New Ken Scoggins Gospel CD in the works

We caught up last week with Ken Scoggins, who reports that he is currently working on a follow-up to his successful 2010 album with Miller’s Creek, Once In A Lifetime Thing.

That last was a traditional bluegrass record, but Ken says that this next will be a Gospel project. Joining him in the studio are bandmates Doug Rankin on mandolin and Furman Whitmire on banjo, with some special studio guests yet to be announced.

Scoggins possesses a strong tenor voice, perfectly suited to the old school bluegrass he offers with Miller’s Creek. You can hear for yourself in this video from November 2011.

I asked Ken to share a few thoughts about the next album…

“We are really excited about this project. For one, I think this is the best group from a talent standpoint that I’ve had in the 11 years I’ve been doing this. Everyone knows how hard it is to keep a band together, and for the first time, we have four guys that all get along and truly enjoy being around each other, rather than just putting up with each other, but these guys can pick and sing, too! That’s the combination I’ve been looking for. Now, I can’t wait to record with them.

This is our second project for Old Homestead Records, and when we signed with John Morris’ historic label, he insisted our second project be all Gospel. We were happy to agree to this condition, because Gospel music is a huge part of our shows, and the faith of all the band members. This music moves us, and we can tell it moves our audiences when we perform the material. And for us, that is what this music is all about – touching someone, making them smile, making them remember something from their past, helping them cope with hard times, and a chance to smile again at the good times.

As soon as we got the OK to proceed with our project, the first question was, where to record? It didn’t take us long to contact Tom T. and Dixie Hall, where we had recorded our first project, and ask if they would have us back for a second. And we were very relieved, and happy, when they said yes. Our first experience there was the best we have ever had in a recording studio – the support, the expertise, the food! But I think most of all, it was the comfort level we felt there. It wasn’t stressful, it wasn’t like work. It was like being at a friend’s house. We worked hard, and sometimes long hours, but we laughed and had a ball through the entire process. I don’t know where else to go to get such a complete experience.

We have a few tracks laid down already, and we are anxious to get back in the studio soon to continue.

The project will be produced by myself and Doug Rankin. We produced the last one, and though we did some on-the-job learning, and had a lot of help from the staff at the Hall’s studio, we were very pleased with it, and reactions have been very positive. Producing a gospel project is an even bigger task, but we look forward to another challenge.

Troy Engle is our recording engineer for this project, our first time working with him. But after just one session, he has made us happy he chose to be a part of the project. We are also hoping to include one of his original songs. We also tracked a few tunes with Rebecca Long at the board, and had a great time with that. All the folks at the Hall’s are just wonderful to work with – so much talent there, yet no one seems to be above rolling up their sleeves and going to work with us.”

Scoggins sas that the Gospel record will mix new songs and old favorites, with a few more still to be chosen.

“We put a lot of time and effort into our song selection. We are constantly looking for new material, and we think we have some good ones already, and would like to find a couple more. We also have chosen some older classics, but have tried to put our brand on them without compromising the original intent. Our goal is to allow the song to be appreciated as though it were something the listener had not heard before. But we don’t want to dismantle the original version, either.

We are very happy to have at least one, and hopefully more, previously unreleased Tom T. and Dixie Hall songs. We are also hoping to include an original from Dennis Goodwin – a lyricist who’s songs have been recorded by Randy Kohrs and others, including at least one song that charted. We have a couple we are considering from mandolin player, Doug Rankin. We are also working on a deal for another that we are not quite ready to announce yet. In all, we hope that at least half the project, if not a bit more, will be original songs.”

While the bulk of the recording is being completed with his touring group, Ken says that a few special guests may yet be added.

“Our last project included professional guest musicians and vocalists Scott Vestal, Alecia Nugent, Mike Scott, Owen Saunders, Heather Berry, Beth Lawrence, and more. We are not ready to announce guests for this project just yet, but we have been in contact with some, and expect the talent to rival the previous project.

I would also like to thank John Morris of Old Homestead records; without him, this project would not be possible. I can’t imagine an easier man to work with. As soon as we met and talked a while with him, it was obvious our tastes in music and our goals matched better with John than even some of the major labels we talked with. Getting a chance to work with a man that has been down a few bluegrass roads, and worked with greats such as Larry Sparks, Charlie Moore, and many others, is a real honor for us. The fact he would spend the time, effort and money required to work with us, is among the greatest compliments we have been paid in this business.”

We’ll be on the lookout for this next CD. You can keep up with Ken Scoggins & Miller’s Creek online.

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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.