Chuck Wagon gang (Lighting Ceremony) at the Blue Gate
The group’s owner, manager, and alto singer, Shaye Smith is the granddaughter of the Gang’s original alto, Anna Carter Gordon Davis, and Howard Gordon, who was the group’s guitarist for many years. Shaye was born in Nashville, TN and grew up in Baton Rouge, LA. She is married to Andy Smith, and they make their home in Hertford, NC. They have three children, Ben, Noah, and Chloe.
Shaye holds two Bachelor’s degrees in music (Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance and Bachelor of Music in Choral Conducting), and she helps to arrange many of the Chuck Wagon Gang’s songs. Her background in musicals, operas, and choral and theater projects makes the stage a place of comfort and familiarity.
Shaye joined her uncle Roy and the Chuck Wagon Gang in 1993, as a soprano. Leading the Chuck Wagon Gang allows her to continue the legacy her grandmother and family began eighty years ago.
The group’s tenor singer, Stan Hill was born and raised in Knoxville, tng. He and his wife, Kathy, have three children and one granddaughter.
“Some of my earliest and best memories are of my family gathered around the piano, singing a hymn while Mom played,” he says. “I also remember lying in bed at night, listening to an AM radio, when I was supposed to be sleeping.”
“By singing with the Chuck Wagon Gang, I not only get to enjoy these great songs of faith, I also get to share in preserving the history and tradition of this style of music. God has truly given me the desires of my heart.”
Stan’s voice and blend continue the high standard established by Dad Carter, who made it clear to his kids, “Sing the old songs, and sing them the way I taught you.”
The group’s guitarist and bass singer, Jeremy Stephens was born in Lynchburg, VA., and raised in Danville, VA. He began playing fiddle and banjo at age five, and later picked up the guitar. He began playing in bluegrass bands at age 10. He met his wife, Corrina Rose Logston, at a bluegrass music convention in 2009.
Jeremy graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, with a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. He first heard the Chuck Wagon Gang at age 12, and has been in love with their music ever since. He is a student of the guitar playing of Howard Gordon, who played for the Gang in the 1950s and ’60s. He often incorporates Howard’s style into his playing, though anytime the group performs one of the songs from the Chuck Wagon Gang’s old ’78s, he plays his flat-top Gibson, just as brother Jim did.
Soprano Melissa Kemper is a native of Groveton, TX, and she still resides there today, with her husband, Jamie, and children Weston, Brandon, and Alysse. Melissa sang soprano with the Chuck Wagon Gang between 2001 and 2006, then left the group to be with her children during their formative years. She re-joined the quartet in 2015.
“I am very happy that God has brought me back into the group after all these years,” she says. “I am truly blessed.”