June 21, 2013 1 Comment
Google can lead you to some interesting places. Recently it led me to rediscover Steve Lacey, former Gold City baritone and Kingdom Heirs lead. Steve has long been one of my favorite singers, and the Gold City lineup of Brian Free, Ivan Parker, Steve, and Tim Riley really had something special vocally. Steve graciously agreed to do an interview for the blog, and I think you will enjoy this!
WB: Can you catch us up on what you’ve been doing since you left the Kingdom Heirs?
SL: I left the Kingdom Heirs in December 1995 and moved my family back to our home state of Alabama. Along with my wife Penny & brother Mark, we formed the Steve Lacey Trio. We had some pretty good radio success with “Down On My Knees,” “I Still Believe.” and “On The Road Home,” all songs I had written. Mark left after a couple of years and was replaced by our good friend, Russ Randolph. Russ was with us for about 3 years and then left, replaced by our oldest daughter Kelly. When the kids (we have 3) started high school, we decided to stop traveling and I would focus on working as a music evangelist/worship leader for revivals and conferences, which I did for 5 years. In June 2005, I accepted a Minister of Worship position at Gilliam Springs Baptist Church in Arab, AL and served there for 4 years. I returned to working as a worship leader for conferences/revivals and doing some solo dates. Penny has worked for a company for many years and was offered a really good opportunity in the corporate office in 2011. Our kids are all grown up now and married, so she accepted the position and we moved to the Dallas/Ft Worth area in May 2011. I have been working as a worship leader for conferences and special events, doing a few solo dates, and getting our trio together occasionally for a song or two.
When I left the Kingdom Heirs, I really intended to just write songs and do a few solo dates, nothing serious. I recorded a solo project in 1996 with songs I had written. “Dare To Be A Daniel,” a song I wrote for that project, was later picked up and recorded by Brian Free on his debut solo project. It went to #3 on the Singing News charts. Won By One recorded “He Found Me” from that project. In fact, the idea for the trio came from my asking Penny and Mark to record parts for 10 new song I had written. It started out as a demo to pitch songs, but turned into our first project. Signature Sound, The Trio (Ivan, Kirk, Anthony), Steve Brock (TBN) & Gold City all recorded songs from that project.
I’m currently working on a new solo project, my first since that 1996 project. It will be made up of several new songs I have written along with a few old favorites. We’ll see what happens :)
WB: Do you have a favorite album that you recorded while you were traveling full time? A favorite song?
SL: The Pillars of Faith project with Gold City would have to be my favorite, simply because it was the first and has so many great stories behind how it all came together. I was thrilled to see that fans of your blog still favor it too!! Some may not remember this, but it won album of the year 2 years in a row at SN Fan Awards, the 2nd time after Ivan & Brian had already left the group. I don’t think that had ever, or has since happened again. I’m very proud to have been a part of it.
There Rose A Lamb has to be one of my favorites for many reasons. First, it’s just an awesome song, but second, because of the story behind it. Kyla Rowland, a wonderful lady and songwriter, pitched the song to us for the project. When we first heard it, it only had 2 verses. Ivan sent it back to her and asked if she could add something to it, he liked it, but it needed something. She sent it back with that last verse,
I wasn’t there when Jesus died,
I wasn’t there to see Him rise,
But, I was there when He saved my soul,
Now within my heart, this Lamb arose!
When we started recording the project, we worked in the studio for a couple of days then had to go out for 5 days for dates. There Rose a Lamb was one song we had not recorded yet. We came back to the studio on Monday, worn out, voices shot, but managed to record everything except Ivan’s solo on There Rose a Lamb. Only Ivan and Garry Jones went back on Tuesday to record. Garry went on to Nashville to record strings for the project. A few weeks later, we all boarded the bus on Wednesday night (midnight was a regular schedule) and Garry said, “You guys want to hear the project?” When he played There Rose A Lamb, we all just cried. It was the first time we had heard that 3rd verse. The emotion in Ivan’s voice still gets me!! The song went on to win a Dove Award in 1993.
WB: What do you miss most about traveling? What do you miss the least?
SL: I miss the guys. We really enjoyed being together, had a lot of laughs, made a lot of memories. I miss meeting new people every week. SG has the greatest fans! But, I miss the singing the most. Nothing like singing harmony.
I enjoyed the travel, but that’s also what I miss least. It’s really hard on the family. When I joined GC in 1992, my kids were 7, 5, 3. It was hard for them because, Dad had been home every night, then all of a sudden, he was hardly ever home. It was really tough on Penny as well. She had to handle so many things on her own. It would never fail, the group would leave on Wednesday night, I’d call home on Thursday morning to check in only to find that the car wouldn’t start or the hot water heater went out, etc. That was always so tough.
WB: If you could change one thing about the Southern Gospel industry, what would it be?
SL: The SG market is not a big market like country or contemporary music, so it’s really hard for new artists to break in. It will be hard to change that, but if I could, I’d make it more like those markets where labels are “discovering” new talent and getting behind them. It seems that in SG, an artist almost needs to be well established before anyone really takes notice.
WB: Can you share a favorite story that happened while you were in SG?
SL: Back in the early ’80’s, I had a friend at our church who was close with Eldridge Fox. He told me that Foxy was planning to form a quartet called the “Kingsboys” and that I should audition at a concert he was promoting in our town. So, I went and after the concert met back stage with all the Kingsmen. Anthony Burger played and I sang “How Great Thou Art.” When I finished, Jim Hamill said, “You gotta a good voice kid, but you’re just not cut out to be a quartet man.” Well of course, I was disappointed.
In 1992, after I got the job with Gold City, the Singing News magazine called for an interview. In the interview, one of the questions was, “Have you ever had something happen that was very discouraging while pursuing your dream of singing?” I told that story about my audition for the “Kingsboys” and included what Jim Hamill told me. I didn’t think anything about it at the time.
The week before the article came out, we were scheduled to sing with the Kingsmen. Of course, GC and the Kingsmen worked together a lot and always performed together at the end of the evening as “Kings Gold.” Brian Free had told me that if Jim Hamill likes you, he’ll pick on you while you’re on stage, if he doesn’t, he won’t. No pressure!! :) As we sang that evening, I spotted Hamill backstage, listening to our set. He never did that. Suddenly, all I could think about was the article and what Jim Hamill would think of me after he reads it? I was terrified.
During the break and before we went out as Kings Gold (my 1st time), I knew I had to say something to Big Jim, so I went to the Kingsmen bus and proceeded to tell him the story. When I finished, he said, “Don’t worry about it kid. I told Elvis one time that if he wanted to sing in a quartet to go start his own!!” We had a big laugh about the whole thing and talked about it even years later.
I worked with Hamill about a year or so before he died. While I was on stage singing, I caught a glimpse of him backstage… listening. After I finished a song I broke into “Someone To Care” acapella, something I’d heard him do 1000 times. As I came off stage, I said, “That was for you!” With a tear in his eye he said, “Elvis ain’t got nothin’ on you kid.” I’ll never forget that.
Thank you, Steve for agreeing to do this interview post, and I hope you readers have enjoyed catching up with Steve Lacey. You can find him on the web at http://www.stevelaceymusic.com.