LEBANON – Native Missourian and Southern Gospel singing star Scott Fowler had no qualms at all as he and the other four members of his group, Legacy Five, stood in front of a gigantic American flag used as a stage backdrop for the 42nd Annual Brumley Gospel Sing held here Aug. 4-7 at the Cowan Civic Center. The Brumley Sing, name for its founder legendary songwriter Albert Brumley (‘I’ll Fly Away”), is regarded as the largest Southern Gospel event west of the Mississippi River, drawing more than 30,000 fans over the four days.
Fowler, a St. Louis-area native and graduate of McCluer High School, is known for his out-spoken biblical worldview and patriotism. So it seemed only natural the Brumley organizers asked Legacy Five to open the Aug. 7 session of the event with an accapella rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. They did so in perfect four-part harmony benefiting any major event. It drew thunderous applause following its conclusion.
“Scott has no problem sharing his views on issues,” says long-time friend Bill Rayfield, former bus driver for The Lesters and a member of First Baptist Church Festus-Crystal City. “He’s as down-to-earth and genuine as anybody you will ever meet.”
Indeed, Fowler seemed as comfortable mingling with fans as he did on stage and when it came time for Legacy Five to perform, Fowler related a story to the audience that speaks volumes about the group’s commitment to Jesus.
“A church in Florida invited us to come and sing,” Fowler told the crowd. “But they requested that we not use the name of Jesus. We told that church then we would not sing at their church.” The audience responded with “Amens” and applause. Then Fowler quipped, “I should have told them to call The Booth Brothers,” which drew roaring laughter (The Booth Brothers, who are dear friends with Legacy Five, are known for their fervent and crystal clear presentation of The Gospel at all of their concerts.) Legacy Five then began about a 30-minute set in which they performed a variety of songs, including their latest hit, “My Soul Is Firmly Anchored,” which is currently No. 10 on the Southern Gospel Top 80 Chart.
“Dad was a Methodist preacher,” said Fowler, 44, adding that he, his wife, Taryn (daughter of Christian comedian Ken Davis), and their two sons are now members of a Southern Baptist church in the Nashville, Tenn., suburb of Franklin. While growing up in Missouri, Fowler and other family members would often sing while dad preached revivals. When he was 14 he was taken to see the famous Cathedrals Quartet. That is when he fell in love with their music and recalls “buying $100 worth of music at their concert … and that was my hard earned grass-cutting money.”
In 1987, Fowler got a break and for the next 21/2 years sang with a Southern Gospel group called The Sound. It was during this time in his ministry that he was discovered by The Cathedrals and in December 1990 joined the famed group as their baritone singer, remaining with them until the group was retired in 1999. That is when he and one of his best friends, Cathedral pianist Roger Bennett co-founded Legacy Five.
Bennett, voted Favorite Musician by Southern Gospel fans for a record-setting 15 consecutive years, passed away in March 2007 following a 12-year battle with leukemia. When Bennett was facing his first bone marrow transplant in 2004, Fowler called on Legacy Five fans for support and raised more than $600,000 for Bennett’s medical expenses. For his effort, Fowler received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Southern Gospel Music Guild.
“He was my best friend and I miss him,” Fowler says. “We certainly grieve, but we don’t grieve as those without hope … we’re going to be with Roger a lot longer than we’re going to be without him.”
Legacy Five has gone on to become one of the most successful groups in Southern Gospel music. The group has been nominated for 40 Singing News Fan Awards, including Best Traditional Male Quartet in 2004.
When asked if there is a quote that helps him to stay focused on what’s really important, Fowler recalls a line he heard from Gloria Gaither, “Life is not a dress rehearsal … this is the real thing. I only have one opportunity to be a good dad, husband and friend.”