Borrowing Country Songs

Southern Gospel radio legend Paul Heil stirred up some controversy (and a lot of agreement) with this opinion piece in a recent Gospel Greats newsletter:

I’m disturbed by something I’m seeing. There are some well-known Southern Gospel groups which have recently recorded songs on their new CDs which I really wouldn’t consider Gospel songs. In some of the cases that come to mind these artists have dug back into secular music to find a feel-good song that, although it has a fine message from a human standpoint, really doesn’t include, per se, the Gospel. There’s no mention of Jesus or His saving power or the Good News that He came to save and redeem a sin-sick, lost and dying world, or even about our daily walk with the Lord. They’re just, well, nice little ditties. Infectious ditties, at that. And, in at least two cases that spring to mind, these songs have been put out to radio as current singles.

I just don’t understand it . . . I could hear such things on the local oldies station, if I chose to do so. Which I don’t. There are plenty of good, meaty songs available today in Southern Gospel music, from what is arguably the strongest universe of songwriters Southern Gospel music has ever enjoyed — songs that are solid in their presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why pass over them? Why dilute our representation of the Gospel to the world?

Many in Southern Gospel music used to criticize Contemporary Christian music — especially when it first spun off into its own genre in the early 1980s — as being just so much fluff and not overtly Gospel. Well, now we’re doing it. Shame on us.

Gospel music, at the risk of being redundant, should carry the Gospel message.

And I couldn’t agree more with that conclusion. But it’s expressed so well that I don’t see any particular need to try to say the same thing in different words. So I’d like to address a related theme, one I had already been pondering when his column came out.

Quite frankly, I don’t understand Southern Gospel’s fascination with country music—almost as though it was a better genre. And I don’t quite understand why Southern Gospel artists feel a need to borrow non-Gospel songs from country artists.

I’ve been pondering this for months, and I’ve come up with a few possible reasons.

Does it draw country fans into the genre? I don’t think so. After all, why bother with going out to see a group that sings a song almost as good as your favorite country singer sings it? Now if the group is singing other high-quality songs with the same style, perhaps a secular country fan could be drawn in to the concert and hear the Gospel message in those songs.

Is there a Southern Gospel inferiority complex? Just because country sells more units doesn’t necessarily make it any better. I’d take Mark Trammell, Doug Anderson, or Pat Barker (even as a soloist, though I prefer group harmonies) over any country singer, any day.

Are the Southern Gospel songs and songwriters just not good enough? I doubt anyone seriously advocates this.

Is there just not enough supply of great (not just good) Southern Gospel songs? Of the four options, perhaps this one is the most reasonable. Maybe there just aren’t enough good songs?

There’s so much good in Southern Gospel music. Why bother with country?

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68 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Couple of reasons I can think of. Most southern gospel fans are from the South. And all though it seems decreasingly so, so are most artists. The South is also the bastion of country music. So you’ve got some natural interaction between the two just because of demographics.

    Mainly because of that demographic relationship, there are a large number of SG fans, and even artists, that like country music. Go to the artists’ web pages and check out THEIR favorite artists…I’ve seen everything from George Jones to Rascal Flatts there. Because the artists like country music, they don’t mind recording or performing such songs. Because much of the audience likes it, it works. The interaction between the two genres goes back decades. I’m sure I don’t even have to mention the Statlers, Oaks, Stamps, Jordannaires, etc.

    There’s also very much a musical and stylistic kinship. The melodies and harmonies are very much rooted in country music (or some might argue, vice versa). Certainly southern gospel is closer to country stylistically than any other secular genre. Of course, some artists are closer than others.

    I don’t think SG artists “cross over” into country because they feel there aren’t enough SG songs, or because country songs would be any more effective. They do it because they like it, they think it’s fun, and because their fans enjoy it.

  2. Great post, Brian. I really think you have hit the nail on the head.

  3. Let’s not forget that many artists emulate/cover the music THEY like. I have been to many country music shows that have a rock section to them, I don’t think it makes the artist any less country. The same, I think, can be said for SG.

