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Gospel Group Roger Breland Mobile, AL
Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame
Truth was an American Contemporary Christian group, active from 1971 to 2001. Formed by John Roger Breland, the ensemble's name stands for "Trust, Receive, Unchangeable, True Happiness [in Jesus]". It was initially composed of some 15 members who toured extensively year-round, eventually recording frequently as well. It eventually expanded to 22 members and continued touring regularly for thirty years, dissolving in 2001. In 2000, the group was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
It all started in 1967 with the young minister of music of Spring Hill Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama, Roger Breland. Inspired by Ralph Carmichael's musical Good News, Roger introduced the youth choir to a contemporary sound. "I started off slowly, bringing in a little guitar and some percussion on Sunday nights," Roger says. "The kids loved it, and the parents encouraged their participation."
The youth choir at Spring Hill Baptist grew in the course of two years from 7 to 140. Fueled by the inspiration from the group The Spurrlows in concert at his home church, Roger began laying the groundwork for a touring group that would later impact millions of people worldwide. Next came naming the group. Wanting to find a name with a distinctive identity that did not sound preachy or worldly, Roger's wife, Linda Breland, suggested Truth. The group hit the road in 1971. Traveling in two station wagons, the group sang at barbecues in backyards and opening of service stations in the Southern United States. They were turned away many times from churches because of their contemporary sound. Many times they would do cover work by the Gaithers, with songs like "Get All Excited" and "Because He Lives".
In 1973, Truth performed "The Church Triumphant" to a standing ovation at the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Texas. This opened doors for Truth all over the country and would later take them to their first number one hit. "Jesus Never Fails"
In 1981, Truth had been on the road for ten years. They had success in the local church but not much on the Christian radio stations but that changed when Roger was brought a song written by Gary Driskell entitled "Jesus Never Fails". The song was sung as a duet with the rest of the group singing back-up, and it appeared on the 1982 album Keeper of My Heart. The song rose to number one on the Contemporary Christian chart. More duets brought to the group also made an appearance on the charts such as "You'll Still Be Lord Of All".
In 1990, Truth released its third Live album entitled Live. The album was also produced with a VHS tape. The group at the time featured Mark Harris, Andy Chrisman, Marty Magehee and Kirk Sullivan who would later start the group 4HIM.
With the release of the 1991 album More Than You'll Ever Imagine came the most controversial song Truth had ever sung entitled "Living Life Upside Down". The song addressed social issues, and started with addressing homosexuality in the line "John has a new way of looking at life. He's tired of his job, of his kids, and his wife. Says the secret to his success was in leaving and finding himself and now he's someone to somebody else".
In the 1990s, Roger Breland released a book that tells the story of Truth from the beginning until around 1990. It includes stories behind some of the music of the group, including some of the struggles of keeping Truth on the road, as well as the triumphant times.
The 40th anniversary tour
In January, 2011, Roger Breland, at the prompting of his sons, began to assemble a new Truth group to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the group. On July 31, 2011 the TRUTH40, One More Time Tour kicked off at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. This concert was filmed live and sold in a DVD format at the product table on the tour. The tour also included the traditional Christmas Spectacular section from Thanksgiving until December 21, which was to be the final Truth concert, in Dallas, Texas. The tour was extended until April 27, 2012 with The final Truth concert performed at Oak Park Church of God in Mobile, Alabama. The final Truth album, The 40th Anniversary Collection, contains new arrangements of some of the old Truth hits (the most notable and different being "Majesty") as well a couple of medleys and three new Truth songs: "Right Here with You", "Our God Will Come", and "Love So Amazing".
The Truth at Allmusic
Charts, Allmusic. Passim
Allmusic discography: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/truth-mn0000565733/discography
Allmusic awards: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/truth-mn0000565733/awards