I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker a couple of weeks ago to inspire this post. We were sitting together eating lunch. She knew I had recently taken off work to go to Branson and asked what I did while I was there. Most people I work with have no clue that I love Southern Gospel as much as I do and have a blog. So I explained that I was there going to Silver Dollar City for a gospel music festival. She asked if it was like rock gospel music. I might have giggled a bit, said "no" and paused. How should I explain Southern Gospel?
We weren't really in a place for me to actually pull up a clip to show her. And then what group would you pull up? I was at a loss. I asked if she was familiar with the Gaithers. That was a no, and I was back to the drawing board. I made it clear that it was not rock, closer to country and traditional hymns.
I know what Southern Gospel is, but how exactly do you explain that to someone else who has no frame of reference? And there's a wide range of styles within the genre. There's a big difference between Jason Crabb, the Dixie Echoes and the Perrys. I think the National Quartet Convention was proof that it's not a quartet dominated industry, so you can't just describe it as male quartets but neither is everything exactly classified as "country gospel."
So here's my question - how do you explain Southern Gospel? I'd love to know what you would have said in my shoes!