For some artists, singing and playing music is a lifelong craft that comes with carefully planning and practice. Yet for others, coming together just happens naturally. For the Primitive Quartet, count them as the latter.
In 1973, 2 sets of brothers planned a simple fishing trip and brought along a few stringed instruments to gather around the campfire for some evening entertainment. As time would tell, they left with something more than another fisherman’s tale to share with the world.
Skip ahead to 1978 and the Primitive Quartet had begun singing with the ever-popular Inspirations. After a few years of visiting area churches, the group had caught more than the ear of a few pastors. The Inspirations were already established within Southern Gospel and Bluegrass communities, so once they found some friends to join them on tour, the young group was able to sing full-time and leave jobs as teachers and construction workers. Little did they know, those days began a nearly 40-year ministry.
The quartet’s rich history can be traced back to their early days of Mom and Dad joining the church choir for monthly gatherings, or as Reagan Riddle puts it, “I think God was preparing us for what he had in store for us … I just had no idea.” Much like the early days of those family-style singings, their ministry reflects the same values today as the group is often met with warm welcomes at homes and familiar churches.
Listen as Reagan describes the early years of traveling with The Inspirations.
As they plan their visits across the countries with countless friends, the Primitive Quartet always seems to make the annual visit to National Quartet Convention in Louisville, KY. “We want to hang around and enjoy the fellowship of other people. It’s a great week,” said Reagan.
While out on the road, the group is always reminded that what they do is never work. Said Reagan, “God has kept the joy in this for me. I love it!” That joy is reflected in the times where making music just seems like the best thing to do, “We’ll even get together and pick in the parking lot at midnight sometimes,” added Reagan while speaking about his time at NQC.
As the group plans for their 26th year at National Quartet Convention, it’s clear that the fellowship among friends and fans is what gets them excited. “It’s amazing that people come out like they do,” added Reagan, “it’s the only music in the world that gives people hope – and that’s in Christ Jesus. I think that’s what people are reaching out for, that hope.”
Reagan explains why NQC is a week unlike any other for the Primitive Quartet.
Even though more than 40,000 people will gather for the event in Louisville, the size of the crowd doesn’t seem to deter the Primitive Quartet as they say that’s one of the easier venues to perform. Laughing, Reagan said calmly, “It’s another opportunity for us. We just get up there and do our thing as we would in a local church. We’ll do the best we can and pray that God touches it … and when God comes on the scene, everybody will sense that.”
As artists and fans gear up for National Quartet Convention in September, the Primitive Quartet will surely be ready. The group already travels more than 50,000 miles each year as they visit more than 150 dates, and they know that NQC is another great opportunity to share the hope of Jesus Christ.
Some folks may get nervous and sweat at the thought of a huge venue with peers, fans, and loved ones hanging on their every word, but for some, it just comes naturally.