WAY OUT WEST
(Bakersfield, CA) – The 10th Anniversary of the Bakersfield Country Music Awards Show was recently held at the Kern County Basque Club on November 6, 2016. The Awards show is held each year to recognize artists, past and present, who have dedicated themselves to presenting a type of Country Music originating in the Bakersfield California area.
The Awards were originated by Terry Keplinger as a way to honor these artists. Honorees this year included longtime bandleader of Merle Haggard’s band, the Strangers, legendary steel guitarist Norm Hamlet, The Lighthouse Boys and several others. Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Red Simpson, The Smokin’ Armadillos, Mayf Nutter and many others have been recognized in the past for their significant contributions to Bakersfield Country Music.
2016 marked only the third time that a Country Gospel artist was honored; this year’s recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award was The Lighthouse Boys from Bakersfield, California.
Upon receiving the award, Bill Underwood, one of the founding members of The Lighthouse Boys, said they were deeply honored, especially in light of the fact that so few Country Gospel artists have recieved the award. The Lighthouse Boys have been ministering for 42 years, have recorded several projects, one of which was recorded at Buck Owens’ Bakersfield Studio and featured Owens’ band The Buckaroos as instrumentalists. In response to the popularity of The Oak Ridge Boys in the 80s, and their close resemblance to The Oaks’ harmonies and style, a major Country Music record label approached The Lighthouse Boys to sign a contract; but as Underwood recognized “whatever talent I have, I’ll use for Him,” and they decided to continue serving the Lord through their ministry and did not accept the contract offer. The group was started by brothers Mark and Bill Underwood after their mother encouraged them to sing in Church, Other members include Randy Ivie, Steve Johnson, Jimmy Woods, son of legendary Country Music artist, “Bill Woods form Bakersfield,” Joseph Underwood, Tommy Smith and Stephen Underwood.
They continue to minister with a strong commitment to a call that was given to them over 40 years ago. Success to the Lighthouse Boys means knowing that they are in God’s will, using the gifts that He has given to them for His purpose. For the Lighthouse Boys, their purpose is all about the ministry. Congratulations to The Lighthouse Boys for their Lifetime Achievement award, for representing Country Gospel Music in Bakersfield and throughout the country.
January 9 2017 – Christian Servant Magazine