Marovich follows gospel music from early hymns and camp meetings through the Great Migration that brought it to Chicago. In time, the music grew into the sanctified soundtrack of the city's mainline black Protestant churches. In addition to drawing on print media and ephemera, Marovich mines hours of interviews with nearly fifty artists, ministers, and historians--as well as discussions with relatives and friends of past gospel pioneers--to recover many forgotten singers, musicians, songwriters, and industry leaders. He also examines how a lack of economic opportunity bred an entrepreneurial spirit that fueled gospel music's rise to popularity and opened a gate to social mobility for a number of its practitioners. As Marovich shows, gospel music expressed a yearning for freedom from earthly pains, racial prejudice, and life's hardships. In the end, it proved to be a sound too mighty and too joyous for even church walls to hold.
The School of Arizona Dranes: Gospel Music Pioneer covers the life and career of Dranes and situates her accomplishments in the broader history of African American gospel music and the rise of the Pentecostal movement. Starting with the earliest recordings of the music in the late nineteenth century, this book provides a history of African American sacred and gospel music that convincingly demonstrates the revolutionary nature of Dranes’s musical accomplishment. Using specific examples, the author traces the far-reaching influence of Arizona Dranes on African American gospel piano playing and singing.
In Bessemer, Alabama, the effect of school music instruction was magnified by the emergence of community-based quartet trainers who translated the spirit and substance of the music education movement for the inhabitants of working-class neighborhoods. These trainers adapted standard musical precepts, traditional folk practices, and popular music conventions to create something new and vital
Bessemer’s musical values directly influenced the early development of gospel quartet singing in Chicago and New Orleans through the authority of emigrant trainers whose efforts bear witness to the effectiveness of “trickle down” black music education. A cappella gospel quartets remained prominent well into the 1950s, but by the end of the century the close harmony aesthetic had fallen out of practice, and the community-based trainers who were its champions had virtually disappeared, foreshadowing the end of this remarkable musical tradition.
- Scott Tucker, looks at the theme of "heaven" in six of the Gaither Homecoming songbooks
- David Fillingim looks at how Southern Gospel Music answers the question of theodicy from the perspective of the rural white, working class
- Robert M. McManus explores selected song lyrics to show how Southern
- Gospel Music helps construct the identity of the community compared to Contemporary Christian Music
- Darlene R. Graves identifies key sustaining personality strengths of women that tend to preserve consistency between their public performance and personal spiritual walk
- Elizabeth F. Desnoyers Colas and Stephanie Howard (Asabi) explore Southern Gospel and Black Gospel music through the influence of Thomas A. Dorsey
- Michael Graves examines how the culture of Southern Gospel Music deals with its inevitable prodigal sons
- Raymond D.S. Anderson analyzes the Gaither Homecoming videos as examples of the postmodern turn in American popular Christian culture
- John D. Keeler presents the first audience study of Southern Gospel Music employing a "Uses and Gratifications" research framework
- Paul A. Creasman examines the ways Southern Gospel Musicas a culture memorializes its dead by use of the Internet
- Naaman Wood reviews significant scholarly approaches to the study of popular music.
The Homecomings represent “southern gospel.” Typically that means a musical style popular among white evangelical Christians in the American South and Midwest, and it sometimes overlaps in style, theme, and audience with country music. The Homecomings’ nostalgic orientation—their celebration of “traditional” kinds of American Christian life—harmonize well with southern gospel music, past and present. But amidst the backward gazes, the Homecomings also portend and manifest change. The Gaithers’ deliberate racial integration of their stages, their careful articulation of a relatively inclusive evangelical theology, and their experiments with an array of musical forms demonstrate that the Homecoming is neither simplistically nostalgic, nor solely “southern.”
Harper reveals how the Gaithers negotiate a tension between traditional and changing community norms as they seek simultaneously to maintain and expand their audience as well as to initiate and respond to shifts within their fan base. Pulling from his field work at Homecoming concerts, behind the scenes with the Gaithers, and with numerous Homecoming fans, Harper reveals the Homecoming world to be a dynamic, complicated constellation in the formation of American religious identity.
The essayists approach the subject through diverse historical, musicological, and philosophical perspectives. A number of essays document little-known performances and recordings of African American musicians in Europe. Several pieces, including one by Paul Oliver, focus on the appeal of the blues to British listeners. At the same time, these considerations often reveal the ambiguous nature of European responses to black music and in so doing add to our knowledge of transatlantic race relations.
Contributions from Christopher G. Bakriges, Sean Creighton, Jeffrey Green, Leighton Grist, Bob Groom, Rainer E. Lotz, Paul Oliver, Catherine Parsonage, Iris Schmeisser, Roberta Freund Schwartz, Robert Springer, Rupert Till, Guido van Rijn, David Webster, Jen Wilson, and Neil A. Wynn
Bruce Springsteen, Cultural Studies, and the Runaway American Dream reflects the significant critical interest in understanding Springsteen's resounding impact upon the ways in which we think and feel about politics, religion, gender, and the pursuit of the American Dream. By assembling a host of essays that engage in interdisciplinary commentary regarding one of Western culture's most enduring artistic and socially radicalizing phenomena, this book offers a cohesive, intellectual, and often entertaining introduction to the many ways in which Springsteen continues to impact our lives by challenging our minds through his lyrics and music.