Gaither taping creates heavenly rain, Nashville Friends to sell umbrellas

Breaking news tonight: Hundreds of Homecoming friends record audienceless in front of selves, report best Gaither video ever. Up next: birds of a feather flock together, and flock, and flock, and flock, and flock, and flock, and flock, and flock, and flock, and flock, and flock, and flock. After that: methinks thou protesth too much. And don’t miss our bonus feature tomorrow night: people have said this is the best ever Gaither video taping, and we got to be on it … there’s a limited supply on sale out there at our booth, and when that limited supply is gone, we’ll go to the bus and count our money and get some more of them tapes.

In the meantime, expect a name change for southerngospelreporter.com to nashvilletaping.shill.

Update: First, let me direct you to the ever-wise comments of regular reader CVH. When Avery retires to Del Boca Vista (“how long till that happens,” I hear many of you ask), I want CVH to take over.

Anyway, conceding that the first rule of deadpan is never to flinch after you deliver your lines, I confess I’m bemused and mildly baffled by longtime readers’ surprise that I would take issue with “news” stories – even news (or “news”) from Chuck Peters, whom I’ve regularly singled out for praise (though I won’t hold my breath for valentine’s bouquets from Chuck’s sweetheart club, or are they bodyguards?) – when that news amounts to little more than some perfectly predictable quotes from above-averagely biased sources commenting on how wonderful the Nashville taping was (and no, I’m not suggesting the comments I posted from Negative Nelly are any more or less representative … notice I called it “an” unvarnished take in that original post, not THE unvarnished truth).

Let’s review: …

  • The news source: Chuck Peters, of southerngospelreporter.com, made it quite publicly clear that he was personally interested in seeing more comments about the Nashville Homecoming from people who (say it with me now) build up instead of tear down. So, this wasn’t just another day on the job for Chuck. He didn’t just go out and get a few appropriately effusive quotes from notable performers at the taping. He didn’t just rewrite some press releases (to his credit, Chuck rarely ever does this). But neither did he write an original, enterprising human interest story that consisted of more than a bunch of gushing from sg luminaries over the “best Gaither video ever” (and no, a Mark Lowry quote about Rory under the bleachers and Bill Lost in Space doesn’t count as an enterprising feature story). Instead, Peters took it upon himself to make much of the “good” news he felt was missing from this story. And his whole project was based, if I understand rightly, on one crabby comment from an artist at the taping.

    • The “news”: We heard primarily from two types of newsmakers: A)artists who have mostly been denied a spot on the Gaither gravy train up to now and who will quite naturally take every opportunity to have their name (finally!) associated with Himself; and B)artists who have a substantial amount of their career and credibility already inextricably connected to Gaither and are saying nothing different from what they would say anyway about any taping that Gaither Inc. had built up as much as the Nashville Homecoming (hundreds of groups! People who’ve never been on a Homecoming before!). What’s more, artists in this latter category have everything to gain by (pre)positioning themselves on the Great Gaither Nashville Homecoming as the new Old Friends singing with the really new friends who were finally let in out of the cold. That they obliged with ready-made quotes is definitely something, but it’s not (just) another day at the office for southerngospelreporter.com.
    • Some surmises: Does that mean all those artists were lying about the taping? No. Is there anything wrong with soliciting and printing a few quotes from artists about how great the event was? Of course not. That’s showbiz news 101. Doest that mean it’s great work? Again, no. Do I actually think the taping was a flop given all the allegedly dispositive evidence of Peters’ reporting? I have no idea (if you’re still interested in what I think of Gaither’s work, better to go read what I’ve already written about it and judge for yourself).

    I do think the tapes will be a success, and probably above averagely so. But at this point in the Gaither life cycle, it’s difficult to say what will be driving that success: the product itself or the mythic status of the Homecoming brand in gospel music. Another way to say this: Will the Nashville taping be great because something magical happened or because Gaither is Gaither and decided to resuscitate a fading phenomenon by, as CVH suggests, doubling down on what amounted to “Homecoming Comes Home for the First Time”? Gaither reliably produces quality stuff, but empirically the Homecoming phenomenon peaked a while ago. So when the only debate is about just how much better this Homecoming tape will be than what’s come before, that’s a pretty good sign that a reality check’s in order.

    Now, didn’t you like me better the first, terse time around?

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    Trackbacks & Pings

    1. www.southerngospelblog.com » Gaither Homecoming on 14 Feb 2007 at 12:39 pm

      […] In view of the excellent reporting that Chuck Peters has been doing on the recent Gaither Homecoming taping, I think this goes too far. Frankly, when I saw Peters’ announcement of a report, my immediate reaction was to regret that I hadn’t had the idea first. […]

    Comments

    1. David Bruce Murray wrote:

      Let me get this straight…when dozens of people say the taping went well, that’s shilling, but when a lone voice in the wilderness says the taping didn’t go so well, that’s the “unvarnished” truth?

