At the suggestion of a reader and after gathering more info, I’ve decided to move to a self-hosted WordPress site with the new name: yankeegospelgirl.com. It may not look like a seismic shift, but I like it for several important reasons: First, it’s still familiar to people who’ve gotten to know me through my work promoting gospel music. Second, it’s distinctive. Finally, with an unmodified “gospel” in the name (well, unmodified except for “yankee” of course), it better reflects the scope of this site, namely to explore the gospel writ large, whether that be through music, film, or my own theological ramblings. Removing “wordpress.com” has the added benefit of a simpler and more professional appearance. I plan to make one more post this week, then purchase my new domain over the weekend. After this, I’ll allow a few more days in case WordPress needs to transfer any subscribers before making a new post next week, which will be that research bio I mentioned before. For those curious about who the subject is, I will give you the clue that he would have been 89 years old tomorrow, and he was one of the greatest talents of his generation. His story is both heart-breaking and inspiring, but it’s hardly ever been told well, much less from a Christian perspective. I aim to rectify this on both counts.
All readers will automatically be redirected to my new address, so you should not be left staring at any “Oops, something’s gone wrong, sorry” pages. In the unlikely event that you do, keep my e-mail address handy (my newsogofan gmail account is still active, or you can use estherioreilly@…) and PLEASE write and tell me if you are experiencing weird stuff. Thanks so much for making this transition with me!
[Note: This post originally had some information about how I thought subscribers would be affected by a move that I've since learned may not be true. I've amended it accordingly.]
As you can see, I’ve changed my header from “Southern Gospel Yankee” to “Yankee Gospel Girl.” Functionally, this is a very minor change which shouldn’t affect your experience of the site at all, except that it has a shiny new header now. However, a change of address is a bigger deal, so I haven’t done that yet. In combination with my purchase of a site redirect from WordPress, this will redirect traffic from southerngospelyankee.wordpress.com to yankeegospelgirl.wordpress.com. One possible change is that subscribers from the old address will have to be moved to the new one (though a, I’m actually not sure about that, and b, even if this is the case, the process can be automated by the WordPress team so you don’t all have to re-subscribe individually). So, I’m not in a great hurry to do that. For one thing, I’m excited to share my latest research project with all y’all soon, and it’s a real gem that I don’t want anyone to miss in the confusion—maybe my best work since the Steve McQueen piece. So, I’ll be sure to give you all advance notice if and when an address change is pending. Meanwhile, lest anyone be confused, southerngospelyankee.wordpress.com is still the right place to come.
It’s come to my knowledge that some criteria have changed since I was first offered the chance to move my blog to Patheos, so that what with one thing and another, the opportunity has been taken off the table for the moment. The new editor has been very friendly and helpful, but after consulting with the content director, he’s advised me to spend more time building my own brand first. So, since the majority of you were at least comfortable with a name change, I’m thinking that this is the most logical choice all things considered. That way I can hopefully begin to grow a wider audience, but on my own turf. I will let you know when this is happening, but your experience should be seamless if my understanding is correct, since simply changing the name of a free wordpress site isn’t supposed to be a big deal. Thank you all once again for giving your opinions. I look forward to continuing to produce great content for you!
[Note: I will close the poll next Tuesday, so get your vote in now!]
This week I’m taking a mini-break to focus on some other things (come back on Friday oops, I mean Wednesday—looks like I forgot to un-schedule a post!) so I thought it might be a good moment to run a question by all you readers in the form of a poll. But first, some reflections.
