We haven’t had a southern gospel versus CCM song smackdown in a while, so now seems as good a time as any. The two songs featured today are very similar lyrically, but they come from completely different generations stylistically. Representing the contemporary worship genre is Casting Crowns with their ballad “Who Am I?” When I first heard it I remember thinking it was one of the better worship ballads I’d heard in a while. I still think it’s a cut above average for this genre. Here is a newer, acoustic version featuring their female vocalist instead of Mark Hall:
And representing inspirational gospel, here is the Gaither Vocal Band song “Because of Whose I Am.”
I got to see Wayne Watson perform his song “The Blood of Jesus” live in concert the other night, which I had never heard before. He told the story of how it was inspired by him trying (unsuccessfully) to picture two biker boys he met walking into heaven. This video contains both the story and a performance of the song, very classily done with just Wayne on acoustic and a little choir behind him. I think it comes off a little Ken Medema-ish, which is a good thing.
I thought that while I’m polishing off that concert review (with pictures!) I’d set this song up with a song of the same name from our own The Collingsworth Family. While Watson’s “Blood” is more of a story-song with black gospel overtones, this is straightahead white gospel/inspo material. I personally enjoy both very much in their own way. See what you think…
Pitting southern gospel songs against similar songs from the world of contemporary Christian music. I think I’ve done precisely one of these so far. High time for another installment.
Both of these songs use some of the same language and imagery to refer to God’s redemptive love. But stylistically, they couldn’t possibly be more different. Keith Green’s “Your Love Broke Through” may be a blast from the past for some of you. It’s the epitome of light 70s pop. Karen Carpenter could have sung this one and it would have been a perfect fit. “Love Was In the Room” is a warm, country-styled harmony vehicle, done to perfection by the Booth Brothers.
This might come down to a matter of taste, but surely some objective comparisons could be made. I’ll just say, to kick things off, that a big strength of both songs is melodic richness. Let’s see what y’all think:
I’ve decided I’d like to start a new series. Here’s the idea: I take two songs, one drawn from Southern Gospel, the other drawn from a different genre like CCM or country, that have very similar themes (maybe even similar titles) and ask my readers which one they vote as better. Now, it would be all too easy to just pick a favorite either way and then choose something that’s obviously dreadful for the other side, but I’ll restrain myself to make it as fair as possible (although obviously I will have my own preferences). I should make it clear that my intention is not to set off a “SG versus x or y” flame-war among my readers. Rather, my hope is that this series will ultimately showcase some of the best of all genres.
I thought I would start with two songs that happen to have not merely similar, but identical titles: “Wish You Were Here.” My readers will I’m sure be familiar with the song of that name that was recorded by the Kingsmen and became a big hit for them in the 90s. But there was also a beautiful song of the same name by CCM singer Mark Harris.
So, who wins this round? The Kingsmen or Mark Harris?
Make your choice and leave a comment!