Monthly Archives: November 2014

Interview with Russ Nottingham

I became friends with Russ Nottingham last year on Facebook.  I really enjoyed his music as well as found him to have such  a heart for God and ministry.  I was blessed to meet Russ and his beautiful wife Jeri in Nashville at the Inspirational Country Music Awards week.  I am very blessed to be connected with them.  I believe God has orchestrated one of His divine connections once again in my life and the ministries I am involved with.  I was so blessed to be able do this interview with Russ Nottingham.

I believe that you will fall in love with Russ Nottingham Ministries after you read this blog.  When you are finished reading this please go straight to his links provided here.  Listen to his music on reverberation and then go to his website and order your own Russ Nottingham cds.

Russ Nottingham is a Christian singer, songwriter and musician. His inspirational music is a blend of his lifelong influences, from Country to Southern Rock, from Bluegrass to Jazz, and just about everything in between.

Russ: “I was raised in a Christian home with a praying and believing mom and dad. But as I grew older, I decided to do my own thing, and I began playing out in bars and nightclubs”. After a few years, Russ joined a Country band, which shortly began growing with recognition. They spent weekends opening for stars such as Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Diamond Rio, Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill and many others. It was looking like the Country music dream was becoming reality. Things were looking pretty good! “I must honestly say that it was exciting at times. But as time went by, I began to realize that I had an uneasy feeling inside. I felt emptiness, like there was something missing. The worst part was, deep down, I knew what that something was, but I just wasn’t ready to accept it”.

As achieving the dream drew closer, God’s calling on Russ’s life became clear. “The more we traveled, the more I began to get homesick and miss my wife and kids. The more exposure we gained, the less exciting it became. That’s when I realized that even though I had turned my back on God, He still cared for and wanted me back. So, over a period of a few months, I ended up resigning from the band and both my wife (Jeri) and I along with our two boys (Rusty & Michael), rededicated our lives back to God and here I am today, years later”!

Russ’ catchy music and encouraging lyrics in his original songs reflect on the unconditional love and relentless pursuit of our Heavenly Father. Through all of our faults and failures, we are never out of God’s reach. This is the lifelong testimony of Russ Nottingham.

Russ Nottingham Ministries goals and objectives are to make a positive impact in people’s lives through his songs on how God forgave him for all his sins in his past and to encourage the loss to change their lives by letting them know that it is never too late to ask for forgiveness and that God is waiting to accept them back into his fold. Russ’ goal is to travel from state to state and country to country singing about God’s great love for all of us.



How long have you been singing Inspirational Country Music?
 Russ: Since 2008
What artist would you say has influenced your music the most?   
Russ: Actually my music is a blend of all the different genres that I grew up listening to. It’s a little bit of Bluegrass, Country and Southern Rock all rolled into one. As far as influences. I definitely liked the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alabama, Diamond Rio, Ricky Skaggs.
What was your first song to hit the air waves? And which station started your adventure on air?
 Russ: My song “Maybe”. Not sure what radio station. The song was released through HMG/Power Source and they sent it out to over 1000 different stations.
What would you say was the defining moment in your music ministry that you knew that this was what you wanted to do? 
 Russ: The first time I seen someone give their heart to God through my music, I knew that’s what my calling was.
What motivates you to keep going when your tired? 
 Russ: The desire to serve God and the joy of singing and playing music.
Do you have any new projects in the making? 
Russ: Yes, I am working on songs for a new cd. It’s not titled yet though.
What’s your current single on the air waves that we might hear?
 Russ: “Maybe”
Do you write any of your own songs?
 Russ: Yes, I do all original music.
What is your personal favorite out of all the songs you have recorded or sing?
Russ: At this time I would have to say “Maybe’. Just because it’s my current single.
Can you share one of your funniest memories of Singing on stage or while recording?
Russ: When I went to Nashville to record a couple of years ago, I was given the address to the studio which I thought was in a house. So I knocked on the door and a few minutes later an elderly gentleman answered. When I looked up there stood this guy in an old pair of them old, real short, gym shorts. It appeared, I had awaken them. The man is a well known singer (I won’t mention his name). Anyway he said the studio was around back. Later in the day he came out to the studio and said he had better introduce himself since I practically seen him naked. I must admit it was a little awkward, but we all had a good laugh.
What is your favorite scripture and what does it mean to you? 
 Russ: John 3:16 God loved me so much that He let His only Son die for me. The best part is He died not only for me but for everyone who believes.
Thank you so much Russ for sharing your heart and ministry with us.
Russ Nottingham Photo (2)
Above and Beyond
Cassie Gilman

Do you hear what I hear?

