Manifesto of the Young Southern Gospel Fans

You’ve surely been discussing what Southern Gospel needs to do to survive another generation.

We have, too. After all, the younger we are, the more we have to lose if Southern Gospel vanishes or morphs beyond recognition. Here are five observations:

1. Recognize and retain what makes Southern Gospel unique musically. Please don’t think you have to sound just like CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) just to reach the kids. If we wanted to listen to CCM, we would listen to CCM. (Besides, CCM is trying to sound just like pop and rock. Why would we want to read a mimeograph of a mimeograph? Oh, I forgot. We’re not supposed to know that word!) We have more music at our fingertips than any previous generation could have even imagined. If we wanted, we could be listening to something else in two seconds.

But something brought us here.

Maybe it’s rich male quartet harmonies. Maybe it’s tight family blends. Maybe it’s the simpler, piano or acoustic-driven tracks.

Yes, we know that genres change over time. But let’s not change this genre so much that all it shares with its heritage is a name.

2. Recognize and retain what makes Southern Gospel unique lyrically. If we wanted the all-too-often mainstream, tolerant, contemporvant, situational, orΒ double entendre lyrics CCM offers, we would listen to CCM. But since we’re here, it’s safe to say most of us are here to hear the solid, Biblically grounded lyrics that proclaim the authority of the Word of God and the core truths of our faith.

We’re entirely in favor of an innovative idea that shares the Gospel in a way we have never heard it before. Just don’t get so innovative that the Gospel gets sidelined!

3. Recognize and retain what makes your group unique. Master and perfect it. If you are Voices Won, don’t try to be Brian Free & Assurance. Be the best Voices Won that ever stepped on stage. If you’re Tribute Quartet, don’t try to be Triumphant. Be the best Tribute Quartet that ever stepped on stage. If you are Freedom, don’t try to be the Gaither Vocal Band. Be the best Freedom that ever stepped on stage.

Capture the essence of what makes your group unique. Refine it. Perfect it.

In this YouTube generation, where virtually every group in the world is a few keystrokes away, it’s easier than ever to blend in with the pack.


4. Talk to us. Engage us on social media, perhaps on your website, perhaps via email.

How good you are musically will probably determine if we hear you for the first time. But more than ever before, whether we connect with you at some level beyond liking a song will determine whether we’ll be back.

5. Live the life offstage that you portray on stage. It was easier to hide things before the days of Facebook, Twitter, forums, and blogs. But in this social media generation, if there is something you would not want us to know about, don’t do it.

Will Southern Gospel survive another generation?

The answer is in as much in your hands as it is in ours.

Daniel J. Mount

Do I have any co-signers?

And do I have any young-at-heart honorary co-signers?

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176 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. Well said, Daniel!
    My age (23)

  2. A note to Miss Jayme Garms: Even though I’m almost three times your age, and so I’ve given you permission to call me old, most of the people reading this post would still call me young. πŸ™‚

    • Daniel,
      What! If you aren’t “old”, then how can I call you “old”? Anyway good job on your writing! πŸ˜†


      πŸ™‚ , πŸ™‚ ,

      • Jayme,

        Actually, “old” is relative. Compared to the ages people lived before Noah’s Flood, nobody today is anywhere near old! πŸ™‚

        So relative to your age (3x), I am certainly old; however, relative to the average age of my readership, 50+, I am less than half of the age of my average reader.

        So does that make sense, or did I somehow manage to make things even more confusing? πŸ™‚

      • Daniel,
        I think you made it more confusing! πŸ™‚ But, conpared to some people I know… You are not that “old”! πŸ˜†


        πŸ™‚ , πŸ™‚ ,

      • Ah, well, I do have that habit of making things more confusing when I try to explain something. πŸ™ It was worth a try! πŸ™‚

      • the average age of your readership is 50+?

      • Well, I have stats for my Facebook group for (, where it does average 50+; for here on the site proper, though, it’s antecdotal.

  3. I’m sorry, Daniel, but I disagree with some of your points (and I’m sure you saw this coming from me!!). Why must there be labels on EVERYTHING? If the music is good, and the lyrical content is sound and non-compromising, why does it matter how it’s labeled? Southern Gospel? CCM? Why must there be a definitive line (and why must someone go to such great lengths to define those lines)?

    As I have often said, I view music in two categories: good and bad.

    • Yes, I knew you would disagree.

      Yes, some music from both genres is good and bad. I just don’t want to see it all become one amorphous mess, with Southern Gospel abandoning all that has made it unique.

      • Well, I’ll simply state this: four guys and a piano, for a few songs, is great, but gets old really quick. Same goes for too much contemporary. Moderation is the key. But to say, “This, AND ONLY THIS is Southern Gospel” (or ANY genre), just rubs me the wrong way.

      • And I’ll simply state this: I’m certainly open to using more than a piano, too. But I don’t want to go so far that it is no longer even recognizable as Southern Gospel!

      • Kyle, 4 guys and a piano with harmonies like the Kingdom Heirs does not get old ever in my opinion! If you have 4 guys that can create such intricate harmonies that you forget that there is even a piano in the background, THAT’S SOUTHERN GOSPEL at its best!!

      • What if we applied that same no labeling technique to what we buy in the grocery store? How would we know what’s in the jar if it didn’t have a label? Also, if something’s labeled “peanut butter”, and I open it and it is actually mayo, the food gets ruined, and I feel gypped. I gotta disagree with Kyle. Keep the genres separate. If it’s contemporary, label it as such. If it’s SG, label it that way. I wanna know what I’m getting before I listen to it.

      • Jesse – I love your point.

        I might love both sugar and salt, but if they are mis-labeled and I put 1 cup of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar into a batch of cookies, there will be some unhappy faces at the dinner table!

  4. I have been and will be discussing much of this in depth on my own blog. Consider me a co-signer.

  5. Daniel, I think your post was on the money. Especially each group just being themselves not trying to copy another group. Each person in that group must be themselves also, be genuine, sincere, and down-to-earth – just being a regular person, a sinner saved by God’s grace can be spotted a mile away.

    • Agreed! People on stage don’t need to pretend they’re perfect, because none of us are.

      Just don’t live an entirely different life off stage than the one you pretend to live on stage!

      • Absolutely !

  6. So why the swipe at the GVB?

    I’m probably considered young still (26). I have grown to enjoy more SG over the past year or so. But, the bottom line is the GVB is the best thing SG has going for it with most young people I know. I’ve grown to enjoy some of the Cathedrals music (brings back memories from hearing those songs in church), EHSS (love their energy), I love listening to the GVB because its good music. I don’t know if there is a better sounding group in any music anywhere. Most of the younger people I know will listen to GVB but give the typical “tenor sounds like a bad female singer” about 10 seconds.

    So, I generally agree with some of your points, but if you want to bring more youth into the SG fandom you’re going to have to get them through good music and let them grow an appreciation for the art.

