Grammy® Awards eliminates Southern Gospel category

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), organizer of the Grammy® Awards, cut their awards categories from 109 to 78 today. One of the categories eliminated was “Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album.”

Albums which would previously have been nominated in that category will now be eligible to be nominated under a broader general Christian/Gospel category.

The NARAS’s full list of changes is here.

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20 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I have to say that I’m really not surprised. I hate it, but I’m not surprised.

    • I agree. Bummer.

      Can’t quite see Jeff and Sheri or some of the other SG artists fitting under the ‘Contemporary Christian’ category. At least we still have the Singing News Awards to recognize the BEST music in the world! 🙂

  2. Booooooo…

    I agree with Jamey, though. If they’re cutting out categories, I would have predicted that Southern/Country/Bluegrass Gospel would have been one of the first to go.

  3. If you look at the NARAS website, it seems more that they qrouped Traditional Gospel, Southern Gospel and R&B Gospel into one Gospel Category. I beleive that is where we will compete, not Contemporary Christian.

    • Art – interesting. If that is so, then the table to which I linked above is laid out in a confusing and/or misleading fashion, but that’s entirely possible.

    • In light of your point, and of the confusion, I went ahead and edited the post to make it more vague until further clarification.

  4. Why can’t some organizations just leave well enough alone? Southern Gospel has very little in common with some of the other genres of Christian music, and to lump us all together as “gospel” is pointless.

    • (a) They want a shorter show. Understandable.

      (b) Southern Gospel isn’t big enough that they care about it.

      And, in a sense, that’s fine with me. What ultimately matters is that the groups on the road – and those of us (like me, a journalist) in supporting roles – do our part faithfully until the one awards show that really matters!

  5. As a fan, this doesn’t bother me. The category was a joke with the exception of the last few years.

  6. From what I have seen and heard lately, why would anyone care about the Grammys? It is a reflection of the sad state of music and culture. Let’s face it,though quiet sad, Southern Gospel music just does not have the mass appeal it once had.

    • It would stand to reason that a world that increasingly hates Jesus Christ would increasingly hate those who proclaim His truth.

  7. Our genre is really nothing more than a joke to NARAS, as everyone knows, and no one in our field should be surprised or disappointed.

    • I guess it is better to be ignored than to be joked about.

      It’s not strictly true that all publicity is good publicity…

  8. Southern Gospel and Blue Grass is the only reason i would have watched anyway. Now i don’t have to bother.I listen to music for the message it is presenting. The artists need to be good also. Most So. Gospel fits my needs.

  9. I thought about this for a while and this really doesn’t phase me. SG music is my favorite to sing and to listen to but the reality is that there are very few recordings in our genre that are really deserving of a nomination let alone winning a GRAMMY. That’s not to be misunderstood in a way that I’m saying that this is

  10. I thought about this for a while and this really doesn’t phase me. SG music is my favorite to sing and to listen to but the reality is that there are very few recordings in our genre that are really deserving of a nomination let alone winning a GRAMMY. That’s not to be misunderstood in a way that there aren’t tons of quality groups out there; there are! But even the worst CCM or secular album has better production, mastering, and hands involved. It doesn’t matter if you have a musician like Anthony Burger or a vocalist like David Phelps if you’re not going to go the extra mile with what is done with the raw source material. Which this always comes back to industry versus ministry and I’m not interested in conceeding that they have to be mutually exclusive to each other.
    Honestly, the only recordings I can think of, outside of the Gaither stable, that even come close are Declaration by the Booth Brothers and Hymns of the Ages by Greater Vision, which were both table projects initially (why Daywind hasn’t released Declaration is beyond me at this point).
    I still watch the GRAMMYs because the best artists and musicians get a night to shine; you can disagree with me if you like but to be honest there may be more genuine believers who sing secular music than those who classify themselves as SG. I’m not trying to cause an argument. While there are a few offenders in secular music who sing truly terrible songs with filthy lyrics, there are more artists who sing songs about life and love and live their faith in the way they act and treat people. All I’m saying is this that it may not be fair to hate on the GRAMMYs because the consolidated/eliminated a niche genre that we all love dearly.

    • I can’t think of a single secular album that’s so good from a musical standpoint that I would want to so much as give it a second listen.

      OK. That first part was slightly tongue-in-cheek. Yet the main time I listen to secular music is when I’m shopping, the store is filled with it, and I have no choice if I want to eat for the next week. And I hear things that aren’t on par with Southern Gospel, especially from a vocal quality standpoint, but frequently from an instrumental/mixing/mastering standpoint, too, all the time.

      The two albums you named are indeed two of the best. But I’d also put up the Hoppers’ The Ride, Lauren Talley’s latest, the Kingdom Heirs’ latest (which, I know, you haven’t heard yet but should soon!), Legacy Five’s Just Stand, a number of Gaither Vocal Band projects through the years, and quite a few others up against the best of anything secular.

      Sometimes people fall into the trap of comparing a third-rate Christian group to a first-rate secular group. I recognize that not all SG projects are created equal – yet there are certainly rather more than two top-notch ones! 🙂

  11. I can’t imagine a true Southern Gospel fan caring anything about the Grammys one way or the other. It is a non factor.

  12. Blackstone, tread carefully my friend. That is a very condescending view point. A “true” southern gospel fan could and would care about the GRAMMYs if they were interested in other genres of music, and I would argue that we should be. If you choose to only listen to SG or contemporary Christian music, more power to you. I think that is between you and God I would suppose…however don’t take that to mean that those of us who appreciate all kinds of music are some how less Christian or lesser fans of gospel music. It’s not only a ridiculous notion, but rather overly pious.

    Daniel, I wouldn’t disagree with what you said and that’s why I said there are several GRAMMY quality projects in the Gaither stable of artists. You are right to say that there are some very good projects out there; my point is that there isn’t a vast amount of GRAMMY level projects in the SG genre. Some of my favorite projects wouldn’t even be eligible for GRAMMY consideration anyway. 😉

    By the way, Daniel, you might check out either of OneRepublic’s albums or the latest from Adele. I can promise you both of which would be worth more than second listen. ;-p

    • Can’t beat Alison Krauss and Union Station.


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