Often describing themselves at gospel music's answer to Boyz II Men, the Wardlaw Brothers are five siblings who use the natural blend of their voices to create a sound that mixes smooth soul and vocal jazz with classic gospel while filled with the power of the Lord's message. Born and raised in Lyons, Georgia, the Wardlaw Brothers are the sons of Rev. Carl Wardlaw Jr., who spent more than 15 years as the pastor at Vidalia, Georgia's First African Baptist Church. While the pastor himself was no singer, he was a fan of classic gospel groups such as the Swan Silvertones and the Dixie Hummingbirds, and he and his wife taught their children the valuable role of music in worship. During a period when Rev. Wardlaw was the pastor at a church in the state of Washington, the Wardlaw Brothers became involved in the church's music ministry, and the group's sound, inspired by Boyz II Men and the jazz-influenced gospel vocal group Take 6, began to take shape, with four of the brothers -- Carl Anthony "Tony" Wardlaw, Martin Luther "Lute" Wardlaw, Carl "Carlo" Wardlaw III, and Rodney Allen "Baby Boy" Wardlaw -- trading off on lead vocals and harmonies, with Cornelius "Jamie" Wardlaw providing the supportive bass vocals.
In 2000, the Wardlaw Brothers recorded their first album, Putting My Life in Your Hands, on an independent label based in Georgia, and while it received little attention outside their home state, one track, "Saddle Up," received enough airplay to become a regional hit. The success of their first album convinced the Wardlaw Brothers to devote more time to their music, and they released an independent six-song EP in 2004, Only Believe, followed by a 2008 single for EMI Gospel, "All I Need" b/w "Somewhere Listening." As the group's popularity was on the rise, the Wardlaw Brothers decided they wanted to have greater control over their music and message, so they launched their own label, TWB Records; they had already issued an album through TWB, The ForeRunner, in 2007, and their label also issued their next two projects, Delivered and God's Been There, as well as a handful of singles, including "We Will Survive" (a benefit release for survivors of cancer) and their interpretation of "Lift Every Voice and Sing." The Wardlaw Brothers have also made numerous television appearances, including a spot on BET's The Bobby Jones Gospel Show and a memorable episode of the game show Family Feud, and the siblings also performed two songs in the independent Christian film On Angel's Wings. ~ Mark Deming