It was about 1982, that I guess you could say ‘country boy’ met ‘city girl...’ and, most likely, it was our love of music that brought us together. We were both in country music—I, with a very busy band I founded in 1977 called The Middle of the Fiddle (popular around the Austin/San Antonio scene) and LaVada with her unique and beautiful country vocal. By 1984, we knew "what our forever was for" and were married.
I was inspired to write gospel songs after completing a year-long personal bible study in September 2001. By this time in our lives we had dedicated ourselves, our marriage and our business to the Lord. We were active in our local church, singing gospel music. So, we began singing the songs that I felt like God had given to me. Before long we decided we had enough original songs for a CD and since we were friends with 2002 Grammy Award winning musician, Bobby Flores, first-fiddle for Ray Price for several years and one of the best producers in the country music business, we gave him a call. And, in 2004, together with God’s help, Bobby Flores, and some of the best country pickers in the country, along with the musical engineering expertise of Bill Green at BGM Studios in San Antonio, TX, our first CD project, "In God’s Time" was born!
We completed our second CD project in 2005, called "Set Free" with renowned producer, Kevin McManus, of Oak Valley Studio in Nashville, TN, along with some of Nashville’s finest pickers. It was released in March 2005. "Set Free," the title song, was written by LaVada, as well as another cut, called "A Part of Me." The rest of the project includes seven of my songs and Squire Parson's "Sweet Beulah Land."
We were excited about releasing our third project, "At the Speed of Love", in 2006. This project was produced by Robb Tripp at The Family Room Studio in Gallatin, TN. We were able to get Aubrey Hainey and Sonny Garrish back on this project. And all the other pickers are the absolute finest in Nashville, too! All the songs on this album are our own! LaVada wrote Track #3, "Take Him at His Word" and I wrote all the others.
We were endorsed by Christian Music Presenters of Nashville, TN, in 2005. We're members of the South Texas Gospel Music Association, which voted us Vocal Duo of the Year in 2005 and again in 2009, and also Songwriters of the Year in 2006. We're also members of the Christian Country Music Association. We have showcased our music at the Inspirational Country Music Week sponsored by the CCMA in Nashville, TN. We have had several of our song releases reach the top ten on the CCMA PowerSource Magazine’s Top 100 Chart, the New Christian Music chart in London, England, as well as other Country Gospel Music Charts! Our songs are being played by radio stations in the United States, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Holland... all over the world.
Looking back, we can see the Lord has definitely had His hand on our lives. But, in fact, we are no different from you or anyone else. He stands waiting, knocking on the door of our hearts, wanting us to let Him in. (Revelations 3:20)
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -- Ephesians 2:10
You may wonder why this ministry is called Menorah Music…
When we learned that the middle bowl or lamp on the menorah is called “Ner Elohim” in Hebrew or “The Lamp of God” as well as “Shamash” or “The Servant Lamp” --- and we knew that Jesus came to earth as a humble servant, indeed, He washed the feet of His disciples--- we saw the middle bowl or candle as a symbol of the Messiah, Jesus! So, we agreed in our hearts that “Menorah” was a perfect name for our music ministry!!
The mission of Menorah Music Ministry is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Messiah ( Yeshuah HaMashiach) through our southern country gospel music, reminding believers in Jesus of their "Jewish Roots" in Christianity and encouraging them to pray for the peace of Jerusalem! (Psalm 122:6) Jesus was Jewish, as were all of his disciples. The first Christian church was all Jewish and was considered a "sect" within Judaism. (Acts 24:14) The birth of the modern nation of Israel in 1948 points out the fact that God has a prophetic plan and that plan has not changed since the days of Isaiah. Read Isaiah 46:9-10.
LaVada’s story …
At 13, I received and confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior and was baptized. I really cannot remember a time when I did not know of Jesus. When I was 3 or 4 years old, my dad played fiddle and sang with a group called the Rambling Cowboys. One of their recordings was, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Later, my second grade public school teacher read bible stories to the class, as a ‘treat’… So, even though we did not attend church, I learned all about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph--even Job! And, of course, in school I learned to sing “Jesus Loves Me” and recite the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23 and Psalm 100! My, how times have changed!
I did not establish a relationship with Jesus, however, so when difficult times set in, I didn’t make very good choices. I married, at age 16, in a quick ceremony at the court house and had my first child six months later! A precious baby girl we named Pam. Just 18 months later, her beautiful little sister, Sandy, came and then 5 years later, our first and only son, Richard! My marriage, like any marriage, had its peaks and valleys. But when your marriage does not have a solid foundation, with God as the Head of your family, it is indeed treading on thin ice.
Though I started out my adult life with a conservative worldview, by the time the seventies rolled around, I had been completely indoctrinated with a “women’s liberation” mindset. By this time in our marriage, (20 years) we had been away from church attendance for many years. Divorce reared its ugly head again for the third or fourth time and, this time, became final.
With many “happy hours” after work, looking for love in all the wrong places, in addition to singing in dancehalls and nightclubs, I ended up in a live-in relationship in Blanco, Texas. Then tragedy struck. My daughter, Pam, the mother of my grandchildren was killed in a car crash. This was a turning point for me. With the responsibility of caring for my grandchildren now, I moved away. Away from a street called, “Rocky Road” to a street called, “Sun Valley Drive.” The Lord turned my darkness into light when He sent two college kids to my door selling me a set of Study Bibles!! I got back into His Word, was convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent and turn my life around!
Looking back...over the years...my wonderful Father in Heaven had been there all along waiting for His prodigal daughter to come back home!! Praise God! It wasn’t long before I met the wonderful man I am married to today. God is good!
You can 'take Him at His Word'…
Gene’s story …
I was baptized as an infant and raised in the Lutheran church. As a kid, I received perfect attendance certificates in Sunday School year after year; and completed Confirmation around the age of 13. But, after high school, I sort of drifted away from church. I’d go to church occasionally, but, generally, would leave the Word in the pew on the Sundays when I did attend. This went on through college, two years in the Army, a high school coaching career, a business career and owning and managing a popular country-western dance band, called The Middle of the Fiddle. I had always considered myself a Christian. However, it seemed as though there was always something missing inside of me.
Before my first marriage ended in divorce, we were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Brandi, in 1974. Our divorce, like most, was caused, I believe, by a focus on “self,” with a lack of commitment and spiritual direction.
After LaVada and I married, we gradually began spending more time in God’s Word, going to church and eventually providing the special music which, of course, happened to sound a lot like ‘country.’ The more time I spent in God’s Word, the more that “something missing” was being filled! That feeling of completeness came when I decided, finally, to give “all of me” to Jesus… to search His Word and submit to it completely.
What a deal! Submit…and get set free!!
"The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."-- Psalm 18:30
We seem to be at a place now where we can give to others something of what we ourselves have been given. Since we are no longer traveling the country singing about the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ, ("Yeshua" in Hebrew, the Messiah!), we have turned to technology to deliver the Gospel through internet radio! If we can help someone find a relationship with the Savior through listening to our music, as well as the music of other singers and songwriters---we have achieved our goal!
We pray you will blessed by the inspirational Christian and southern country gospel music that we provide on Menorah Music Internet Radio along with a variety of Messianic and Hebraic music that delivers a straight from the Bible message!