Join three preachers with harmonizing voices while playing awesome guitars and you have excellent entertainment. Not only are Baranich, Gable & Lee talented musicians but they know how to connect with the crowd.
Kirk Gable brought the group together just two years ago and they have quickly become popular throughout the area. Kirk had been a songwriter and performed with several different bands – most of them rock and roll. However, when he received a calling to Christianity, he decided to gather a group that would play old country songs with a positive touch as well as gospel.
Kirk said, “I went looking for the best singers I knew.” He was acquainted with the Legendary Jim Lee, who was well known for his voice and played bass guitar…a sound Kirk needed. Next, he contacted Perry Baranich, a friend he had played with in previous bands as a great lead guitar.
When playing with other bands during the time of StarQuest at Capitol City Music Hall in Wheeling, each of them was a member of a band that ended up being a finalist. Perry smiled as he remembered that their band was beaten out by a young singer, Brad Paisley.
All these guys had been playing music since they were youngsters and all have learned on their own. However, it was still a surprise how easily they were able to play together with a great blend of sound. Their first performance was for the Golden Sixties at Byesville.
It just so happens that all three of these musicians are also pastors of area churches. While their churches remain the main part of their ministry, their musical performances have become an added element.
Kirk Gable, a carpenter by trade, played in a rock band with Perry until he was saved. At that time, he began playing gospel music and would fill in as an interim pastor at times.
One night after church, he heard a voice telling him, “Whatever someone asks you to do tonight, that’s what God wants you to do.” He received a phone call that evening from a group of people who needed a pastor, so he had to say yes. Today Kirk remains with that same group at the Southern Hills Baptist Fellowship in Cambridge.
Jim Lee started playing guitar when he was eight years old. When he was a freshman in college he began preaching at three churches every Sunday with another pastor taking three more in that circuit.
The minister asked Jim, “Did you ever think of using music as part of your ministry?” That combination works very well for him. Today Jim is pastor of East Nemishillen Church of the Brethren in Canton.
Perry Baranich has led a varied life as began working in the coal mines in his younger days, and later enjoyed being a voice on AVC for many years. During this time, he also sang at various places.
One night on their way home, he told his wife Jodi, “I feel that God is calling me to do something else.” When he got home there was a message on their answering machine asking him if he would be interested in being pastor at Birds Run Community Church. A quick answer! Since then, in 2014, he moved to his current church, Salesville Church of Faith.
Individual musical practice at home happens every day but they meet once a week to play together and often try out some new ideas. It is something they do strictly for fun. While they try to be mistake-free, they aren’t worried about making a perfect impression.
Their fans enjoy not only the familiar songs but the wonderful sense of humor shared by the three pastors. You can tell they are real friends by the looks they exchange and the comments they make while performing. They are making good use of the talents they were blessed with. When asked what their favorite songs were, they said they only sing songs that are their favorites. “Peace in the Valley”, “Grandpa”, and “Make the World Go Away” are a few of the crowd favorites.
They have become quite popular in the area and had concerts at the Cambridge City Park Pavilion, Guernsey County Fair, Living Free at Pritchard Laughlin, and Ohio Hills Folk Festival. They have also appeared at Epworth Park, Barnesville Pumpkin Festival, and at many churches throughout the state.
If you would like to have them play for your church or organization, please contact them through Kirk Gable at 740-680-0621 or message them on their Facebook page. They enjoy playing for wedding anniversaries, corporate meetings, or wherever they can. They just enjoy music and like to encourage people through their songs.
Since the group plays well-known country and gospel songs, quite often you’ll hear the audience sing along. After a concert, people leave with a smile on their face as they feel uplifted by the positive sounds of Baranich, Gable, and Lee – affectionately called The Pickin’ Preachers.