Staff writer Andrew Stephens got to talk with Rick Webb of the celebrated mixed group Rick Webb Family about their ministry and where they are heading today!
Andrew Stephens: Many readers are experiencing the Rick Webb Family for the first time. Take some time to tell us about the family.
Rick Webb: Andrew, our music ministry began back in the 1970s. Phyllis and I began singing with the ReGeneration Vocal Group out of Nashville for five years after we were married and a short time singing at Walt Disney World. We returned to North Carolina and began with the Day of Discovery Television program for 10 years after which we began the Rick Webb Trio in the late 1990s. Our oldest son Parker and youngest daughter Hannah joined us in 2009 when we changed the name to the Rick Webb Family.
AS: My introduction to the Rick Webb Family was actually the Rick Webb Trio. How has the ministry experience changed since Parker & Hannah joined full-time in the music ministry?
RW: We have seen a tremendous surge in our music ministry since Parker and Hannah joined us. We believe that in addition to our music ,the statement of a family standing in ministry together day after day is a testimony of God’s grace, especially in this day when the family unit is being torn apart, and yes even within our church family Satan is doing his best to try to destroy the family units.
AS: I had the privilege to catch your appearance at the National Quartet Convention in September 2016. In addition to this event, what are some events in which the Rick Webb Family has ministered or performed?
RW: It is always an honor for our family to represent Christ in any venue or with any church or organization who will allow us the privilege to make Christ known! Our ministry is that of encouragement to the church and then we also have been afforded many opportunities to sing in secular events. The concert promoter knows up front that we will not compromise our testimony for Christ which allows us to share Christ with a lot of unsaved folks who attend the events.
AS: Recently, Paul Heil played your new single, “Jesus Speaking Peace” on “The Gospel Greats” program. How does the Rick Webb Family choose songs for projects or radio release?
RW: Song Garden Music Group is releasing our new project Stand Amazed in April. “Jesus Speaking Peace” is the first single from our new work. As we listen to hundreds of tunes for that special lineup of 10 for the project: first, does the song minister to us lyrically and musically? Because we crossover into churches and venues who are more inspirational in style, we consider our opportunities keeping in mind that not all our listeners are familiar with Southern Gospel. Therefore, we lean a little more toward inspirational with some of our music.
AS: Your family has a variety of songs in your repertoire. What are some of your favorite tunes to sing in concert?
RW: All four of us have somewhat different tastes in musical styles, however we all agree on the old hymns such as “Satisfied,” “Unclouded Day,” and “Sweet Beulah Land” as well as songs of worship “In Christ Alone” and Patriotic songs like “God Bless America” are very important to us. A song that has received quite a bit of attention on radio is entitled “Every Knee Shall Bow,” written by David Staton, is also a favorite.
AS:Who are some of your musical mentors (as a family and/or individuals)?
RW: It is difficult to single out just a few mentors. We all are partial to family groups in gospel music and of course those who know Hannah’s style, she loves Allison Krauss, and Parker loves some of the more contemporary artists. We all appreciate artists who sincerely have a heart for the Lord, whether they be secular or sacred.
AS: What do you attribute to the “key” to the Rick Webb Family’s ministry experience?
RW: Very simply, the key to any ministry that if afforded opportunities to share MUST be lead and ordained by God. If HE was not leading, guiding and directing our every move, we would have not reason to be on the road. We are SO blessed to do what we strongly believe God has called us to do. The road of life is never easy, just worth it!
AS: As Southern Gospel Music continues to change, where do you see the Rick Webb Family involved in the future?
RW: It is our prayer that the Lord will give us many more years of music ministry together however we are totally open to what the Lord has for each of us. Parker and Hannah will sometimes schedule events on their own and then Phyllis and Hannah have begun a Mother/Daughter speaking/singing ministry to ladies groups throughout the country. The styles of music may change slightly, however, we never want to do anything that will water down the gospel, either musically or lyrically. A friend of ours once said that he saw a commercial on TV that simply said “We have decided to improved the packaging because it is impossible to improve the product!”
AS: Earlier, I mentioned the new radio single, “Jesus Speaking Peace.” How soon can we plan to download the single or purchase a new album?
RW: Our new project on the Song Garden label will be released the middle of April in CD form however it will be available on iTunes earlier. A date has not been set, however we will notify the public of the release very soon. Our dear friend and musical producer/musician extraordinaire, Mr. Jason Webb is the musical producer/arranger of this new project. This new recording truly exemplifies the heart, soul and musical sound of the Rick Webb Family!
AS: I’ve noticed the Rick Webb Family has performed in a variety of concert settings. What are some challenges you’ve seen while transitioning from one setting to another?
RW: We have found that each church and organization venue, regardless of the size of the congregation or denomination preferences, require us to change our normal program just a bit. No two concert settings are the same, some similar but never the same. We pray for the Lord to give us what we need each time we step onto the platform. We seek the presence of the Holy Spirit first off and His leading in our songs and the continuity will flow. One of the most recent challenges we have faced was when we were scheduled to sing for a secular corporate dinner/concert meeting in a country club ballroom. We, of course, sang our standard program and prayed all the way through that the Lord was perhaps planting some seeds in the hearts of most of those folks who certainly needed His love and forgiveness. As our coach pulled away from the venue that evening and our spirits were a bit low wondering why we were sent there, we all were soon reminded that that we did exactly what we felt the Lord wanted us to do in the program and the results were all up to Him! Whether they appreciated our musical style or not, the Word of God never returns void!
AS: How can fans contact the Rick Webb Family?
RW: Please contact us via our web site, on Facebook or Twitter. Our website can be found at www.RickWebbFamily.com. Or you may want to call us directly for product or scheduling. For Scheduling contact: Parker Webb and Associates 336-601-7902. For product or general information contact our office: 336-668-0193