I was asked a few weeks ago to interview Jason Griggs from Endless Highway. At the time I had just heard on the radio a wonderful song from them entitled “He Rescued Me”. That song and its powerful message has become a favorite of mine so it was a privilege to be asked to interview Jason about what is going on with Endless Highway.
DA:. In case our readers don’t know, tell us who Endless Highway is? How did you get started in a traveling ministry? How did you come up the name Endless Highway? It is very different than most groups.
JG. The group got its start in 1971 as “The Joylanders.” Vanessa’s parents, Perry & Nell Wimberley, started this ministry 50 years ago. The group has been performing with the current members since the late 1990s. As our kids, Jay and Allison, grew up and began to blossom vocally and instrumentally, they began to transition into a larger role in our ministry. Since 2014, we have been performing as you see us now. We changed our name to “Endless Highway” in 2017. Choosing a group name can be challenging! To be able to use a name, the proposed name must be available on all social media platforms, the domain name has to be available to have a website, and the name can never have been used on YouTube, Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, Pandora, etcetera. We compiled a list of potential names for consideration and the list was quickly narrowed down to Endless Highway or Copper Hill and we ultimately decided on Endless Highway. Endless Highway is the title of a song that Allison Krauss did years ago and every time that I would open Apple Music on my iPhone, it was always the first song that I would see because it listed the artists names in alphabetical order. I would see it all the time and I thought it might make a neat name for a band. There are several scripture references that are applicable to the name Endless Highway, but we chose to use Isaiah 35:8-10. We thought the name and the Isa. 35:8-10 scripture reference was also descriptive of our 3rd generation, Jay and Allison, carrying on the ministry that their grandparents started.
DA: Since COVID became an awful word in our vocabulary, what has Endless Highway been doing?
JG: The pandemic affected us like it did most groups. We had over 70 cancellations in 2020. Bookings have greatly increased since though as people are becoming more comfortable in meeting in large groups again! Thankfully, only one group member had COVID and it was a very mild case. During COVID, we focused on making videos and posting them to our YouTube channel and to our social media accounts to stay connected with our supporters. We then transitioned to parking lot services with attendees in their cars. We are extremely happy to be back on the road and ministering in-person!
DA. Getting back to the present, as I mentioned in my first message, I just love your radio single, “He Rescued Me”. I am sure it has touched many lives as how do you decide which songs to record and then which ones that you know you just have to release?
JG: It all starts with a song and a lyric. If a song doesn’t minister to our hearts and affect us in some way, we shelve it. We only choose songs that have a truth that we want to present. As far as choosing radio singles, we have a great record label in Crossroads Music. Jim Stover seems to have his finger on the pulse of what radio likes and we trust his guidance. Obviously, we have input into what is released and we discuss it with Jim and make a collective decision.
DA . Down here in North Carolina we have one Southern Gospel radio station that will have listeners call in with a request for a song that made an impact on their lives, do you have many people let you know about a certain song that made a difference in their lives? And to add to this question, what is your favorite song and why?
JG: One of the great things about doing what we do is getting to meet people and hear their “stories” and how the songs minister to them. It is beyond humbling! We’ve heard stories that would blow your mind. It always makes me mindful that when we stand on a stage, the people we are singing to are experiencing every imaginable circumstance in life and they need encouragement and hope. What a great opportunity we have to be able to pour the Gospel message into folks and give them hope and encouragement! I would say that “He Rescued Me” is my current favorite song that we do. The message is applicable to the saved and lost alike. It is the testimony of the saved and the hope of salvation for the lost. It’s awesome to see how that song blesses people!
DA . What was a moment in one of your concerts where you realized this is why you were doing all of this?
JG The reason we do what we do is to see the lost come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and that never gets old! We also get to encourage people and we love that too. There have been several events that I could speak of, but I’ll tell of a couple. One was when a teenage girl came to me after a concert was over one day and began telling me how she had attended one of our concerts about a year before. She said that particular night changed her life. She told me how she suffered depression and how she self-mutilated her body to cope. Then, she pulled up her sleeves and showed me the evidence of all the many scars from cutting herself. She said the concert, from a year before, changed her life and she found the answers and hope she needed and that she had not cut herself since. Wow!! You just never know! The second story was when we finished a concert and went to our product table and a lady walked up to me and said that she was going to go home and kill herself unless I could give her a reason not to. I was shocked! I wasn’t expecting that at all! I was able to take that lady aside, pray with her, share scripture with her, and give her hope and encouragement. Thankfully, she found the hope she needed, God touched her that night, and she did not commit suicide.
DA. In each of my interviews I always ask this question. As a former teacher, we had a mission statement that we would try to follow, in your Christian ministry which Bible verse you would say is your “mission statement”.
JG: Matthew 28:19-20. I call it our 3 E’s Mission Statement; Exalt Christ, Edify the local church, and Evangelize the lost.
DA: Earlier, I asked you what the most powerful moment during one of your concert was , now I will ask, is there a funny moment that you were definitely not expecting but became one that you would not forget?
JG: This story was funny to us, but may not have been to anyone else. We were in Owensboro, Kentucky for a big event. The big theater was packed with about 1,100 people. That particular night, there was a young lady that was a child prodigy on the violin. She played before us and did amazing. We took the stage and started a song that Vanessa plays fiddle on. Well, Vanessa had just gotten new glasses with progressive lenses. When she started to do her big fiddle solo, she looked down through those progressive bifocal lenses and couldn’t tell what string she was looking at. She started her solo and never even got on the right string! It was horrible! It was so bad that we were all laughing so hard that we had to stop! We gave Van a hard time about trying to show out in front of the child prodigy!
DA: I see that you do several concerts with Mark Lowry, is he as funny behind the scenes as he is in concert?
JG: YES! Mark is genuinely a funny person! It’s just in his DNA. Our experience is that he is a very kind, gentle man. He is very genuine and real. In my opinion, part of Mark’s comedic genius in ministry is that he can make you laugh until you cry, but then hit you with a deep truth of the Gospel that will hit you to the core.
DA: What is next for the group the rest of 2021?
JG: Our bookings are really starting to pick up and we are grateful for that! We are blessed to be a part of some really great events this year such as the National Quartet Convention, 40 Days and 40 Nights of Gospel Music at The Ark, Legacy Five’s Mackinac Island event, and we are blessed to work about 9 dates this year with Mark Lowry. Even though our new project, Come Home, just released in May, we will start listening to songs and putting ideas together for another new project.
DA:. Anything else you might want our readers to know about that we haven’t covered?
JG: We really aren’t that interesting! LOL! We are so normal and boring! We’re just a normal family that loves each other and loves telling people about Jesus.
DA: I want to thank Jason Griggs for graciously taking time out of their busy schedule to answer the questions I asked. Endless Highway is a fantastic group that, if they are in concert, near you, that I would recommend going to hear. I know you will be blessed.
For more information on Endless Highway, visit them online at www.endlesshighway.org.