Question of the Week: Dianne Wilkinson

The Kingdom Heirs’ new project, We Will Stand Our Ground, releases today. It’s available from the record company, the artist, and any Christian bookstore smart enough to carry Southern Gospel!

Dianne Wilkinson wrote or co-wrote ten of the twelve tracks. One of them is the title track, “We Will Stand Our Ground.” When I first heard the project, this song blew me away. So I decided to ask Miss Dianne if she’d be willing to share the story of the song with us.

Daniel: We Will Stand Our Ground” is one of the most timely and relevant songs you’ve written. Was it inspired by the general direction events are going, or by something specific?

Dianne: One Sunday morning, my dear brother (Rev. James Branscum) preached a sermon about the fundementals of our faith and the importance of preserving them. I began to think about a phrase we have used a lot in talking about this subject…”contending for the faith.” I recognized my thought process as one that was leading to writing a song. I found this passage that expressed my feelings so well, from Jude 1:3: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto, and exhort you that ye should earnestly CONTEND FOR THE FAITH which was once delivered unto the saints”. He goes on to describe ungodly men who were “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the ONLY LORD GOD and OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (capitals are mine).

That afternoon, all I could think about was how very true that is TODAY, with so many false religions in the world which are gaining in strength and numbers, and even getting converts from Christianity. We’ve always known that in the last days the Church would be under attack; but I don’t know that Christians where I live for instance, West Tennessee, ever thought we might actually have to be Christian SOLDIERS. But I think we do indeed have to be…because there are things worth holding on to at all cost. I wanted to write this as encouragement and as a clarion call to the people of God.

Daniel: Could you let us in on the writing process? How did the song take shape – did the chorus come first?

Dianne: As often happens with songs that are coming to me, the words and music came together, and in this case, the first verse came first. In the crafting process, I wanted to be sure and state clearly the things that WERE worth fighting for, and never compromising about…so they are in the chorus: The Book, the Blood, the Rugged Cross. I wanted the song to be able to speak to people everywhere who either believe in a false religion, or a false “gospel” such as Paul spoke about, which means any gospel besides GRACE. Yes, I’m a fundementalist…and I’m prepared to take the heat for that. The title of the song says what I feel the most passionate about these days relating to my faith: We Will Stand Our Ground. And as God told Elijah, He will always have a remnant of folks who WILL…even if it’s a small remnant in comparison to how many people there are in the world!

Daniel: Could you tell us about the song’s journey from when it left your pen through when it got cut? Any thoughts on the rendition?

Dianne: I had a stunning demo on the song, thanks to the good folks at Daywind, with the brilliant Tim Parton doing the music track and the incomparable Terry Franklin doing vocals. I sent it to one of the quartets with whom I have a huge track record, and they put it on hold, but passed on it. I was surprised, because as we writers say, it “sounded just like them.”

Later on, when the Kingdom Heirs were looking for songs, I almost didn’t send this one, because they just don’t do ballads. They make a few exceptions (my “When You Look at Me” was such an exception). But I felt the Lord was leading me to send it to Arthur, and he put it on hold. Later on when he notified me of final song selections, this song was on the list.

When Steve French talked to me about the songs, he said this one was on the list to record from the first time they heard it, because they felt it was a message the Church needed to hear. I was thrilled, because they sing to huge numbers of people every year, and I knew…as He always does…that God gets the right songs to the right groups. When I heard the final mix of the song with the beautiful orchestration, and the perfection of the vocals…just the whole performance…it was very moving to me, and I prayed right then that the Lord would use this song to encourage believers in these perilous times in which we live.

As to the way the Kingdom Heirs sing my songs, I am ALWAYS delighted with the finished recording, because I know how high their standards are when they get ready to go into the studio, and how hard they work to “get it right”. They’re great singers and musicians, and they have a genius at the creative helm in Arthur Rice as producer. As always, I have talked too long, Daniel…but that’s the risk you take when you ask a songwriter to talk about one of her songs! Thank you for the chance to allow me to talk about this one.

Daniel: Ah, thank YOU! It’s always an honor!

For more about and —and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

22 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. Great feature this week Daniel! I believe this is one of the better written ballads to be written in a long time as far as the perspective that it is written in.

