October 8th - November 2nd, 2005
Yesterday I asked, Where are the Southern Gospel bloggers? I noted that of the 45-or-so names on my SG bloglist, few post with much regularity. I should have mentioned SGBlogNews, which does a great job in monitoring SG bloggers, and which posts DAILY. Sorry for the omission.
Dottie Rambo’s manager Larry Ferguson is writing a book, tentatively titled “Driving Miss Dottie,” in which he tells about life on the road with the star singer. It is to be published by Woodland Gospel Publishing, which is also to publish Dottie’s own autobiography. Woodland also plans to publish a biography of The Hoppers and a history of Singing News magazine.
How often should a blog be updated? I’ve no idea. In the secular blogosphere many blogs get updated regularly during the day, like the renowned Instapundit. So surely at least a couple of times a week is not unreasonable. Otherwise, what’s the point?
My own website’s bloglist offers links to around 45 Southern Gospel blogs. I checked their October output. There are only two prolific bloggers: Adventures of a Starving Artist and Avery Fineline. Both make regular postings, and often quite lengthy ones as well.
But that’s about it.
I guess not much is happening.
I paid a quick visit to a nearby Christian bookstore here in Melbourne this morning, and decided to check out their holdings of Southern Gospel artists. They stocked more than I realized.
But then I happened to glance at the “Easy Listening” section (easy listening??), and there I discovered a small selection of Southern Gospel CDs. Karen Peck, Chonda Pierce, Anthony Burger, Gold City, Isaacs, Crabb Family, Greater Vision and Jeff and Sheri Easter – all were represented by at least one recording. (For Jeff and Sheri Easter it was one copy of their 1995 release “By Request.” For the Isaacs it was one copy of “Heroes.”)
It wasn’t a lot, but it was something. And one particular singer was very well represented - Sandi Patty, with lots of copies of four or five of her recordings. And a quick scan of the online catalog of my local public library reveals that Sandi Patty is the only Southern Gospel artist stocked there – one copy of the “O Holy Night” CD.
Sandi Patty – you beaut! Holding high the banner of Southern Gospel down under.
How many of you would want to watch an amateur video of you singing, made more than 20 years ago? I certainly wouldn’t.
I'm not going to throw this video away. I'm keeping this one. I'm going to listen to it until it doesn't make me sick - until I make friends with it. Until it doesn't feel like someone is torturing me. This is who I was 22 years ago. My nose was smaller. But it had potential. Did you know that ears and noses continue to grow as you age? How will I hold my head up in the next 22 years?
Gaither employee Emily blogs about some of the recent happenings in the Gaither empire. She shares a photo of the African Children’s Choir singing back-up for the Gaither Vocal Band on “Love Can Turn the World.”
She also discloses that the Toronto Homecoming video is “scheduled to release on February 7th, 2006. But I thought you might enjoy knowing that it's going to be totally different from anything they've done before.”
What can that mean?
When I discovered Southern Gospel – four-and-a-half years ago, via Gaither Gospel programs on the Australian Christian Channel – one of the singers who most appealed to me was Bonnie Keen. I can’t say why exactly. She appeared in hardly any of the shows. Yet something about her spoke authenticity, and that attracted me. Other women on the shows seemed like real singers. Bonnie didn’t. She came across as a real woman, who sang.
I didn’t realize that Bonnie has had a heck of a life, including divorce, life as a single mother, the collapse of her singing group and clinical depression. She has bounced back, and has a story to tell. Much of it is apparently in her new book, “A Ladder out of Depression : God's Healing Grace for the Emotionally Overwhelmed.” Best of all, it turns out that she has also started a blog.
Here she writes about discovering her book on sale at the airport bookstore.
OK, I know pride is unattractive to God and man. But go with me here. Walking nonchalantly through my Nashville airport bookstore, Concourse B...it rocks (home away from home), I stopped cold in front of the INSPO display of books where I saw my little book, 'A Ladder Out of Depression' staring back at me from the top shelf. WOW! No one with me...I just started muttering. "Thank you God....WOW...how cool... It's next to Stormie Omartian's books...just for a moment...WOW..." Finally I took out my cell phone camera and took a hazy picture to send to my daughter, Courtney. Whispering into the phone, "Court...look...it's my book in the bookstore...so fun!' A man nearby gave me a strange look. Who cares? My book was out and available for ANYONE suffering with depression to find it. So many people never darken the doors of a Christian bookstore. Probably because of Christian television. Scary. But now I had a chance to see my 'pamphlet of hope' in all markets. For now anyway. Next month it will most likely be replaced by another title note-worthy, speaking grace to a graceless world. "A Ladder Out of Depression" is in its humble second printing. This was the hardest work I've ever attempted. Too private and personal and an ongoing thorn in my side. But maybe, just maybe it will make a difference to someone wandering through the airport who needs a little nudge toward mercy.
The Salt Lake
Tribune gives a rave review to a
Randy Travis concert:
After he stopped hitting the top of mainstream country charts more than a decade ago, some of us absentmindedly let Randy Travis slip off our music radar. Big mistake. After a spirited 90-minute performance Tuesday at Kingsbury Hall, Travis had me digging up albums (a couple of them old cassette tapes) and acknowledging that his traditional country ballads - and attractive baritone sound - had been "too gone, too long" from my personal playlist.
And in San Antonio, saWorship.com previews his new gospel CD “Glory Train”.
By gradually mixing in some gospel songs into traditional country sets during the last several years of touring, Randy realized the power of these songs to really change people's lives for the better. After hearing story after story from people who were affected in a positive way, Randy began to better understand the term, "music ministry." While still balancing his role as a traditional country music star, he has found the response to be as rewarding as any accomplishment in his impressive career.
The Herald-Mail in Maryland previews a concert this Saturday with David Phelps:
Sunday's concert is sponsored by the Aarsand Family Foundation, a public charity foundation based in Hunt Valley, Md. The organization seeks to "help young people, especially young people who want to improve their lives by taking classes or learning a skill," says Torben Aarsand, foundation executive director. Phelps says one of the most enjoyable aspects of touring is when concert proceeds are donated to local charities or charitable organizations. "That is one of the greatest accomplishments I will have to take with me," he says.
Public Opinion in Chambersburg, PA, also writes about David:
The performer was born into a singing family and music was a big part of their lives, said Phelps. He grew up in Tomball, Texas, where his parents helped start a little Baptist church, Graceview Baptist Church, in the 1980s. "I sang there as a child and through high school," said Phelps, 35, who is married. "My goal is to give people hope — at any given night someone is out there in a desperate situation." Phelps said he finds joy in Christian music because he can entertain as well as talk about some things that really matter in life, such as eternity and God. Most of the songs he sings and writes are about hope and how everyday life fits into Christianity, said the singer.
A lovely story from saWorship.com, the lively online Christian magazine from San Antonio. It seems that Kim Hopper’s new single, “Peace in the Midst of the Storm,” is giving great comfort to hurricane victims.
lyrics speak of God's strengthening love in the midst of the trials of life:
For some reason, I’ve just received an email telling me that Salem Communications is to acquire Singing News magazine. It sounds significant, and I’m sure other bloggers will have plenty to say. But for me, down here in Australia, I have no comment at all, other than to suggest to Salem Communications that they might like to lower the Singing News subscription rate ($80 a year, unless you live in North America) so that people like me might one day actually be able to afford a copy.