During the 1950’s and 60’s, Southern Gospel quartet music raced to the forefront with great groups like the Statesmen and the Blackwoods. Since those original roots, the art form we now call Southern Gospel Music has widened its scope to include strong influences from other music forms like country and bluegrass. Sadly, much of that truly golden era has been lost, as has the style and artistry that was the hallmark of that genre of Southern Gospel talent. The oft-heard comment is that there are very few true, traditional Southern Gospel male quartets to be found anymore.
I would like to introduce you to five men who are determined to revive that polished style of quartet singing. The real bonus is that they’re doing it for all the right reasons, serving Christ through a ministry of song and testimony. They sing great of course, but their testimony is also powerful and inspiring. They sing with what can only be described as excellence in music and exuberance in presentation. To get the full impact, you must hear and see them face-to-face. I can find no fault in either their testimony or their very talented presentation in song. I once believed the golden age of Southern Gospel to be an era gone by. But I am now rethinking that belief, for Southern Sound makes it all so fresh and vibrant. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Southern Sound Quartet ... and gospel music may never be the same again!
Darrell Marshall - BARITONE
Southern Sound would like to introduce you to one of the finest and smoothest baritones to ever sing a gospel song, and that is none other than Darrell Marshall. Not since legends like Doy Ott and Smitty Gatlin has there been a voice as smooth as Darrell's. He will stand and sing his way right into your heart, and has a remarkable way of presenting the love of God to everyone he meets.
Darrell brings to the group that silky-smooth blend and incredible talent of singing for the Lord, as well as his fun disposition, which immediately puts everyone at ease. Darrell and his beautiful wife Brenda live in the suburbs of Nashville and attend a church in the area. We are happy to have Darrell and Brenda as extended members of our family.
Will Shaw - TENOR
Tenor Will Shaw comes to us from Ashland, Tennessee (also near Nashville) bringing his own unique style. His delivery is powerful and rich, with a passion for the Lord he sings about. In addition to being very musically talented, Will has served in church ministry, as Youth Pastor and Associate Pastor. His convictions shine through as he pours his heart into each and every song.
Will is a dedicated family man, raising six children (5 boys, 1 girl) with his wife Shavona. They attend church in Smyrna, Tennessee.
Ben Harris - LEAD
Ben Harris, lead singer for Southern Sound (or second tenor, if you prefer "old-school" titles), provides the unmistakable classic lead that Southern Gospel quartet music became so well-acquainted with during its golden age. He can be added to a distinguished list of fine lead singers such as Roy McNeal and Ben’s long-time friend, the legendary Jake Hess.
Ben’s stylistic approach to singing lead is very much his own, but still sounds familiar to those true fans of Southern Gospel quartet music. Ben has been a highly regarded recording engineer / producer and backup vocalist in Nashville for many years. As testament to his exceptional musical abilities, he has been awarded numerous gold and platinum albums.
Ben does much of SSQ’s vocal arrangements, and serves as the group’s emcee. Ben and his wife Delita attend a church in the Nashville area.
Michael J. Arnott - BASS
Michael J. Arnott sings the low bass, and I do mean low! Michael is very much in the mold of great bass singers such as George Younce and The Big Chief. It would be rare indeed to find a man in Southern Gospel today who can sing a richer bass than Michael. He has many years' experience singing in quartets all across our great country, and has been involved in the Branson gospel music scene through the years.
Not only does Michael provide an anchor with his fine, low voice, but he is also a "rock" of dependability. He is a great Christian man, unwavering in his devotion to God and his family. Michael is one of the smoothest bass voices on the planet today, and quite capable of singing those intricate harmonies that Southern Sound has become so well known for.
Michael lives in the Branson/Springfield, Missouri area and attends a church there.
Paul T. Ross - PIANIST
Pianist Paul T. Ross comes to us from Jackson, TN, and what a blessing he has become to Southern Sound Quartet. He had been the Minister of Music at a church in Arkansas for many years when he felt called to be involved in a traveling musical ministry. There is not a finer young man today than Paul T. Ross, and not a finer musician either.
