Reading between the lines of silence … or, the sound of a singing soul

Regular readers will know that the past year or so has seen a diminishing number of posts around here. Y’all have done an excellent job of running the asylum in my pseudo-absence, so I won’t apologize (not least of all because many of you probably don’t really miss the sound of my e-voice). But the diminishment has been painful for me personally for a number of reasons.

First, even when I’m not actively posting, the blog is never far away from me and my thoughts. I put my eyes on every comment that’s posted (and especially those few that aren’t), at all hours of the day and night. And then there is the small book’s worth of scrap paper laying about my home and work offices, scrawled on with ideas for potential-laden threads, as well as a growing list of voice notes on my phone in which I’ve dictated (usually in the car) snatches of thoughts that will, I swear, become a post one of these days (there’s the one about an old Greater Vision album that I think of as capturing two Gerald Wolfes on one record, and another about why backwoods virtuosi can’t seem to leave the world of southern gospel, and another that involves a wonderful old photo of the Klaudt Indian family from way, way, WAY back … and so on … you get the idea).

Second, and more ironically, what must look from your perspective like a withdrawal on my part of interest in, or a disengagement of attention with, the subject matter at hand has actually measured for me in inverse proportion my immersion in the music as I’ve worked on an academic book about southern gospel. Unlike “regular” books, scholarly works take a long time to gestate (conceptualizing, researching, writing, rewriting, reviewing, revising, re-revising, indexing, and so on) before their final appearance, and so I’ve tried to play down the enormous undertaking it is, and has been and continues to be, lest it all become one big anticlimax, or the bloggerly equivalent of hearing over and over again about one’s dog and its fondness for consuming one’s homework.

But no matter: here we are. The book is nearly done. It’s all over, as we’d say back home, but the shoutin’ (a final proofing, to be exact, of the galleys that sit on my desk here as I write, and, you know … actually producing the thing itself, which is accomplished by far more talented people than I).

And so begins the self-promotion.

The University of Illinois Press’s spring 2012 catalog is out, and my forthcoming book is part of it. Since the readers of this site have played an indispensable role in my understanding of southern gospel in general and the writing of this book in particular, I wanted you to be among the first to see the cover and catalog copy. Many thanks to Jeremy Bell and the generosity with which he volunteered access to his trove of southern gospel images. This image in particular says southern gospel with exquisite clarity … says it splendidly and immediately.

The catalog description of the book is here (the full spring catalog is here).

I’m not sure when “regular” posting will resume, but at least now you know a bit more about what stands behind my increased silence (and how/where to buy the book, which of course I hope you’ll do in droves, pre-order or post-release). I guess you could say that the silence around here has been and is, in its own way, the sound of my soul singing just offstage.

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  1. judi wrote:

    Congratulations, Doug!

  2. NG wrote:

    Looking forward to getting your book. In fact a lot of stuff in catalog is appealing to a child of the 50s including the books on Faron Young and Rocky Marciano.

    Miss your blogs here and hope you can return to them fairly soon.

  3. SteveSmith wrote:

    The cover intrigues me; in that these are all current singers, and there are none of the “olt-timers.” Doug, could you gives us your thoughts on how you chose the cover?

  4. Brian wrote:

    The cover intrigues me, too. Do the people on the cover have to consent to have their image used? I’m thinking that none of them would want to be on the cover of this book. One of the tags on the publisher’s website for the book is “Queer Studies”. I pray that somehow God will keep those godly men off the cover of the book. I’ve got a mind to put some legs on my prayer and do some e-mailing to some folks about it.

  5. cd guy wrote:

    Steve Smith #3 — Interesting that you comment about the photo including only current singers, and no “olt-timers”. That photo would have been taken during a tribute to the KINGS of the “olt-timers” - The Cathedrals.

    Doug, I think that makes this photo the perfect choice for the cover of this work. It’s like a bridge between the past and the present of sgm. Now, if we only had a crystal ball, so we could see the future.


  6. Ron F wrote:

    I am assuming we can order it now!!!!

  7. Aachen1720 wrote:

    This was always my favorite blog but I found myself infrequently checking it due to a perceived lack of direction. Saying feel free to talk about whatever does not work for me. We need a leader to stir things up and subject threads. Hope that comes soon. I look forward to reading the book and the blog getting direction from it’s leader.

  8. Ode wrote:

    5, good point. I like the title-he borrowed the line from a hymn sung to the melody of a Swedish folk song, popularized by a Canadian born singer, is modern enough to be loved by various denominations and secular singers alike, and is older than the whole SG genre altogether.

    Sends a nice cosmopolitan vibe and reminds us of interconnectedness of the art of music that brings peace and harmony into the world.

    PS Incidentally, I have a crystal ball handy. What do you need to know?

  9. Ode wrote:

    Congratulations, Avi!
    :D an alternative name for your masterpiece can be from the book of psalms: “Making A Joyful Noise for 100 years”

    7, thanks. Blogs, unlike forums, are not self-propelled. Avery, while you are busy, get guest writers, why are you paying for the domain and not using it’s full potential? You wanna sell the book- you need more traffic.

  10. Wade wrote:

    ode — he has backwoods & ygg have you ever seen the books they can write??? ;-)

    Can believe any one would think things have not stay stirred up enough… you wonder what they been reading!!??!?!

  11. Auke wrote:

    How does a guy like me get a hold of this book? I’m from The Netherlands…and sure would love to read this.Please let me know!
    Congrats..and i love that cover picture!

  12. Ode wrote:

    Auke, its available, you can preoder. Amazon ships to Holland as well

  13. weber wrote:

    Im sure these guys on the cover have been on a bus at one time or another with a queer or two, this is nothing new folks. SGM is loaded with queers always has been always will…

  14. Wade wrote:

    Dr. DH… even while you were not as close during the last year this was STILL the BEST & most visited, I am sure, blog about SGM.

    Gawd writing a book is so tough about the time you think you are finished you have to do another edit.

    Good luck with the book… I just wrote a manual and I am about lost my mind.

    Thanks for keeping this play ground together no matter WHO is throwing the sand!!

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