My name is Carol Lawson (CL) and I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Phil Barker, the tenor singer with Jordan’s Bridge (JB) to find out more about their ministry. I hope that this article will help you to get acquainted with Jordan’s Bridge. Enjoy our conversation….
CL: Tell me about the background of Jordan’s Bridge, where from, how started, how long together?
JB: Thanks Carol for doing this interview. This is Phil Barker and I am one of the original members of Jordan’s Bridge. We are from various parts of NC and TN but our home office is located in Bristol, TN. We got together nine years ago in December. It all started with a phone call from Joe Lane, the piano player that played with several groups and was our original piano player. He called me about meeting with Rick Sheets and we got together. We practiced a little bit and we all felt like it was a positive thing, so we put the group Jordan’s Bridge together and we’ve been going ever since!
CL: What are the connections or is anyone related?
JB: No one in the group is related. We have all known each other for a long time and you will recognize some familiar faces from other groups that make up today’s current line-up. Today’s line-up consists of Phil Barker – tenor; Burman Porter – bass; Rick Sheets – baritone; and Dale Shipley – lead. I remember Dale Shipley, our lead singer when he sang with a group from Memphis, TN called the Songmasters Quartet, along with Perfect Heart, Million Dollar Quartet and the retired Freedom Quartet. Our bass singer is Burman Porter and he sang with the Dove Brothers Quartet, the Blackwood Brothers, Palmetto State Quartet and the retired Freedom Quartet. Rick, our baritone singer promoted gospel music for years and he now runs our office. I was with the Singing Americans Quartet, Crimson River Quartet, Trailblazers Quartet, Harvesters Quartet and the Dixie Melody Boys. As you can see, that’s a lot of years of experience singing the Gospel. This is our calling!
CL: What about road stories – funny or embarrassing moments?
JB: You know groups have many funny and embarrassing stories being on the road. There’s one story that we still laugh about even today. It happened a few years ago. One Sunday morning we were singing at this church in North Carolina and we were on our second or third song. Usually later on in the program I would feature Joe on a piano solo. A voice came from behind me was saying “I want to feature Joe on a piano solo now.” I thought that was kind of strange so I turned around and looked. It was Rick, our baritone singer and he had sweat running down his face and I knew something was wrong, so I introduce Joe real quick and Rick goes out the side door. Wow, people were watching Joe play the piano! Rick was gone about 10 minutes. When he came back he had a big smile on his face. I’ll let you guess where he went and what was wrong! You can’t make this stuff up!! There are lots more stories but we will move on.
CL: What should people expect when they come to see Jordan’s Bridge in concert?
JB: When people come to see Jordan’s Bridge they should expect to hear good harmony and a good selection of the old, classic songs along with some new ones. They should also expect to receive a blessing because that is what the Message in the songs will do if you came seeking a blessing.
CL: What do you want the people to leave from the concert with?
JB: We want the people that come to our concerts to leave with their spirits lifted and have renewed joy in their hearts. In this day that we living in, there is not a lot of joy to be had!
CL: Latest project?
JB: We have a new project in the making right now. We started it back in November, 2019 but while we were in the midst of the recording Burman lost his voice. He couldn’t finish the bass part on two songs and then COVID-19 hit and he hasn’t been able to go back to the studio and finish his part. We hope to get it finished up soon and have it available when our concerts are able to resume.
CL: What lessons has this pandemic taught you or what have you learned from it?
JB: This pandemic has been hard on everyone. It has showed the world just how quick life can change. It has taught us that we should be ready because Christ return could be any day. We are seeing the Bible revealed right before our very eyes every day. Make sure you are ready!
CL: What big events, sings, cruises, etc. are Jordan’s Bridge on this year/next year?
JB: Well, that is a good question! As you know things are changing daily with the pandemic. When it hit we canceled everything we had booked and are just now starting to book dates again. We are supposed to sing on a showcase at the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, TN in late September, but we don’t know if that will happen. There is a Plan B out there so we will see. Hopefully things will open up soon and we can get back to a “normal” schedule of dates and get to continue to spread the Good News in song!
CL: Do you have a website? How do people get your booking information?
JB: People that would like to book Jordan’s Bridge can visit our website at www.jordansbridge.com or they can call us at (336) 452-9978. We would love to come and minister to your church. Our website also has other information regarding Jordan’s Bridge so be sure to visit it and check us out.
CL: Other information you would like to share?
JB: Keep Jordan’s Bridge in your prayers that we will soon be able to get back to what we are called to do and that is to lift up the name of Jesus to this world in song. We hope that you will check us out when we are in your area. Keep up with us via our schedule on our website. Be sure check it often as dates are being added as things are opening back up. God Bless and thanks for this opportunity for the interview. See ya down the road!