NQC 07: BBC and NQC
The BBC is, as others have already noted, planning to shoot (part of?) a documentary on sg at this year’s 50th Anniversary NQC. The Elvis angle hinted at in the press release suggests we’d be wise to not get our hopes up. As I wrote in an article for an academic journal earlier this year,
To outsiders, southern gospel often appears just enough of a stylistic hybrid – borrowing from the Reformed church hymnody, country, pop, bluegrass and even jazz and classical music – to seem, at worst, musicologically or aesthetically uninteresting, or at best, a derivative of more highly regarded and stylistically coherent musical traditions (jazz, blues, folk, rock, country). Culturally the overt and fervent piety of southern gospel fan culture and performance styles may also gives the impression to the uninitiated that southern gospel is a mere musical adjunct to (and is best understood within the context of) more familiar religious practices such as traditional congregational worship experiences or other, more popular musical genres.
Now, the BBC has a history of producing smart and insightful stuff, and there’s no guarantee they’ll miss the mark on this one. But any time you see a sg documentarian sidling up to Elvis, the smart money says the importance of gospel will inevitably, if also inadvertently, be described as emerging from its influence on more popular styles, artists, and musical traditions – rather than important in and on its own terms.
Update: From NQC comes word that the BBC may be doing their homework on this. According to an email this evening:
[The BBC people] were in Nashville the week preceding NQC and filmed two days. I know they had plans to film interviews with Dottie Rambo, Jim Goff, Jerry Kirksey, Clarke Beasley, Greater Vision and the Dove Brothers. … From what I gather they are only filming at NQC because it is the “big event” of SG.
That’s all good to hear. Let’s hope Gaither is on their list too.Email this Post