The Inspirations first started in 1964 when Martin Cook, a teacher at Swain County High School, invited several young men to his home for evenings of singing. Later they began to call themselves the Inspirations traveling around the area and singing at various venues. Over the years, the Inspirations (also affectionately called the Fraternity) have released over 60 albums with over 60 charting hits such as "Shoutin' Time In Heaven", "When I Wake Up To Sleep No More", "A Rose Among The Thorns", and "We Need To Thank God." They have also won every award imaginable, including "Favorite Quartet of the Year" multiple times at the Singing News Fan Awards.
Celebrating their 50th year as a group, they will be releasing their brand new album "God's Word Will Stand" on August 19, 2014 via Crossroads Music. This CD also marks the return of two longtime alumni, fan favorites Melton Campbell and Matt Dibler. We are honored to be able to catch up with Matt Dibler for this Hallels' exclusive interview:
Hallels: Congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the ministry of the Inspirations. If you have to outline two blessings God has showered upon you over the course of the ministry of the Inspirations, what would they be?
I would have to say Songs and Souls. The Lord has greatly blessed the Inspirations with wonderful songs through the years. We are thankful for the Biblical integrity of the songs the Lord has sent our way. Many of our songs are as strong today as the day they were recorded. Secondly, and equally important to our ministry are the Souls the Lord has allowed us to reach whether it be lost souls that through the ministry have come to Christ or those that are saved that found strength, and encouragement through our songs.
Hallels: For aspiring artists and new artists coming along the way, what words of wisdom do you have for them?
Focus and Balance. Focus on Christ.....It's ALL about HIM. Maintain a Bible based balance in all you do. Enjoy what you are doing. If you don't enjoy and receive a blessing from what you do neither will those listening to you.
Hallels: With your years with the Inspirations, how has Gospel music changed over the years?
There have been many changes through the years.. One change is that we have great avenues to get the gospel out today. There is a lot of talent and there are a lot of great songs. We have the opportunity to reach around the globe with the gospel music message. That is a great change but also a great responsibility to make sure the message is clear and what God would have it to be.
Hallels: You also have a new album "God's Word Will Stand" coming out. In fact, I have just written my review of the new record. What is (are )the message(s) you would like to communicate through this album?
This is one of the greatest albums of which I've had the privilege to be a part. It encompasses a message for everyone I believe no matter where you may be spiritually. From I Believe which has the entire gospel to The Last Song which takes us to the reality that we could be in heaven at any moment. The 3 key songs I believe are God's Word Will Stand which has a very timely and truthful message for our society, then Faithful Friend which ministers to those hurting in a place where they may feel all alone, but God is there! Then It''s Not Long Until Forever is just a wonderful song reminding us how close we are to forever with the LORD.
Hallels: I absolutely love "I've Found a Faithful Friend." Tell us how did you end up recording this song?
Leonard Fletcher sent this song to us actually wanting us to listen to another song on this demo cd. I am so glad he felt led to put this song on there as well. Melton Campbell and I had gone to pick up our bus from the shop and get ready to go out for the weekend and I asked him to listen to the demos with me. When we got to Faithful Friend we had church. The Holy Spirit ministered to both of us through that song. We listened to it at least 15 times before we picked up everyone else. We we would listen and weep. We both said it didn't matter whether he sang it or I did, but we both agreed that the message of that song had to be on the album. I believe that Melton was the one meant to sing that song, he did an incredible job.
Hallels: Also, you have included a hymn "Farther Along." Why did you choose this hymn?
The Inspirations had been through a valley time. Back in January we were riding down the road and the Lord had been blessing us with great concerts. We all started just singing old songs not for crowds not for show but just for the Lord and the enjoyment. I've always loved "Farther Along". We started singing it and loved the harmony and message. To our surprise Martin got up the next night and said now the guys are going to sing a new old song and said it's entitled "Farther Along". We've been singing it ever since.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to find out more about you or purchase your new record, where can they go?
Folks can contact us via our website which is www.theinspirations.com .