The Lighthouse Boys

The Lighthouse Boys

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Lighthouse Boys

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Origin = Bakersfield, California, U.S.
Genre = Southern Gospel
Years_active = 1974—present
Label =
Associated_acts =
URL = []
Current_members = Mark Underwood Steve Johnson Bill Underwood Stephen Underwood
Past_members = Tim Cantu
Daythan Fernandez
Ken Edwards
John Edwards
Terry Mullin
Tim Williams
Mike Smith
Kenny Knight
Gary Miller
Frank McNinch
Jeff Edwards
Joe Underwood

The Lighthouse Boys have toured the country performing Southern Gospel Music for the better part of four decades. They have overcome tragedy and trials within their own families and ministry. Their place in the rich musical history of Bakersfield is firm. While other groups have left the west coast to search for a more productive roll in music, The Lighthouse Boys made the decision early on, to make the Bakersfield Sound apart of their own style and carry that legacy into Gospel Music.

The Beginning (The 70s)

Started in 1974 in Bakersfield, CA - The Lighthouse Boys began their musical ministry on the West Coast of the United States. Founding members “Mark Underwood” & “Steve Johnson” began writing songs in the back of an old pick up truck in 1973. By '74 Mark’s older brother “Bill Underwood” joined to start up the group as a trio. They began performing up and down California.

In 1975 Mark attended a concert that was put on by The Jesus Music band Amplified Version, Mark began to talk with them, they convinced Mark that for The Lighthouse Boys to continue successfully they needed to get a sound system to take with them on the road, so that same year a Sound System was purchased. In 1976 The Lighthouse Boys became a full quartet when Frank McNinch joined on Bass vocals to fill out the sound. They also added Garry Miller on Bass Guitar and Kenny Knight on Drums to fill out the rest of the band.

In 1977 The Lighthouse Boys performed at The Blackwood Brothers and Gospelares Talent Show in Fresno, CA at the Selland Arena.

In 1978, the group began recording their first album. They entered "“Buck Owens Recording Studio”" with the buckaroos and started recording 5 of the songs that would go on that record. Jim Shaw who produced the album was later quoted as saying "“They were fun sessions. I just remember they had a nice, gospel-flavored country sound and that we enjoyed working with The Lighthouse Boys” (– [ A 30-year musical journey, Bakersfield Californian January 31, 2004] )"

The 80s

By 1980 The Lighthouse Boys finished and released their 1st album and went through a major member change. With new members Tim Cantu, Daythan Fernandez, Ken Edwards and John Edwards along with Mark and Bill the group had won their first award, recorded a live album and had become the hottest thing in the west.

During the early 80s after slowing their schedule down considerably, Mark & Steve continued to write songs that would eventually re-define the group’s sound. The group continued to make appearances on local TV programs and various Annual Events. By 1987 the group entered the studio again and decided to re-emerge on the road, this time joined on drums by Bill’s son “Stephen Underwood.” The group quickly soared to the top of the west again.

The 90s

In December 1989, The Lighthouse Boys recorded a 6 song EP but soon after the recording, Ken Edwards left the group. A young man by the name of Terry Mullin joined as lead singer. The Lighthouse Boys released the previous six songs as a compilation album with five songs from their first album in 1993. In 1994 After a return of Ken Edwards and a move down to Bass vocals for Terry, The Lighthouse Boys went back into the studio where they felt at home; Fat Tracks” was formerly The Buck Owens Recording Studio. The group released their 3rd full length album “Golden Classics,” the album brought their first radio single “Midnight Cry” which quickly soared to the top of play lists all over the country. They began touring the United States that same year. On December 31st 1994 while The Lighthouse Boys celebrated their 20th Anniversary, the original quartet Mark Underwood, Steve Johnson, Bill Underwood and Frank McNinch reunited for one concert they performed fives songs from their first album.

In 1997 they signed a one project deal with Lamp Music and became the first California group to perform at Suwannee River Jubilee held in Live Oak, Florida. The quartet went on and performed at The Great Western Quartet Convention ("a spin off event from the National Quartet Convention") from 1997-2001.

In 1999 upon celebrating 25 years, Stephen Underwood landed in the hospital with only a 30% chance of living due to Gangrene, it had already entered his blood stream. After many prayers from all over the country, Stephen recovered and rejoined the group on stage just two weeks after surgery.


In March 2000 The Lighthouse Boys released “Golden Classics 2” this would be the final album with Ken Edwards. In October after 20 years with The Lighthouse Boys, Ken Edwards left the group, Terry Mullin and Tim Williams left as well to reform “Golden State Quartet.” In December of that same year, Bill Underwood went under ankle surgery and a quadruple bypass all within the same week. The Lighthouse Boys took a much needed rest from the road.

In 2001 not wanting to see the group fade into the sunset, original member Steve Johnson stepped back in as Bass Singer, and The Lighthouse Boys set back out on the road. In 2002 The Lighthouse Boys met up with producer Mark Yeary and recorded the single “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.” The song was recorded for a special compilation project called IAMM volume 1.

