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.

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  1. Dave wrote:

    I really enjoyed the videos that Greystone entertainment made on the History of Southern Gospel Music a few years back. They filmed much of it at the NQC , i forget what year, but they did a very decent job!

  2. Alan wrote:

    Hmmm. Having just spent 30 of my last 41 days in the UK, and watching enough BBC news and commentary to last me for the rest of my life, I confess that I won’t be all too excited about anything that they have to report on any Christian activity until I see it. As bad as CNN can be here, those clowns at the BBC almost make them look like real journalists. Hope springs eternal, so I’ll try to be cautiously optimistic. And yes, if they leave out the Gaither phenomena, that would be a shame.

  3. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    I don’t think Gaither will there to interview.
    Taping an interview might work.
    They can find him in Maryland, Virgina and in the Big Apple this weekend.
    The people in charge of the NQC should leave tickets at the door for Elvis.
    A former football coach,Jerry Gansville, left tickets at the door for Elvis..

  4. Joe Wheeler wrote:

    If you remember several years ago maybe 10 years ago they made a documentary called THE HISTORY OF SOUTHERN GOSPEL MUSIC which I have the 2 video set and Gaither was suppose to be part of it and at the last minute after it was all shot and ready he pulled out and they had to piece it together with other things

  5. me wrote:

    Heard that the BBC were in Cullman, AL taking video and comments from Jeff Steele too… Heard he was on the radio drummng up a crowd for his church service!

  6. Shamika wrote:

    I saw the BBC at Starbucks in Nashvegas. They were in line behind Elvis.

  7. Matt wrote:

    The BBC did a documentary on black gospel music a few years back. I’ve got it and it’s not bad. I hope the southern gospel one will be too. The Greystone documentary features clips from the 1997 convention. That was a great documentary although some of the greats of the 60s and 70s seemed to get passed over rather quickly or not at all (Goodmans, Rambos, Kingsmen)

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