Blind Boys Of Alabama — Grammy Winning Recording ArtistsAs a tribute to The Blind Boys of Alabama and the passing of founding member Clarence Fountain this week, we’ll play their music and speak with current member, Ricky McKinnie.
*Hailed as "gospel titans" by Rolling Stone, the Blind Boys first rose to fame in the segregated south with their thrilling vocal harmonies and roof-raising live show. They released their debut single, "I Can See Everybody’s Mother But Mine," on the iconic Veejay label in 1948, launching a 70-year recording career that would see them rack up five GRAMMY Awards (plus one for Lifetime Achievement), enter the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, collaborate with everyone from Mavis Staples and Stevie Wonder to Prince and Lou Reed, and perform on the world's most prestigious stages. It would be difficult to overstate the Blind Boys' influence on their contemporaries and the generations that came after. The New York Times said that they "came to epitomize what is known as jubilee singing, a livelier breed of gospel music," adding that "they made it zestier still by adding jazz and blues idioms and turning up the volume, creating a sound…like the rock 'n' roll that grew out of it." TIME Magazine raved that "they're always hunting for - and finding - the perfect note or harmony that lifts an old tune into the sublime," while The Washington Post praised their "soul-stirring harmonies" and "range of cross-genre collaborations," and The New Yorker simply called them "legendary."
Elan Divon — Author, Social Entrepreneur, Speaker, Success-CoachHeralded by Deepak Chopra as ‘an emerging spiritual leader for the next generation,’ Elan Divon is an author, social entrepreneur, speaker and success-coach dedicated to helping people live in accord with their greatest selves.
His story begins at age 20 after surviving a mass suicide bombing in Jerusalem. The experience compelled Elan to leave behind his family and homeland, and later forsake a lucrative job in Manhattan to pursue a budding passion for ancient wisdom and spirituality. Twenty years and two Masters degrees later, and after launching a global social venture on NASDAQ, Elan has packaged his findings into a philosophy, a workshop series, and a new book called The Initiation. (To be published in 2019). The product of rigorous study at Brandeis and Harvard Universities and Elan’s own life experience, The Initiation combines ancient wisdom and proven personal development strategies into a system that helps people find clarity of purpose, dispose of limiting beliefs, and develop the mindset and character to thrive in the game of life. Previously, while serving as Vice President of Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, Elan co-founded The Einstein Legacy Project to inspire and support the next generation of brilliant and creative minds. In this capacity Elan also co-created Genius 100 Visions: the world’s first 3D printed book inviting 100 of the leading influencers on the planet to share their vision of the future with humanity. Today Elan is a sought after public speaker and presenter working between his home base of Toronto and Los Angeles.
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Michael SchatteIt is no exaggeration to say that Michael Schatte has emerged as one of the most compelling guitarists and singer/songwriters on the North American roots music scene. Since early 2015, when he was a top-eight finalist at the Memphis International Blues Challenge and performed at Tennessee’s historic Orpheum Theatre, Schatte has appeared on some of the continent’s best festival and theatre stages, winning new fans and a reputation for world-class musicianship by way of more than 200 concerts in Canada and the United States. Though Schatte loves the blues, it’s just one ingredient in what he calls Eclectic Electric Roots Music, a brew of original rock, blues, celtic, bluegrass, country and rockabilly he’s been writing, recording, and performing throughout his career. A respected and fiery guitarist, Schatte has developed the habit of leaving audience jaws agape. He’s been compared to world-class players decades his senior, and counts Peter Green, Danny Gatton, Albert Lee, Mark Knopfler and of course the aforementioned Richard Thompson as major influences on both his electric and acoustic fingerstyle playing. Reviewing a recent concert at Aeolian Hall in London, The Beat Magazine described Schatte as “one of Canada’s best-kept secrets and certainly one of its most skilled rock performers,” citing his “masterful manipulation of the guitar” and a vocal style “as polished as his picking.”
