For over 37 years a foundation has been laid by prior group members, with special notations given to the contributions and values instilled in the Quartet by it’s founding members; the late James Allen, his brother David, the late Larry Eastridge, Novy Newkirk, Curt Byrd, and, of course, Wes Smith have personified what the Sonshiners Quartet have been empowered and commissioned to do; Lift up high the name of Jesus, thus the name Sonshiners Quartet was given.
In 2003, they experienced national radio play recognition for their single release “All Aboard” from their “Tried and True” album. In February 2004, the quartet charted at #91 with “All Aboard” in the Singing News. In September 2006 the Sonshiners Quartet charted # 69 with single release “One of These Days” from our “Safe Harbor” project. In 2007, they hit the national market with two radio releases “I Get Happy” and “I Am With You Always” from the “Get Happy” project and then in 2008 “Turn It Up” and “We’ll Live Forever More” was released from our “Just Stand” project. In January 2009 the release “I Choose to Believe” hit the airwaves and stayed on the national charts for four consecutive months. Current National release “I’ve Never Gotten Over Getting Saved” is beginning to gain momentum. It debuted on the Singing News chart in February 2010. Following the debut, "I've Never Gotten Over Getting Saved" continued to chart for four consecutive months, reaching as high as #57 on the Singing News chart. Many individuals have had a hand in orchestrating the progress of the career of the Sonshiners Quartet. Daniel Johnson from Johnson Management and Media has been a great friend and advisor to the group. They were fortunate enough to be founding members of United States Association of Gospel Entertainers and Musicians (USAGEM). This is an organization from Nashville, TN promoting the Gospel Music industry. In 2007 and 2009 the Sonshiners Quartet were Crown Jewel finalists in the Southern Gospel genre of the USAGEM annual awards, and 2008 and 2009 were finalist for Group of the Year. In 2009 the Quartet was awarded the Crown Jewel award for Southern Gospel Music. The Sonshiners Quartet was also awarded the Diamond Award. This award is extremely special because the Diamond Award is voted on by the USAGEM Board members for the strict criteria of the mission of the ministry, the number of dates booked, and the overall worked for Southern Gospel music industry by the award winning group or person. In August 2009 the Indiana Gospel Music Festival (IGMF) awarded tenor singer, Tim Chastain, with the Andrew Phipps award for his work and promotion of Southern Gospel music in Indiana.
Early 2009 the Sonshiners Quartet signed with the award winning Homeland Entertainment Group, with Bill Traylor, Bob Jones Jr. and Nick Bruno; signing specifically to the Riversong Label. Nick has produced their last three recording projects; under Nick’s direction he has pushed them out of their comfort zone while still staying true to the traditional Southern Gospel style. Homeland Entertainment has propelled the Quartet to record heights on the national stage with the last two releases both from the project “I Choose to Believe”.
Many other individuals have helped shape the sound of the Sonshiners Quartet. For many years nearly all of the recording projects were self produced at various studios. Starting in 2002, Danny Funderburk and the great folks at Son Sound Studios produced and recorded two albums. In 2004, The Sonshiners were fortunate enough to have help from the Amazing “O”; Otis Forrest produced, arranged, and recorded the “Safe Harbor” project. In 2007, a home run was hit when the legendary Nick Bruno was brought on board. He produced and arranged all the songs of the past three recording projects, “Just Stand,” “I Choose to Believe” and current 2009 project “Fully Satisfied.” Nick’s insight and experience of the Southern Gospel business has yielded many dividends. The Sonshiners Quartet is based in southern Indiana. That, however, does not stop them from traveling to Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. God has continued to open doors and provide for this quartet and as long as He continues to provide for them to minister, they will go. They sing and worship in over 160 services each year, including services at many county fairs and festivals.