Randy Dale Shelnut
Randy Shelnut was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1955 to Dale and Shirley Shelnut. He joins his father, Dale Shelnut, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. Randy is known for preserving the legendary sound of The Dixie Echoes. At thirteen, Randy started playing bass guitar with the Dixie Echoes along with his father. When manager, J.G. Whitfield decided to come off the road, Randy took over the baritone duties with the group in 1970. He said his Dad raised him loving Southern Gospel music, and his fondest memories as a kid were concerts at the Birmingham Auditorium. He loved to sit back stage and talk with the other singers and swap bus stories. The Statesmen, The Blackwood Brothers and The Florida Boys became like family to him. They also sang together on the nationally televised “Gospel Singing Jubilee”. Randy said, “You don’t realize at the time the history you are involved in. All the major groups of the day were on there. I was just a kid when we starting filming, but it was quite an event with all the comradery among the groups.”
After the untimely death of his father in 1983, Randy took over The Dixie Echoes, and assumed the lead position with the group. Over the forty-three years with the group, he has sung baritone and lead, played piano, guitars, bass guitar, fiddle, steel, and banjo. He has also played on, and produced hundreds of albums in his recording studio, Echo Sound.
Randy is an accomplished songwriter with several top 40 songs to his credit, including “I’ll Take Jesus” and “Walkin’ On.” He was voted “Favorite Baritone” in the Singing News Fan Awards in 1984 and 1985. Randy likes to make things from scratch, or take junk and turn it into something useful. One of his creations is a two-seat sport airplane which he flies. He and his son, Randy Jr. build acoustic guitars.
When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Randy replied, “Probably just like how my Dad wanted to be remembered, as a good friend. A person that loved Gospel music, loved the Lord, loved what Gospel music meant to us, and loved friends that were friends.” Randy Shelnut now takes his place with fellow members of the Dixie Echoes, J.G. Whitfield (1997), Jack Toney (2005), Billy Todd (2009), Tim Riley (2013), and his father and dearest friend, Dale Shelnut (2001) in the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.