SouthBound: Gospel With an Edge
By Shelby C. Berry
One spontaneous moment on a Fall day in 2020, three friends of more than two decades gathered around a piano to sing for the first time for a Facebook Live performance. And, man, did they not know what was coming next.
When Clint Brown, Seth Elbe, and Jody Braselton sang “Address Change Notification” and other songs they grew up with on that first day, they honestly didn’t know that their lives were about to change.
Their harmonies, musical connections, and genuine enjoyment in their sound produce instantaneous power.
Grammy® and Dove nominated artist Clint Brown is no stranger to gospel music, with three decades of experience, 23 albums recorded, and 500 penned songs recorded by top gospel artists in over 13 different languages.
In the early 1990s, however, he shifted direction and moved to Orlando, Florida, following God’s plan for him to become a pastor. Seth Elbe currently serves as the worship pastor at Clint’s church in Orlando. Before he met Clint, he moved 39 times, spending most of his life between Georgia, Florida, and Texas. He grew up singing with his family in local churches and later recorded a few albums.
Jody, the son of a Baptist minister, recorded his first album at age 15 and has recorded six more albums. Jody has led worship for 25 years and serves as a worship pastor in Covington, Georgia.
Since that moment around the piano, a lot has changed for these three men. While they have each had incredibly successful careers on their own, they had no way of preparing themselves for the success heading their way.
After overwhelmingly positive responses from their Facebook Live performance, they decided to head into the studio together to record a few of their favorite gospel songs and a few originals, 25 total.
“Once we did that initial Facebook live around the piano, we decided to start recording some songs — before we even met with any record companies. We love writing music and enjoy being in the studio. The most difficult part about our first album was deciding which songs to put on it,” said Seth.
As they recorded these songs, they quickly realized that this had become something much more substantial than they had ever expected when record labels started approaching them, ultimately signing with Daywind Records.
Several different record companies approached them, and “after sitting down with so many of them, we felt like Daywind Records was the best fit for our heart and for all that we want to accomplish thru Southbound,” said Seth.
“They have been a total blessing to us, and we enjoy working with them during this journey.”
The name Southbound relates specifically to their gospel music roots, as do their harmonies and lyrics. “My experience growing up has everything to do with the style and direction of our music,” said Clint. “With growing up in a traditional southern-based church, there wasn’t a Sunday that we didn’t sing Southern Gospel.”
Their debut album was released a few short months later, in September of 2021. In less than five months since that release, Southbound has had two singles in the “top 5” on the charts, and they have received countless praise for their rendition of Elevation Worship’s “Graves Into Gardens.”
With a sound nicknamed Gospel Grit because it’s Southern Gospel with a bit of an edge, Southbound uniquely identifies with the soulful cajun bayou sound and deep Georgia Southern Gospel country sounds.
Clint, Seth, and Jody each plan to continue working full-time in their churches, using Southbound as a tool for ministry that merges into their current lives and ministries because faith, in reality, is at the foundation of everything they do.
“Our faith determines our music selection on our current and future albums, during our concerts, and even in our songwriting,” said Seth.
“I struggled with depression and fought suicidal thoughts for over 26 years of my life. I reached a point where I had lost hope, and that’s a very sad and dangerous place to be mentally. I’m glad to still be alive and free from those thoughts, and I have determined that I will tell my testimony to help and encourage others so that they, too, can keep going and not give up. And that testimony is our song ‘He’s Got A Way.’ God’s got a way of making beauty from brokenness and can break chains of hopelessness.”
“This is not something that we have to do; it’s something that we get to do! We love being able to be on stage in a different city every night and being able to minister to people from every walk of life and see their lives changed,” said Jody.
Another Southern Gospel album is in the works with Southbound as they continue to write and record new music. We can only hope that Clint, Seth, and Jody realize how much they have blessed us with their gifts of music and ministry. We are so grateful that they decided to share them with the world.