The Inspirations

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The Inspirations Quartet
Origin Bryson City, North Carolina, United States
Genres Southern gospel
Years active 1964–present
Labels Mark V, Canaan, Inspiration, Horizon
  • Martin Cook
  • Myron Cook
  • Luke Vaught
  • Harold Reed
  • Matt Dibler
  • Melton Campbell
  • Joe Brown
Past members
  • Ronnie Hutchins
  • Troy Burns
  • Eddie Deitz
  • Marlin Shubert
  • Roger Fortner
  • Dale Jones
  • Chris Smith
  • Archie Watkins
  • Jack Laws
  • Jodi Hosterman
  • David Ragan
  • Mike Holcomb
  • Steve Srein
  • Dallas Rogers
  • Jon Epley
  • Daron Osborne

The Inspirations are a professional Southern gospel quartet from Bryson City, North Carolina.


The quartet began in 1964 when Martin Cook, a teacher at Swain County High School, invited several young men to his home for evenings of singing. Later they began traveling around the area and singing at various venues. The original quartet consisted of Archie Watkins, tenor; Ronnie Hutchins, lead; Jack Laws; baritone, Troy Burns bass/later lead singer; and Martin Cook on piano.

Eddie Dietz joined the group to sing lead after Ronnie Hutchins departed for a short time. This lineup recorded one album. By their next recording, both Troy Burns and Jack Laws had departed the group, while Ronnie Hutchins returned and Marlin Shubert was hired to sing bass. After two albums with this configuration, both Burns and Laws had returned, adding special vocals, as well as bass guitar and rhythm guitar. After Marlin Shubert departed, Mike Holcomb joined the group to sing bass. Soon, Ronnie Hutchins departed once again, and Troy Burns moved in to sing lead. The vocal lineup of Watkins, Burns, Dietz and Holcomb had much success, recording several albums and adding musicians Roger Fortner and Dale Jones.

The group has had much success in the Southern Gospel genre with such songs as "Shoutin' Time In Heaven", "When I Wake Up To Sleep No More", "A Rose Among The Thorns", and "We Need To Thank God". They have been named "Favorite Quartet Of The Year" multiple times at the Singing News Fan Awards which is held in connection with the National Quartet Convention. In October 2012, at the Singing News Fan Awards held annually at Dollywood, Mike Holcomb was recipient of the Marvin Norcross-Templeton award. This award is a lifetime achievement award and is one of the most prestigious awards given in Southern Gospel.

Over the past four decades, The Inspirations have collected almost every major Gospel Music Award possible, including a gold plaque commemorating their selling a million records.

They have charted well over 60 hit songs, more than any other gospel group. The Inspirations have now recorded a combination of more than 60 projects, plus a number of studio and live videos. Their recordings can be found in Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa. 'Inspirations' recordings have even been found in Taiwan and missionaries who have gone into the old Iron Curtain countries have brought stories back of finding their music.

The Inspirations were regular cast members of the historic "Gospel Singing Jubilee" television show which was aired nationally in the United States for many years and in 1970, the group then consisting of Archie, Ron, Eddie, Marlin and Martin, were the subject of a seven-minute documentary on CBS Television, anchored by current History Channel host, Roger Mudd.

They have been declared Kentucky Colonels, Arkansas Travelers, and they have had many special days set aside in their honor.

The quartet hosts three Annual Singing In The Smokies at the Inspiration Park. The singings are the week of July 4, Labor Day Weekend, and The Color Festival which is normally the third weekend in October. Inspiration Park is located between Bryson City, NC and Cherokee, NC. This event draws thousands of Southern Gospel fans from around the country and brings in some of the biggest names in Southern Gospel music.

Currently, the vocal lineup of the Inspirations is Harold Reed (tenor); Matt Dibler (lead); Melton Campbell (baritone); and Joe Brown (bass). The group's live band consists of Martin Cook (piano); Myron Cook (bass guitar); and Luke Vaught (utility musician).


Singing News Fan Awards

  • Favorite Group (1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978)
  • Favorite Traditional Male Quartet (2005, 2006 (tied)
  • Album of the Year (2004: The Journey Ahead)
  • Song of the Year (1974: "Touring That City", 1976: "Jesus Is Mine", 2002: "I'll Not Turn My Back On Him Now", 2003: "We Need to Thank God", 2007: "I Have Not Forgotten")


Mark V Records[edit]

  • Our Pioneer Heritage
  • Cool Water
  • Just as Long as Eternity Rolls
  • What a Wonderful Time
  • From the Heart of the Smokies
  • He's Our Guide
  • Jesus Is Coming Soon
  • The Next Step You Take
  • The Night Before Easter
  • Keep Your Eyes on Jesus
  • Our Inspiration

Canaan Records[edit]

  • Our Inspiration
  • Wake Up in Glory
  • Old Time Singin'
  • We Shall Rise
  • Touring the City
  • When I Wake Up to Sleep No More
  • More to Go to Heaven For
  • I'm Taking a Flight
  • Golden Street Parade
  • 12th Anniversary
  • A Night of Inspiration
  • On Heaven's Bright Shore
  • When I Get Home
  • Looking For You
  • Something to Sing About
  • Songs of Love
  • Sing Me a Gospel Song
  • The Best of the Inspirations, Volume 1
  • Country Christmas
  • Is That Footsteps That I Hear?
  • Someday
  • The Wonder of Wonders
  • 20th Anniversary
  • Praise God and Country
  • Tell it to a Friend
  • Going Home for Christmas
  • It's Still the Blood
  • What's That I Hear?
  • The Country Needs the Cross
  • Yes, I Will Be There
  • Silver Anniversary
  • He Brought Me Out

Inspiration Records[edit]

  • Sing Me a Gospel Song
  • Singing in the Smokies LIVE
  • Singing in the Smokies: Second Helping
  • Is That Footsteps That I Hear?
  • Yes, I Will Be There
  • Silver Anniversary
  • What's That I Hear?
  • My Anchor Still Holds
  • Jesus is Coming For Me
  • Cry for the Children
  • Between Here and Sunset
  • Thank You, Lord
  • Old Time Religion
  • Two Shoes
  • Sunday's Coming
  • The Sooner, The Better

Horizon Records[edit]

  • Pure Vintage
  • Highway to Heaven
  • The Journey Ahead
  • What a Day
  • From the Smokies
  • I Know
  • Things Are Different Now
  • How Great It Is
  • The Son Came Down
  • Live Favorites of 45 Years
  • On The Sunrise Side
  • God Makes No Mistakes
  • It's In The Savior's Hands
  • No Two Ways About It
  • God's Word Will Stand


External links[edit]