The Herald Bulletin

June 12, 2013

Vonnie Wright sings of loss, love and life on CD

By Scott L. Miley The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ALEXANDRIA — When Vonnie Wright sings of a perfect place where she sees relatives who have passed away, she is speaking from the heart about years of loss.

She sings of that place in “This Must Be Heaven,” one of 12 songs on her debut solo CD, the self-titled “Vonnie!”

She sings, “A new day has dawned. There’s no doubt or worry, no fretting or fear and all of my friends and family are here.”

The song was written by her husband, Woody, following the death of her mother, Maria Furnish, in 2011.

Vonnie was recovering from the grief of losing husband Dan Gaither in 2001 when her father passed away in 2003. Her brother, Jeffrey Furnish, died in 2010.

Many of the songs on her CD were ready to record before her brother’s passing.

“We put all of that on hold to get through that part of life,” said Vonnie from her Alexandria home.

A number of the tunes — “What Good are Love Songs” by Woody Wright and Gloria Gaither and “Life’s a Song” by Terri Hendrix — underscore Vonnie’s love for music. For example, in “Life’s a Song,” she sings, “Life’s a song that never ends, pass it on to sons and daughters and it starts all over again.”

She said, “‘Life is a Song’ is just about life, how it starts all over again. Something has ended and something has begun.”

The second tune on the disc, “What Good Are Love Songs,” is based on biblical passage from Ezekiel 33:31. In part, the passage reads, “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.”

Vonnie said, “I like the song because it’s a reminder that we can go to churches and we can learn principles but if we don’t take those principles away when we leave, what good is that?”

And there’s a mix of styles, from early 1940s to country to a duet with her country-leaning husband. “He’s from the South. He could sing ‘Ave Maria’ and it would still sound country,” she said.

She and Woody were introduced by her husband, Dan Gaither, who helped the singers travel to venues. After Vonnie’s husband died, the two began dating. They’ll celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary in August.

The two are presenting a musical program over five upcoming Thursdays at Gaither Family Resources in Alexandria. A CD release celebration of “Vonnie!” will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

She said, “It’s something that had been talked awhile with Eric Scott (at Gaither Family Resources). Finally, it started evolving and we said let’s do six of these ...

“Then we came up with different ideas for each night.”

The first night, featuring songs of Woody Wright on May 16, was sold out.

At Thursday’s performance, Vonnie will also discuss the stories behind the songs on the disc.

If you go Wright Night at Gaither Family Resources, 1617 S. Park Ave., Alexandria. Vonnie and Woody Wright sing in a program that includes music and a meal. Events begin at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $25 per person. For reservations, call (800) 520-4664 or 724-8405, select option 5. The schedule follows. Thursday, June 13: Release Celebration of the "Vonnie!" CD Thursday, July 11: "Kristoffersongs," Kris Kristofferson songs performed Wrightstyle Thursday, Aug. 1: "Hymns," singing songs from the hymnal Thursday, Sept. 19: "Unbounded Love," love songs Thursday, Oct. 24: "Wright night Finale" with special guests and surprises