By Lorraine Walker
The style is familiar like a favorite blanket or the smell of apple pie baking in the oven. Comforting and enticing to your senses, it draws you in and soon you are enveloped in the world of Pemberton and Langley. This country-style trio with a strong message and heart for God has a sound that will keep you coming back for more.
Mike Langley, along with John Pemberton and his wife LeAnn have been singing together for several years, honing their craft and allowing John to stretch his creative wings through songwriting. They were recently in the studio working on a new CD and suddenly the industry was talking about this trio from Lone Grove, Oklahoma. The Pemberton and Langley buzz was placing the group in the same sentence as names like Crabb and Hinson.
“Pemberton and Langley are some of the most anointed people I’ve had the chance to work with!” says Chris Hester, Southern Gospel producer and soloist. “It excited me to have the opportunity to produce their brand new project in Nashville at the first of this year. John’s songwriting mixed with the tight smooth harmonies makes them one of the most stellar groups on the road today. Their style will make true southern gospel fans extremely proud when they hear this incredible new project laced with a fresh anointing! These folks are the real deal!”
John Pemberton, police chief and talented musician, is perhaps surprised at what is being said about the trio. “The Crabbs and The Hinsons are two of our favorite groups and we consider that a high honor,” says John. “I guess to describe our sound it would be a ‘new old sound’. We love all gospel music. We love old songs that have been around for years, some even longer than us. We also love the new worship music we hear. We like a good toe tappin’ hand clappin’ song about the fire and power of God and we also love a song that brings us to tears about the love of God and how he sustains and keeps us. We try to incorporate a little of all of that in our music.”
“We have been through some hard trials and God has given me songs during that time.” John continues, “We have had to live by faith and we have been delivered by the hand of God and through that birthed songs of praise. We have taken the music we do, old and new, and set it to a southern/country style.”
Throughout his teenaged years, John played in his family’s country band at local events. George Strait and Elvis Presley influenced his music during this time. “Then at 18 I got saved and devoted my music strictly to the Lord,” says John. “I became acquainted with the music of Dallas Holm, the Hinsons and Charles Johnston and the Revivers. All of these have played a part in what my style has become.”
John’s love for music and his ability to craft songs have provided the trio with the unique touch that people love. “My inspiration for writing comes from my personal experiences,” John shares. “As I mentioned earlier God has brought us through a lot of things and through those and along with testimonies we have heard from other people, my songs have been born. They come straight from God. He is my true inspiration. The more I pray and stay in His Word the easier the songs come. My wife, LeAnn, has co-written some of my songs with me as well as some worship choruses. Mike has not written any songs that I am aware of but he is a wonderful singer and keyboard player. We could not find another man who has any more of a heart for God and one of the best personalities you will ever find. He is a true asset to our ministry.”
Pemberton and Langley is a total family organization. John’s father runs sound and his mother and Mike’s wife Debbie work the product table. LeAnne Pemberton’s parents are involved as well. “Some of the best advice for our ministry has come from my wife’s parents,” says John. “They would be our spiritual heroes. They have been pastors and evangelists for over 45 years. They have been our pastors and mentors. They have guided us and always instilled in us that the anointing is the most valuable asset to any ministry. Because of their influence we know the power and importance of a strong prayer life. Without it, it is easy to get caught up in the singing rather than ministry. We strive to always keep that in our hearts and minds.”
Acknowledging the Source of the anointing and ministry was also important in the creation of a new recording project for the trio. John shares, “The title of the new project is Standing There With You. The music was recorded in Brentwood Tennessee at Sunset Blvd. Studio. The vocals were cut in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with Kevin Ward at KilloWatt Studio. We had such a wonderful experience with this project and feel we made new friends in both studios. There are eleven songs on the CD and eight are originals. The first single will be released to Radio in April. I feel so blessed that God has given these songs to me.”
“When you write a song and then watch the studio musicians bring the song to life it’s almost like watching your child be born,” John shares. “We had some of Nashville’s best play on this album and their work is amazing. One of my favorite songs on this project is It’s Not Over, which is my personal testimony. In 1992 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was told that after surgery to remove the tumor, my guitar playing would probably be over and I would be disabled, possibly for the rest of my life. To make a long story short, it’s not over until God says its over. He intervened for me and although my recovery was long and difficult, I am able to play and sing for Him still today.”
Pemberton also acknowledges the skills that Chris Hester lent to the project. “Chris has helped us so much and we are very grateful to him. We met him last October at a benefit for a local gospel radio station. After informing him we were working on our next project he so graciously offered to produce the project for us and began immediately helping us make connections with the studios in Nashville. He has made himself available for our many questions and phone calls and has been a blessing to our ministry. We could never thank him enough.”
Throughout their ministry, Pemberton and Langley have been as blessed by their audience as the audience has by the trio’s music. “I would say the highlight of our career has been when we hear the testimonies of how one of our songs have touched someone’s life,” says John. “One in particular was a story of a man who used to preach, but had turned from God and was now dying of cancer. Someone gave him a copy of our CD. He began to listen to the CD on a regular basis, and as a result he gave his heart back to the Lord. God healed him and he began preaching again. It just doesn’t get any better than that!”
Pemberton and Langley will no doubt be expanding their audience with their new old sound, and exploring new areas to share their ministry. John says, “We feel God is speaking to us about reaching as many people as possible with the X april 2010 X artist fe X artist feature X lorraine walker X Gospel. We know time is short and the Lord is coming back soon. We want to be able to lead those who are lost to salvation and instill hope and encouragement in God’s people using our testimony and the songs the Lord has given us.”
For more information: http://www.pembertonandlangley.com