivan, Robert Gentry, Patricia Martinez: Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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