Rambo McGuire is an acclaimed family group that has a long legacy of singing Christian music. The group began over 30 years ago as a husband and wife duo with GRAMMY and Dove Award-winning artists and songwriters Dony McGuire and Reba Rambo-McGuire. The duo dynamic continues today, and they often perform as a trio with their daughter Destiny Rambo McGuire joining them on vocals. Dony and Reba’s son Israel Anthem McGuire adds to the family mix by playing percussion.
Their unique style of singing and songwriting gives Rambo McGuire the ability to perform a diversity of musical genres—from contemporary Christian, rhythm and blues, praise and worship to country, folk, bluegrass and southern Gospel—appealing to a wide variety of audiences. They have performed all over the world from storefront churches to the largest concert stages, before presidents and kings, battle-worn military troops, maximum security prisons, college campuses, and billions of viewers of Christian and mainstream television including the GRAMMY Awards. Rambo McGuire continues to travel and sing in churches and concert halls throughout the nation and is featured on Gaither Homecoming videos and concert series.
After decades of traveling around the world initially as Christian music artists and then receiving training and continuing to travel as evangelists, they put down roots in Nashville and took on the assignment of starting a church (now an online church). But before we continue this story, let’s look back at where it all began for them…
Dony McGuire was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the youngest of seven children, and was raised in a talented musical family. Along with four gifted brothers, he spent his early years traveling on weekends and summers throughout the United States, performing in churches and concert halls. At sixteen, Dony left home to pursue a full-time career in Gospel music.
Almost immediately, he was embraced by some of the most popular singing groups of the day. For several years he performed exclusively with the award-winning, legendary group The Downings.
Dony’s abilities in the recording studio suddenly shifted his focus from traveling to virtually living in the control rooms of Music City. God had gifted him not only in performing, but in producing and arranging as well. But that success came with a price.
The pressures and demands of his new lifestyle opened the door for new ways of coping. Relying on God took a backseat to alcoholism, drug addiction, and eventually dealing drugs. “Nobody sets out to be an addict,” Dony explains. “For me it started with abusing cold remedies … to drinking … smoking pot … popping pills … to snorting … shooting up. You never believe you’re an addict until it’s too late. It took getting a DUI and going to jail to begin my wake-up call.”
When Dony and Reba were married in 1980, he was well into his addiction, and she was oblivious to the extent of his disease. What appeared to be a storybook romance quickly became a nightmare. “The insanity of addiction really does become a family disease,” says Reba. “I soon became as dysfunctional and sick as Dony. We both had already gone through the hell of divorce and now a second one seemed inevitable.”
But God had other plans. Through a series of miracles (Biblical in proportion), Dony was delivered from his addictive lifestyle and their marriage restored. (You can read their amazing story in Reba Rambo-McGuire’s book, Follow the Yellow Brick Road.)
Reba Rambo-McGuire’s roots can also be traced back to a family of ministry and music. Born to Gospel music legends, Buck and Dottie Rambo, Reba’s earliest memories were of a house filled with music and traveling with The Rambos from storefront churches to the largest concert stages of the world.
The critically acclaimed recording Lady launched Reba into a whirlwind solo career performing before presidents and kings, battle-worn military troops, maximum security prisons, college campuses, concert halls and before millions of viewers of Christian and mainstream television shows.
It was in 1980 that these two outstanding careers were united when Dony and Reba joined their lives and music together in marriage. Having received recognition as recording artists, writers, and producers for many of their compositions, the highlight of their career was receiving the 1981 Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary Gospel Album” for their musical The Lord’s Prayer, which they performed on the 1982 Grammy Awards telecast. They also received a Dove Award that year for the same project.
Their albums have sold millions, their songs have been performed by some of the most famous artists, and their recordings have garnered some of the most prestigious honors and awards. However, when Dony and Reba are interviewed about their greatest achievements, they simply point to their family. “Our most cherished treasures are our laughing children, Dionne, Destiny and Israel… our sons-in-love Scott and Joel, daughter-in-love Lauren, and awesome grandson Dyson. Father God has given us these, along with His indescribable gifts of ministry. We are such wealthy people!”
In 1983, Dony and Reba broke from the concert hall circuit and began ministering primarily in churches around the world. They realized the importance God places on the local church as a source of spiritual strength and especially felt compelled to minister to the wounded body of Christ—the outcasts who were seemingly rejected by church instead of being gently restored (Gal. 6:1).
A decade later while attending revival meetings in Florida, Dony and Reba heard God distinctly ask, “Will you let Me interrupt your lives?” and “Do you have time for revival?” They immediately abandoned their one-service-only mentality and began conducting extended revival meetings in churches around the nation. During this season they mentored over thirty-six young ministry interns with “on the road, hands-on training” until they began their latest assignment at The River.
While pastoring, Dony and Reba had another “watershed moment” in January of 2005 that dramatically impacted their lives and ministry. After having an encounter with God that can only be compared to what the Apostle Paul experienced when he was converted, Dony and Reba’s hearts were supernaturally expanded to “understand how wide, long, high and deep His love is…” (Eph. 3:18) and they began unapologetically declaring God’s message of unconditional Love and Grace to all mankind!
Dony and Reba share their story as guests on WSM's Nashville Today show.