      You opened this can of worms when you treated one artist’s whining as newsworthy.

      By the way, it’s also worth mentioning that at least a couple of the people interviewed by Chuck aren’t artists.

      While I would expect the people in attendance to generally say nice things about it, I would be shocked if the letter you ran even marginally resembled reality. Sure, Gaither could put out a dud from time to time, but by and large, the man knows what he’s doing.

      You’re expecting us to believe the whole event was a wash, based on one artist’s word??? I seriously doubt it.

    2. AVFLReader wrote:

      I agree 1,000% with DBM. But I guess this site is all “Avery” has to receive attention from the public so putting down Gaither and other artists just seems to get him that attention, I mean if you can’t become one of them…say mean things to get a rise out of people and then get noticed (ahh, the high road).

      The overall word on the video is that it was great. I guess we will all just have to wait and see to make our own opinions.

    3. Grigs wrote:

      Chuck doesn’t deserve a cheap shot like that. I honestly wish that I could say such a comment was beneath you, but sadly, it’s just par for the course.

    4. bbq wrote:

      Another backhanded comment about the music that you seem to want everyone to think you care about. I agree with DBM. I bet you could stand in front of the most beautiful 250 voice choir and manage to find in all that beauty the one poor soul who can’t sing as well as the others, stop the director and scurge the poor soul in front of everyone and tell him he/she should find something else to do. Well, I can do that too. I’m stopping the choir to point you out my friend. Why don’t you find something else to do with your time besides berate, belittle and put down the best in gospel music.

    5. Joshua Cottrell wrote:

      I wonder ‘Avery’ if you make ‘controversial’ statements to keep us coming back , because it seems to be working.

    6. GospelMusicFan wrote:

      Reference to your comment,
      “there’s a limited supply on sale out there at our booth, and when that limited supply is gone, we’ll go to the bus.”
      Did you hear that comment as joke from Ivan Parker during Ivan’s solo concerts?
      Ivan used that joke in loving spirit only in a way Ivan Parker can do.
      I just wonder if quenching the Holy Spirit can sometimes apply to the world of blogging and other instances beside just church.

    7. Tom K. wrote:

      Get a life Avery!!!! And remember, you don’t have to buy the dvd’s - enough of us will to make them, as usual, a great success.

      But for the blessings of God on Bill Gaither, where would SGM, and some of our heroes, be?

      Further, I don’t really think that Bill Gaither needs my, or even your, money. I would surmise that from he and Gloria’s God given talents they have become quite comfortable, even if they had never made a video.

    8. Matthew Moore wrote:

      In the world of bloggin, to which i am extremely new, i believe there is a choice to read or not to read. I have always enjoyed this blog because ideas are presented without any backing from anyone so there is no spin. It is simply one person’s opinion about what is going on in SG. As a reader, I have the choice to read it or not. Avery can post whatever he wants. Its a constitutional right. And if you have a web log, so can you.

    9. Dean Adkins wrote:

      “I bet you could stand in front of the most beautiful 250 voice choir and manage to find in all that beauty the one poor soul who can’t sing as well as the others, stop the director and scurge the poor soul in front of everyone and tell him he/she should find something else to do.”

      Wasn’t that the basis of Episode #116 “The Songfesters” of the Andy Griffith Show?

    10. a nonny moose wrote:

      Whoa! Prophesy is being fullfilled! The Prophet said that in the last days, the Anti-Gaither would arise out of the sea of blogging and that weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and bumping of gums would abound and that bitterness would rise to the height of a horse’s bridle. (Or was it on the other end of the horse?) Global warming would be a reality as tons of jaded hot air abound . . Excellent production and lighting would be belittled, and the greatest gift SG music ever had would be cast into the pit of dubious!

    11. dkd wrote:

      Hail to all of the Cool Aid Drinkers.

    12. Jude wrote:

      I definitely plan to purchase the DVD comprised of hymns with orchestra, unless those selections are distributed among multiple titles. If that is the case, I’ll reluctantly purchase all of them just for those songs. The class sings are the only parts of the videos that continue to grab my attention. My interest in the groups (from the GVB on down) has begun to wane, and the stellar (yet lately infrequent) ensemble performances are the lone element that keep me from abandoning the entire genre.

