GREENFIELD — As Southern gospel singers, Jeff Sneed and his family of performers rarely venture as far north as Indiana. But with a solid following in Kentucky and Tennessee, the group decided it was time to expand its fan base and introduce the Sneed Family vocals and harmonies to the heartland.
The Sneed Family takes the stage for “A Country Christmas” at 2 p.m. Dec. 4 at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts, 122 W. Main. The 90-minute concert will feature a live band and a variety of holiday music.
Marie Lange, owner of Monarch Talent Management and the agent representing the singing family, said the program covers a broad spectrum of holiday music.
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“It’s Christmas standards and mainstream music,” Lange said, “while weaving in the hymns and the message of Christmas.”
Lange points out that the Sneeds are somewhat unique as they continue to travel and perform with a live band when — in this day and age — so many gospel groups are going to recorded musical accompaniment for their performances.
Jeff Sneed, the Sneed family patriarch, began his musical career in high school in a gospel quartet. As the quartet members grew older and graduated from high school, they went their separate ways, and Jeff began singing with his girlfriend at the time, Pam. They eventually married and had children. Sons Seth and Jacob sing and play instruments with the group along with daughter Amanda and her husband, Caleb, growing the Sneed performing family to six members.
The Sneed Family performs about 100 shows a year in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas. They have been featured performers at the Louisville National Quartet Convention and the National Gospel Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. They hope to find a new crowd of gospel music devotees through their concert at the Ricks.
“When you don’t automatically have a fan base there, it’s a shot in the dark,” Lange said.
Even though the Sneeds’ home base is south of the Indiana border in Kentucky, they boast some Greenfield connections. They have crossed paths with Hancock County natives Gary West — known for his “For the Love of Cash” Johnny Cash tribute concert conducted at Ricks last year and again last summer for Entertainment on the Plaza — and Darry Hood, who performs regularly as the lead singer of Dr. Rock and the Rollers during the plaza concert series.
The Sneeds’ exposure is not limited to live performance. They also host a weekly cable TV show that airs in Missouri, Kentucky, South Carolina and parts of Ohio. “Sneed Family Music” is seen in more than four million homes on television or online. The Sneeds perform but also feature guests from the world of Southern gospel music such as the Oak Ridge Boys and Loretta Lynn.
“We’ve interviewed everybody who’s anybody in gospel music,” Jeff Sneed said.
And as if live concerts and television didn’t keep them busy enough, the Sneeds also travel with their fans, organizing bus tours to Loretta Lynn’s Gospel Music Festival in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, or Amish country in Pennsylvania. The group has plans to travel with their fans on an Alaskan cruise in June of 2017.
Although the concert at the Ricks Centre will feature a holiday theme, the Sneeds might sneak in a couple of songs from their newly released album, “The News for Today,” Lange said, featuring the hit song “God Against the Law.”
What: The Sneed Family, from Glascow, Kentucky, presents “County Christmas”
When: 2 p.m. Dec. 4
Where: The H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts, 122 W. Main St., Greenfield
Premium seat tickets near the stage are $15; general admission tickets are $12. Tickets are available at itickets.com/events/370005.html or by calling 800-965-9324.