Waymasters Join Elite Lineup with Record Setting Album
The No. 1 recording Southern and Christian Country Gospel band, Waymasters became the first Christian band and only the fifth recording artist ever to record an album to spawn five No. 1 songs and only the second artist to have eight top tens from the same album.
To fully appreciate exactly how powerful “Smoky Mountain Gospel Vol. 2” is, it helps to break it down this way: out of the eight singles released from its catalogue, all were National Top 10s. Only one other album in history can make this claim, Shania Twain’s country offering, “Come on Over.”
Out of those eight Top 10s, seven were National Top 2s. With the track, “Wreck on the Highway” topping out at No. 9 and “What would I do without Your Son” and “There’s a Light Guiding Me” each reaching No. 2.
Out of those seven Top 2s, five were No. 1 hits, “Let Me Feel Your Spirit once Again,” “There’s a Man in Here,” “Little Mountain Church House,” “Lift up Your Hands,” and “Hills of glory.”
Out of those five No. 1 songs, four were multi-month No. 1 tracks. Meaning they held the top spot for two straight months or more. Only “Hills of Glory” failed to repeat the honor.
Out of those four multi-month No. 1s, one became the longest charting No. 1 Christian Country Gospel song of all time. “Let Me Feel Your Spirit once Again” charted in the top spot for an amazing three straight months and later became the 2012 CCG Song of the Year. Followed by “Little Mountain Church House” in 2013.
Produced by band members Darrell Frizsell and Chewie McMahan, “Smoky Mountain Gospel Vol. 2” is not an official “Greatest Hits” album, although that’s exactly what it has become. Rather, it’s a collection of regionally recognized but rarely, radio heard songs the band recorded in their own celebrated style and arrangements. One critic put it this way, “The music that exists on 'Waymasters, Smoky Mountian Gospel Vol. 2' has an energy all its own but it’s not mountain music like we might imagine. It’s not bluegrass or even old fashion. That’s not to say the influence isn’t there but the sound is so much more. The deliberate and skillfully crafted guitar work of Chewie McMahan extends beyond anything normally associated with those genres. It’s full of catchy riffs and melodic phrasing that stands effortlessly with any song you can think of where you can sing the guitar part as easily as the lyrics themselves. In addition, the vocal arrangements of Darrell Frizsell and Tim Reynolds are more like the classic vocal groups of the sixties and early seventies but with a definite southern and mountain flair completed by Tommy Frizsell on the bottom end. The use of harmonic counter melodies and do-wha style backing vocals mixed with southern harmony structure produces an instantly addictive sound. This makes it difficult to describe and nearly impossible to take out of your music player.”
To Tommy, the group’s founder, manager and bass singer, that something extra is no secret or accident. “These songs, in fact this album, is full of the Spirit,” he describes. “We record deliberately including the Lord and the Spirit of God in what we do. When we block out the structure of the songs and arrange the vocals, it’s done with the Spirit guiding us. I truly believe that. We like to say there are five touring Waymasters. The four you see and the one you can’t, the Holy Spirit.”
And that unseen presence is readily apparent. Almost every song on the album seems to instantly touch a nerve. And though they refuse to take credit for it, the Waymasters are clearly onto something. Whether it’s infectious songs, creative arrangements and talented performances or what the band claims, the presence of an unseen Spirit of God, no one can argue with the results. Eight singles and counting, five No. 1s, two No. 2s, one Top 10, two “Song of the Year” titles, “Waymasters, Smoky Mountain Gospel Vol. 2” has positioned itself as the most successful charting Christian Country Gospel album of all time. Someone said, “If you’re a southern and country gospel music fan and ‘Smoky Mountain Gospel Vol. 2’ is not in your player, it should be.” With the mind-blowing stats this album holds, that statement may very well be more fact than opinion.