When you speak of excellence in gospel music, Luther Barnes & The Sunset Jubilaires is a group that hits the high marks.
Under Lutherís leadership, The Sunset Jubilaires have long been recognized as one of Americaís top traditional groups as well as an international gospel powerhouse.
Deriving from one of gospel musicís influential musical family aggregations, Rocky Mount, North Carolinaís Barnes family, The Sunset Jubilaires have been traveling down this gospel highway for quite some time. "The group has been together close to 35 years, says Luther. "There are two generations of Barnesí within the group. My three uncles, Haywood Barnes, William Barnes and William Pope are the ones that actually organized the group. Myself, along with another uncle, Roy Barnes, who also plays bass guitar, joined the group 20 years ago or so."
Inspired by the likes of Andrae Crouch, the Williams Brothers, the Jackson Southernaires as well as his father, Rev. F.C. Barnes; Luther has crafted The Sunset Jubilaires into a group possessing a unique blend of voices and musicians with the uncanny ability to deliver a song in their own fashion. These are facts that have only increased their popularity.
Their immense popularity has opened the door for the group to perform at the prestigious Apollo Theatre, many of this countryís major amusement parks, along with travels to the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Jamaica and Germany.
In 1989, the gospel industry recognized their contributions, with the group winning a GMWA Excellence Award for "Group of the Year." In 1991, Luther & The Sunsets Jubilaires also received nominations from the Stellar Awards and GMWA Excellence Awards for "Best Traditional Gospel Group." Luther received the Vision Award in 1992 presented by the BET networkís popular Bobby Jones Gospel Show and Score (now Gospel Today) magazine. Luther & The Sunsets also received a 2000 Dove Award nomination for "Traditional Gospel Song of the Year" for "Heaven On My Mind" from their 1999 release entitled The Barnes Family "A Live Reunion".
Luther Barnes & The Sunset Jubilaires tenth album for Atlanta International Records entitled, Wherever I Go, takes the group in a slightly different musical direction.
"The sound on this album is probably a little closer to what you hear in todayís music," says Luther. "In listening to some of the songs, youíll hear a little different flavor, more upbeat, more like a Boyz II Men type sound."
Luther adds, "But we also perform some of our tried and true traditional songs. We didnít want to totally tear away from that style, because we enjoy singing traditional music and there are a lot of people who still enjoy the traditional sound, and we didnít want to lose them."
Although Wherever I Go may incorporate somewhat of a new sound for The Sunset Jubilaires, the message they deliver remains the same; communicating Godís love and saving grace.
"The title track, "Wherever I Go" is a song I believe people can closely relate to," says Luther. "It conveys the fact of the Lord being with us through ups and downs, heartaches and pain, sunshine and rain, our going out and coming in. Thereís an upbeat, traditional flavored song called "Leaning On Jesus." Itís a fast, churchy, quartet type song that will definitely have you up on your feet. Thereís also a powerful invitational type song called "Lord Iím Here Waiting." Overall, I feel really good about the songs and direction God is taking us on this album."
Luther Barnes & the Sunset Jubilaires are committed to their music and ministry. Each project takes them to a higher level and with Wherever I Go, their hit making tradition continues. --Airgospel.com
Their 2004 Release, It's Your Time, was nominated for a Grammy Award and won the 2005Stellar for Traditional CD of the Year.