The list grows

Add bravehost gospel commentary to the growing list of sg bloggers. A note from the bravehost blogger landed in my inbox this afternoon, so the blog takes its place alongside the sporadic sgblagher and DBM’s musicscribe blog. Of course, as I’ve said before, come one come all. Beyond that, though, it’s interesting to me that in each case, these bloggers have framed their entrance into the debate in shades of the same slightly defensive, apologetic tone. DBM’s inagural entry for the musicscribe blog was emblematically titled “Why Blog?” (though of course I should note that DBM’s is not solely or even primarily devoted to sg, even though he situated his entry into the conversation in terms that connected with sg discourse online). And the sgblagher’s opening line echoed similar anxieties: “I know, I know … who needs another blogger site to keep up with?” And thus the bravehost blogger:

There have been numerous sites popping up on the world wide web discussing Southern Gospel Music. Some will wonder why we need another. I feel that there is still a niche that needs to be filled. We are in the information age and the more information we have the better. There is a lot about Southern Gospel Music that needs to be said.

Given that before these three sites popped up, there was basically me howling at the moon in isolation, and given that even now the grand total of sg bloggers is a whopping FOUR (I refuse to count Danny Jones and Jerry Kirksey as long as they refuse to do anything blog-like in their entries), I’m intrigued by the anxiety each of these beginnings betray. Where’s it come from, this faintly self-conscious feeling of having transgressed simply by deciding to speak for oneself about sg? I think it must be connected both to the “make a joyful noise” mentality (”we’re all just makin’ a joyful noise for the Lord and don’t need no highfalutin blogheads or commentating gas bags critiquing every little thing … it’s unchristian, I tell ya!”) and the highly hierarchical, traditional culture pervasive in sg that encourages and rewards deference to figures of prominence and stature, which basically means anyone singing. I don’t want to make too much of this, in part because the similarity among these three could, I suppose, be some kind of really bizarre coincidence. And, in part, though beginnings do suggest important aspects of the voice and style to come, web logs are organic affairs that often (and probably, at their best, should) break free from and go well beyond the boundaries suggested by first attempts. But no matter the origin of the impulse, the need to apologize or justify a decision to blog about sg points up just how badly genuinely independent voices are urgently necessary, since even the people courageous enough to speak up feel plagued however slightly by the feeling of transgression associated with plainspokenness in sg (how much worse might it be among everyone else?). With luck, having had out with the anxieties, these bloggers will be emboldened in their search for a comfortable voice. At the same time, the growth of the sg blogosophere ought to sharpen all of us, keep us honest and on top of our game. Ya know, competitive edge and all that …

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