Criticism and commentary on southern gospel music
From commenter John, who’s been mixing up in comments over the price and quality of gospel albums:
I think the genre was better when it was just too expensive for hundreds of groups to release projects.
That quote makes the assumption that my ‘mediocre’ project has somehow decreased the quality of the more expensive projects by simply being in the same genre. The fact is thats just not so.
This problem has arisen from the simple fact that SGM is now being compared to Pop, Rock, Country, blah blah blah. I don’t remember ever buying a Cathedral’s album in the 90’s and having someone tell me, “You know, thats a decent album but the quality just isn’t as good as Iron Maiden’s last project.” Apples and oranges. When people start dropping $75 in the offering plate or buying a $120 ticket at Ticket Master to see their favorite SGM artists, then perhaps the projects will become more like what you folks want, ….mainstream.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 2:53 pm ¶
Perhaps its not the quantity of music that is out there but the inability of people to process the music and connect to the groups that they want to hear.
There is nothing wrong with variety. The music explosion is occurring all around in every genre. The difficulty in SGM lies in finding what you want to hear.
In other genres this is accomplished by word of mouth (re: touring and fan groups), MySpace, and iTunes. Radio and trade magazines are beginning to lose the impact they once had in regards to telling people what is good or what is a hit.
In regards to poor quality music watering down the genre….this can only happen when the lower quality music is given a voice by radio, trade magazines, or internet sites. These are the only venues that can artifically inflate a groups value. Fan driven sites such as MySpace and iTunes show real value as perceived by the listener and its hard to argue with public opinion when it comes to what is good and what is bad in popular music….the biggest crowd wins….perception is reality. People like what they like and sometimes it defies reason.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 3:43 pm ¶
Ben Harris wrote:
It is a great quote and within it, speaks volumes. Just because you can does not mean you should.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 4:20 pm ¶
John’s comment assumes there was a day when recording was unaffordable for lesser qualified artists. That day would not have been within the last 40 years.
As long as I’ve been aware of there being a Christian music bidness, there have been budget-priced custom studios willing to do a cheap album for all comers.
I grew up in Indiana, and went to college in Illinois, and knew of multiple studios in each of those states, as well as in Cincinnati and Nashville, and in Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas. Now that I’m older, and have been around a few more blocks, I now realize they’re in just about every state in the Union, and several foreign countries (including Mississippi).
(Ouch! There I go attempting humor again. I’ll probably get chastised, again.)
To quote a wise king from several thousand years ago, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”
I do agree with Bari-Tone-Def’s comments. Apples and oranges — no comparison.
And gospel has always had a lower production value. Go back to the Blackwood Brothers’ RCA recordings of the 1950’s, and compare them with RCA’s recordings of pop stars of the day. No comparison.
No comparison in the quantity they sold, either. So, since the recording was a very good representation of what the artist was, and what they did, it was not (and still should not be) a problem.
Now, if you’re BUYING that piece of trash from Aunt Sarah and the Seven Swollen Swallows, that’s YOUR problem, not the industry’s. If we keep buying inferior product, they’ll continue to make it.
Look at Wal Mart, selling tainted toys from China. We keep buying it. Why would they offer to quit selling it?
As long as consumers are willing to buy inferior merchandise, someone will be all too happy to manufacture it. Nothing new!
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 5:12 pm ¶
L E Funt wrote:
No. The genre was better when it wasn’t acceptable or even possible to record an artist or group singing over the top of pre-recorded soundtracks and call that an album. Of course not the major acts, but probably over 75% of the regular people acts are just using karaoke tracks for the music and acting like they’ve really done something great.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 5:56 pm ¶
#3 …I agree wholeheartedly. And I also feel there is another side to that coin… those who HAVE the financial resources but should NEVER set foot in the studio. There have been many folks with a “backer” who can’t sing a note and have been thrust upon the public with slickly produced and promoted recordings, full page ads in the Singing News, etc ad infinitum. While there have always been a number of independant projects that break (shove, push) through, alot of the problem lies with the “labels” that never met a group they wouldn’t “sign” as long as the check clears.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 6:03 pm ¶
#4 …Aunt Sarah and the Seven Swollen Swallows…I think we sang with them at a benefit once…good people.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 6:06 pm ¶
Now, SG_Obzerver has hit on something that is note-worthy. A great portion of the problem is with “Labels” that will sign Aunt Sarah and the Seven Swollen Swallows without even having the faintest knowledge of who they are, what they sound like or why they are indeed swollen. I read in another thread that “There are no record deals in SGM”, (paraphrase), and that is definitely true. If you have the funds, they have a label for you, regardless of talent.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 7:53 pm ¶
I can’t be entirely negative, because I’m part of a part-time group that makes those cheap albums (although, they sound better than a lot of expensive records I’ve heeard). However, SG has created this monster called “The Big Bad Album”. It has the best songwriters pitch songs to the best singers. It creates something wonderful to hear. But it also creates hundreds of tracks that are leased by other “lesser” groups, which creates bad karaoke albums. A lot of these groups don’t get new tracks made. They just try to vocally keep up with the Vocal Band and fail with flying colors. It’s the industry that leases these tracks for a cost, and a studio that lets anybody record to help them pay for their new garage (that the studio now resides in).