    • No, I didn’t mean it as a swipe at the GVB in the slightest. Re-read what I said; I was just saying that Freedom should be themselves.

      And I’m totally in favor of good music, too. In fact, that’s what this post is all about! πŸ™‚

    • Just to throw my 2 cents in. I was 9 years old and thinking about being a singer. But then I heard Steve Ladd and The Anchormen sing “Just A Little Talk” and that inspired me because it was something completely different, and weird, and today…I’m a singer. Jay Parrack was the next guy I heard. So the “tenor sounds like a woman” idea may work if it’s done right.

      • BTW I was bored stiff at all of those concerts until I heard Steve the first time.

      • Very interesting!

        There is certainly room for diversity within Southern Gospel, and that’s something that sure catches the attention of some! πŸ™‚

        (I think that sort of thing caught Billy Hodges’ attention, too.)

      • If only I could’ve mastered that sound. Oh well…using Daniel Mount’s philosophy:

        “if you’re Logan Pettis, don’t try to be Steve Ladd. Be the best Logan Pettis you can be.” πŸ˜€

  7. Excellent!!!

  8. Sorry. I should have deduced from what I’ve gathered about your character that you wouldn’t take an unecessary swipe at someone.

    Accept my apologies.

    • Totally accepted, and I apologize if I wasn’t as clear as I should have been.

      I hoped that if I named three groups of unquestionable quality as the points of comparison, I wouldn’t be misunderstood, but I should probably have been even more specific.

  9. Great article with some very valid points. Our churches are facing the same thing, Daniel. Most churches are going the way of contemporary and/or seeker-friendly, with 100 percent praise/worship music. And then the churches around our area wonder why our church is the largest and doing so well. It’s because we offer the people someting different–southern gospel music and great bible preaching! We sing some p/w but we also sing SGM and haven’t forsaken the hymns either. If we were just like everyone else, there would be no need for most of us. But our church, just like the SGM industry, is filling a void that other churches and genres aren’t. I hope SGM is not only surviving but thriving for years and years to come because of great groups with individuality and the confidence to be themselves.

    I was afraid when you started mentioning groups that someone would think you were favoring one over the other, but I totally get where you are going with that. You could have inserted any group names, because your point was that each group should be themselves within the realm of the genre. If we have two identical groups or singers, one of them is not needed. And of the groups you mentioned (GVB, Tribute, Triumphant, and Freedom), all four are unique and successful because they know their strengths, they know their audiences, they know how to communicate, and they are all fantastic talents who are not trying to copy anyone. That’s why all four of these groups have found success and will be around a long time.

    • You hit the nail on the head.

      By the way, if I was directing music selection at a church, I’d include some of the best of praise and worship, too – “In Christ Alone,” “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” etc. – both of which, incidentally, have been done by Southern Gospel groups. It’s not like I’m opposed to good music from other genres. It’s just that, when I’m listening to Southern Gospel music (which is virtually all the time!), I want it to be Southern Gospel! πŸ™‚

    • I hear what you’re saying. My church switched over to a more contemporary worship style, and we use the Hymnals to prop things up. All the worship leader wants to play is CCM, then I will get up and sing “The Lighthouse” for example, and the people’s faces light up, and he gets upset that no one gets as excited. He once asked why is it the go crazy over my “Country Bumpkin” music. I say it’s not cause my singing. It’s lyrical content. It’s like Randy Byrd said once “Rock of Ages” says a whole lot more when I’m hurting and in need than “Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes Yes Lord, Amen!” sang 100 times.

      • That’s great anecdotal evidence for point #2.

        I’m not saying that there is never a time when any repetition is appropriate, but by and large, I certainly prefer rich lyrical content, too!

  10. Co-sign, sir.

    Brian Crout, age 26

    • Thank you, sir!

      I should be the one calling you “sir,” since you’re two years older than me!

  11. Good stuff Daniel. I would co-sign!

  12. Co-signer
    Wes, 25 years old

  13. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Here’s another co-signer.

    Andrew S., 19

    • Wow, Andrew – I had no clue you were 19! You’re a good enough writer that your writing alone does not give away that you’re still a teen! (I mean that as a high compliment.)

      • Oh, thank you, sir! I’m an English major, so it only seems natural that I not embarrass myself. But there are days when I don’t even want to read my own writing. But I’m getting there. πŸ™‚

        However, high-quality blogs – namely this one – are what piqued my interest. Thank you for the writing! It challenges my own writing skills.

      • Thanks!

        There are days when I certainly embarrass myself, too – I look back and think, “Did I really miss THAT?”

  14. Co-Sign… (age 22) πŸ™‚ Very well stated my friend!

  15. The last sentence of the first paragraph of article three is absolutely unnecessary for such a Manifesto. There is no need to try to place any one group ahead of another. I was reading along, agreeing with nearly every point; I even agree with the point you are trying to make with article three. There is just no need to place any one group in front of another.

    • … I’m 24.

    • Perhaps you’re misunderstanding it? As I explained earlier in the comments, I’m not saying Freedom is better than the Gaither Vocal Band, or that the GVB is bad in any way.

      As I said earlier in the comments, I named three comparison groups of unquestionable quality so as to avoid misunderstandings. πŸ™‚

      (Of course, though, if your point was that you want Freedom to sound precisely like the GVB, I guess we’d have to agree to disagree there!)

      • “If you are Freedom, don’t try to be the Gaither Vocal Band, even if you have a bigger sound with your three voices than they do with five.”

        This is subjective and has nothing to do with the future of SG music. Of course I do not want Freedom to sound precisely like GVB, but I wouldn’t say one group has a bigger sound than the other. Each signer, then, would be agreeing with you that Freedom has a bigger sound than GVB.

      • You would never go so far as to say one group has a bigger sound than another? Interesting?

        Freedom does have a bigger sound – but understand that I didn’t say they had a BETTER sound. It’s different; the GVB’s is more polished, for example, and often tighter.

        Surely you’d agree with me that bigger doesn’t always equal better. I was just pointing out a way they were different. There are plenty of ways the GVB is different than they are.

      • It really does sound like you’re saying Freedom is better. It surprised me when I read it, although I’m familiar with your writing and know you didn’t mean it that way. πŸ™‚

      • I am incredibly amused at the portion of my readership who automatically assumes either that bigger is better, or that if I say something is bigger, then surely I am thinking it is better! πŸ™‚

        That said, two or three hours of amusement is enough, and I’ve just edited out the phrase in question. πŸ™‚

      • I don’t know, maybe that’s just the way we’re used to hearing things phrased? If you have 5 people, you expect a reaction to be, “They have a big sound.” To say someone is bigger with three than someone else with five just was surprising. πŸ™‚

      • Yeah, I guess there’s some level of bigger = better thinking in our genre, and I’ve probably even said things at one point or another which could have led an onlooker to think that!

      • I respectfully disagree, Jordan. The future of Southern Gospel Music depends on groups being themselves. That’s Daniel’s point. I think he’s saying that even if you could be like them with whatever personnel or configuration you come up with, we don’t need two groups that sound exactly alike. I don’t think in any way he’s calling one group better than the other.