    I don’t think the issue Paul has is with the style, but the message (or lack thereof). Without opening a can of worms, doesn’t it come back down to the question, “Is it ministry or is it entertainment?” This same debate can extend to SG radio. There are certainly great arguments for both sides and I do not want to start that, but I think this is the crux of the situation.

  4. Sometimes, it is not about Him all the time but all about the fans.
    When you start thinking more about the fan is when gospel music becomes more entertainment instead of a ministry focused on Him.
    Country music is fine with me if it is clean with no undertones.
    Country music is fine for southern gospel music groups if the focus is on Him.
    Notice the difference but please note the similarities in this thread..

  5. I love how a SG fan, once again, compares something to CCM like it’s the devil or something. ‘We’re no better than they are…’

    What’s wrong with CCM?

    • I said nothing about CCM.

      • I know… but the article made reference to it… truthfully, I read it again, and I think I may have read something into the article that the author may not have intended.

      • OK.

      • I honestly don’t think that Paul Heil meant anything ill toward CCM. And Daniel, Pat Barker is one of my favorite bass singers! He is so down to earth and was so friendly at the NQC. I bought the Dixie Echoes DVD and my 2 year old has watched it over 20 times. Every morning she wakes up she says that she wants to sing and that is my cue to put in the DVD. It is so amazing!

      • Pat Barker used to sing with the Diplomats… That was the first time I met him… awesome guy! He used to sing “It Is Well” with them. In fact, I think they would open their set with it… He “brought the house down” with it. His tone is incredible. He is one of my favorites, too.

  6. Paul Heil was not saying that CCM was of the devil. I think that we can all agree that Southern Gospel music usually tells a story. What I mean by that is, it preaches a sermon. Look at any Southern Gospel song and compare it to a CCM song. Most CCM songs are going to make you feel good no doubt. However, a Southern Gospel song will make you think more about your daily walk with Christ. They usually have more “meat”. You can usually get a “good feeling” from a CCM song. No doubt. I have always felt that Southern Gospel songs preach messages to people. There are some CCM songs that do just that but if you look at the genre as a whole, then I think that you could definitely see where Southern Gospel songs will preach more of a message instead of just making you feel good. I mean no disrespect to any CCM artists or fans. I agree with Paul Heil. I can tell when a song comes on our Southern Gospel radio channel if it is a country song. Once again, let me reiterate that Paul Heil was not saying that CCM was the devil. He is merely saying that Southern Gospel song writers are more likely to preach a sermon with their songs instead of just getting a song that will give you a good feeling. I know that this post will be taken the wrong way by some but I hope you will understand.

    • I get it… And I, again, misread it, I think… or read into it something that wasn’t there…

      That said, I’m not sure that the writing styles are much different… You still have songs rich in doctrine (In Christ Alone, the new one… not English’s version)… You have your story songs (Ray Boltz was a master at it)… You have your songs based off a catchy “hook.” In CCM, we are seeing more songs using Scripture as verses or lines in the chorus. All with the same theme that Christ loves us and died for us….

      The biggest difference, is obviously, the musical style. I think everything else is pretty close. I think another reason that I prefer SG is that there are more “power songs.” Especially today, the CCM artists are getting away from vocally powerful songs. The ones that are still doing them, ironically, have roots in SG.

      BACK ON TOPIC THOUGH, I think the reason it’s so easy for SG to do some “positive” Country songs is that the style is so similar. In fact, most of the SG projects are made using the same musicians that country artist are using. There is mutual respect within the two genres, especially with the artist. Guy Penrod’s favorite singers include Trace Adkins and many other modern country stars. Trace Adkins sang bass with a SG group before he started singing country music.

      Also, the crossover is happening the other way. How many times have you heard the country artists songs on SG radio? “When I Get Where I Am Going,” “Go Rest High.” I think they were talking about Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb” being played at one point… I think we even discussed it here. I guess it’s only a natural progression for SG groups to do some of it, too. I’m not real sure it’s “a hill to die on,” though.