In most other styles of music, this doesn’t happen because it’s taboo to sample other group’s music. You have to write your own music to be considered good. That’s not the case in SG (although it lends a lot of credibility, i.e. Griffen, Hinson, Gaither). Unfortunately, it’s a monster that will never be captured.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 7:58 pm ¶
L E Funt and SG_Obzerver, I agree with both of you. I also know that the talent level today is not the same as years ago. When they produce these groups in the studio they sound great but on stage there is no comparison. I could even be made to sound good in the studio but on stage a howling monkey would be better. The great talent is not coming into SG. Also, the recording companies are not going out looking for talent. They are sitting back waiting for someone to come along. Maybe the recording companies should look at groups like Avalon, they were put together by a company and look what has happened with them, they are great!
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 9:02 pm ¶
David Bruce Murray wrote:
It’s cheap enough to record that pro groups really can’t afford to release a cheap sounding project any more. Of course, some of them still do it anyway, as if it was 1975 and word wouldn’t get around. These days, if a pro puts out a cheap sounding product, someone will point it out on a message board or a blog.
Does it diminish the overall quality when the pressure has increased on the pros to create music at a level that stands out from the amateurs? Not at all.
The problem has never really been about the overall quality of music being produced by the best artists in the industry. The problem is radio stations and concert promoters who can’t discern the difference between great music and music that’s merely good or just plain bad.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 9:34 pm ¶
What you’ve mentioned certainly takes place, but would it be beneficial to the industry and the fans if it were stopped? Those groups are simply exercising their freedom of speech and the companies that lease them tracks are making money in one of the few places where it can be made.
It’s when that group doing a shabby imitation of the Gaither Vocal Band gets equal billing with superior groups that we have a problem.
Poor quality artists are rampant in every genre. The difference is that in Gospel, the fans don’t boo them off the stage…so it can take them years to ever get the hint.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 9:41 pm ¶
I’m not sure if wackythinker is on or off his meds, but he’s making a lot of sense. I too remember the day (yeah, according to Doug I’m an “old timer” so I’m just living up to my handle) when there were ads in the back of Singing News for a full studio session with real “Nashville musicians”, 10 songs and 500 albums (yeah, real, actual vinyl LPs) for $995. I know a number of groups that took advantage of it. And their product was, predictably, pretty lousy. That’s not an indictment against the assembly-line project producers/packagers; they had their place in the food chain then as they do today.
To me a lot of it comes down to reach vs. grasp. Many artists aspire to ’sound like’ their idols; so they try, oftentimes not realizing how far they are falling from the mark. Another factor is the proliferation of relatively low-cost, high-quality studio gear. These days, anyone with a couple thousand dollars can outfit their basement or garage to be a ’studio’. And all the well-intentioned wannabes who have been told, “You should make a CD” or “I’ll bet someone on the radio would play that song if you recorded it” start calling and before you know it you’ve got a flood of second-rate product diluting the marketplace.
I’d like to see someone explore the difference in the market economies of gospel music vs. other genres from an academic or economic standpoint. Is low-quality product predominant in SG more than other genres? What are the common threads, spiritual, familial and economic that make it viable and even acceptable for The Singing Moron Family to keep inflicting their ‘talent’ on an unsuspecting but receptive public?
