Bill Anderson, John Conlee, the Kendalls and others record country gospel albums.

SEVERAL mainstream country music artists are set to release gospel albums. Bill Anderson, John Conlee, the Kendalls, David Frizzell and Brenda Lee are among those that have released or are planning to issue gospel CDs. In addition, Willie Nelson and his sister have recorded "Farther Along: A Gospel Collection' for Sugar Hill.

Bill Anderson, best known for his million selling "Still", has released his gospel collection, 'Softly And Tenderly' on his own TWI Records. For the veteran Grand Ole Opry star, this marks his second foray into Christian music. Anderson's first gospel album was for Decca decades ago. He said, "This is really the first full-blown gospel album I've done since back in the '60s. I was going into the studio last winter to do a new country record and Jack Jackson (Anderson's music publisher) came to me and said, 'We've gotten quite a few calls out in the market place for some country gospel.'"

John Conlee spoke about his 15 song CD 'Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus'. "It's a longtime dream and it's exiting to get to scratch that itch, so to speak, with this album. I've wanted to do one for at least 10 or 12 years." The album will be released this autumn on his own RCR label.

The Kendalls' 'Best Of Country Gospel' album was recorded in 1996, two years before Jeannie Kendall's father and duet partner, Royce, passed away. The project was put on hold until Madacy Entertainment Group's Dave Roy saw Kendall at Fan Fair last year, supporting her Rounder solo debut. He was so impressed that when he learned of the gospel album in the vault he jumped at the chance to release it. Kendall, who is working on another solo album for Rounder, says she and her father would include gospel songs in their shows. "Through the years we had so many requests from fans to do a gospel album," she says. "We thought that even if we didn't have it out as a regular release, we wanted to have it available at shows." CR

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