      • Precisely, and thanks, Brady!

  16. Since if injected my opinion all over the place here, and being a singer trying to keep the genre going, without going full contemporary, but still trying to reach the youth, because I know all to well what its like to be 13 and too cool for school and having to listen to the “old people” music (HA!Now I sing it).

    I think it’s safe to call me a Co-Signer
    Logan Pettis (24)

    • Thanks, Logan! I didn’t realize that you were my age!

  17. Daniel…
    I agree with many of your points – most specifically related to Groups finding and retaining their own identity. If they are truly called by God to serve Him through music ministry, then He has already gifted them with a unique identity all their own.

    What I really don’t understand is why people who have a deep-seated love for one particular genre of gospel music tend to talk as if is the only music that has any Biblical basis and is the only genre that truly proclaims a gospel message.

    SGM is one of my very favorites…but there are some CCM and some P/W artists whose music I really do love. I know these artists have a deep relationship with Christ and a strong faith. I think the genuineness of their testimony attracts me as much as the music they perform.

    I agree with, and appreciate the intent behind, the comments you made where you named specifical groups.
    And having read much of what you have written over time, I know that you wouldn’t use your forum to take shots at any group or individual.
    In light of that, I gathered that you weren’t taking a shot at the GVB….but if I didn’t have this knowledge of your style, I would have thought you had some issue with them.

    One last thing…
    SGM, CCM, P/W, Rock, Rap, etc….
    We each have our preferences…but God can use each of these to reach the lost. Whatever it is that brings them into the presence of the ONE who died to redeem them…I just thank God that He gave the message, and that those through whom the message was spoken/sung were receptive to the prompting of the Spirit to do so.

    • ML,

      “What I really don’t understand is why people who have a deep-seated love for one particular genre of gospel music tend to talk as if is the only music that has any Biblical basis and is the only genre that truly proclaims a gospel message.”

      Uh, that’s not what I was saying, and I doubt that is what any of us were saying. If we’re going to debate a point, please at least start with representing each other’s positions accurately.

      • Daniel…
        I didn’t mean that you had said this, or that it was a point that you were trying to make in your article.

        I have heard and dealt with so many people who have emphatically claimed that SGM is the ONLY gospel music inspired by God and that anything CCM is just notes on a page and neither inspired by, nor blessed by God.

        What prompted me to make my comment in my reply was this line in your point #2:

        “If we wanted the all-too-often mainstream, tolerant, contemporvant, situational, or double entendre lyrics CCM offers, we would listen to CCM. But since we’re here, it’s safe to say most of us are here to hear the solid, Biblically grounded lyrics that proclaim the authority of the Word of God and the core truths of our faith.”

        I know there are people who will read that as if you are endorsing their belief that SGM is the only true Gospel music.

        Sorry for not being more clear in my earlier comment.

  18. I’ll co-sign too.

    Josh (24)

  19. Well said, Daniel. I think it’s exactly what we need to hear!

    Raleigh, age 20

  20. I agree 100%. I want to hear SOUTHERN GOSPEL not contemporary. And Thank GOD, that SiriusXM kept Enlighten after we bombarded their CEO etc with our pleas to keep it and our THANK YOUS for KEEPING it!

  21. I think you’re pretty well hit the nail on the head. Thanks for saying it out loud. πŸ™‚

    Amy (age 26)

    • Thanks!

      As much as anything else, this was prompted by those groups – typically local or mid-tier groups – who introduce a super-progressive song by saying, “And we recorded this one for the young people…”

      I hear that and think, “Oh, boy . . . do you really think young people would come to your concert, just hoping that you would throw in one progressive song?” πŸ™‚

  22. Daniel, this may be food for thought for another day, but this may somewhat relate to our conversation. I’ve heard artists go on and on about how a certain song on their project sounds like Rascal Flatts or Michael Buble` or whomever. I personally prefer my southern gospel aritsts to sound like the southern gospel artists I love and know them to be. I know that we have sub-genres such as bluegrass and progressive southern, and I know groups feel like they need to do something different occasionally to stay fresh, but I do hope that most of them realize we like them for themselves and not because they can copy a different genre.

    • I get what you’re saying.

      When you have something truly unusual, I think a comparison is in order – for example, the Booth Brothers’ “Southern Gospel samba” song!

      But, by and large, I do want to hear a group who has carved out their own unique niche and identity.

      The Kingdom Heirs, for example, don’t need to say that they sound like [insert name]. They sound like the Kingdom Heirs, and there is no mistaking Jeff Chapman’s voice.

      The Gaither Vocal Band also doesn’t need to say that they sound like [insert name]. They sound like the Gaither Vocal Band.

      We could say the same of the Collingsworth Family and of several of the other top groups in the genre. Their uniqueness is part of why Southern Gospel still is what it is, and not just a subdivision of another genre. πŸ™‚

      • Wow [insert name]must really be flexible to sound like so many different groups. Maybe they should add “Go Out To the Program” to their repertoire.

  23. Great post Daniel!!! I am a co-signer for sure. I grow weary of hearing music bearing the name, that does not resemble anything remotely Southern Gospel. The fact is, our audience is starving for good southern gospel music. I am dismayed that many of our artists, virtually all of the labels, and most of southern gospel radio, does not have that first clue what their audience wants to hear. We have artists trying to force the envelope and labels on board with the same thought process. And we have compliation merchants who will send ANYONE to radio if they have the $$$$$ to pay for their portion of the comp. If we are to survive, the mantle has to be musically as high as it is for any other genre. The music also has to be a southern gospel fare that the fans recognize and appreciate, not some alternate state of CCM. As for the comment above about how boring 4 men and a piano is, I would venture to say that most have not heard a really good quartet in a very long while. Most, are 3 chords and a cloud of dust performed by guys who don’t have that first inkling how to arrange or perform music properly. Mind you…..most. Just the other day I was listening to SG radio and I heard a name group singing, except a one chord vocally over a 4 minor just isn’t musical. I heard an interesting question poised of Ben Speer while at NQC a couple of years ago, “If the Statesmen in their hey day could be brought back today and allowed to sing on the main stage at NQC, what would the results be?” Ben Speer answered, “They would tear this place apart and the fans would go wild”. It is a matter of quality, style and song selection….all of which is sorely lacking in today’s Southern Gospel genre. Ok step down from my soap box.

    • Ben, I agree with most or all of your points. The Statesmen would tear up the live stage today, as would the Cathedrals or the Blackwood Brothers.

      (Actually, the Blackwood Brothers still do, come to think of it! And they sound like the Blackwood Brothers, not like anyone else.)

    • Ben,
      I didn’t co-sign, because I considered myself to be too old to be a “young fan”…

      …but if you’re signing it…

  24. Great ideas today, Daniel. Good topic and right on the money. I saw where you mentioned Tribute Quartet, and I thought I’d let everyone know that Tribute’s new recording is featured at, where samples of the new songs can be heard. I assume downloads and/or the entire project can be pre-ordered, as well.

