Bill Coleman
and the
"Good News"
Gospel String Band!

The Show! ...

Either by myself or with a full string band, our “Gospel Jamboree!” attempts to recreate the dynamic energy of those historic early "live" radio programs. Many favorite old time gospel songs are expertly rendered from “Amazing Grace” to “Good News” ... “Precious Memories” to “This Train” .... "Wayfaring Stranger" to "Mary, Don't You Weep" ... etc. These are the songs that come from America's heartland ... the songs that form the tapestry of our uniquely American heritage ... the prime music that constitutes the basis for nearly every American musical style that followed.

I’ve assembled an extremely talented group of performers playing a variety of instruments. Acoustic and electric guitar, whistle, lap steel, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, bass, keyboards and drums accompany myself and a fine group of back up singers to deliver one of the most inspiring and uniquely entertaining shows currently in production. This is inspirational music as it was ... as it was meant to be!

The "Good News" Gospel String Band!

The “Good News” Gospel String Band was organized by Bill Coleman and David and Darcy Fitch at Woodburn Christian Church, Woodburn, Oregon in November, 2005 as all three accepted positions with the church. Drawing upon a large repertoire of American Gospel Roots music, the trio immediately introduced a new style and enthusiasm to their weekly services.

After taping a series of gospel programs for their local television station, the group expanded in April 2006 as members were added to provide music for an all church revival. Backing guest soloist Ron Rasmussen of the “New Gospel Lads” brought the group recognition from enthusiasts outside their local church.

Building on that momentum, they gained local noteriety by hosting a second evening of Gospel music in August, 2006. Their first collection of music was recorded “live” at a mid-winter jamboree in February, 2007.

“Front Porch Songs” by the “Good News” Gospel String Band is currently gaining in popularity across the state, and is available through the band members, at personal appearances, or by visiting our "recordings" page.

The “Good News” Gospel String Band includes ......

Bill Coleman -Vocals and Guitar: Currently adding “Worship Minister” to his resume’, Bill is an experienced professional musician, historian, actor and playwright, performing original Civil War musical dramas with wife, Carla, through out the United States. Recording credits include two Rock collections, five Civil War collections of music and historic readings, and two Gospel collections. Visit their website at ""

David Fitch -Vocals and Various Stringed Instruments: An expert on mandolin, guitar, bass, lap steel, fiddle, whistle and several other instruments while performing in several Western Swing and Gospel bands through out Oregon keep this pastor at Woodburn Christian Church very busy.

Ken Ochsner -Acoustic Bass: A professional musician performing in the renowned “Capitol City Jazz Band” and Gospel bands since retiring as an EMT instructor with a local college, Ken is now an Oregon farmer in Dundee.

Warren Parrish - Vocalist: Living on his Newberg “Century Farm,” Warren has capped a long professional career by performing with his church worship team each Sunday.

Darcy Fitch - Vocalist: After extensive travel and performances through out the West Coast with collegiate and various church ensembles, Darcy settled down to raise her four daughters and minister alongside her husband, David.

Sally Holstad - Vocalist: Raised performing in the “Eichsteadt Family Singers,” Sally has been a stand out, seasoned performer since childhood. Featured on the “Turn Your Radio On” CD, she currently serves as a special education instructor in the Oregon Public School system.

Jack Dawes - Drums: While bluegrass and gospel music does not normally employ drums, the "Good News" gospel string band is not your normal bluegrass/gospel group. Jack keeps busy playing with several traditional jazz, and americana groups, as well as Billy and the Rockets!

Roger Wilhite -Vocals and Piano: An international artist whose virtuosity has taken him from Las Vegas to Switzerland, Roger's current schedule only allows a part-time association the string band. He is currently a music instructor with the Oregon Public School system, and worship director for two seperate congregations, when he isn’t riding horses with his family.

Gospel Roots ...

On August 1, 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee, Ralph Peer signed Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family to recording contracts for Victor Records, taking them and their music out of the misty mountains and into the American musical mainstream.

These two recording acts set the tone for those to follow - Rodgers with his unique singing style and the Carters with their extensive recordings of old-time, and gospel roots music. Fueled by appearances on radio programs such as WSL’s “Grand Ole Opry,” from Nashville, their career’s literally sky rocketed, leading to the founding of an enormous entertainment industry in middle Tennessee.

The influence of pioneer radio to spread musical, social and cultural styles and ideas is evident as early programs and popular singers quickly replaced the traditional “Sunday Night Sing-a-long” around the family piano. Gospel music and country artists found a welcome home as radio executives struggled to fill valuable air time with family programming.

The mixture of white mountain and gospel music, with black rhythm and blues from the Delta region of Mississippi would literally explode into Rock and Roll and modern Country and Western music in the early ‘50's. Spread around the world by the electronic magic of the radio, the combination of musical styles brought about a continually evolving world wide social revolution from the early ‘60's and ‘70's to the present.

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