“I have never laid claim to be a Southern Gospel artist…”

Doyle Lawson shares his views on bluegrass and Southern Gospel in this South Bend Tribune article. Of particular interest are his comments on Southern Gospel:

“I have never laid claim to be a Southern gospel artist,” Lawson says. “I am a person that loves to sing and play gospel music. I think that is a testament to the fact that gospel music in itself is universal. As far as trying to convey a message in song, I don’t think there are any boundaries. I don’t think there should be any boundaries.”

Lawson says the decision to release an occasional secular album is simply a matter of “supply and demand.”

“I have both a secular market and a gospel market,” he says. ” I guess the only difference in the two is, by and large, the people that listen to gospel music probably only want to have those recordings in their possession. Whereas, the people that support the bluegrass world, most of them, they love the music, they love the gospel music, and they love the bluegrass. They will tend to buy both.”

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

11 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. Bluegrass is that rare genre where most of the fans buy the music due to the style. Bluegrass artists like Lawson have wisely chosen to appeal to their Gospel fans by regularly releasing Gospel material. It isn’t an either/or situation with bluegrass.

    For some reason, bluegrass artists have managed to avoid the criticism that plagues other styles when this happens. For example, when Randy Travis or the Oaks record Gospel, the complaint is, “Oh, they ran out of Country fans, so they’re cashing in on Gospel.” When dc Talk or Bob Carlisle or Amy Grant has success on mainstream radio, it’s, “Oh, they left Christian music.”

    I wish more music fans were like Bluegrass fans. If the music is good and wholesome and in a style they like, they support it.

  2. For me the lyrics are paramount. I’ll listen to multiple styles of music–everything from Inspirations to Cathedrals to Steve Green–if the lyrics are what I want.

  3. Doyle Lawson comes every year to an area church, I am always amazed at the number of people from my very conservative church that will not support southern gospel concerts by going or even go to bluegrass festivals but always seem to show up at the Doyle Lawson concert. Not that I blame them, I go every year as well but it is very interesting.

  4. I can enjoy a great lyric done in just about any style, but there are some styles that I personally prefer over others. I like most modern and traditional SG over traditional Bluegrass, for example, though I do enjoy Bluegrass to an extent. I still prefer some of the older styles of CCM (Petra, Michael W. Smith, 4Him, etc.) over most of the more recent stuff.

    My point with regard to Bluegrass is that non-Christian Bluegrass fans love the music style so much they’ll tolerate the Christian lyrics and in turn, the Christian Bluegrass fans love the music style so much that they don’t turn their noses up at the secular selections either. What you get as a result is non-Christians being exposed to Christian lyrics and Christians finding themselves in situations where they can be a witness to non-Christians via their example at a music concert. You don’t find that attitude in very many genres…in fact, Bluegrass may be the only one where that attitude is the norm.

  5. pretty cool DBM…daniel knows that we don’t agree on this secular vs Gospel music/artist/audience thing. glad to hear you have a more down to earth, and less holier than thou approach to this issue.

  6. not ragging on daniel…he is very young…needs to live a little while longer. dm is brilliant, just not perfect…yet…Ahh…

  7. GH, my target is to always be holier, but not necessarily holier than thou. My goal is to always strive to become more pure, without looking down my nose at people who may make other choices.

  8. Examples:
    HOLIER: to desire Christian music and to begin to loose the desire for the secular.
    HOLIER THAN THOU: to look down on someone who does not have the same view as a ‘souled- out-to-Gospel-music-Christian’.
    I personally don’t agree with the concept of Christians singing secular music. Not that clean songs that have no reference to anything Biblically wrong are evil. But, the way I look at it, Jesus has offered us something better.
    For example, Paul told us many times that the Old Testament law is good. After all, God ordained it. But the New Covanent it based on “better promises”. Everything that God gives is better. Why settle for and accept less, though?

  9. Great definitions, Quaid! I agree 100%.

  10. God made music to first, Glorify and Proclaim Him…and second, edify people. A great patriotic song, a great romantic love song or a great classical work, can do both of those things, when in the proper context. Nothing is better than the Gospel…but even the Bible contains instruction, advice, and object lessons that fall within “the whole counsel of God”, and are not captive to the doctrine of The Gospel.

    God gave us music. What a gift. We have the priviledge to make some of it an offering back to Him. But He wants us to enjoy this blessed gift. Yeh! Be blessed by it. I love your zeal, but…Lighten up guys. Part of life may be passing you by.


  11. PS…I might love Jesus as much as you do, even though I’m not a “sold out to gospel (music) christian”…thought the idea was to be sold out to Jesus anyway.