In the world of southern gospel music few names carry a more substantial legacy than Goodman. Creativity, authenticity and a passion for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ have long been the cornerstones of the family’s sound and messages. They remain the foundation for the next chapter in the group’s illustrious history with the launch of Goodman Revival.
Tanya Goodman Sykes, her husband, acclaimed producer Michael Sykes, and friend Johnny Minick, a gospel music veteran who performed for years with the Goodmans, once again propel the family name into the spotlight with the release of their debut album and DVD Songs in the Key of Happy (Gaither Music Group). The trio revives such Goodman classics as “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now,” “Until You’ve Known the Love of God” and “Who Am I,” breathing fresh life into songs that have defined the genre for decades.
The decision to contribute a new chapter to the Goodman legacy evolved from a Sunday morning on stage at Minick’s church. “Michael and I moved to Texas a few years ago; and when we moved back in 2012, we actually stayed with Johnny and his wife, Sherry, for three weeks while we were looking for a place. They were so generous to open up their beautiful home to us,” Goodman Sykes recalls. Minick pastors the River of Life Assembly of God Church in Smyrna, Tenn., and the three friends took the stage to sing one Sunday morning in a pivotal moment that would change their lives.
There was an excitement as the trio began imagining how they could put their own creative stamp on songs that held such precious memories for each of them. “We got together over at Johnny’s house, and he has the entire discography of the Goodman family,” Goodman Sykes recalls with a smile. “We just started making a list. Somebody would say, ‘Well, I really like that one!’ We’d add that one to the list. Somebody else would go, ‘I really like that one!’ We came up with a list of about twenty-something songs and we whittled on that.”
Nestled amongst such Goodman family gems as “I Hold a Clear Title to a Mansion,” “Sweetest Song I Know,” “What a Happy Time” and Tanya’s stirring vocal on “What Heaven Means to Me,” there’s a new song that fits comfortably among some of the most compelling southern gospel songs of our generation. Minick was inspired to write “Settle the Score” after listening to a guest pastor at his church. “She discussed how sometimes believers settle for a little less than what they could hold out for,” he explains. “The idea came to me, instead of settling for less, we need to settle the score. I thought about David and Goliath. I was sitting around talking to a friend of mine Tim Hill, who has been a very successful songwriter in gospel music and a preacher. We were sitting around talking, the way preachers usually do, about sermons and things like that and started to write this song. We finished it up in about an hour or so. It had that old, Goodman three-quarter time feel to it. I thought it might be a song we could do.”
When Tanya, Michael and Johnny performed at Minick’s church that fateful Sunday morning they had no idea God was about to send them on an exciting new adventure—one that would both revive cherished memories and challenge them to write a new chapter in an already distinguished musical dynasty. They were definitely up to the task; and with one listen to Songs in the Key of Happy, it is obvious that this trio has honored a legacy with their immense talents and handled their heritage with care. “There is trust between the three of us,” Goodman Sykes shares. “There is friendship. There is a wealth of shared experience. We all grew up in church 24-7, and this music has been a big part of all three of our lives. None of us planned this, but we’re in a place in our lives where we walk through doors as they open.”
“We’ve not put our hand on the wheel,” adds Minick. “Everything that has happened has happened because God has used other people to make it happen. This has been one of the most exciting things on a spiritual level. I’ve always heard about God opening these doors, and He’s done that for me all my life; but to see Him do something from the very beginning to where we are right now, knowing that we’ve done absolutely nothing to push any buttons or open any doors, has been an amazing ride. That’s why I’m excited to be here because we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. That’s a neat place to be.”.
Showtime: 7:00pm | Doors Open: 6:30pm
Admission fee: $24.95 | Dinner and Theater - $42.95
Blue Gate Theatre
195 N Van Buren Shipshewana