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September 14, 2012

Stilly Studio: The Messengers relay their message through song

STILLWATER, Okla. — Members of the gospel and blues group The Messengers hope to share their message through song.

“Singing is like the healing voice of the world,” said group leader Steven Murray. “Everybody loves music and if you can get the right lyrics in there, somebody’s life will change. We’ve been singing all our lives; all of us have. And we just love to sing.”

The group is comprised of members Murray, Ralph Gray, Arvin Thames, O’Neal Smith and Jerry Owens, with the backup band of Joe Finnegan, guitar, Roger Smith, drums and bass player Taylor Budd.

Murray said The Messengers are inspired by other groups, including the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Canton Spiritual Singers and the Oklahoma Spiritual Singers, a group to which Murray’s father once belonged.

Gray said the group aims to bring the gospel to those in need. The group also hopes for professional success.

“We would like to go professional one day if we can pull it all together and write us a couple of gospel hits mixed with the blues,” Murray said.

The Messengers have played in cities including Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Guthrie, Ponca City, Pawnee and Cushing. They also sing to groups at rest homes.

“We carry God’s word everywhere they’re willing to let us sing,” Owens said.

Owens said the group has been well received and redeemed through their performances.

“We, as guys, have been, I wouldn’t say stirred around, but we have ups and downs in life like every other guy around town, but we guys decided to do something worthwhile in life,” Owens said. “So, we considered Jesus is the best way. Jesus is the way.”

Smith said he enjoys his part in the group and believes hearing the gospel through song can be overwhelming.

“It touches our heart,” Smith said. “It touches our minds.”

Through band practices, the group continues to work at their craft and Murray said they focus on their strengths.

“I think one of our strengths is if the preacher misses it, we’ll hit it,” Murray said.

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