Dissent of the day

From Tori Taff, the Gaitherite wife of Gaitherite Russ Taff:

OK, I do realize that attempting to address the vitriolic Gaither-hating on this site is an exercise in futility, but you know… sometimes the wife of a “histrionic, emotionalistic, over-singing, Gaither-light waving, badly dressed, prematurely atrophied career” singer just needs to get a couple of things off her (smoking hot) chest.

I am not a delicate little flower with no discernible sense of humor who’s never said a bad word about anybody. I am also not a hard-core SG music lover. I did not grow up listening to the singers and groups that so many of your readers (and my husband) have loved for years. I cannot debate the comparative vocal merits of Big Chief or Hovie or Rosie or, um, other old quartet guys with weird names. And frankly, I still get some of the family groups mixed up. Also who they used to be married to. So the fact that I have been so disturbed and offended by the relentless disrespect and downright pissiness aimed at certain SG performers on this site is surprising even to me.

But here’s the thing: those Gaither Homecoming artists? I actually KNOW THEM. They are not just faces on videos or figures on the stage to me, they are human beings. I have traveled and vacationed with them, my children have grown up with their children, I have been at their weddings and I have been to waaaaay too many of their funerals. Mock if you will (and I know many of you will!) that whole “Homecoming Family” thing—I have lived it. My opinion of these people is not based on hearsay, rumors, wishful thinking or hype. I don’t have them on pedestals, I am not crazy in love with all of them, I am closer to some than others, and a few can get on my last nerve. But dare I say, that though of course each and every person is entitled to their opinion AND is also entitled to vomit that opinion all over the blogosphere, may I humbly submit that my opinion on this particular subject may be just a squidge more informed than some.

I honestly don’t think that just because this is ‘gospel music’ people will never have a negative word to say about performances, new releases or certain artists. It’s a free country, blah blah blah. What I fundamentally don’t get though, is the gleefully mean-spirited tone behind some of the things said here. It is hard to make a case for this site being dedicated to ‘criticism, commentary and observation’ when very personally pejorative adjectives like “schlocky, arrogant, ridiculous, nauseating, midlife crisis on stage” are flying around. And let’s not forget the GVB post below—it’s a veritable cornucopia of insults: “advanced stage of self-induced mania, vocal afterthought, pure schtick, overweight, out of shape middle-aged amateur.” Yep folks, that’s pretty much the same kind of insightful, constructive ‘criticism/commentary/observation’ that Jesus used to take those high and mighty disciples down a peg or two, I bet!

When this site has come up in conversations I have had with artist friends of mine, the main reaction is not anger or disgust, although those feelings are certainly present. The universal response is always that they are just baffled by the haters. They honestly don’t understand what it is about them that would cause people who do not even know them to attack their character, their appearance, their talent… even their children. And let’s talk about the children a minute.

On that much-maligned video clip above, at around the 2:00 mark, you will see my sweet daughter Madi. Surprisingly, she wasn’t there to try to weasel her way onto stage, or jockey for camera-time or advance a career. She was there because she loves those people. They have been a steady source of great fun and unconditional love throughout her young life. She isn’t a SG fan, she just likes being around her friends, and appreciates their talent. Her iPod has the Isaacs and Lynda Randle on it (right alongside M.I.A and the Fleet Foxes) which is a little unusual for a 16 year old girl! See, Madi doesn’t know that Ernie Haase is ‘narcissistic’ and ‘opportunistic’—he’s the guy that teases her and treats her like a big brother and sends her funny, encouraging text messages. And she’s blissfully unaware that Sheri Easter is a coldhearted dragon lady and Jeff is a buffoon—she knows them as the family that bought her dad a beat-up, 20 year-old blue pick-up truck and drove it from Georgia all the way to Nashville to give it to him, because Russ was going through a hard time and Jeff thought he needed “something to tinker with” to make him feel better. And Gloria doesn’t strike her as a sappy sentimentalist. Gloria rocked her to sleep when she was a baby, taught her how to make seashell collages, and rode paddleboats in their pond with her. She quite looks up to her. Madi doesn’t realize Bill is a megalomaniacal despot– he’s just the sweet old guy that cracks corny jokes and tries to make her promise she’ll never grow up or start dating. Thanks to your website, maybe Madi can finally wise up.

I guess, Doug, what I’m trying to say to you and your negative commenters is that it is disingenuous and dishonest to pretend that you are unaware of the hurt that is caused by your very personal diatribes against artists. If someone used a public forum to make disparaging comments about your wife’s weight, or comment on the fact that she didn’t appear to be aging very well and was actually kind of crappy at her chosen profession—would you be OK with that?

Does it somehow please you that your dismissive, insulting remarks about Wes Hampton were upsetting to him? Is there some secret pleasure when artists’ kids show up here and leave comments trying to defend their families? And exactly what, if anything, IS off-limits to the armchair musical quarterbacks and music biz ‘pundits’ on your site? Let’s see… Sheri Easter and Janet Paschal have both had mastectomies, how about uni-boob jokes? No? Well, Anthony Burger dropped dead on a Homecoming cruise, that’s gotta be good fodder for some anti-Bill material, right?

I know this little epistle of mine isn’t going to really change anything. You guys are not going to clutch your pearls and say, “Oh dear Lord, she’s so right, I’ll never do that again!” But maybe, just maybe the next time you use your time, energy and education to take a cheap shot at another human being, one that you don’t really even know except through their talent? Maybe it won’t be quite as much fun.

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Comments

  1. LisaLou wrote:

    You tell it like it is girl! Amen!!

  2. Tori Taff wrote:

    “From Tori Taff, the Gaitherite wife of Gaitherite Russ Taff”…
    *sigh*

  3. GM wrote:

    Well said, well spoken and makes her point. I would hope that most SG artists understand that this site represents a very, very, very small percentage of SG fans. The opinions and comments are very often judgemental, and downright mean spirited. On the other hand there are plenty of great posts, interesting insight and funny comments made as well. The mean spirited comments just seem to be the “culture” of this sight.

  4. quartet-man wrote:

    I was going to say that I guess I’ll be the first to comment on this, but I don’t know if there are messages in cue yet or not, so I might not be. :-)

    In this world it seems that doing (or even not doing) something will get comments from people. The more people you are in front of, the more magnified it is. I am not a performer, but I am a church music director. As loving and great as my church is, and as loved as I am there, there have still been a few with comments that can tear down. I don’t know any place that is exempt from that. It is impossible to please everyone and their likes, preferences, desires etc. Believe me, I know.

    Message boards, blogs etc. are great places to discuss things both with like-minded people and those with different opinions. However, when talking as if you are talking privately among yourselves on a board can be hard on people because the words are there forever in a lot of cases for the person being discussed to see, their loved ones, others to read and comment on, and sometimes people to feed on each other.

    There do seem to be people here who really get off on blasting people. People who seem to love to shake things up. People whose intent and hatred seem to be pretty exposed. That is sad. I don’t believe the majority fall in that description, but there does seem to be some.

