An Interview with myself

SouthernGospelBlog.com: Why on earth are you interviewing yourself, instead of someone far more interesting?

Daniel: I want to be able to ask a question like that, but I don’t dare to anyone besides myself! More seriously, I thought this would be an interesting vehicle to mention a number of things that I hadn’t found a way to insert into the regular programming.

Since I write over 300 posts per year, it’s not like one post of this nature is much of a distraction from the regular programming.

SGB: What is the single most surprising thing that you’ve heard an artist or industry professional say?

Daniel: That one’s easy: “I don’t actually like convention songs.” At first, I thought this person was kidding!

SGB: What’s the single funniest thing that you’ve heard during a soundcheck?

Daniel: “That’s a local opening act.” The speaker pauses when, as if on cue, a singer tries to imitate Michael English and fails. “Very local.”

SGB: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of running the site?

Daniel: That’s easy! My favorite part is reading a particularly insightful comment from a reader. My least favorite part is writing CD reviews.

SGB: Why?

Daniel: I am an optimist, but I feel responsible to write an accurate review. Unless the CD is absolutely spectacular, my sense of responsibility will clash with my personality, and I end up drained.

SGB: Outside of Southern Gospel, what keeps you busy?

Daniel: I launched and help run www.freehymnal.com, a site with free sheet music for public domain hymns. I’ve spent a lot of time exercising this year. I love songwriting. And I’ve also been spending a lot of time thinking and writing about how Christians should use vocabulary in a way that reflects a Biblical worldview and glorifies God. I’m hoping to turn that into a book eventually, but with everything else I have going right now, it surely won’t be done any time soon!

SGB: So how rich have you gotten from all those books you’ve written?

Daniel: Truth be told, I would be several times richer today if I had spent the same number of hours flipping burgers at McDonalds! But of the kind of riches that really matter—friendships—I’m a wealthy, wealthy man. 🙂

SGB: So between all these books and blog posts—how many blog posts now?—

Daniel: 3,037 personally, 3,285 on the site—

SGB: Surely you’ve become a decent writer.

Daniel: No, I’m just an average writer. I would have been below average in 1950. But looking around at the average level of communication skills today, I think that anyone who can construct a grammatical sentence is probably above average now!

I don’t think readers come here for brilliant prose. I think readers come for the daily posts and their content. I try to be comprehensive enough that, even if this is the only Southern Gospel news website they read, they won’t miss out on any significant news stories.

SGB: Well, have you written any above-average posts?

Daniel: Three, I think:

Here’s a funny thing: My siblings are so used to average that when I wrote the most recent decent one, “Farewell, Louisville,” they said it didn’t sound like me and wondered who really wrote it!

SGB: What motivates someone to write over 3,000 posts about this genre of music?

Daniel: Southern Gospel has a rich heritage and an enduring value. I don’t want this genre to die on my watch. If I’m the last Southern Gospel journalist standing, the day I retire and turn out the lights is the day I have failed.

I’m not going to be the person to inspire the next generation of singers, songwriters, and journalists to love this music. New fans are brought in by a singer and a song. But once that happens, I want to play a role in expanding their horizons from that first artist to others, and in deepening their love for this music.

Whenever I retire, if there’s still a vibrant Southern Gospel scene—if lives are still being changed through Biblically solid lyrics—then this will have been a success.

SGB: What are—

Daniel: Oh, good grief, that’s enough about me. Let’s get back to the regularly scheduled programming. 🙂

But if you all want to add your own questions in the comments, go for it! I won’t promise to answer everything, but I’m sure I’ll answer some of them!


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82 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’m waiting for the video of you interviewing yourself.

    • Don’t think that will happen! 🙂

      • Yeah… i believe it’ll happen 😀

      • What makes you think that? 🙂

  2. Enjoyed this interview! SGB is always on top of everything. 🙂 Not long ago, I was complaining about another site which was not including “my” favorite artist/group and someone referred this one (SGB). So glad they did. I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts. I don’t always comment, but I DO read them. Keep ’em coming!

    • Well, thank you! 🙂 I certainly plan to keep them coming!