  7. What has bother me for a long time is that I can’t find many of my favorite SG artists cd’s at Walmart. I usually shop only at Walmart and can mainly find some Gaither cd’s but even then it is hard to find the new releases. Why isn’t more marketing done to get more artist cd’s into Walmart?

    • Don’t feel to bad about Wally world not selling Southern Gospel, many Christian book stores hardly carry any either.

  8. I’m not sure it’s a marketing problem. You probably don’t find the CDs at Wal-Mart because SG CDs don’t sell as much as the ones they do have there, and they do have limited shelf room. The only SG CDs that really come close to competing with secular genres and even other forms of Christian music are Gaither CDs, so that’s why you see some of those. Wal-Mart (and other stores) have a lot of smart people who analyze things like this to decide which products they put on the shelves.

  9. Not claiming to be an expert, just pondering some thoughts on the subject. I agree with the fact that we need to be diligent in the spreading of the gospel and our songs need to have a clear presentation of the gospel. That is our purpose and calling as ministers of the gospel. Yes, we’re entertainers, musicians, etc. but we are also ministers. I’m sure all would agree that many times music can reach the heart deeper than the spoken word.

    However, I believe within the structure of a concert, there is room for some “lighter fare” for lack of a better term. It’s all about building a program that can achieve our goal of sharing the gospel. There has to be a structure to a concert that includes building a relationship with the audience. Ideally, this structure breaks down barriers, builds trust and then makes them more open and receptive to the gospel. If that can process can be achieved through “lighter fare,” then do it.

    If I go to a southern gospel concert at Christmas time, I’m not offended if songs like “Silver Bells” or “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” are sung; they add to the evening. Likewise, if a pastor begins a sermon with a joke or story that’s not “spiritual” in nature, that element can be part of the bigger picture of his sermon…something that relates to what he’s saying and helps build rapport with the congregation, hopefully making them more receptive to the gospel presentation. There are obvious exceptions to all this and that is where taste and common sense need to come in to play. (Maybe that’s what we’re talking about…a lack of discretion from some artists?)

    All that to say, while the gospel message is our primary “big picture” focus for a concert, album, etc. There are effective places where songs that are not specifically “gospel” songs can be used strategically in helping the spread of the gospel.

    As an aside, We talk about “getting back to our roots…” Many early gospel groups (1910’s-1930’s) did not sing only gospel songs. Their programs included popular songs of the day and many different styles. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that groups became devoted to singing programs of only gospel music.

    File all this in the “for what it’s worth” folder.

    • If I talk about going back to our roots, at least message wise, I’m talking about farther back than that. 😉

  10. I normally stay wayyyy away from discussions like this, but I have to add my little two cents:

    Southern Gospel tends to talk about Jesus. CCM tends to talk TO Jesus. Neither is better than the other. However, having said that, I have heard some CCM songs that blow SG out of the water. The message is SO powerful.

    Love Paul Heil and what he does for SG, but he is rather biased.

    It really is all about preference. One of my best friends absolutely refuses to listen to SG music because he says it’s depressing. Is he wrong for that? Absolutely not. Am I wrong because I don’t like to listen to some CCM? Absolutely not.

    The whole argument about CCM giving you a “good feeling” and SG “preaching a message” is just absurd. As many years as I’ve been around SG, I can tell you that I’ve heard some pretty bad songs… songs that didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t even get a “good feeling”… the only feeling I got was, “Please NEVER sing that again.”… and the song definitely didn’t preach a message to me.

    Like I said… it all boils down to personal perference. Nobody is right or wrong here.

