By Quinn Lavespere, Message Staff Writer
SHREVEPORT – Some bands simply have it in their blood to sing God’s praises and testify to His glory through their music.[img_assist|nid=7797|title=Blake Brothers|desc=The Blake Brothers Bluegrass Band, photographed at Salem Baptist Church in Plain Dealing, travel the state using their music and humor to tell others about God.|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=427]
The Blake Brothers Bluegrass Band travels to various places as its members use their music – a mix of traditional bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and Hee Haw style comedy – to tell others about the God who gave His life for them.
“We’re all just country boys who have it in our hearts to share God through our music,” group leader Tim Blake said. “We’re like one big family who loves sharing Jesus with others.”
The band has been in business since 2002, when Tim Blake and his brother Bruce first performed at a play in Shreveport.
“Me and my brother have been playing music for just about all of our lives,” Tim Blake said. “I started when I was 12 and he was about 13 or 14 at the time. … We had played for different bands, but I wanted to start my own, so we started it. We had a good friend named Bud Sandidge that played the mandolin, so we hired him. One of our old friends, Robert Stevens, started on the bass fiddle with us, and we just grew from there. We’ve had a couple of changes during the band’s tenure, but that’s how we got started, just mutual friends just wanting to play music.”
According to Tim Blake, the Blake Brothers Band includes five members at present: Tim Blake, who plays the banjo, lives in Texas and works for the City of Shreveport while also teaching banjo. His brother Bruce, who plays guitar, also works for the City of Shreveport at the downtown airport. Kent Gill, on fiddle, is an attorney in Shreveport and has had the opportunity to play with famous country artists like David Houston while also getting the chance to play at the old and new Grand Old Opry. Brit Green, a retired railroad hand, is the group’s newest member and plays the mandolin for the group, while John “Rosie” Neilson of Mansfield rounds out the group as its bass player and also manages a water plant in Mansfield.
“Right now, we’re booked up just about every weekend until the end of the year,” Tim Blake said. “We play a lot of churches and a few bluegrass festivals. We’ve also played at both men and women’s prisons as well as cowboy churches. We’ve played in states such as Mississippi and Texas, but we try to keep it local, as we don’t want to travel too far. I personally like the playing more than the traveling.
“We’ve pretty much figured out the secret as to why we stay together,” Blake continued. “All five of us are kinda jokesters, and we all have the same interests and positive view of life. We gel together. To that end, we’ve never really had a fight with each other. We do agree to disagree at times and offer each other constructive criticism, but we’ve never had an argument.”
Tim Blake said God had blessed the group in its tenure “every day.
“The amount of music He’s let us play getting His word out is a blessing,” Blake said. “This year, business has really blown up for our group, and we’re getting calls to play at churches and different things. We always make sure to have a prayer before our performances that someone will get to know Christ through what we’re doing.”
The group is planning to release its fifth CD in the future.
“I’m hoping that will get to play more music for the future and get to worship the Lord that way,” Tim Blake said. “I’m going to retire in a couple of years, and that’s what I want to do. I’m hoping we can stay together from now on and just have a good time doing it.”
To contact the Blake Brothers Bluegrass Band, call Tim Blake at 903.265.1567 or seewww.theblakebrothers.com.