    With that said, discussing the art is probably okay and I think part of being a performer. However, a little bit of tact and kindness can go a long way I am not saying people should be disingenuous at all, but some things although we have the freedom to say should remain unsaid or at least with some honey.

  5. Joshua Cottrell wrote:

    Tori, I wouldn’t be too upset with Doug, I mean he is the same person saying how stupid it is to vote for a president based on his stance on abortion (http://averyfineline.com/2008/10/13/political-roundup/). Simply put he thinks he is smarter that everybody else in Southern Gospel music. He is the bully in the playground.

  6. Southern Gospel Fan wrote:

    (((Tori)))
    You go Girl.
    Know this will not change a thing on this site. You sure did nail it with your analysis of the hatred and bad mothing that goes on here concerning the greatest grp. of people I know.
    This is first time I have been back to this site since the unkind comments were made about Wes Hampton. Feel so badly that he came here and read all the trash talking.
    When God is using you in a mighty way,then Satan steps in.
    That is what is going on with this website.
    Surprised haven’t heard something about the Hampton’s new baby. Oh well you said it all so well and thank you for expressing a view that is most approprate for this site.

  7. onetimer wrote:

    YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!!!!! Well said!!!!!

  8. quartet-man wrote:

    My bad I should have said queue instead of cue. :-)

  9. quartet-man wrote:

    Hey, Tori, would saying “From Tori Taff, the the smokin’ hot Gaitherite wife of Gaitherite Russ Taff”…been better? :-) JK

  10. tellmeplease wrote:

    Curious if Doug will respond with his credentials. What is his background in music? Is he even qualified to make the technical comments he does, much less the personal ones? Has he ever spent time at a Gaither concert or gotten to know ‘Gaither people’? Or is his experience entirely ‘You Tube’ based?
    I guess what I’m asking is: Doug,is your life as sad as I think it is?

  11. tellmeplease wrote:

    Dare you to post a picture of you and your family so we can all express our opinions on them.

  12. rr wrote:

    Tori, thanks for that post! If only it could be a wakeup call to some of the vicious people who continue to spew venom on here simply because they are less successful than those whom they criticize!

    And #5 is right! Our moderator has a superiority complex that is actually undeserved. Because we have worked in gospel music does not make us less intelligent than he.

    Word is, Avery auditioned and didn’t make it in this business. That’s why he targets successful individuals. (I’ll be amazed if this paragraph makes it to the boards.)

  13. jjack wrote:

    I can appreciate it when Doug critiques the MUSIC - he’s often a lone critic in an industry that could use more honest reviewers to make it healthier as a whole. If you’ve listened to the satellite SG station lately you know somebody needs to tell a lot of the groups that the quality is just not there compared to almost any other genre of music.

    That being said, the hateful things that posters say PERSONALLY about about SG performers is off base. Criticize the music if you want, leave out the “personal diatribes”. This site would then be so much better. Thanks, Tori for reminding everyone that they’ve been talking about living, breathing human beings AND their families. You go, girlfriend.

  14. jjack wrote:

    “about about”. I guess I should have edited MYSELF. My bad.

  15. JaniceMartin wrote:

    Dearest Tori-
    Sometimes people just aren’t buying what your husband is selling. It’s okay. No need to put your ‘girls’ on the line over it.
    Janice

  16. Alan wrote:

    Well said, Tori. Thanks for what you wrote. You know the old adage, I’m sure - Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t teach, criticize. I’ve often thought how that many of the people who have been the most resoundingly criticized here have more talent in their little fingers than their critics have in the entirety of them. Still, every word that you wrote was necessary, sadly, and your honesty is very appreciated.

  17. Rick wrote:

    Tori, thank you for speaking truth to power. People use forums like this to anonymously and cowardly express their often misinformed and willfully ignorant opinions. They feel to voice things they would never dare say to their targets’ faces.

    Rick Parker
    Moultrie, GA

  18. Susan Weatherford wrote:

    Tori, I have not met you, but I love your way of saying things. Being a gospel singer’s kid, I have seen all sides. I read something on here once about my Mom “not being able to cut it anymore.” Well, I would like to see how many people are still travelling at the age of 80. I can’t stand the disrespect that is on this board. Sounds like someone is jealous Hope I get to meet you sometime.

  19. oldtimer wrote:

    Bad taste and thin skin. Unfortunate.

  20. quartet-man wrote:

    Tori, I can overlook and forgive the use of the word pissiness, but the following points not so much. “I am also not a hard-core SG music lover. I did not grow up listening to the singers and groups that so many of your readers (and my husband) have loved for years.”

    WHAT? OH, NO YOU DIDN’T! ;-)

    I’m just teasing you again, Tori. :-)

  21. Don wrote:

    Tori,

    Doug or Avery either one cant compare to Russ or any of his friend. Thats why they feel they have to say something negative about them. Doug needs to give an apology on here if he is any type of man at all. But dont hold your breath. And we all know that Avery isnt a man . OK DOUG WE ARE WAITING !! Tori you have my respect.
    That needed to be said along time ago.

  22. tellmeplease wrote:

    #15–Janice,
    Can you explain your comment? About the ‘girls’.

  23. Tom K. wrote:

    #15 Janice - If not this, what are you buying? I’m all in for anything Gaither is selling. Tori, keep up the good work!!!!

  24. Belinda wrote:

    Way to go Tori! You go girl! We are behind you! We love you and Russ and your girls and the other Homecoming Artists. You are all great people, with big hearts! Thanks for coming on here and saying what you did. It needed to be said.

  25. Betty Morris wrote:

    Doug must not like himself very much, to be so thoughtlessly critical of others. It is one thing to honestly review musical quality, but it can be done without meanspiritedness toward the performer.

    As in any group/occupation/church/blog.. there are some SG artists who have more depth of character than others. But those without true character do not last long in the industry, regardless of their talent. There is no musical group where the fans and the artists are more directly connected. And those that do last, have my respect. Russ and Tori Taff have more character in their little fingers than most people have in their entire bodies.

    What a shame Doug Avery can’t turn his energies of personal dissapointment into a blessing of healing, as Tori and Russ have suceeded in doing.

  26. Bud wrote:

    Why are personal criticisms about Doug made in a comment thread critical of personal criticism? (Plus I was able to use three variations of critic in one sentence.)

  27. Momma Lloyd wrote:

    Gracious, it is so sad to read where someone supposedly “in the business” would be anything less than an encourager to the other ones out there. The Homecoming artists sacrifice time at home with family in order to take the message in music to people not only all across the United States, but to other countries. This sacrifice isn’t made to glorify themselves….but to glorify the Name of our Lord. We who are SG fans….both of the music and of the artists…have grown to love many of these people. Their music has ministered to all of us at different points in our lives….and has been instrumental in many coming to know their Lord personally. Perhaps each of us could look into our hearts and think about how many will be there because of us….certainly not because of our singing, but even because of something we have said or done? But wait, I seem to remember that we are going to one day stand before our God and give account for every single word we have uttered………

  28. Joe wrote:

    Tori-

    Thanks for baring your soul. Musta been hard to do.

