Val Storey, Larry Cordle, Mike Rogers, and their Station Inn ensemble have released a Gospel album, derived from their Sunday afternoon shows held each week at Nashville’s World Famous Station Inn. Storey launched her singing career at age 14, recording with the legendary Jordanaires. The professional songster has also sung background vocals for such Nashville heavy hitters as Dolly Parton, Gene Watson, and numerous others. Known throughout Music City as a premier vocalist, her talents can be heard on many Grammy nominated records. Cord is a prolific songwriter/singer/performer, and Rogers toured three years with Doyle Lawson before becoming band leader for Craig Morgan.
Their recording, entitled Sunday Gospel Sessions, features 13 tunes with Storey, Cord, and Rogers taking turns with lead vocals. All of which can be heard live on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 pm CST at the Nashville live music venue in the Gulch area on 12th Ave South.
Five of the tunes (Jesus and Bartenders, Lawrence County Seat, Mama Don’t Forget to Pray for Me, Right Hand of Fellowship, and The Key to Heaven) were written or co-written by Cordle. Powerful, soul searching lyrics are present, especially in the latter song, co-written with Larry Shell: “The key to Heaven was left hanging on a nail.”
Other tracks include Albert Brumley’s Turn Your Radio On, the Easter Brothers’ Heart That Will Never Break Again, and Keith Whitley’s You Don’t Have to Move That Mountain, plus a couple of AP Carter favorites, Working on A Building and Will The Circle Be Unbroken.
Rogers’ vocals really shine on What Does God Look Like, and Jimmy Fortune’s I Believe. Storey concludes the project with the powerful Written in Red.
The Gospel Sessions feature their Station Inn bandmates and topnotch pickers: Aubrey Haynie and Ward Stout on fiddles, Doug Jernigan on pedal steel and dobro, Landy Ewing on bass, and Storey’s husband, Bob Grant, on mandolin and guitar. The project also includes some impressive special guests including Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver’s Joe Dean on banjo, mandolin, and background vocals, and Dailey and Vincent’s Blaine Johnson on keyboard, plus several notable others.
Storey, the brainchild behind the Gospel show, shared its evolution. “It started about year and half ago. I had the idea. I had been In Gatlinburg to accept an award and I had to come back on a Sunday. On the way back, I saw a few places that were having Sunday Gospel shows.”
Storey aIong with Cord and Carl Jackson had been performing as the band, New Monday, weekly at the Station Inn. She elaborated on her desire to expand her musical horizons.
“I had been loving singing on Monday nights, but was missing singing Gospel music. The first group I ever sang in was a Gospel group and the first time I felt Jesus tugging at my heart was during a song that was being sung in our church. So Gospel music has always been a huge part of my life.
I got to thinking about Nashville and how at that time we really didn’t have a full band Gospel show anywhere that I knew of, and how it would be great to have a place for folks to go and hear that kind of music in Nashville outside of church services. I thought it would be a great way for folks, especially tourists to be able to have a place to go while they were in town.
I actually shared the idea with our friend, Landy Ewing, and he said why don’t you ask JT (Gray, proprietor of Station Inn). Landy was very encouraging and really a big part in me having the nerve to ask JT.”
The songstress praised Gray. “JT is a wonderful person and had already done so much for me by having me there on Monday night. I am so grateful to him. Fortunately, Landy kept encouraging me to ask and I finally did.”
Gratitude is given to Gray on the jacket of the gospel CD: “Special thanks to JT Gray, owner of the Station Inn, for allowing us a place to share this music that we all love so dearly.”
Storey further outlined the mechanics of the recording. “We did the session at Mike Rogers’ place. It was so much fun working there and with Mike and Landy Ewing. Landy is quite talented and has worked in and around Gospel music all his life. He co-produced the record with Mike and played bass on it as well.”
Larry Cordle shared, “I am so grateful and happy to have been asked to be a part of this wonderful project. Just to have the opportunity to sing with two of my favorite vocalists in the world, Val Storey and Mike Rogers, means the world to me. God is glorified every time either of these two open their mouths to sing, plus there was the flawless production by Landy Ewing and Mike Rogers.”
Storey concluded, “It fell together beautifully. There were some moments in the studio when we would finish a song and there would be dead silence and teary eyes. I really believe God was there with us and had His hand in it. And we would not want it any other way.”
Sunday Gospel Sessions is available for download through Amazon and iTunes. Physical copies can be ordered by contacting Val Storey by email.