The first thing that defines and describes me is that I am a born again, saved and on my way to Heaven, Christ-following believer! I say that because, in the end, that's all that's gonna matter. I was born in a little town in East Tennessee called Mascot. The son of Wilma and Carroll Leath, I came into this world on Valentine's Day,
1965. Being from a family of singers and pickers, I was holding my own playing rhythm guitar at the age of 7. Being a PK (preacher's kid), I was in church more than I was out of church. By the time I reached my teen years, I was playing the guitar, piano and banjo. It was at that time I figured out that I could sing a little. My brother, who is 3 years my senior, and I sang duets together in church. But, I liked pickin' better, so it would be a few years before I got serious about singing.
I got married to a wonderful "city girl" from Knoxville named Tabatha Loveday. She was only 17 years old when we got hitched. I'm not sure either of us knew what we were getting ourselves into!
Twenty-five wonderful years of marriage later, I'm still not sure we know! We have 2 wonderful children in Deric, who is 18 and our firstborn, Amanda, who is 24 years old.
It was in 1988 that I started playing the piano for a local family group who were and are, life-long friends. It was then that I started singing a song or two each night. Not long after that, we recorded our first studio project. That was where I met one of my hero's, Gerald Wolfe. Gerald played piano on our sessions, and I got turned on to Greater Vision in their early years....WOW!....what a voice...what a group! It was right then and there that I knew what I wanted to be doing....singing! I would spend the next several years singing regionally and honing my craft...while all the time keeping the picking fingers limber.
In 2003, I started my first group, an all male trio. We started slow, singing locally to regionally. In January, 2006, our trio hired bass singer Justin Terry, and Cross 4 Crowns was formed. For the next 6 years, Cross 4 Crowns would develop a national following by having the opportunity to perform with such gospel music legends as Ivan Parker, The Kingdom Heirs, The Talley's, Triumphant Quartet, Karen Peck and The Lefevres among many, many others.
In 2009, the group was nominated for Horizon Group of the Year at the National Quartet Convention. The group was also successful on radio. One of the things I'm most proud of during this time is the fact that 10 consecutive single releases charted nationally in The Singing News Top 80.
Now the next chapter has begun. As I have embarked on this part of my journey, it brings excitement, apprehension, nervousness and opportunity. I'm coming full-circle, back to what I love....singing AND picking! I will always love quartet singing and who knows, maybe will always be somehow involved in it, but there's something special about reaching over, getting my guitar, or sitting down behind the piano and sharing God's words through the strings.
Thank you so much for taking a few to stop by the site. I look forward to seeing you somewhere on the road. I'm so blessed to have the opportunity to do what He has created me to do, and I'm honored to share it with you.