Conversation: Jimmy Blackwood
James (Jimmy) Blackwood Jr. has been singing gospel music for 43 years, first with the Jr. Blackwood Brothers in the early Õ60s, then with J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. He joined The Blackwood Brothers in 1969. He has also traveled in a solo evangelistic ministry. Jimmy is a 5-time Grammy award winner. He and his wife, Mona, have two daughters and five grandchildren. He recently spoke with Editor Ken Horn following a concert.
tpe: What does your musical heritage mean to you?
BLACKWOOD: Dad and his brothers grew up in a little country church and gave their hearts to the Lord and began singing almost as soon as they could talk. I was blessed to grow up in a family that followed GodÕs calling. God gave them a talent to sing and a desire in their hearts to fulfill that calling. They didnÕt start with anything else. I find it encouraging that we donÕt have to bring anything but ourselves to the Lord.
They started the quartet in 1934, singing in churches and on a little local radio program. That was more than 70 years ago, and God has been faithful through the years. I am so grateful to be a part of a family that has been able to touch so many lives.
tpe: Talk about your solo ministry.
BLACKWOOD: I had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. God healed me then led me into a solo music ministry. I had grown up singing in quartets, so Mona and I embarked on a new direction in ministry. We visited local churches, shared the gospel and shared my testimony. We eventually traveled all over the country and even overseas during the next 18 years.
tpe: Your father passed away and there was no Blackwood Brothers Quartet for a while. Talk about the rebirth of the quartet.
BLACKWOOD: I filled in with another group for a few dates. Their piano player couldnÕt show up one time so Brad White filled in. Over the course of a few weeks it came together. So many good things were happening that confirmed God was directing this new chapter in our lives.
Eventually it settled out with bass singer Randy Byrd, tenor Wayne Little, Brad White playing the piano and singing baritone and me singing lead. We just knew God had His hand on us.
I have great respect for the calling of God on MonaÕs life and her sensitivity to the Spirit. She has always been an encourager in my life. She shared that same witness in her spirit that this was GodÕs plan and GodÕs time to resurrect the Blackwood Brothers.
tpe: Talk about singing as ministry.
BLACKWOOD: We try to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and we never want to get into the routine of just doing this song followed by that song. Our purpose in singing is to make the Word of God come alive. To me that is the difference between concert performing and concert ministry.
tpe: Some tapes of your father, James Blackwood Sr., were discovered and a recording has been released.
BLACKWOOD: In the Õ70s my daddy recorded nine songs with the intention of adding the rest of the quartetÕs voices at a later time. The master tape was sitting on a shelf for the last 30 years and no one was aware it still existed.
Even though Daddy has been gone since 2002, my brother, Billy, and I were able to sing with him again on a couple of these songs. We had to really fight back the tears. We have the blessed hope weÕre going to see him and sing with him in heaven. But to sing with him and hear that voice today was overwhelming.
tpe: Where can people find out more about your ministry?
BLACKWOOD: The simplest way is to go to www.blackwoodbrothers.com.
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