This month’s interview is with a friend that I have known for over 20 years. Mylon Hayes and his family, from Boone, NC, have been blessing people with the message and music of Southern Gospel for a long time, now. They have appeared on the largest stages, such as the National Quartet Convention and the Bill Gaither Homecoming videos, as well as the tiniest of country churches.
Anyone who has ever had a chance to hear this group minister has been blessed by quality vocals, tight harmony and, most of all, an obvious love for the Savior about whom they are singing. For many years, the group consisted of Howard and Lucy Hayes, and their children, Janet, Mylon and Sharon. In recent years, as Mylon and his sisters have begun their own families, their spouses and children have become a part of the tradition as well.
HH: When did you first start learning music?
Mylon: Well, I’ve always been around gospel music. Dad and mom were singing before I was born. But some of my earliest memories are of dad and mom teaching us harmony parts and teaching us to play an instrument. I was 4 years old when they taught us harmony on “Jesus Loves Me” to sing at our infant cousin’s funeral. Dad started me on bass guitar when I was about 7. Mom worked with me on piano along about that time too, but I didn’t work on it as much as I wish I had.
HH: What were some of the major influences in your musical development?
Mylon: There have been several. Probably the greatest, other than dad and mom, was the Rex Nelon Singers. Their music was played the most in our house. Other influences would be the Speer Family and the Cathedrals.
HH: What are some of the greatest challenges that you face in your music ministry?
Mylon: The balance of home, family and singing would be one. Since there are basically four families involved now it’s much harder to juggle (so to speak) all the schedules. That’s very challenging. When it comes to the music, it’s becoming a little more challenging to pick out the right songs for a new recording. Should we stay totally traditional, should we get a little more progressive? That’s another challenge.
HH: What is your favorite part about traveling and singing gospel music?
Mylon: This is all I ever dreamed of doing so I’m really living my dream. And to continue doing this with my wife and kids is a blessing beyond words. Another favorite part is singing a song and watching it really minister to someone hurting or see someone get saved. That really does make it all worth any hardship.
HH: I have known you and your family for a long time and have seen you minister in a variety of venues. One thing that stands out to me is consistency. No matter where you are, you folks are always what you are. To what do you attribute this?
Mylon: Well, when I think of how God looks at us…there are no “BIG I’s” or “little you’s.” To borrow a phrase from a song, we’re just “common flesh and bone” so there’s no use to try to be something we’re not. That has been modeled by Dad and Mom through the years too. They have lived that consistent life in front of us.
HH: I see a number of baritone singers who also play the bass guitar, as you do. How hard is to play one part and sing another?
Mylon: I started doing that when I was a kid so it’s sort of like second nature now. It was hard in the beginning though. You know, I’m finding that it’s harder to pick things up the older I get especially when it requires coordination. So I’m glad I picked that up when I was much younger.
HH: There seems to be a new generation of Hayes musicians coming up. What do you foresee for the Hayes Family down the road?
Mylon: I’d sure be afraid to predict the future but nothing would please me more than for this ministry to continue through our kids. We are teaching them some music and starting them on various instruments so we’ll see where God leads them. We want them to follow the Lords leading more than anything.
HH: Tell us about your wife and kids.
Mylon: Well, my beautiful wife is Wendy. She is from
Morganton, NC and she loves this music and ministry. She really has her heart in it as much as I. She sings great and even has her own solo project. Her favorite group growing up was the Nelons too. We have twin boys, Conner and Bailey. They are 8 years old and are singing good now. We’ve started them on piano, bass and drums. They also enjoy sports. Baseball is their favorite. They enjoy basketball too. Our youngest is Kennedy. She is 4 years old. She also is singing well and starting on piano and drums a little bit. She has beautiful red hair which was a surprise to us all. We have pictures on the web-site if anybody wants to see.
HH: What do you like to do for relaxation?
Mylon: RELAXATION!! What’s that? Ha! I guess it would be playing with the kids. That may not be very relaxing at times but it is something I get a lot of enjoyment out of.
HH: If you could only sing one song for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
Mylon: If it’s a song that our family sings, it would probably be The Last Blood. My very favorite lyric is a song that we do not sing – The Love Of God.
Please be sure to visit the Hayes Family Ministry’s website and view the pictures as well as checking out the music that they have available.