All grown up, the Valley Boys keep singing

Jeremiah Ray, Dillon Hurst and Timothy Ray are the Valley Boys.

If you, like most of Union County, have an "I remember when" story about the Valley Boys gospel group, it probably involves seeing three kids who could be triplets, singing a cappella gospel music with the gusto of guys twice their size. My own involves seeing the boys at the Union County Historical Society back in 2008 and taking their picture for the weekly newspaper.

They've grown a bit since then. The Valley Boys, twins Jeremiah and Timothy Ray and their first cousin Dillon Hurst, graduated from Union County High School in 2015. The Rays are both in nursing school at LMU, and Dillon is attending TCAT's diesel program. Another milestone, in recent years both Rays were ordained at the group's home church, Raccoon Valley Baptist.

The "valley" in the group's name comes from the various valleys of their childhood. Raccoon Valley Baptist is one. Hickory Valley Road, where they all live, is another. Grandparents live in Little Valley, so the boys spent some growing-up time in that area, too. But it was at Raccoon Valley Baptist where the three first started singing together.

"We were kids and they didn't want to tell us no," joked Timothy.

Singing runs in the family, too.

"Every bit of my mom's side of the family, everybody sings," said Dillon.

The Valley Boys started singing in unison, but around age 10, they tried some harmony. It was spot-on.

"We were coming back from Dollywood," said Dillon. "We were singing 'Amazing Grace.' We all just hit it and it clicked."

Now, gospel harmonies are part of every performance, as are guitar and mandolin. They've recorded two albums and have performed in venues big and small. Early on, local churches asked them to sing, and word of their talents spread around the community.

"We saw that a lot of people were being blessed by it," said Jeremiah.

"We've sang at a lot of funerals, too," said Timothy. "We just like helping people out."

Their most-requested song is "I Have Been Blessed," a favorite that they also sang at their high school graduation. Another favorite tune is "Thank You Lord."

A couple of years back, the Valley Boys went on a tour of Catholic churches as far away as Iowa at the request of Brother Craig Digmann of Saint Teresa of Kolkata Catholic Church in Maynardville, to share a bit of East Tennessee culture with folks up north. But, the Valley Boys felt as blessed by the experience as the people they met, allowing them to reach across denominations in the family of God.

"It opened our eyes to being more open and accepting of everybody's opinions," said Timothy.

The Valley Boys thanked God for being their inspiration, and thanked their family and community for all their support.

These days Dillon, Jeremiah and Timothy are taking a little break from the music scene to make room for school and work, but they've not stepped away completely. They'll be performing at the Union County Heritage Festival October 7, and they're still willing to pursue music as a career if they can find a way to do it.

"As long as we can all get together, we'll do it," said Timothy. "If God were to open that way for us, we'd love to do that."

"We never know where the singing might take us," added Dillon.

Find out more about the Valley Boys on their Facebook page.

Share

Other articles and events that may be of interest.

Clean Tennessee Energy Grant

Congratulations, to Union County on your newest grant from The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Thank you, Mayor Williams for allowing me to celebrate with you today.

Read More
Marilyn Toppins

“Actions speak louder than words.”

“You’ve got to put your money where your mouth is.”

Those were just some of the values instilled in Marilyn Toppins by her mother, and they’re words she lives by to this day.

Read More
Swan Kitts

Clean-cut, honest, hardworking, competent, accommodating–these are all adjectives used to describe Sheriff Swan Kitts.

Read More
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you like Chocolate Chip Cookies? Am I the only one who doesn't? The problem with me is the chocolate. We don't get along. If you need to send a batch of cookies to school with your child, you can't go wrong with Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Read More
Operation Christmas Child Area Coordinator Amie Winstead and drop-off team leader Holly Simmons pose for a picture with filled boxes ready to ship.

This year's Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive in Union County wasn't just an opportunity to support foreign missions. It was also a chance for local churches and community organizations to come together and work towards a common goal.

Read More
A New Look at Our Old Schools

My dear Boys and Girls–Big Children too,

Read More
Fried Apples

Fried apples are an old timey breakfast treat. Back in Depression days before WWll, fresh oranges and bananas, for instance, were out of reach for most farm families. You made do with what you had. We usually had apples.

Read More
2017 Heritage Festival Pie Baking Contest Winners Announced

Pie Contest Winners
Grand Prize $100 Elizabeth Tindell Carmel Pecan Pie
Fruit 1st $50 Abigail Foust Salted Caramel Pie, 2nd Kennedy Hill Apple Pie, 3rd Carrie Cook Apple Pie

Read More
Debbie Toney with her painting Good Morning Clinch Mountain

Best of Show - Debbie Toney for Good Morning Clinch Mountain

Best Union County Heritage - Carol Pratt with Molasses Making

First Place - Ruth Mihaltion for Billy Joe

Read More

Friends and neighbors gathered at Wilson Park in Union County TN, many driving their antique cars for the cruise in and the lighting of the Christmas tree.

Read More
The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.