MARKSMEN QUARTET, “This Is My Crowd,” Rural Rhythm Christian. 14 tracks.

Earle Wheeler began his singing career in 1961. Six years later, he formed The Marksmen Quartet, a group that rose rapidly through the ranks of Southern gospel music.

But around 1982, the group switched its focus to bluegrass gospel. And The Marksmen have been a major player in that genre for three decades now.

The group has undergone a number of changes in personnel in that past 45 years. But Wheeler is still leading the band.

Today’s lineup includes his son, Mark Wheeler, along with Darrin Chambers, Davey Waller and Mark Autry.

Yes, that is five people in the quartet.

The latest album, “This Is My Crowd,” has been described as bluegrass gospel, country inspirational, old-time Southern gospel and even convention singing.

But it’s mostly bluegrass.

Mark Wheeler wrote or co-wrote five of the songs — one, “The Veil,” with Waller.

The first singles are “Don’t Take Your Life (Take Mine),” Jesus’ plea to a suicidal man, and “Stack Them Stones,” an uptempo number.

Other highlights include “Last Saturday Night,” a song about a man finding God on his way to the electric chair; “The Upper Room,” a ballad about a man finding salvation in a nursing home; “The Mule Song,” a funny song filled with tall tales; and the classic “Rock of Ages.”

Strong album by one of the top acts in bluegrass gospel.

Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.RuralRhythm.com.

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