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September 24
Mike Manuel
Mike Manuel’s faith in God and love for country music guide his life and career path. As an accomplished singer and songwriter, Mike combines the traditional sounds of country music with inspirational lyrics about faith, hope and promise. Mike wants his songs to have meaningful messages that resonate with his audiences and that is what his latest CD of original songs “Back in the Country Again” offers.  

Mike grew up in Houston, Texas, and as a teenager learned to play the guitar and sing the songs of Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins, Elvis Presley and George Jones. He is following in the footsteps of his father, Gerald, who once performed on the same show as Elvis Presley and sang at a music theater called the Tarkington Prairie Jamboree. It was at that weekly show that Mike first performed before a live audience. 

Mike credits the fall of 1971 as being a dramatic turning point in his life that would shape him and his music for years to come. That year at a little country church in Shepherd, Texas, the entire Manuel family was saved. It was this event that cultivated the pure country sound complete with wholesome lyrics that is so recognizable in Mike’s music today. In the following years, Mike traveled with his brothers as the Manuel Family Band. They received a warm reception from the gospel market with three single releases reaching the Singing News top 40, as well as reaching number one in the Christian Country and Country Gospel charts. 

In 1996, Mike decided to relocate his family to Nashville, Tennessee, to begin a full-time solo music career. What followed is a succession of 15 number one Christian Country radio singles and over 20 awards from various music organizations including the Country Gospel Music Association’s 1998 and 1999 National Entertainer of the Year, the 1998 National Songwriter of the Year and the 1999 Christian Country Music Association’s Male Vocalist of the Year. In 2006, Mike picked up the coveted Songwriter of the Year award at the Inspirational Country Music (ICM) awards. In 2006 he was a featured performer on the nationally televised ICM awards show alongside country stars Charlie Daniels, Lonestar and Trent Tomlinson. And in 2007, he took home "Song of the Year" for "Back in the Country Again", and also "Songwriter of the Year", as well as perfomed on the awards show again.

Today Mike Manuel continues to travel entertaining country audiences all over the country. His first single "Back in the Country Again" reached #1 on the charts, as well as won "Song of the Year" for the 2007 ICM Awards. His single "Granny's Song" has also reached #1 on the charts, and is adding stations daily. It is evident when you hear this collection of songs that the early love Mike developed for music has grown into a deep respect for its power to invoke emotions and affect the lives of people in a positive manner.
Billy Wright
Bill Wright will be bringing his unique style of singing back to Cowboy Church this Sunday. Bill has been involved in music most of his life in one form or another. A chance meeting led to his first appearance at Cowboy Church. Cowboy Church producer, Billy Anderson, happened to stop in Bill’s antique shop in Rockwood on a slow day. Bill was picking and singing to pass the time and his talent caught Billy’s ear. Anderson had to explain the concept of Cowboy Church to Bill, which peaked his interest and led to the initial appearance.

Bill has an 11 piece band, which is almost large enough to call an orchestra, named the River Front Band. "We do it for the love of the music," he said. The band performs on special occasions and regularly at the American Legion Hall in Harriman and also at Loudon.

Bill was a square dance caller until about 20 years ago when he decided on a new course in life. He now performs country and gospel music and has just released his newest CD.

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