Ken Holloway: The American country gospel singer

Monday 1st June 1998

His laconic, rough-hewn voice is one of the most effecting in country gospel music. Martin Mackenzie spoke to Ken Holloway.

Ken Holloway
Ken Holloway

Squatting in the corridor on the 17th floor of a hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, he didn't look like one of country music's greatest talents. Speaking quietly but assuredly, Ken Holloway could not conceal his implicit faith in God and his love for his Saviour. He told me that he was in town to visit bookstores to promote his latest album 'The Ordinary'. I asked him to tell me more about the title cut. "Well, my wife, Connie, and I recently had to sit down with Mandy, our 13 year old daughter, and talk about the important things in life. It made me realise that there weren't many songs, if any, about keeping yourself for your life partner from the boy's point of view. 'How far did you go last night, asked one boy/To tell you the truth, this may sound strange/But man I didn't try a thing/I love that girl so much, first I'm going to buy her a ring.' The chorus continues, 'Ain't that the kind of thing that should be ordinary?' "Hence the title of the track and the album. Ken is accompanied on the song by Lari White, who he described to me, as "a young superstar." To my ears, their voices are perfectly matched.

But how did Ken get started in the Christian music business? He virtually grew up in the smokey bars and honky tonks of his native Louisiana. Using the Southeast US as his fan base. Ken was poised to break through as a nationally known country star by his early 20s. However, "God had other plans," said Ken, recalling how his wife and mother "prayed me into the Kingdom." There's a song on his album 'He Who Made The Rain' called "I Don't Wanna Go Alone" that describes "a night 1 came in drunk and fell into bed beside my wife. Instead of yelling at me, she prayed out loud for me. No one had ever done that before. Two weeks later, I gave my heart to the Lord."

When Ken first became a Christian, he thought his music career was over but during the next couple of years people would come up to him and say, "Why don't you use what the Lord has given you?" Ken said, "I didn't think you could mix honky tonk music with the gospel, but now it seems completely natural."

Soon after accepting Christ, Ken became a licensed minister because, as he said, "I saw it as an extension of my music ministry because a lot of people who approach me after a concert don't want to just talk about my music' they want to talk about the Word."

Ken's three albums for Brentwood Music's Ransom Music were last year released in the UK so now British country fans have a chance to hear one of the most soulfully emotive voices in country gospel. "The fans love their country music, but they want it to say something different. It's tremendously rewarding and satisfying to me to be able to say 'I choose to follow this path' I choose to sing about the Lord.'" CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

Reader Comments

Posted by Charlene Hain in Clovis, CA. @ 20:51 on May 30 2017

Ken, I first found one of your CD's in a thrift store. By GOD's grace I bought it not knowing who you were. I got home played it and have never stopped! I now own 5 of your CD's and I love them all. Thank you, for your songs to and about our LORD. GOD bless you and your family! Charlene

Posted by steve Francis in fredericktown @ 15:10 on May 26 2017

want to know if you are ever in the southeast Missouri area . We are trying to build an arena for sports and concerts and would like to see what it would take to get you here for a concert/fund raiser to help people understand what we are trying to bring into our area. We are a group wanting to provide family entertainment with religious and patriotic themes under our way of saying it "God and Country".

Posted by Glenn Maddox in Jasper, Tx @ 23:58 on Jun 10 2016

I met a gentleman by the name of Chris Aaron. He encouraged me to get in touch with you. I write gospel/ country songs. I would like for you to "give a listen" if you have time. I need an address though. I would appreciate it so much. Thank you. Glenn Maddox

Posted by Rosalyn Shadforth in Robinson River N.T Australia. @ 04:07 on Nov 23 2015

hello Ken I listen to one of your gospel album i think its the one with "i don't want to go alone" the words touches my heart your music reaches out to all, what a amazing God we serve .

Posted by Glyn Pfohl in Evansville, Indiana @ 02:57 on Apr 11 2014

How exciting!
I love the words of each song and his voice makes you want to listen forever.
Thanks for being such a blessing to the body of Christ.

I would be interested in a schedule so that I might hear him in person.


Glyn Pfohl

Posted by james trahan in jennings,ka @ 13:45 on Mar 8 2014

hey there ken we went to hear a concert in Lafayette,la a few years back and really enjoyed hearing you .the other day I saw you on t.v. singing country music I hope you didn't leave GOD for this world praying for you and your family

Reply by Ken Holloway @ 18:07 on Jul 12 2015

Hey John thanks for the comment. I am actually playing country shows now too. I would never ever leave God ever. I'm doing what so many are afraid to do. To get amongst the ones who need Him and hope. Yes please pray for us.
God Bless

[report abuse]

Posted by Dennis Weidus in Baton Rouge, LA @ 23:24 on Oct 29 2013

Ken came to St. Amant near Baton Rouge last Sat. I have loved his music for years and wanted to meet him! Finally it happened last Sat! He is such a down to earth man with no pretentiousness, or big star attitude!
He was with the Cross Country country tour including Hunter Erwin, Justin Todd Herod, Chelley Odle, and on other! Great Christian Country music by all!

Posted by Donna Willis in Bourke, NSW Australia @ 03:51 on Aug 9 2013

We Aboriginal people love our country music, I too was excited to hear Ken's Music. Although there is not lots of country gospel out there, Ken is still my favourite. Bless you brother.

Reply by Ken Holloway @ 17:33 on Jul 12 2015

Thanks Donna. God Bless

[report abuse]

Posted by Tony in East Texas @ 10:39 on Jun 15 2013

I first met Ken when I was living in Huntsville Texas. Newly saved, I had determined that I would stop listening to secular music. The only problem was I loved country music so much! If you cut me steel guitar and fiddle would pour out, but I was determined to try to enjoy contemporary Christian music. One evening service Ken came to our little bitty church and when he began to sing songs from his "Just A Servant" album My mouth literally fell open! I could not believe my ears it was country, no doubt about that but it was CHRISTIAN COUNTRY. If I wasn't sure before I knew then that there was a God. After that anytime Ken was in driving distance of Huntsville, I was there. I know he didn't know my name but it got so he recognized me and every time I saw him, he'd speak to me like I was an old friend. He's the real deal and could have made a lot of money with the voice he was blessed with but he stayed true to his faith and thankfully gave me something to listen to without having to give up my country music.

Posted by Willis Davis in Columbia La. @ 00:20 on Jan 28 2013

I get more out of your songs than I do out of most sermons. I would really like to talk to you.

Reply by Peter MacDougall @ 13:55 on Mar 30 2013

Hi Willis. Just wanting to let you know about my music in hopes that it will be a blessing to you.

[report abuse]

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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