The Essential Playlist #6: Kingdom Heirs

The Kingdom Heirs have been around for over 30 years, but began to become major players in southern gospel in 1986, when they became the full-time resident quartet at Dollywood, and signed with Sonlite.  With an outstanding early-90s lineup of Rick Strickland, Clayton Inman, Steve French, and Bob Caldwell, they gained even more popularity.  Arthur Rice signed on as lead singer in 1995, and has been the cornerstone of their sound ever since.  Today, they are one of the most popular quartets in the genre, are a reliable source of radio hits, and surely sing to more people every year than any other southern gospel group.

One interesting trend in the quartet’s history, for those of us who like songwriters, is how they have shifted toward different writers as major sources of songs, which has in turn influenced their sound.  In the late 80s and early 90s, many of their notable songs were penned by Kirk Talley.  Through the rest of the 90s, it was Squire Parsons.  In the first half of the 2000s, a significant number of their best songs were Rodney Griffin numbers.  And, of course, in the last six or seven years, they have been practically the official quartet of Dianne Wilkinson.

If you’re a “neotraditional” quartet fan like me, the Kingdom Heirs have a whole lot of songs you really enjoy.  Here’s my essential 80-minute playlist of their music, which I would use to introduce someone new to the group.  What am I leaving out?  What are some of your favorite Kingdom Heirs songs?


  1. I’m a Kingdom Heir, Pure Gold, 1987
  2. That Very Moment, Live at Dollywood, 1990
  3. Be of Good Cheer, Song of Praise, 1993
  4. I Go to the Rock, Forever Gold, 1995
  5. Anchored in the Rock, Anchored, 1997
  6. I Have Passed Over Into Canaanland, The Journey Home, 1999
  7. He Lifted Me, City of Light, 2000
  8. That’s Why I Love to Call His Name, City of Light, 2000
  9. I’m Gonna Keep Telling, Gonna Keep Telling, 2002
  10. Now I Am on My Way to Heaven, Gonna Keep Telling, 2002
  11. Mighty Deep Well, Going on with the Song, 2003
  12. He Had to Rise, Going on with the Song, 2003
  13. Going on with the Song, Going on with the Song, 2003
  14. Forever Changed, Forever Changed, 2004
  15. I’ve Never Been Loved, Forever Changed, 2004
  16. I Know I’m Going There, Forever Changed, 2004
  17. My Anchor of Hope, Give Me the Mountain, 2005
  18. Beyond the Gates, Off the Record, 2006
  19. The Rock’s Between the Hard Place and You, True to the Call, 2007
  20. What We Needed, True to the Call, 2007
  21. He Locked the Gates, When You Look at Me, 2009
  22. Just Preach Jesus, We Will Stand Our Ground, 2011
  23. We Will Stand Our Ground, We Will Stand Our Ground, 2011


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    • Brad on February 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm
    • Reply

    Listing the songs that are missing is the easy part, but droping a song for each one added becomes much more difficult.

    I would add:
    1. Test of Time
    2. Precious Savior
    3. I’ve Been Rescued
    4. God’s Word
    5. Jesus Made a Believer Out of Me
    6. The Empty Tomb Says it All

    I would drop:
    1. Be of Good Cheer
    2. I’m Gonna Keep Telling
    3. I’ve Never Been Loved
    4. The Rock’s Between the Hard Place and You
    5. He Locked the Gates
    6. Just Preach Jesus

    The ones I am dropping are not underserving, but some had to be dropped to make room for the new ones. Your list is great, and I don’t think anyone could make a strong argument against it.

    1. Thanks, Brad! Good stuff. “Test of Time” is a great forgotten gem. The others are great, too, except “Precious Savior” doesn’t ring a bell for me.

        • Brad on February 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm
        • Reply

        Precious Savior is on the “Song of Praise” album. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think it is a Kirk Talley song. I choose it over “Be of Good Cheer” from that same recording.

        1. Cool, I’ll check it out.

    • Friday Night Revival on February 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm
    • Reply

    I’d add at least 2.
    1) Test of Time
    2) Makin’ A New Start (Pure Gold)

    Not sure what I’d drop, but a good list!

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