    • It definitely does boil down to personal preference. I usually do not jump in on discussions like this but I had to this time because our baritone and I were just discussing this very thing yesterday. Now, someone can correct me if I am wrong, but most praise and worship music is the same line or chorus over and over. Most Southern Gospel songs tell a story which usually ministers to me as a sermon would. I can think of several Southern Gospel songs that do that for me. Personal preference, I know. There are people that do not like Southern Gospel because they think it is old folks’ music or depressing or something like that. I love Southern Gospel music because of the intricate harmonies on the technical side. On the spiritual side, I get more out of Southern Gospel songs than I do out of CCM or Praise & Worship. I realize it is a personal preference but I just feel that Christian music should minister to others as a sermon would. There are people that will never go and hear a preacher preach but will go to gospel concerts. I think that our duty as Southern Gospel artists or CCM artists, or Praise & Worship artists is to minister to people. We should be singing songs that preaches that we are all sinners but thank God that we have salvation through God’s only Son coming and dying for us, taking our place. Taking our beatings. Bleeding and dying for me and for you! That is what I think a gospel song should tell you when you hear it that God loves you and gave His only son for you! Thank God for the Plan of Salvation (Pat Barker-awesome job on this song)

      • J.C., I think a lot of the CCM stuff does “preach” or proclaim a central message about Salvation. The verse and a chorus song over and over and over again does bother me, sometimes, too. However, there’s really not as much of that as one might think. I really think it was a trend that is fading. I think the last ten years of music guys trying to do away with the hymns, and pushing these 711 songs (as some call them), has become what people associate with CCM. Of course, that’s still there, but I think most of the newer stuff is a little deeper than that. Again, it’s not my favorite stuff, yet, I still think it’s good stuff. And even more importantly, I have personally witnessed 100’s come to Christ through that those concerts.

      • I agree that there is definitely more CCM stuff now that is awesome. I mean look at Selah, Mercy Me, Casting Crowns. One of my favorite songs is Selah’s “You Raise Me Up.” It is one of the most powerful songs that I have ever heard! What troubles me with CCM is the repetitiveness (for lack of a better word) and the Christian Rock. We do not need to forget about the good old fashioned hymns like “Amazing Grace” and “Have You Really Been A Friend To Jesus.” I do not knock anyone that likes CCM. Trust me, I have been knocked by several people for liking SG music.

      • IDK if I have ever ran into anyone who will go to a Gospel concert, but won’t darken the door of a church to hear a sermon.

        I split my church time between a mega-church in Florida and a little country church in Louisiana. The mega-church has a fabulous mix of CCM and SG. They coexist wonderfully. The Music Minister says exactly what I said before… SG tells a story and talks ABOUT Jesus. CCM talks TO Jesus. What about talking TO Jesus isn’t ministering to others? When “sinners” (for lack of a better term) see Christians communicating with the Heavenly Father openly, I’m pretty sure they want some of that. They want to be able to experience that for themselves.

        SG preaches to the choir. Sorry, but it does.

      • Are you serious that you have never met someone that would not go to hear a preacher but would go to a concert. That is amazing! SG preaches to the choir, hmmmm. Let’s just take an example:

        Just suppose God searched through Heaven
        And couldn’t find one willing to be
        The supreme sacrifice that was needed
        That would buy eternal life for you and me

        Had it not been for a place Mt. Calvary
        Had it not been for the old rugged cross
        Had it not been for a man called Jesus
        Then forever my soul would be lost

        Well I’m so glad He was willing to drink His bittercup
        Although He prayed “Father let it pass from me”
        And I’m so glad He never called Heaven’s angels
        From these hands pulled the nails that torment me

        I don’t know about you but that song will preach to lost or saved. It reminds us that had it not been for Jesus then we would not have any hope. Thank God for songs like this!

      • Yes, I’m serious. I’ve been around SG music a LONG time. A LONG TIME. People off the streets and out of church don’t frequent SG concerts. The majority of SG concert goers are churched people.

        I’m not anti-SG by a long shot. I just wish SG fans would broaden their horizons a bit and not be so quick to shoot down other types of Christian music.

      • I sing this song… but as far as sharing the gospel, it actually sounds more like Mormon doctrine than Biblical doctrine (the first line)… God didn’t “search through heaven.” I’ve recently been struggling with the fact that I really, really, really like this song. That line bothers me though. I am trying to justify it by saying that it says “Just suppose…” I’m not sure if that makes it better or not.

