Song Snapshots #7: I’m Saved (The Wilburns, The Old Paths)

Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.

Ray Scarbrough began writing songs when he was singing with a Tennessee-based quartet, The Supernals. The group competed in the 1989 National Quartet Convention talent show, singing “I’m Saved,” and placed second.

Winning that competition spurred Ray to become an active songwriter. “Up to that point,” he recalls, “we sang top 40 hits. That provided us with a little more national exposure, so that we were going to need some original material. I felt like I could do that, and I started to write from there.”

After placing second, they also signed with Sonlite Records. Ray recalls that he had already been friends with Sonlite Preisdent Chris White for years: “He actually produced my very first album when I was nine years old. I was singing with my mom and sister at the time. He owned a little recording studio, Angel Recording Studio, in a double-wide trailer in Maryville, Tennessee. He’s been family ever since.”

“I’m Saved” was Ray’s first cut by a major group. The Wilburns cut it on their 1994 album Some Things Never Change. (It was one of the last recordings Jonathan Wilburn would make with the Wilburns before leaving for Gold City.)

At the time the Wilburns recorded the song, they were still with MorningStar. Ray recalls that MorningStar executive Davie Wilcox “was making a strong push for my publishing. And I’ve been like, ‘No, I’m loyal to Chris.’ My career relationship is on a handshake; there are no contracts.” He is a Chris White Music Publishing writer to this day; dozens of his songs can be heard here.

The song was recently brought back by The Old Paths, who recorded it on their 2012 album Right Now.