By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
VERONA – Few musical acts can claim a history of almost 50 years, but The Inspirations can do just that.
In fact, the first time the North Carolina-based gospel group performed in Tupelo, it was at the old Tupelo Fairgrounds – a full 45 years ago.
The Inspirations have sold thousands of records and traveled millions of miles, have welcomed and said good-bye to members and collected a number of awards, but the focus remains on the music.
“Our program is simple gospel music,” said Martin Cook, the founder of The Inspirations. “We sing, sing, sing.”
The Inspirations will perform, along with Bill Monaghan, tonight in Verona. The group will perform old favorites as well as their own gospel songs.
“We’ll probably sing at least 30 songs Saturday night. We’re known for singing more songs than usual in an evening. We don’t kill any time. We love to sing, and we keep it going,” Cook said.
The Inspirations is also releasing a new album, “On the Sunrise Side.”
All this touring and recording keeps the band members busy, but they keep their priorities straight, Martin said.
“We start (touring) on a Thursday, and we’re back in by preaching time on Sunday,” he said.
Cook said he hopes audiences leave an Inspirations show feeling better than when they came in.
“Anybody who listens to gospel feels better when it’s over. That’s the main purpose is to make people feel better and be a little closer to the Lord,” he said.
He invites all gospel music fans out to tonight’s show.
“We’ll be singing, singing many songs, singing songs they love to hear the Inspirations sing, and a few new ones,” Cook said. “We will not be wasting their time.”