What is Southern Gospel Music?
SOUTHERN GOSPEL MUSIC is a style of Christian music that originated in the Southeastern United States. Although the Southeast is still where it is most prevalent, since about 1990 the style has grown in popularity, heavily influenced by the success of the Gaither Homecoming Concerts and television broadcasts. As a result, it has gained popularity across the United States and even overseas. Lyrics generally express a personal or corporate faith according to biblical teachings and Christian living. Most Southern Gospel songs could not be classified as "praise and worship" songs, however, since most Southern Gospel songs are generally sung "about" God rather than "to" God.*
THE EVOLUTION OF THE STYLE has been significant. Originally this style was known simply as "quartet music," because its early forms were traditionally "four men and a piano." The evolution has produced a wide variety of vocal and instrumental configurations, including trio, duos, soloists and family groups of various sizes. The music itself has become eclectic, not only including traditional four-part quartet arrangements, but also one can hear country, bluegrass, a cappella, and traditional hymns arranged in variety of styles. Instrumental accompaniment can include a variety of instruments or pre-recorded soundtracks. Despite its evolution, the lyrical content has maintained a consistent character, celebrating the Christian life and honoring God.*
THE ORIGIN OF THE STYLE dates back at least to 1910, the year the first professional quartet was formed, although there is some evidence of earlier dating, possibly as much as 35 years prior to 1910. Early quartets were either a cappella or accompanied only by piano. In the early and mid-twentieth century, gospel artists that helped popularize the style included the Speer Family, the Stamps Quartet, and the Blackwood Brothers. They achieved popularity through their recordings and radio performances in the 1920s through the 1950s. As a result of the growing popularity of the style, the National Quartet Convention was formed, which has become a major annual event where all the top Southern Gospel groups gather for a music festival. This Convention is currently held each fall in Pigeon Forge, TN, and runs an entire week, usually in late September. Attendance by the public at this event reaches well over twenty thousand.*
CURRENT POPULAR QUARTETS include: Gaither Vocal Band, Gold City, Legacy Five, Mark Trammel Quartet, Signature Sound, Tribute, and Triumphant. CURRENT POPULAR MALE TRIOS, which have become an important factor in Southern Gospel music, include the Booth Brothers, Greater Vision, and Brian Free and Assurance. CURRENT POPULAR MIXED VOICE GROUPS include: Cana's Voice, the Collingsworth Family, the Hoppers, the Isaacs, the Martins, Karen Peck & New River, the Perrys, and the Talley Trio. SOLO ARTISTS also have become part of the Southern Gospel family, many of whom first gained popularity with a group before starting a solo career. Some of the most well known are Mark Bishop, Jason Crabb, Ivan Parker, Squire Parsons, and Janet Paschal. Even among solo artists, the common denominator in Southern Gospel music remains the lyrical content and the presentation style, which is more down-home and personal than it is sophisticated.*
INDIANA GOSPEL GROUPS include quartets, trios, duos, soloists, and family groups, which are active within Indiana and surrounding states. Redeem the Time is among several gospel groups in Indiana that frequently minister at local churches and events. They may be contacted through the "Contact Us" page on this website, through GospelGigs.com, or the Indiana Gospel Music Association.
* "Wikipedia" is the source of most of the information on this page, and their disclaimers apply also to this page.