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Chris Jenkins Interviews Down East’s Steve Lixey

chrisjenkinsThis month I’ll take you in depth with a fellow tenor vocalist whom I feel is one of the smoothest yet dynamic young tenors to come along lately. I first heard this gentleman on the Singing At Sea cruise in 2015. I sat down to hear a great quartet, the Down East Boys and enjoy their set for several minutes. I honestly had only planned to stay through about half, as there was another group playing on the other end of the ship that I had planned to go see perform. From the first song, I was very impressed with their sound and especially their tenor singer.

After Steve was introduced, he was featured on an old classic, “Farther Along”. I was blown away by his control and vocal range. I expected him to be a little nervous and shaky, being that he had recently joined the group, but that was NOT the case. I listened to their whole set and didn’t even care that I had missed the other performance I had planned to see.

I decided to let the gospel music world get to know this great singer a little more. He’s the next generation tenor for this month, Steve Lixey!

Chris Jenkins – How did you first discover Southern Gospel?

Steve Lixey – I grew up in a Baptist church that had all the old classic groups like the Cathedrals, Blackwood Brothers, and JD Sumner and the Stamps. All of which came to the church before I was born of course. However when I was around 7 or 8 years old the Heartland Boys would come sing every year with George Amon Webster and I sat in the front row of the middle section every time and sang all the songs. I loved every moment of it.

C.J. – What is playing right now in your car or iPod?

S.L. – I listen to a playlist of my favorite southern gospel songs. Most recently was For God So Loved by Brian Free and Assurance.

C.J. – Who are some of your musical mentors/heroes?

DownEast  S.L. – Well the man who influenced me the most to sing was David Phelps. I heard him for the first time ever in Auburn Hills Michigan at the palace of Auburn Hills for a homecoming concert. From then on out I have always wanted to sing tenor and he was the catalyst to me singing now.

C.J. – If you could make your own all-star quartet, trio, or duo, who would the members be?

S.L. – That’s a tough one with how many great singers are out there and have been around. I’m going to pick a quartet and for Lead-Guy Penrod, Baritone-Daryl Paschal (a little biased because I sing with him but he truly is one of the best), Bass-Eric Bennett and Tenor-David Phelps. Those are my favorites for each category right now.

C.J. – What’s the top album every SG fan should have?

S.L. – Honestly I just came across this group when I started singing with the Down East Boys and wish I heard them sooner in life and that’s The Hinsons. The album from them to have is “Lift the Roof Off Live.” It’s a great album.

C.J. – Where have you always wanted to perform and why do you hope to get to someday?

S.L. – Well I have performed at the location but it was NQC. I had my first time ever going to NQC last year and I was also able to sing on main stage as well. It was a very exciting time and can’t wait for this year to do it again.

C.J. – What is the most interesting fact about you?

S.L. – Well the most interesting fact right now is that I’m a new father as of October 26th of last year. My wife and I had our first child. It was a boy and his name is Alexander David Lixey. He has single handedly taken over my life but I love every moment of it. Being a dad is a most wonderful thing and I would never change it.

C.J. – How do you feel about the direction of Southern Gospel music? What would you change if you could?

S.L. – I’m excited about where it is going right now. I think you will see a lot of younger groups start to become more known and then also the older ones pass them the torch. It’s a new era I think and I think it will be great to see. The only thing I would like to see is a better mix of groups at NQC and other main events to set up for the new era.

Steven David Lixey is 28 years old and he is married to Rebecca Lynn Lixey. They just welcomed their son, Alexander David Lixey (5 months old at the time of this article). Steve was born in Flint, Michigan to Chuck and Bonnie Lixey and moved to Burlington North Carolina from Saginaw Michigan in 2015. He has two older Brothers, Dan and Jeff. Steve has been singing tenor for the Down East Boys for the last year and a half.

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Formed over 19 years ago by Deon & Susan Unthank originally as SoGospelNews.com, the site was birthed from an email discussion group by the same name. The SoGospelNews email discussion list was created by the Unthanks after the Singing News shut down its extremely popular discussion list. SoGospelNews started as a simple webpage listing artists, fans, individuals, etc. that were avid supporters of the newly formed SoGospelNews talk list. The site eventually took on printing news for Southern Gospel artists, and eventually took on reviewing the latest recordings from both signed and independent artists within the small genre. SoGospelNews became the most viewed Southern Gospel website on the Internet with over 4,000,000 hits per month.

The Unthank family are now involved in the site, as well as the addition of over two dozen staff writers. The website is based out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In April 2010, SoGospelNews changed its name to AbsolutelyGospel.com. The name change allows them to cover news items of not only Southern Gospel, but also Country Gospel, Inspirational, and Black Gospel.

On January 5, 2011, Susan Unthank passed away, leaving the website in control of Deon, their son, Chris, and their daughter Amy.

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