Making any kind of a quality product, regardless of genre, requires at least three elements: musical talent, decent material and solid production. (I’ve always said people buy the song, not the singer.) Can that be accomplished on a small budget? Perhaps, if the reach doesn’t exceed the grasp. Otherwise you end up with a lot of wasted resources and little to show for it.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 9:43 pm ¶
Al Locke wrote:
The marketplace is what dictates who should record and the quality required.
We should also remember that these “marginal” quality groups help studio players have a career.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 10:35 pm ¶
DBM — I tend to agree with you. It isn’t the fact that accompaniment tracks are sold for people to sing along with (who either don’t have or can’t afford live musician to play) in East Yubip First Church, or leased to folks who may or may not be able to sing, to record a less expensive album.
The problem is the people who are too willing to take your money and run; the radio stations who play garbage; the person in the pew who rushes right out to the record table and buys inferior product, even after they’ve heard the performer who can’t sing.
Maybe, like we see year after year after year on American Idol, a large percentage of the problem is the mama who lies to her child, telling him/her they can sing. Or is Mama tone deaf, too?
But let’s be careful not to lump all record labels in one category. Or all work-for-hire studios. Let’s face it, if I go have the money to hire a studio, and either hire musicians or lease tracks, it’s not the place of any of those people involved to tell me I shouldn’t be spending my money with them. I’m hiring them to make me sound the best they can, even if it’s not good at all. If they were to tell me I can’t sing, and that I’m wasting my money, I’ll just go hire another studio.
Now, if I hire you as a vocal coach, teacher, consultant, whatever, and you aren’t honest with me, that’s another subject. If I’m hiring you in that capacity, I expect you to be honest with me, not just make me feel good.
Those are my opinions, anyway. For whatever that’s worth.
Posted 14 Apr 2008 at 10:43 pm ¶
Ton of Fun wrote:
A part of the problem is that people tend to mix up the love of God with the truth. Just because the people recording the music are Christians and the people producing are Christians does not mean that the producers do not have an obligation to be honest about a person or groups talent. Christians have forgotten or lost the ability to hear constructive criticism for what it is, just criticism.
An example: (not meant to compare genres) On American Idol who gets the biggest applause and also the biggest negative response? Simon Cowell, why? Because he tells it like it is and doesn’t pretend that a person has talent even when they don’t. Why do viewers like him so much? Because he is being honest and the viewers know he is not trying to push a bunch of terrible singers just because they happen to get approved by the other two judges. SG needs recording executives and producers who will be honest and not simply record an “artist” because he happens to have enough money to put a cd together.
We should give our best to the Lord and his service. I think that recording companies have an obligation to the industry, artists and fans to provide the best. Maybe that means being more selective in who they record.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 12:55 am ¶
To me, it seems like the modern marketplace for recording projects is similar to what has happened in the book publishing industry. It seems to me that in the past people who fancied themselves as an ‘author’ would write a book and shop it to a publisher who would determine if there was a market for it. If not, and if the book was of poor quality, they would generate the standard rejection letter.
Today with services like www.xlibris.com, anyone can be published author. Clearly there is a lot of junk out there in the printed world now that would have been stopped by the publishing houses. “For It Is Written” doesn’t mean the same thing now as it did in Bible times.
However, there doesn’t seem to be that much ‘hand-wringing’ in the literary community about inexpensive publishing. I think most would consider it a form of freedom of speech that in the end makes society better off.
I would agree that the problem with SG music quality is not due to a proliferation of sub-par material. There just isn’t any financial incentive for quality musicians to be creative and spend time perfecting their craft in this genre.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 1:32 am ¶
Oops - I hit submit too soon. I said
“I would agree that the problem with SG music quality is not due to a proliferation of sub-par material…”
To clarify, I meant to say
“I would agree that the problem with SG music quality is not due to a proliferation of sub-par material. It’s more due to a lack of exceptional creativity and quality at the top of the charts…”
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 1:36 am ¶
Bob wrote:”There just isn’t any financial incentive for quality musicians to be creative and spend time perfecting their craft in this genre.”
All I can say is…Amen Brother, preach on!
