Danny goes into the high weeds

In this latest post, Danny Jones writes:

With Southern Gospel music going through a mild case of changes right now (Gold City, Palmetto State Quartet), people often wonder what the future will hold for the affected groups. It’s only natural, and for the most part, there’s nothing wrong with speculation.

But have you thought about such a thing in reverse? In other words, have you ever looked back at a change and followed the results of that change? Most people don’t, but just for the sheer enjoyment of such a thing, let’s do that right now.

I’m going to go back to Danny Funderburk’s announcement that he was leaving the Cathedrals to help form a new group called Perfect Heart. Let’s follow the trail from that moment…

The rest of the post is a mildly tedious exercise is standing fallen dominos back up in order to push them over again. But Jones’s point appears to be that what seems like troubling upheavals and worrying personnel changes are actually necessary shifts in the plate tectonics of gospel music. This is all fine and good so far as it goes, but it strikes me as unhelpfully facile. In this particular case, surely Jones must know that the uncertainty surrounding the Gold City personnel changes isn’t really about some phantom fear of people changing jobs in the quartet bidness but because it’s one more big change in a group that 15 years ago had probably the second-best sound in gospel music and was poised to take over where the Cats left — and then not only didn’t but proceeded to pretty much melt down. Now they’re back to Triple A ball, trying to (re)consolidate their sound. I’m not necessarily pessimistic about their future, but they’ve got a long way to go by any measuring stick. With the Cats gone, Bill Gaither and the Vocal Band inhabiting another stratosphere and some of the best talent of gospel music’s prime generation (L5, GV, Mercy’s Mark, BFA) locked up in a relationship with a label that mostly insists its artists cut only songs owned by the label (and, it seems, may now even be penalizing artists with buy-back amounts for cutting songs non-Daywind songs) … well, you don’t have to agree with the “sg in decline” theory to at least acknowledge there are more than few legitimate reasons for other people to think so and to get jittery about the future when things get shaken up. Instead of acknowledging any of this, DJ goes chasing the rabbits of sg history into the high weeds of long-ago personnel changes. Danny: Zero. Opportunities Missed: 1.

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