Family groups are part of the mainstay of Southern Gospel and joining the list of beloved artists such as The Speers, The Rambos and The Hoppers, is The Mark Mudd Family from Kentucky. Mark Mudd, patriarch of the family and an artist with the names of The Crossmen and The Veterans Quartet on his resume, has recently begun a solo career. Now he is joined with his wife Rebecca, an accomplished instrumentalist and alto vocalist, and their 15-year-old son Jacob singing baritone and lead, to round out the traditional sounds of The Mark Mudd Family.
The Mark Mudd Familyâ€™s debut CD is entitled Thereâ€™s A Reason For It All, which includes older favorites such as â€œThen Came The Morning,â€ â€œSteppinâ€™ On The Cloudsâ€ and â€œI Love To Call.â€ One cut featured on the groupâ€™s website is â€œPeace Be Still,â€ which highlights the smooth, seasoned vocals of Mark and introduces Jacob, capably taking the lead partway through the song. Also on the website is: â€œWhen Godâ€™s Chariot Comesâ€ a joyful number which reminds this writer of The Happy Goodman Familyâ€™s style.
SGMRadio is happy to put our Spotlight Â on this new ministry and to introduce you to the members of The Mark Mudd Family.
SGMRadio: How and when did you begin singing Gospel Music?
Mark Mudd: I joined my dadâ€™s quartet at 16 years old.Â I started out singing some baritone, playing bass guitar and running sound. I wound up singing bass full-time starting when I was the age of 19.Â We were a regional group that enjoyed quite a bit of radio success with ten consecutive top 80 songs, including one that I wrote.Â I sang with that group for 17 years until health considerations forced Dad to retire from singing.Â The decision was made to disband the group.Â I immediately joined a quartet called The CrossmenÂ from Morgantown, Kentucky, where I stayed for 11 years as bass vocalist.Â I struggled for a while with the decision to go out on my own as a soloist.Â In the fall of last year I officially resigned my position from the Crossmen and have been pursuing a solo career with my family joining me for as many concerts throughout the year as possible.
Jacob Mudd: My first public appearance was on a large river boat called the Belle of Louisville with my grandfatherâ€™s group at the age of three. I was a hit!Â Iâ€™m not real sure it was because of my singing though!Â Singing with Dad and Mom is really my first singing endeavor.
Becky Mudd: While Iâ€™ve been singing in church all my life and along with the Statesmen at home and The Travelers on the road as a child, my official foray into gospel music has only just begun.
Mark: This is a question I have asked myself many times!Â Â The answer that always comes back to me is that I want to use the gifts that God has given me to tell everyone about Jesus Christ and His saving and healing power.
Jacob: Because it is a wonderful opportunity to minister to others.
Becky: I wish to support Mark in his call to gospel music and to encourage my sonâ€™s interest and talent, but even more so I want our truly happy family to lift up others, being the salt and light Jesus called all His followers to be.
SGMRadio: What is the goal of your ministry for this coming year?
Mark: We want to be as busy as God wants us to be.Â Â I plan to embark upon a full-time solo ministry very soon with the family singing with me at every opportunity.
SGMRadio: Who are some of your musical influences or heroes?
Jacob: My grandfathers, Larry Mudd and Roger Flener.
Mark: I would say Dad, Big Chief, George Younce, and Jake Hess.
Becky–The Statesmen Quartet and my fatherâ€™s quartet, The Travelers, were my heaviest influences. Singing from a wide variety of musical genres with my family and at church, where we have always enjoyed a strong musical heritage, allowed me to blend in with my naturally contralto voice at a very early age.
SGMRadio: Who are some of your spiritual influences?Â Â
The Family: Pastors and Sunday School teachers at Aberdeen Baptist Church and our parentsÂ and grandparents, along with two uncles, who were called to preach at young ages and spent their lives demonstrating the Gospel, encouraging and lifting up the down-trodden.
SGMRadio: What is the best advice you have been given for your ministry? Who said it?Â
Mark: Never borrow money to further your ministry because it puts you in a position where you are pressured to sing a certain amount to meet all of your financial obligations. Who said it? The Holy Spirit.
