I am a descendent of African slaves and of American sharecroppers and it is to their memory that I dedicate these recordings.
My kinfolk were brought to the Sequatchie Valley region of southeastern Tennessee in the early 1800’s and these "stories told in song" were passed down over two hundred years. They not only represent the history of my family.
My mother, Jewell Ermalee and my grandmother Eva Marie taught me these songs when I was a child. I can still vividly recall the singing and the rejoicing, the hand clapping and the perfect cadence of foot stomping on the hardwood floor of the church. These songs are fundamental to the fabric of my life plus I am keenly aware of their historical perspective.
Through these songs I recognize my connection to a lineage stretching back two centuries.
So, from the West Coast of Africa, to the West End Baptist Church, the Rockfort Church of God, and the A.M.E. Zion Methodist Church in Pikeville, Tennessee, I bring these "stories of my people" to the world. For this privilege, I am most honored and completely humbled.
It is in the great company of my ancestors and in their mighty spiritual presence that I sing these songs. Thank you for listening...