Bainbridge singers win country gospel title

Published 9:39 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

Ronnie, Kesha and Mark Parish’s music comes from a journey.

“It’s real,” Kesha Parish said. “It’s real. It comes from a real place of struggle and hardship and how God has brought us through all of that to where we are now.”

The trio, who have been singing together for about 25 years, make up the Parish Family Music Ministry. The group recently received the title of International Country Gospel Group of the Year for the second consecutive year at the 58th annual International Country Gospel Music Association awards earlier this month.

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The man-and-wife-plus-brother group is based in Bainbridge and travels around the country, performing original songs.

“Family,” Kesha Parish said with a laugh. “Sometimes, you want to get away from each other, but for the most part we three get along very well. If one person’s out sick, you feel like you’re missing your right arm.”

In January 2014, the group released “Old House,” a compilation of 10 original songs.

Recorded in Nashville, the project took about four days in the studio, Kesha Parish said.

“It’s a wonderful, from-the-ground-up process,” Kesha Parish said. “It’s so interesting to see it all take place and happen. It’s hours and hours and hours of very hard work. By the time we get through with project, recording a project, we’re sick of singing those songs. Recording is the hard work part of it. When we go and perform in concert — that’s the fun part.”

The original Parish Family Music Ministry formed about 50 years ago, with Ronnie and Mark’s late father Rev. B. H. Parish. Mark, Ronnie and Ronnie’s wife Kesha reformed the group in 1999 after the three rededicated their lives to God.

“We rededicated our lives back to Christ,” Kesha Parish said. “We all fell away and just wanted to do our own thing for a while. We all three got to a closer walk with the Lord again, and it took us a while to start performing again. We wanted to make sure we were we needed to be and doing what we needed to do for the Lord.”

Since then, the group has received several awards from organizations such as the Artist Music Guild, Christian Voice Magazine and the International Country Gospel Music Association.

Each member’s journey back to Christ is the inspiration for a lot of their original songs, which they trade off on singing lead.

“I applaud someone who has been in church all their life and has stayed where they needed to be, but that wasn’t the case for us. We did fall away,” Kesha Parish said, “and thank God we serve an awesome God who welcomes us back in and can take our brokenness and put it back together.”

“That’s what He’s done for us. We have a song called ‘Back on the Wheel’ off of our last album about how He took all the broken pieces of our lives and put them back on the potter’s wheel and made new vessels out of each one of us.”