    Many of us who have come here almost daily for years, are also disillusioned and disheartened at the way things have deteriorated here.

    Doug is a talented wordsmith, who can say things we cannot, in ways we could never imagine.

    However, he is a frustrated musician himself, and perhaps never got the career in SGM he had hoped for. He is also living a life of rebellion against the conservative Christian upbringing his parents provided for him, and takes almost every opportunity he can lashing out at any of us who live or espouse that viewpoint. He apparently has other demons, as well.

    So, he critiques.

    But- there is never anything of spiritual or Scriptural substance from his keyboard. Never anything that uplifts, encourages, or helps one in their walk for the Lord.

    He never discusses the spiritual or Scriptural impact or import of a song. It is always about the singer, or their voice, or their delivery, or something else only fluffy and superficial, and mostly, negative.

    In fact, this website has become anti-Biblical thought, pro-homosexuality, anti-scriptural discussion, pro-ultraliberal “values”….and many of us have decided that visiting here often has become a colossal waste of our time.

    We leave here far more often tainted with negative, than we do positive.

    Please don’t lose alot of sleep over what Doug and others have written. They are in a declining minority. In fact, Doug seems hell-bent on being the demise of his own blog.

    Thanks for your honesty.

  29. art wrote:

    I find Doug’s comments are generally in line with his mission of offering criticism and comment on the state of SG performance and the industry. Others who post on this site can tend toward the gossipy, personal, unkind and unworthy.

    That said, critics often find it hard to toe the line between legitimate criticism — written in an entertaining manner — and on the other hand taking cheap, personal shots.

    The line between the two often is also lost on the objects of the criticism, who have a hard time looking beyond their bruised feelings at the legitimate discussion of their performances.

  30. RF wrote:

    Good grief.

    sg people must be the most thin skinned people in the world. I love Russ and Tori. I love the Gaither Homecomings and have (I think) all of them, but music criticism is part of the game. Live with it. It has nothing to do with one’s own personal salvation or even one’s position in the world. It’s just music criticism. You listen to Beethoven’s 5th at the local symphony and you see faults — people have been doing this for years in newpapers and periodicals. No big deal. but criticize the performance of a gospel singer and whoa–watch out! All of a sudden you are dealing with Satan and all of his helpers.

    Forgive me Bill, Gloria, Russ, Tori, Mark, and all the rest, but the GVB on that Youtube clip was not up to par. I didn’t expect it to be, but the mere mention of it brings on a firestorm. Sad.

  31. AnnD wrote:

    I love you, Tori…..and unlike what someone here said, I know this wasn’t at all hard for you to do!!! You’re a lady with strong convictions and you stand behind them honestly.

    It’s kinda funny…when someone is straightforward about something affirming that could be controversial to some it isn’t accepted too wellll…but it often seems acceptable to be straightforward and opinionated when knocking someone personally–that’s being gutsy…naw, it’s really kinda being cowardly.

  32. Irishlad wrote:

    #27 A well tough
    job but somebody has to do it. Lol.#28 Just because Doug expresses liberal views in a genre with a predominantly conservative fan base doesn’t make him son of Satan,does it?

  33. Janet wrote:

    Tori,
    Wow - that had to feel sooo good to get all of that out! It all needed to be said (although I might’ve been a bit harsher :D).

    As someone who is not a professional singer/musician (but has a healthy music background), you all have my admiration & gratitude for what you do & what it takes to do it.

    As for this site, it all boils down to one word: Jealousy. We just have to keep believin’ that the Lord can change even the blackest (or greenest) of hearts.

    Btw, “squidge” is a great word!

  34. Wade wrote:

    For all the ppl who wonder WHO DOUG is… it is pretty simple… GOOGLE…

    Not many ppl with REAL PhD’s. letters could take the pay cut to be a full time performer in SGM. I know a few that do it as a HOBBY or MINISTRY!!

    While I think sometimes he is a little hard on things Gaither…who do you expect him to be a critic of… The Singing Echos?? He did back peddle some quickly to clarify his thoughts… but an APOLOGY as # 21 Don suggest…WHY??? All sides where represented. Only apologize when one side is filtered and he filters & edits me more than anybody.

    It is mostly the posters who are over the line in to HATING. Hating has always been around and is not going away. If Wes gets his feeling hurt he needs to get used to it. A few performers who have been beat on have come on, and not sent THEIR DAD, to respond and I respected them more for doing it. I even went to thank Tori for CHIMING IN!!!

    For those who want things SWEET & SPIRIT FILLED go start your own blog… oh that’s right there are a few and ahhh sometimes they go for MULTIPLE Thread entries with NO COMMENTS!!!! So what good is that??

    So I do not think AVERYFINELINE is going away anytime soon.

    He post founded & unfounded criticism , terrible, childish and yes jealous things that are said about him… the best examples are “swallowing a dictionary”, multiple Tori Taff Dissents and even Dr. Joe’s post right above in # 28 & many more JUST in this thread. So it is not like he is hiding and trying to be OZ as some say!! Like I said GOOGLE!!!

    While I admire Tori for being a Momma Bear and say Russ and The Kids should be thankful for having someone who loves them that deeply. It is not Doug’s responsibility to PROTECT HER KIDS from hearing what the world says about the ppl her Dad performs with. Madonna has kids… but it is not a journalist or even a gossip writers responsibility to protect her kids from what is said about her?? Her kids were just as innocent at Tori’s.

    What she said about the ppl Russ performs with was pretty much true…well did think I think she was a little tough in Bill!!!LoL;-))

    But some of the HOMECOMING or any performer could take some lessons from Bill…. You never hear him GOING POSTAL. Believe me I was in a position once where he could have and he didn’t. He just came to town the next year and kicked my butt with a GREAT EVENT… and hey RUSS was there too!! LoL;-))

    SO remember these are opinions. This is an opinion site. While some post go over board and they might not be NICE…please keep in mind 3 things!!!

    1.) Do you want to No Singing News or some of Those Sweet Spirit FILLED Blogs to be the only outlet for SGM Talk??? on the OTHER end of that… I saw a thread at sogospelnews.com shut down cause posters where quoting scripture. If that was the case most of these threads would be shut down before they could get going. So everybody…BOTH SIDES have a voice.

    2.) Most of the NOT NICE things being said about the PERFORMERS ring true. They may have brought it on them selves. Even Dr. Joe says in the QUOTE of the DAY Thread below where I write about the Goodmans and he about the Oaks.. if they bring it on themselves it is OK for another group of ppl to use hate & backstabbing because there are different degrees of sin!!! LoL;-)) Still can’t get my head to stop shaking back and forth on that one,

    3.) If you are NICE & CLASSY…well then you are like Janet Paschal… NOBODY says ANYTHING BAD ABOUT YOU!!! Her thread never got over the 5 post count & I had 2 of those…. because…SHE IS NICE.

