Tony Cummings talked to Indianapolis-based country music duo THE SINGING CONTRACTORS
Music history is full of unlikely ways that artists find their way to public attention but few can compete with the story of country gospel music's The Singing Contractors, whose debut CD/DVD, 'Working On A Building: Hymns & Gospel Classics', has now been released on Gaither Music. With concerts all over the US and appearances on national news programmes, the American public has now become familiar with how Josh Mark Arnett and Aaron David Gray have come to national attention.
Long-time friends Josh and Aaron are building contractors dealing with all manner of house building and repairs. Deeply committed Christians, they would sing classic gospel anthems as they went about their business. A friend of theirs videoed them singing "How Great Thou Art", posted it on YouTube as The Singing Contractors, and the next thing the two friends knew was they were the subject of a viral hit with literally millions of views. With such a fascinating story, I couldn't resist giving these unlikely recording stars a phone call.
Tony: Are you talking to me from the roof of a house?
Josh: "We're actually in a basement dealing with some sewage."
Tony: Are you going to continue dealing with roofs and sewers?
Josh: "Yes. We do it every day - usually 40 hours a week - dealing with everyday problems homeowners face. We fix anything and everything. Every time we make a video or do anything like this, somebody always shows up."
Tony: Tell me a bit of your story.
Aaron: "We grew up knowing each other - went to church camps together, and we married two girls that were friends. By accident we started working for the same contractor, sub-contracting off of this guy that we both knew. I showed up to a job one day, and Josh showed up and I was like, 'What are you doing here?' And he was like, 'What are you doing here?' Almost from get-go we was like, 'Let's crank up a tune.' We would sing songs on the jobsite just for fun, never thought or dreamed anything would happen."
Tony: Had one of you been in the Florida Boys or the Gaithers?
Aaron: "No. We grew up singing with our families. We grew up listening to Southern gospel music, so it was in our blood, and we loved doing it, but never travelled with any big group or anything."
Tony: Had you done concerts with any amateur groups?
Aaron: "Me and my family did. We actually got to open for The Cathedral Quartet, Greater Vision, and a few groups, when I was a kid. But nothing ever came of that. We were just called The Grey Family."
Tony: Did you make a recording?
Aaron: "We actually did. I think we made two, and that was it. I don't know if I would say they were great, but we enjoyed getting to do this. The first, the cassette tape, was called 'Wedding Music', and the second, the CD, was called 'Sailing Away'. That one was definitely better quality."