Is it time for a gospel revival?
I know, I know, I’ve been spending a lot of time around church kids, and I live in a small town where my Sunday absence at church is noticed, if not remarked upon.
And I’ve also been recording (and have to find time to edit; bleh) my first radio show, which ended up being about the roots of alt.country. (Details to follow, if and when it is to run.)
But back in the mid-1990s, which don’t seem so far away, we felt like country music — traditional country music — needed saving. Like the form could and should be continued and extended by gifted artists who respected its roots and its possibilities, and its limitations.
One can argue that country has swung back toward those sounds, somewhat. Some of the time. (Or not, I don’t pay that much attention, haven’t even heard a lick of the new Miranda Lambert album, and we put her on the cover…mostly, in truth, because as art director I fell in love with the image which ran on the cover. And there were other reasons, of course.)
Anyhow. I don’t know if my radar still works, but I have this hunch that I should like to share with the multitudes for comment and critique: I think classic gospel may be ready for a similar embrace. There were at least two series of compilations (one from up east the other from Austin) of local gospel sings coming from the alt. side of the street which advertised regularly in the print magazine. But I am thinking of Mike Farris’s second career, of Ashley Cleveland’s new album, of Patty Griffin’s coming album (and, to an extent, of her last one), of Buddy Miller’s more or less gospel album from a few years back. I am thinking of a trickle of sounds seeping into other records which I haven’t time to try to find winding through the backroads of my head just this morning. Of the Como Now album, which I continue to adore.
It would make a certain sense. They are powerful songs, powerful vocal lines to sing. And there is a good deal more faith in the world than I have.
Which is to say that I am drawn to the music, in the same way my house is festooned with folk art grappling with and worshiping god, because it is a clear and powerful expression of the human spirit. Even though…and I can hear my Christian friends telling me I should attend more closely to this, but they do not know me so well…even though I am not drawn to the message of the songs.
Just a thought. Off to the coffee business.