Thumbpicker Gives RENEWANATION Two Thumbs Up

Richard Kiser grew up wanting to play guitar like his hero, Chet Atkins.

Most of us have not realized the lofty dreams that we had as a child. Richard Kiser has. Since he was 13 years old, Kiser has been picking away, teaching himself to play like Atkins. And for the past 11 years, he has played at the annual Chet Atkins Guitar Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

In 2009, Kiser was inducted into the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Having shared the stage with the likes of Roy Clark, Charlie McCoy, Boots Randolph, the Oak Ridge Boys and many others, he has earned the respect and admiration of hundreds of artists and thousands of fans.

Kiser dedicated his life to Christ at the age of 16 and has used his talent to share the gospel ever since. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, he traveled all over the country playing lead guitar for the Sunnyside Singers and the Melody Masters, both Southern gospel groups. After his third son was born, Kiser put the demands of the road on hold for 25 years to be a full-time husband and father.

But since 2001, Kiser and his wife Esther have been back on the road. They now tour the country in their oversized RV playing for more than 125 audiences each year, ranging from stops at Cowboy churches to school groups.

Kiser’s music is a ministry.

He shares his testimony at each concert and when in schools, delivers a message to students about resisting the temptations of sex and drugs. Kiser usually breaks out a special guitar called “The Muffler,” a unique instrument made from the muffler of a 1968 Ford Thunderbird. This instrument smokes — literally. A fog machine secretly hooked up to the guitar sends clouds of smoke out of the tailpipe while he is playing.

Since the beginning of 2009, Kiser has delivered another message to his audiences: the vision of RENEWANATION.

He shares with the crowd his passion for RENEWANATION’s mission. He carries literature, DVDs, and business cards of the organization to share with those who are interested to learn more. Kiser is investing not only his talent but also a portion of his income to RENEWANATION. In June of this year, he will play host to a great line-up of artists for an annual Father’s Day concert to be held at Bethel Baptist Church in Salem, Va. All of the proceeds of this concert will benefit RENEWANATION, just as it did last year.

RENEWANATION is blessed to have such a talented ambassador.

When not on tour, Kiser is generally busy putting together a compilation of his work at his in-home studio. He has recorded eight albums; all mastered by Flat 5 Press and Recording Co. in Salem, Va. You can learn more about Kiser and his ministry at

By David Blanton – RENEWANATION Vice President