    I think Dr. Joe gave it away in his # 28 post above…”Doug seems hell-bent on being the demise of his own blog.” But yet He admits…”Many of us who have come here almost daily for years”…lol… can’t keep from watching the crash no matter HOW SWEET & SPIRIT FILLED you are…lol :-) ;-)

    But all in ALL..THANKS Tori… great writing… I know you felt better and it did make for some entertainment.

  35. tellmeplease wrote:

    Wade-did you just seriously compare Tori to Madonna? And the Taff girls to Madonna’s kids?
    I’m speechless.

  36. gina wrote:

    If I were Tori, I would be more concerned about my daughter reading my own disparaging remarks than those of some total strangers.

  37. smemah wrote:

    #11 Great idea. But I’ll not hold my breathe.
    #15 Don’t think I understand your point.
    #26 Should we just ignore the insults and hurts that he makes to others?
    #30 said “music criticism is part of the game.” My problem is when it goes from music criticism to personal attack… as in he has no talent, he is old and fat, and his Mom dresses him funny.
    #34 I googled, but I did not find much.

  38. tellmeplease wrote:

    I’m still trying to figure out your post,Wade.
    It’s hard to hear what you are really trying to say over all the SHOUTING.
    I googled and did not feel enlightened. The question on the table is Doug’s qualification to critique sg music, not personalities.
    It appears from your post the goal of this blog is to get as many comments as possible. Nice or not nice comments–just comments. That’s useful. (!)
    Tori does not need to defend anybody. Her point was that Doug doesn’t know the people he has said terrible things about.
    Janet P. IS nice. So is Russ. So is Wes. Also Gordon,Guy,Lynda,Ernie,etc… I know this for myself. If I wanted to comment on their technical musical skills on a particular song or (good grief) you tube video, then that is what I would comment on. NOT their dress (although I have to say I love Lynda’s clothes) or other aspect not related to the music.
    And, yes, I do prefer things ’sweet and spirit filled’–thanks for asking.
    And, yes, I think a review of ‘The Singing Echoes’ would fit nicely right about now.

  39. tellmeplease wrote:

    # 36–Seriously?
    I have daughters. They’ve seen/heard me defend people I care about from unfair comments or actions.
    The reaction I got was respect.

  40. gina wrote:

    #39 Yes, seriously. My own choice of words is far more important to me. If I felt it was that important to defend those people, I would do so privately with my child and/or at least not choose such a blatant matter as she did. But that’s just my opinion…

  41. Jake wrote:

    I understand Tori’s feelings, and I applaud her for having the guts to speak out.

    Many of the comments that are so mean-spirited and downright nasty are not from the articles Doug writes, but form those who send responses.

    This blogsite is “{criticism and commentary on southern GOSPEL music and culture.” The gospel therefore ought to be in the very center of things. When people are saying things on here that are clearly out of keeping with the Gospel and the commands of the Word of God, then they are out of place. I wish Doug would be a little more strict about what is acceptable to say. Slander, defense of unbiblical behavior, telling others they are full of s**t, etc. just do not belong on a site dedicated to southern GOSPEL, in my opinion.

    Tori, I applaud you for what you said. Never mind those who criticise you for defending your family and friends. You are living and responding in a way much closer to Scripture than they are.

  42. JM wrote:

    Please let me offer that the difference about which we are talking is the difference between perception and reality. Permit me a moment to explain.

    The expressed purpose of this blog is “criticism and commentary on southern gospel music and culture.” The words criticism and commentary are very open-ended and provide a large breadth of interpretation as to what may or may not be acceptable here at AVFL. Undoubtedly, some of our number will expect this space to be reserved for only uplifting, spiritually rewarding exchanges; and should any disagreement require some form of adjudication, then whomever quotes the largest number and most impressive compendium of appropriate scriptures wins! It is also evident that some of our number pay no attention to the spiritually-based environment, in which SGM operates. They believe that their comments need to be presented in a rather antiseptic and clinical manner and should be bereft of Christian kindness. This is indeed the conflict that is found at AVFL. The battle between kindness and truth, honesty and charity, ministry and editorial.

    For some, this battle will never be resolved and they will decide to either drift away or continue to occassionally protest the intent of other posters, as seen through their own perceived reality. Others will strenuously undertake a crusuade to spiritualize or secularize this blog, as their mind-set disposes them. Our perceptions predispose what we think the content should be at AVFL. However, like the whole of God’s world, we cannot dictate content. Rather, we must choose to be the light in a darkened corner or an act of kindness in a world full of cruelty. The reality is that Christains do not control nor do we have authority over what is or is not considered appropriate for public discourse. We act and react to the realities that we find in the world and at AVFL. And sometimes, as with Tori, we defend our loved ones and call into question the intentions of others.

    I would like to suggest that all of this is appropriate and good. Ministry is not always found in church pulpits and SGM stages. Somtimes it is found in strident blogs, where those of diverse points of view passionately contend for their particular slant on issues. Let’s all try to keep kindness in our honesty and honesty in our kindness!

  43. Joe wrote:

    JM-

    Your post (#42) is very well written, and very nicely thought out. And you are right, to a point. But in post #41, Jake wrote:

    “The gospel therefore ought to be in the very center of things.”

    And therein lies much of the heart of the problem under discussion.

    Not only are the truths of the gospel NOT the very center of things here, they are rarely even hinted at; and when done so by posters, they are routinely blasted and scoffed at.

    THIS is how far things have deteriorated here. The gospel is not at the center. It is barely discernible at the outer far reaches. And when interjected, it is soundly discouraged.

  44. Donna wrote:

    Very Well Said! Amen!!!!

  45. Jake wrote:

    Yeah — Joe (#43) — You said it better than I did. Gospel is in the center of the “official description” of this blog, but it isn’t being placed in the center of what is written. And therein lies the problem.

  46. Wade wrote:

    There are many on here and too many to mention that GET IT !!!
    jjack is one who does… you can’t be a real critic and do it nicely enough that ppl will not sometimes feel like their toes are stepped on. There have been more than one thread here about the job of a critic…look’em up and read them.

    # 19 - Oldtimer # 15 Janice Martin & # 30 RF is right…many thinned skinned in Gospel Music and sometimes ppl just aren’t buying what is being sold. No need to necessarily blow up about it. Although I can understand the Momma Bear Nature of Love reaction Tori had.

    I wonder what really set it off?? The review of the GVB clip I though was not outta line. The Over weight thing about Michael English seems to be the sore spot many are having. But if you are outta shape vocally and he was, that is a contributing factor. Even other ppl that are usually SWEET & Spiritual TBN watchers reported of his struggles.

    # 36 & 40 - Gina- Has a point. Some of what Tori said was as bad or worse than what she was going postal over.( HER WORDS on HER BLOG) Things she said about some of the HOMECOMING ARTIST are well established… like I said before I did think she was a little hard on Bill. More about this on tellmeplease below.

