The Sullivan Family, a bluegrass/gospel group who have played extensively on the festival circuit, were known for their distinctive, driving beat and the robust singing of Margie Sullivan. The trio was founded by Enoch and Emmett Sullivan, both of whom were born in the Tombigbee Valley in southern Alabama. The sons of a minister, the brothers grew up with a love of gospel music; they also liked string-band music and were influenced by Bill Monroe and Johnnie & Jack. Born in northern Louisiana, Margie also grew up influenced by the traditional bluegrass singers she heard on the radio. In addition to Monroe's music, she was also influenced by such female singers as Wilma Lee Cooper and Molly O'Day. After touring with evangelist Hazel Chain, she met Enoch at a revival in 1949; they married and bought a farm near St. Stephen, Alabama. As a group, the Sullivans started out playing in local churches and then appeared on a local radio station in Picayune, Mississippi. In 1950, they moved to a station in Jackson, Alabama and six years later moved to Thomasville. In 1959, they made their recording debut for Revival and later that year were befriended by Walter Bailes, on whose Loyal Records they recorded for many years. The Sullivans primarily performed at churches, on television, and on radio. Longtime friends of Bill Monroe, the Sullivans began playing at his various bluegrass festivals in 1968 and soon gained a whole new following. Over the years, the band has included other family members, including father Arthur, uncle Jerry, and Margie's youngest daughter Lisa. The band continued to perform and record on different American and Canadian labels through the '80s up to the mid-'90s.
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