  3. You seem to have no advertising on this site. Is it because there has been no interest or because you want to keep it ad free?

    • It’s mainly because I’m not terribly motivated by money. I get requests from different potential advertisers periodically. I have generally said no. I would only possibly consider advertising that I thought provided a real value to the readers *and* fit the overall look and feel of the site.

  4. Did the “Michael English” moment happen to occur on…”I saw Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac”? 🙂

    • I don’t remember the song; it’s probably been three or four years. Sorry!

  5. Why do you continue to write under the pseudonym of Daniel J. Mount when everyone knows you are, Yukon Cornelius?

    • Who or what is Yukon Cornelius? (I’m seriously wondering.)

      • Yukon Cornelius is a character from the “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” TV special.

      • OK, thanks. I think I’ve heard of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” but I’m not sure if that’s originally a book, a cartoon series, or a movie, and I have no clue what the overall storyline is.

      • “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose…” ring any bells? 🙂

      • Vaguely. I think that’s a secular Christmas song. I always skip those and/or just don’t import them into iTunes in the first place.

      • “I think that’s a secular Christmas song.”

        Correct! You get a Christmas cookie. 🙂

      • Thanks, but I’ll pass – that would counteract the aforementioned efforts at exercise that have been a big part of my year. 🙂

      • Yukon Cornelius is a gold prospector—here’s an image (note the resemblance!)

        http://laraandthereelboy.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/img_0179.jpg

      • I look like THAT? 🙂 😮 🙂

      • It’s all in the beard. 😆

    • We can verify that his real name is Daniel J. Mount. We have no brother by the given name or pseudonym of Yukon!

  6. I am so glad I have found this site. I don’t always comment,but read it daily.I only wish there was a way to generate more interest in true Southern Gospel music in my area.It seems that too many people in Canada don’t even know much about it.I might add that those who do,love it and wish we would get more artists to come here. In my opinion,it is the BEST music this side of Heaven.

    • Thanks for reading, and for when you do comment!

  7. As to:
    “Why on earth are you interviewing yourself, instead of someone far more interesting?”
    My pastor has admitted many times that he talks to himself, reasons being that he “likes to talk to a smart man and he lkes to hear a smart man tolk”. He says this tongue-in-cheek, yet, like you, many gather to hear what he has to say, as do many to read what you write. Again, reading your blog has been interesting, enlightening and encouraging, at the very least. Thanks for sharing with us, everyday.

  8. We have a question: “Which is your favorite Southern Gospel Group?” 🙂

    Or, since you can’t say, “What’s your favorite song?”

    • I actually can answer that first question: The Cathedrals! (You didn’t specify current!)

      Song: All-time: “It is Well With My Soul”

      SG: “We Shall See Jesus”

      • Do you have a favorite version of It Is Well?

      • Yes – the one I hear in my head, with a Lari Goss orchestration and an all-star quartet lineup made of the genre’s finest vocalists – Cathedrals or maybe Gold City alumni. Vocalists aside, I actually have a pretty specific arrangement in my mind, and I’ve never heard a vocal rendition that comes all that close. Kim Collingsworth’s piano solo version may have come the closest to what I’m hearing in my head, as far as sheer vigor and energy, even if it’s not the exact arrangement I have in mind.

  9. Of all the posts you have written, which do you think was the funniest?

  10. Nice interview! I enjoyed it! And thanks to your siblings for asking about your funniest posts, I need to see those! I remember seeing the one about Penrod sometime back. It was the first post of yours I ever saw. I remember how I discovered your blog. One boring morning while I found myself thinking about Guy’s hair and wondering if he ever had it short, so I went to google and searched for “Guy Penrod with short hair” and there it was, a photo of him with short hair. I followed the link to the site of origin and there was your blog. I’ve been reading ever since.

    I have a lot of questions but I’ll just ask one. If you were a really great tenor singer and you badly needed to join a singing group, which ONE currently touring group would you wish had an opening? Explain your answer (if you give one).