CHECK THIS VIDEO OUT: MICHAEL SCHATTE on The Drew Marshall Show
AND… Check out our DrewTube page to watch over 100 videos from some of our previous recording artists.
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“Hope In The Midst Of Mess” - Newell & Colleen Cerak — Parents of Whitney, who was mistakenly identified as deceased at the scene of a tragic car accident (Her parents planned and attended their own daughter’s funeral, then found out she was ALIVE!)On April 30, 2006, Colleen Cerak woke up crying. Her husband, Newell, held her for a few moments. "I never knew I could hurt this bad," he said. It was their daughter Whitney's 19th birthday. It was also the day of her visitation. Just four days earlier, Whitney, along with five other college students and four employees from Taylor University, had been in an automobile accident. They'd been returning to the Upland, Indiana, campus following a banquet when a semi-tractor truck had struck their van, killing four students and one worker. The coroner had called Colleen the day of the crash to tell her Whitney had been pronounced dead at the accident scene. Colleen and Newell had agreed not to identify the body themselves, haunted by the words of a friend who'd recently lost her daughter: "I can't shake the image of her lying in a casket." The Ceraks preferred to remember their vibrant daughter active and laughing. A month later, on May 31, Colleen woke at 2 a.m. to a ringing phone. It was the coroner again. When he said, "We believe your daughter may be alive," Colleen was stunned—and skeptical. Doctors now thought the surviving student they'd believed to be Laura Van Ryn was actually Whitney. Soon, Colleen was on her way to the hospital. There, officials explained that questions about the patient's identity had arisen as she'd healed from facial injuries and regained speech and dexterity. When asked to write her name, she'd scrawled, "W-H-I-T-N-E-Y." When asked her parents' names, she'd replied, "Newell and Colleen." Growing suspicious, doctors had checked Laura's dental records. To everyone's shock, the records had confirmed the person in the bed wasn't Laura. Soon after, the coroner had called the Ceraks. When Colleen finally entered the room labeled "Laura Van Ryn," she took one look at the girl in the bed, and whispered, "It's Whitney." Dental records soon confirmed Colleen's words. In March, 2008, the Ceraks along with the Van Ryns released a book about all these events and their emotional struggle called Mistaken Identity. This New York Times #1 Bestseller brings to life the joy and pain of two families who have overcome so much, and in the midst of it all, point to God’s love as the source of their strength.
CLICK HERE TO BOOK NEWELL & COLLEEN AS SPEAKERS
“Hope In The Midst Of Mess” - Melissa Ohden — Abortion SurvivorMelissa is the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion in 1977. Despite the initial concerns regarding Melissa’s future after surviving the attempt to end her life at approximately seven months gestation, she has not only survived but thrived. With a Master’s Degree in Social Work, she has worked in the fields of substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence and sexual assault counseling, and child welfare. Melissa was formerly a College Outreach Speaker with Feminists for Life and is the former Patron of Real Choices Australia. She has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and the Australian Parliament. Melissa is on the Board of Directors for the Vitae Foundation, a national organization which uses media to advance a culture of life. In 2012, Melissa founded The Abortion Survivors Network (ASN). ASN seeks to educate the public about failed abortions and survivors while providing emotional, mental and spiritual support to abortion survivors. Since ASN’s inception, Melissa has been in contact with over 210 survivors. She is the author of You Carried Me, A Daughter's Memoir, which was released in January of 2017. After years of searching for her biological family and offering them forgiveness for the decision that was made to end her life, Melissa’s story, and her life, is so much more than one of survival. It’s evidence of the intergenerational impact of abortion on all of our lives. More importantly, it’s a testament to the beauty of God’s grace in our lives, the power of love, and the transformational power of forgiveness and in answering God’s call for your life. Fulfilling the purpose that she believes God set out for her when He saved her from the certain death of the abortion attempt, Melissa is truly a voice for the voiceless.
CLICK HERE TO BOOK MELISSA AS A SPEAKER