For something a little different, let’s try a themed open thread. This one: awards, contests, and appearances. Here we go.
- The NQC lineup for the mainstage and showcases is out. The most talked about issue: Ed O’Neal’s Dixie Melody Boys being left on the mainstage in this their 50th Anniversary year. David Bruce Murray has given this issue of mainstage vs showcase appearances a lot more thought in general than I have, and recommend his reflections on the situation. But on the DMB issue particularly, I would offer two thoughts. One: it’s unarguably tacky and gratuitous for NQC, which has conditioned audiences to expect Dixie Melody Boys on the mainstage, to cut the DMB in what should be a year of celebration for them. But the real question isn’t so much why aren’t the DMB on this year as it is why weren’t they cut long ago. For at least the last ten years, the DMB have shown up on stage with a moribund set of dog-eared tunes sung badly with tracks that sounded like they were recorded on the audio equivalent of a mimeograph machine. This kind of subpar quality is no obstacle to NQC’s choice for mainstage appearances, of course, but it’s hard to feel too bad for folks who get cut when by all appearances they relied mainly on goodwill and deference to their own longevity to secure their spots at NQC, rather than earning a following with top-notch music that would have made cutting them more difficult. Which is a corollary to my second point: perhaps we should rethink the cult of Ed O’Neal University, the nickname O’Neal and the DMB have acquired because so many of his singers leave so often to sing with better and better known outfits. Because, to quote myself, “is this really a sign that a quartet owner is doing something right?” O’Neal seems like a nice guy with a fine sense of humor and an obvious dedication to gospel music, but all these EOU graduates wanted to work for someone else for a reason.
- From the “and how is this different from every other year,” the southern gospel struck out at the Grammys for the most part.
- The SN Fan Awards will be back at Dollywood for a second year since departing NQC. In a long open letter to fans on the issue, the SN makes
a thou protesteth too muchan heroic attempt to explain why this move really is “crucial to the longevity of southern gospel music.” And this is probably true, if for you the future of southern gospel is closely linked to the Singing News. Meanwhile, NQC has allegedly “eagerly endorsed” a fan awards showcase at the convention organized around fan-award nominees, and fans will have the chance to vote in some kind of straw poll as well. Compared to the year after the big break, I guess this is progress that NQC and SN can at least cooperate with another. David Bruce Murray compares this new straw-poll-with-showcase arrangement at NQC to the Golden Globes before the Oscars. To my mind, though, there’s more of a Cold War detente feeling to all this.
- As you have doubtless seen by now, you can vote for your favorite SN cover. Kyle has rounded up a collection of rugtastic before and after hairpiece covers. Honestly, though, I find that cover with Brian Free as androgynous he-child stranger than all the bad hair pieces atop so much insecure masculine vanity.
- Dove Award nominees are out. Burke has a round up of sg-related nominations.
- Finally, a bonus clip, via southerngospelcritique, which, in keeping with our theme, I hereby nominate for the Best Worst Pornstache in Southern Gospel Award. There are several to choose from, but right now I’m leaning toward Scott Fowler’s. Lumberghs of the world unite.
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