Southern Gospel Perspective

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

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Location: United States

8/17/2007

Gaithers, Stacks, and Fatigue

After reading Avery's comments on Kyle Boreing's comments, and then reading Kyle's comments and then watching both included Youtube/Gaither videos, I think I have a couple of comments from my perspective.


The thing that struck me about the difference between these two snapshots of Gaither Eras was "freedom". I think that can be viewed and perceived in several different ways.

  • The English/Franklin/Lowry video was, as has been mentioned by both previous commentors, not nearly as polished as the Penrod/Hampton/Hall video. However, the first three seemed at ease. They seemed to feel that they were in charge and that they were performing for the audience, not for Bill. They were, it appeared to me, to be ultimately confident in what they were doing and how it would be accepted. This may not have been what they really were feeling at the moment, but it is the perception they gave.
  • The Penrod/Hampton/Hall group was working very hard to "perfection". In other words, they didn't appear to be enjoying it so much as enduring it. The exception to this is Guy, Guy looked more relaxed and sang with as much freedom as anyone could, I think.
So, what is the cause of this perceived difference?

  • Well, Marsh and Wes are fairly new GVB member so that could play a part.
  • The two instances are from completely different eras, the first being at the beginning of the Gaither Empire where the "slickness" and the idea that this video will need to be as polished as possible for mass consumption had not yet taken hold. The second was more recent and being performed with the foreknowledge that what they were doing would be seen all over world for years and years to come. This could cause a pressure and tenseness that is visible to the audience.
  • Perhaps the whole "new group", Bill included, feel very high expectations that can only be met with near perfection and so don't have the freedom to improvise and have one member feed the other lines while in the middle of a performance. Maybe Bill feeling this kind of pressure increasing that feeling among the other members?
I don't have the answers, just the above observations.

One other thing to note: I was at the second taping in Paducah with Gaither and SSQ. I have both positive and negative things I could say about the experience, but I can tell you from the live audience perspective that there were not 10 people in the crowd that would have noticed anything was amiss, as Kyle pointed out about the stacks. The semi-surprise at having the Gaithers show up at all was treated as if they were rock-stars by this audience.

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