Classic live video of Russ Taff above.
“The advice I’d give to someone starting out is to be yourself,” Taff said. “When I started in 1976 it was wide open. Now the Christian music industry has turned into this mammoth business. So now people try to change you, change your look, change your sound, style. Just be yourself. That is what God has given you and what has gotten you this far. Be yourself. Fight to be yourself.”
In his long career Taff has faced ups and downs with the help of his friends.
“When I started off I had a rough time and was wondering where God was, and I was told to ‘Read the red. Read what Jesus said not what someone has told you,’” he said. “And I fell in love with Jesus. I’m finally the man I’ve always wanted to be. The husband I always wanted to be …”
Taff credits his friend and mentor Bill Gaither for helping him through the rough patches.
“We are all dealing with something. You have got to push forward. We are at war. We are fighting for the souls of men. Bill Gaither has helped me so much. He said you got to keep going. And now I want to help others. If someone is shot with an arrow I want to go to them and help them keep on fighting.”
Jason Crabb, Donnie McClurkin and Wess Morgan paid tribute to Taff at the Doves singing “Ain’t No Grave,” “Praise the Lord,” and “Take My Hand.” When Taff, who teared up while in the audience during the tribute, went on stage, Morgan urged him to sing, and he belted out a heart-felt “We Will Stand.”
After the song Taff said: “I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for the person who I’ve fallen madly in love with over these last few years. I fell in love with Jesus Christ.
Taff’s short speech was a perfect ending to the tribute:
“The group that sings Sunday mornings at local churches is just as important as the group that’s packing music halls on Saturday nights. Be kind to one another. Love one another. Care for one another. I’m so proud. I’m so proud to be a Gospel singer and to sing about the one who makes all things new.”
Below are videos of Russ and a link to the performers who paid tribute to Russ at the Doves.
Here’s a link of what the performers said after their tribute to Russ.