    • Yes, it can be pre-ordered, both digitally and physically.

      This project really kicks things up a notch for them. They’re going to be heading out of this one in a higher gear. πŸ™‚

  25. Sorry if I started a fire storm of critical comments…probably should have held my tongue, or my fingers in this case.

    • if you had the perception that you did then others probably did too but didn’t join in the discussion.

  26. Awesome post, Daniel. I agree 100%. A group should be who they are and not strive to be something they’re not for the sake of popularity. This music that we love was founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to take that foundation out of it is what will harm it. When I begin to write a song, there is a message that I want to get across. The MESSAGE is what people need to hear and our music (Southern Gospel) is so strong in that area. I was 9 years old when I started to listen to SG quartet music. I loved the harmonies and the great arrangements of Gold City, the Cathedrals and the Kingsmen, but the message is what held me there and it will continue to hold future generations as long as WE continue to provide it.

    • Thanks, Brian, and that’s so true!

  27. JSR I agree with you on “getting young people” via good music and an appreciation of the art form. I profoundly disagree with those who claim we need to be more like the world to win the world. Our own group is about as traditional as they come, right down to matching suits, 4 men and a piano player, but or fan base is made up of age groups that might surprise you. About 40% are below the age of 35.

  28. BRAVO! This was very well written and greatly resonated with our family; it is a topic of interesting conversation around the home. πŸ™‚ This is exactly what this genre needs to hear…and thank you for representing us “young people”. πŸ™‚

    Benjamin, age 20
    Taylor, age 19
    Leesha, age 16
    Samuel, age 11
    Jayme, age 9
    Caleb, age 7

    David and Kris (ages not to be revealed), honorary co-signers πŸ™‚

  29. From Ben: “I profoundly disagree with those who claim we need to be more like the world to win the world.”

    AMEN!!!! I believe we, as Christians, need to be the exact opposite of the world. What the world is giving us is obviously not working.

  30. Ben, completely agree with you on not being worldly. I am probably more conservative than most and may have misrepresented myself.

    If one is not a singer they may not have a deep appreciation for some of the “art” of harmony and some.of the skill in SG. Guess that was more my point.

  31. I like this Daniel! I’m 20 and I’m into SG, the really traditional stuff. I think that its so sad to see our churches abandoning the singing of SG, replacing it with p/w. SG songs and the old hymns, unlike most CCM, have such powerful messages that I call them “mini sermons.” The preachers work is made easy when a song holding the same message as his sermon is sung before he steps up to preach.

    • That does help!

      I’ve been in churches where the songs are picked in coordination with the sermon, and churches where they are not. It helps more in the latter scenario than in the former! πŸ™‚

      • Honestly, I think thats a bigger deal than many worship leaders realize. Good song selection for worship services is very important, no matter the type of music you sing.

        Some people have a good feel for how to put together a song order, others do not. Sometimes, if a song feels out of place, it can affect the spirit of the congregation.

  32. Another vote right here. Age 18.

  33. The history of Southern Gospel Music goes back to the days of singing schools and the publication of “convention” books twice a year. The publishers sent quartets out to hawk the new song books and singing schools taught students how to sight read the Do-Re-Mi (solfeggio). Out of these singing schools grew a base of music reading congregations that loved the four part harmonies and counter point. Nearly every Sunday there was a Singing somewhere locally where folks of all faiths gathered to sing the convention music.

    Now, sadly, there are no big convention publishers of new music, no singing schools and even more sadly, no hymn books in the back of most pews. Reading and singing parts is not valued, nor taught in most choirs. New songs are taught by rote. Hence, Southern Gospel Music has changed to a professionally driven genre. As the song says, we need “An Old Convention Song” to preserve the integrity of Southern Gospel Music.

  34. I think one of the biggest things to me is to communicate the lyrics to your audience, don’t just sing words that don’t mean anything to you. You can be the best vocalist ever, but SG fans can tell if an artist believes what they are singing.

    Marshall Hall, Guy Penrod, and Riley Harrison Clark are three SG singers off the top of my head who do more than just sing the words. When you listen to these guys (and others I didn’t mention), you believe the words they are singing because they are “selling it,” and they do not hold anything back in communicating the lyric.

    SG music is more than just words on a page. When the artists communicate a lyric, its almost like you HAVE to believe what they are singing.

  35. Excellent post, Daniel! I would be proud to co-sign πŸ™‚

    Naomi (Age 19)

  36. To all involved in this discussion… I’m really impressed as to the tone and intelligent comments. These discussions can and usually end up with harsh words and ignorant rants.

    What I see clearly, from this discussion, is a concern for biblical lyrics in a Christ honoring musical expression first and formost. Then I can see the style issue second. I just thought that was impressive.

    For what it’s worth, I’ll add my two cents. When Ronnie and I started singing with our Dad we had no agenda for any style of music. Having said that, we were in a Fundamental Independant Baptist Church. So the obvious thing to do was to sing a song that was appropriate for that worship service. First song we sang was Because He Lives. One of the most sound songs ever! That first verse along is one of the clearest explanations of the Gospel I’ve ever heard in a song.

    We were invited to other Independent (spelled incorrectly earlier but my phone won’t let me go back to fix it) churches so stayed the course. Bottom line is that we sang songs in a manner that would be effective to the audiences we were in front of. If someone likes an orange don’t try to sell them an apple. We went through our time of trying to be Phillips Craig and Dean/inspo….. It didn’t work!! Because we were not in front of that audience AND we were not inspo. Not really sure what we are but we are effective in front of the SG listener. We are very happy to be where we are.

    Ok I can hardly see on my phone screen so I’m gonna stop. If y’all want some more thoughts, let me know and I’ll go to my iPad!!!

    Michael Booth

    • Michael,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts – and share candidly about your background and where you’ve come from! I appreciate it, and I know I’m not the only one.

      I am glad that lyrical content has developed to be the primary concern here, because it is my primary concern.

      I’ll not debate the point of whether you have the talent to tackle other genres – because I might disagree, but I am happiest seeing you sing exactly the style you’re singing!

  37. I say DOUBLE AMEN to Daniel thoughts Coming from a Pastor & Songwriter)!!!

    Great Post Daniel. I am a diehard fan of SG music always and forever.

    Point well said.

  38. In other words if i where in a church service and your were preaching i would be in the AMEN corner. LOL

    • Thanks! Preachersβ€”at least, most preachersβ€”LOVE that!

  39. I will also cosign. Jesse, age 36. I got into SG at 19. I also have two things to say.
    1: Regarding SG, I know the temptation is to use Autotune or Melodyne, and a quantizer to mechanize everything, but SG has had more success as a more intimate genre. A little bit of recording tricks are ok, but the Cats and the Kingsmen were better known for their live performances than anything else. If it needs that much dolling up, there probably isn’t much there to begin with, so save your money, and practice a little more.
    2: Regarding people having to appeal to the youth by a more progressive sound, we have a church full of young people that prefer singing out of the little red book than a chorus off a screen.