    Maybe another one. Your beard looks fantastic, what is the inspiration behind keeping it long? 🙂

    • John,

      On Guy Penrod: You do realize that was a photoshopped practical joke, right? :

      On Singing Tenor with a group: One of the Cathedrals alumni groups. That rules out Signature Sound. I wouldn’t be stupid enough to want to follow Chris Allman. Between Legacy Five and the Mark Trammell Quartet, I guess I’d go with the Mark Trammell Quartet because it sure looks like it would be a lot of fun to sing alongside Pat Barker. 🙂

      See, there, I did get to one eventually. 🙂

      On the length of my beard: That’s not long! Ever heard of Duck Dynasty or the Oak Ridge Boys? 🙂 🙂

      • Ha! clever answer! And great choice, singing alongside Mark Trammell is a wish that many would want to come true.

      • …yes, except that I’d probably pass on the opportunity if it presented itself (even in a just-for-fun single song!) If I’m not as good as Eric Phillips – I’m not, and neither is just about everyone else – I wouldn’t want to step into a situation where I knew it would be a step down from that group’s peak at a given position.

      • Daniel, I can’t believe that YOU’VE heard of Duck Dynasty!

      • Well, when every Southern Gospel singer and their brother is posting pictures of their visits to Duck Dynasty headquarters, and speaking positively of beards, it makes the person whom Pat Barker calls “O Bearded One” a little curious – enough to do a Google search!

    • Oops, cross out the while above.

  11. Sorry for the numerous comments. Yes I know it was a photoshopped practical joke, but funny thing, the first time I read it I thought it was for real, so I called my mother and showed her the post, she went away convinced. Embarrassment is usually merciful to us black folks, but I’m sure my black face turned red with embarrassment when I realised I had been had.

    • I cannot recall what country you live in, though I do believe you’ve mentioned it’s not the U.S. I sincerely don’t know: Is April 1 observed as a day of practical jokes worldwide, or just in the U.S.?

      • I don’t know about China and Lebanon, but here in Zambia it is observed. 🙂

      • OK. That post went up on an April 1. 🙂 In that light, it made sense in context to readers on the day it went up. But more than any other post on this site, ever, it seems to never die! (OK, there’s one other possible exception: The Phelps/English/Lowry rejoin Gaither Vocal Band post also seems to never quite go away.)

  12. Thanks for calling attention to the hymn site. Did not know it was there. But it will be bookmarked for reference!

    • I try not to be too much of a self-promoter, talking about it all the time, but at the same time, I think it’s a worthwhile enough resource that I try to mention it once every year or two.

  13. Daniel — This was a very interesting post. Thank you. And thank you for your daily posts….I always at least check to see what (who!) the subject is, even if I don’t always have time to read everything. You add to my enjoyment as a Southern Gospel fan . I owe you big time!!!

    • You are welcome! It is my pleasure!

  14. I noticed you mention a love for song writing… Have you pitched any of your songs to SG groups? Also, would be very interested in your thoughts on “a Christian’s vocabulary”.

    • Jubileah: Yes, I have. I’ve had about a half-dozen “holds” within the last year or two, which means that the song’s a finalist in consideration, so to speak. So far, I only had one make the final cut; that was a couple of years ago on a recording by Ed Hill’s revitalized Prophets Quartet. But pretty much nobody ever heard that song because the group disbanded right after making the CD! Ah, well – that’s life! 🙂

      On the second part:
      http://takingeverywordcaptive.com/
      http://takingeverywordcaptive.com/archives/1 – introductory post

      The site is so preliminary that I don’t even have a graphic design yet, which is why I haven’t done any official announcement. 🙂

      • I should also add that I’m still considering whether to keep that as a separate website or to roll it into a column on http://www.danielmount.com ; that’s the other reason I haven’t made a big deal out of the website launch.

      • Awesome! Best wishes in your song writing endeavors! Would be great to hear you have a hit song someday! 🙂 I will check out those links. Thanks!

      • Thanks!

  15. You may not answer any of these, but I’ll ask anyway 🙂

    – What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in the studio?
    – How has working for a record company changed your view of SG?
    – Has working for a record company made it harder to give an honest review CDs published by the company?
    – Have you considered putting your contributers on a more regular schedule to lower your work load?
    – How does one become a contributer to SGB?
    – Do you think SG music has a deeper SG scriptual footing than other christian music?
    – Have you had any surprising extremly positive or negative interactions with SG personalities?

