FOURGIVEN Quartet records CD in Tennessee

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By Panzi Blackwell

Lawrence Brown, Dewayne Brown, Russ Stewart and Bob Culbertson traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to fill the request of their fans, to cut a CD of their music as the popular gospel group, the FOURGIVEN Quartet.
They consented to share their experience, which proved to be even more unforgettable, sadly, by the fact that, due to the terrible onslaught of the recent storm, the area was flooded and homes and buildings ruined.
They were impressed that, in spite of the trauma and destruction, the Tennessee people were personally experiencing, they treated the FOURGIVEN with courtesy, respect and hospitality… and the CD, entitled “Thank Him for the Miracle,” was miraculously recorded.
Meet Lawrence, Dewayne, Russ, and Bob as they share the experience.
The Wet – But Welcoming – Arrival
“One thing that was kind of a weird situation was that we were there the week after the big flood in Nashville,” said Dewayne Brown, song writer, lead singer and Lawrence’s son.
“The guy whom we had been in contact with, Johnny Sanson, had lost his house and everything in it. The water was completely over his roof.
“He was there to meet us when he was supposed to, but he wasn’t able to be there during the recording,” Dewayne said.
They said that Sanson was wearing “waders” when he met them.
Nashville had gotten 17 inches of rain.  “But despite all that,” Dewayne said,  “they treated us like we were somebody, very professional.”
Russ, the deep bass, Lawrence’s son-in-law and Dewayne’s brother-in-law, said, “I thought the people there were very nice. They were professional, and they had a lot of patience.
“They coached us and helped us with things, and taught us things we didn’t know. They taught me a little bit of baritone,” he said.
“We worked through the first one, then we did all the rest together, but in separate rooms. They gave us headphones so we could turn the volume of each other’s voice or the music up or down.”
It’s interesting to note Russ had never sung until Lawrence drafted him for the FOURGIVEN Quartet.   
Bob, the group’s tenor, song arranger and clown, said, “It was really a good trip and quite an experience.
“I had no idea what to expect, and when we got down there, I still didn’t know what to expect. They put me in a little room, and I got a little paranoid,” he said, laughing.
“That was what was so different, because when we sing, we feed off each other. Then, when they separated us in different rooms, we could see each other,” Bob said.
“There was a couple of times when one of us was flat, and when they listened to it, they were able to go in and isolate that one spot and bring the voice down or up, so it wasn’t flat.
“It was fun, and quite an experience, seeing how they operate all of that. But it was a very long and trying day,” Bob said.
“We first met at the office, and they took us over to get the photos done,” he said.
Lawrence added, “The Broadcasting Edwards Church is where the pictures were taken, right by (the late) Conway Twitty’s house.”
The photo session lasted about an hour, then they went to the studio and began the recording session at about noon.
“The first song took about an hour and 15 minutes, and I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, we are never going to get out of here,’” Bob said.
“But they wanted to do the three higher voices first and then bring Russ (bass) in later. But Russ had a solo part in that first song (“I’m Rich”), and we didn’t know when to come in,” Bob said.
“We sang through the song and while we were singing, the producer made notes on the words, and then he would have us sing over that part again. Then he would just have Dewayne sing, then Lawrence would sing, then after we three all redid it, he said, ‘Well, I think we have enough to work with here,’ and I thought, ‘How is that possible?.”                                    
“I’d recommend those guys (Nashville people) to anybody,” Lawrence said. “They were so patient, we never heard a cross word from them and every time we would get done with a song, they would bring us in the room with them to listen to it.
“Only one thing I didn’t like about it. They said we would probably sound better on the CD than you do in person,” he said, laughing.  
They were actually in Hendersonville, Tenn., and out of the flood waters, for the recording.
“We were supposed to go downtown, by the old part of Nashville, by the Rhiman to take our pictures,” Russ said, “but it was all flooded, so we had to do an alternate.”
Lawrence sang in other quartets over the years, and started the FOURGIVEN Quartet in 1992.
“We first started as a trio, Dewayne, myself and Dave,” Lawrence said. “Then Russ came along.”
The four became the FOURGIVEN Quartet and the rest is history.  Dewayne didn’t begin singing until he was 35. Lawrence drafted his son-in-law, Russ, after hearing him talk on a CB during a family trip.
When they needed a tenor replacement, about four years ago, Bob fit right in, and the four blended together, not only voice-wise, but also personality-wise. They all have a sense of humor.
Dewayne appears the more serious one of the group, although he is quite capable of performing a comic routine himself. Lawrence is kind of a law unto himself, with a dry sense of humor; Russ laughs easily and is witty; and Bob is the comic, the irrepressible one, often breaking into an impromptu dance and knee-slapping, etc., to the seemingly embarrassment of the other three.
Lawrence has suffered serious health problems and numerous hospitalizations, as well as the loss of his wife of many years, in recent years, but has never missed a scheduled FOURGIVEN concert.
“We have been to a lot of wonderful places,” Lawrence said, “But what I like about it is that you meet so many wonderful people.”
His signature song, “The Lighthouse” is always anticipated and well-received at their concerts.
His ear for talent and his heart for singing for the Lord has enabled him to provide others inspiration and enjoyment through their concerts, and now through their CD, “Thank Him for a Miracle.”
Dewayne sums up the feeling of all four members of FOURGIVEN – “We really appreciate the people who come to the different concerts around the county. They are special people.
“If we were in it for the money, we would have quit a long time ago. We have never set a price for our concerts,” Lawrence said.
They just keep singing His praises and thanking Him for the miracle.
For more information on the FOURGIVEN Quartet, go online to www.FOURGIVENquartet.com or call 283-4125.