    JM, Jake, Dr. Joe, Donna… think you folks have The Noun…GOSPEL mixed up with the adjective usage of Gospel music. Because it is GOSPEL music does not mean that you can’t criticize someone… very few ppl can take EVEN constructive criticism. With out feeling like somebody stole their nose.

    I thought 2 things were telling from my friend Dr. Joe.

    1.) He says in his # 28 post.., “Doug seems hell-bent on being the demise of his own blog.” …then a little farther down he admitted, while sucking up to Tori that,…”Many of us who have come here almost daily for years”… Even funnier…while doing the survey and looking at some of the results and post about last years survey. Dr. Joe was sad about the same things then… me thinks Dr. Joe is sad MUCH!!… for a long time.

    2.) But while moaning and [Edit]ing about being sad how unChristian like Doug, and I am sure he means ppl like me too, are he gives Doug a Christ like examination by saying…”he is a frustrated musician himself, and perhaps never got the career in SGM he had hoped for…living a life of rebellion against the conservative Christian upbringing his parents provided for him, and takes almost every opportunity he can lashing out at any of us who live or espouse that viewpoint. He apparently has other demons, as well….So, he critiques.”

    …Which are all FINE EXAMPLES of Christianity and POSITIVE SPIRIT Dr. Joe!!! How do you know all of that???

    # 10, 11, 22, 35, 38, 39 Tellmeplease - Baby I am going to take this opp to help you understand things… since you are so confused and lost much on this thread. I will end with the most fun one.

    # 10 - GOOGLE..learn it….your life might be pretty sad to have to ask all these questions. … maybe go do their tutorial.

    # 11- Doug does not get on videos and CD’s to try and sell products. Post a pic of your fam. He gets criticized many times for being a critic and seems to take it much better than some of the performers.

    # 22- Tori Taft has a blog… http://babybloomr.com/ she talked about Averyfineline on her blog site and even though she refuses to be as open as Doug by allowing her to inform about her blog HERE…she has some pretty smart ppl posting there that figured it out some way and several of the posters here are posters on her blog… they can probably operate GOOGLE!!

    # 35-38 I gotta save these ’til last.. First… # 40 I think Gina has it right… some of the things Tori said in her own words we as bad as anything written here. But some how that was OK. I am sure she was meaning some of it in hyperbole… but if she is concerned about her kids reading terrible things about their heroes she spelled it all out after establishing the fact she KNEW THEM and HUNG out with them often. LoL;-)) THAT’S FUNNY!!!

    Lastly, tellmeplease… of course I was not comparing Madonna to Tori. They are both Hot Women but I think Madonna is nasty. I like Tori and just about any loving woman who has SPUNK… But I was comparing how it is not a critic’s responsibility to be concerned about protecting The Kids of a Public Figure from what many ppl in the world feel about them in a professional or even a personal way. The Kids of Madonna are no less innocent than Tori’s when they are born..I love kids and they are ALL INNOCENT, especially until they learn the WORD…I. I have found over the years when parents are overly protective of their kids it is a GREAT DISERVICE to those kids once they hit real world situations.

    A person can be many things to different ppl. I am sure BiG Brother Ernie Haase is a great influence on her daughters as are all the rest of the examples of ppl she gave… but she was also spot on about many of her negative takes on them as well.

    Hope this clears up your MANY points of MASS CONFUSION you have going on tellmeplease!!! Take the IQ quiz challenge in facebook and get back with us!!! lol

    When you are in entertainment just about anything is fair game. But I have to agree with Tori and some of the other posters… I do not understand what seems as OVER the TOP Gaither Hating.

    But I would think that many of the performers could use the Bill Gaither example of how he deals with the hate… HE TOTALLY IGNORES IT!!! Allows the RESULTS to SPEAK for THEMSELVES!!! For RESULTS are REALLY the ONLY THING that COUNTS!!

  47. Joe wrote:

    Wade-

    You are on far too huge a dose of Abilify. Also, your Tegretol levels need adjusted. I would also suggest you stop taking Provigil, Dexedrine, and Adderal together. Then, you need to cut down a bit from your 72 cups of coffee per day. And I have told you three times- you cannot gulp seven 5-hour energy drinks all at once, then try to type a post on here. Look at what you just wrote.

    In psychiatry, we call that a “word salad”, with “flight of ideas”. It is a sign of a psychosis.

    You wanna know how I know all of what I wrote? Very simple.

    The first two, are simply repeats of what Doug himself has written here several times, on both subjects. As well, in private emails to me.

    The third, because there is this thing called the internet, and a number of Doug’s papers and theses are out there.

    Now calm down.

  48. CG wrote:

    Dear Bill Gaither,
    Thank you for all you have done for SG! Hopefully, you can continue for many more years!

    Dear Tori,
    Thank you for loving your family and friends enough to jump in when you feel it necessary. I wish I had a million friends like you.

    Dear Avery/Doug,
    Thank you for giving us this site and insight. Keep on keeping on!

  49. CVH wrote:

    You people amaze me.

  50. Obeserver wrote:

    The sad fact here is bad news, backbiting, mud slinging, sells. Look at our media. Look at what we are bombarded with day after day. Over the years we have been trained to love and feed on the fallen and down and out. And if someone is better than us, we don’t try to get up to that level, we bring try to tear the others down to our level.

    Gaither does something and does it well. While we may not agree with everything he does, you must admit that he has done more for the SG industry than any other one person ever did.

  51. Wade wrote:

    Ok Dr. Joe… really what I need is Benzo’s that is the only thing that calms me down…I do not do any of those other drugs… Sorry… But I can’t even take benzo’s like I used to …they make me too sleepy now!!! I rarely do energy drinks or coffee unless I am about to perform and then very rarely.Never if I am producing also.

    It takes me several hours to be able to go to sleep after I perform… then I have to take melatonin & antihistamines to get down to sleep. But I have to take that EVERY NIGHT to get to sleep no matter.

    I told ya all of that to say this… some of the word salad I agree is true… so can’t you find it in your heart that you could be just a little less judgmental, and tell me… where in the bible it says…

    When there is Sinner 1 (OAKS) … where it is OK for a 2nd Sinner (GOODMANS) to sin against the 1st Sinner, but only when it is a lesser sin and the 2nd Sinner gains an advantage over the 1st Sinner and that makes it all OK???

    PLEASE TELL US THAT???

    I’ve stipulated that the OAKS where EVERYTHING you say, except I don’t think they tore your keyboard up on purpose. But come on say it was wrong for the Goodmans to do the things they did too!!

    COME ON YOU WILL FEEL BETTER!!!