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 11:47 am ¶
It sounds to me like if you can’t have a full band or piano player you should fall from the face of the earth…. I’m proud to say that our family trio has great harmony, we love the Lord, and I am so thankful for “kareoke” (as it’s called on this board). All we want to do is serve the Lord and present the gospel in song. Do we try to sound like GVB or The Perrys, absolutely not. When I read this site, I find myself thinking maybe we should not sing. Then I remember you all are just like me, you have an opinion.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 12:40 pm ¶
I am not sure the “quality” issues is a SG problem, although I agree there is some terrible stuff out there. The churches in this part of the world (TX) has such mediocre expectations of their music program. Also, the tin ears of the members or our churches create little demand for superior music. And……they have gone to, what I consider, the most boring unison music in the world!, P&W.
Showing my age, huh.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 12:46 pm ¶
Its not Southern Gospel but this article has something for everyone.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 1:14 pm ¶
Not Ernie Haase wrote:
Off subject–Has anyone here ever had a problem getting the Goodman’s to contact you/ship your order when ordering from their website???
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 2:18 pm ¶
cynical one wrote:
I think Al is on the mark. And it’s not limited to Texas. The general public, but churches in particular, are not always particual about the quality of music they’ll accept. Francis Shaeffer’s comment has been quoted on this blog before: “Holy shoddy is still shoddy.”
But let’s be careful not to lump all s/g record labels into one bunch. There are some folks who will send the “shoddy” off to radio, and some who won’t. There are some folks who will take an artist’s (I use that term loosly) money, promising to promote them to radio and retail, full well knowing there’s no chance in you-know-where it will ever get played on air, or get on a bookstore shelf.
Let’s not assume all label execs are crooks. Some are, but many are not.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 2:50 pm ¶
I think the custom album situation is not exclusive to SGM. There are garage bands that record in their basements or garages, and put out cd’s for their friends. There are lounge singers who do karaoke, both in bars and in recording studios (get ‘em drunk enough, and they’ll pay $10. for one of these lousy cd’s).
And maybe that parenthetical comment works in the church, as well. If the tin-earred pew warmer is drunk enough in the Spirit, maybe they’ll pay $10 for one of our lousy-in-the-Name-of-the-Lord cd’s?
We can blame the studio musicians, studio owners, producers, or whomever, but the fact remains, if people would quit buying this garbage, product would stop (or at least slow to the point it would get off the radar).
We continue to see people buy this stuff, just as we see people continue to buy Chinese-manufactured children’s toys.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 3:10 pm ¶
If the sincerity is there, I don’t care if you sing to tracks or stand there and beat pots and pans. If you’re just singing for the sake of entertainment, personal satisfaction, to save souls or all 3…….more power to you; even with karaoke tracks.
My point was more the fact that many artists, even well-established ones are more and more just recording to soundtracks, yet acting like like they;ve put forth a major effort. I’m not talking about just music soundtracks; I’m talking about pre-recorded harmonies and background vocals. On top of that, many labels, especially those of the custom, we’ll-tell-you-you’re-great-if-you-pay-us-to varieties are doing more and more recordings that are nothing but karaoke projects. I’m hard pressed to think of another genre besides SG, CCM and Black Gospel where this would be acceptable. Economics aside, it’s sad when you think about how we as Christians should strive to be leaders in all that we do; even music. Yet, most of the time, we’re content to just follow wherever the world is heading.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 7:19 pm ¶
Annnnnnnnd right back to $$$. Where are SG artists supposed to get the money for these big elaborate projects? Like I said, you can not compare SGM to Pop, Country, Rock, etc. They are two different beasts.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 7:46 pm ¶
Why can I not compare them to pop, rock and country? They do. Look…..really I’m not putting down the sincere singers who have no choice because of $$$. But ultimately, fewer and fewer want to sound like The Goodmans anymore. (And even less know who they were!!) They want to sound like Tim McGraw or Steven Curtis Chapman. So yes, it comes back to $$$. There’s no way to sound like that without $$$. Therefore it becomes acceptable to be a karaoke singer, be told by a company that you have a career and either expect or in some cases GET radio airplay. I mean….ultimately I’ve happy they’re working and living their dream. It’s just kinda sad that it’s come to this.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 8:40 pm ¶
Not Ernie Haase (#23)
I bet ol’ Rick didn’t have any problem running your credit card though, did he? I hope you weren’t buying one of those “limited supply” $100 hankies.
Posted 15 Apr 2008 at 9:16 pm ¶
An argument could be made that the whole kit & kaboodle is healthy for SG.
