women

Description: Come Spring

 

Melinda Bryan might best be described as a young woman with an old soul

At least when it comes to music and family traditions

Since childhood, Melinda’s heart strings have been pulled tightly by traits she inherited from her ancestors such as a love for gospel music and a deep compassion for others.

She grew up in the Triplett community as an only child, but she was never alone. “I always had people around me, lots of cousins and other relatives who loved and encouraged me,” she says.

Life wasn’t always easy in those days, but “strong family ties and values learned at an early age,” she says, taught her to appreciate what she had.

“We weren’t well to do, by any means, but we never went without. My family always made sure that I had what I needed,” she says. “My mama took really good care of me and my grandparents, the late Allie and Clammier Miller, took me to church all the time.”

It was in church when she was just 6 years-old that her mother encouraged her to start singing and she’s never stopped. She also learned to play the piano, guitar and organ. “It’s a gift from God,” she says. “It’s nothing I could ever do on my own.

Her great grandmother, Sophia Greer, was a singer and songwriter. “She wrote and recorded the “Triplett Tragedy” on one of Doc Watson’s first albums,” Melinda says.

“My aunt, Dolly Shirley, has spent her whole life singing, too, and has been such an inspiration to me.”

It’s only natural that Melinda has just recorded her first project, “Come Spring,” and that it includes some of her favorite hymns.

“Those songs have been near and dear to my heart all my life,” she says. “I like the contemporary stuff, but I love the older lyrics and the stringed instruments.” She especially loves those written by Dottie Rambo, one of which she chose as the cover song.

“Come Spring” reflects upon the last years of one’s life, Melinda says, “And how the time doesn’t have to be gloomy. We are all the same and either deal with the fear of dying or the hope of making it to heaven. We’ve all got an eternal home somewhere and the hope of a brighter day ahead. We all look forward to spring,” she says.

Melinda feels that there are things about the CD that a lot of people wouldn’t understand. “But, God’s hand was on it from start to finish,” she says.

As a wife, mother, certified nursing assistant and a licensed ordained minister with a love for God and a passion for the elderly and infirm Melinda says it was “more than a chance meeting,” that she be introduced to local music producer, Hugh Sturgill and his wife, Marilyn.

“I knew that Hugh had helped other local musicians and singers record some of their work and I hoped he would consider helping me. I had no idea how it would all turn out, or that God had a plan for our worlds to connect.”

“Melinda called me two years ago and asked if I’d be willing to listen to some of her gospel songs,” Hugh says.” I have been a record producer for more about 40 years and have always listened; bur rarely encouraged well intentioned beginners to pursue a professional CD project.”

“Her voice has a unique texture and warmth that’s unlike any I’ve ever heard. When delivering the lyrics of her powerful Christian conviction, the message is overwhelming,” he says. “Combined with some if the area’s world class pickers who provided musical support, the final result are a powerful CD that is guaranteed to put you in the spirit and probably bring a tear to your eyes.”

During the two years that Hugh worked with Melinda in song selection and arrangement, his wife became ill and began to require total care assistance. With her health care professional experience, Melinda was hired to help the Sturgills with Marilyn’s care

“God was behind all of this and worked it out to where we were able to help each other,” she says/ “I am so grateful for these opportunities. I have a deep love and respect for the Sturgills and will never be able to thank them enough for allowing me to be a part of their lives.”

Melinda is also grateful for the musicians, including her new husband, Corbit Bryan, and Randy Greer, Jim Edmonds, Steve Lewis, Gary Trivette and Hugh Sturgill, for their contributions to the recording. “I know that anything is possible in God’s timing,” she says.

In addition to her music, her work in health care and her family which includes daughters Rebecca, 14, and Deanna, 10, who sing and are honor students at Parkway Elementary School Melinda stays busy with her “Heaven Bound Ministry.”

With an outreach to women, including those incarcerated at the Caldwell County jail in Lenoir, Melinda is also often called upon to speak and sing to ladies’ church groups.

She and her family also attend Full Gospel Fellowship in Wilkes County, where they sing and help provide music on a regular basis.

“We were all created to worship God. As humans, we are prone to stray, but as the Bible says, we will return to him,” she says. “I could never, ever repay the Lord for what he has done for me.”

“Come Spring” is available at Cornerstone Bookstore, Boone Drugs and at the Blue Diner.

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