Mild dissent of the day
After reading my post on the death of Christian music, Glenn demurs:
I think that you try to make much more out of Southern Gospel music than it really is. You only attend the concerts you feel are relevant, the NQC or Mark Lowry, etc. However, there are many, many people who attend the small concerts in a Church or they attend the ones who have multiple artists, like the Bill Baily three days in Palmetto. I think that the real question is can these people make enough money to either support their lifestyle or their families? As long as they can do that, hey, we are going to be there.
I have attended concerts for several years in Clovis, New Mexico of Greater Vision in which there are less than 200 people. They absolutely love them there and as long as Greater Vision is willing to come there, Southern Gospel music in Clovis will survive forever.
Are we judging Southern Gospel music by the success of Bill Gaither (believe me of whom I love and travel many miles every year to see)? If we do, sure it is dying. We seem to be so concerned about the fact that attendance at his concerts has decreased over the years when he is still drawing 8 or 10 thousand people.
That is not Southern Gospel music as we know it. I personally think that Southern Gospel music will always be judged by the groups who are still willing to travel all of those miles to provide it to us, and to those of us who attend and enjoy those concerts.
Believe it or not, we don’t need for them to be perfect in every performance or to have exactly the right people participating (good example is your criticism of Joseph Habedank of the Perry’s). I am anything than a good fan of the Perry’s, but he has really developed, has a great voice, and is doing a great job. That is coming from someone who may only see the Perry’s twice a year in concert.
I absolutely love your blog and your perspective, but when it comes to our kind or music, I think you overanalyze (that may not be a word, but spell check didn’t reject it). I hope you continue to do so.
I think there’s a lot truth to what he’s saying. If my earlier post left the (erroneous) impression that I thought sg would cease in all but a few parasitic forms like theaters or cruises, I should have been clearer. As Glenn says here, as long as there are churches and gospel acts willing (or able) to get there, there will be southern gospel concerts. I still think it’s inarguable that white gospel music has declined in market share and influence, independent of the Gaither variable. And I continue to believe that increasingly, the most successful survivors will be those who anchor themselves in some way (whether with a music theater or seminar franchise or a self-sustaining festival or concert series or some other similar sort of arrangement) that fuels national tours, rather than relying on touring as their primary activity. But on the ground, at your average concert, things will probably look much the same for a very long time (even if there are fairly significant structural changes or contractions going on within the industry). There will, after all, always be someone willing to sing to those few hearty souls in Clovis, New Mexico, and gospel fans long ago proved themselves not very picky about who that someone is.
As for overanalyzing, guilty as charged. Blogging lends itself to wormholing, overanalysis, and snowglobe-ing (you know, where you put something in a tiny glass globe, shake it up vigorously, and then look at it from all angles), especially for someone like me who finds deep satisfaction in trying to figure how something like gospel music works and generates the pleasures it does. I don’t plan to stop trying any time soon, and/but/so it’s probably good to be reminded that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.Email this Post