As quickly as my wobbly high heels would take me, I ascended the grand staircase to the balcony of the Marion Cultural and Civic Center. By the time I found my seat on the last row, The Truthseekers were singing The Blood is Still There, a beautiful mid-tempo ballad about the eternal value of the blood of Christ. “This gentleman coming out is no stranger to you,” Jim said, and then brought out the emcee, Dennis.
It was the second night of The Truthseekers Homecoming and the line-up for the evening would be a new group from North Carolina called Adoration and the headliner, The Booth Brothers. Just like Thursday, Friday night was sold out. The house was full and ready to hear the BB’s! As Dennis launched into a lengthy monologue a couple climbed the steps, squinting at their tickets. I couldn’t help but notice that even in the back of the building; people were still ready to help with a smile on their face. The folks sitting in the row in front of me helped the couple locate their seats and didn’t complain when the latecomers needed to traverse the whole row to reach their seats on the other side.
Moments later, Dennis introduced the first group, “Would you welcome…Adoration.” When the quartet walked out on stage the lead singer exclaimed, “We are here to lift up one name and that name is Jesus.” Adoration used the first half of their set to sing; they started with There’s Just Something About that Name and Into His Presence. Marion’s very own, Dustin Lemming, was featured on the first verse of the next up-beat tune, There’s a Stream of Living Water followed by I’m Stepping Out. Introductions were next, the lead singer, who I found out was Cory, explained that Adoration is from Goldsberry, North Carolina. Their tenor, Joshua, is Michael English’s nephew – their bass singer is named Chris – and of course Dustin Lemming played piano and sang baritone. A Dottie Rambo song was next, When the Hills of Home Start Calling Me. Adoration closed their set with these tunes: Hide Thou Me, His Tomb is Empty, Jesus Christ is Lord of All, and Jesus Really Cares. (This was my first time to see this group, so if the song titles are not perfectly correct, please excuse my blunder!) 😉
“You having fun tonight?” asked Dustin Lemming, “It’s good to be home…welcome the Booth Brothers!” As the Booth Brothers came out on stage Michael softly said, “We are honored to be here.” Child of the King (I thank Him for the miracles) kicked off their first set. “Folks, let’s have some fun in the Lord,” Ronnie encouraged as they went into Sail On. “We are very, very grateful to be able to come back and sing to you guys,” said Michael in between songs. (It had been a few years since they’ve been to Marion.) “Here’s one that Jim Brady wrote before he left – and we’re not giving it back to him!” Michael teased. That song was the first track from their new CD and goes by the name of Faith Keeps Walking. Before their next tune, Michael encouraged the crowd with these words, “If you have a hard time believing that God’s thinking about you or that He can use you – listen to these words.” Paul then began to sing, “It was battered and scarred and the auctioneer felt it was hardly worth his while…” (Touch of the Master’s Hand.)
“We’re going to do a couple things a little bit differently,” said Michael, setting up an old RC mic. “As a trio we love to take a quartet song, and make it fit a trio…it’s just a little prideful thing…” he couldn’t finish the sentence because he started laughing. Finally, he finished, “…and we like to sing them at the National Quartet Convention!” LOL! This time, the crowd burst out laughing too! The first tune was If God Didn’t Care, followed by Happy Rhythm and Still Feeling Mighty Fine.
One encore and standing ovation later, Michael picked up his Bible. He read Genesis chapter 1:1-5 and said, “…now that is the Genesis account of how God made everything and there’s another account in the Gospel of John that says ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ See, Jesus is the living Word and the Bible is the written Word – they are in complete agreement and forevermore they are inseparable!” This led into their dramatic arrangement of I Am the Word. Towards the end of the song Ronnie stepped back and grabbed the Bible, holding it up for all to see. The crowd couldn’t help but stand. It was one of those powerful moments that couldn’t be ignored. Even those in the balcony were on their feet. (And I know ‘cause I was sitting up there!) 😉 “What this is, is passion,” said Michael of the performance, “You can’t argue with a person who’s been changed by the spirit of God. One of the reasons why I’m so passionate about this book is because it saved my wife’s life – her natural and spiritual life.” He went on to tell just how that happened. Vikki grew up without a father. When she was born, he walked away and refused to acknowledge her existence. Michael also pointed out how in a room the size of the auditorium, there may be someone who chose abortion and that they did not come to heap condemnation on anyone, rather, he just wanted the crowd to know Vicki’s background in order to appreciate the next song. He continued to explain the wise counsel that gave Vikki her breakthrough – it was the illustration of a rose. Children are supposed to grow up like roses – nurtured and taken care of by their parents. But, Vikki grew up more like a wildflower – seemingly unnoticed and alone in the world. Yet, the only way to explain the beautiful person she (and many others) has become today is that her Heavenly Father nurtured and took care of that wildflower. “Now, here’s what we noticed,” Michael went on, “all these miles we travel, there’s a whole lot more wildflowers than roses. Tonight, there are a lot of roses, but a lot of wildflowers too. Could it be that He has brought you here tonight to remind you that He loves you and want to wrap His arms around you?” After that question, Michael sang Wildflower, the ballad written for his wife. Jesus Saves ended their first set and intermission began.
When I walked in for the second half Adoration was featuring their tenor on Blessed Assurance. They continued with I’ve Found Peace Through the Blood, Nothing But the Blood of Jesus and I’ve Been Revived.
“Some of the smoothest singin’ you’ve heard tonight and you’re gonna’ hear some more…welcome back the Booth Brothers,” said Cory. The BB’s first song was Look For Me at Jesus’ Feet. Michael teased how he made all those comments about quartets earlier and he forgot that their former bus driver, Roger, was going to join them and sing a quartet song on the second half! LOL. Roger is a bass singer making the threesome a quartet on the classic, Feeling Fine. “I traveled with these guys for some time,” said Roger, “These are some special folks – they look like it on stage and they are like it off stage. You can’t travel on a bus and not know somebody and these guys are 100% special.” Ronnie strapped on his guitar and Michael told him to play, “The one about God that we do.” LOL “The most miserable people on the planet are those who don’t believe that they are forgiven and that they are free,” Michael said setting up His Grace is Sufficient for Me, which they sang with just the guitar. Ronnie told the story of a man who was known for breaking out of prisons in the 1920’s and took a challenge to break out of a prison in the British Isles. The expert took the challenge but failed – because the prison door was never locked to begin with! Ronnie used this story to set up, I’m Free. “I know it’s late, but can we do one more for you?” asked Michael. The “Blind Man” (He Saw It All) closed out the night.
The Booth Brother’s current CD, Still, is amazing. This was my second time to hear those songs performed live and I loved it! Even sitting on the last row (literally!) the energy from the music was effective in the back of the room. It was a great evening!