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April 5th - May 9th, 2006

Staying Alert

I’ve been meaning for a couple of weeks to thank Avery Fineline for his kind comment:


First of all, thank God for Martin Roth. I'm not sure what it says that an Australian pays better attention to American newspapers than any of us actually in America, but he's really carving out a fine niche for himself down there (even if he still refuses to tag each post with a unique link). Anyway, via Roth, what on earth is going on with this Jessy Dixon story out of Wisconsin?


Why, it seems like only yesterday that Avery appeared to be accusing me of using stand-over tactics to get what I wanted out of the Gaither organization:


Don't get him mad

Martin Roth, that is. The Gaithers have taken some of his money, it seems, and he's feeling misled by the various interpretations of the word "my." Anyway, point is, gospel music's sole Australian fan (ok, it just seems that way) and pretty much a one-man Gaither PR operation down under needs an "in" at And apparently the Gaithers aren't doing a very good job of keeping their Australian friend happy. Somebody help him out?


Avery always calls it as he sees it, which is why, when I set up my website, I described his blog as, “provocative commentary and the finest writing about Southern Gospel on the internet.”


Anyway, about his comment that “an Australian pays better attention to American newspapers than any of us actually in America,” I note that a couple of months ago David Bruce Murray spoke of my “uncanny ability for finding obscure stories about gospel music.”


It’s true that I have several decades of experience in journalism – including some years in Tokyo as a foreign correspondent – and I probably do possess a bit of a nose for sniffing out a story.


But in the case of Southern Gospel, it’s simply a case of subscribing to Google Alerts.


Just enter the name of every SG star you can think of and then, whenever his/her/their name appears in the news an email arrives to alert me. The vast majority is useless – notices of upcoming concerts and the like – but once every couple of weeks or so a story arrives that can actually become an SG talking point. I’m just amazed that no-one else seems to be doing this.
May 9th, 2006


Replacing the Irreplaceable Anthony Burger
Canada's London Free Press asks Bill Gaither how he can possibly replace Anthony Burger:

"You know what?" he answered. "You don't ever replace anybody. You've got to do something different. I've never tried to go out and find another anybody. That's what's so great about the Body of Christ. Nobody has to be a duplicate of anybody.

"Gordon Mote is our keyboard player now and he's stunning, but he's totally different from Anthony. He's been blind from birth, so he knows all this music by memory. Everybody else comes in with a written chart. Gordon will hear the chart once and he knows it. The other night at a concert, a cellphone went off in the crowd and Gordon repeated the exact same series of notes on the piano -- just like that."

May 5th, 2006

Churches with a Two-Drink Minimum
Some SG artists struggle to get publicity. Yet for some reason Chonda Pierce seems to get plenty. I suspect the media are intrigued by the concept of a Christian comedian.

Here's Friday's Jackson Clarion-Ledger:

Pierce, the daughter of a Southern preacher, was 16 years old when her sister, Charlotta, 20, was killed in a head-on collision. Her father gave up the ministry and walked away from his family. And Pierce walked away from her faith.

Not long after, sister Cheralyn was diagnosed with leukemia and died a month later. In 22 months, her family of five was reduced to two.

Her message to listeners? Laughter brings relief from pain and reminds us of God's grace.

And Friday's Lakeland Ledger:

"I grew up a preacher's kid and love it when we play a church building," she says from her Nashville home.

"Of course, I've been in some churches where they need a two-drink minimum," she cracks.

April 29th, 2006

New Photos of Anthony Burger

Anthony Burger Productions has added lots more photos of Anthony to the official website. Included are his own final snaps from the February cruise
April 21st, 2006


Mark Lowry - A Crazy, Messed-Up Lot
Mark Lowry is profiled in the Toledo Blade:

There are some religious topics that seem to beg for his comedic barbs.

"Look at TV evangelists!" Lowry said. "They remind me of that bumper sticker that says, 'Jesus, save me from your followers.'

"We're a crazy, messed-up lot and I'm right up there in the middle of it. And yet I love it. I love the church, I love the people. I love what God is doing with all of us. With some of us, it takes a long time. It comes down to this: love God and love people. That's it."

April 14th, 2006

Sufi Gospel
Something tells me that the group HuDost isn't going to receive an invitation to appear on the Gaither Homecoming show:

New England musical ensemble HuDost featuring two core members, singer/songwriters Moksha Sommer and JemalWade Hines, present acoustic-based music on Thursday, May 4 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union ballroom.

....HuDost’s original work ranges in style from alternative world music to their own country and eastern fusion, and atmospheric, experimental sound. This is mixed with the rich, eclectic, blending of traditional Sufi music, Bulgarian and Balkan translations, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic and Southern Gospel.
April 5th, 2006


Allen Asbury
Mark Bishop
Booth Brothers
Mike Bowling
Anthony Burger
Cynthia Clawson
Crabb Family
Jessy Dixon
Dove Brothers
Ann Downing
Jeff & Sheri Easter
Gaither Homecoming
Gaither Vocal Band
Gatlin Brothers
Gold City Quartet
Greater Vision
Buddy Greene
Legacy Five
Mark Lowry
Babbie Mason
Mercy's Mark
Oak Ridge Boys
Palmetto State
Ivan Parker
Janet Paschal
Sandi Patty
Karen Peck
David Phelps
Chonda Pierce
Dottie Rambo
Lynda Randle
Signature Sound
Russ Taff
Talley Trio
Randy Travis