    13. CVH wrote:

      I’ve read the posts over the last few days with a mixture of interest, laughter and dismay. I’m sure that most everyone who has expressed an opinion (from the first post by one of the
      ‘disgruntled’ participants) to the staunch defenders of the faith (I mean, Bill) has an element of truth in what they’re saying.

      I don’t think posting the comment was inappropriate. It was one individual’s take on the proceedings. I doubt reporting it was intended to do anything more than show that there are always differing perspectives on things like this. That’s reality and it’s as true at a Gaither taping as at any SG concert or convention. Actually, the comment may have been posted in a pre-emptive manner, given the inevitable and expected onslaught of flowery, over the top comments made by everyone who was there from the artists to the janitor’s paper towel distributor.

      BG and company have done many things well through the years; they’ve created a winning formula - great marketing, usually top caliber production values and good talent, all celebrating the past and mixing it with the present. That’s not to say that in some respects it hasn’t become a parody of itself and there are occasional low points along with the highs. And like any maturing ‘product’, the whole Homecoming concert/DVD/CD thing is showing signs of age.

      It’s inevitable that at some point the program is going to start running the participants. I don’t know if anyone has inside information on Gaither’s gameplan, but absent that let’s assume the Nashville sessions are either an all-star production in the continuum of product(”Let’s make an even bigger bang this time with all these artists!”) or possibly a new direction in their marketing (although I have no clue what would distinguish it as such).

      I’m sure most everyone had a wondrously good time but while there may have been a measure of sincerity and genuineness in the proceedings it is just as true that there had to be a measure of politics and ego (despite the protestations that everyone checked their ego at the door). It just makes sense to play nice with others (or appear to) and “high-five” your way onto the next tour or DVD.

      And so it goes. Is the franchise tired? Maybe. Has it evolved from what it was? Inevitably. Is it better or worse?
      Who knows? Usually those types of judgements are best made after some time has passed rather than in the heat of the post-taping moment.

      But, no harm, no foul. And the big wheel keeps spinning.

    14. David Bruce Murray wrote:

      I had no problem with Doug’s original post. He provided a link to a positive review and then posted an opposing “unvarnished” view. That’s fine.

      I just thought it was pretty tacky to take a public swing at Chuck with this follow-up post. (Maybe Doug was just getting back at Chuck for complaining in a comment about the original post, but IMO, his revenge backfired.)

      Regardless of the reason, it comes across as overly demeaning to a person who obviously went to a great deal of effort to gather comments on the event.

      Some may say that it’s just one event, and therefore doesn’t deserve the level of coverage Chuck gave it, but considering that for all his reviving of Southern Gospel, Gaither has never really done a full video focusing on the current artists in Southern Gospel, I think the potential is there for this to be pretty huge…both in terms of video sales and in terms of boosting the genre in general.

      The best videos SG has to offer outside of Gaither’s are the videos filmed live at NQC every year. Compared to Gaither’s videos, the NQC videos have drab sets, so-so lighting, average audio quality, sometimes clumsy camera work, and boring editing.

      It will be nice to finally see a Southern Gospel video that looks good on the screen.

      So, I don’t think Chuck’s coverage of this taping was overkill or shilling.

    15. David Bruce Murray wrote:

      Doug wrote:
      “And his whole project was based, if I understand rightly, on one crabby comment from an artist at the taping.”

      Chuck’s comment said he would be running a series of articles about the event. He didn’t explicitly say this was going to be in response to the negative piece you ran.

      In reading over his comment again, I still feel as I originally felt…that the implication in his comment was that this series was already in the works before he ever read your article. You chose the opposite implication, obviously, assuming it’s a response to you.

      I’ve been there before, myself, assuming one thing in a public post when the opposite could have been equally true…and I don’t know which is true in this case. Until we find out for certain, it’s one of those Schrodinger’s cat situations, I suppose.

      I feel your pain…of course, I have to admit it’s much more fun to observe than to experience! :o)

    16. Jim E. Davis wrote:

      Well said, CVH.

      I don’t mind to hear a lone voice of dissent. it helps to keep life in perspective.

      On the other hand, when I am old I will put on these videos and love the memories they will invoke -even if I spend half the time counting how many are still alive. Right now, I’m counting how many have passed on.

      Them Gaithers? They smart people. Sorry, didn’t mean to gush…

    17. Paul Jackson wrote:

      In comment #14, DBM said that the “potential” is there to “boost the genre in general”…doesn’t SG need that?…Isn’t that a good thing? Momma taught me the old cliche
      “rising tides lift ALL boats”. I think that is true.
      SG is always going to have competitive tensions but I hope we all remember that the old cliche still applys. In the big picture of things, it is an absolute!…How many cliche’s was that?

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