  52. tellmeplease wrote:

    Dearest Wade,
    Never, ever under any circumstances call me ‘baby’. I feel dirty even typing that.
    I wouldn’t start any IQ wars–from the looks of your spelling–you might not win that one.
    I agree with the ‘psychosis’ diagnosis. And, yes, I am qualified to make a diagnosis.
    I can Google. I did not find answers to the questions I asked from the info. I found on Google.
    I am aware of Tori’s blog. Yep, probably most of those folks can Google. Glad we established that.
    Gladly would I publish a picture of my very accomplished family. Good spellers,all of them.
    Tori’s kids are fine. Well-adjusted, funny,
    fully aware of the SG world and the ‘real world’. They adore their father. Don’t waste a minute being concerned about them. You seem kind of overloaded as it is.
    Still shouting. Wow. Maybe an audiology test is in order.
    Can I be in the category of ‘women with spunk ‘?

  53. tellmeplease wrote:

    And Wade–where did you see Tori be ’spot on’ about the ‘negatives’ ? I have read and re-read her comments and can’t find that. The story about Jeff and Sheri? I thought that was sweet–and sounds just like something they would do. I couldn’t find the negative comments about any one she referenced.
    You did such a great job of enlightening me. Once more–without the endearments, please.
    And Wade–nice My Space. Told me a lot about you.

  54. dmp wrote:

    I like it Tori. The internet is such an easy place for tone deaf critics to critique others work.

  55. Joe wrote:

    Wade, my man…..

    This is turning out to be the differential diagnosis list of the Wade man.

    Not only are you apparently psychotic…and from your myspace page narcissistic…and from the above note a hopeless insomniac…please add severe ADHD to the mix.

    I have answered your above question 3 times now. That is THREE times. Please count them. You will find it as #143 on the Quote of the day thread.

    That’s it. My final answer.

    By the way- what does an insomniac dyslexic agnostic do?

    He sits up all night wondering whether or not there is a dog.

  56. LW wrote:

    Thank you Tori!!!!! I think you should receive some award for telling it like it is. I love to read the things that you have written. Here and other places. You know someone can’t take you where they’ve never been. You’ve been there and that qualifies you to speak. Well done!

  57. Don wrote:

    Lets try this, Instead of posting ” Criticism”
    and comments about people, Let pick up the telephone and call them personally and tell them that you dont like the way they sing or you dont like what they are wearing, so we can hear it from both sides. Now dont you think that way would be fair? That way we can hear what they think of you. But we know that wont happened because there will always be spineless , gutless people. Who cares if someone is just a little off key or cant reach a certain not like they use too. Oh wait I guess some of you do, the ones who think that your butt dont stink. So get up off you lazy butt and CALL the people you want to criticize and then you can get a REAL reaction like you want.

  58. Jake wrote:

    Don (#57) — Your idea is the biblical way of doing things. Unfortunately, there are quite a few people who write into this site who couldn’t care less about doing what the Bible says, and in many cases, they are the ones with the greatest amount of hatred and vitriole which they love to spew all over blogosphere. So, while your suggestion is good (you might have to e-mail rather than telephone most SG artists), I’m afraid I have to tell you that it just isn’t going to fly here. Sad — very sad — but true.

  59. Momma Lloyd wrote:

    When there is Sinner 1 (OAKS) … where it is OK for a 2nd Sinner (GOODMANS) to sin against the 1st Sinner, but only when it is a lesser sin and the 2nd Sinner gains an advantage over the 1st Sinner and that makes it all OK???

    _____________________

    Huh? My goodness, that was a mouthful, Wade, and I didn’t understand one word of it. Except that I will tell you that all sins are equal. But it isn’t a sin to defend your brother. However, it is a sin to gossip. And some of what is said here is just that: ugly gossip. Nothing based on fact….just the ramblings of idle minds dwelling on unkind and untrue thoughts.

  60. Don wrote:

    Jake,

    I guess that is what you get when you try to do it the right way. But you know the good part ? It will fly sooner or later. because EVERY knee shall bow and EVERY tongue confess. OH wait, what am I thinking? They dont read that verse. Ok never mind go ahead and CRITICIZE. That verse dont count.

  61. trainingguy wrote:

    BIO for Dr. Douglas Harrison aka Avery

    Assistant Professor of English

    Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 2005
    A.M., Washington University in St. Louis, 2001
    B.A., University of Missouri-St. Louis, 1998

    Primary Teaching Areas: American Literature and Culture before 1900, American religious thought and psychology

    Other interests: contemporary evangelical culture and theology, gospel music and culture, sexuality and gender

    Professor Harrison joined the faculty of Florida Gulf Coast University in 2006 after a post-doctoral fellowship at Washington University. His main teaching and research interests include the literature and culture of America before 1900 and the half-life of early American thought and writing. His recent articles have focused on Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Shepard and the strategies these writers developed to make traditional ideas about religion and redemption responsive to individual and cultural crises of relevance. Work currently in progress focuses on Edwards and contemporary evangelicalism and the cultural function of gospel music in evangelical Protestantism. In addition to working in his primary field, Professor Harrison also cultivates an interest in academic technology – he was the founding director of the Hurst Digital Archive at Washington University (http://artsci.wustl.edu/~hurst/) – and writes for magazines and websites about gospel music and culture.

    Publications

    “Why Southern Gospel Music Matters.” Religion and American Culture. 18.1 (Winter 2008).
    “Thomas Shepard, Experiential Theology, and the Inscrutability of the Calvinist God.” (under review, Writing the Divine: Meetings of Gods and Humans)
    “On Being a Blogademic: Scholarly Voice and Professional Identity in the Internet Age.” (under review, Thought and Action)
    “No Body There: Notes on the Queer Migration to Cyberspace.” Journal of Popular Culture. (forthcoming, summer 2008)
    “The Will in Contemporary Evangelicalism: Or How (Not) To Domesticate Jonathan Edwards.” Journal of the M/MLA. 39.1 (Spring 2006). 1-13.
    “Narcissism, Apocalypse, and Shelley’s Critique of Canonical History in ‘Alastor.’” Essays in Romanticism, Spring 2003, pp 37-64.
    “The Long Poem of Walking: Spatial Organization and Pedestrian Speech Acts in ‘Piers Plowman.’” AntiThesis 12, Spring 2002, pp 192-217.

  62. Jake wrote:

    Hmm … Doug has a PhD? As someone once told me, PhD simply stands for Piled Higher & Deeper. (Sorry Doug. I couldn’t resist!)

  63. Joe wrote:

    There is perhaps another article Doug wrote that might be of interest…He wrote an article in the January 2005 issue of “Student Health Spectrum” entitled “A Personal Narrative: Observing Cultural Competency in Student
    Health”.

  64. Wade wrote:

    # 61- TrainingGuy… Thanks YOU!!! Maybe you can give tellmeplease a GOOGLE lesson…While I may have spelling challenges, she is apparently TOO SMART to figure it out on her own and a problem reading and putting 2+2 together.

    # 59 - Mamma Lloyd- Sorry that was from a discussion I was having with the fine Christian Gentleman we refer to as Dr. Joe or JOE as he writes. He DOES NOT AGREE that all sin is equal and you can get in on that convo over on the QUOTE of the Day thread. Nothing I said was gossip…all well establish facts. I hate gossip.

