Editor Discusses Stice's Accolades, Time Spent Together On Road
by Darren Doyle, Edmonson Voice Editor
Jeff Stice, age 61, an award-winning gospel pianist and Edmonson County resident, has died from complications from a fall in his home on August 28th that resulted in serious neck and spinal injuries.
Jeff was the son of (the late) Jimmy and Evonia Stice and began playing piano at an early age. He began playing for his father's quartet at the age of 15 and after graduating from ECHS in 1978, he went on to major in Piano Performance at Western Kentucky University. Shortly after, Jeff was offered a job with The Blackwood Brothers, where he played for the next four years. He then joined The Rex Nelon Singers on the piano where he received his first award, "Favorite Young Artist" by the Singing News Magazine.
He would leave the Nelons to help form the award-winning male quartet Perfect Heart in 1990. The group's very first song, "Somebody Touched the Lord," went number one on the Singing News charts and would win "Southern Gospel Song of the Year" in 1990. Jeff would later hire me as a vocalist for the group in 1997. We traveled together until the group disbanded in 1999.
In 2002 he was offered an opportunity from Louise Mandrell to put together a quartet for her theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which led to Jeff helping form the award-winning Triumphant Quartet, as pianist, producer, and arranger for 12 years. Jeff also played in Louise’s orchestra on several occasions.
JEFF STICE PERFOMING "I'VE GOT CONFIDENCE" (featuring Darren Doyle on backing vocals)
During this twelve year span, Jeff was honored to receive a number of awards and nominations. He was voted Musician of the Year in 2007 by the Southern Gospel Music Guild and received Favorite Musician of the Year Award in 2009 and 2012 at The Southern Gospel Fanfare. In 2007 he was inducted into The Edmonson County Music Hall of Fame in Brownsville. In 2010 and 2011 he received Grammy and Dove Award nominations for the album "Love Came Calling," which he co-produced with Wayne Haun. He produced and arranged the album "Songs From the Heart" which was voted Favorite Album of the Year in 2012 for The Singing News Magazine. He also received the Musician of the Year Award by The Singing News Magazine in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. He was most recently awarded AGM Musician of The Year.
Jeff’s music allowed him to travel all around the United States and Canada as well as the opportunity to perform at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall on more than one occasion.
Jeff moved back home to Edmonson County after his departure from Triumphant Quartet to spend more time with family and enjoy a solo career.
Jeff gave me my first opportunity to be a professional musician and singer. As a 21-year old kid, Jeff took me under his wing and showed me how to be a professional. We didn't always see eye-to-eye, but I respected him not only for his amazing talent, but also for his grit, determination, work ethic, and competitive spirit that helped shape the person I am today.
After Perfect Heart disbanded, Jeff and I lost touch for several years. While we shared a phone call here and there, I didn't really reconnect with him until he moved back to Edmonson County a few years ago. There, he and I would exchange studio work with each other, where he'd play piano on some recording projects I'd produce in my spare time, and I'd perform and arrange some backing vocals on his piano projects.
He called to invite me to a Perfect Heart Reunion a couple years ago in Memphis and I chose not to go because of work and other commitments. Looking back, I wish I'd gone.
Watch Perfect Heart Switch Parts and Perform "Have a Little Talk With Jesus:" Jeff Sings Tenor and Darren Plays Piano
Three years ago, my youngest daughter, Alyssa, was scheduled to perform "God Bless the USA" at a veterans program at school. She was going to sing with a prerecorded soundtrack, but as she took the stage, the track malfunctioned and she was stuck on stage, scared, and alone. Jeff was in the crowd that day as his daughter was also performing. He knew who Alyssa was and he jumped on stage to the piano. He asked her if she knew in what key she performed the song, which luckily, she did. He played the song flawlessly, just like he'd done it a million times. She got a standing ovation and had no clue who he was. Afterwards, she thanked him for bailing her out and his reply was, "I was glad to help. I'm a friend of your dad. Tell him I owed him one."
We'll miss you, Jeff.
He is survived by his wife and children and funeral arrangements will be handled locally this week. The obituary will be published in the Edmonson Voice once available.