The Plath Family Band has just released their new album. "Give the World a Smile" contains 13 newly recorded songs of originals, hymns, and Southern Gospel music classics. Known for their four part family harmonies, ragtime style piano, toe-tapping fun and heartwarming music, their latest release is for fans of all ages to enjoy!
Q: Thanks so much for your time. For starters, tell us who is the Plath Family Band?
We are a family: Dad, Mom and nine children. We have been married 19 years and the children range in age from 18 to 3 so I guess you could say it's been a productive 19 years of marriage!
Q: How did you start singing and felt God's calling in serving in the music ministry as a family?
We homeschool the children, and music has always been one of the subjects we study. We didn't know we would ever have a band. We just taught the children piano, then added in some other instruments. At some point we started playing together. Soon we started singing at some local nursing homes, then someone heard us and wanted us to play at their church. At that point there was very little singing, mostly instrumental with a couple of hymns we would all sing together. Before we knew it we were doing four part harmonies, which we absolutely love!
God has always been first in our family - we have relied on Him to lead us along the way. We never felt the calling to serve Him in music. We have always felt the calling to serve Him in everything. If we're doing music, we'll serve Him in that.
Q: Listening to snippets of your songs from your new album, you have a very unique sound of jazz, bluegrass, country, and Southern Gospel. How would you describe your sound?
I think our sound is different from a lot of other groups out there because we were primarily instrumentalists first. So our music by itself is real strong. When you add in the vocals it's that much richer. And because we have so many singers, and instrumental soloists, we are able to play a wide range of styles. Our fiddler loves bluegrass, so that comes through in some of our songs. Our oldest son loves the old ragtime jazz style piano, so that adds another flavor. We all love the four part harmonies, but we also take time to spotlight some of our singers. And we have the little ones (ages 3, 5 and 7) that everyone loves to hear and see because they're are just plain cute!
Q: Let's talk about your new record, with all the intricate harmonies coming from various members of the family, was it a challenge to get everyone singing together?
It was easy getting us all to sing together because we do it every day. The children love to sing together, figuring out harmony parts to songs. They sing a lot just throughout the course of the day: washing dishes, hanging laundry, or sometimes they'll just grab a couple of siblings and start singing.
Q: On this new record, you've re-visited many of the old hymns, why do you think it's important to sing these hymns?
I think it's important because the old hymns are so rich in meaning, and musically they are almost perfect. I think it's important to pass these on to the next generation because they are just about the most wholesome music there is and that is something every generation can benefit from. I didn't grow up on the hymns. I didn't grow up with any sort of Christian music. I got saved in college and when I discovered the hymns - wow! They are all new to me! So I don't have the history of the hymns; I didn't grow up with them. But if you just study them, take them for what the words say, they are very rich and beautiful.
Q: But you also have some originals and lesser known songs on the record, can you pick three of your favorites and tell us why you chose them?
"Living in His Favor" was written by local songwriters, James and Henry McGill, a father and son songwriting team. James came up to us after one of our concerts and handed us a CD with the song on it for us to learn. So while it is not one that we've written, it's one that no one knows (they had not released it) so when we sing somewhere, people hear it for the first time, unless they have our CD or have heard us in concert before. That song also features Lydia (12 years old) singing, so it's sort of her "debut" song.
"I Can't Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand)" is an amazing song. It was written by Joyce and Colbert Croft in 1975. It is simply the most beautiful, simple and elegant song I have ever heard. The truth that we can do nothing without Him is astounding. We can't even walk unless He is holding our hand. The melody is gorgeous. We sang recently in Kentucky, and a couple from Florida drove up there. They weren't there sightseeing or to visit family. They came to our concert and drove home. We talked to them before the concert, and asked what song did they most want to hear? "I Can't Even Walk." Towards the end of the concert, we were leaving some room open for the Holy Spirit, and guess what was requested? Someone said "Can he (Ethan) sing "I Cant Even Walk" again?" So we did, and people were just as moved the second time as the first.
"There's a Family Bible on the Table" We love this song because the Bible is such a perfect guidebook for this world we live in, and yet so neglected. There is power in the family gathering around the Bible to read. And of course, figuring out how to apply what we read in our every day lives is equally important. And it's very powerful when families can do this together.
Q: I believe you are also touring together, where can our readers find out more about your dates and maybe catch you live?
Visit our website at www.theplathfamily.com and click on "Calendar" to see where we are singing live. You can also click on "Videos" to see a video about our family as well as a video of our baby singing that will melt your heart.