If you hear Adam Dungey singing a little gospel music on the job in UMMC's bariatric program, he comes by it naturally.
“My grandfather had a gospel quartet all my life,” said Dungey, a Clinton resident and the Medical Center's administrator for weight management services. Dungey's uncle sings for The Blackwood Brothers, an award-winning, Memphis-based gospel group.
Four years ago, Dungey and three friends combined their voices and musical talents to form Brothers 4, a gospel quartet that plays on weekends at churches and other venues within 300-400 miles of the metro.
Dungey sings bass, but handles the group's finances and bookings. Rounding out the group is its founder and lead singer, Buddy Graves of Brandon; Brandon Wilson of Laurel, who sings baritone and plays piano; and Darryl Smith of Purvis, who sings tenor.
The quartet not only has friendship, but also history behind the formation of Brothers 4. Dungey was the drummer/manager for Mercy River Quartet from 2001-2004. Graves was also a member. Dungey reached out to Wilson, a former member of Mercy River Quartet. At the same time, Graves reached out to Smith, whom he had sung with in 2006 with Strong River Quartet.
They formed their quartet in March 2013, after a tornado devastated Hattiesburg. Graves' home church there was hosting a Southern Methodist Church conference. The gathering needed a group to provide “singspiration” at a time that was sad for many.
The church contacted Graves, and he reached out to Dungey. Dungey called Wilson, and Graves called Smith. They got together that March to assemble about a dozen songs for the concert.
After their performance, “people started asking if we'd come sing at their church. My uncle asked if we wanted to open for the Blackwood Brothers,” Dungey said. “We had to come up with a name for ourselves.”
They agreed they are four men who are “Brothers for Christ,” brought together for the purpose of sharing the gospel through song. Brothers 4 was born.
Brothers 4 has recorded one album and members are working on a second. “Our goal is to take traditional Southern gospel music and make it more modern so that the older generation will be familiar with the songs, but those in the younger generation who haven't been exposed to it get the new feel,” Dungey said. “It's not contemporary Christian music. We still sing some of the old hymns just as they are.”
But they're whizzes at taking an older hymn and jazzing it up to get across the gospel message.
“Take the song Victory in Jesus,” Dungey said. “It's an old hymn. We start it off slow, a little bluesy, and then get into it pretty hard.”
Dungey “lays the solid sound vocally for the rest of us to sing by,” Graves said. “We don't have a bass guitarist. We have a bass vocal. He lays the foundation for what we sing.”
A new CD is in the works for Brothers 4: far right, Dungey; and from left, Smith, Graves and Wilson.
The four enjoy each other's company. And although they're making albums and booking concerts at churches, they're not going to make a bunch of money, Graves said.
“We've definitely made a name for ourselves in Mississippi and through the Southeast,” Dungey said. “Last year, we were nominated for a Diamond Award for best new group of the year” bestowed by fans and gospel groups nationwide.
They all have busy full-time jobs. “We sing an average of one full weekend a month,” Dungey said.
“We have such a great fellowship, and here we are coming up on our four-year anniversary,” he said. “So many groups sing together, and it's just a job. We are a good brotherhood. We are true friends.”
“We want to continue to be a part-time ministry. We want to change lives,” Graves said. “That's why we do what we do.”