        And LaShay, again, much of CCM music tells a story, too. Watch the Lamb, Thank You, anything Carmen did, etc…

      • Again, I do a lot of CCM type stuff in our church… we attempt to do the same blend that one of the churches you talked about earlier does. Our folks, for the most part 🙂 enjoy it… and agree that you aren’t going to have loads of lost people at most SG concerts. However, there are certainly people that do go to that are lost. In fact, I talked to a guy last night that has seen 20 people come to Christ in the last few weeks… a SG trio. It happens.

      • I didn’t say that some CCM doesn’t tell a story. It was just a comparison.

        And I didn’t say that people aren’t getting saved at SG concerts or because of SG music. I said the majority of people who go to SG concerts are churched people. Majority…not all.

        Again… I am NOT anti-SG. I love it, I listen to it, my family sings it…the old tracks, stacks, two mics. I love that kind…. and there’s an argument about whether or not tracks and stacks have ruined SG music. I don’t think they have… but I still like the old stuff better.

        Like I said wayyyy a while ago, it’s all about personal preference. Nobody’s right and nobody’s wrong.

      • I probably like a lot of the older stuff better, too. I would love to sing with a group that does the two mics and a piano thing.

      • Andrew, I understand what you are saying. But you got to think too that there was no other that could have died for us than Jesus. He was the perfect sacrifice. There could be no other perfect one to do it.

      • Though I probably find myself on the same side of the argument that you are on, I disagree with the whole about/to God thing. I mean, even “How Great Is Our God” is about God. “Forever,” also about God. “The Great Adventure,” about God… I could go on; the statement is too general and not exactly true. There are some that are “to Him.” But not all. I bet you could find SG songs that talk to Him, too.

      • I think you are trying to read too much into the statement. Maybe the word “about” is rather unclear. By “about” I mean that the song tells a story.

  11. What’s interesting to me is the fact that many Country singers have roots in SG! I’ve also read that several are still fans of SG…

    Makes me wonder if they sing Country because it’s a better way to make a living.

    And perhaps SG artists sing songs with a country feel to appeal to those who like that style. If you listen closely, SG is not really one specific style, it takes on all. SG songs have the taste of big band, jazz, blues, soul, country, rock, pop, swing…etc.

    • I definitely see your point Matt. I can not think of one Southern Gospel song that incorporates Rock though. LOL! I know several that talk about The Rock!!!

      • It’s Friday, so my brain is a bit tired. But off the top of my head, think of Mosie Lister’s “Happy Rhythm” when it was originally released. The music style of the song, even the lyrics, have that old time rock n’ roll feel.

        A thought… Elvis was influenced by SG, what about vise-versa?

      • Very good point Matt! Our quartet sings “Happy Rhythm” and that definitely has the old time rock n roll feel to it! That was some great rock n roll back then. I am only 27 years old but that is still the type of rock n roll that I like. When you said rock, I automatically thought of present day rock. That is my bad! Great point. Elvis could sing some gospel music too. He is from Tupelo, and I live 60 miles from Tupelo. Elvis had a range so that he could sing bass or tenor. He was truly talented.

      • lol… I’ve never thought of Happy Rhythm as rock… I guess I’m showing my age. I see what you’re talking about though.

        We are hearing some distortion in some of those guitars in SG music. Look at Gold City’s stuff… or course, again, that probably sounds more like modern country than modern rock.

      • The name for the genre of “Rock N’ Roll” actually came about the same time frame as the song Happy Rhythm, so there is debate on whether Mosie took the idea from the genre, or if he just did it before it became a coined term for the genre.

        Because of the debate, it’s not often sang in churches.

    • lol… maybe some of the country artist left SG b/c of debates like this. They can sing whatever they want to in that genre. In fact, they can, and some do, sing songs about Jesus and the Christian faith, and their fan base enjoys it. Alan Jackson has a whole set of hymns and SG songs that plays on CMT every now and then. Most SG fans would enjoy it… in fact, I think I saw his cd at Lifeway in the SG section.

      • You may be right man!! LOL! We just need to make sure that whatever we are singing, whether it be CCM, Southern, Country gospel, that we remember who we are singing for and singing about! We should give God the glory for all things! God bless you!

