Bruce Hedrick is riding a wave of success with his latest recording, “A Better Man,” written by Nashville songwriters David Wills and Royal Wade Kimes.
Since its release last year it has landed as high as No. 3 on the Christian music charts.
Hedrick, 48, performs locally at churches, hospitals, nursing homes and camp meetings, wherever he can share his love of music and his passion to share the gospel message.
As a boy growing up on Mill Hill in Mooresville, he traveled throughout the South on the gospel and preaching circuit with his father, a nondenominational self-described evangelist, and his mother, an accomplished pianist.
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“Mom played the piano and sang while dad preached,” Hedrick said. “We were like the musical Partridge family and I was the little red-haired boy.”
Although he had no formal musical training, he was intrigued by the idea of playing the guitar. His first instrument cost eight dollars and came from F.W. Woolworth’s, and his mother taught him three chords, G, C and D.
“Mom told me that no matter how many folks I’m singing and praying for, I should do it with all my heart,” Hedrick said.
Life took a challenging turn when his beloved mother got sick. Just 11 years old at the time, he began playing the piano in her stead, and when she died two years later, he drifted away from the church. He left home at age 15.
“I never stopped talking to God and knew his hand was on me, but I was still hurting and felt unworthy of His love,” Hedrick said.
He eventually settled into a career as a cabinet maker, but his love of music never faltered. Forming a band called Bruce Hedrick and the Cold Heart, he played honky-tonk and country music.
Marriage to wife, Lyndra, and four children followed, when in 2007, she persuaded him to join her and the family at Living Word Ministries in Statesville. A spark was reignited and he began writing songs in a style he refers to as “soulful gospel.”
That led to a touring show called “Legends of the Opry,” which recounts the story of the Grand Ol’ Opry from the 1950s to the 1990s. Later, when he opened his old family Bible, he found a rose from his mother’s funeral.
He was inspired to write a new song which he called “Roses From God” and his agent, Ronnie Caldwell, suggested they record a video for YouTube. Shot at Rock Springs Campground in Denver, the video brought renewed attention to Hedrick and the song.
A new song from Hedrick, “Gravy,” will be released in April.
Bruce Dunbridge is a freelance writer: email@example.com.
The video recording of “Roses From God” as well as his other songs can be heard on his website, BruceHedrickMusic.com.