Although I believe that a person’s spiritual beliefs are a private thing, I will confess that I’m not a regular church-goer — in fact, the last time I attempted to sing a hymn my voice probably hadn’t yet changed. But I’ve found that there are certain kinds of gospel music that really appeal to me, mostly because it just sounds good.
Gospel music is defined by wikipedia as ‘music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life. . .’ which covers a lot of territory. By that definition you could include some of the great works of the past, including some by Mozart and other great composers, but to most of us gospel music means the kind of sounds that originated in the churches of either African-Americans or rural country folks.
I like both kinds just fine, and even find some appealing things in the middle (like Pat Boone’s version of an old spiritual in the video below) but I’m probably most drawn to the country side, where it’s a mainstay of bluegrass. Many of the most successful bluegrass performers started out in gospel music, and even though some of them end up going in other directions they’ve usually continued to revisit the music from time to time.
After all, it’s a good listen.