• Thu. May 23rd, 2024


By Sandi Duncan Clark


A young boy stood proudly beside his Mother; fresh-faced, his dark hair parted and combed
perfectly. His suit was spotless and his tie looked just like Dad’s. One could see the young
boy’s face in the shine on his shoes. His voice was strong and he sang the melody and harmony
perfectly. This was Jonathan Wilburn’s debut performance with his family which led to a sixteen
year career with The Wilburns. Jonathan later enjoyed a twelve year stint as the award winning
lead singer with the Gold City Quartet.

A few years later, the same scenario played out with a few variations. Another little boy, about
7 years old, with blonde hair and shiny blue eyes, commanded the stage. His white shirt was
pressed perfectly and the tie was just right. His suit was very much like Dad’s and Grandpa’s.
Jordan Wilburn joined his Dad and the rest of The Wilburns on stage and quickly stole the
audiences’ heart. He had a shy smile, but he loved to sing and did so with gusto. Jordan Wilburn
was following in his father, Jonathan’s footsteps. Jordan loved Southern Gospel music and his
favorite song was “Where Could I Go But To The Lord.” On this particular night, the stage was
in Nashville, Tennessee, and the event was the National Quartet Convention. One of Jordan’s all-
time heroes, J.D. Sumner walked out on that stage and stood beside Jordan, singing right along
with him.

Jonathan continued the story, “That was a great experience for Jordan; for all of us, really, and
when we started off the stage, I said ‘J.D., thanks for helping us with the song.’ J.D. shook his
head and said ‘I did it for the kid.’”

Recalling this and speaking about Jordan’s and Jonathan’s announcement in March, 2011,
that they would begin accepting concert dates, singing together as Wilburn & Wilburn, lots
of memories came flooding back for Jonathan and his wife Sandra. “If I told you that I never
expected this to ever happen, that wouldn’t be true,” Jonathan shared. “We’ve known from a
very young age that Jordan would someday sing Gospel music. God has had His hand on him
and I could see the desire in his eyes. Jordan has always had an ear for music and harmony, and
having him on stage with me is an awesome thing.”

Sandra Wilburn echoed her husband’s comment, “Jordan loved music from the time he
was a baby. I knew he loved singing, but this new work was a surprise for me,” Sandra
emphasized. “One Monday Jonathan called me from the car dealership, and said honey, ‘God
said I can’t do this anymore. God wants us to sing.’ I found out that ‘us’ was Jonathan and

Sandra continued, “When Jonathan left Gold City, I knew in my heart that he would be singing
again, I just didn’t know where or when. I always pray for my family and continued to do
so, trusting God for His leadership.” Concluding, Sandra said, “This has been a wonderful
experience for all of us, and I’m so happy that the two of them are serving God together.”

Picking up the story of the Monday morning phone call, Jonathan said, “After I left Gold City, I
loved working for the car dealership. It was the right place for me to be, and I learned so much
while I was there. Yet God was dealing with me, calling me back to the music ministry. That
Monday morning was the last fight I had with His call. I felt Him tugging, saying ‘Jonathan, you
need to be out there serving me. All I need is a father and son willing to answer my call.’ I have
to say that my faith was not strong, but God’s call was sure, and Jordan felt that call too. I finally
said ‘Lord, if you’ll lead, I’ll go.’”

Having the right songs with a strong message to fit their style and vocal range, as well as their
testimonies was a major priority for Jonathan and Jordan. “We want the music we sing to point
people to Jesus Christ,” Jonathan and Jordan acknowledged. “We also want to have fun and let
people know they don’t have to be down-in-the face to be a Christian. We sing some traditional
Southern Gospel songs, some with a little country flavor and other types of music that suits our
preference and encourages our listeners,” the two testified.

Jonathan and Jordan agree. “There are so many hurting people; people who don’t know that
Jesus cares and that He is the only one who can truly make a difference in their lives. We want
our time with our fans to be the time we introduce them to the One who really cares about them,
their problems and their souls. If we use that time wisely then we can stand before God with a
clear conscience and know that we did our best.”

When Jonathan and Jordan felt confident enough in their music, they began contacting people
for directions for their new career. They began to look for an opportunity for a recording of their
music and for booking dates.

