Singing a new song

Published 12:27 am Sunday, September 7, 2008

Steve Roberson of Clanton has written songs since he was a teenager. But last year was a first for him when he attempted to write his first gospel song, “Old Sinner Like Me.”

The song, which Roberson wrote after witnessing to an older man who felt he wasn’t good enough to become a Christian, turned out to be the first of many with a gospel message.

“It was done in about 15 minutes. Not all of them come together that quickly,” Roberson laughed.

He had written plenty of country songs and even performed in honkytonks and bars across Georgia. But that was before Roberson, 36 – also a former pro wrestler and radio deejay – turned back to Jesus.

Not long ago, he was invited to fill the slot of lead singer for The Samaritans, a local gospel group, with well-known singer Gene Lowery. It was during this time that he wrote “Old Sinner” but soon thereafter suffered a split vocal cord and had to sit out for four months.

“The doctor said it would need surgery,” Roberson said, but the condition later healed up after treatment.

Before his vocal cord became damaged, however, he recorded a CD of 10 songs co-written with his brother, Frankie, of Verbena.

Roberson took his inspiration and songs as a sign that perhaps God had other intentions for his talent.

“The Lord just kind of led me to go out on my own,” he said, quick to add that his decision to leave the Samaritans did not occur on a negative note.

“They support me and I support them,” Roberson explained. “Gene is really like a father to me. He’s the genuine article. He is an icon in Southern gospel music, especially around here.”

The songs on the CD, titled “Walk By Faith,” have tinges of both country and gospel influence. Other musicians who appear include Todd Parker (vocals), Wayne Hughes (steel guitar), Lisa Lovette (vocals), Joe Armstrong (vocals) and Scott Roberts (keyboard).

The CD was recorded at The Ark in Alabaster and Daniel’s Furnace in Thorsby.

Roberson’s personal favorite song is “Hallelujah Amen,” an upbeat song about trusting in God until one’s dying day.

Also notable are the ironically-upbeat “Lower Pits of Hell,” the laments of a man who wishes he could go back and warn his family about careless living; and the haunting “Pale Rider.”

The one group Roberson hopes to reach with his music is “the common man” who wouldn’t ordinarily listen to gospel.

“Life itself is a struggle,” he says. “We have to walk by faith, looking up and trusting God.”

Roberson is donating all his album proceeds to the American Red Cross in Chilton County. The CD is available for $12 from Whistle Stop Coffee & News, Chandler’s Drugs or Kelly Co. in Cooper. For more information, visit