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The Paschall Brothers

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Formed in March 1981 in Norfolk, VA, by Rev. Frank A. Paschall, Sr., and five of his seven sons, the Paschall Brothers (they were known in those early days as Rev. Frank Paschall & the Pasachall Brothers) specialized in the African American roots gospel sound that emerged in the wake of the Civil War, working in the regional style that came to be known as Tidewater gospel. The lineup changed in 1984 when two of the brothers left the group and Renard Freeman came aboard, giving rise to the group's classic quintet configuration of Frank Sr., Frank Jr., Freeman, and Tarrence and William Paschall. When the Rev. Frank died in 1999, Jonnie Lewis stepped in to keep the quintet going, and later when Lewis left the group along with William Paschall, Sr., Tarrance Paschall, Jr., and Renard Freeman, Jr., were drafted in to replace them, making the Paschall Brothers a true multi-generational act. Their sound remained true to their tidewater roots throughout all of these changes, however. A debut album, Songs for Our Father, was released in 2003 by Virginia Folklife Records, and in 2007 On the Right Road Now appeared from Smithsonian/Folkways. ~ Steve Leggett