As you all know, I love southern gospel music. A great gospel song, delivered well, never fails to stir my soul. It’s one of the only currently active genres where I can count on hearing something I like every year. At the same time, a part of me sympathizes with the choice made by people like Daniel J. Mount, who recently stepped down from his excellent daily blog. Part of his argument was that there are many outlets for southern gospel news, and increasingly, he felt his blog was becoming obsolete. Since then, sites like Lauren’s Views From the Pew have stepped into the gap with excellence, enthusiasm and to-the-minute energy. Meanwhile, Musicscribe’s panel of writers enables them to keep up a constant rotation of news, commentary, history and reviews. The frequent posting and high quality of these outlets sometimes make me wonder what I have to bring to the table that’s fresh and distinctive. Continue reading →
Welcome! I’m Yankee Gospel Girl (formerly Southern Gospel Yankee), but you can call me Esther. I’m an old soul with many interests, and I promote southern gospel music along with everything else good, true and beautiful. If you’re a first-time visitor, thanks for reading! Check out my “About” page, follow me on Youtube, and browse around in the filing cabinet for my musings on all genres of music, movies, faith & culture, and old stuff. Whether you’re a fan of gospel music or just another old soul like me, I hope you like what you find! God bless.
Work and study commitments are leaving me with less free time, so I have enlisted the capable aid of fellow young bloggers Brian Fuson (Fuson’s Findings) and Lauren of Southern Gospel Views From the Pew to fill in the gaps here for the next two weeks. I’m sure you will appreciate their passion for and knowledge of this music as much as I do! There will still be a light video on Mondays (look for a vintage songwriting spoof next week), and then Brian and Lauren will each contribute one guest post per week, reviewing some music and offering concert reports. Lauren plans to catch both Brian Free & Assurance and the Whisnants. I will continue to moderate comments, so please feel free to leave your thoughts under their posts. I know they’ll appreciate it. Check out their own sites too while you’re at it!
Thanks for your continued readership. See you at the end of July!
Thank you to all those who participated in my little reader survey. I’m back from my short hiatus with survey results and lots of writing ideas! The other day, the number of participants reached 50, which is a nice round little number, so I thought I would close the poll on that note. (If you wanted to vote but didn’t get a chance, feel free to comment below with your answers.) Some results were expected, some surprising. In fact, I am embedding one additional question on a question here, since the result I got was so unexpected that it appears I needed to broaden my options selection!
Here is what I discovered about you all, my dear readers. I learned in stats class that 50 is an indicative sample, so that’s how I will treat it in this report:
1. I discovered that a little over 1/3 of you identify yourselves with some “Other” denomination than one of the options I gave, which is exactly as many as identified Baptist. So, clearly I need a follow-up question: If you chose “Other,” or if you didn’t take the survey because it looked too long and strange but you can find time for a single question, please select which “Other” you are, if not Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist or Pentecostal. I think I know which one I forgot that was getting all the votes, but I’ll see if my hunch shakes out here:
2. I discovered that nearly half of you are over 50, with the 31-50 demographic a distant second.
3. I discovered that in the car, 2/3 of you reach for Southern Gospel (you think maybe?) but curiously, the distant second place went not to one of the other genres I provided, but to something “Other.” Presumably this would include jazz, pop, classical, chorale, and other genres I left out. Sadly, it appears that none of you reach for classic rock! Ah well, just because that’s what I reach for…
4. I discovered that an overwhelming majority of you, 83%, identify as “right or right-leaning.” No surprise there, what I am surprised about is that I have anyone still reading who is “left or left-leaning!” Furthermore, I was surprised to note that all five readers who chose that option were over 50, while I think all but one reader under the age of 30 identified as right-leaning.
5. Tastes were split pretty evenly on movies/TV, with “family” just edging out comedy and drama at 29%, 23% and 21% respectively.
6. About 2/3 of you are yourselves musically inclined, which I was happy to see.
7. More of you drew a blank on who John Piper and Andy Stanley are (60%) than on Star Wars and Star Trek (42%)! But Andy Stanley and Star Wars nosed forward among those who did have an opinion.
