“I’m a God and country guy,” Reggie Saddler said.
The Lincoln County singer/songwriter, who performs all over the world with his family band, The Reggie Saddler Family, preaches his testimony everywhere he goes, encouraging unity among all people.
His wife Bridgette, also known as “Sugarbabe,” and youngest daughter, Ingra, 23, are also in the group.
The trio is set to perform a special concert 6 p.m. Sunday at the family’s home church, Boger City Baptist in Lincolnton.
The family hopes that all local veterans in the surrounding region attend the show.
A Vietnam veteran himself, Reggie always looks for ways to honor military men.
The Vale resident said he gained an interest in music after noticing how much it made his mom smile.
“She didn’t smile much and was a sad person,” he said.
After watching her get excited about Elvis Presley’s performances on the Ed Sullivan Show, he decided to tap into his own musical side.
“When (Elvis) made her happy, I started playing guitar,” he said.
He spent certain days of the school week performing at various locations across the country.
In addition to musical gigs, Reggie earned money growing up by working paper routes for both the Charlotte Observer and the now-defunct Charlotte News.
Following his years in school, the musical man went to work for Disney World, where he performed songs from the beach music genre and sang and networked with famous names such as Bill Cosby, the Platters and Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, among other top acts at the time.
“Disney made me interested in people,” he said.
During his time at the theme park, he noted how he often tried to keep peace among co-workers and other employees.
“That was the Lord working then,” he said, “but I didn’t know it.”
On the weekends, Reggie performed at now-historical site, the Thunderbird Hotel, a gig he acquired through the help of “Sanford and Son” actor Redd Foxx.
Foxx later got the budding musician a spot at the Las Vegas Hilton, where Reggie said he always thought he would meet Elvis and tell him how much his mother loved him.
While there, he also auditioned for world-renowned music producer Clive Davis.
Even though Davis failed to sign Reggie to a label, he left a lasting impression on him.
“He gave me a message that stuck with me,” he said. “Davis said, ‘You’ve got a lot of talent and you’ve got a lot of personality…but you need to be yourself. We don’t need another Elvis.’”
Disappointed with Davis’s decision, Reggie went back to Disney, but it wasn’t long before his life soon took another turn.
Motown producer Frank Wilson invited the young talent to a Bible study at his church, and because Reggie said he wanted to “rub shoulders with the stars,” he accepted Wilson’s offer.
The night had a remarkable impact on him after he heard the preacher speak about the love of God.
“I got a Bible and couldn’t shake what he was saying,” Reggie said.
He eventually quit his Disney job and gave away all the items — pictures and records — connected to his days of rock n’ roll.
After later meeting now-deceased Maiden business man Charles Burke, Reggie’s Christian-based musical career soon unfolded.
“It all stemmed from him,” Reggie said.
Burke connected Saddler and his family with Bill and Gloria Gaither at a popular Gospel event in Kentucky, where Reggie performed for Bill.
He went on to record one of his most popular hits with Bill, entitled “I’ve Got Me a Home.”
With Burke’s help, the Saddlers — five members strong at the time — gained much popularity, both locally and internationally.
Burke helped promote and produce the group’s CDs and connected them to other famous Gospel and Bluegrass music stars of the day.
“He spoiled us rotten,” Reggie said.
Since forming in the 1990s, The Reggie Saddler Family has accrued much success but prefer the simple life when at home, keeping local performances to a minimum and referring to their tunes as “Cat Square music” when in town.
“We keep a low profile,” Reggie said. “When we come here, we just want to be Cat Square people.”
The group now consists of three members after Reggie’s oldest two daughters left the group, on good terms, for different reasons.
An evangelist missionary, the 69-year-old’s primary goal now is to use his music to bring others together and preach Christian truth, always giving his testimony at each show.
“We want to unite Lincoln County,” he said. “We don’t want black (people) on one end and white on the other.”
When it comes to performing, Reggie most enjoys showcasing his patriotism and faith.
“I love the United States of America,” he said.
While the group writes a majority of their songs, they also perform a number of classic hymns at concerts.
Their Bluegrass-country hit “Have a Blessed Day in the USA” is currently ranked no. 7 on the American Gospel charts, Reggie said.
In addition, their song “The Real Thing” reached no. 2 on the Singing News charts.
For more information on The Reggie Saddler Family, visit saddlerfamily.com.