    Sorry for all these questions, just thought this was a good opportunity to ask somethings that has floated through my head during the years of reading this blog. I guess this is also a good time to thank you on helping me become emersed in the world of SG. I’m no where near as into SG as you and some of your readers, but the years I’ve spent reading your blog has introduced me to some good music and helped me learn a lot about the people involved. I came to SG as a David Phelps fan who thought most SG was garbage, but I’ve truely become a fan of many artists and have purchased as much SG in the past 3-4 years as in genre of Christian music. Thanks for your dedication.

    • JSR, I’m thrilled to have played a role in broadening your horizons to a love for more groups! 🙂

      “What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in the studio?”

      One thing comes to mind, but I probably am safest not talking about it in public. If we meet in person, ask this question again and hopefully I’ll still remember the rather funny story I have in mind. 🙂

      “How has working for a record company changed your view of SG?”

      It has made me care more whether a group is singing with live accompaniment or just soundtracks.

      “Has working for a record company made it harder to give an honest review CDs published by the company?”

      Probably. I generally only review the strongest 1-4 Crossroads releases of the year each year, because reviewing any of the weaker CDs and commenting on their weaknesses would put me in the rather awkward position of critiquing people who work down the hallway!

      “Have you considered putting your contributers on a more regular schedule to lower your work load?”

      I’ve told them that they are welcome to post more. So time will tell on that one. 🙂

      “How does one become a contributer to SGB?”

      The usual process has been that I start the conversation, sending an email invitation to someone after noticing enough deep thought and writing skills in comments left that I think the person’s contributions would be worthy should they sign on.

      It wasn’t ever specifically intended this way, but the way it’s worked out, all of my contributors so far (a) come from big families and (b) offer a Yankee perspective on this Southern genre. With (now) the sole exception of me, all the other contributors live in Ohio, Michigan, or Minnesota! But there are also dissimilarities; the contributors’ doctrinal preferences range the scale from Charismatic to Reformed Baptist to Lutheran! 🙂

      “Do you think SG music has a deeper SG scriptual footing than other christian music?”

      That’s a tricky question. It’s hard to make generalizations about the genre as a whole, because, on the one hand, you’ll have artists (no, I’m NOT naming names on this part!) who will only cut songs about the Cross, Heaven, and our moment of salvation, and on the other hand, you’ll have groups like the Booth Brothers and Brian Free and Assurance who will cut songs like “What About Now” and “Die Another Day.”

      Almost every artist in our genre will record some doctrinally insightful songs with a deep Scriptural footing. For some, it’s a small portion of their catalog; for others, it’s a major portion. I will say that the more songs an artist records with deep, original Scriptural insights, the more likely I am to review and otherwise discuss their music. And in that light, theoretically, an artist with a regional level of vocal ability who records ten new songs that have absolutely incredible lyrics with amazing insights would get a more positive review than the greatest vocal talent our genre has to offer recording fluff. I don’t think either extreme has ever happened yet, though!

      “Have you had any surprising extremly positive or negative interactions with SG personalities?”

      Yes. 🙂

      • I contributed once, and there ain’t a Yankee bone in my body!! 🙂

      • I suppose I ought to clarify my terminology. When there’s a single post from someone, I call it a “guest post”; when someone agrees to write posts on an occasional or semi-regular basis, that’s when I call them a “contributor.”

        I’m still a little frustrated with myself, this many years later, for not thinking to ask you to come on board before Adam thought of it! I respect Adam too much to ever try to “steal” you away, but I still wish I had you on board. 🙂

      • Thanks for the response! Maybe will cross paths. I have an Uncle who lives in Asheville and pastor’s a church there. I’ve thought the next time I visit I should maybe try to set up a face to face with you. Then I can get the good studio story!

      • Cool!

  16. 46 comments on this post (this makes 47).

    Daniel, are you still talking to yourself in the comments section?!

