Denny Grimes is part of the CTV Beam and Citizen family, working as a camera man and in distribution, but he is also half of an award-winning local gospel singing duo. The other half of the duo is his wife Cj. Together, they host the 1st Saturday Night Sing event at Ladonia Baptist Church on Hwy 80, and the 2nd Saturday Night Sing event at Seale Baptist Church at 5077 Old Seale Highway. They have been holding the Sing at Ladonia Bapist for the past 11 years and this is their second year with the event at Seale Baptist Church.
Denny and Cj also perform at various events in the Chattahoochee Valley and operate Another Day Closer to Heaven Ministry in Phenix City.
On Nov. 2, Denny received the Chattahoochee Valley Southern Gospel Music Association’s 2019 Fan Favorite Gospel Male Artist. He also has a southern gospel CD for sale titled “Another Day Closer To Heaven” that has 10 original songs written by Denny. The CD is available for a donation to the ministry. And if that isn’t enough, Jim Foster’s Sunday Morning Homecoming Show on Boomer 102.5 FM and AM 1270 plays his original song “When I Finally Get To Heaven” on Sunday mornings during the 6 – 10 a.m., ET, time slot.
Denny said he began wanting to play music when the Beatles hit the scene back in 1957. He started a band with his cousin, singing lead and playing rhythm guitar. He graduated from Chavala High School in 1969 and then joined the National Guard. After basic training, he wanted to keep his image for the band, which meant not cutting his long hair. He had a short wig specially designed.
“Every Saturday morning, my mother would pin it (his hair) and roll it up real tight,” Denny said. “For a long time nobody knew but my closest friends. I was a cook, so I never had to get into formation and never had to take my hat off.”
He said one day when they were out at Fort Benning, an officer told him he needed to get a trim. He pulled on the wig and discovered Denny’s secret.
“He said I needed to get a haircut or go on active duty for my remaining time,” Denny said. “So, I decided to go on active duty and get it over with…”
Denny wasn’t the only one wearing a wig during that time. He had four or five other reservists who also wore wigs.
“We were a motley crew,” he said. “At summer camp, we’d take the wigs off and go into town.”
While he’d been determined to wear the wig, Denny did admit it was uncomfortable and recalled not liking having to sleep in it at times to keep his secret. During active duty, he had his head shaved four times before a law was finally passed allowing Guardsmen to wear wigs. Today, he has long hair and never wears a wig—just a black Stetson.
Denny re-enlisted, spending a total of 10 years in the National Guard. As a civilian, he did carpentry work, built houses, and played music in various bands. He lived hard and it took a while, but he eventually found his way back to God.
“I knew I was doing wrong,” Denny said. “My brother asked me to go to church on Mother’s Day at Ladonia (Baptist Church). I felt the Lord tugging at my heart. The next weekend was Memorial weekend, but my mother was out of town. Her friends wanted me to wait, so that she could see me go up front. I told the Lord, ‘Please don’t kill me until next week.’”
Denny remembers the exact date of his salvation. “I was saved on June 4, in the year 2000,” he said. Denny was 49. He has been a faithful son of the Lord ever since—19 years.
As for the future, Denny said he has 10 more songs written and hopes to make another CD in the near future. The Saturday Sing events are listed in our calendar as is Denny’s contact information.