The wonder of sunset at evening
As you doubtless have heard, the great gospel revivalist Bev Shea died. He was 104.
Whenever possible as a blogger, I’ve tried to gather the roses (and thorns if necessary) while ye may with respect to great figures during their lifetimes. So I’ll stand by what I wrote a few years back re Shea on the occasion of his being honored with a Lifetime Achievement award by the Grammys. Money quote:
[Shea’s style] certainly fit to the forthright, just-the-gospel-of-Christ-ma’am Graham aesthetic, but Shea’s propensity for coloring his tones quasi-operatically tended to make most everything he sang sound the same. “I’d Rather Have Jesus” can certainly carry the weight of Shea’s majestic singing. Or perhaps more accurately, Shea’s singing style befits the song. A more rollicking tune like “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” not so much.
No matter, Shea was arguably among the first bonafide international gospel stars and certainly the most famous white gospel singer of the 20th century. He’s the kind of singer whose work and talent suffuse the fiber of American culture and yet - like so much of the popular culture and arts of evangelicalism - often go largely unnoticed and unrecognized outside of the religious world. Congrats, Bev.
And now, may he, who wrote of the wonder of it all, rest in the wondrous peace about which he sang so much.Email this Post