The Down East Boys started in the mid-1980s, singing throughout the eastern Carolina coast. In 1989, Chris White signed them to their first national recording contract, with Sonlite Records. That same year, they recorded their first national hit, "Beautiful Valley." In 1991, they received their first Singing News Fan Award, for Horizon Artist.
Over the years, they have recorded over thirty top 40 hits and toured all across the U.S. and Canada. They have had the opportunity to share the platform with some of the most noted evangelists of our generation, including Franklin Graham, Dr. Ralph Bell, Rick Stanley, and Jay Strack. The group's lineup consists of owner/manager Ricky Carden, tenor Tony Jarman, bass Stuart Cary, and baritone Daryl Paschal.
After a 20 year break, the Down East Boys returned to Sonlite Records in 2009. “I had been thinking about approaching Ricky a couple of years ago about renewing the relationship,” said Chris White, Crossroads executive and the President of Sonlite Records. Ironically, he had been having some of the same thoughts as well. So, we simply sat down one day and began to talk. We concluded that we felt this renewal would be good for both of us."
“It really feels good to be back into a label relationship that I feel confident about,” states Carden. "I have worked with Chris, Greg Bentley and other members of the Crossroads staff long enough to completely trust being in their hands. It takes a lot off of me to know that I now have a team of professionals that will help us to grow our ministry in the coming years,” Carden added.
"We have a lot to accomplish," states fellow group member Jason Runnels. "There are so many people who need to hear the message of the Gospel, and we make a conscious effort to select songs that undeniably convey that Gospel message."
"We try to keep our music fresh, without compromising the message," Carden shares. "We're not willing to rest on our laurels. As a group, we do things constantly to challenge ourselves, to try to do something different or better than the last time we did it. We are called to be the best we can be and do our best every time we step out on a stage or into a recording studio. Christ gave His best for us. It's our responsibility to give out best for Him."
The tradition lives on and on in the lives and musical ministry of The Down East Boys.