PDT Staff Writer
When he was growing up in West Portsmouth, all of Kendall Woodard’s friends were amazed that he knew all the words to all the latest rock and roll songs on Casey Kasem’s Top 40. Now he has switched gears and is singing with the saints. In fact, that’s the name of one of the songs of his new Christian album.
Kendall and Debbie (Adkins) Woodard’s roots are in the West Portsmouth area, though they moved to Waverly in 1984 where Kendall has mainly been working at the USEC plant. He is now a health safety officer at the American Centrifuge Project site. Debbie worked for many years at Mills Pride until it shut down.
The two come at the Christian life from different angles.
“I was born and raised in church, but then got away from it for several years,” Debbie Woodard said. “But I know the Lord never leaves us. He is always with us, and he always dealt with me. Now I’m back in church.”
The Woodards attend New Life Family Worship Center on Harrisonville Avenue, the former location of North Moreland School.
“Kendall was not in church,” Debbie said. “He was never around church. I just kept praying, and I came to church by myself. Finally the Lord dealt with him and he started coming with me, and then he gave his life to the Lord.”
Kendall’s adoption of faith has made him retrospective.
“When I sit and think where I was, where I could have been in my life, and where I was going, I am humbled,” Kendall said. “I still can not get over this feeling that no experience that I ever had in the world even comes close.”
The two began singing together several years ago before they were booked at Southern Ohio’s National Gospel Stage, located at the Wheelersburg Cinema, where they performed Saturday night (Sept. 15), and where they introduced their new album “Still Holdin’ On”.
In addition to “Still Holdin’ On,” the album features upbeat favorites, “Something Going On In the Graveyard,” and “Pray About Everything,” to the introspective “Walk On Water,” and several others.
The Kendall’s new project, which they paid for out of their own pockets, is a labor of love. Kendall says he had no idea how to go about making an album when, after being asked by so many people to put one out, he ventured out into what he considered uncharted waters.
“I said, ‘Lord, you’re going to have to take this burden from me, because I know absolutely nothing about this, and I know there are shysters out there that could take me.’ I said, “Lord I’m turning this over to you, and if you want us to have a CD you will make it happen,” Kendall said. “I left it at his feet, and lo and behold I forgot about it.”
The Woodards were introduced to prolific record producer Dan Ward at Hitmaker Studio in Wheelersburg.
“The guy who produced it, John Darin Rowsey, has a son who is the drummer for Jason Crabb, one of our favorite artists,” Kendall said. “We didn’t know who John Darin Rowsey was, but one of the songs on the CD is a song he wrote titled “Sometimes I Cry,” which was song of the year in Gospel Music and recorded by Jason Crabb. ‘Singin’ With the Saints’ by Guy Penrod, was also written by John Darin Rowsey. And he (Rowsey) asked us to let him sing back-up on it.”
Rowsey is a Dove Award winning writer, singer and producer.
“He (Rowsey) produced our album and he sang on some of the songs,” Debbie said. “He’s on four of the tracks.”
They also needed someone to sell their album and two of the people they attend church with, Darrell and Barb Shores voluntered to travel with them and handle the sales.
The Woodards debuted their new album Saturday night at Southern Ohio’s National Gospel Stage (SONGS) in Wheelersburg.
Information on their new album and how to book the Woodards is available at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 740-708-5291 or 740-708-8892.
“We’re going to take our singing ministry and go wherever God leads us,” Debbie said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com