The Nelon’s performing tonight at Thompsonville First Baptist Church


by Steve Dunford

The Nelon’s will be in concert tonight at 7:00 at the First Baptist Church in Thompsonville.  Promoter Andrew Cooksey over the last year has brought some of the finest names in Southern Gospel Music in the past including the Kingsmen, Gold City, The Talley’s, The Wisnant’s and the Perry’s.

The Group’s motto is Faith, Family, Legacy, Vision.  With tight family harmonies, timeless songs and a passion for worship, The Nelons have been captivating audiences for four decades.

Standing on the legacy of founder and patriarch Rex Nelon; Kelly, Jason, Amber and Autumn continue the family tradition with unparalleled vocal excellence, incomparable harmonies and stunning live performances. The group has recorded more than 35 albums with chart-topping Southern Gospel classics like “We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown,” “Come Morning,” and “O For a Thousand Tongues.”

With a love for the old and a vision for the new, The Nelons embrace their traditional roots, all the while, bridging the generational gap by pushing musical boundaries.

Their awards and accolades include three Grammy Nominations, six Dove Awards, 14 Singing News Fan Awards and a People’s Choice Silver Telly Award for the concept video “Excuse Me, Are You Jesus?” They are frequently featured on the best-selling Gaither Homecoming recordings and videos and have performed on The Grand Ole Opry, among other historic venues. However, it’s their heart for people and uncanny gift to communicate God’s love that has helped to expand the audience for Gospel music around the world.

For original group member Kelly Nelon Clark, singing alongside her husband Jason and daughters Amber and Autumn, this is a full-circle moment as she reflects on the countless nights she shared the stage with her father, Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Rex Nelon.  “I can remember people saying, ‘I wish you could see your father when you sing.’ I didn’t understand it then. But now as I watch my girls sing, I glow with pride and totally understand it.”

When the Nelons are not on the road, they call Georgia home. Though whether on the road or at home, the creativity never stops… and neither does the family bond. Jason is a triple threat as a singer, songwriter and producer while Kelly is an accomplished actress of both television and film, appearing in movies like His Love Is Blind, The Cardinal Rule and Losing Faith.  Amber is signed to Daywind records as a solo artist and recently released her first adult solo album Just Sing.  Her powerhouse soprano vocals earned her the coveted Favorite Female Singer win at the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Counseling and is working on her Master’s. Autumn joined the group full-time just two years ago and has been wowing audiences ever since with her crystal clear soprano sound and musical talent on both the mandolin and banjolin. When she leaves the stage, Autumn is hard at work studying. She’s a freshman in college at Baptist College of Florida.

Together as The Nelons, Jason, Kelly, Amber and Autumn are a family devoted to God, each other, and ministering the Gospel of Christ through music and the Word.

The Church is located on State Route 34, one block east of the school.  Admission is free, and a love offering will be taken.  I encourage you to attend for a great night of Southern Gospel music.


Saline County Deputies looking for suspect who attemped to rob Galatia Dollar General

GALATIA, IL The Saline County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man accused of trying to steal money from the Dollar General Store in Galatia, Illinois last week.

Deputies say on October 5th around 10:30 p.m. a man approached two employees, demanding cash. They say the man had a small gun with a silver top and black handle, but fled the store when the alarm was activated.

The suspect is described as a white man in his mid-to-late 20’s around 5’10” with blonde hair, blue-green eyes and facial hair. The man was wearing a dark colored hoodie and dark colored jeans.

The sheriff’s office released a sketch of the suspect and anyone with information about this incident should call 618-252-8661.

Music legend Little Richard makes a stop in southern Illinois

Little Richard at Three Angels Broadcasting in Thompsonville (WSIL TV Photo)

THOMPSONVILLE, IL (Colin Dorsey, WSIL-TV.  Please click on the link for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.)

It was Little Richard’s first television news interview in years.

The music legend has only sat down to an interview with Danny Shelton of Three Angels Broadcast Network once before sitting down with News 3 on Saturday.

Known as the “Architect of Rock and Roll,” he said those days are well behind him.

“Well… back at the time, you would think about how you could become bigger and bigger and make more money,” Little Richard said.



See You at the Pole: Thompsonville Schools

Rolling Stone Magazine: See Hit Songwriter Kendell Marvel’s Gritty ‘Lowdown & Lonesome’ Video

Tunesmith behind hits for Gary Allan and Chris Stapleton steps out front with new LP

NASHVILLE, TN –  (Jon Freeman, Rolling Stone Magazine.  Please Click on the link above to read the full story, and the video to Low Down and Lonesone.  Here is an excerpt below.)