Do you remember the Christmas song Do you hear what I hear?  My favorite parts are Do you see what I see and Do you hear what I hear !!

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
do you see what I see
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
do you see what I see
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
do you hear what I hear
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
do you hear what I hear
A song, a song, high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
do you know what I know
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Said the king to the people everywhere,
listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
listen to what I say
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

I can imagine in my mind that as they traveled they would begin to get discouraged and then they would look into the sky and see that North Star that was their guidance.  Then they would begin to imagine the sounds of the new baby Jesus and they would get so excited about the dream of a savior coming to lead them and save them.
Just like God spoke to them about their journeys, He wants to show you the path you are to take.  Take time over the next few days as we begin to celebrate Christ birth and ask God what His dreams for you are.  Then listen and watch for the leading of the Holy Spirit.  You will begin to hear His voice like never before.  You will SEE His guiding hand in every area of your life.  Let Him give you the desires of your heart.
Do you hear what I hear?  Do you see what I see?  I hear God and I see God!!! I hear Him in you and I see Him in you!!!  He has great plans for you.  Jer 29:11
Above and Beyond
Cassie G

Interview with Mr. Randy Finchum

I had the honor of meeting a really great man of God and song writer this last week.  I have been friends with Randy Finchum on Facebook for awhile but getting to meet him in person just sealed the friendship.  God is always doing those divine connections in our lives.  I asked Randy if he would be interested in an interview for my blog and he said he would love to.

I hope you all enjoy this interview with Mr. Randy Finchum as much as I have.

Randy is a former Smokin’ Hit Songwriter Winner  in Nashville, TN with over twenty cuts to his credit, including a recent cut by country music great Sammy Kershaw. Christian Country Artist Steve Roberson’s cut of Randy’s “Jesus was a Rebel” was nominated for the 2014 AMG Heritage Award for Song of the Year as well as recently spending four weeks as the #1 requested song on 95.5 WTVY’s “Son Country Countdown” and also being the #1 requested song for May and June 2014 on Christian Country Giant HLE Radio. Randy also co-hosts the wildly popular “Commercial Suicide Songwriting Podcast.”

Bio Pic - 3

How long have you been writing music?
Randy: Since I was 19 years old! Wrote a song called “Carry Me on Home.” It was about my dog….now if that ain’t country what is? lol
Seriously though, the dog I wrote that song about was in our family from the time I 4 till I was almost 18, and I wrote that song about her about six months after she died. I don’t remember all the words to it, and I know it wasn’t the most well written song I’ve ever done, but I do remember that it made us all cry. It’s making me tear up and smile right know as I think about it; that’s the beauty of music.


Who do you feel has influenced you the most in your music career?

Randy:My late father was my first loyal listener. Oh how I miss that smile on his face. Dad like all kinds of music, and passed that trait along to his boys. Growing up, you name it and we listened to it. I got my first “crush” on country music when I heard Travis Tritt’s “Help Me Hold On” on the radio. After that, I fell in love with country when someone let me borrow their Garth Brooks “Ropin’ the Wind” album, and the next to the last song “In Lonesome Dove” gently gave me my first country kiss. I also love Marty Raybon of Shenandoah. What a voice!


What was the first song you had on the radio and who was the artist?

Randy: Oh, I remember it well; it was Adam James singing “Miss America” on a station here in Nashville. My wife and I pulled over to the side of the road to listen to Adam’s interview, and when the first couple of notes started to play it was an indescribable feeling!


What would you say was the defining moment in your music ministry that you knew that this was what you wanted to do?