      • Amen!

      • Even Josh Turner was a once bass singer for a local SG quartet…

      • Josh Turner is a good bass singer. I did not realize that he sang in a SG quartet.

      • That is awesome about Josh. I am a bass singer as well and it is amazing that he has the vocal range to be such a successful soloist in Country music.

      • I didn’t either… I actually heard him one day and thought that he would make a good bass or baritone in a quartet though

      • Yeah, I read it in an article, and my reaction was “whoa! Cool!”

        I knew he had some religious background, but that bit of information made it interesting to me. I like his voice and tone, and being a bass singer myself, it makes me think that it’s pretty neat that he is able to make as a soloist, even if in another genre.

      • Matt, I’ve thought the same thing… I thought, for years, that you had to have a high range in order to sing solo stuff. It’s good to hear that there are a few folks that can make it with low stuff.

      • Whoa, really? Josh Turner is amazing.

        I think the reason SG sounds country is because the two genres are first cousins. Take a country tune, change the lyrics a bit, and maybe tone down or change the instrumentation just slightly, and you have an SG song.

        By the way, songs like “You Don’t Know God’s Love,” or “A Little Good News” mention the “gospel” and have a spiritual message – even though they originated as secular songs.

      • I truly believe that Paul Heil was talking about Dove Brothers in his post because they have started doing a lot more country on their CDs. They had to add some lyrics to make “A Little Good News” a gospel song though. Our baritone singer is friends with the person that wrote the song back in the early 80s.

      • Matt there are several people that have a problem with a man or woman singing a Country song about drinking beer with their buddies on the creek bank and then turn around and sing a song uplifting the name of Jesus. It seems to contradict each other a little.

      • Tyler, I agree. My brother says that he “hates” SG music… yet all he listens to is country stuff. I’ve said the same thing to him about the music. It’s not very different. Again, especially some of the new stuff we are hearing out of some of the more progressive groups.

      • I do know there are some out there that like country music alot, but don’t like SG because they think there should a line drawn between the two. They think that Christian music should not sound secular. They think that it should be separate, and not mix the two, which is what SG does.

        It is an interesting thought….

      • It contradicts itself a lot. However, it’s how a lot of people are. If you look at the stats, and the % of people that do those things… then are in church on Sundays, even leading some part of church, it wouldn’t surprise you. It’s probably a good indication of our nation. Ironically, Country music boasts that it is relevant to people. It is “real.” Again, that’s probably what they like about it.

      • JC,

        I wholeheartly agree.. but isn’t it funny that even though people have a problem with it, that’s also how they live their life? They live certain way, and then when it’s time for church they turn around and act out a life.

        Now, don’t me wrong. No one here on earth is perfect. Christians are still sinners, saved by the grace of God.

        I personally like the different styles put into my favorite type of music. Just as long as it doesn’t distract from the message. That’s the whole reason why it’s there, SG wouldn’t be SG without the message. Which brings me back to the main topic of Daniel’s thread.

        If the underlying theme is still grounded in the Word of God, whether it be about the blood, Jesus, sin, or even the Joy of living for Christ (which I believe these “country”-type songs fall under)… it’s SG to me!!!

      • Paul also could have been talking about Gold City’s “What Children Believe” which was a country song and Triumphant’s “Everyday” which also was a country song neither of which contains the Gospel message, good positive message, just not Gods Word.

      • That is what bothers me the most about Country singers that sing SG music. We are to live what we sing. People that see us out during the week should see what the church members saw on Sunday morning. We should live what we sing. So many times there are so many people that are turned away from coming to church because they say that they are “just as good as so and so.” The truth is that we are all sinners. The greatest thing that we can do is still as filthy rags in the sight of our Heavenly Father. We will never be good enough or worthy enough to deserve God’s only Son but thank God that He loved us enough that He gave us a personal Savior. That is why I sing SG music. I am not worthy of anything that He has given me. I can not do much of anything for Him but praise God He did give me a little bit of talent to sing for Him. I can honestly say that all of our members live what they sing! We have to remember what God did for us! We could never be “good” enough to be saved but thank God He was merciful enough to save us if we will only call on His name.

