A new kind of gospel music
New Again offers up progressive southern gospel
Ed Nolan has 30 years experience singing with gospel groups such as the Morris Stancil Quartet, the Fishermen, the Darryl Lundy Singers and Homeward Bound. In December 2007, God gave him a vision to step out in faith and organize a new group. Calling on friends, Greg and Wendy Chambers and Holly McCullough, New Again was formed. Plans are in place for Pete Freeman to join the group as bass player.
“Our genre is best described as progressive southern gospel,” explained Nolan. “I love the a cappella sound of our group and the close harmony — spiritually and vocally. That is what I want our group to be known for.”
Inspired by Revelations 21:5, “And he that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new,’” the members are committed to the Word of God and dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The group spoke about the significance of prayer, both at practices and performances, and will offer a special opportunity to those who have not accepted Christ as their savior.
“I want to make sure that Jesus is seen and his message is presented,” said Nolan. “That’s what we are all about.”
Greg Chambers said that the group strives to be in tune with God 100 percent of the time, not only when they are singing but in their every day walk.
“When you’re standing up there, you see everyone’s emotions,” said Chambers as he explained the importance of following the leading of the Holy Spirit. “I might tell Ed to sing another verse because I can see God moving on a person. We don’t want to kick into the wrong song and quench the spirit.”
Encouraged by his mother who taught him to play the guitar when he was 8 years old; Nolan learned early that he also had a God-given talent to play the piano.
“When I was 6 years old, my sister had finished taking her lesson for the day, and I sat down at the piano and played by ear exactly what she had just played,” recalled Nolan. “She gave up her piano lessons and told mother, ‘there is your piano player.’”
Nolan played the tuba in the Blue Rambler Band at Newton County High School and is accomplished on the bass guitar, organ and banjo. Nolan remembers being inspired by a child who sang at his church, real- izing that was something he wanted to do one day.
“When I was 9 years old and we were attending East Lithonia Baptist Church, one of my fondest memories was seeing this little girl standing up in front of the church and singing,” said Nolan. “They would have to put her up on a chair – her name was Brenda Lee.”
A new member of Stewart Baptist Church, Nolan has served as church pianist since the age of 14 and became the choir director at the age of 18 and served in those capacities until 2000. He is employed by GRN Community Service Board.
Greg Chamber’s father was a Pentecostal preacher who put up gospel tents across the country and his mother sang in a gospel group. As a child, Chambers lived in a bus for 12 years and was home-schooled.
“I would meet a friend and leave a friend,” he reminisced. “I always said I would never go down that same road, but God has called me in that same direction.”
Doctors gave the family little hope that Chambers would live past his childhood. In addition to suffering from asthma and eczema, his body was covered with warts to the extent that he could hardly open his eyes.
“A preacher under a gospel tent prayed for me and by the time I got home, there were only four warts left, two on my head and one on my thumb and leg,” said Chambers. “Since then, only two remain on my head.”
Chambers battled allergies the entire time he and his wife performed in a gospel group. The couple took a year off to devote time to church and family and to restore Greg’s health. Chambers found out he was allergic to everything except nine things which included salt and pepper.
“All this time he was allergic to chicken, nuts and strawberries and all the good foods that churches gave us at homecomings,” said his wife.
In 1997 Chambers rededicated his life to Christ. He works for Complete Truck Body in Gay as the plant manager/part owner. As president of the South Coweta Little League Baseball Association, he credits his board for backing him up in making it clear that there would be no games on Wednesday and Sunday to allow families to attend church.
“I give my testimony as I work with the kids,” said Chambers, explaining how he helps them get into local churches.
Although Wendy Chambers was not raised in church, she went with a Christian friend and knew the Lord was speaking to her at age 15.
“Everything in my friend’s home was Christian from the books, games and movies,” she said.
As an adult, Wendy turned her life over to Christ. She was encouraged by a co-worker’s strength in the face of adversity.
“My friend’s husband had committed suicide and her daughter blamed her — yet she was happy,” said Wendy. “She never told me I was going to die and go to hell if I didn’t change my ways. She showed me how good God was to her in spite of what had happened. I wanted that happiness.”
Inspired by her mother-inlaw’s album, Wendy started singing in church in 1999. A member of West Sunny Side Church, she was choir director until recently and is employed by Complete Truck Body.
Holly McCullough accepted Christ at 14. She sang at the Baptist Tabernacle and credits Janie Roberts with her training. McCullough inherited her love for singing from her grandmother and dad.
“My grandmother used to sing ‘The Lighthouse’ and I sang it to my son, Jeremy Dial,” she recalled.
McCullough, who is employed as a private nanny, sings at banquets, weddings and at the Open Air Revival for her church, Julia Porter UMC.
“My heart is blessed to know God loves me so much to give me the opportunity to sing with New Again,” she said. “I feel that the Lord has big plans to use us. We are going to keep sharing the gospel as far as he takes us.”
The spouses play an important role in the group. Tom McCullough operates the sound equipment and Pat Nolan is the financial advisor.
Both Ed Nolan and Greg Chambers have written songs which will appear on their forthcoming album. Their second album will be dedicated to the sacred hymns.
With a desire to endear themselves to those who come out to share in their ministry, New Again will be at Buckner’s Family Restaurant in Jackson, at 8 p.m. on Feb. 29 singing favorites, “New Day Dawning” by the Whisnants and “New Again” by Brad Paisley and Sara Evans.
“We want to be a blessing to people and spread the good news of Jesus,” said McCullough. “We ask that everyone keep us in their prayers and come hear us and let the Lord bless them.”
For more information, please check the Web site, www.newagain.us; e-mail ed@newagain. us; firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404, 597- 8107 or 706-5381686.
Musical message: Progressive southern gospel group New Again, consisting of Ed Nolan,