It’s not every day you find a young man who is part of the next generation of gospel music from both sides of the family. It is the case with the newest member of the Kingsmen Quartet. This young tenor vocalist has been singing since he could talk. His full, rich tones have earned him several positions within the Christian music community. He’s toured with groups such as The Declaration, The Anchormen, Adoration, and now the legendary Kingsmen Quartet.
Joshua Horrell has been the tenor vocalist for the Kingsmen officially since June of 2016. Although Josh has been singing for several years in the Southern Gospel circuit, he got his start very early in life singing with his family group, The Horrell Family. Janice Horrell, Josh’s grandmother is the matriarch of the family group based in Wallace, NC. Janice’s son and Josh’s dad, Ricky Horrell was the drummer for the Dixie Melody Boys in the early 80’s and proud graduate of the EOU (Ed O’Neal University).
On the other side of the family, Josh’s uncle is Biney English. Most gospel music fans will remember Biney as the dynamic lead vocalist and songwriter for The Anchormen for many years and brother to Michael English. Cheryl, Josh’s mother sang with her sister and brother in law, Beverly and Biney English in the Biney English Family. This was where Joshua sang his first song on stage.
With such a rich heritage, Josh takes his place in the next generation of gospel music. Here are a few questions I asked Josh:
Chris Jenkins – How did you first discover Southern Gospel?
Joshua Horrell – The first time I ever stood on stage was when I was 2 years old. The moment I learned to talk, I was taught songs. Not just any songs, Southern Gospel songs!
CJ – What is playing right now in your car or iPod?
JH – My car radio is on Enlighten Sirius XM at the moment and for the majority of the time.
CJ – Who are some of your musical mentors/heroes?
JH – One of my biggest mentors is Steve Hurst. When I lived in Nashville he took time with me and worked with me some and not only did we work on music and singing, but when I would get with him to learn, we would sometimes just sit and talk about God and Steve would end up praying and the power of God would fall right there in his office. Another is my Uncle Biney English. When I was growing up I traveled with my family singing every weekend. At the time the group consisted of my mom singing soprano, my aunt singing alto, Uncle Biney singing lead and my dad, who can’t sing but can play some killer drums, ran sound and drove. Every time we sang Uncle Biney would get me up there to sing a song. He also worked with me on my harmony as I was growing up.
CJ – If you could make your own all-star quartet, trio, or duo, who would the members be?
JH – Oh wow, this is a tough one because there are so many great and talented singers. An all-star quartet in my opinion would have to be, Brian Free, Lawrence Taylor, Mark Trammell and Tim Riley. Now, since I like the time when every group had a band, I can’t possibly put together an all-star quartet and not include a band such as Matthew Holt, Austin Whisnant, Kevin Williams and my dad, Ricky Horrell.
CJ – What’s the top album every SG fan should have?
JH – This is a tough question because honestly there are some great albums and there are a lot of great ones that came out before I was even born. If you find something by the Cathedrals, get it! But, that doesn’t mean it has to be an old album to be good or even great. Just because a song is old doesn’t make it great because at one time, the old hymns of the church were new. There are great songs written even to this day.
CJ – Where have you always wanted to perform and why do you hope to get to someday?
JH – I have always wanted to perform at NQC Main Stage. Back when the NQC was broadcasted on the local radio station where I grew up, I would sit up and listen all week when I was supposed to be in bed asleep. Especially with school the next day and the concert running so late. I ran on little sleep that week every year! Mom, if you’re reading this you can’t get mad because I did graduate!
CJ – If Christian music wasn’t in the picture, what would you see yourself doing as your career?
JH – Growing up, I always wanted to be a train conductor. I know, that is so crazy and at the time I knew that’s what I was going to do since I had such a strong love for trains. Now I just see that as a boring job, so I doubt that would be a career for me. I’ve done nothing but sing and stay involved in music since I was young that I can’t even think of another career I’d be involved with. I was raised a bus baby I guess you could say.
CJ – How do you feel about the direction of Southern Gospel music? What would you change if you could?
JH – A lot of people are looking for ways to push the boundaries a little and make the gospel easier for people to hear. Some groups are even going to more country/gospel and some are trying to sing southern gospel with more of a contemporary feel to the songs. While nothing is wrong with either style, I see more and more people trying to have one of these sounds while others are sticking with the traditional southern gospel quartet style. So, I guess the direction is still like it has always been; everyone is just trying to find the next best thing.
One thing I would change, if I could, would be that the younger generation would have a greater love for this music.