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Gospel through the ages: Soul Stirrers

By ZOË HAGGARD - zhaggard@t-g.com
Posted 12/18/21

Steven Bowen and the Soul Stirrers are a Gospel quartet and 9-piece band based out of Clarksville, Tenn. 

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Gospel through the ages: Soul Stirrers

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Steven Bowen and the Soul Stirrers are a Gospel quartet and 9-piece band based out of Clarksville, Tenn. 

Formed over 40 years ago, “The Clarksville Soul Stirrers,” as they were originally known, perform both old-school songs and original material.  

Bowen, Floyd Henry, and Michael Turange are some of the longest-standing members of the band. 

Those 40 years ago, Bowen along with Turange and Henry’s fathers, began the gospel quartet with the intent of spreading the Gospel through music. 

It’s in the family. Both Turange and Henry’s fathers grew up in music. As children, when they were around 11 or 12 years old, they began performing at their church and throughout their community, Turange said. 

Being steeped in the world of Gospel music, Turange started his own group, The Chosen Brothers.  

But after Turange’s stepfather passed away, he took his position to carry on the decades-long tradition with his Uncle Steven.  

“It’s quite an experience,” said Turange.  

“Being able to travel and meet different people...It’s kind of funny how every area has its own sound. So being able to go different places and take our sound to those places has definitely been an experience.”  

Those area’s include music-rich communities like New Orleans, New York City, Charlotte, and Houston, (anywhere that’s got good food, Turange joked).  

And those sounds are a good mix of the “old-sound” and the new stuff. It’s one of the difficult parts of rehearsing—making the 90s music correlate with 2021.  

Even though The Soul Stirrers find a lot of connection with their original material, the classics, such as “Amazing Grace” and “Pass Me Not,” are constant crowd-pleasers. 

“Once people hear stuff they know, they gravitate toward that...The original material gets old. But the old-school songs always work,” Turange said. 

“Keep Running” and “Can’t Even Walk” and “Turn Around” are some of their most popular songs. 

“When a song that we sing actually someway, somehow helps them who are going through a difficult situation—that's most rewarding,” Turange said.  

Turange has been performing for 21 years with the Soul Stirrers as well as his own group. But a couple of years ago, he also felt the tug of ministry. 

“I quit singing to accept my call to the ministry...But the desire to keep singing was still there,” he said. So, he came back ready to sing the gospel tune. Turange is still a minister at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksville—which is why they try to not book a concert on Sunday morning.  

“Church is our first base,” he said. COVID played a role in shutting down many of their performances. However, they are back to aiming at two or three weekend performances per month. 

“The joy of traveling and spreading God’s Word through song, that’s what we’re all about,” Turange said. “The best part is actually seeing the ministry aspect of it.”  

The Soul Stirrers will be performing at Hurrican Creek Missionary Baptist Church, 689 El Bethel Dirt Road, on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. All are welcome.   

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