Three Bridges, Thirteen Years
by Wanda Griffith
I

nspiring. Dynamic. Harmonious. Sincere. Energetic. Professional. Unique. All of these adjectives describe the award-winning trio known as Three Bridges. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, the trio is known for tight harmony, a unique vocal style, and an exciting and energetic stage presence. Most importantly, the desire of each member of the group is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

Elliott McCoy, manager and baritone, organized the trio in 2001 and recorded the song “Dear Captain” (a prayer for the president of the United States), which quickly rose to national attention following the events of 9/11. After considering 200 or more names, he decided to call the group Three Bridges, because “we have bridged our lives to Christ, and we want to be a bridge for others to find Christ.” Their music, described as “Southern gospel with soul,” has a broad appeal. Pastors often comment that everyone from children and youth to the more mature thoroughly enjoy their music.

Following the release of their debut album, Soldiers, in 2002, Three Bridges has wowed packed-out audiences across the nation, appearing in Bill Gaither’s Homecoming videos, gospel singings, business conventions, churches, political meetings, TV shows, charitable relief events all the way to Air Force One. The group has also been a special guest on a video for the United Nations.

In 2010, Jeremie Hudson (tenor) and Shannon Smith (lead), both formerly of the Imperials, brought a renewed energy and passion for ministry to the group. Over the past three years, in addition to regular appearances on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar television, the group has released four CDs, a DVD (A Country Camp Meeting) performed live at Trinity City Music Hall, and sang at 100 to 120 locations each year.

All three members of the group have Pentecostal roots. Elliott McCoy has an Assemblies of God background, Shannon Smith’s family has been part of the Foursquare Church for many years, and Jeremie Hudson is a licensed minister with the Church of God. Jeremie is the son of Harold Hudson, baritone singer for the Churchmen a trio who recently reunited to sing for “Homecoming at the Ville” (Adamsville, Alabama, Church of God), where Three Bridges was the featured group.

Major Influences

“As difficult as it is to start a group, it is even more difficult to keep one together successfully,” states Shannon Smith. A variety of artists have encouraged and influenced the trio. In the early days of Three Bridges, Elliott McCoy would talk weekly with country music legend Billy Walker, seeking his advice. Other significant influences included his grandparents, Duane Allen (of the Oak Ridge Boys), Jackie Wilson, along with George Younce and Glenn Payne of the Cathedral Quartet.

The trio’s last 12 radio singles have appeared in the top 40 on the Southern gospel charts, with seven of those in the top 10, and three making number one.

God’s Faithfulness

“Just the fact that we are entering our 13th year of ministry demonstrates God’s faithfulness,” says McCoy. “Each of us has experienced God’s healing touch, His miraculous provision, and His abiding presence. As 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, ‘God . . . always leads us in triumph’” [NKJV].

One story of God’s faithfulness was witnessed on a recent trip when their bus broke down just north of Houston, Texas. “After finishing a Saturday evening program, we had a four-to five-hour drive to our Sunday morning service in Fort Worth,” commented Smith. “Forty-five minutes into the trip, we were sitting on the side of the road at 1 a.m. Elliott’s brother, who lives in the Houston area, and his wife brought us a minivan. We squeezed as much equipment as we could into the minivan, drove the rest of the way to Fort Worth, and pulled in at 8:30. After a quick setup and change of clothes, we poured our hearts out in that service, believing that God would make up for a night with no sleep. The Holy Spirit gave us a powerful service and 20 people gave their lives to Jesus that morning!”

Six to eight months before joining Three Bridges, Jeremie and Shannon lost their jobs as worship pastors because of the downturn in the economy. For six months in the “great recession,” they did not have steady jobs, but their finances actually increased—a powerful testimony of God’s faithfulness.

The motto of Three Bridges is, “We care about people.” When asked, “What advice would you give someone just starting out in the music business?” they replied, “Be excellent with what God has gifted you to do; maintain your integrity; love and serve people. Be faithful with the little things, and God will entrust you with much. If you focus on your calling and the ministry, the money will come because God has shown us that He is good and that He loves us ‘with an everlasting love’ (Jer. 31:3). God has revealed to us that if we will apply His Word to every area of our lives, we can expect His blessings.”

Their Recordings

Their latest recording, simply titled Three Bridges 12, demonstrates their blended style of “a bit Southern gospel, a bit black gospel, and a bit contemporary Christian.” Why the title, 12? The CD was recorded in the 12th year of the trio’s ministry, and the 12 songs were chosen from a list of 40 or more as reminders of just how good, faithful, and loving God has been to His children especially the members of the trio and their families.

Their unique vocal style is also evident in their second Christmas album. From the title cut, “Christmas Must Be Tonight,” and concluding with the unique song “Louisiana Christmas,” this award winning album adds a fresh sound to music for the season. Bill Traylor, president of Mansion Entertainment, says, “This will be a classic Christmas recording everyone will enjoy.”

Three Bridges would like to move beyond traditional demographic boundaries and expand their ministry to as many people as possible with the message of God’s love, His goodness, and His abiding joy.

 

 

 

Wanda Griffith is a teacher, writer, and singer who loves gospel music and lives in Cleveland, Tennessee. For more information or to book Three Bridges for a service or a Christmas program, go to www.threebridges.net.