    • Very cool! I’ve been part of churches which use hymnals, but never part of one which uses the Church of God redback. πŸ™‚

      • And, it’s an Independant Baptist church, too! The red book just has songs in it that are more singable, which is where a lot of higher church music drops the ball. Who wants to sing interminable verses of a song with a lackluster melody, and not a lot of room for harmony or enjoyment?

  40. Sign me up as a co-signer, Daniel.

    David J. Stuart , age 48
    Cleveland, Ohio.

  41. I would like to say this goes without saying, but in many cases it doesn’t. But for us (the fans and supporters), if we are serious about it’s survival…

    1. Buy the music. I understand money gets tight, but to show your support in not only maintaining the genre, but advancing it, your money will back up your mouth (and in some instances, your heart). That helps keep them on the road more than you know.
    2. Go to concerts. If a top tier group or maybe just one of your favorites, is an hour or so from your home. Go. We all know the essence of Gospel music has captivated us in a live forum of some type. So don’t justify not going by saying, “I’ll just sit and listen to my CD”. And when you go to the concert, buy something from the table. Keeping those big buses on the road is quite expensive.
    3. If you do go, spend the $10-$15 if there is a charge. For those of us who do listen to some secular music, we would spend $50 or more if we were going to a “Tim McGraw” concert. So don’t complain, unless you really don’t have the money.
    4. Know that what you are spending money on is doing a number of things, including but not limited to a) continuing to provide quality music, b) putting food on the table, c) paying bills, and most importantly, d) sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unbelievers and encouraging believers.
    And that’s priceless.

    Southern Gospel contains some excellent talent, many who could do well in other genres of Christian music, as well as Secular. Some groups go to sing to a congregation of 80 weekly. It’s not always about the money.

    Hope that didn’t sound like a rant.

    • Good stuff!!! Wish everyone held your view of supporting gospel music. For what it’s worth I’ve sang many many many times to 80 people or less… Some of the sweetest programs…..

      • If I may chime in here, since we’re discussing concerts… I would go to more of them if what the artists did at the concerts was different from what I can sit at home and hear on the CD. There are some notable exceptions to this, but by and large, the concerts of today seem like karaoke, vocal stacks and all. While I understand that a lot of artists can’t afford to carry a band, or piano player with them, and all they can do is sing with a track, it’s up to them to figure out a way to make going to hear them worth while. I think the Booth Brothers do a fine job with that, as do a select few others, but honestly, the reason I won’t go to concerts anymore is because they’re no different than what was produced in the studio. If I’m gonna listen to studio, I’d rather stay at home, and listen to it from the comfort of my couch. Give us something worth going to, and I’ll go!

      • Good point. Maybe I should have even included something to that effect in the manifesto – younger fans love live music!

      • Definitely! When I was young, I went to several secular concerts. Not one of them had tracks, and part of the thrill of them was hearing the band play a song, and feeling that vibe because it was broken in, not sterile. I went to hear Billy Joel when I was 13, and I think I paid more attention to what the band was doing than what he was singing.

    • IBSR – Whether or not it’s a rant, you’re right.

      Just as my personal example: With what I do here, record companies sometimes send review copies to review. I’ve decided to roll with that. But even so, I insist on paying ticket prices or putting in a donation when I go to a concert, even pretty much every time a media pass is offered – and if a group has something on their table that I don’t have, I try to make a point of purchasing it whenever finances permit even more to support them than to have it in my collection.

      (And no, I don’t go to secular concerts, and I couldn’t pick Tim McGraw’s face or voice out of a lineup!)

      • Didn’t figure you did. It was the best example I could come up with at the time. I could’ve said the Oak Ridge Boys. But then Kyle B. or Quartet Man would argue that they weren’t exactly secular. So Tim McGraw it was, lol.

      • Ah! OK! πŸ™‚

      • Actually, the Oaks programs I have gone to cost about half that. I suspect Mcgraw’s run more than that. πŸ˜›

    • For a comparison, I checked a few CCM ticket prices, and the ones I found cost 30 bucks general admission, more for reserved.

  42. Consider all of us cosigners!

    Thanks for laying it all out so clearly.

  43. Hers’s a vote for keeping Southern Gospel as a pure musical form. I have taken some heat for my view that four clean cut men (in matching suits) and piano should be the norm. Straying too far from our roots will only serve to hasten the demise of an endangered American art form. Traditional Southern Gospel is living history. Let’s preserve it for our children and grandchildren…

  44. I’m late to sing, but only ’cause I don’t know if I’m young enough to be the focal demographic of the post or if I fit into the upper bracket.

    I’ve been a fan of SoGo most of my life, but really started understanding that it was a different genre around the age of 14. Since I was 16 I’ve been singing it.

    Levi S. Johnston – age 28 – South Point, OH

    • Thanks, Levi!

      Since you’re only four years older than me, I’m disinclined to classify you as OLD just yet! πŸ™‚

  45. Shane Sparks
    Co-sign (Age 21)
    I so agree with all the aforementioned posts – Southern Gospel is timeless and should stay as it is – now don’t get me wrong I like SOME CCM but not that much of it. I do think however progress is important but progress should be achieved in a way that tradition and process is not lost. Its one thing to sit and die out, but I don’t see that happening with SG in my opinion. Southern Gospel is really all I have ever known – that being said I think it is fine as it is however – I don’t think it can stay “as it is” Joel Hemphill said it in the song “Jesus Built this Church On Love” I always think of this “Our methods and our message” The method of the delivery sometimes must be altered in a slight way – however the MESSAGE must always stay as is. Now we live in an age when we find out about concerts via texting keep in contact with our favorite groups so much so that some feel like family and best friends. Southern Gospel is just a prime example of the heart of humanity – as in I don’t know of any genre of music of ANY kind that has people who are genuinely diehard – sure secular music has its followers but Southern Gospel has FANS – okay I think I’ve ranted too much …I apologize if I went off subject but I think the best way to sum it up:

    Southern Gospel is “timeless”
    Timeless: adj referring or restricted to no particular time.

    I think that in and of itself describes Southern Gospel as well as any definition.

    • Maybe we could add to the manifesto, “Don’t assume that ‘change’ is ‘progress.'” If liberals only were truly progressives!

      • This is true indeed! Only because I’m weird like this I love etymology:

        Change: verb – to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone:

        Progress: noun – a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage:

  46. I’m almost eighty years of age and will co-sign the manifesto

    • Thank you – I am honored!

