Ovation Awards … and what constitutes “traditional”
SoGospelNews handed out their Ovation Awards last night; a complete list is here. [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed.] Among the highlights, Kim Collingsworth won well-deserved awards for Musician of the Year and Special Event Project of the Year (for Personal), the Booth Brothers took home the most awards (5), and the Perrys won Traditional Southern Song of the Year for “The Potter Knows the Clay.”
Interesting food for thought: I find the winners (and, for that matter, the nominees) in the Traditional song and album categories to be rather interesting. If I was to suggest nominees for a “traditional” category, it would include albums and songs from groups like the Chuck Wagon Gang, the Dixie Echoes, the Dixie Melody Boys, the Melody Boys Quartet, the Inspirations, and possibly certain table projects from groups like Greater Vision and the Kingdom Heirs. I define traditional Southern Gospel is basically music that sticks to the classic arranging styles and instrumentation from the 20s through, say, the mid-70s, before influences from other styles of music brought in more heavily instrumented tracks.
Much as I love groups like the Perrys, Legacy Five, Triumphant, Greater Vision, and the Dove Brothers, I classify their recording style as middle-of-the-road. Though some tracks are still based on the classic styles, the instrumentation for a number of tracks on each project brings in orchestrated elements that would have classified as song as “Inspirational” in the ’80s.
If a group would have been called “Southern Gospel up to the mid-70s or so, I classify them as traditional. If their big ballads and other tracks bring in more elements from ’80s Inspirational music (Bill Gaither Trio, Steve Green, etc.), then I classify them as middle-of-the-road. And if their music (at least the tracks) would have been classified as 80s or 90s CCM / Adult Contemporary, then I classify them as progressive.
While this is not articulated as well as it could be with weeks of drafts, perhaps it will help illuminate why someone like Chris Unthank and I can talk past each other in the comments section, going around in circles because we define our terms differently.
So how would you define traditional? progressive? and middle-of-the-road?