One Tuesday per month in 2017, singer-songwriter Kendell Marvel has been holding court at Nashville’s famed Exit/In, a humble venue with a long history in both rock and country circles. Marvel, a veteran Nashville songwriter with hits by Gary Allan (“Right Where I Need to Be”) and Chris Stapleton (“Either Way”), brings out fans and guests for rowdy evenings of outlaw-styled country rock, a sound he explores to the fullest on his new solo album Lowdown & Lonesome.

Lowdown & Lonesome” is a bluesy, riff-heavy rocker that calls to mind the restless Southern rock of the Allman Brothers Band and Hank Williams Jr.’s whiskey-soaked howl. A portrait of a man sinking into a deep depression after a rough breakup, “Lowdown” was penned by Marvel, Keith Gattis and Randy Houser and ultimately formed the stylistic center of the new album.

Accident on Route 34, East of Thompsonville

by Steve Dunford

THOMPSONVILLE, IL –  The Franklin County Sheriff’s and Cave-Eastern Fire Protection District are responding to a single car accident, east of Thompsonville on State Route 34.  It is where locals call Dead Man’s Curve.

There are no injuries.  I always request the name, description  and most of all pictures, do not be posted on Social Media for several hours.

Please avoid this area, as there is road blockage.

Several reporting no water service, low pressure in the Corinth Water District

by Steve Dunford

CORINTH, IL –There have been several social media reports of low water pressure in the Corinth Water District.

I just spoke with a representative from the district, and they are having trouble with their pump station.  She also said the district is under a boil water order till further notice, and it is district wide.

The Corinth Water District, covers rural areas east of West Frankfort and south of Thompsonville.  The also serve areas southwest of Galatia, and the northeast quadrant of Williamson County.



Local musicians plan music tutoring program at schools

AKIN, IL  – (Joe Ragusa, WSIL-TV.  Please click on the link for the full story.  Here is an excerpt below.

A local school teacher and musician wants to bring back music programs in schools that can’t afford to keep them.

Craig Tessone, an Akin Grade School teacher and musician, wants to bring students that experience by bringing music back to schools.

“It has taken me to places I’ve never dreamed of,” Tessone said. “I’ve gotten to sing and perform in front of lots of people. I’ve written original songs and gotten to record in Nashville.”

Tessone said his tutoring program remains in the planning stages but he hopes to teach groups of 15 kids once a week at several schools.

The Perry’s at Thompsonville First Baptist Church Saturday Night at 6:00 p.m.

by Steve Dunford


THOMPSONVILLE, IL –  For the last two years, the Thompsonville First Baptist church has been booking some of the major names in Southern Gospel Music, the last few have been Gold City, The Kingsmen, The Talleys and the Whisnants.

This Saturday night the Perrys will be in Concert at the Thompsonville First Baptist Church on State Route 34, two blocks from the school.  A love offering will be taken.

Here is the Groups Bio from their  website

Let’s talk about tradition

This year marks the 45th year that The Perrys have been traveling across the country, sharing The Gospel of Jesus Christ. During that time, God has proven faithful to provide everything needed to build a successful ministry. From moving lyrics of traditional songs, along with talented vocalists and musicians, to a genuine heart for people, The Perrys have proven they have what it takes to rise to the top of Southern Gospel music. What a journey it has been!

For Libbi Perry Stuffle, that journey began on Christmas Day in 1970, when her family gathered around a piano and began to sing after the death of their older brother, Johnny. After singing as a trio for several years, the group decided to expand into a quartet. With the addition of Tracy Stuffle, The Perrys not only gained a bass singer, but Libbi also gained a husband. Since then, Libbi and Tracy have been the foundation of The Perrys’ ministry, both managing the group and becoming some of the most recognized voices in Southern Gospel today.

January of 2013 presented The Perrys with a battle they had never before faced. Tracy, who just two years prior, had come through major open-heart surgery, suffered a massive stroke. Much of the next year would be spent in the hospital, waiting for a miracle. But God once again proved Himself faithful and Tracy survived this major ordeal and was able to return to the stage full time at the beginning of 2015. They watch daily as God continues to answer prayer in healing Tracy and bringing him even closer to full restoration.

