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The Blackwood Brothers Quartet Bio
The Blackwood Brothers Quartet was formed in 1934 with brothers Roy, Doyle, James and Roy's son, R.W. In the late 50s Roy and Doyle retired from traveling and in 1954 R.W. was killed in a tragic airplane crash. However the quartet with James, as the quartets' leader and spokesman, established a new group of singers who would go on to take Gospel music to new heights as they traveled and sang in all fifty of the United States, every Canadian province as well as cities in Great Britain, Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
In 2002, James Blackwood went to be with the Lord, but his sons, Jimmy (James Jr.) and Billy continued the 78-year tradition. Recently Jimmy retired after singing for 49 years and his younger brother, Billy now carries on the quartet which has the distinction of being the best-known name in Gospel Music history!
Billy, James Blackwood's younger son, sings baritone and is a song writer. Billy played drums for J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet at the age of 14. He also played for the Blackwood Brothers, Gordon Jensen and Sunrise, and Andrus/Blackwood & Company and toured with Voice, the opening act for the Elvis Presley show. He has traveled in solo ministry and has worked in youth and pastoral ministry. He produced the latest CD for the quartet. Billy has four daughters, Brette, Britni, Emma and Ellie and one son, Will. He and his wife, Cherry live in Hendersonville, TN.
Wayne has sung for many years in numerous quartets including the Crystal River Boys, and most recently, New Millennium. His crystal clear tenor voice is amazing people across the country. He has sung at hundreds of events including a concert at the Pentagon with Franklin Graham.Wayne is known for his singing of the great Gospel classic, O What a Savior. He and his wife Gina have two sons, Micah and Maison.
Butch Owens is the newest member of the group but is no stranger to gospel music. He sang bass with an earlier version of the Stamps Quartet and most rececntly with Bob Jones and the Songfellows Quartet. He is a retired law enforcement officer. Butch has a great personality and his solid low notes make a great foundation for the group. Butch and his wife Margaret live in Spring Hill, TN.
Michael Helwig got his start in Gospel Music at the age of 19. A Canadian native, he sang for Canadian groups The Torchmen and Unashamed; he won a Dove Award for Favorite Tenor from the Canadian division of the Gospel Music Association in 1997. Since moving to the United States he has sung with the Wilburns, the Stamps, the Williamsons, the Dixie Echoes and Promise, before joining the Blackwood Brothers. Michael and his wife, Leslie have identical twin dauhters, Eva and Laura and one son, Sam.
Mike Hammontree is the pianist for the quartet. He started playing the piano at the age of four and has become recognized as one of the best accompainists in Gospel music. He can imitate the playing styles of former great musicians such as Wally Varner and Jack Marshall and even country artist, Floyd Cramer. His vocal and guitar tribute to country superstar, Johnny Cash is one of the most requested songs on the porgram. Mike and his wife, Dana have two sons, Chad and Chase and they live in Jacksonville, Florida.