2022 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

SGMA Class of 2022

RODNEY GRIFFIN

RODNEY GRIFFIN
Inducted in 2022

“I love writing and singing songs about Jesus," shared Rodney.” Rodney Griffin’s career and calling is so well expressed by this simple sentence he shares as the first thing he wants people to know about him. Raised in Somerset, Kentucky by a Baptist pastor and living a life centered around his home church, those desires began to develop in his young heart. Rodney would graduate with a degree in biology from Berea College and build ships for a few years before beginning a career in Gospel music that has continued for three decades. 

Griffin played bass and sang baritone with various regional groups before landing with the Dixie Melody Boys in 1992 where the first recording of one of his songs, “I Have a New Song to Sing” appeared on their live album recorded in Marion, Illinois.  In January 1994, Rodney joined Greater Vision where he continues to serve. This relationship has proven to be very successful for the group and for Rodney who has penned nearly two hundred of their songs including their breakout signature song, “My Name Is Lazarus.” This song, along with five others:  "Just One More Soul" (2000); "Just Ask" (2004); "Faces" (2005); "If You Knew Him” (2010) – Perrys; "Preacher Tell Me Like It Is" (2014), has received the honor of Song of the Year by the voters of the Singing News Fan Awards. On five occasions, the fans have named him Favorite Baritone. His songs have been recorded by nearly every major artist in southern gospel music with 17 number one songs to his credit. The fans have declared him to be Songwriter of the Year an unprecedented 20 consecutive times beginning in 1999. 

Griffin has stayed close to his roots, living with his wife, Regina, and his two daughters in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, just over two hours from Greater Vision’s home base in Morristown, Tennessee.

ARTHUR RICE

ARTHUR RICE, SGMA President

ARTHUR RICE
Inducted in 2022

Arthur Rice was born in Asheville, North Carolina on December 27, 1962. Arthur was born into a singing family… his mom, (Nedra) dad, (Julius) and sister, (Peggy) sang as the Rice Trio. Arthur started singing with them when he was three years old. Julius was a shaped note singing school teacher in the 50’s and 60’s in North Carolina and he later started a group called the Pilgrims Quartet. At the age of seven, Arthur started playing bass for the group, and would eventually sing lead for the group when he was 14. After singing lead for the Pilgrims for four years, Arthur left to start singing with the Payne Family at the age of 18. It was with this group that Eldridge Fox heard Arthur sing. After singing with the Payne Family for several years, Eldridge Fox and the Mighty Kingsmen Quartet came calling. Arthur was the lead singer and bass player for one of the great eras of The Kingsmen until his departure in 1989. 

In 1990, Arthur was reunited with two former Kingsmen- Hall of Famers Squire Parsons and Ernie Phillips in a group called Squire Parsons and Redeemed whom he sang with for five years. His next move was one that placed Arthur at the forefront of gospel music fans everywhere. He moved to Pigeon Forge to become the lead singer of Dollywood’s own Kingdom Heirs in 1995. 

Arthur’s powerful lead vocals have cemented his place in gospel music history as one of its best voices. In 2022, Arthur celebrated 25 years with Kingdom Heirs, who became one of America’s favorite male quartets during his tenure. In 2013, Arthur was voted in as President of the SGMA and he has served in that capacity faithfully since his election, continuing to promote and preserve the history of Southern Gospel Music.

KYLA ROWLAND

Kyla Rowland

KYLA FAYE ROWLAND
August 11, 1945  -  January 12, 2022

Kyla Faye Rowland, songwriter, singer, author and speaker, was born August 11, 1945, in LaFollette, TN. The daughter of a Baptist preacher and a church pianist, William and Eulalia Martin, her childhood was spent in church laying a foundation for a life of devoted to ministry. Her ministry extended far beyond the more than 2000 songs she penned; it included numerous books, hundreds of concerts and speaking engagements, radio host of Everyday Life, and coordinator of The Pigeon River Revival and the Women’s Mountain Retreat. 

Kyla’s songwriting career began in 1973 when she penned “He Will Roll You Over the Tide.” Tremendous sheet music sales for this Southern Gospel classic led to a songwriting contract with WORD Music (1976-1984) which produced the 1980 hit for the Inspirations, “Wedding Invitation.”  Her bother, Ron Martin, published Kyla’s songs from 1984 through 1995. During this highly productive period Rowland wrote some of her best-known hits including Gold City’s “One Scarred Hand” as well as the Dove Award and Singing News Fan Award winning song, “There Rose a Lamb,” in 1992. Soon afterward she founded My Abby Publishing and wrote another Dove Award nominee, “He’s Still On the Throne” and the early McKamey’s hit, “Wall of Prayer.” In 2001, Kyla joined the songwriting staff of Daywind Publishing where she would compose a string of hits for the Perrys including “I Rest My Case at the Cross,” “Still Blessed,” “I Can, I Have, I Will,” “He Will Hide Me,” “Did I Mention,” “I Got A Hold of God This Morning” to name a few. Her reached touched many other artists as well. The Hoskins Family burst onto the scene in 2002 with “Safe Thus Far.” Gold City’s “God Handled It All” was nominated for the Singing News Song of the Year in 2003 and garnered a BMI Award in 2004.  She delivered #1s to family groups for the Whisnants in 2009 with “The Past Is a Promise” and the Bowlings in 2015 with “One Glorious Moment of Faith.” 

Kyla Rowland was so much more than the music she composed or the lyrics that she created; she was a well- known prayer warrior who taught others, particularly women, the importance of prayer in one’s Christian walk. She shared her walk with others through speaking engagements and conferences included the long-running Pigeon River Rival and the Mountain’s Retreat held in East Tennessee each year. Her gift for teaching and storytelling is showcased in the six books that she authored. 

Her family was Kyla’s greatest joy. She traveled and sang with her brother Ron in a group known as the Rowlands and later with her husband, Bob, and son, Barry, known as Kyla Rowland and Deliverance. Kyla Faye Rowland Mullins died in January 2022 following a battle with Covid-19. She is survived by: husband Bob Mullins, son Barry (Tammy) and daughter Allyson Kinard (Chuck), five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and brother Bill Martin.

CHRIS WHITE