Rob Culver and The Band of Believers
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Rob Culver and The Band of Believers

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"CD Proceeds Support Christian Missionaries"

By Mike Osegueda
The Fresno Bee

(Updated Friday, August 13, 2004, 10:07 AM)

THE MISSIONARY Rob Culver and the Band of Believers

In February 1992, Hector Flores left Fresno with supplies that his church in Hanford had collected.

He was taking them to children in El Salvador. He was the missionary.

He didn't make it. He was killed and robbed by bandits in Guatemala.

Within three hours of hearing the news, Rob Culver, a friend and the pastor at Flores' church, had written "Hector's Song."

The news hit Culver hard. He, too, was supposed to go on the trip. But he backed out because he said it didn't feel right.

Culver recorded the song to be played at Flores' funeral and then put it aside, like many of the songs he wrote and sang at his church.

That was until his cousin Roland Jones heard "Hector's Song" years later and pushed Culver to do something more than sit on that and his other songs.

Jones decided that he and his cousin needed to record the music. He financed the project and decided the proceeds would benefit missionaries in honor of Flores.

"Roland pushed me," Culver says. "I probably would have never done it if it wasn't for him. I give him all the credit for that."

Lineup: Culver on vocals, guitar, banjo and harmonica; Jones on bass; David Langley on background vocals; guitar, piano and mandolin; Steve Samano on drums; Julie Jones on background vocals and Paul Dobbs on pedal steel guitar.

Style: "It's country-gospel," Culver says. "The music I write is just inspired from my faith in God. I've always liked country music, that's really where the inspiration comes from."

Sales pitch: "To help missionaries," Culver says. The proceeds from the CD will benefit missionaries worldwide, to feed and educate children and build churches in foreign countries.

Influences: Randy Travis, Randy Stonehill, Larry Norman and Barry McGuire.

Trivia: The cousins are accomplished away from music. Culver is the pastor at Pentecostal Church of God in Hanford, and Jones is the associate regional dean of National University in Fresno.

It could be the soundtrack to: "The Helen Keller movie -- that's what I'd guess," Culver says. "Her faith was also deeply rooted in God, the message there is that God helps people."

For sampling purposes: Audio samples are online at www.themissionarycd.com.

Key tracks: "Just Like That," "The Thing I Remember Most" and "Jesus Came Along."

Buy it at: Family Christian Store and the Fresno County Plaza Coffee Shop; online at the CD's Web site, www.amazon.com and www.cdbaby.com.

Cost: About $15.

Find out more: Online at www.themissionarycd.com. - The Fresno Bee


"Rob Culver and the band of Believers – The Missionary"


Rob Culver and the band of Believers album The Missionary is a blend of traditional Country and Gospel music, Bluegrass, and other realms of popular music that go a long way in classifying this album as Country Gospel and Contemporary Christian. You know the kind, which sounds right at home in your local Baptist or Pentecostal church on any given Sunday night. Or at Buck Owens own Crystal Palace, home of the Bakersfield Sound. Or, at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville for that matter!

From the opening licks of David Langley’s trusty Telecaster on Culver’s self penned ‘Just Like That!’ through the final strums of The Old Rugged Cross, Country Gospel fans won’t be disappointed. This album is a real toe-tapper, with infectious rhythm, sparkling instrumental backing and tight harmony. Start to finish, The Missionary is a cohesive team effort by a band of talented singers and musicians who not only like each other, and work well together, but also freely exhibit the love they feel for one another, and their love for God and people. Culver, who is the principle vocalist on the CD, plays half dozen instruments, also pastors a Pentecostal Church of God church in Hanford, CA. His sincere vocals and inspired lyrics reveal a pastor’s heart that truly understands the work of a shepherd. Never skirting basic truths or interjecting separatist doctrine, Culver & Co appeals to a broader audience beyond any denomination. Never preachy, this album has something for everyone. It’s listener friendly, yet doesn’t compromise.

Avoiding the usual obligatory cliché’s and the trend of over-production that flood the genre, Culver and his five-piece band opt for straightforward vocals, sparse instrumentation, simple arrangements and clean production without sounding hokey. At times the band is reminiscent of award winning bands led by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, The Buckaroos and The Strangers respectively, particularly in Langley’s guitar work and the pedal steel guitar played by Paul Dobbs against a backdrop of a synergetic rhythm section. Some of the tracks have a worshipful atmosphere with a live performance quality that doesn’t sacrifice musicality or sound churchy. It‘s inspirational, entertaining and downright encouraging. The set list, which is split between traditional songs and new material, provides a fresh listen to chestnuts from the Country Gospel songbook and introduces as many Culver originals. You’ll be blessed out of your socks with this CD!

With a mixture of varied influences, Culver and Co draw upon the music of their Fresno area upbringing, rich with Western Swing history and the eventual impact it had on what became the Bakersfield Sound. Not the least of which is their experience with an early mentor Harley Huggins, former vocalist/musician with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys who settled in Fresno in 1945, where Harley later led his own band The Barn Dance Gang. In the 60’s he came full circle, leaving the nightclubs behind, returning to his Gospel roots to sing His praises in the house of God exclusively. There he met two aspiring teenage musicians he performed with in the 70’s: Rob Culver and his cousin Roland Jones, who produced this album and plays bass on the tracks. The influence of the father of Jesus Rock, Larry Norman is evident as well as a smattering of early 70’s Country Rock sounds of CCM pioneer Bill Sprouse Jr, who wrote Since I Met Jesus.

The Missionary celebrates the Christian life and the believers walk with Christ from their first baby steps through continual growth, spiritual maturity, witness zeal and ultimate home going to be with the Lord. The album is dedicated to the memory of their friend Hector Flores, a missionary who was murdered by bandits in Guatemala in 1992. He is duly honored in Culver’s Hector’s Song. 100% of the proceeds from CD sales are directed to missionaries in the field abroad.
- Buddy McPeters – Western Swing Journal


Discography

The Missionary (2004) Cody Records

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Rob Culver and Roland Jones began planning and rehearsing the songs for The Missionary CD nearly two years ago; however, the two musicians have played music together since they were teenagers growing up in the Pentecostal Church of God. The songs Rob has written for The Missionary CD reflect his life as a pastor in the Pentecostal Church of God and his dedication to those who serve in the mission field. The songs are also a celebration of one's walk with Christ and the spiritual growth one experiences as they mature in their beliefs.

It's incredible that the Lord led Rob and Roland to a little studio in Fresno California where they met one of the most gifted and talented Country musicians on the planet. David Langley has a huge heart which just makes him an incredible human being. He is also a Christian. It wasn't long David became part of the project and The Band of Believers sound emerged. This is a band and project blessed by the Lord