Spring is upon us and I am so excited! Spring always brings the anticipation of something new or perhaps unexpected but we all know to be looking for all the new blessings that God will be showering on us as we begin another season! Well, in the spirit of spring and bringing something new, I am excited to introduce a group to you that I’ve never featured on sgmradio.com. I have mentioned them in the past articles regarding their participation in some concerts in and around California, however I have not formally introduced this group til now. The Richland Trio is based out of Modesto, CA under the guidance of Herb Henry and with the support of the Richland Faith Assemblies of God church there in Modesto. This group is awesome and has the quality of such groups as Greater Vision and The Statesmen. And not only that, but the heart of these men is truly fixed upon glorifying the Lord through song and uplifting the hearts of those who attend their concerts. Needless to say, I’ve definitely grown to be a fan of The Richland Trio. I recently had an opportunity to talk with Richie Hartsfield, a member of The Richland Trio, to get an inside scoop about the trio and I wanted to share that with you. So sit back and enjoy learning more about The Richland Trio!
Kat: Richie, thank you so much for taking the time to tell me about The Richland Trio! How long has the trio been existence?
Richie: First, let me say thank you Kat for interviewing the Trio. We don’t get many folks inquiring about us. Frankly, between Chris & I think they may be a little worried what we might say! In any case, thank you. The Trio has collectively been singing for about 11 years.
Kat: I am REALLY happy to do it! I am excited to introduce you to our readers. So, how did Richland Trio form? Who made up the original Richland Trio and who is still involved in it today?
Richie: The Trio form really by accident. Herb Henry had been pastoring at Richland Faith Assembly of God for about a year when he decided to hold Western themed Sunday, called Round Up Sunday. By that time Jack Black and his wife Jeanie had started attending the church. Jack and Herb decided to call Rick Hartsfield over for the event. The idea was for the trio to just sing for the event. However, once Round Up Sunday ended it wasn’t long before Rick and his family began attending Richland as well. So, since all men were members of Richland Faith Assembly it seemed natural to call the trio the Richland Trio. Eventually, Herb stepped out of singing and Jack’s brother Ken Black stepped in. Chris Henry began playing the bass guitar for the Trio in 1992. Then in 1993, Jack Black decided to move to Arkansas and the Trio disbanded. Twelve years later, Herb and Rick decided to reform the Trio. This time with Chris Henry singing the baritone and Richie Hartsfield (that’s me) singing the lead. With this new formation of the Trio, it marks the only time I can think of that a group consists of two fathers and their sons.
Kat: Wow, so you’ve had some changes but it seems it was all for the good. I love the harmonies that you guys create. Who sings what parts in the trio?
Richie: Herb is the Trio’s manager, pianist, and baritone on occasion. Chris plays the bass guitar and sings the baritone. Rick sings the tenor and once in awhile will play the bass, and I sing the lead.
Kat: So who would you say has influenced the style of the Richland Trio?
Richie: The Trio’s influences vary from many of the classic Southern Gospel groups to the more modern groups of our era. It ranges from groups like the Statesmen to the Couriers or the Imperials to Greater Vision. I will say, I think the Richland Trio is more of a classic Southern Gospel group. We use soundtracks from time to time, but we are at our best and most comfortable as a group when we have piano and bass guitar. So, I suppose the majority of our influence does come from the groups of yesteryear.
Kat: I do love that you guys stay very true to the pure, classic harmonies that gave the good old fashion southern gospel its strong roots. Does The Richland Trio have any/many projects out? Are there plans for upcoming projects?
Richie: We do have one project out, “Father’s Love”. It has 12 songs on it and can be purchased by contacting (209) 538-3838. As far as upcoming projects, recently we have found the master tapes to the Trio’s original recordings. The projects are currently being cleaned up and remastered. We hope to have these available later this year. We also hope to have a project out of the current group out sometime in the near future.
Kat: Perfect! I’m glad you gave us your contact number for ordering those projects. We can also find you on facebook under Friends of the Richland Trio fan page. I’m already a member! So, I know you guys are part-time now but are there any plans for going full-time?
Richie: Well, I never like to say never when you serve the Lord. However, going full-time is high unlikely. Besides, I’m not sure Herb & Rick could handle that much of Chris and me!
Kat: HA! I can only imagine. You guys always crack me up! What is in store for Richland Trio? Where is the trio headed? What is the next step?
Richie: This is by far the most difficult question to answer. So often when we walk with the Lord we’ve no idea where our next step will be. As far as the Trio is concerned, we will continue singing wherever we are asked and go wherever He leads. As a group I hope we never stop growing, that we continue to move forward never resting on the past, but looking forward to the future.
Kat: Richie, thanks again for taking the time to let the readers get to know you and Richland Trio a little bit better. I am excited to see how God opens the doors for your ministry in the future!
If you are interested in seeing The Richland Trio in concert or perhaps hosting a concert at your local church, feel free to contact the group at (209) 538-3838 or through Friends of the Richland Trio at www.facebook.com . I love these guys and I can promise you won’t be disappointed but rather, truly blessed!
In honor of this website’s 7th anniversary, I would just like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the readers who faithfully visit the site. We do this for you and pray that you are blessed by it as much as we are. To my fellow writers and the behind the scenes crew who’s efforts make it possible for us to share our love for southern gospel with all of you, I am honored to be involved with you in making this site something we all love. And finally, to Rob Patz, who so graciously offered the opportunity to be a part of something he is so passionate about, it has truly be a labor of love for me as well and I can’t say thank you enough. I am looking forward to what God has in store for the next 7 years and beyond!
Until next time, be blessed!!
Kat McVay – bio coming soon.