One of the most exciting announcements so far in 2017 has been the return of The Old Paths. I have followed these guys since 2005, when they were a trio. I have seen them grow into a force to be reckoned with and viewed them as the next great quartet…following in the ranks of such great male quartets as Gold City, Cathedral Quartet, Kingsmen, etc. All the signs were there…great songs, a large and loyal following, and that special something…call it an anointing, “IT”, or whatever…they had it and then all of a sudden, they decided to come off the road. After a hiatus for a little over a year, the Old Paths return! But before we look at the present and future, let’s take a brief history lesson.
The Old Paths started in 2003 as a trio with Tim Rackley, Doug Roark and Chad Dominey. Basing their name from Jeremiah 6:16, which says, “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein”, the group encountered some moderate success with such songs as “The Fire Still Burns”, “I’ve Missed Out” and “Amen, That’s Right”. Eventually, fan favorite (and former Kingsmen tenor) Jeremy Peace became their tenor and they added a bass vocalist and that’s when people started to take notice. Their first really big song came to the tune of “The I of the Storm” and after acquiring Daniel Ashmore, they really hit their stride with numerous back to back hit songs and fan favorites such as “Battle Stand”, “God’s Great”, “Love Them to Jesus”, “Long Live the King” and “Ordinary People”. Due to some health issues and other family matters, the group retired from the road in December 2015. According to Tim Rackley, “We felt like God was telling us that we needed to be there for our families and not on the road full-time. We each were led to focus on our families and be at home in individual ministries. It was a hard decision because this was 12 years of our lives, but when we realized that it was where God was leading us, it made it a lot easier to make that decision.”
During their hiatus from traveling as a full time group, Tim went back into sales/marketing, Doug went back to construction, Daniel went back into building management and services and of course, Jeremy Peace went on to join the LeFevre Quartet. Since they were all based in the Atlanta area, they all remained close and in communication with one another. So what led to the group coming back together? According to Tim, it was family and the ability to travel and sing select dates. “The main factor in us being able to come back on the road with select dates, were our families and they are all doing much better. My daughter is doing well after her kidney transplant and Doug’s son Douglas is at home and doing well. We wanted to make sure our families were going to be ok with us taking this step to do concert dates before we made the commitment.”
Now that Tim, Doug and Daniel made the commitment to bring the group back, they only needed a tenor singer since Jeremy had moved on to the LeFevre Quartet. The group went back to their record company, Crossroads Music, and put them in touch with Steve Ladd who was already working with Crossroads on his new solo recording. Tim says, “We are thrilled to have Steve join us. We were thankful he was interested in singing with the quartet in addition to his solo career. From the first few times we met and sang together, we knew that it was the right fit for us.” This opportunity came as a pleasant surprise and blessing for Steve, as Steve relates, “Honestly I had never really thought about becoming a part of another group because of how busy my solo career had gotten. When I realized that I could still do my solo ministry and be a part of this great quartet, I was excited! Anything I’ve ever tried to do, music wise, has been with a heart of wanting to be pleasing to the Lord! All the guys in the group have one goal in mind…to reach people with our music. And when Chris White told me the plan and that I would still be able to keep my solo schedule, it was a ‘no brainer’ for me! It’s the best of both worlds. I still love 4 part harmony and I always will.”
Currently, the guys are in the studio working on their first recording together. Slated to release July 14, 2017, the recording is sporting songs from a wide-range of songwriters such as Rodney Birch, Sandy Knight, Dianne Wilkinson, Rebecca Peck, Kenna West and Lee Black. Tim says, “We couldn’t believe the blend that was there when we first started singing together. It was magical since we had never really sung with Steve before.” Some of the songs to watch for are “In the Long Run”, “At the Name of Jesus” and “Broken People Like Me”.
For their second run as a group, the goals haven’t changed since their first time around. “Our goals really never changed”, Tim says, “we want to see people come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and want to encourage believers. That goal has remained the same whether we are traveling as a group or ministering individually in our jobs or local churches.” As they prepare to hit the road again, Tim shares, “We all feel like the time apart and off the road with our families was good for us. God definitely gave us a renewed spirit during this time. When we first started talking about doing dates together again, we knew that it wouldn’t be full-time like we were before, but God definitely gave us the desire to get back on the road in some capacity to encourage and minister to people. We are still as passionate as ever about the music and how we can impact the Kingdom.”
There is much anticipation for what the future holds for The Old Paths. Fans will get their first taste during the Memphis Quartet Show in June, then the recording officially releases in July. It’s an amazing line-up that holds a lot of promise as they return to offer up their brand of classy quartet music. They’ll pick up right where they left off and continue blazing trails down the old path!