Most of the time in Gospel music, the singers are the ones given glory. But what if all the music was stripped away? While the sound of acapella is truly something beautiful, all the music that accompanies the singers is a huge part of what makes the Gospel genre have such a unique sound and flair. Whether it is a full orchestra, bass guitar, or even the drums, they all contribute immensely in the makings of beautiful music.
The Sneed Family is a name well known throughout Gospel music. Since 1982, the voices in this group demanded the entitlement of talent, but their music would not have near its glorious sound if it was not accompanied by talented musicians, and one of those is both the drummer and youngest son in the family, Jacob Sneed.
If you listen merely a few seconds to The Sneed Family, you will immediately notice an upbeat, rhythm that draws the listener into the music, even if one does not realize it. It may be done subconsciously, but something would certainly feel absent if this drumming was not present. Perhaps this beating sound is so enjoyed because the player takes delight in playing. Jacob says, “I’ve always loved what I get to do.” Because he found his passion and gift, he does not mind practicing. He explains, “When you’re passionate about something, you’ll not have to force yourself to put time into it.” One person who has been an inspiration in this young man’s life is Michael Hopper, not only with his drumming style but also through his noteworthy words of advice. Jacob reminisces, “I loved watching him play drums as a kid, and I was able to actually buy one of his kits.” Although only 20, this young drummer is no novice. He started playing around the age of five and hasn’t put down the sticks since. Summing up his drumming career Jacob says, “I always loved it.”
While Jacob was born and raised a southerner, he seems to have some western roots as well. He currently farms his own cattle ranch in Kentucky. Jacob explains the deep heritage his family has in farming: “Both of my grandfathers were farmers, and I always loved the cattle business. My brother Seth and I still run cattle on properties that were owned by both our grandfathers.” Now it is Jacob who carries on this family tradition, and he owns the title of one of the youngest cattlemen in South Central Kentucky. Also, the western states are Jacob’s favorite place to travel. “Being from the South everything is so different there,” Jacob explains.
Although he is used to the rough-and-tough life out in the country, there are still a few everyday items that are a necessity to this hard worker – “I always have to have a fan blowing on me when I go to sleep. Also, a good steak and diet Mountain Dew.” Along with being “hard-working,” Jacob also is “dependable and a leader.” His giftedness to take the lead can be seen in another part of The Sneed Family ministries, Glory Bound Jubilee. This is the title of their TV show that Jacob has the role of hosting and filming. Jacob explains, “Our television show reaches millions of homes weekly. It’s produced 100% in house.”
Needless to say, this young man stays very busy, but somehow he manages to find time to spare for his girlfriend and friends. He also incorporates what he loves into his work. Along with working cattle on horseback, he says, “I love riding horses. . .My brother Seth and I rope and ride horses all the time. And I haul cattle on the side when I am at home.” Although this life of music and farming has high demands, it is obvious that this young musician loves the life. When asked where he sees himself in the future, Jacob replied, “Doing what I’m doing now—traveling, playing drums and raising cattle. I love every minute of it.” When he does get overwhelmed in this fast-paced life, Jacob’s advice to the “Next Generation” demonstrates he knows what to do — “Take life one day at a time, and put everything into God’s hands. Don’t stress out over the little things. He’s got your back; follow your dreams.”
After playing for nearly 11 years with his family, Jacob has experienced some exceptionally awesome moments, but the one that holds no place among the rest is the night he got saved. “It was the best day of my life,” he says. Another noteworthy moment occurred when Jacob and his family were given the opportunity to perform with Loretta Lynn. Jacob reminisces, “That was very cool getting to be in the same concert with her and her band.” Although the people in gospel music are very important, the opportunities are endless, and the travels to different places are remarkable, it is the special moments Jacob uses to impact others that make the busy life worth it all. He says, “I’m thankful to have the opportunity to help someone each night who maybe is going through a rough time.”
It is quite easy to see Jacob Sneed has a passion for the Lord and the calling that he has been given. Whether it is herding cattle in the hills of Kentucky or beating his best on the drums in order to produce the best music possible to bear words of truth to the lost, there is one thing for sure — Jacob never will have to labor. After all, Jacob says, “If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
SC: “What is your favorite Bible verse?
JS: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.” Isaiah 43:2-3 KJV
SC: If you could have the voice/talent of anyone else in gospel music, whose would you have?
JS: Kenny Hinson. He was a great singer and guitar player.
SC: What is playing in your CD player right now?
JS: Merle Haggard.
SC: What are some of your favorite gospel groups?
JS: I love all kinds of Gospel. Some of my favorites are the Hinsons, the Isaacs, the Hoppers, the Primitive Quartet.