Allow all the Mom & Pop groups to record custom albums, sing off key, get booked in churches, draw crowds, and harvest nice offerings at the end of their concerts.
People are not as ignorant as many of you make them out to be. They know (well, a lot of them know) good SG music when they hear it. That’s why you are seeing reports of the Booth Brothers drawing 500-1,000 people a night. Frank Arnold had a concert in Owensboro, KY this winter during a BLIZZARD and drew 1,300 people. Maybe people are getting their appetites whetted by the Ball Bearing Quartet during the year to hear something better and they are ultimately going out to hear the groups who can deliver the mail.
Maybe there will be a natural weeding-out process in all this. Maybe people eventually will tire so much of mediocre singing that they’ll quit coming out to hear it. Maybe the great groups will survive and thrive after these weeding-out years we are currently in.
That said, allow me to state that “Mom & Pop” is not always bad. After all, some of the earlier Mom & Pop groups included the Speer Family, The Hoppers, The Perrys, etc. So there will always be great talent coming up through the ranks.
However, one could argue that the general populace is discriminate enough to know good from bad and will ultimately choose the palatable selection, whether it is the established group or the great up-and-coming group. “Survival of the fittest” could save the genre.
Posted 16 Apr 2008 at 2:08 am ¶
There has been a lot of hand wringing over the decline in popularity of SGM. Do we know that to be true? In the hey-day of the Blackwoods, the Statesmen and the Jordanaires, was SGM not a small niche market? I’m asking because I do not know the statistical facts. But I wonder if we are looking at that era in a rose-colored rearview mirror.
IMHO, what keeps SGM from reaching a wider audience is a catch-22. Those of us who grew up with this music tend to evaluate a new group or a new sound by measuring it against the Blackwoods, the Statesmen and the Jordanaires (of one period) or the KM, GC and the Cats of another. If the new group or the new sound is evocative of what we loved so much, we buy the recordings and attend the concerts. If not, we don’t.
But, by definition, that is a dated sound…that was probably a niche market even in its hey-day. The people who were not raised on this sound, by and large, will bracket it as out of date and it will not appeal to them.
So the SGM writers and artists are in a bind. If they want to appeal to a new audience, they will probably have to put a CCM, PnW, CGM or other non-traditional SGM sound to their music and watch the SGM purist will reject them. Or, they can create that traditional SGM sound, be embraced by the purists but marginalized by the wider audience we say we’d like to reach.
Back in the ‘70s, when the Imperials tried to cross over to the Jesus People music, the old guard SGM establishment treated them as apostates. Lots of people learned a lesson at the expense of the Imps: stay traditional, sing to an aging but appreciative audience and sell your product to a limited but loyal clientele.
We’ve got to decide what we really want. Do we want to reach a wider audience and broaden the appeal of SGM music and SGM artists? Or do we want to maintain the purity of the art form with an ever-decreasing fan-base as people like me get old, go onto social security and then go home?
Personally, I vote for the latter. But that insures the virtual extinction of a sound I cherish.
At least that’s the way I see it.
(And, I believe it was Elton Trueblood who said, “Holy shoddy is still shoddy.” But I may be mistaken.)
Posted 16 Apr 2008 at 2:56 am ¶
#28 Mr. Funt…great name by the way. A couple of things…you said “fewer and fewer want to sound like The Goodmans anymore. (And even less know who they were!!) “. The folks I am associated with inside the bidness are very well versed in the history of SGM. Thats not to say everyone is, but I do think that the majority of the top folks out there know exactly who went before them and have a great respect for those that blazed the trail. Their heros aren’t Tim McGraw and Steven Curtis Chapman, they are the Goodmans, Glen Payne, Jake Hess, the Speers etc. Thats list could go on and on.
By the way…ultimately, in the studio mind you, everyone is singing to a soundtrack.But I follow what you are getting at. However no top group that I am aware of buys tracks off of the shelf to record. Tracks are created in the studio by real, live, paid musicians just like Tim, or Steven. Do they spend giant amounts of money? No. Can’t spend what isn’t there. But its the same process regardless of the genre.
Posted 16 Apr 2008 at 12:03 pm ¶
Brian, I do see your point. Obviously we travel in different circles. Maybe the Goodmans aren’t the best example. However, from my view, an ever increasing amount of groups or artists want to emulate secular artists more than expand gospel/Christian/religious music. There is a large percentage that only sing gospel because they can’t cut it in the secular world.
