GALLIPOLIS — A husband and wife duo will be making their gospel musical rounds in local areas before and after performing at River Recreation Festival this coming Independence Day weekend.
The Raineys, from Harrisburg, Ill., will play at Grace United Methodist Church at 6 p.m. July 1, and again July 5 in Hamdon at Puritan Free Will Baptist Church for Sunday morning service. They will then travel to Addison for a 6 p.m. show at Addison Freewill Baptist Church. The pair will also be making appearances at Gospel Day during River Rec Fest on July 3.
James Rainey, 51, was born in Richmond, Ind., but lived in Gallipolis as a teenager. His father, James H. Rainey, was a reverend at First Church of God. Rainey noted that his first steps into professional gospel performance came at the hands of The Gospel Harmony Boys from Huntington, W.Va., when they were searching for a piano accompanist. James auditioned at the age of 14 and the group took him on as their newest member.
James noted that he had support from his father as he “knew this was what God was calling me to do.”
James gives a large amount of credit to The Gospel Harmony Boys for helping him become acclimated to road life and traveling shows the first few years.
For more than 21 years, James has traveled singing southern gospel music and played piano for groups like The Hoppers, Rusty Goodman, The Greenes, The Singing Americans, The Trailblazer’s Quartet, Wendy Bagwell and the Sunlighters, Priority and The Singing Shafer Family.
Laura Joe Rainey, 30, James’ wife of six years, shared her anniversary with her husband June 24. James said they would be having their anniversary celebration with friends and family during the coming Independence Day weekend.
James said he met his wife in Connersville, Ind., after a performance on a Mother’s Day morning.
“I could see this beautiful woman coming toward the table. She came back to the spot where we were selling albums and talking with the audience and introduced herself. She said, ‘HI, I’m Laura.’ I said, ‘Hi, I’m your husband,’” Rainiey said.
While performing with his wife, Randy Shafer, a local River Rec Fest gospel group, performs with the Raineys whenever they are in the area. Shafer also owns and operates Swan Creek Valley Studios in Crown City.
“I got my driver’s license in Gallipolis. I had my first girlfriend there. I graduated (from high school) there and was in the band and choir. Everything I did was about Gallia County,” Rainey said. “My love is toward that town (Gallipolis). I only ever see the good side of it.”
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.