Randy: Music Ministry, I love those two words. I was on drugs and very lost for a few years there. It took me away from music and everything else that was truly important in my life. When God saved me from that, I remember praying “God, what should I do?” I was 38 years old and had lost everything, so I was completely starting over. But God, oh my loving God, still had plans for me. He wasn’t going to let the dream He planted in my heart all those years earlier die. Little by little, step by step, He led me back into music. First by writing a song for the DVC Ministry, the Ministry that lead me to the Lord and freed me from the drug possession, then by entering the Smokin’ Hit Songwriter songwriting contest, which I won and the prize to write with hit writer Dave Gibson. It was then we wrote “Jesus was a Rebel”, which has been a huge Christian Country hit for Steve Roberson. As for one moment, wow, I’ve had so many of those “one moments” during my second chance, born again life, that all I can say is they’ve all combined to let me know this is what God wants me to do. I so love what God has done in using my passion of making music to do what makes me feel the most complete, glorifying Him. Music Ministry, what could be cooler than that!


Do you have a funny story you can share with us of working with any particular artist?

Randy:  I remember August of 2011sitting on Dave Gibson’s back deck writing, so nervous I could barely talk. I mean, here I am sitting across from one of my favorite writers actually getting to write with him! I had taken what I thought were five of my best song ideas to Dave, and he didn’t really care for any of them. Here we were 45 minutes into what was a one hour I had won to write with him, and I was scrambling to come up with something that we could write. That’s when I played him a song I had written years before that I never felt like was quite finished. It was called “Jesus the Original Rebel.” Dave loved it, and was suppose to be a one hour writing appointment became five hours. I got to share in the magic of a guy with six #1 hits and “Jesus was a Rebel” was born that afternoon. The rest is history. God had His own plan that day, and, as usual, it was an amazing plan. Ain’t He cool!


What motivates you to keep going when you’re tired?

Randy:  Jeremiah 29:11, that says it all! God has something great in store for me, and no situation, human being on this planet, or satan himself can’t stop it. I know if I do my part and put my faith into action, whatever has made me tired at the time will pass.


If you are looking for someone to write you a hit song that will touch lives then Randy is your guy.  Please find Randy on Facebook and make a connection.  You wont regret it.

Thank you so much Randy for this interview.


Above and Beyond

Cassie Gilman


Above and beyond

God does Above and Beyond your wildest Dreams and Imaginations!!!!!!

I am sitting here in Carol Hogner’s (2014 ICM New Artist of The Year Nominee) hotel room writing this blog. I can’t help but to think about how far my life has come over the last couple of years. I met Carol in the spring of 2012 and I knew instantly that there was a divine God connection. I have always had a pull towards Cowboy Church and music and it was just a fit from the get go.

Our journey began by simply being willing to be a servant. Carol was scheduled to sing at Cowboy Capital Felloship in Lenepah OK and her daughter Lu was not able to attend. I volunteered to assist her anyway I could. I ran Carol’s IPod and assisted with sales on her CDs , carried around her purse and just made sure things were handled so she could love on others. After this service I started driving and meeting them as often as I could. I never imagined that one day soon this would turn into a full time life changing adventure.

I had told Carol (MommaJo) from day one that I was going to make sure she got on the radio. I had no clue how to make this happen but I was determined. I emailed a couple local stations and didn’t get responses. I knew that somehow God and I were going to get this done. In September last year I researched Country Christian Stations and I contacted Hunter Logan with HLE. Hunter started playing Living Stones and from this point things started rolling. God showed me more and more stations to contact. He says in His Word  in Proverbs 3:6 Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.  He did for sure one step at a time. Living Stones hit the charts in Jan 2014 on Christian Voice and began to rise up the charts quickly.

In early spring of this year Carol received a message on Facebook from Mr Gene Higgins of HMG Nashville. When Carol first received his message I was not sure it was real. I had several public figures friend me or message me that were spam accounts. My protective nature took over and I said let me call as your PR girl. When I dialed that number and the HMG office answered the phone I was so overwhelmed I almost hung up. I texted Carol while on the phone and yelled ITS REALLY MR HIGGINS!!!  We knew at this moment we had reached an ABOVE AND BEYOND pivotal point in our lives and in her music.

Carol released her single Ordinary Things in May of this year with HMG  and it hit the charts at 89 in June and currently has risen to 21.  Watching all of this unfold has been almost unbelievable even though in fall of 2013 I felt the Lord say she will be at the 2014 ICM Awards. In my small thinking I thought at first it would be as a spectator. When she got that message from Mr Higgins I knew I had thought to small. At that moment I knew this was it. God showed me that even my Above and Beyond teaching and words I had spoken about that I still was not getting it. That when He does it there is no time frame or plans that compare to my thinking. I thought 2014 would be the year we figured it all out and learned the ropes and 2015 would be explosion year. Well guess what here we are.

