When Duane Rizzo announced his retirement, Pine Ridge Boys owner/ manager Larry Stewart with Wayne Shuford and Ivory Luke began the long process of talent interviews, vocal tryouts and searching for the right voice to fit the quartet. Being a heritage quartet focused on classic quartet harmonies, finding the right vocal talent coupled with Christian witness was priority.
Stewart shares, “After many conversations, tryouts and demos, we found a young man that fits into our group with a wealth of talent and a tremendous Christian witness. We are excited to welcome Jonathon Thompson to the quartet. With his vocal and piano talents, we will have a broader appeal to audiences young and old alike. ”
Jonathon Thompson hails from Anderson, SC. Though the “young’un” of the group, his experience speaks volumes. His music credentials include entertainer-pianist on Carnival Cruises, a solo music career and southern gospel roots with Gem City of Franklin, NC and the Carolina Crossmen of Sylva, NC. He is equally at home on the piano and is able to deliver a great vocal interpretation with passion stirring the hearts of those who hear him.
Raised in the mountains of Northern Georgia, Jonathan is the very definition of “Country Boy”. His deep grassroots upbringing and a “Prayin’ Mama” are what have made him the man he is today. His Christian testimony holds true to the values instilled in him by his Christian family. Quick to let everyone know that he is not perfect, just forgiven, Thompson strives in his musical stylings to maintain integrity and a strong moral compass.
Jonathan married his lovely bride, Stacey, on September 1, 2012. They reside in Anderson South Carolina. Stacey is absolutely the love of his life. He credits her as being the driving force behind him. He is the proud father of two girls and one boy and Stacey is the mother of two strappin’ boys. So, with a collective five children, they have a modern day Brady Bunch. To them, faith and family are the most important things and will always be center-stage in their lives.
The Pine Ridge Boys are currently “breaking-in” Thompson in quick fashion. Not only is he learning a vast portfolio of PRB favorite songs, the group is starting to pick new material for a new Classic Artists Records cd. Larry says, “We get excited when we start reviewing new and different material. We are always looking for that song that has a positive message with that catchy tune that touches the hearts and ears of our friends.”
Stewart exclaims, ‘We always hate when change happens. But we know that change is part of life. Over the last eight and a half years, Duane Rizzo has been a tremendous asset to our quartet. His desire to sing southern gospel music goes to his youth back to New York. We’re glad he fulfilled his dream with the Pine Ridge Boys. He is still part of our family. That’s just the way it is with the Pine Ridge Boys. We’re family!”
After eight and a half years, the “Singing Policeman” Duane shares, “The wear and tear of road life has caught up to my 64 year old body and it seems to take longer and longer to recuperate from our road trips. I want to personally thank Jim Stewart for giving me the opportunity to live out a lifelong dream to sing professionally with a Southern Gospel Quartet. I also want to thank Larry Stewart for letting me stay on after he took over and giving me the chance to sing at the NQC. The Pine Ridge Boys will always hold a special place in my heart for putting up with my Yankee ways.”
For the future, Rizzo will be taking the next year catching up on things around the house and going on some long promised visits to family and friends.
As for the Pine Ridge Boys, 2016 is looking to be a break out year. Since 1963 the group has maintained rich quartet harmonies in their performances. Today that sound is almost a forgotten art form. Yet their current radio song “The Blood Still Flows” continues to do well with radio programmers. In fact, in the fifty three year history, it is their first nationally charted song on the Singing News and SGN Scoops music charts. Now with a tour schedule that covers the east coast and south, the group is garnering new fans. From teenagers that love their staging, excitement and concert energy to their grandparents who sing-a-long with the classic hymns of the church the Pine Ridge Boys’ message is still same, “There is hope in this world. Jesus is the answer.”
The Pine Ridge Boys are listed as one of SGN Scoops Diamond Awards Top Five Quartets for 2016. As host quartet of many concerts in the south, the Pine Ridge Boys have developed a loved following of avid gospel music fans. Whether in an intimate church singspiration or on the auditorium concert stages, the PINE RIDGE BOYS will warm your heart with rich quartet songs filled with a positive message, a catchy tune stage with energy and a renewed passion in southern gospel music.
For more information on scheduling or music contact the PINE RIDGE BOYS, Larry Stewart, 305 Water Oak St, Inman, SC 29349. Call 864-473-8849 or email Larry@PineRidgeBoys.com. Also visit their website www.PineRidgeBoys.com.