    Dr. Joe I have cut and pasted YOUR WORDS 3 times and you continue to argue with your self. Not Beavis & QMan even called you on it. If I was narcissistic…I would not be trying to defend anyone. I will cop to the… ADHD & Insomniac.

    tellmeplease, Dr. Joe & a few more atleast Tori has enough spunk & I have a big enough [Edit] sack to say how we feel, call out BS and SHOW WHO WE ARE!!! Before you diagnosis, if you are SOOOO qualified why don’t ya have enough guts to join us???

  65. Wade wrote:

    WoW …Dr. Joe… I am actually too nice to diagnose YOUR ILLNESS!!!

    I actually SAW what kinda man you are in this thread tonight. I need not say any more!!!

    But be glad…nah your not worth it!!!

  66. tellmeplease wrote:

    Wow,Wade, never in my life has anyone accused me of not ‘ saying how I feel ‘
    or not ‘ calling out BS ‘. This is truly a first.
    I got all that bio. info. on Doug. It just did not answer my question about his musical background. That was where I started in all this.
    And,yes, indeed, Ms. Tori has spunk.

    (You do realize her original post had NO negative statements about anyone-right? I would hate to see her mis-quoted–here or anywhere else.)

    And she has a sense of humor. And a well-placed sense of priorities. Speaking of–I think I’m backing out of all this discussion. Too much traffic has been generated to this site by all this controversy. I have more uplifting,positive endeavors going on that need my attention. So I will go on enjoying whatever musical groups/people I have always enjoyed.
    Just a word to the wise–Wade,I am a bit puzzled as to why you are such a fan of Google? Some info. that MIGHT be out there on SOME individuals could be somewhat–oh, embarrassing– for that individual. I’m just saying.

  67. Wade wrote:

    TELLMEPLEASE - To say that Tori’s first blog says nothing negative just shows you must have a serious reading comprehension issue… just read the other post…ahhh Gina’s come to mind, she points it out too, with out spelling it all out for you like has already been done Baby!!! LoL;-))

  68. smemah wrote:

    #66… I”m out of here, too. There are too many who seem to ‘enjoy’ a critical spirit, and think it is a critique. I don’t have time to wade thru the deep cow pods to get to the few good blades of grass.

    “Criticism and commentary on southern gospel music and culture”? Turns out to be more artist bashing and blogger bashing that anything else.

  69. tellmeplease wrote:

    I told you about that ‘Baby’ thing.

    WHO can’t comprehend !?! These: ( ” ” )
    are known as quotation marks, used to show a direct quote from another source or IRONY. Tori’s article used irony,satire and was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek in reference to OTHER’S statements about Bill,Gloria,Ernie, Jeff, etc.
    You seriously didn’t get that !?! You really thought she was calling those people names!?!
    What are they teaching at Jr. College these days.
    You just keep on ‘ lol-ing’ your bad self –all the way to rehab.

  70. Bryce wrote:

    trainingguy and Joe, I found that bio of Doug several years ago but never bothered to Google the articles. Thanks for posting this, especially the one you recommended, Joe. It’s insightful and well worth the read. Doug, I pray you keep the big C at bay.

  71. Momma Lloyd wrote:

    Russ Taff’s CDs and concerts have been reviewed a gazillion times over the years, from local papers all the way to People Magazine, Country Music Weekly and USA Today– and though not every one was a=2 0rave, never, never, NEVER have any professional critics been anything but respectful and thoughtful about their opinions. Doug, by the way, has never really ‘reviewed’ any work of Russ’ that I am aware of– he has just taken cheap personal potshots every now and then.)

    Momma Lloyd

  72. Juliet wrote:

    GO TORI!!! That was awesome…and first i want to point out that the “artist’s kids are commenting trying to defend their families” was brilliant :) And the main reason I think so is because I am one of them and i’ve sat in front of a lap top on a bus with some friends as they say “He really said that about your mom??” I’ve also watched as some of those friends observe my parents differently after reading these things..I’ve read those “cheap shots” and cried my eyes out thinking that someone actually finds my parents to be that way? And the worst- I’ve watched a friend lose almost all hope because she read that people didn’t like her voice..and i don’t mean a 40year old woman. A TEENAGER! Honestly i think doug is a guy who tried out for a SG group back in his prime, got rejected, and now is taking out all his furry on people he knows are better at what he wanted to do. So mr. dude,sir, sir dude, doug, (aka that guy who sits in front of his computer with a dictonary/thesaurus finding and using words he knows everyone isn’t going to understand just so he can appear educated) go back to your original life..I mean he had to be doing SOMETHING before he got into ruining peoples reputations, crushing their self-esteem,and loving every minute of it. right?

  73. freddyfastbeat wrote:

    Go Tori!!!! Critisism of musical quality is ok and good; however, when you attack an artist for the way they dress or make nasty remarks about their personal lives or about their children it isn’t critisism. I think Doug and many other commenters on this site are simply jealous of the success of others and really want to be like them. True Christians are supposed to lift each other up not run them down.

  74. wackythinker wrote:

    freddy - #73 — You may have hit the nail on the head when you said “True Christians are supposed to lift each other up not run them down” right after the observation about “commenters on this site”.

    We’re not being very Christ-like, much of the time on these sites.

  75. american wrote:

    I would just like to say that I saw Russ Taft, along with other artists on the gaither tour, in Anaheim,Ca last friday night. Never have I enjoyed a concert so much! I feel so blessed to have been there. I might add that Russ was in top form, and looked incredibly handsome. You go Tori!

  76. not a grammarian wrote:

    what about Russ’ smokin hot wife, Tori *TafT* ? was she at the concert?

  77. american wrote:

    I don’t know if she was there or not, there was so many people around him, at his table, I couldn’t tell.

  78. Pianodude wrote:

    WHOA!! Take it easy, Mrs. Taff. You just need to calm down and take a breather. I, for one, have no problem with your husband or the Gaithers. Your hubbie is a wonderful guy, but I wouldn’t put him in the same category as the Gaithers. He’s more worshipful and fun on stage. The Gaithers (not that they are bad) are just your average SG group on stage.

  79. c treadway wrote:

    they called Jesus a winebibber didn’t they? christians have been gossiping as long as there has been Christianity. It doesn’t make it right, its just the way it is. Somebody called me a drug addict once, and all kinds of other things too. In the church. Who cares?
    Averyfineline why do you publicly post a letter from somebody who probably wrote to you privately?
    you are a piss-ant. is that a word?

    I like russ taff and wes hampton both.

  80. cdguy wrote:

    Pianodude — I’m not so sure Tori was so out-of-line, and from the little bit I’ve been around her and Russ, I’d say she probably took quite a breather before she hit “send”. She probably wrote and re-wrote, and re-wrote some more, before sending her final version. She’s absolutely right, there is WAY too much hatred shown on this sight (and others) for the Gaither crowd.

