Austin Music Map: Deliverance Temple in Jesus Name
KUT’s Texas Music Matters is partnering with the national Localore initiative to create the Austin Music Map: a yearlong effort to go beyond the well-traveled streets of the Austin music scene in search of the hidden places where music is being made. We want your help discovering and documenting these places. To find out how to get involved, visit the Austin Music Map website or call our hotline with stories and tips: (512) 861-8266.
When we first spoke with Greg Adkins about the gospel landscape in Austin, he immediately pointed us to The Durden Family Singers—a group led by Larry and Judy Durden, and backed by assorted brothers, sisters, nephews, and sons. The group has performed in secular settings like the Austin City Limits Festival and they’re regulars at the popular gospel brunches hosted at Threadgill’s and Stubb’s, but Adkins said the very best place to experience their music was on Saturday mornings at their church in northwest Austin.
Larry and Judy lead the congregation at Deliverance Temple in Jesus Name, a Pentecostal church that was founded by their father, Albert Durden, in 1993. Growing up, the Durdens were largely itinerant, moving every three or four years to minister at a new church in a new place. Judy recalled that the family lived in Marlin, Temple, Midland, Waco, Amarillo, Big Spring, and Odessa, before trailing off and laughing, “I can’t remember them all right now.”
In each new place, Ruby Durden, Larry and Judy’s mother, would continue to develop the musical talents of her eleven kids, who grew up singing in church choirs and rehearsing late into the night with their mother on the piano. “Since she loved the Lord so much, she was a perfectionist,” said Larry. “She believed whatever you were doing for the Lord, you had to give it your best. And so there were times she worked with my sisters until two or three o’clock in the morning because somebody missed a note or somebody came in late. She wouldn’t let you go to bed until she was satisfied or pleased.”
Music is now essential to the Durden’s worship. Their four hour services each Saturday move fluidly between preaching, testifying, and singing. Members of the congregation are on their feet for much of that time, beating tambourines, dancing, and raising their hands in praise.
“I’ve sat in services where something happened,” said Greg Adkins, who has booked the Durdens at festivals and shows around the city. “It’d be like it started in the choir and then it would just sweep over the audience— and it was just hair raising, foot tingling, it was shout ‘glory hallelujah’ time, and it was just incredible stuff.”