Legendary gospel group coming to city

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
One of gospel music's most famous groups will be singing in the county next month.
The legendary goup, The Inspirations, will perform at the Roxy Theater in Russellville on Friday, Nov. 13 beginning at 7 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased for $12 at Russellville Pharmacy, Abstract and Appraisal Service, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce or at Living Faith Bookstore in Muscle Shoals.
Tickets will be $14 at the door.
This quartet began four decades ago in quite an unassuming way. Martin Cook, who serves as the group's pianist and founder, was teaching chemistry at Swain County High School in North Carolina. He had been the Kingsmen's first pianist, and had also played for a local group there.
He decided to gather together with four of his students and do some singing. The singing sessions became a nightly event in the basement of Martin's home, but it wasn't long until the group hit the road, and the Inspirations Quartet was born. The original members included Martin on piano, tenor Archie Watkins, lead Ronnie Hutchins, baritone Jack Laws and bass Troy Bums, who eventually became the group's lead vocalist in later years.
In more than 45 years of traveling, there have only been 15 full-time members of this group.
Cook and Watkins traveled with the group for all of those first 45 years, with Watkins resigning earlier this year to pursue a solo ministry.
"Delivering the Goods" to the people through an endless string of quality songs has become The Inspirations trademark. They have had dozens of songs, including seven number one and seven songs of the year or favorite gospel songs, listed on the radio airplay charts.
The Inspirations have had three Singing News Fan Awards Favorite Gospel Songs in the past seven years. They have received more than two dozen Singing News Fan Awards, including Favorite Gospel Group pr Favorite Male Quartet eight times.