      • Daniel, on our Family foundation’s 1/2 hour weekly TV program, we use a combination of legendary groups, i.e. Oak Ridge Quartet, Prophets Quartet, LeFevres, Original Masters Five, Wendy Bagwell & the Sunliters, Trav’lers, Chuck Wagon Gang, Stamps Quartet, Blackwood Brothers, Rangers Trio, Statesmen Quartet, Plainsmen Quartet to list a few; along with many of the new and present groups. It is amazing the public response we get about the older groups and the unique sound they render. It is not only the sound, but also the style of songs that lend more to the Sacred Harp style of “Sunday All Day Singings with Dinner on the Ground”. People love it, but in my opinion, Churches, who in the past publicized this style of music, are not using it any more. I have my opinions of why, which is not that important. SGM has to remove themselves from a rut and move this important Art Form into another realm of public acceptance.

      • I agree that there is nothing wrong with the art form itself. We don’t need to be ashamed of it!

        We just need to find and promote – or, if you’re a singer, be – the best possible examples.

  47. It might be an interesting exercise to assemble a composite, hypothetical group embodying all the likes of the many opinions held across the genre. I dare say the critics could pick that group apart too. So what is good? It’s a matter of personal preference and opinion.

    I tend to lend an ear to anyone who sings of the essentials of our Christian faith. I’m just glad that we live in a country where we can still express our faith in song, no matter what genre. The style wars can be downright discouraging.

    I’m 17+ (Plus a lot.)

    • Thank you for your input. I do not intend this to be part of a “style war”; I can enjoy other styles, to some extent, for what they are. I just want to see Southern Gospel stay what it is and has been, too. πŸ™‚

  48. For what it’s worth, I would LOVE to have a live band….do I really have to get into the economics? Or will it turn into a “live by faith” issue? Bottom line is ticket prices and/or love offerings would have to rise substantially.

    An interesting thing to add is this…we hired two guys, one being my son, to perform live music along with the three of us on instruments on the second half. It was a BLAST!!!! We would perform up to 5 songs on the second half. Now some may not believe this but, over all, people were indifferent to the live music….I was stunned and disappointed that it did not enhance the effectiveness of our program. We had to accept the fact that it didn’t help as we thought it would.

    It could get tricky analyzing the why’s of the band not working. All I can do is offer mine and Ronnies thoughts that brought us to drop it. It came down to economics. When we saw that the SPIRITUAL effectiveness was not elevated by the band and the economics did not increase either. So we were left with the reality that we were spending hard earned money on an ineffective expense. Audiences have been conditioned over the last twenty years to accept tracks. Go back before that time and tracks could have been problematic.

    We have chosen to make more of an effort on vocal variety in the program. It’s a harsh reality, but for us, the band won’t help us. If it did we would have hired one permanently. The final final conclusion is people go to hear their favorite groups sing their favorite songs and the majority of them won’t see past the singers. I KNOW THAT SOUNDS BAD. And I’m sorry if anyone is offended. But unless a group makes a musician contribute like Jeff Stice does for his group, then it’s just true.

    I’m all for bands but not at the expense of spending more time on the road to pay for it or taking a pay cut. If it mattered spiritually I would live on beans to have one.

    Ok I’m bracing myself for the on slot of rebukes!!! Love you all in the Lord and please don’t hit me back too hard….:)

    Michael Booth
    I totally get the Karaoke thing. It is what it is. Singing to tracks.

    • Right on target, Michael. Reality is very enlightening.

      • Ain’t that true!!!

      • It looks like the early birds missed out on all the fun last night!

        Michael – thank you for providing that perspective. I’m fascinated by the fact that most of your audiences were ambivalent about the live band. In that event, I’d have to agree with you that going the more cost-effective route makes perfect sense.

      • >>>”It looks like the early birds missed out on all the fun last night!”

        You’re right, Daniel! You weren’t the only one to miss out, buddy! By the way, good morning, everybody!

        -Sam for himself πŸ™‚

    • Michael,
      You made a great point with your compliment to Jeff Stice. Hiring musicians just to be able to say, “We have a band” is mis-directed.

      The groups that have bands must make those musicians an important element in the experience. Otherwise, there’s no point.

      It’s good when the band members make eye contact and have a moment when they’re featured, but there’s more to it that merely sticking a random band feature on the program.

      I remember a Southern Gospel group from a few years ago whose band’s regular feature was an arrangement of a Rick Wakeman tune. It was great from a purely musical perspective. Someone like me who enjoys a variety of musical styles could appreciate it, but the average Southern Gospel fan couldn’t relate to it.

      As you mentioned, the most important element of Southern Gospel is the message. Some people might say a band can’t communicate a lyrics, but of course they can by simply performing arrangements of songs that audience members would already know.

      • Good thoughts David! As always. I commented on the Garms family post before yours. As I said there, I wish I had added this thought, that if a band, like the Issacs, is part of what your about??? Then by all means, make it work!!

        Would someone tell me when to use a comma!!!! I know…. Random!!!!

      • >>>Would someone tell me when to use a comma!!!!

        We’re rolling on the floor laughing! (Well, not quite, but almost…) πŸ˜† According to one of our grammar books, there are 19 rules for comma usuage. Which one do you want to know? πŸ˜€

        -TL for TGF

      • Tell ya what,,,,,,just tell me how to sell Isaacs!! No Issacs….no wait…Izzaks!!!???? Hope they don’t see this!!!

      • We’ll tell you how to spell “spell” for starts…S-P-E-L-L! Is that right??? πŸ˜†

        -BLT for TGF

      • Wiz afraid you would see that SPELL thing….:(….:)

      • That’s ok! Maybe we should all get to bed… πŸ˜€

        -BLT for TGF

    • Wow! Interesting perspective! We would have loved to see you with Christian and Jake. Oh well! πŸ™‚

      We totally understand your reasoning. That’s where the Lord has lead you, and we applaud you for following Him.

      As a live band ourselves, we feel going to tracks would be less effective for our ministry, though we wouldn’t mind the simplicity of “pushing a button”. πŸ˜€ But for the majority of Southern Gospel artists, tracks are probably the most efficient route. Whatever is most spiritually effective (and economically sensible!) is definitely the way to go…although we wouldn’t mind seeing a singer pick up an instrument every now and then! πŸ™‚

      >>>Audiences have been conditioned over the last twenty years to accept tracks. Go back before that time and tracks could have been problematic.
      Great insight!

      BTW: If anyone gets too hard on you, we’ll defend you to the end! πŸ˜€

      -BLT for TGF

      • This is where things splinter into significant details of effectiveness. Maybe the way to put it is this…If a band is PART OF WHAT YOU ARE…. then stick with it so that you can reach your full impact in a program. No doubt I would NOT want to see the Issacs sing to tracks!!! What a waist that would be. Though I haven’t seen your program it seems to me that the band IS part of what you are too. Therefore it would be a mistake to change that.

        I wish I had said this in my thoughts earlier.Great discussion!!!


      • I would leave the Isaac’s waists out of this, Michael. πŸ˜‰

      • Hahaha!!!! Got me!!!

      • Yeah, and I was in such a hurry to get you I should have said Isaacs’ waists. πŸ˜€

      • Michael…
        Of course I enjoy a live band…but I totally understand the economics involved.

