It Must Be Christmas - David Phelps Back at PAC Dec. 21

Donna England

The Ashland Beacon


   There is a reason why Dove Award nominee David Phelps makes Ashland a stop on his tour. “We love the hall there,” he said, speaking of the Paramount Arts Center. And this year will be no different.

   Phelps will bring his seasonal It Must Be Christmas musical production to the PAC on Saturday, December 21. It will be his 21st year of providing audiences with festive and family friendly entertainment, performing classics with a few surprises thrown into the mix.

   “We will be dusting off some of the old classics that everyone wants to hear and pulling out some new stuff as well,” he said of this year’s show.

   As a tenor vocalist, Phelps spent 18 years performing with the widely known and popular Gaither Vocal Band while fitting in some solo projects during his down time with the gospel group. It wasn’t until about four years ago he decided to embark on a strictly solo career – a decision that can be very daunting and a little intimidating for many artists.

   “It’s a big responsibility being out there on your own. You don’t have all of the people who take care of everything that you have when you are part of a successful group,” he said of his own experience as a soloist.

   Though Phelps gives a lot of credit to the Gaithers and the many years he performed with the famous family, it is the artistic freedom as a soloist that makes the challenges worth leaving the nearly two decades of security, being part of a long standing and established group.

   “It was great working with Bill and Gloria Gaithers. I learned so much from them during those years.” But as a soloist, Phelps said, “there is always more real growth in songwriting and that is rewarding.”

   He went on to explain that his passion for writing and producing his own music keeps him motivated as an artist. And he is not afraid of taking some risk at times, including recording completely live performance albums, a musical feat many of today’s artists would not care to attempt.

   “I have some very talented people and musicians. If I had not had the confidence in their ability, I would have never done it. And they proved me right,” Phelps said of his two live albums, Legacy of Love: David Phelps Live and No More Night: David Phelps Live in Birmingham.

   At present, he and his talented musicians are working on a new project with an anticipated release date in late spring. Though yet to be titled, Phelps described the project as a selection of songs he has been writing for the past couple of years.

   “This next project will be a snapshot of who I am as an artist. Where I am at now and the journey over the years in my career showing my growth and where I am going next.”

   Phelps prides himself in treating audiences to a variety of musical flairs from gospel to classical with “a little bit of jazz influences.”

   “We are always proud of being very eclectic,” he said of his shows. He also offered up some advice for young artists who are hoping to make it in the industry.

   “It is always about having the passion and the willingness to work hard, “he said. “There are tons of very talented people but they just don’t have the passion and perseverance to make it. You have to be willing to perform everywhere you can, and they just don’t realize the amount of work it takes to stay in there and keep going. It is a lot of hard work.”

   Phelps’ It Must Be Christmas show is on Sat., Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the PAC. Tickets are available on the PAC’s website,, at the box office or by calling 606.624.3157