In the social media world, every Thursday is now referred to as “#TBT” which stands for “THROW BACK THURSDAY”. You’ll see all kinds of pictures of people from several years ago and how they have changed over time. There is nothing like checking your Facebook page and discover someone has tagged you in a picture that was taken when you were much younger. Sometimes there are others in the picture that you haven’t thought of in a long time and you spend time traveling down memory lane.
On this Thursday, instead of sharing an old image, I thought I would share some history about “The Livingstons”.
I have had the privilege of being in the ministry for over 30 years and I am very proud of my Christian heritage on both sides of my family. Growing up, I was surrounded by many great ministers, including my father, grandfather and several of my uncles. They were not only ministers, but also great musicians and singers. My grandmother, Dad and Uncle were well-known singers in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. In the early 1960’s they sang frequently on the radio and at many other special events. They were known as “THE LIVINGSTONS”.
When my Dad was called into the ministry, in 1964, my uncle and he traveled and sang together for several years. Then, in 1967, my Dad and Mom were married and began to sing together. In 1973, they joined with my grandmother, Uncle and Aunt and recorded the first “LIVINGSTON’S ALBUM”. I was just a small boy at the time, but I remember going to the studio and experiencing the process of putting an album together.
My family began traveling in the full time evangelistic work and I started singing with them. My Dad played the guitar, my Mom played the organ, and I was on the drums. We were a pretty good, little 3 piece family band. My sister, Shana Livingston, was born and after several years, she started singing with us. I still remember my Dad teaching us how to sing different parts and training us to blend our voices together in harmony. Shana was an incredible singer and a great addition to our family band.
Then, several years later, “THE LIVINGSTONS” added another member when I married a beautiful young lady with an amazing voice, Alonna McCool, who was also from a very talented family. She sang with her Mom and Dad and sometimes with her little brothers. Even though Alonna and I traveled full time on the evangelistic field, we would get together with my sister and dad and would sing as often as we could. In the early 90’s, we had our first record deal and made the decision to do a project. My Dad was thrilled because not only were we blessing people with our music, but we were also carrying on a family tradition of “THE LIVINGSTONS”.
We had such an incredible time traveling and singing together. “THE LIVINGSTONS”, at that time, consisted of Dean, Shana, Alonna and me. I also had the privilege of teaching Alonna’s two younger brothers, Cory and Spencer McCool, how to play drums and bass. Soon they started traveling and playing with us. They were also great singers and joined us on several songs. God blessed us and we were able to travel to many places and encourage people through our songs. I have been blessed to share the stage with all these incredible singers.
God gave us favor and in 1996, we signed with “DAYWIND RECORDS” in Nashville, TN. The next year we were nominated for the Horizon Group of the year award at the National Quartet Convention. Our first album was called, “NO STONE UNTURNED” and our first single was, “I Will Lift My Voice”. The song did well on the charts and it offered a new sound in the Southern Gospel music world. Because we had a different sound, we weren’t sure how we would be accepted, but the response was incredible. We had the honor of singing with some of the most popular performers of that time and all of them were so kind and encouraging to us.
Our last album was called “STORIES”, and it was recorded in 1998…17 years ago. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long. So much has happened since that last recording. My Dad and Mom still pastor a church in Bristol, VA where my sister, Shana, is the music minister. My brother- in- law, Spencer, Pastors with my Father-in-law in Utica, MI. I, along with my much larger family, pastor in Nashville, TN. As you may know, my brother-in-law, Cory, went home to be with Jesus in 2009 and there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think of him and miss him.
While we were singing and recording through the 90’s, Alonna and I had a beautiful little daughter who grew up watching and listening to us sing. Brittany was just a kid during that time, but in these last 17 years, she has grown into a very talented young lady. She is a great singer, musician and songwriter and such a blessing to us. She and her husband, Jason, assist us in the church we pastor here in Nashville. Together, we have invested 9 years in this church and have sold out to the Kingdom of God.
Now, after 17 years, my wife and I, along with our daughter Brittany, are going into the studio to record a brand new album! We are so excited about this new adventure and cannot wait to share 10 brand news songs that we have written together. We feel really strong that we are obeying the voice of God. This is one of the talents God has blessed my family with and we want to make sure we are using it for the Kingdom of God.
When I shared the news with my parents, my mother reminded me that we would be the 3rd generation of “THE LIVINGSTONS”. It is an honor to carry on such an amazing tradition handed to us by our family. We want the Lord’s blessings on our new album, but because of our heritage, We want our family to be proud of what we are doing. We want them all to know we are thankful for the years they have dedicated to the ministry.
We are excited and also nervous as we began the process of recording a new album. As with all of our other albums, we want our songs to speak to hurting people everywhere and bring them encouragement. These songs tell the story of where we’ve been for the last 17 years and what we have gone through. Our prayer is that the story of our journey will help someone during their journey too. We cannot wait to share this album with you and also tell you the inspiration behind every song. Please pray for God’s blessings and anointing to be on us as we sing these songs and soon offer them to everyone.