  17. I’ve always wondered what you do to earn a living. If I’m not mistaken, your siblings are in Ohio and you’re in North Carolina. Did your job/career take you to North Carolina? By the way, I enjoy your siblings comments. It seems like you really have a nice family.

    If it’s okay to reply here to the question from “JSR” as to whether SG music has a deeper scriptural footing than other Christian music. I’m sure there are lots of opinions but to me, there’s no other music that even compares. I don’t like all Southern Gospel music but Southern Gospel is pretty much the only music I listen to. I love the music and the message.

    • Vic, yes, I have a wonderful family!

      Yes, my job/career took me to North Carolina three-plus years ago. I work for Crossroads, one of the major Southern Gospel labels. I’ve never exactly made a secret of this, putting up a post when I joined in early 2010 and also noting it on the About page. But I’ve also tried to never have the focus of this site be myself, so I’ve never made a huge deal out of it.

  18. Oh, and I forgot to ask if you took your siblings suggestion. Was the interview conducted on the mount with Mount?

    • Funny thought! No, it wasn’t!

  19. thanks for the tremendous work at http://www.freehymnal.com/index/ !

  20. Hey Daniel, when you are on the road or that you cover a SG artist, where do you like to go and eat? As also do you eat with any artists if they ask you to do so or if you want to? Keep up the good work. As always and thanks for putting this up here!

    • I’m working really hard to stick to a diet faithfully this year, so, generally, the answer is nowhere. I try to either skip dinner when I’m out and about, though occasionally I’ll find a Subway.

      As to eating with artists: Sometimes, when they’re in the studio and the invitation is for lunch, I’ll join them. But I’m an early bird, so usually, when the invitation is for dinner after a concert, I usually have no choice but to extend my polite apologies if I want to be alert on the drive home (and at work or church the next day!)

  21. Daniel, feel free to not answer this question if you do not want to, but I just have to ask something that has been bothering me lately. Hopefully this question doesn’t show my ignorance 🙂 lol and I only ask because you alluded to it above in one of the posts.

    With all the hoopla surrounding live accompaniment and soundtracks used by artists today at SG concerts, if I go here a select group that sings exclusively with soundtracks, how much of what they’re doing is actually them singing; do they have help or is it all them with just music? I’ve seen a lot of posts on this lately on different blogs and for some reason it has been really bothering me. I like to think that it is the artist completely giving it his or her all in the name of the Lord, but then, I’m a positive person :). I thought I’d ask since you work for Crossroads and would probably know about stuff like this.

    Thanks!! (sorry for any misspellings lol)

    • In this genre of music, solos and low bass parts are almost exclusively always just the singer you see on stage. Some groups employ stacked vocals on chorus harmonies.

      • Thank you very much for your prompt reply! 🙂

      • You’re welcome!

  22. So David, what did you think of Daniel’s interview of himself?

    • I’d never do anything like that, but to each his own…:)

  23. Here’s another one…how many commenters do you think you have and what kind of commenter turnover have you seen since the site began? Are there readers/commenters who are still active today that were with you at the beginning?

    • JSR, quite a few commenters who were there in the beginning still comment regularly or on occasion.

      There have been 49,174 comments from 3,760 usernames and 4,185 email addresses. For some reason, I’m even more excited to see that number – averaging 10 comments per username – than I would to have a far higher total of people who had only commented once. I love it when people who comment once come back and comment in the future. 🙂

      • You’ve got to come up with a prize for comment number 50,000 :).

      • Good idea. I have a number of duplicate CDs just sitting on my shelf, waiting for an excuse to do a contest. So I may as well pull out three or five and announce a contest. I think we need to get a couple of hundred comments closer first, though!

  24. Great post, Daniel! How many people visit this site on a regular basis?

    • An average day is ~2800 visitors to the site, plus about 1000 more who read via daily email and RSS. I don’t count 2500 Facebook followers and 2400 Twitter followers in the ~4000 daily readership number, because the complete stories aren’t posted on social media. Thus, if any Facebook/Twitter followers want to read the story, they have to click through to the website, and they’re counted there.

      • That’s awesome!!

      • Thanks!