Posted 16 Apr 2008 at 1:02 pm ¶
“There is a large percentage that only sing gospel because they can’t cut it in the secular world.”
I can’t really deny that statement, I can only say I don’t personally know anyone that would fit into that group of people. But they must be crazy…I don’t know why anyone would subject themselves and thier families to what the full time guys go through unless it were a calling from God. There is no money, there is no fame, only truckstop showers and fast food. There is however eternal rewards being stored up for those who are out there and sharing the Good News of our Lord Jesus.
Posted 16 Apr 2008 at 2:32 pm ¶
Funt, I can see your point, but I think you are exaggerating your percentages. As others have said, the folks I know in the “bidness” are not concerned with looking, sounding or imitating the secular world. I agree that there are some, but not a “large percentage”.
Posted 16 Apr 2008 at 2:43 pm ¶
Mr. Funt: Normally I might have been a little offended by your remarks, but, I have probably banged a few pots and pans in my time. While I do enjoy some artists more than others, there are none in the gospel world or secular world that I want to imitate. Even though we sing with tapes, we want to sound like ourselves and be ourselves.Since we are not songwriters, we have noone writing songs for us, and we play no instruments….tapes it is. I’m just gonna keep singin and lovin the Lord.
Posted 16 Apr 2008 at 6:16 pm ¶
The proliferation of some of the local groups reminds me of the days at church when one of the elderly ladies with a “heart ‘o gold” would get up and ask people to pray for her as she didn’t have time to practice but felt it necessary because someone had “requested” this particular number. Just once I wanted someone to stand up and shout, “WHO DID THAT?”
Haven’t we all been there in this situation and just groaned when she was called to the stage? Somehow people feel justified if they have spent some money to produce a few cd’s, or have a “heart for ministry”, or a good “personality” that they have a right to “sang with a twang”. Please remember that just because a person has a right to sing doesn’t necessarily guarantee them the right to be heard.
Especially when it comes to local/regional groups, if it sounds like something that any church can have on a Sunday PM “sangin’” they probably should stick to their church. Seriously, do you let someone fill the pulpit because they “want” to preach? Certainly not! Why should a singing ministry be any different. Not everybody is called to pastor a church or be a youth minister and mpst certainly not everybody is called to sing. Somewhere somehow we have to set up a standard of acceptability.
I now return to my anti-stone barricade to see what moss gets stirred up.
Posted 16 Apr 2008 at 7:44 pm ¶
I am with you!
Also, there is a TON of folks out there with music degrees, “some” experience, etc. HA When it comes to singing harmony, switching parts…….forget it! I just held (for 4 months) auditions for an alto and baritone for my group. It was like American Idol! I now understand why Praise and Worship is so popular (to some)!
Posted 17 Apr 2008 at 12:10 am ¶
I think you also have to take into consideration, due to technology, that you can get a quality recorded project easier and cheaper these days. Now if you are just talking singing quality that is a totally different issue.
Posted 17 Apr 2008 at 3:18 am ¶
#38, Al are these people with degrees who can’t sing harmony parts given music, or expected to do so by ear? I ask because some people read music very well, but cannot sing by ear. Then there are those who do well by ear but cannot read music to save their lives. I have worked with both. I can do both, but I’m not sure if I know many who can. Some, but not a lot. They usually can do one or the other, not both.
Posted 17 Apr 2008 at 3:39 am ¶
LeeBob: And are you the one who is going to “set the standard of acceptability”? That’s big shoes to fill.
Posted 17 Apr 2008 at 1:23 pm ¶
Leebob: Would you consider your trio a local group? And yeah, I guess this is a loaded question.
Posted 17 Apr 2008 at 3:31 pm ¶
jb - I am not sure what the answer to that question is. The churches that have a pastor who can’t preach feel the results as their congregation dwindles away to nothing and nobody steps up to say anything. I have been a part of a church like that and it isn’t fun when the arrogancy of the pastor who thinks he is the greatest thing since Charles Spurgeon will not acknowledge even the need for improvement. The difficult thing is trying to be honest with someone. I have actually directed a couple of people into a different direction and it has worked well for them. Sometimes it is just a matter of getting someone to sing in a more appropriate range. The ones who just don’t need to be doing it….well…
Brian - Pretty much we would be considered local. We have expanded more into regional work recently.