8. At least 39% of you hadn’t even heard of the Discovery Institute, with 53% going decisively for Answers in Genesis. One thing that interested me was that Answers in Genesis got votes even among those identifying as “left-leaning” or “other” politically. Not that I consider the Discovery Institute “left-leaning” by any means (don’t confuse them with Peter Enns and the hacks at Biologos!), but I just see AiG types being targeted even more often and more vitriolically by those on the left. However, for those of you who would like a little more information about Discovery and their work both in the area of intelligent design and economics, here is their website.
9. 3/4 of you duked it out over Perry Mason vs. Columbo, and it was a heated battle but Perry Mason received one vote more. I was interested to see that about half of my younger readers were NOT left scratching their heads on this particular question!
10. The Cathedrals beat Gold City hands down. It wasn’t even close.
11. 88% of you offered your opinion on Beach Boys vs. Beatles, and after a competitive race, the boys of California just squeaked past the boys of Liverpool.
12. 86% of you weighed in on Elvis vs. Johnny Cash, and the King scored a decisive 60% victory.
Hi everyone! This is finals week, so I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from the blogosphere. I hope to return some time next week, when I will hopefully have written a review of the Mark Trammell Quartet concert I attended recently, a review of God’s Not Dead, a review of another Christian movie recently released on video that I’m very excited about but will leave nameless as a teaser, and who knows what else? Meanwhile, I’m conducting a little reader survey. My corner of the web gets traffic from a few different “streams” out there (most recently/bizarrely, my post on the blasphemy of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has gotten hundreds of hits from a Canadian Huffington Post piece), and so I’m curious to get a rough idea of how many people I’m either engaging, offending, or boring to tears with a given post. For a few options, I have added a “What?” or a “Who?” which is NOT meant to insult anybody who isn’t wondering! It is merely an attempt to encompass as many people as possible…younger, older, etc. Most of the questions are musical, but there are also a few more general questions.
All info is collected anonymously, but if you simply don’t want to answer something, the survey will let you skip it.
Have fun! Click below the fold for the survey. I believe results don’t show up for third party viewers, but I’ll provide stats once I return to blogging and close it. Continue reading →
This is a quick note to inform you that it appears I no longer have control over whether or not an embedded video’s related videos appear on my site after the clip has finished playing. I’m very annoyed about this, because sometimes I can embed a perfectly good video that has something inappropriate in the sidebar. For a long time there’s been a feature enabling me to cut all that out when I embed. Now, apparently, I can’t anymore. In light of this, I will try to be especially careful to choose versions of videos that don’t have foul words or images right in related vid preview stills. Just be warned that so-called “related videos” can sometimes be completely unrelated. It could be a song that’s currently “hot” and has NOTHING to do with the clip I embedded! (Although some genuinely related videos might contain inappropriate content too, e.g., a song I do NOT endorse by a non-Christian artist I happen to like.)
Piggy-backing off that last point, please also keep in mind that if it’s Monday Morning Humor, and there’s a related video from the same source I took a clip from, that related video may not be appropriate! I pick and choose “funnies” from a variety of sources, some of which are not Christian. So DON’T assume that I am recommending an entire show, group or comedian because I posted a couple good things from them.
With a hat tip to Tim Challies, who always has good tips about time management, I’ve discovered the Internet monitoring tool I’ve always been looking for: Chrome Nanny. It’s constructed to help those of us who are a little less controlled than the rest of you in our compulsory Internet-surfing habits. You can block out times of day when certain sites are not allowed, allow yourself only limited amounts of time per session, or arrange so that certain sites are blocked all the time. I started using it the other day, and I’m impressed! Also courtesy of Challies, I set it up to redirect me to this page. A very nice motivational message for people like me who need it.
Of course, there are ways to get around it, but as a demotivator, Chrome Nanny is designed to generate a long, random string of variables which must be accurately typed out (no cut and paste!) in order to allow me to change my settings. They’ve judged smartly that most folks will probably give up 32 characters in and decide it’s not worth it just to snatch a few extra moments on twitter!
If any of my Chrome-using readers feel they could use a bit of nannying to nudge them towards greater productivity, I highly recommend this tool.