Paul has a great knowledge of intricate chords and plays a style that complements the vocals of Southern Sound Quartet. He sings on a few songs as well. Everyone who meets Paul is taken by his friendly demeanor and easy-to-know personality. Southern Sound is very happy to have Paul in our family. He attends church in the Jackson area with his beautiful daughter.
This brief overview is simply a thumbnail sketch of what Southern Sound is really all about. In a word, Southern Sound Quartet is classy! They are deeply rooted in traditional Southern Gospel, four-part close harmony and in the testimony that Christ is Lord. I was fortunate to hear the group recently at a large church near my home, and they were indeed breathtaking. I lost count of the standing ovations they received that evening from a packed church, quite accustomed to hearing the finest Southern Gospel has to offer. The concert I attended will stay with me for quite some time, but even now, I hunger for more. Southern Sound’s attitude, infectious enthusiasm, stage presence, and fine sense of Spirit-filled music, makes a concert by Southern Sound one to be cherished for a very long while.
The guys have appeared on the National Quartet Convention, Southern Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame Inductance Ceremony, Gospel Music Television, Brush Arbor Jubilee, Grand Ole Gospel Reunion, Paul Heil’s Gospel Greats, Lake Country Jubilee, Southern Gospel Quartet Reunion, and countless personal appearances from Michigan to Florida and from Texas to Pennsylvania. They are refreshing, super talented, and simply a joy to listen to. These five great talents come together forming a truly magical work of musical art. Their sound is unique, tight harmonies telling of the joy in serving the Lord. Take my word, you really need to hear SOUTHERN SOUND. And, Southern Gospel music may well be in for a very thrilling ride.
Singing News Magazine
Director Business Operations
“Southern Sound sets a high standard for traditional quartet music in the vein of the Statesmen, Stamps, and Blackwood Brothers. This group may very well be the best in the business……….”
David Bruce Murray
Singing News Magazine
“There have been many tributes to the Statesmen Quartet through the years, but none have been better than Southern Sound’s ‘Reflections…A Tribute’. Group leader and lead singer Ben Harris is as good an arranger as is going these days, and his knowledge of Statesmen music is as extensive as there is. The group's harmony is among the best in the business in the past several years, and nowhere is that more evident than on their rendition here of ‘Goodbye Troublesome Blues’. Among all the groups going today that specialize in keeping traditional quartet music alive, perhaps none are better than Southern Sound.”
Southern Gospel News
“Southern Sound are men of distinct Christian character and worthy of any confidence we place in them. Keep up the good work.”
“I have been a fan of Southern Sound for a good while and count Ben, and the guys as friends. Anyone who knows Ben realizes he is a perfectionist when it comes to the group’s music and also their character. For those who have never heard Southern Sound, do yourself a favor and purchase their product. If you are a fan of good, solid quartet singing, you’ll not be disappointed.”
Dean Adkins“I’m not only a fan of Southern Sound, but I’m honored to count them among my friends. Their latest cd is without doubt, one of the best released in 2010…… Southern Sound should be counted among the top quartets in the business today. They are superb”.
Professor, West Virginia University
Gospel Music Historian
Grand Ole Gospel Reunion
“This is an excellent quartet. These gentlemen are first class singers who promote a genuine Christian lifestyle.”
John Crenshaw“Up until 5 minutes ago, I felt there were 3 outstanding remakes that offered some elements that topped the originals. These were Al Hirt’s remake of Bunny Berrigans ‘I Can’t Get Started’, and The Cathedrals’ remakes of The Statesmen’s ‘Oh What a Savior’ and ‘I’m Climbing Higher and Higher’. But, after listening to Southern Sound’s remake of The Statesmen’s ‘Heading Home’. I now have expanded my list to 4 instead of 3. All of the voices are superb and Southern Sound is phenomenal.”
Grand Ole Gospel Reunion