The Barnes Family — Generations of Gospel Music

Among the most legendary gospel­ singing families in North Carolina—and in America—is the Rocky Mount–based Barnes family. The Barnes family includes the late Bishop Faircloth “F.C.” Barnes, his son Luther Barnes, Luther’s cousin Deborah Barnes, and uncles Haywood, William, and Roy Barnes and William Pope, and other family members throughout the region.

Bishop Barnes developed his music ministry at the Red Budd Holy Church, which he founded in 1959 in a storefront in the Nash county town of Castalia. The congregation now wor­ships at its current location in Rocky Mount. Bishop Barnes, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 82, had a long career in the ministry and as a recording artist.

His fame came with the release of his song Rough Side of the Mountain, which sold half a million copies and topped the gospel charts for a year. Additional recognition came when Bishop Barnes received the North Carolina Heritage Award in 2000, and when he was inducted to the American Gospel Quartet Convention Hall of Fame in 2010.