    And imho, it’s purely jealousy. Bill & Gloria have never claimed to be great singers. But they’ve always surrounded themselves with talented people, and have built quite a following. They’ve obviously done some things right, or they would not have been able to reach the station they have in life. And I have some personal friends who are regulars on the tour, and from what they speak, the “Homecoming Family” not only is very close-knit, but also genuine. There may be some who are not as friendly or out-going as others, or you may catch someone on a bad day (I know I have bad days, from time to time), but for the most part, if you see them in the hallways or at the product tables, they’re as nice as they appear on stage.

    And I’d venture to say, although the trio is/was only average singers (at best), the GVB is well ABOVE the average in sgm. Personal tastes aside, there are few who can sing, blend, and draw any better than GVB.

    And c treadway — again, from what little I know and have been around Tori, I doubt if she intended her missive to be purely private. She probably would have responded as such, if she had.

    And, yes, the gossippers we will have with us always, and maybe Doug is an enabler (at the least), but we should are free to call their hand. In fact, I think that was what Paul instructed.

  81. jphillips wrote:

    I attended my first Homecoming concert in 1997. I was hooked. Before that, I had been a big Kingsmen and Gold City fan, but the GVB was and still is the best (in my opinion). I’ve seen members come and go and each time, their sound changes a little. I hated it when Jonathan Pierce left. I had never heard of David Phelps when he was hired, but boy did that change in a hurry! I hated when Mark left, but gosh how I enjoyed the time Russ Taff was there. Russ, to me, is the ultimate in “class”. The way he handled things while in the GVB and the way he handled them after he left showed nothing but Christian love. I’ll never forget a Sunday morning in Birmingham (after a Saturday Homecoming) when we went to the lobby of the Sheraton to wait for our car, and Russ, Tori and girls were also waiting. There was none of this big Gospel star - there was Russ who talked to me like he’d known me forever. Tori talked to my wife like they were old friends. Take away the stigma of Gospel music star and wife, and what we saw was two great, funny people. I will never forget just watching Russ Taff at the concerts - not just while he was performing, but while others were. Watch him on video in the background as David Phelps sang These Are They on one of the Colorado videos. Russ laughed at Jeff Easter’s jokes like he’d never heard them. He encouraged the other performers to give their all. I’ve talked to him several times since then and he’s always been Russ. I hated when David Phelps left, but how can you not love Wes Hampton? I see such sincerity when he sings. Wes is the first one that will tell you that he didn’t try to fill David’s shoes. He’s Wes and he’s contributed so much to the GVB. I promoted a solo concert for David Phelps and many of the volunteers thought David was “stuck-up” because he wasn’t talking much. Later, David told all of us that he didn’t talk much on the day of a concert. Makes sense. I say all this to say this - I will never “put down” a brother (or sister) just because they don’t fit in some paradigm I’ve created in my mind. Because you see, on my best day, I could never sing as good as Wes Hampton. I could never provide the encouragement and good old cheerleading that Russ Taff does. I could never sing I Bowed On My Knees like Michael English or Guy Penrod. I could never make millions laugh like Mark Lowry has. I could never organize a concert and promote the Gospel like Bill Gaither has. Are they getting older? Yes - but so are you! They might not have the same haircut (thank goodness in some cases); they might not have the same waistline; and the list goes on and on. But - the big question in my book is “are they still a witness for our Lord”? If I can answer yes to that, I don’t care what they look like. I am thankful to Bill Gaither for giving me the opportunity to see and hear many of the people I grew up listening to. The Goodmans, The Cathedrals, Ben Speer just to name a few. Let’s not put these people out to pasture just because the prime of their career is over. They are still powerful witnesses for the Lord. Listen to them if you like - turn them off if you don’t. But please don’t disrespect the performers and/or their families. As we say in Alabama - “that dog won’t hunt”!

  82. wackythinker wrote:

    jphillips — You’re absolutely correct. Russ & Tori are 2 of the friendliest people I’ve ever met in the sg realm. Tori just acts like she’s your long lost cousin, wanting to catch up on old times.

    And Russ is the biggest cheerleader on the tour.

    Gotta love ‘em!

  83. american wrote:

    #81 A big hearty amen!

  84. pianodude wrote:

    cdguy- I do agree. There is way too much hatred on this sight for the Gaithers and their fans as well.I just believe that it’s been blown way out of proportion. There will always be likers and dislikers in any type of music business you go in (I’m 14 and I know that). And I do believe that it is Tori’s right to defend her husband. I do believe that he has to deal with way too much crap. All I’m saying is, it’s part of the business (not that it is right, because it’s not).
    Thanks!!!

  85. Auke wrote:

    You bunch of hypocrits!!! listen to yourselfs ‘way to go! ‘you go girl!!…
    I am one of those who are relentless in their critique…clothes..hair…vocalabilities…i have my opnions…and i fully understand my opinions…some ppl don’t get it, or me for that matter. But at least i’m being honest about. Just remember that this site wouldn’t it be for Doug..if you hate it so much? Hey the principle goes as it did for the TV…you can turn it off…or flip on thru to the next CH…right? Right…!
    Abt Tori’s piece…purely poetic…and very entertaining….she really painted the ‘victims’ picture..and i’m not saying this because i had the disctinct honor of meeting Russ here in Holland and spent a few hours with him. He’s the real deal..as the british would say: “He’s a jolly good fellow’…he’s that…smoke an occasinal pipe, drinks coffee like your big ol’ SUV doing a hundred…and love Gospel Music and it’s people…including fans.
    I know he even loves Doug! Cause this is the first Gospel artist i’d ever met that didn’t have that showbizz thing going!
    Russ is an amazing talent…and his voice dropped…it’s still a beautiful,emo-drenched voice…a voice i could listen all day long to..singing with the Imperials,Solo,Vocal Band..doing SGM or CCM,rock or country flavored stuff…he’s a stylistic benchmark in Gospelmusic ranging from SGM to CCM…..
    The hints of the old majesty of his voice…and the ripened voice..bluesy…yet never sad or blue..Russ the singer’s singer!
    If i get to know ppl…all i can ask is…Forgive me..i’m so sorry!

    Remind Me of Calvary!

    Auke
    Amsterdam The Netherlands

  86. tommywales wrote:

    Thanks Tori for coming to the defense of your husband. i would like to share my five cents worth…
    in the music scene/music biz/entertainment world / music ministry ..there will always be critics, naysayers, tooth achers and back biters. any one doing Christian music, gospel, rock etc gets there share of “stones thrown” at them.
    we should find great solace in knowing that when we stand before GOD, that HE rewards us, for what we do for Him, when it was done with the right motive. (and..we cast our crowns back at His feet.) thats ALL that matters, when all is said and done.
    “whatsoever you do, do heartily as to the LORD and not unto men”
    God bless you, your hubby and your family. (incidently your husands album
    “Medals” was a great blessing to me in college…)

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