View Full Version : gospel music

Jan-19-2004, 1:41am
Having started the thread about gospel music at jams making some participants uncomfortable, and the great response to that, what are the names of some of the tunes/songs that would be more fitting at both bluegrass and generic jams?

Don't give up what you want now,
for what you want most.

Jan-19-2004, 6:14am
I can't for the life of me understand why someone would feel uncomfortabe doing bluegrass gospel in a jam. Historically it is a big part of the genre and some of the best music is gospel. We do "Working on a Building", "He said if I be Lifted Up", "I can hear the Halleluliahs in the Air", "Angel Band", "Life's Railway to Heaven" just to name a few in our regular jam. I guess if someone showed up at one of our jams and didn't want to pick or sing when we did gospel they could go for a bathroom break or something but we've never had it happen.

Bruce Evans
Jan-19-2004, 7:45am
One of my favorite songs to pick (on guitar) is my version of Clarence White's version of I Am a Pilgrim. I also pick I'll Fly Away. But if you insisted on putting a label on me, the closest that would apply is atheist.

I play those songs and I'll play along on any other gospel tune that I know or that I can pick up on the fly. But when it gets to the point that every song is a Jesus song or someone starts evangelizing, that's when I excuse myself. Actually I just quietly sneak away.

Because it makes me uncomfortable. I came to play music. Not to go to church.

Jan-19-2004, 9:35am
We play a variety of folk, gospel, blues, country, early rock, beatles and of course bluegrass at our weekly jams. Sometimes we even have (gasp) a drummer. 2 of the guys are in a part time touring band and the lady bass player is in a gospel trio. We've only had one occassion when someone objected to playing a gospel song. He's only showed up that one night. The lady I mentioned before does an awesome version of Cannanland and we kicked it off. This guy stood up and ranted about he didn't think it was appropriate and generally showed his butt. We told him he could leave if he wanted to but it was one that we liked to do. He left calling us hypocrits, etc. and hasn't been back. The lady bass player was so embarrassed that she couldn't sing. If he had just gotten up and left without making a show everything would have been fine.

Jan-19-2004, 11:37am
I have to chime in with "Will the Circle be unbroken" It is my favorite. As far as the gospel tunes makin people uncomfortable, I would not worry to much about it in most of the bluegrass circles. IMO blugrass and gospel go together lik Ham and beans. However, we all as musicians good and bad must realize that although genres should not seperate, the do determine where we are most comfortable as far as our choice of jams.

Jan-19-2004, 4:17pm
I have to confess to having played "I'll Fly Away" and "Keep on the Sunny Side" in a bar -- nearly everybody loves that "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" stuff. And humanist-leaning Unitarians seem to enjoy "You Go to Your Church, And I'll Go to Mine (but Let's Walk Along Together)."

I do know a few people who aren't comfortable with gospel songs, but as long as someone doesn't play them continuously or push them down my throat in a nonchurch setting, I don't mind. Personally, I often quote James Taylor . . .

"There's a song that they sing when they take to the highway.
A song that they sing when they take to the sea
A song that they sing of their home in the sky
And maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep
But singin' works just fine for me."

Jan-19-2004, 5:19pm
OK, I haven't been to any jams with my Manodolin yet, but we hit Gospel songs quite regularly when I was going to Jams with my Guitar. Personally I'm Budhist/Wiccan, but when I'm playing or listening to music I'm a music appreciator. Good music is good music and if the words bother my I just focus on the tune.

Some people though do get VERY uptight about it. IMNHO they need to get over it or find someplace else to jam. If they come up with enough stuff we can all play that isn't gospel, maybe we won't get to the gospel stuff.

As an intersting side note (maybe), the first song I learned to play on harmonica and Mandolin was Amazing Grace, which considering my religious leanings tends to surprise some people.

Jim Webster
Jan-19-2004, 6:04pm
Non-believer here, but I love to play and sing "Angel Band" on Mandolin, and "Nobody's Fault but Mine," "Diamonds in the Rough," "Why Me Lord," and others on guitar. It's nor more hipocrytical than a land-lubbing non-sharecropper like me singing sea shanties or delta blues.

I'm playing with some friends at a Winterfest bonfire jam in two weeks and we've planing to included Angel Band and Rosetta Tharpe's (well she sang it, I don't know who wrote it) Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread in addition to some down and dirty blues and of up-tempo folk-rock.

Jan-23-2004, 11:28pm
I like a spirited version of 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'

'I've Just Seen the Rock of Ages' is a favorite as well.

Then again anything by Doyle Lawson works for me.

Feb-03-2004, 11:13pm
I gotta home in beula land, way beyond the blue,' is kinda fun.
You can swing/blues tempo to black gospel tunes after all.