Will there be any stars

Since it looks like no one else is going to raise the question, I will: Isn’t it some kind of inherent conflict for McCray Dove to have propagated and spurred on such a longwinded “discussion” about the absence of “real stars” in sg like those from the 50s and 60s? I mean, is it really a coincidence that Dove started this “conversation” just as the Dove Brothers’ festival of nostalgia - the Quartet Legacy Tour - is winding down and right before the convention is about to start up? The Doves of course have been re-branding themselves over the last few years as the “classic quartet” guys (and it seems to be working, insofar as Roy Pauley has caught the meme; plus McCray Dove seems to have convinced a lot of folks that flinging his suit coat off stage and doing that little dance-hop thing is somehow classically sg). Fine. Everybody needs a niche. But, given their efforts to cultivate this particular specialty, there’s something slightly unseemly about Dove’s posture of elegiac wistfulness for the supposedly bygone days of sg glory, and, gee whiz, wouldn’t it be great if things would go back to the way they were and there would be a good-ole-fashioned star in sg again like there was in the 50s and 60s? I don’t mean to suggest his nostalgia for the old quartets is phony, or that he doesn’t really admire Glen Payne and George Younce and others. No one who heard him talk at the convention a few years back about the genesis of the song he wrote in memory of Glen Payne can doubt Dove’s sincerity or his respect for the legacy of traditional sg quartets. What’s troubling is this “good ole days” rhetoric of decline and decay, of something inevitably being lost, for the worse, in the way things are done now. The relentlessness with which Dove has pursued the discussion about the dearth of good-ole-days star-power has the feel of someone who just happens to do good-ole-days music creating a void for himself to fill. He implied some awareness of this possibility during the discussion, so maybe there’s another explanation for his insistence on the deteriorating force of change in sg (nevermind that it’s historically counterfactual to claim sg wasn’t changing just as rapidly in the days of “James, JD, Glen, Younce, Hovie, [and] Jake” as it is now). But if he’s NOT pseudo-surreptitiously trying to lay the foundation on which to better build his own stardom, it’s hard to know what his motivation is for insisting on the decline of (and need to rebuild) sg, a theory I don’t buy at all. The most obvious evidence to refute the Myth of SG Declension is Gaither’s Homecoming series, which draws and relies on all manner of past and present sg types (which I offer as a fact, not as unqualified praise for Gaither’s own nostalgia tour). How, then, to interpret Dove’s recent suggestion that Gaither really isn’t as successful as you might think? By the standard that pretty much emerged from Dove’s own thread (star = drawing power), Gaither is definitely a star. Dove’s charge about unreported but steadily dwindling attendance at Gaither’s gigs is impossible to refute (and so really ought to fall within the administrative prohibition against rumors on the message boards, no? And if Dove’s right, we can look for a new stroke of brilliance from Gaither’s Masterful Marketing Department sometime in the near future). But the claim feels preposterous unless it’s understood as a swipe at (and a shot, however futile in this case, across the bow of) the only current sg Superstar.

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