Tracy and Libbi realize the importance of having gifted vocalists with a passion for music and a heart for the ministry on their team. At the young age of 25, The Perrys’ lead singer, Andrew Goldman, has already been recognized as one of the industry’s leading young talents. Gospel music veteran, Troy Peach, lends his rich baritone vocals to the group and also stands alongside Tracy in being the group’s spokesperson. Last but not least, Tracy & Libbi’s son, Jared, rounds out the Perry team by adding the low notes to the stage. Together, The Perrys produce a classic, yet unique blend that continues to inspire long-time fans while also appealing to the next generation.

In keeping with the tradition of quality music, The Perrys consistently present music that speaks to hearts and changes lives. 2014 the album Into His Presence brought a Dove Award nomination for the song, “I Can Trust Him”. In 2013, their album Through The Night was nominated for a Dove Award and held the 2013 Southern Gospel Song of the Year, “I Got Ahold of God This Morning.” Their previous album, Blue Skies contained three #1 songs and the Dove Award winning song “Celebrate Me Home.” It followed the Dove Award nominated, Almost Morning, which garnered two #1 songs, including 2010 Southern Gospel Song of the Year, “If You Knew Him.”

Both fans and peers alike have repeatedly recognized The Perrys for their talent and hard work by honoring Libbi Perry Stuffle as Favorite Female Vocalist in 2005 and 2013, as well as Favorite Alto Singer nine out of the past ten years. The entire group was distinguished as Mixed Group of the Year three years in a row at The Singing Fan Awards. With countless other honors, awards, and radio success, it is evident that The Perrys have been blessed, not only with musical abilities, but also the gift of communicating a message and touching lives. Now, after overcoming one of the biggest trials of their life, The Perrys have a renewed passion for encouraging others for Christ. As a dedicated team, The Perrys are excited to see what God has in store for the next 45 years.


  • GMA Dove Award® for 2012 Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year – “Celebrate Me Home”
    Singing News Fan Awards 2004 – 2006 Mixed Quartet of the Year
  • 2005, 2013 Singing News Fan Awards – Female Vocalist – Libbi Stuffle
    2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Singing News Fan Awards – Alto Singer – Libbi Stuffle
  • 2006 Singing News Fan Awards – Favorite Album – Remembering The Goodmans
  • 2004 Harmony Awards – Song Of The Year – “I Wish I Could Have Been There”
  • 2006 Harmony Honors Awards – Album Of The Year – Come Thirsty
  • 2010 – “If You Knew Him” – Southern Gospel Song of the Year – Singing News Fan Awards
  • 2011 – Almost Morning – Nominated Southern Gospel Recording of the Year – Gospel Music Association Dove Awards®
  • 2013 –  “Through The Night” – Nominated Southern Gospel Album of the Year – Gospel Music Association Dove Awards®
  • 2013 – “I Got Ahold of God This Morning” – Southern Gospel Song of the Year – Singing News Fan Awards
  • 2014 – “I Can Trust Him” – Nominated Southern Gospel Song of the Year – Gospel Music Association Dove Awards®

Please join Pastor John Robinson,  Andrew Cooksey, a member of Thompsonville First Baptist Church who arranges booking the fine Southern Gospel groups in a night of worship in song.  If the Lord is willing, I plan to be there.

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church celebrates 150 years today

by Steve Dunford


THOMPSONVILLE, IL – The Pleasant Valley Missionary Baptist Church, between Thompsonville and Galatia will celebrate 150 years of continuous service to the Lord in their homecoming service this afternoon at 1:30 P.M.

The church will have Sunday School and Morning Worship.  They will have an old fashioned dinner after the services.

Sons of the Father will be in concert in the afternoon service.  The West Frankfort group recently announced their retirement from the road.  Les and Chris Snyder will still continue in the group, and sing locally.

Don Kragness, who was a music director in several local schools and churches will replace Brent Snyder.  Brent recently accepted a position of Minister of Worship at Calvary Baptist Church in Alton.

The church attendance is approximately 30 at Pleasant Valley.  The Southern Baptist congregation is members of the Franklin Baptist Association, and the Illinois Baptist State Association.  The church is pastored by Mark Cockrum of Galatia.

The church has recently added a fellowship hall and bathrooms on the ground floor.

The congregation would love to have you.  Just follow the signs going north off of Route 34 near the Saline/Franklin County line.

In the days of church closures, this is a testimony to the faithfulness of this congregation to the Lord.  Being a Southern Baptist myself, I believe the rural country churches are the backbone of our convention, and in all denominations the country as a whole.