30 year mark

In November 2003, The Lighthouse Boys met up with a piano player originally from Lamont, CA. Mike Smith grew up watching The Lighthouse Boys and The Crownsmen perform before moving to the Bible Belt to play with several Southern Gospel groups himself. Upon his return to California, he joined The Lighthouse Boys as their new pianist, with the addition of Mark’s son Joe Underwood on Bass Guitar and Drummer, Jeff Edwards (son of former member Ken Edwards), The Lighthouse Boys were a full live band again.

In February 2004, the group finally turned 30. The group was on one of their busiest tour schedules in a few years. The Lighthouse Boys was rebuilding the core of their ministry with Mike Smith as a main staple in the line up. In the summer of that year, he bought a Motor Cycle to help him get from Bakersfield, CA to his home in New Cuyama, CA and to his Job in Santa Maria, CA. July 11, 2004 at Bishop Calvary Baptist in Bishop, CA was Mike’s last performance with The Lighthouse Boys and last performance ever. He performed his favorite song “I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before” and “Jesus is a Friend of Mine,” a song he wrote a few years prior to joining The Lighthouse Boys. Later that same week, Mike was found by his bike after falling asleep while driving home from work. He had ran off the road in the hills outside of Santa Maria, CA.

In October Bill Underwood left the road to pastor a church, Steve Johnson had left the year before to start a company with his wife. Mark brought up his son Joe Underwood to sing baritone and the group set out as a trio for the first time in several years.

The Best of

In 2005 the group released “The Best of The Lighthouse Boys 1974-2004” that featured 32 songs from all six albums and included the group’s single “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” and the previously unreleased track “Peace in the Valley"; taken from studio sessions recorded in 1995. By the end of the year the group decided to take a small hiatus from the road.

Return of the Classics

In 2006 Mark, Steve, Bill & Stephen came back together to perform selected dates, their first concert back was the 2006 Great Western Southern Gospel Fan Festival at The Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA. They again performed their in 2007 and introduced a new single From Heaven's Point of View. The Lighthouse Boys are currently working on a brand new album and hope to have it out sometime in 2008.


Past members

The Lighthouse Boys became a training ground for some of today's up and coming musicians and singers in the business. The following are just a few of those past members.

* Tim Cantu - Drums (1979-1986, 1999: "(went on to be a well sot after drummer, performing with many other bands up and down the west coast, also became a DJ for Bakersfield's KLLY Soft Rock Radio Station)"
* Daythan Fernandez – Lead Guitar (1979-1981): "(went on to perform with The Press and The Majestics)"
* Ken Edwards – Lead vocals, Bass Guitar (1979-1991, 1993-2000): ("started with The Edwards Family. went on to reform Golden State Quartet)"
* John Edwards – Bass Vocals; Rhythm Guitar (1979-1983): "(started with The Edwards Family. Went on to join Golden State Quartet)"
* Terry Mullin – Lead Vocals (1991-1992) Bass Vocals (1993-2000): "(later joined The Regents of Southern California, reformed Golden State Quartet, joined The Songfellows and The Blackwood Gospel Quartet, Terry also worked for Homeland Records, and owns his own recording studio with his wife Kathy.)"
* Tim Williams – Tenor Vocals (1998-2000): "(later joined The Regents of Southern California, reformed Golden State Quartet, joined The Songfellows and worked for Homeland Records, today tours with The Melody Boys Quartet)"

Studio Alumni

A list of Producers, Engineers and Musicians that have recorded with The Lighthouse Boys in the studio. This list includes a list of each artists' recording/performance credits

*Jim Shaw – Engineer, Keyboards: "Buck Owens, Buddy Alan, Ringo Star, Dwight Yoakum"
*Doyle Curtsinger – Bass Guitar: "Buck Owens, Buddy Alan, Ringo Star"
*Terry Christoffersen – Guitar, Steel Guitar: "Buck Owens, Buddy Alan"
*Mark Yeary – Producer, Keyboards: "Merle Haggard"
*Max Reese – Engineer: "Korn, Tom Petty, Big House"
*Tracy Heaston – Producer, Keyboards: "Branson, MO, The Crownsmen"
*Mike Pillow – Producer: "Naomi & The Segos, John Lanier"
*Steve "Rabbit" Easter - Dobro, Banjo: "The Happy Goodmans, The Easters, The Nelons, The LeFevres"


*1980 The Lighthouse Boys "(TLB Records)"
*1993 The Lighthouse Boys "(TLB Records)"
*1994 Golden Classics "(TLB Records) radio single "Midnight Cry"
*1997 After I Get to Heaven "(Lamp Music) never released"
*2000 Golden Classics 2 "(TLB Records)"
*2003 The Lighthouse Boys - LIVE "(TLB Records) Labor day 1980"
*2003 After I Get to Heaven "(TLB Records)"
*2005 The Best of The Lighthouse Boys 1974-2004 "(TLB Records)"


* Gospel Voice Magazine June 1994 “Just West of Here”
* Resource Publications, "The Christian Music Directories" formerly "The Recording Locator" -
* The Lighthouse Boys Official Website
* Interview with The Lighthouse Boys on
* "A 30-Year Musical Journey" Bakersfield Californian Newspaper (must have a user name and password)

External links

* [ The Lighthouse Boys Official Website]
* []
* [ Bakersfield Californian Official Website]

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