Troy Burns of (Bryson City, NC.) was one of the founding members of the Inspirations in 1964. Starting at the young age of only 13, Troy performed and was a vital member of the group for over 30 years. For over the past 50 years his name and voice have been sought after by the thousands and both have been known to have only gotten better with age. Having been the lead singer for both the Inspirations and Archie Watkins & Smoky Mountain Reunion, Troy is no stranger to the industry and is loved by many.
Troy is currently touring and performing with his own group the Troy Burns Family that he founded over 7 years ago along with his wife Tammy Burns. While traveling and singing all over the country the family is known for two very distinct things: their close family harmony and their love for the ministry of Jesus.
Troy, having been singing most of his life, has had the privilege of recording over 700 original and charting songs. Some include Jesus Is Coming Soon, Touring That City, Is That Footsteps, The Wonders of Wonders, Your Tears Are Touching God, The First Million Years, and many more. Troy and the Inspirations were a regular on the network TV show the Gospel Singing Jubilee and had the honor of winning the 1974 Dove Award for the Best Gospel TV Show. With over 6,000 concerts and numerous awards under his belt it is no surprise that this year Troy is the 2017 Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame Inductee! Troy gives the credit to all his success to an evening service in an old fashion revival back in 1962 when Troy was saved at the age of 10 years old. Quoted by many Troy has been called “Mentor”, “My Hero”, “Friend” and a “Patriarch” of Southern Gospel Music.
Tammy Burns of (Bryson City, NC.) has had a heart for singing ever since she was a young child. Even though she had no plans to ever be a Gospel singer, she was raised with a formal education in vocal performance and was a member of the Sound Of Youth from Robbinsville, North Carolina.
As the wife of Troy Burns Tammy has had the privilege of traveling the country with her husband as he toured with the award winning Inspirations and she is the only female to have ever taken the stage and sing with the group. For 3 months Tammy had this amazing opportunity to travel and sing tenor with the Inspirations and now she is the full time alto of the Troy Burns Family. Along with her husband by her side Tammy starred in their groups concept video I’m Praying For You, which gave Tammy’s voice the opportunity to be heard around the entire world and has impacted the hearts and souls of millions. Many have compared Tammy’s distinct singing voice to the late Patsy Cline and Barbara Streisand. Tammy has a heart for the ministry and young people and she never passes up an opportunity to invest and love on the younger generations. Tammy believes her passion for young people comes from her own experience as child being saved at the age of 10 years old during Vacation Bible School at Robbinsville First Baptist Church in 1969. Tammy always works hard to make sure that the words she says and the songs she sings only depict the light and love of Jesus Christ.
From Gadsden, Alabama, Cole Watson sings both baritone and lead. He credits his love for Southern Gospel music to his father, Mike Watson, who passed away after a battle with cancer this past January. Mike was one of the founding members of the group Exodus, who Cole gladly filled in for after his father went to be with the Lord. Cole shared, “I’m a 60-year-old in a 22-year-old body. I’m like an old man, a history geek who loves to go home and relax and listen to music. I enjoy listening to Michael Bublé, but my favorite Southern Gospel artists are Joseph Habedank, Pat Barker, The Perrys, Tribute Quartet, and Mark Trammel Quartet. My dad loved to lead people in worship and see the lost saved. I pray that I can carry on that legacy well, and that people see Christ in me. Psalm 59:16 says, ‘But I will sing of Thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning: for Thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.’ That is one of my favorite passages.”
Ethan McNelly is from Old Fort, Tennessee. He has a strong background in Bluegrass Gospel, which explains his instrumental abilities. Ethan plays the piano, dobro, banjo, bass, and guitar and is currently learning the violin. He grew up listening to his dad singing Southern Gospel music and models his deep voice after Tim Riley and George Younce. Chris West has also been a big influence on his vocal style. In his free time, he enjoys farm life and hunting. Ethan shared, “The passage that inspires me is Matthew 28:19, which says, ‘Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’ I’ve done some missions work, and I’m blessed to be able to go out and share the message that may inspire someone to make a commitment to Christ. That is my calling, and I’m so thankful to be in ministry with The Troy Burns Family.”