    Also I would guess L5 is the quartet that passed on this one considering they have recorded the most (besides The KH) songs of any other quartet still on the road today. The other obvious groups being Triumphant and The Mark Trammel Quartet. If indeed L5 passed on that song, it is very surprising given their love for recording ballads in that particular vein… Oh Well The Kingdom Heirs gave us a version that won’t soon be forgotten and should go down as one of the best songs (if not the best) they have EVER done!

    • Without saying whether or not you’re right, after hearing the song, it’s really hard to imagine any of the groups you named passing on it!

    • L5 was my guess too, but only a guess. I have no idea for sure.

  2. I always enjoy articles about how songs are written! Miss Dianne gets the message across so clear in her lyrics. She’s a great example for us young writers… Thanks for being faithful, Miss Dianne!
    And thanks for sharing, Daniel!

    • Not a problem! It’s my pleasure, as always. 🙂

  3. The queen of gospel music songwriting does it again! Thanks for the music, and thanks more for the message.

  4. It is no secret that I am an avid Kingdom Heirs fan and a HUGE Dianne Wilkinson fan. I never really paid attention to who wrote what songs until “True To The Call” album came out. My little brother and I were just now getting in to Kingdom Heirs and he bought it for me for my birthday. I listened to the album and was blown away from the songs and the lyrics. I then remembered seeing inside the album cover that the credits to the songwriters along with the lyrics were included. I picked it up and read that Mrs. Dianne had written I think 6 or 8 of the songs on the album and I just fell in love! I then researched the songs that she had written and still remember myself saying, “I didn’t know she wrote that!” and “Really, this one too?” It was hit after hit after hit! She is truly one of the most talented songwriters and I think she goes under the radar. Not enough people know her or her songs and it is a shame. Her songs have blessed my life enough for two lifetimes. Thanks Mrs. Dianne for this interview and thanks Daniel for the idea. I love the song too and think it will go down as one of their best ever!

  5. You know, I have to wonder if God was behind the “rejection” of the song by the group so that the Kingdom Heirs could take it in Dollywood.

    • Entirely possible QM! That is entirely possible because KH will reach so many people in Dollywood and this song needs to be heard by every Christian!

    • And it probably wasn’t a case of someone “rejecting” the song because they didn’t like it enough. I would hope it was more like “the Lord’s not leading us to record that, he’s got it for someone else.”

      • Amen brother!!

      • Usually that is the case when a group puts a song on hold, then decides not to record it. If they don’t like a song they won’t even put it on hold…

      • Well, but usually the situation is that they like a song, but not as much as the ten that they cut.

        I frankly cannot imagine that any group could have come up with TEN songs better than this one. Even the Booth Brothers’ Declaration, which stands out as having some of the highest-quality song selections in the last few years, could have easily spared a song to make a place for this one.

        That’s the aspect I’m having a really hard time wrapping my mind around!

      • True… Oh well as it was said earlier this song will now reach a crowd (dollywood) that no other group would have ever reached!

      • I was coming back and re-reading comments here, and Nate’s comment made me wonder… isn’t it possible for a group to take a listen to a song and really like it but just feel, “That’s not for us” without putting it on hold?

      • I’m sure that’s possible. However, for groups who put songs on hold, I doubt that that was their initial reaction to the song.

      • I’m sure that’s true. I was just responding to Nate’s comment that “If they don’t like a song they won’t even put it on hold….,” which is obviously true as far as it goes but could be taken to imply that if a group doesn’t put something on hold, they must dislike it.

      • Oh, I see! That makes sense!

  6. Many thanks to all of you for your kind words. It is a great blessing when a song you feel strongly about is validated by people whose opinions you value. And about the quartet who passed on the song, they had another one that was a similar ballad as to the “feel” of the song, and they loved them both, but recorded the other one. And it is my absolute heartfelt conviction that God does indeed place the songs where they should go. I’ve seen it over and over again. Daniel, thanks again for letting me talk about this one. You’re the best! Love and blessings to all…Dianne.

    • Not a problem . . . the honor is mine!

  7. Do you have a trackback/pingback function? I was just curious because I linked to this post today from my blog, and I’m pretty sure I saw a pingback elsewhere on a fairly recent post here.

    • I used to, but disabled it due to the high ratio of spam in the pingback department. Turning it off on all old posts requires manually disabling it for each post, and they get so few that I generally don’t bother.