Recently I was browsing the Musicscribe mega-blog (which y’all should check out in its full glory here), and I read a contribution from Kyle Boreing about the country/gospel sister act Red Roots. Kyle praised the sisters’ smart, creative marketing choices, holding them up as a tasteful but effective example for the rest of the industry in this area. Specifically, he highlighted their use of radio contests and music videos. And it’s paying off, as they’ve gotten significant airplay and a handful of new artist nominations.
Okay, that’s well and good in its own way. I think it’s great to see a youthful group join the genre. But I don’t think that was Kyle’s point, exactly. He seemed to be indicating that southern gospel needs younger groups. And Rick’s wording indicates a certain staleness or stagnation within southern gospel as it is.
I also believe that some types of music should retain a certain core identity (we’re leaving out the ones that need to crawl away and die altogether, like dance pop and hip-hop). Southern Gospel, in its purest form, has that distinctive identity. Think what a shame it would be if all the older groups still doing it the old-fashioned way were to be completely replaced by groups like Red Roots. In my opinion, it wouldn’t be southern gospel anymore. It might be perfectly good in its own way, but it wouldn’t be southern gospel. And old-fashioned southern gospel, done right, is worth preserving.