During the 1950’s and 60’s, Southern Gospel quartet music raced to the forefront with great groups like the Statesmen and the Blackwoods. Since those original roots, the art form we now call Southern Gospel Music has widened its scope to include strong influences from other music forms like country and bluegrass. Sadly, much of that truly golden era has been lost, as has the style and artistry that was the hallmark of that genre of Southern Gospel talent. The oft-heard comment is that there are very few true, traditional Southern Gospel male quartets to be found anymore.
I would like to introduce you to four men who are determined to revive that polished style of quartet singing. The real bonus is that they’re doing it for all the right reasons, serving Christ through a ministry of song and testimony. They sing great of course, but their testimony is also powerful and inspiring. They sing with what can only be described as excellence in music and exuberance in presentation. To get the full impact, you must hear and see them face-to-face. I can find no fault in either their testimony or their very talented presentation in song. I once believed the golden age of Southern Gospel to be an era gone by. But I am now rethinking that belief, for Southern Sound makes it all so fresh and vibrant. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Southern Sound Quartet ... and gospel music may never be the same again!
Ben Harris - LEAD
Ben Harris Lead singer for Southern Sound (or second tenor, if you prefer "old-school" titles), provides the unmistakable classic lead that Southern Gospel quartet music became so well-acquainted with during its golden age. He can be added to a distinguished list of fine lead singers such as Roy McNeal and Ben’s long-time friend, the legendary Jake Hess.
Ben’s stylistic approach to singing lead is very much his own, but still sounds familiar to those true fans of Southern Gospel quartet music. Ben has been a highly regarded recording engineer / producer and backup vocalist in Nashville for many years. As testament to his exceptional musical abilities, he has been awarded numerous gold and platinum albums.
Ben does much of SSQ’s vocal arrangements, and serves as the group’s emcee. Ben and his wife Delita attend a church in the Nashville area.
Alan Brewster - BASS
After a few years hiatus, we were proud to have Alan rejoin Southern Sound in August 2013, singing the low notes. He is truly one of the smoothest bass singers you will hear in a long time, and brings great depth to Southern Sound. He and Pam reside in Ringgold, GA and have three grown children. Alan is also a business owner, and is valued even more for his integrity.
Mike Franklin - TENOR
Mike Franklin joined Southern Sound in April 2016 and brings an experienced and unique sound to the group's blend.
Mike began his musical pursuits in his early teens, and began to narrow his focus to Southern Gospel music in the early 1980’s. He is best known for his 20 plus years with Gerald Williams and The Classic Melody Boys Quartet. He has also performed in various trios, as a soloist, and in a God and Country multi-media program. Mike’s many years of experience have yielded a unique perspective and viewpoint of his calling.
Well known for his clear, distinctive tenor voice, keen interpretation of a song, and sense of humor, Mike has entertained and blessed fans all across America. Did we say that he is crazy? Well, come to a Southern Sound concert and you will experience it for yourself!
Mike is also a veteran of the United States Air Force and a Child of the King. Mike and Tina have two daughters and six grandchildren.
Randy Shaw - BARITONE & PIANIST
Randy came to Southern Sound in September of 2013, but is no stranger to Gospel Music. He started traveling and singing with his family group when he was 5, and has sung and played in Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Mexico, as well as around the US. He plays several insturments, including piano for some of Southern Sound's music. He has also been a Pastor & Worship Leader.
He has worked in Rescue Missions in L.A., Colorado Springs and Nashville over the last 19 years, and has been married to Karen for 37 years. They have two sons and 6 grandchildren, and reside just north of Nashville, TN.
This brief overview is simply a thumbnail sketch of what Southern Sound is really all about. In a word, Southern Sound Quartet is classy! They are deeply rooted in traditional Southern Gospel, four-part close harmony and in the testimony that Christ is Lord. I was fortunate to hear the group recently at a large church near my home, and they were indeed breathtaking. I lost count of the standing ovations they received that evening from a packed church, quite accustomed to hearing the finest Southern Gospel has to offer. The concert I attended will stay with me for quite some time, but even now, I hunger for more. Southern Sound’s attitude, infectious enthusiasm, stage presence, and fine sense of Spirit-filled music, makes a concert by Southern Sound one to be cherished for a very long while.
The guys have appeared on the National Quartet Convention, Southern Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame Inductance Ceremony, Gospel Music Television, Brush Arbor Jubilee, Grand Ole Gospel Reunion, Paul Heil’s Gospel Greats, Lake Country Jubilee, Southern Gospel Quartet Reunion, and countless personal appearances from Michigan to Florida and from Texas to Pennsylvania. They are refreshing, super talented, and simply a joy to listen to. These four great talents come together forming a truly magical work of musical art. Their sound is unique, tight harmonies telling of the joy in serving the Lord. Take my word, you really need to hear SOUTHERN SOUND. And, Southern Gospel music may well be in for a very thrilling ride.
“Traditional quartet fans, I highly recommend Southern Sound Quartet. They've got it all; low bass, high tenor, powerful lead and baritone along with a tight 4-part blend.”
Singing News Magazine
Director Business Operations
“Southern Sound sets a high standard for traditional quartet music in the vein of the Statesmen, Stamps, and Blackwood Brothers. This group may very well be the best in the business……….”
David Bruce Murray
Singing News Magazine
“There have been many tributes to the Statesmen Quartet through the years, but none have been better than Southern Sound’s ‘Reflections…A Tribute’. Group leader and lead singer Ben Harris is as good an arranger as is going these days, and his knowledge of Statesmen music is as extensive as there is. The group's harmony is among the best in the business in the past several years, and nowhere is that more evident than on their rendition here of ‘Goodbye Troublesome Blues’. Among all the groups going today that specialize in keeping traditional quartet music alive, perhaps none are better than Southern Sound.”
Southern Gospel News
“Southern Sound are men of distinct Christian character and worthy of any confidence we place in them. Keep up the good work.”
“I have been a fan of Southern Sound for a good while and count Ben, and the guys as friends. Anyone who knows Ben realizes he is a perfectionist when it comes to the group’s music and also their character. For those who have never heard Southern Sound, do yourself a favor and purchase their product. If you are a fan of good, solid quartet singing, you’ll not be disappointed.”
Dean Adkins“I’m not only a fan of Southern Sound, but I’m honored to count them among my friends. Their latest cd is without doubt, one of the best released in 2010…… Southern Sound should be counted among the top quartets in the business today. They are superb”.
Professor, West Virginia University
Gospel Music Historian
Grand Ole Gospel Reunion
“This is an excellent quartet. These gentlemen are first class singers who promote a genuine Christian lifestyle.”
John Crenshaw“Up until 5 minutes ago, I felt there were 3 outstanding remakes that offered some elements that topped the originals. These were Al Hirt’s remake of Bunny Berrigans ‘I Can’t Get Started’, and The Cathedrals’ remakes of The Statesmen’s ‘Oh What a Savior’ and ‘I’m Climbing Higher and Higher’. But, after listening to Southern Sound’s remake of The Statesmen’s ‘Heading Home’. I now have expanded my list to 4 instead of 3. All of the voices are superb and Southern Sound is phenomenal.”
Grand Ole Gospel Reunion