I am in the middle of writing a blog for our website about us metroplex singers who aspire to be more than what we are. It is difficult for our area, let alone other parts of the country, to take us seriously when we are merely doing cover songs of other artists. Ransomed is soon going into studio to work on about three songs that we have written to see what we can do with them. We are also getting things together to work with an outside producer to be named later to improve our standing. I think Brian and I are on the same page when it comes to this.
Mind you, our goal is not to have a song chart. That is icing on the cake stuff. We hope to expand our ministry into the Ark, Ok, La, and further places in Texas so we need specific promotion not national.
And finally, Al - The other problem is the music ministers that have a group in their church and refuse to have quality groups in because of jealousy or fear of being shown up.
Posted 17 Apr 2008 at 9:46 pm ¶
Incidentally, there are at least a couple of national groups, without naming names, that could probably be outsung by some of those church groups.
Posted 17 Apr 2008 at 9:59 pm ¶
One more thing Brian #34 - Many people sing, not necessarily to get rich, but because it satisfies the ego. When it comes to doing what we do there is a certain amount of ego involved to thiink you can or should stand in front of people to sing. The problem is that what we do DOES feed the ego and we have to be EXTREMELY naive to think that some of our singing family isn’t in it for that reason.
I finish with one last question that I have asked before and never received an answer, let alone to my satisfaction: is it more ego to seek to do your best and try to get those around you better or to be horrible and think you are awesome?
Posted 17 Apr 2008 at 10:08 pm ¶
LeeBob: We could argue this stuff till the cows come home, but, the facts remain. As long as the traxs are there, people are gonna sing. Again, we are not songwriters. We are a local, weekend trio. If they don’t want you singing their songs, then don’t sell’ em. Course, a lot of the churches we sing at don’t follow southern gospel like we do, so they don’t know who sings what songs. I think you can be taken very seriously even if you are singing other groups “cover songs”. The gospel is still the gospel.
I understand what you are saying about pastors and music directors who don’t like to give up their pulpit. Thankfully I attend a church that doesn’t have that problem. OUr pastor loves to be ministered to and our music director encourages others. Our trio is that “church group”. We normally don’t sing when we have other groups.
Posted 17 Apr 2008 at 10:36 pm ¶
jb - not arguing just simply making a point. Probably by about the middle of next week go to our link and you aill understand what I am talking about.
There is a promoter in the area who has built a large audience but refuses to have local groups regardless of how good they are and what size following they may be able to bring. I dare say that every time I have gone I can think of about five or six groups that are better than at least one of the groups on his stage but will never see the light of day there. No he isn’t the goal but he has taught me something about the perception of even the best groups in the DFW area. Personally talking with the man and watching the other thing he is putting together, his perception of the local group is very much right on. His perseption is that we are basically a little above karaoke simply because all we do is cover songs. He is also starting to use local groups in a new event on Sunday evening that features the Red Back Hymnal. I love the songs and grew up on them but if all I am doing is singing congregational songs what is the point.
Having already put together 3 projects we are very aware of the costs of putting together a quality project in our local studios. If we take the time out to look for the right producer (and we have) we can have better production quality AND original music for a little more than what we already spend. That is the next step for the perception of SG groups in the metroplex. The few groups in this area that have gone further with their ministry have done so largely because they have had some original music along with the quality. As they say in sports, when a team is half way through the season…”we are what we are”…at least until we do something to change it. That is being brutally honest with myself about Ransomed first and collectively with our groups in this area. Each group controls what they do but we are in denial if we think we are more than what we are. The conventions are basically cover song havens (guilty as charged) with a few originals sprinkled in.
Posted 18 Apr 2008 at 11:26 am ¶
The other day I got an email from Jason Crabb’s site saying he has a new album out of his favorite songs. I admit I was interested and went to the site only to find out his favorite songs are past Crabb best sellers….which that is ok. But I am not going to pay $15.00 for music I already have.
Why do artists release, rerelease, and then rererelease the same music? It may be a different arrangement, but to me that is just laziness.
I would buy a new album, but only if it has new music…e.g. not past music I’ve heard sung in concerts and have on CD’s.
One has to work a bit harder than that for me to hand over money.
Posted 20 Apr 2008 at 11:27 am ¶
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