Does Southern Gospel Need Youthful Appeal?

Recently I was browsing the Musicscribe mega-blog (which y’all should check out in its full glory here), and I read a contribution from Kyle Boreing about the country/gospel sister act Red Roots. Kyle praised the sisters’ smart, creative marketing choices, holding them up as a tasteful but effective example for the rest of the industry in this area. Specifically, he highlighted their use of radio contests and music videos. And it’s paying off, as they’ve gotten significant airplay and a handful of new artist nominations.

I also like Red Roots and agreed with most of Kyle’s points. However, I gently pushed him a bit on one line in his post. When he listed the sisters’ accomplishments, he added “… and they’re doing it with a youthful appeal that is otherwise SORELY lacking in gospel music.” That wording caught my eye: SORELY lacking. Continue reading “Does Southern Gospel Need Youthful Appeal?”

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George Jones and Vestal Goodman

I was inspired to go look up this video when I heard of the passing of country legend George Jones. It tells the unforgettable story of how Vestal Goodman, in her words, “ran the devil off” at George’s place when he was deep in depression but asked for Vestal to visit him.

I don’t know whether the lonely old Possum ever trusted his life completely to Jesus before he died. If this article is any indication, it seems that he at least had a desire for the gospel. Hopefully he’s up there with Vestal singing in that angel band right now.

SG vs. CCM Smackdown: “Your Love Broke Through” and “Love Was in the Room”

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:

Kermit Gosnell, Evil, and Spiritual Warfare

A review of that Legacy Five concert is forthcoming. (And I didn’t mention this, but Greater Vision was there too and debuted some new songs!) However, I was too wacked from two back-to-back, early-morning math finals to focus on giving it the report it deserved. But I promise it’s coming, pictures and all. Meanwhile, here’s a mini-rant I threw together last night in the wake of some of the evil America has been experiencing over the past month. First we learned about Kermit Gosnell (may his memory be erased), now the Boston bombings. At the same time, I wanted to draw my readers’ attention to an absolutely incredible upcoming documentary from Korea about a pastor who started an orphanage for unwanted children (shades of Gladys Aylward in China). My intent is to lambaste some of the dumb rhetoric I’ve seen swirling around the Gosnell case and the bombings while daring to suggest that the world really can be divided into “good guys” and “bad guys” (sorry Tim Keller). So yeah, this is going to be a rather militant post. Sensitive readers, you’ve been warned. Continue reading “Kermit Gosnell, Evil, and Spiritual Warfare”

The Unfortunate Legacy of Brennan Manning

[Editor’s note: I still gets dozens of hits on this page daily, so if you’re a visitor and you like what you read, welcome! You might have guessed that this isn’t just a southern gospel site, so if you’d like to know more, check out the short version here. Thanks!]

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Brennan Manning died last week. Yet another in a strikingly long list of notable deaths over the span of just a few short weeks here in April, including Edith Schaeffer, Margaret Thatcher, and, most recently, George Beverly Shea (may their righteous memories be a blessing). The news of Manning’s death prompted me to do a bit of digging on exactly what kind of gospel he taught. I knew that The Ragamuffin Gospel was a profound influence on one of my favorite songwriters, Rich Mullins, whose Ragamuffin Band was named after Manning’s book. But I also knew that he’s been quoted, claimed and cited as an inspiration by a lot of openly liberal Christians (as just one example, Christian worship leader Carlos Whittaker has a blog entitled Ragamuffin Soul). The fact that so many different people thought he was so wonderful left me a little confused, and curious.

After my research, I could only sigh and echo Master Yoda: “Expected this is. And unfortunate.” Continue reading “The Unfortunate Legacy of Brennan Manning”

All Active Former Cathedrals to Reunite in Concert

For the first time ever, ALL currently touring ex-Cathedrals are going to reunite in a November concert. This includes Danny Funderburk, Gerald Wolfe, Scott Fowler, Ernie Haase, and Mark Trammell. Get all the goods in this press conference:

There’s already been a DVD featuring former Cathedrals, but it did not feature Ernie. This concert brings everyone together. Gerald seemed to be implying that it will not be captured on DVD, which I’m sad about because I don’t travel, so I’ll never make it to Fort Worth to see this in action.

What about you? You planning to make it?

Southern Gospel vs. The Rest of the World: Sisters and The Andrews Sisters

This one occurred to me the other day, and my instant thought was “Duh! Of course!” So here’s a family harmony installment of Southern Gospel vs. The Rest of the World.

First, The Andrews Sisters. I have a special fondness for these gals because I grew up on them. My folks gave me a greatest hits collection and a double-disc collection of their duets with Bing Crosby for Christmas one year when I was a little girl. That was around the same time they put The Great Gershwin Decca Songbook in my hands. For months on end, I was in jazz heaven, singing along with everything from Judy Garland to Louis Armstrong’s trumpet (mixed success on the later). Continue reading “Southern Gospel vs. The Rest of the World: Sisters and The Andrews Sisters”