The ministry of the Bledsoe’s began when the youngest Bledsoe brother, Jonathan, started singing at the age of two years old. His brother, Rodney, began singing harmony with Jon when Rodney was six years old. Homer Childress, otherwise known as Papa, would play the guitar and sing the third part. At the ages of thirteen, the year Rodney accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior, and nine, the brothers would suffer a great loss, the loss of their father in an automobile accident. Papa felt as though this would be the end of their singing, but thankful today, Papa will relate not only did the Bledsoe Brothers continue singing, their schedule doubled. By this point in time, Rodney had begun to play the piano by note, as well as by ear. Then Jonathan decided to learn the bass guitar.
Around 1992 something happened. The crowds no longer saw the little boys who could carry three part harmony but adolescent men who were in a transition point in their ministry. Jonathan was a freshman in high school and Rodney a freshman in college. It was during this time God began to deal with the Bledsoes in a way He never had before. He did something that most of us, as Christians know about, He placed a calling and a burden on their lives. This is when they recorded their first project “A New Beginning”, which best described how they felt. Since then The Bledsoes have completed 6 more projects and have seen many lives changed by their ministry.
In 1995, the group was blessed with another change. Their cousin, Robert Freeman, began to play the keyboards and sing. Robert now handles most all of the bus driving duties and handles the baritone part on stage.
Melissa Cates, now handles the soprano part for The Bledsoes. Melissa is no stranger to Southern Gospel, traveling for 15 years with the trio, Rejoice before joining forces with The Bledsoes, Melissa’s velvety, smooth vocal adds a distinct richness to the trio. She and her husband, Sam, currently reside in Crossville, TN. So the current trio consists of Rodney Bledsoe, Robert Freeman and Melissa Cates.
These changes have very much added to the variety of their ministry.
The Bledsoes have nationally released songs, their latest “Heaven Will Be Worth It All”, peaking in the Singing News Top 30. One of their highest charting songs to date, “I’m Glad I’m Saved” charted at # 9, in the Singing News Magazine National Top 80 Chart.
Filling over 150 dates a year, the most important person they want to share with their audiences is Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. As I have heard Rodney say many times, “Without Him our efforts are all in vain!”
Above all The Bledsoes are interested in the souls they have seen saved through the years, the winning of more souls to Christ and the blessing of their brothers and sisters in Christ. It is plain to see and hear this desire not only while talking with them, but in their concerts as well. They know that it is not their own abilities that these goals are accomplished, but through God’s abilities manifested in their lives.