        SGM fans do not want to see the price of tickets increase. When Gaither Music recently changed it’s seating and ticketing policy, fans flipped out when they saw that the front row seats were now more expensive, and completely overlooked the fact that the majority of the seating had reduced ticket prices.

        If SGM artists and groups were to musicians to provide a live band at concerts, ticket pices MUST increase accordingly. These musicians don’t work for free…they have to be fed…transportation and accomodations must be provided. These things all come at a cost.

        As much as this is a “ministry”, it is also a “business”. And as in anything in life, if you increase your expenses, you must increase your income enough to at least equal those expenses.

        So…people need to be prepared to put their money where their mouth is. Want a live band on stage with your favorite artists? Pay for the tickets that are double what you paid in the past.

      • TGF – it helps that, in your case, the vocalists are also the musicians; thus, having a band doesn’t mean any extra households to support!

      • So true; we kids get paid weekly…”very weakly”! HA-HA-HA! πŸ˜€

        But seriously, being our own band does really help with costs – kind-of. πŸ™‚

        -BLTS for TGF

      • Ha! πŸ™‚

        Seems I’ve heard that joke before . . . from a certain spiky-haired pianist, perhaps . . . πŸ™‚

        But I wasn’t expecting it from this quarter, so context made it funny all over again. πŸ™‚

    • Great post, Michael. I love tracks on some songs (for instance “Champion of Love”, “Sinner Saved By Grace” or “Death Has Died” (among others) by the Cathedrals for instance wouldn’t have been as good without tracks IMHO. Other songs were enhanced or greatly improved with just the piano and bass over the studio versions / arrangements / instrumentation. The Cathedrals had it about right as far as using a combination. Gerald in the Cathedrals added a lot vocally during the concerts (as well as his playing) and Roger added a lot instrumentally, vocally (some) and his sense of humor and interaction with the audience. He wasn’t just a pianist hiding in the corner or in the background, but an important addition to the group.

      Speaking of bands and the Cathedrals, I was reminded of the song Sandi Patty (or however the current spelling is :D) did on the Farewell DVD (Farther Along / We’ll Understand It Better By and By). The live band on that made me realize how much difference they can make and how much we are missing out without the right ones. Roger’s impromptu dance as well as his mock being insulted by Buddy Greene stealing part of his piano solo were great additions that further show his role in the group. I also remember the pulse thing with Glen, the Arkansas jokes, and the joke about A Cappella. All great moments, but also his taking part of “Don’t Be Afraid” vocally, his testimony, his awesome playing on songs like “We Shall See Jesus”. He contributed a lot to an already great group.

      You also brought up the live by faith thing. I HATE people who use that in a superior and hypocritical way as a way to get out of doing their part or just out of ignorance or cockiness. I saw some snippy comments on a gospel performance by the Oaks dissing them for leaving due to money and how they should have lived on love offerings. First of all, they liked to starve making the change so I doubt it was about money or that money was the only reason at least. Second of all, I wonder how many of the people with that attitude would take it if they went into work to pick up their checks and were told that they should have faith in God to provide their needs, they should accept whatever the boss and beneficiaries of their product or services deemed willing to anonymously drop into a plate AFTER they had gotten the product or service. Then again, I don’t really wonder because I think you and I know the answer.

      • P.S. for those who don’t know, I am a church music director and do get a check, so I am not speaking as one who does (or ever did) get paid by love offerings.

      • Good to point out the Cats! They really used live and tracks perfectly. They are great example of how to use both. Good call!!

    • This won’t really add to the discussion, but I’ll toss it in anyway. As a longtime small-church musician who was literally forced into the sound engineer position due to a lack of willing and knowledgeable volunteers, I have always had a vehement and adamant opposition to the use of tracks, whether in a church-music or a group/soloist setting. Hated listening to them, hated running them. Therefore, knowing the Booth Brothers’ almost exclusive use of tracks, I approached with a certain amount of trepidation my first Booth Brothers concert earlier this year. But to my astonishment, I realized on the drive home that never once during the concert did I even notice the tracks. What I did notice was the beauty of the vocals, the insight and pertinence of the lyrics, and the power of the message. It was an eye-opening experience for me, demonstrating as it did that it doesn’t matter if a vocalist or group (or even a choir, for that matter) uses tracks, or a piano, or a guitar, or a pennywhistle, or even no background music at all, as long as he/she/they effectively get across the message of Jesus Christ in an effective manner to a hurting and bewildered world, a message so desperately needed, especially in these perilous times. Thank you, Michael (and Ronnie and Jim) for the somewhat drastic attitude adjustment that your example has engendered in this ole time-hardened heart. (Needless to say, my church, who has suddenly found itself with a much more willing sound lady on its hands, thanks you also!)

      • Melissa

        All I can say is thank you for the encouragement. Really appreciate you giving us a shot. God bless!!


      • Wow! What a neat story Melissa! It really comes down to the message of Jesus Christ in the songs, and the artist’s presentation of that message. People who make the Gospel message real to each and every person, and take it directly to people really impact us young folks the most. The personal interaction of the artists with us young fans really, REALLY means a lot (thanks for chatting Michael!).

        -BLT for TGF

  49. Since this is a “Manifesto of the Young Southern Gospel Fans”, I don’t know if I can speak for everyone, but I’d like to see a Barna Research poll (not likely), or even a Daniel J. Mount poll on those under the age of 40 in their preference to this topic. I feel like the majority of those who are my age (under 30) do like live music. And if that’s the case, wouldn’t it further the progress of Southern Gospel of our generation? Why wait till we’re 60 to start progressing to something that was “in” 30 years ago?

    I say this in total awareness that Southern Gospel has its appeal due to its rich history and traditional formulas. But I know with me, my live experience is best captured when I know without a doubt that I’m witnessing a Worship experience instead of a program. I realize most artists would admit that what they do IS a worship oriented concert/ministry and everything is NOT so formulated. But with a computer behind, it is tempting to press a button for the next track.

    As far as a live band taking the spotlight away from the vocals, once again…for me it does the exact opposite. I’m not hearing magnificent Haun, Goss, or Mauldin orchestrations (as brilliant as they are) blaring from speakers and catch myself wondering, “where is this glorious music coming from?” I think Southern Gospel’s rich traditional sound provides its own awe and wonder, but as fans and supporters of this great genre we should not want to be traditional in every aspect of our “listening”. The beautiful element of Jazz is that we don’t always know where it’s going. Sometimes, the musicians does not even know where it’s going. Sure there are the ultimate guidelines of musical composition they follow, but it’s alive and it takes you into their world for just a little while. In relation to Southern Gospel, obviously the vocal harmony relating God’s message do that for me. With too much orchestration, I get distracted. The realness and authenticity of the music is what I crave. The message of the Gospel is what I desire and need!

