Set to perform on the second night of the Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival, The Blackwood Brothers Quartet carries the distinction of being perhaps the best-known name in gospel music history, with a career spanning 80-plus years.
The group was formed in 1934 with brothers Roy, Doyle, James and Roy’s son, R.W. In the late 50s Roy and Doyle retired from traveling and in 1954 R.W. was killed in a tragic airplane crash. However, the quartet with James, as the leader and spokesman, established a new group of singers who would go on to take gospel music to new heights as they traveled and sang in all 50 of the United States, every Canadian province as well as cities in Great Britain, Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
In 2002, James Blackwood passed away, but his sons, Jimmy (James Jr.) and Billy have continued the family tradition. Recently Jimmy retired after singing for 49 years and his younger brother, Billy, now carries on the family tradition along with members Jonathan Mattingly, Jim Rogers, and Eric Walker.
The Blackwood Brothers, who had a history with Elvis Presley, had the honor of singing at the funeral of Lisa Marie Presley earlier this year and previously sang at Elvis’s funeral in 1977.