may 2012

Forever JONES: ‘We hope we encourage other families to be strengthened and for parents to seed greatness into their own kids.’

Keeping Up with forever JONES

By Bob Marovich

On April 10, the GRAMMY-nominated and Stellar Award-winning forever JONES released their sophomore CD, Musical Revival (EMI Gospel). Four of the seven-member family band--Dewitt, Kim, Dominique' and Dewitt IV--recently chatted about the album and how they went from the Pacific Northwest to the Billboard charts.

"It was a night and day change," reflected Jones family patriarch Dewitt about the family's 2,150 mile move from Yakima, Washington to Shreveport, Louisiana, where they serve on the ministry staff of Shreveport Community Church.  "I pastored in Yakima, Washington for years. That's where the kids learned how to play and sing. But we're in a great Christian community with wonderful people, and the cuisine is amazing!"

forever JONES, ‘Every Moment,’ from the album Musical Revival

"My husband and I come from very large and musical families," Kim said.  "Seven kids on both sides, raised in church." Dewitt, originally from Chicago's Southeast Side, moved with his parents to the Pacific Northwest at age eleven. For Kim: "My family attended a very small church in Yakima. We did all the singing, we were the musicians, and we also taught Sunday School. Our gifts were sharpened there." 

Kim added that her baby sister, Yvette Williams, sings with Kurt Carr, and Dewitt's brother wrote "Temple of the Holy Ghost" for the GMWA Mass Choir. A musical family, indeed.

Prior to organizing forever JONES, Dewitt and Kim wrote gospel songs such as Ron Kenoly's "Mighty God." Kenoly and Dewitt co-authored "Use Me." Meanwhile, the Jones children continued refining their musical gifts as part of the church's youth ministry.

Dewitt credits the group's management and Tommy Sims, producer of their debut CD Get Ready, for helping them secure a record deal with EMI Gospel. "We performed at a showcase in Nashville at the Rutledge," Dewitt said. "We offered lunch and everybody came out. Lots of folks in the industry had a chance to hear us, and EMI Gospel stepped forward immediately."

from their debut album, Get Ready, forever JONES performs ‘He Wants It All’

When asked whether life has changed as a result of the release and popularity of Get Ready, Dewitt IV said yes. "Life has changed by speeding up," he said. "We were traveling a lot more.  But we were able to minister to larger audiences. It was something that we were humbled to do and thankful to do. Not all the time do you have a chance to minister to so many people. It's something you want to savor."

Musical Revival finds forever JONES exploring a more powerful sonic presence. Dominique' explained the genesis of the new sound: "We didn't do it on purpose. We didn't say we wanted to sound different on this album. We just wrote together, brought the ideas we got in prayer, and finished them. On Get Ready, we brought our finished songs to the table and you heard the different personalities of the band, but on Musical Revival, you hear the personality of the band as a whole."

Dewitt added, "We also had a chance to perform Get Ready for over a year. During that time, there was a real evolution in the ability and creativity of all of us, but especially the kids as lyricists and musicians. They've gotten so much better. That's the evolution and the growth that you are hearing."

From their debut album, Get Ready, forever JONES performs ‘Heaven’

The sound may be different but the message still impacts their audience. "It is really special knowing that your music is actually touching lives," Dominique' said. "When someone comes up to us and says that they were going through something and they heard our song, that's the real reward. It wasn't like we were going to be a band and travel the world: we answered the call. We treat that as a reward."

A ritual that keeps the family centered amidst the singing, traveling and recording is its daily 9 a.m. prayer. "It's one of the things that is ingrained in my heart," Dewitt said. "The kids come down with Kim and me whenever they have a chance. We prayed together this morning, even though we worked until 1 a.m.!"

Any solo projects in the future? "Our managers and producers say there are several acts in the group," Dewitt responded. "For example, Dominique', she's stellar. She plays keyboards, the guitar, writes songs, she's an awesome singer. I hope that she does something solo. Dewitt [IV] is younger, but he's an incredible lead guitarist, bassist, lyricist and songwriter. All the kids can do something on their own.  It's all about timing."

Dewitt said there is no accompanying DVD to Musical Reunion "yet...but we're hoping!"

For now, Dewitt said, the focus is on "getting on stage as a family, which speaks volumes about the power of family. We hope we encourage other families to be strengthened and for parents to seed greatness into their own kids."

For more information on forever JONES, visit

marovichBob Marovich is a gospel music historian, radio announcer, and author. In its seventh season, Bob's "Gospel Memories" program of vintage black gospel music and artist interviews airs live first Sundays from 3:00 to 7:30 a.m. on Chicago's WLUW 88.7 FM, and streams live at Snippets of recent broadcasts can be heard at Bob is also editor of The Black Gospel Blog

Forever JONES’s Musical Revival is available at

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