One Degree of Separation

David Bruce Murray posits that, unlike CCM, an incredibly diverse genre, there is never more than one degree of separation between Southern Gospel artists. In other words, name any two artists (Inspirations and Martins) and you can find a group (Greater Vision) that could conceivably be paired with either in a joint concert. [EDIT, 6/6/12: Broken link removed.]

Does this hold true?

Mike & Kelly Bowling and Blackwood Brothers?

Austin’s Bridge and the Melody Boys Quartet?

What do you think?

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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. While wildly diverse artists may appear at a multi-artist event, if there is an artist that is too far removed from my preferred segment of the genre, I would either not attend the event at all or I would leave the concert hall for the duration of the artist’s set that I didn’t enjoy. I would not be a very happy concert goer!! I think NQC is a different story, but for individual concerts, I definitely have my own preferences and I think that it’s better to have artists that are fairly comparable in style.

  2. It is an interesting idea. I wondered the same as you when I read the original post. As far as your question is concerned I think Signature Sound would be a good link between both of those sets of groups. So maybe it does hold true.

  3. Could they feasibly be booked together, though? Would there be any promoter who would book EHSS and the Blackwood Brothers?

    I’d like to, if I had the money, but that’s another story. 🙂

  4. Sure. I think Signature Sound does a great job of acknowledging where they came from and work good with traditional quartets such as the Blackwood’s and Melody Boys. They are also cutting edge (maybe a lot too edgy for many) so they definitely could sing on the same program with Mike and Kelly Bowling and Austin’s Bridge.
    The whole idea may not hold up every time but I think it does in the groups you named and most groups for that matter. I think Gaither has proven that you can bring a wide variety of southern gospel artists together and make a cohesive program that draws the crowd. After all who would have ever put the Isaacs (some of my personal favorites) with many of the other Homecoming artists. It works because they are closely enough related as David Bruce Murray pointed out.

  5. I also tend to agree with that assessment. The Dove Brothers would be a good fit between Mike & Kelly Bowling and The Blackwood Brothers. Their more progressive arrangements as of late would make a good pairing with Mike & Kelly and still traditional enough to fit with the Blackwood Brothers.

    And how about a group like the Browns to fit between Austins Bridge and the Melody Boys. You could do this all day because Southern Gospel is a genre that has varying styles but still close knit enough in its overall theme that groups tend to compliment each other.

  6. Daniel… actually EHSSQ and The Blackwood Brothers were booked together before by Harold Marshall here in Texas 4-5 years ago. It was a good show

  7. Daniel, I would certainly book a combined concert with Ernie H & Jimmy B…sounds like a great night to me. I am shocked by comments that people would leave the room when a group was performing that might not be there “cup of tea.” Give the group some respect at least.

  8. Paul, there are several artists that I would not care to hear and rather than sit through a 30-60 min. set, I would leave and visit the product tables or stretch my legs/back. I do not think it shows disrespect to leave if you do it at the appropriate time, and that means during the change in set or intermission, not during a song.

  9. I rarely ever get up and leave during a set. Sometimes it is an artist I only heard about, so I want to see them live. Other times, it is just me wanting to take it all in. The experience is more than enough to keep me in my seat, even if it is a particular artist I don’t consider a favorite.

  10. Coming from a one who books groups for concerts…I tend to encourage people to stay for even the groups that are not their favorites…you might hear something you did expect, and I do feel leaving can show disrespect.

  11. Meant to write…”you might hear something you DIDN’T expect.”