Dueling Gospel singers in Montana

When Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers rolled into Butte, MT for a show this past Sunday at the Montana Folk Festival, they discovered that they were sharing the bill with The Birmingham Sunlights from Alabama.

Both were scheduled for the Sacred Harmonies workshop, and Joe tells us that their meeting turned out to be a joy for all concerned.

“I was not familiar with them but I love accapella gospel. As it turns out they are National Heritage Fellowship winners and have toured since the 1970’s! We were asked to do a workshop together so folks could learn about the roots of black gospel music, bluegrass gospel music, and how the two connect.

They also asked if we could do a song together. So, we combined the traditional bluegrass version of I’m Working on a Building with their Deep South version of a very similar song. It was a blast and the crowd loved it!

Great fun at a great festival.”


The Sunlights have a CD, For Old Time’s Sake, recorded for Flying Fish Records in 1992, now available through Rounder. Members include brothers James, Barry and Steve Taylor along with Reginald Speights and Bill Graves.

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.