Mark Lowry and The Martins. Courtesy photo
‘Music & Madness’ performing at LHS
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Gospel music legends Mark Lowry and the Martins are hitting the road together for the first time on the Music & Madness tour.
Mark Lowry is known as a voice of gospel music. He started making music at age 11, and his mother got him started even earlier than that.
“She set me on a piano bench when I was 4,” he said. “I sang for the first time. When I was 9, my parents wanted me to make a record because they thought if my voice changed, I wouldn’t be able to sing anymore.”
Lowry’s voice would stand the test of time, and he said his music career took off after recording a set of gospel songs at a studio in Houston.
“A couple years later, I signed a recording contract with Heartwarming Records, the Benson company in Nashville, and that kind of kicked it all off,” he said.
Lowry is a singer, storyteller, humorist, author and songwriter, who wrote a lyric to the Christmas song, “Mary Did You Know?,” a song that has been recorded more than 400 times by artists from many genres, including Reba McEntire, Clay Aiken, Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd.
Lowry has spent more than 20 years singing with the Gaither Vocal Band, and he serves as the sidesplitting comedic sidekick for Bill Gaither through live concert tours and the best-selling Gaither Homecoming video series and television airings.
The history between Lowry and the sibling trio the Martins spans more than two decades and traces back to a cassette tape.
“In 1992, I first learned of them,” he said. “Their mother handed me a cassette tape. They were just late teens, early 20s at this time.”
Lowry was given the cassette at a national quartet convention.
“I was blown away by it,” he said. “Michael English and I took them away to audition, and they sang for the first time on the ‘Precious Memories’ homecoming video.”
Lowry has always wanted to tour with the Martins, and he said the tour is something that has been talked about since he met the sibling trio.
“Now, it’s happening, and I’m telling you people don’t want to miss this concert,” he said. “It is a blast.”
The group will be performing June 5 at Liberal High School as part of the “Music & Madness” tour.
“We’re bringing the best musicians in gospel music I think, the Martins,” Lowry said. “They’re right in the top 10 of best singers in gospel music, I think. Two sisters and a brother, and they’re incredible.”
Lowry himself will be bringing the madness, and suffering from ADHD, he said the show could go anywhere.
“I know what the first song’s going to be, and I know what the last song’s going to be, but it’s an ADD rabbit trail getting to it,” he said. “I’m the leader of the program now. It’s fun because I don’t even know where we’re going, but we always end up at the right spot.”
Lowry said his booking agent chose Liberal as one of the stops on the Music & Madness tour.
“Wherever the bus stops, I get off,” he said. “I usually don’t know where we’re going till that weekend. The manager and booking agent route the trips, but people are people. It doesn’t matter if they’re up north, down south, east or west. If they can understand English, we can have a good time.”
Lowry said he is in a different part of the country every weekend, and the weekend of June 5 just happens to be Liberal.
“We’re excited,” he said. “I love the word ‘liberal.’ I want to be liberal when I grow up, liberal in love, liberal in kindness, liberal in goodness. I want to be like Jesus when I grow up.”
Lowry said many conservative Christians don’t like the word “liberal,” but he himself considers conservative an ugly word.
“That sounds stingy to me,” he said. “I’m saying politically. I’m not talking about liberal in all the good things – mercy and kindness.”
Music & Madness will also feature the accompaniment of renowned pianist Stan Whitmire. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $25 for gold circle and $18 for group admission of 10 or more.
Tickets can be purchased at First Southern Baptist Church at 621 N. Western Ave. in Liberal, by phone at (855) 223-1008 or online at marklowry.com and museconcerts.com. All tickets purchased online will include a per-ticket convenience fee. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.