    And I agree with Mr. Booth and Mr. Wolfe that this wont’ change anytime soon due to economics and demographics. There are young SG fans, but predominantly the older generation tends to pay the bills and support the artists. What happens when they die? What is this generation going to do? Will we continue to support it like the current generation does? Surely there was some type of falling out among SOME fans when tracks were first introduced and live music was blitzed. But that has now passed. Mr. Booth, I would pay an extra $10 to see you strap on your own Guitars and bring your own drum set, a la Don Henley.

    I know this is sort of a opinionated manifesto within a manifesto, but there it is.

    • I also want to add that I’m not anti-tracks. Just very, pro-live music. Maybe one day thirty years from now, we (or I) will get my wish. But maybe by that time, live music will be “old” and the young southern gospel will be wanting DJ’s, auto-tune, and techno beats.

    • I’ve been contemplating some research, but haven’t thought through all the potential questions / methods of approach to the questions yet.

    • Interesting thoughts Stage Right.. Well spoken too. Let me throw this out, for what it’s worth….my dad started singing with the original Booth Brothers then on to the Toney Brothers Qt, Rebels Qt, Stamps Qt, Thrasher Brothers Qt, then Starting up the BB again with Ronnie and I. One of the gifts I’ve been given is to be around many of the “legends” because of my dads friends and later with Homecoming Atrists. Throughout my experiences with all of these people, one thing has remained consistent, and that is, the audience has always been older. I’ve seen pictures from the first NQC and it’s grey hair.

      There is something about Sg that simply lends itself to older people. It’s been that way from at least the fifties. I totally agree with you that we need to be diligent to be effective to future generations, but I gotta say, that I think those people will consistently be older. Another words, people GROW INTO SG.

      I will say this, that I believe, we can reach many more 40ish year olds. That is a point in life where people begin to examin themselves and find answers/comfort in our music that can help them.

      I again want to say that your bringing up some worthwhile thoughts. I’m just laying out there some words and observances that have come from people that have been there, done that many times over. Having said that, there is nothing wrong to ask the why’s that we are discussing.


      • Thanks for your reply Michael. I understand the reality of the music business. I appreciate a wide range of music styles, because I appreciate music from an artistic standpoint, not your common pew-sitter and casual listener to Southern Gospel, hence why I love live music. But I do think there is something to be said for the next “musical transition” of SG, whatever that may be. Even as I’ve gotten older, I seem to go back to my roots somewhat. And if I appreciate SG for what it is now, then I’ll be rolling in it that much more in twenty years. I still think a Buddy Rich/Neil Peart drum solo may be in order at one of your next concerts.

        But maybe you can tell me…what was the first reaction to “tracks” when well known started leaving their bands behind? And was it sincerely a financial decision to begin with? If so, that must have meant somewhere along the road, gospel groups couldn’t afford to pay everyone? And if that is also the case, would that have been the first era of a “decline” in SG listeners and supporters?

        I don’t ask that to start some kind of “southern gospel is on the decline” topic, but in order to make clear where our history can be learned and past mistakes be avoided…in order to sustain the integrity, mission, and musicianship of this great genre. And so I personally can better help with the right type of support, both demographically and financially.

      • *well known groups*

      • Really good questions IBSR!!!

        Not sure that I can help with the band era thing…BUT Ill ask some people that will know. My dad had been out off the road for about a dozen years when i satrted singing with him.So I missed so much during those times. When we started in 89, we sang with a piano. When we couldn’t keep a piano player we used track. But geez we were just singing in small local churches. It wasn’t until 94-5? That we sang with a national group. That being the Kingsmen.

        We obviously went on first….but it went very well. The bigger problem for us, in that day was the Independant Baptist Churches not allowing CANNED music. Our home Church was very supportive but some wouldn’t allow us in. So I only have a very limited perspective concerning the removal of bands.

        I will add this. Expenses are ridiculous compared to the band era. CDs have been $15 for twenty years, yet the production costs are triple. Bus shops are over $100 per hour labor, and do we even need to discuss fuel and health care. So I believe those places are where the band budgets have gone. I’ll also add this, that I would project a four piece band would cost anywhere from $180,000—$200,000 a year. Now those are MY figures considering the caliber of player, payroll, insurance, travel expenses….etc. I have no doubt that we could put one together cheaper, but I’m not gonna bring someone out unless it is a career salary and not A JOB pay.

        Wish things were different…..great discussion though!!!! I’m open for ideas!!!


      • Thanks! Yes, I’ve heard much of the same from others. Since “how” Christian music is played has become such a doctrinal issue within itself, I can see the trouble. But to a previous discussion I brought up, we just need to support you guys better. If SG is something other than SG in 40 years, it could be the fault of our generation. And that’s why I raise these questions and critiques. And I don’t want to take sole responsibility for it, if it happens. I’ll throw that one on Daniel. Kidding Daniel (but seriously…)

      • I’m a 40ish year old (and will be for several more years, Lord willing) that was brought up on a little SG. I got into the Oaks at around 13-14 and started getting their gospel stuff. I then got into the GVB (in particular their New Point of View tape and then got their first two and later everyone after) when I was in my late teens. I heard the Stamps on Crook and Chase doing “If Those Walls Could Shout” and got their then current CD on Riversong which also had that song on it. This was just after Enoch came back as he was on stage with them (I Trammell was still there at that point too.), but Toney was on the recording. I then got into the Cathedrals in 1989 when I saw them on Jubilate ’88. That concert had Bennett just back and Lowry as a replacement for McSpadden in the GVB (even though they still did songs from their Wings CD).

        Later with the Gaither Homecomings I discovered other artists and having an SG station I can listen to for the past several years has introduced me to others. So, I started earlier than people who come in at my age or older, but later than those who are really introduced to it when they are kids (although I was a little). I never even went to any SG concerts until I think maybe one of Greater Vision’s first concerts. (Except for hearing a few local SG concerts which included Bryan Hutson and his brother in a local group.)

      • Boy am I happy GV didn’t run you off!!!!!!!! Bwaaahhhaaahhaaaaa!!! IM KIDDING!!! I used to see Gerald sing when I was just a baby.

      • personally,i go to bb concerts to hear the tracks, not the vocals.

      • Well Michael, they still had Mark Trammell so he carried the weight and made up for Gerald and Chris. πŸ˜€
        When I was a kid, my church had the the Blackwood Singers in once. They supposedly had the Stamps in (that might have been before my time but I have heard about it)

        Later, I was blessed to see the Cathedrals a few times, The Gaither Vocal Band just after the videos where they still did dates by themselves (around the 1992 era when Murray was still with them), the Stamps two or three, Heavenbound, Poet Voices (after Duncan left and they were a trio). Later, I saw Gold City, the Crabb Family, Dove Brothers and you guys for the first time at North Vernon, IN this year. Fortunately there are more concerts in this area, but hearing about them could be improved.

  50. Co-signer.

    Mike, age 23

  51. co-signing, age 24

  52. I know it’s a year late, but I cosign too.
    age 18