Southern Gospel Perspective

My thoughts and opinions about Southern Gospel Music, both past and present. Feel free to comment and criticize...

Location: United States


Problems in Southern Gospel (Part 3)

3. Way too little promotion.

Many times I will learn about what would have been a great concert... three days after it occurred. This is a very prevalent problem in SG. If we want our audiences to increase, they HAVE to know about the concerts in their area. A great example of promotion at its finest is the Gaither Homecoming Concerts. These events are advertised early and often. Not only that, but they do not rely entirely on SG radio for the promotion. I've seen their advertisements on local TV and secular radio stations. This is the type of promotion that is needed in our industry.

So, who is to blame for this problem? Well there is plenty to go around, IMHO.

One culprit is SG radio. I know I've already given my opinions about the low quality of these stations, but this is another area where they fall far short of what they could be. For example, there is one SG station in an area I travel that refuses to even advertise a concert if there are tickets sold. How is this benefiting the station, the artist, or the genre as a whole? PLEASE, SG radio wake up and do some legwork to get the information necessary to promote any and ALL concerts in your listening areas!

Some blame has to fall on the promoters themselves. I know that not all SG concerts are "promoted", but the ones that are should be done with professionalism and energy. There are several promoters who do a great job and they aren't the ones I'm talking about. It's the ones who call the artist, book the venue and then "let 'er happen". Too many promoters are simply fans who want to get an artist in their area. I say there is nothing at all wrong with this if the promoter will get out there and PROMOTE! Get the information on the radio (SG and secular), get fliers in the local Christian bookstores and local churches, call local Christian business persons and ask them if you can advertise on their storefronts. In other words, put a LOT OF EFFORT into it. This more than anything (quality groups and venues withstanding) will bring the fans to the seats.

The artists themselves must carry some blame as well. Artists could do much to promote themselves, if they would. Print up professional-looking fliers that can be easily modified and send them ahead for promoters/churches to use in advertising. This may seem too expensive at first glance, but I think the dividends would outweigh the initial investments. Also, many artist travel the same areas thru the year and could do some promotional work in advance of upcoming concerts, even if it was just mentioning it from the stage.

Booking agents and artists alike could do a much better job with their concert listings on their websites. These should be VERY visible and should be constantly and continually up to date. They should also include every concert, not just the higher profile ones.

There are many areas for improvement in promoting SG concerts, I think some of the above would go a long way toward that end.

Again, the Gaither model of promotion is a great example of how it can and should be done.


I'm back

Major life events are interrupting my blogging, but that can't be helped I guess...

Some random thoughts:

It was great to see The Gaither Homecoming concert series reached the #16 position in the POLLSTAR service. I think this just goes to show there is a market for SG music on a larger scale than most artists get. It also shows that Gaither and his concerts are not losing as much "steam" as some people have tried to say. Congratulations to Mr. Gaither and the whole Homecoming family. Also, a word of sympathy for Bill and his family on the passing of his father, George Gaither.

Congrats to Loren and Cindy Harris on the arrival of their new baby girl, Kenidy Noel. I'm sure she will be a blessing.

Please continue to put Roger Bennett and his family in your prayers. His latest reports contained both good and bad news.

Finally, please bear with me as I try to get these blogs moving forward and providing more information and opinion.




I know I'm a little behind on commenting about these, but here goes anyway:

The Melody Boys hired a new tenor, Gary Bullock. Congratulations to Gary and good luck to him and The Melody Boys. I can't wait to hear them with him!

The Dixie Melody Boys (there sure are a lot of Melodies and Dixies in our industry, huh?) have replaced Devin McGlamery with Andrew King. Andrew is another newcomer to the world of full-time Southern Gospel. As good as Mr. Ed O'Neal is at finding extremely talented young singers, I'm certain that Andrew will be great. I'm also looking forward to hearing the DMB with their new line-up.

The Kingdom Heirs have filled their tenor position with Billy Hodges. Billy has previously sang with The Florida Boys and The Dixie Echoes (there goes those Dixies again). This announcement seems to have generated the most controversy of all these recent changes. Everyone seems to have something to say about it. My opinion is give Billy a chance. I thought he did a great job with The Dixie Echoes and I definitely believe Steve French knows what he's doing (he's got a great track record, huh?). So give both the TKH and Billy some time and I think this will be a great move for both. This is another combination I can't wait to get the chance to hear!

Congratulations to Kim and Dean Hopper on the birth of Lexus Jazz! She was a few weeks premature but word is she is doing fine.

Finally and very importantly, let's send a word of prayer out for Janet Paschal and her family. She has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. I know God will be with her during this time.

'Til next time...


Song Selection Is The Difference

Yes, I truly believe it is.

It is the difference between a good CD and a great CD.
It is the difference between a good concert and a great concert.
It is the difference between a good group and a great group.

It can also be the difference between an average (any one of the above) and a good one. There are several examples in SG right now where a group is at best average in talent, but have such dynamic, crowd pleasing, lyrically strong songs that they are a good group.

I was listening to the Perrys "This Is The Day" CD this morning and it hit me. The Perrys are a very good group (perhaps even great), but the song selection on this CD is excellent and thus they are pushed into the area of being the very best "mixed group" on the road today.

Song selection is the key.

Signature Sound Quartet's debut CD (Stand By Me) was full of very good songs. SSQ is a very good quartet. In fact, I think they are perhaps the best in SG today (well, Gold City might be a tie). SSQ's second studio CD (Great Love), IMHO, is not a "good" as their first. What is the reason? Song selection. They sound (no pun intended) as good, in fact they sound great. However, the songs just don't strike (me anyway) as great songs. There are a few really good ones there, but overall not as many as on "Stand By Me".

Another example is The Kingdom Heirs. They are a really good quartet. However, the CD "Going On With The Song" is full of extremely well written, superbly performed songs. This makes it what I consider one of the great CD's of the century (I know the century is only a few years old, but it sounded good! ). I've always liked TKH and CD's like this one make me like them even more. Their new CD (Forever Changed) is very good too. I really, really like it. However, not as well as "Going On With The Song". Why not? Simple, song selection. The vocals are just as good. The production is just as good, but the song selection on "Going On..." is just a little better (again IMHO).

So there it is. Song Selection Is THE Difference.

Finally, sorry about the long delay between posts. Now that the Holidays are thru, I will become a "regular" again!