“After all the time I’ve known Norman Holland, I trust his judgment and knowledge and I asked
his thoughts on our music,” Jonathan explained. “I wondered if we were the quality that he might
want on the Daywind Record Label and I couldn’t wait to hear from him. When he called back
I told him I was anxious to know his opinion, and he almost caused my heart to stop,” Jonathan
said. “Norman said flatly that after listening to our music and giving it a lot of thought, he just
didn’t think that Daywind could do anything with our music. I just about cried, and then Norman
said ‘Jonathan, I’m joking. Of course we can work together!’ That was a big thrill for Jordan and

In explaining the Daywind opportunity with Wilburn & Wilburn, Norman Holland said, “As
Vice President and A & R Director for Daywind Records I must say we couldn’t be more thrilled
to have Wilburn & Wilburn with us! The title of their debut album, FAMILY TIES, really sums
up how we feel about this father and son duo. They are like family to us. Jonathan Wilburn and
myself have been friends since the Gold City days and, now, his son Jordan, with his tremendous
voice and great heart for ministry, has come along to join his incredibly talented Dad in serving
the Lord. It just doesn’t get any better than that! We’re so excited for the world to hear them!”

FAMILY TIES was released in early summer on Daywind Records, and “I Ain’t Giving Up
On Jesus” has been playing on Gospel radio. Ben Isaacs produced the album and shared his
thoughts, “Jonathan and Jordan are so easy to work with and would try anything I suggested on

the songs. Many times a producer will try to make an artist into the producer’s version and not
let the artist shine.” Ben thought for a minute, then, continued, “I wanted this to be a Wilburn &
Wilburn record and not a Ben Isaacs record. I believed that’s what we accomplished and I am
really pleased with the project.”

Ben continued, “Jonathan and Jordan brought in a bunch of songs and I brought some and
we listened to them and decided what we thought worked the best. With a new artist, I like to
help them make their own style and not try to put them into any musical category. Jonathan
and Jordan have such a fresh, organic sound with great vocal range and tone, and I was very
comfortable working with them. I do believe they have a big future in music.”

Jonathan said, “It was remarkable to work with Ben, who just happens to be one of the most
desired record producers in the music business. He just finished producing the Oak Ridge
Boys’ new album, as well as Charlotte Ritchie’s new one. We were blessed to have a lot of
different artists come in to do background vocals with us, and make us sound better,” Jonathan
smiled. “One thing we enjoyed was that Bill Gaither was instrumental in helping us pick the
right songs. We enjoyed having his input.”

As the dust has settled a bit on the announcement, the excitement of the new recording
has subsided just a little and the first months of meeting fans and making new friends has
past, Jonathan tried to explain his feelings. “It’s been a tremendous experience,” Jonathan
replied. “God has shown us some great things, and we continue to be blessed. The anointing on
this ministry just amazes us. We stay busy, and we love it, yet at the same time, if we want to
extend a trip and take an extra day, we have that opportunity too. One of the best things is that
Sandra (my wife) goes with us whenever she wants.”

“We recently had a couple of dates booked in Gallup, New Mexico and Granite City, New
Mexico, with old friends of ours from Brewton, Alabama, Dr. and Mrs. Gary Pugh,” Jonathan
recalled. “Gary moved his practice to New Mexico and we flew to Albuquerque. Sandra went
with us and when we got there, Gary had a 45 ft. camper for us to use. We took it to Durango
and Silverton, Colorado, and enjoyed a few days sight-seeing in the area. That was one of our
favorite trips.”

The future, with God’s help and leadership is wide open for Wilburn & Wilburn. Fans are
enjoying the seasoned vocals and personality of Jonathan Wilburn, along with the fresh new
face and voice of Jordan Wilburn. Each man’s personality compliments the other and their
testimonies appeal to young and old alike.

“That is truly our goal,” Jonathan testified. “Gospel music is my way of telling people what
Jesus means to me. Our objective is to bring fathers and sons, mothers and daughters close again
through Jesus, and to do that with our music.”

Visit Wilburn & Wilburn during the National Quartet Convention this year, or visit their web site
at www.wilburn2.com

If you enjoyed this story find more at www.sgnscoops.com

Sandi Duncan Clark

Sandi grew up in Greenville, South Carolina where her father was a staunch Baptist minister. She and her siblings supported their father’s ministry by singing and playing instruments in church. Those early years formulated her love for and desire to be a part of Southern Gospel music. Sandi has been a journalist in the Southern Gospel music industry for more than thirty years. Her love for the music has allowed her to work with many of our heroes of the past, as well as current headlining artists. It is her greatest joy to contribute to the ministry of those who serve the Lord singing Southern Gospel. With her husband, Cliff, Sandi makes her home in Easley, S. C., where she attends Westwood Church and does volunteer work. She recently retired from Macy’s Department store after twenty seven years of retail. Sandi enjoys gardening, reading, writing and spending time with her son, Jeff and new daughter-in-law, Amanda.