About The McKameys
One of Southern gospel's most enduring acts, the McKameys are a family band whose roots as performers stretch from the mid-'50s on through the 2010s. Initially formed by sisters Peg, Dora, and Carol McKamey, in Clinton, Tennessee, the McKameys' membership over the years has included multiple generations of family members and a lengthy discography, mostly recorded for the Morningstar and Horizon record labels. Known for their sweet vocal blend and uplifting country gospel style, the group have enjoyed a string of number one hits including their signature song, "God on the Mountain." Of the original trio, only singer Peg McKamey Bean has remained active throughout the group's entire career.
The daughters of a minister, Peg, Dora, and Carol McKamey grew up singing in church, though it wasn't until 1954 when Dora suggested that the three sisters perform as a vocal trio during an upcoming service. What they assumed would be a one-off performance became the start of an impressive career as word spread far beyond their native Tennessee. By the late-'50s they were traveling around the South and Midwest singing at churches and revivals with guitarist Ruben Bean accompanying the trio. Peg married Ruben in 1959, and throughout the 1960s, their two daughters, Connie and Sheryl, grew up traveling with the group, eventually replacing Dora and Carol on vocals when they stepped down in 1972.
At that point, the original quartet had released one album, The Family Prayer, in 1968, and the new lineup, now called the McKamey Family, recorded another one called On Business for the King in 1976. This lineup remained active until the mid-'80s, when Sheryl departed and founding member, Carol (McKamey) Woodard rejoined them. Not long after, Connie's husband, Roger Fortner, joined on guitar and this iteration of the McKameys enjoyed quite a bit of success, releasing numerous albums for the Morningstar label and notching hits with songs like "Getting Used to the Dark" and "God on the Mountain," the latter of which became one of their signature songs. Switching to the Horizon Records label in the early-'90s, the McKameys continued to thrive, releasing a new album almost annually and playing over one hundred dates a year throughout North America. By the end of the '90s, they had topped the Singing News gospel chart two dozen times and Peg had been honored as Favorite Female Singer by that same publication seven times.
By the middle of the 2000s, another family member had joined the group, with Connie and Roger's son, Eli Fortner, coming aboard as a guitarist and singer. In 2009, Carol decided to retire from the group and Peg and Ruben's daughter, Sheryl, who had previously left in the early '80s, rejoined to take her place. In 2012, Peg was honored with the Norcross/Templeton Award (her husband, Ruben, had also won it in 2001) and four years later was inducted into the Southern Gospel Museum Hall of Fame. Following the release of their 2019 album The Crown, the McKameys announced that they would be retiring from full-time touring at the end of the year. ~ Timothy Monger