      • DJPhil, I forgot about those two songs. That could possibly be who he was talking about. Good point.

  12. I agree that “What Children Believe” does not specifically mention the word “Jesus,” but it is packed with Biblical principles.

    Faith like a child is a New Testament concept. A song doesn’t have to quote the Lord’s Prayer to be Biblical, or “gospel.”

    “Everyday” is also gospel, in my opinion – the lyrics say, “To the LOST, I wanna throw them a lifeline.” Now, you could take that several ways, but I take it spiritually.

    And again, in this song, there is a solid Biblical message of encouraging the weak and helping the fainthearted. Don’t brush off Biblical as merely “positive.”

  13. Here’s a funny thought…

    Take the chorus for the “Cheers” theme song and sing it…

    “Sometimes you want to go
    Where everybody knows your name,
    And they’re always glad you came;
    You want to be where you can see,
    Our troubles are all the same;
    You want to be where everybody knows your name.”

    Now if someone would re-write the verses, we’d have a SG song in the making that encourages people to come to church (and not a bar)!

  14. It’s a fair question to ask why a Southern Gospel artist would borrow from Country.

    It’s also a fair question to ask why they’d automatically rule it out.

    It really should come down to the particular song in question and whether or not it will fly on Southern Gospel radio, in Southern Gospel concert settings, and on Southern Gospel albums. Does the song already have a Christian context? Would the song have a Christian context if presented in a Southern Gospel setting? If the answer is yes, then I’m fine with it.

    The other point I’d like to raise is that this “trend” is, in reality, only being done by a few. The Dove Brothers are the only group that comes to mind who have done this over several albums…and they have been pretty careful about making sure the content suits their SG audience.

  15. It’s hard to compete withese great comments. I myself listened only to CM. This was a long time ago. One night on Dec. 31 on the Rex Humbard Gospel show, His guest was a CM star, in fact, at that time was the no. one CM singer. Her name was the one and only Connie Smith. Through her Testimony and sing, that went hours into 1970, I gave my heart to the Lord. Yes she sang lust Country Music and Gospel when they let her. She could not put any Gospel Music on her recordings. Finally She insisted on at least 2 Gospel Songs on her Recordings. One thing she lived the life of Kesus Christ every day, not just on Sunday. They have things so much easier now a days. I agree alot with what Matt had had to say. I do not listen to anything, but SG music. Love it.CM is not all bad. It’s premise is mainly on every day life. It does make you think how lucky we are to Have a Savior like Jesus Christ and music to praise him by. I want to thank Connie Smith-Stewart, for what she did for me and by the way, to this day She is still living for Jesus Christ. Things have changed since her young days with the Lord God Bless all of you who made comments. Loved it.

  16. Sorry about hitting thr K. especially on thr name of Jesus, Jesus. Oh what a lovely name. Amen

  17. This discussion reminds me of the same discussion in 1970 and 1971 when the Oak Ridge Boys were recording (on their gospel albums – Heartwarming) songs like: Mama’s Hungry Eyes, Get Together, Try A Little Kindness, Talk About The Good Times etc.

  18. For me it is not an issue because I like listening to Southern Gospel and Country music. As has already been mentioned a lot of it has to do with similar demographics. I would venture to say a large portion of the Southern Gospel crowd also listen to Country music.

  19. The word Gospel means “good news”! We’re talking about the good news of a saviour who came to redeem man! If the song doesn’t express this, it’s not gospel!

  20. a great song doesn’t care who sings it.

    • lol. okay… Freebird! Sing that next. The guitar solo is great. It won’t care who plays it either. 🙂

      Where do you draw the line?

  21. Andrew I think you know what I was meaning at least I hope that you do.

    • I do… and was just being playful… however, where do you draw the line? I guess it boils down to personal convictions. I can’t really make an argument that it’s wrong to do the positive, fun stuff (meaning the songs that don’t really mention Christ and the cross…). That said, I’m not sure that I would.


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