Current Single: What A Beautiful Day
Songwriter(s): Darrell Frizsell / Dan Frizsell / Brian McMahan
Publisher(s):Waymasters Pub. / ASCAP, Longstrap Music / ASCAP
Genre: Country Gospel / Bluegrass / Americana
Radio Distribution / Promotions: Millennium Music Group
Booking Agency / Management:
Artist Website: www.thewaymasters.com
About The Waymasters...
With hits like God Sent An Angel, Little Mountain Church House and There’s A Man In Here, - just to name a few, the Waymasters have captivated audiences worldwide across the airways and with hundreds of appearances around the country. Widely considered one of the premiere artists in Country Gospel music today, their 40 year legacy shows no sign of slowing down and Gospel fans couldn’t be happier.
Gospel music is full of wonderful people, singers and musicians. Some bless us with their talents for only a short time, and others fans enjoy for decades. The Waymasters have been honored to be one of the groups to successfully navigate the rigors of time. They have become a staple in Country Gospel music and a favorite for fans across the country. In September, 2019, the band celebrated their 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion, two former members of the group, Lane Pressley and Danny Frizsell, reunited with the band for a special concert and celebration. The reunion featured music they have performed over the years, stories of the past and highlights of successes and accomplishments. The concert was so successful in fact, preliminary talks have already begun to possibly hold a 41st anniversary event in the fall of 2020.
“To have lasted this long in this business is not easy to do,” says group cofounder and bass vocalist, Tommy Frizsell, “When I started this group in 1979, I never thought we’d still be going this strong after 40 years.”
And going strong they are. Since 2009, Waymasters have regularly been awarded ‘Band of the Year,’ ‘Song of the Year,’ ‘Artist of the Year’ and ‘Album of the Year. They have also been recipients of fan-voted awards including ‘Favorite Country Gospel Group,’ ‘Favorite Album’ and ‘Favorite Musician.’
The group is well known in Gospel radio as well. Over the years the Waymasters have accumulated a string of hits that have become Country Gospel standards. Their now infamous record, “Smoky Mountain Gospel, Vol. 2” has become the most successful charting album of all time, in any genre. The project produced seven #1 singles, two #2 hits and one top 10 release. Subsequently, the group has released three singles since the “Smoky Mountain” recordings and all three of those also became #1 Country Gospel singles including their current release, The Great I Am. In addition to radio airplay, the Waymasters can be seen on popular TV programs like Great American Gospel, American Gospel Onstage, Gospel Showcase and Great American Bluegrass among others.
One would think that after 40 years, nine albums, and all this success the group would be full of pride and self-importance. However nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, these guys are overwhelmingly humble and grateful for what they consider to be heavenly blessings and are quick if not insistent to give God all the credit and glory.
“We are clueless when it comes to our success,” explains Chewie McMahan, the group’s award-winning guitarist and baritone singer. “We just don’t see it, I guess. All we care about is making the best music we can for our King. It’s for Him that we make it and we pray Christ can use it for His glory. We’re just mountain boys who sing for God, it’s really that simple.”
In addition to Tommy and Chewie, the four-piece ensemble is filled out with bassist and tenor singer, Tim Reynolds and lead singer and rhythm guitarist Darrell Frizsell. Though the group began in 1979 with Tommy and his brother, Harold, the band existed as a six piece until teenagers Chewie, Tim and Darrell all joined in 1985 expanding the group to an impressive nine man unit. Over the next 35 years the band worked diligently creating a legacy that would span decades and culminate in the multi-award winning quartet that is known today.
But what makes the Waymasters the Waymasters? Where do they get their unique style and sound? These questions have been asked many times over the years and the group has identified several artists as influential in their sound. Not surprisingly, qualities of famous quartets like the Statler Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys and others can heard in their melodies but fans might be surprised to learn that expansions in their harmony styling’s can be attributed to such artists as The Beach Boys, the Eagles and Waylon Jennings. In fact one popular radio DJ described the Waymasters as “a breath of fresh air...the offspring of the Eagles and The Oak Ridge Boys.” A surprising but accurate description of the group.
If you’ve not yet had the opportunity to see the Waymasters in person, you’re missing a treat. Their songs feature heartfelt, humble lyrics assuring undying Christian love and commitment. Their talent is vast and refreshing, offering an entertaining, always pleasant experience.
Creative and inspiring, a Waymasters concert will fill the senses with everything you want in Gospel music, from astounding harmonies to original lyrics and an array of musical instrumentation. One of a kind entertainment has long been a hallmark of the group but they’re most known for the Spirit filled energy and live performances that continue to mark their status to this day. An evening with the Waymasters is a joy. Expect to laugh, expect to clap, expect to cry but most of all, expect the Lord.
Some would say the Waymasters have a library of infectious, Spirit filled songs. But the group is quick to explain that sometimes there’s more to it. “It’s not always enough to find a good song,” explains Tommy. “Darrell likes to say that the songs themselves have voices. And if you listen close enough, they will tell you how they want to be performed.”
Darrell continues, “That’s exactly right. The songs will tell you what they want as far as instruments, vocal treatments, etc. We try to tap into that and then, of course, we include the Spirit in every part of the song. When you get it right, no one has to tell you. The song will have its own voice.”
“We don’t worry about labels either,” says Tim, “We gave up on classifying what we do a long time ago. Someone once called us ‘the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band of Gospel music’ referencing the difficulty radio and critics had in classifying that band. I think that’s pretty accurate. We make music our way, not the Southern Gospel way, or the Bluegrass way or the Country, Folk or Pop way. I think that’s why it works. You have to praise God in your way or it’s not real. It’s not ‘your’ praise.”
And maybe that’s part of their secret. To praise God from one’s heart, not from expectations or examples. In a feature article in Christian Voice Magazine back in September of 2017 the group was quoted as saying, “We tried a lot of different things to be what we thought we should be or what the churches where we played thought we should be. But it wasn’t until we started doing what WE do for our Lord that He began to bless us as He has. We had to learn that God didn’t want us doing what others do or what others expected us to do, we had to do for Him what WE do. We use the gifts He gave us to honor and uplift Him. We hope and pray that anyone who hears our music is, in some way, touched by the Spirit.”
Four men from the misty peaks and hollows of North Carolina, the Lord has lifted the Waymasters from humble mountain beginnings to one of the most successful charting Gospel artists of all time. Through all their successes and accomplishments, it’s clear that they choose to mark their highlights in different terms. Where God is the center and uplifting His glory in song is their charge, where through them and their music of praise, He might speak to the hearts of those who are lost and in need of Him. For the Waymasters, Jesus Christ is King and songs of His glory will endure forever.