Becky: Both my father and father-in-law have much advice about properly working the microphone, and my dear friend Dr. Sherri Phelps VanUden who is a Julliard School Graduate has coached me vocally. But Iâ€™ve grown up with so many good role models that I canâ€™t really pinpoint most of what I try to consider when I sing.
Jacob: No matter what, just sing!
SGMRadio: What is the greatest challenge for your ministry?Â
Mark: For me the greatest challenge is to stay fit to minister.Â What I mean by that is to not only be spiritually, mentally and vocally ready, but physically as well.Â Â We all pray and read the Word together daily, work out physically and practice together frequently to strive to be the best that we can be in order to keep ministering at the highest level.Â Â We want to do our very best at presenting Christ through song.
Jacob: Working with Dad!
Becky: High notes!
SGMRadio: What is the greatest joy in your ministry?
Mark: Singing the greatest music in the world on stages across the country with the two most important people in the world to me.
Becky: Feeling the message move me and seeing it transform Mark and Jacob and our family and those who attend our concerts.
Jacob: I love singing on stage!
SGMRadio: Mark, how do you balance your church duties with a singing ministry as well?Â
Mark: For my solo ministry, I try to only book a maximum of three weeks a month so as to allow time at my home church, Aberdeen Baptist.Â Iâ€™m ordained as a deacon there and love to serve.Â We have made a special commitment however concerning Jacob and Becky.Â I remember when I was a teenager and I learned that the McKameys made it a point to be at their home church on Sunday morning no matter where they were booked on Saturday or Sunday nights.Â I have long respected that decision and we feel as a family that Becky and Jacob need to serve at home each and every Sunday morning.Â Becky is a talented organist and Sunday School teacher and Jacob is very active in our youth group.
SGMRadio: How do you do everything and still manage to have quality family time?Â Â
Mark: Well it has been difficult.Â As of this writing, Becky and I both have full-time jobs.Â However, Iâ€™ve spent my working career as a Civil Engineer and always sang on the side.Â I plan to make a change this year toward full-time solo and family ministry.Â Becky is a full-time schoolteacher with one more year to go until retirement.Â Jacob will soon be 16 and wants to be a lawyer.Â So we plan to focus on his education while ministering.Â My solo ministry is ready to go anywhere, anytime.
SGMRadio: Becky, how do you balance being a mom, a singer and a Deaconâ€™s wife along with everything else that you do? What do you consider the most important thing that you do?Â Â
Becky: I keep three different calendars up to date, with alarms set on my phone for each next event.Â Otherwise, teaching public school seventh-graders world history, leading youth and teaching Sunday School, singing, and still making sure to tend to the needs of myself and my son, husband, parents, grandfather, etc. would be immediately overwhelming. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, it all comes together. Â I never want to become someone who canâ€™t enjoy the moments in the abundant life Jesus sacrificed to give us.
SGMRadio: Jacob, what do you like most about singing with your family?Â
Jacob: It allows me to experience the road with them.
SGMRadio: What is the least fun part?Â
SGMRadio: Do you hope to have a career in Southern Gospel?Â
Jacob: No, my goal is to be an attorney who sings Gospel Music!
SGMRadio: How are you planning for this?Â
Jacob: Studying hard and practicing!
SGMRadio: Can you give me a twitter-sized message that you would like all of your audience to hear?Â
Becky: Iâ€™ve got the Lord, and thatâ€™s enough, thatâ€™s enough, thatâ€™s enough!
Jacob: We shall see Jesus just as He is!
Mark: Iâ€™ve been singing Gospel Music for 28 years and Iâ€™m loving every minute of it, well, er, uh, maybe not every minute!
Our special thanks to The Mark Mudd Family for opening up their lives and hearts to us in this Spotlight feature. We hope youâ€™ve enjoyed getting to know this family and trust that you will visit their website to hear their music and check their schedule. Be sure to go out to hear them when they are in concert near you.
For more information about Mark Mudd and The Mark Mudd Family, visit:
Photographs courtesy of The Mark Mudd Family
Questions, comments, or know of a ministry youâ€™d like to shine the SGMRadio Spotlight on? Email me at email@example.com