I have met a lot of ICM artist and DJs on Facebook while doing PR. When we got here to the ICM Week I begin to meet them one by one in person. I realized GIRL you are still thinking too small. I have had people who I would have never imagined ask me about social media and how I do Carols PR. I currently have an artist and DJ who have asked for me to work with them which has just amazed me. When Mary Jane Holt stood and bragged on my PR and said I needed to be duplicated and they all needed one of me I’m pretty sure my mouth dropped open!  Still small thinking. I have not seen myself as a professional. I wasn’t even sure how I had accomplished what I had. I looked back over the last two years while she stood there talking to Carol and I and remembered Proverbs 3:6. He has been showing me the way each step.

Tonight Hannah, Amber and myself will be attending the 2014 ICM Awards not just as spectators but with a 2014 New artist of the Year Nominee Ms Carol Hogner. We are currently sitting in our awesome rooms that God provided for us through our wonderful pastors Dave and Kathleen Simmons and basking in all God has done for all of us.

I can’t tell you what all is in store for 2015 but I can tell you it’s ABOVE AND BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS AND IMAGINATIONS Eph 3:20

Dreaming Above and Beyond

Cassie Gilman

Interview with Inspirational Country Artist Chris Hayle

I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people over this last year.  I have met a great friend and Inspirational Country Artist Chris Hayle.  I was able to do an interview with Chris to get to know a little more about his music and ministry.  I hope that you are blessed by it as well.

Here is a bio clip from Chris’s website.  You can go to his website to keep up with his schedule as well as order his cds.!home/mainPage

From the back roads in a small town in Michigan, to the streets of recording studios in Music City, Tennessee, Chris has been singing to audiences abroad. 

​Chris grew up listening to the older style of Country and Pop music, but his taste includes hymns, and today’s Contemporary Country zest to give his albums well rounded flavor.

Chris began singing as a child but not publicly until he started attending church as an adult.  In short time, he became song leader of the worship team. 

After his experience of major depression, father’s death at Christmas time in 2001, and several back surgeries, Chris began writing down his thoughts creating the title song to his Christmas album, A Heavenly Christmas, in memory of his father, and also penned the song “Celebration of Life”.  The Cd includes several Christmas inspirational favorites.

​Our NEW project, “This Is God’s Country”, took a whole year to bring to fruition!  With the help of Fans, Family, Friends & the provisions of our Heavenly Father, we are now able to bring you 10 new songs!  These are a must listen!  Each tune will speak to your heart in some fashion, but above all……I pray that lives are changed for God’s Glory!



How long have you been singing Inspirational Country Music?

Chris: I have been singing Inspirational Country music for the past 12 years!

What ICM artist would you say has influenced your music the most?

Chris:The ICM artist that has influenced my music the most would be Tommy Brandt! I have learned alot from Tommy in the life of a “musicianary”!

What was your first song to hit the air waves? And which station started your adventure on air?

Chris:The first song to hit the airwaves is called “A Line In The Sand” which hit the Top 10 after 9 months on the ICM charts! Our local station, WGDN 103 Country has been a major supporter in playing our “local” music. They have a Sunday Gospel program that they include me in.

What would you say was the defining moment in your music ministry that you knew that this was what you wanted to do?

Chris: The defining moment, I believe, was in 2012 at the ICM Award week showcase. Something just clicked and happened that day, and since then our music has skyrocketed! Our big hit song, “This Is God’s Country” spent a whole year on 4 different charts! Our newest radio single is “What If Jesus Comes Back Like That” that I recorded on my very first project, but it became such high demand, we re-recorded it in 2014!


What motivates you to keep going when your tired?

Chris:The biggest motivation is God, but seeing/hearing children sing my songs…….that just does something to my soul, keeping in mind that they are the future church! Thank you Cassie and God Bless your ministries!


What single are you targeting right now and where is it at on charts?

Chris:“What If Jesus Comes Back Like That”. As far as I know it hasn’t charted yet. Was released in August through Above & Beyond Promotions.


Be sure to check out his website and find him on Facebook and Twitter.


Thank you Chris for sharing your time with me and for this great interview.



Dreaming Above and Beyond Eph 3:20

Cassie Gilman