I spend a significant part of my week outside the UK gospel scene’s self-contained bubble: Media Guardian for news, and BBC 1Xtra for radio (I rarely miss Ras Kwame and Twin B‘s 100% UK shows).
I also indulge my old-school Reggae interest by trying to catch up with David Rodigan on KISS as often as I can.
So what’s this got to do with UK gospel music…?
Well, not much. At least not directly.
It’s March 2009. Now that the echoes of New Year clichés have died down I’m looking to see if the 09 shine will be brighter than the 08 great (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Anyway here’s what this is really about:
- there seems to be a lot of very mediocre music around at the moment.
- And people seem to be encouraging it.
Thing is you’ll always get good stuff and downright bad stuff. That’s just the way it goes. Just because something is done in the name of gospel doesn’t automatically make it good. Sorry, it just doesn’t.
I’ve seen and heard tracks around the place where responses to decidedly ordinary tunes have been greeted with ‘fantastic’! ‘Great! ‘ ‘Brilliant!’ ‘Can’t wait!’ ‘Sick!’ [add your own superlative here]…
Am I missing something?
When Sammy G and Jimmy James released Dublit, we knew things had changed. When Guvna dropped The Narrow Road I had to beat a path to his door and get a copy. Ryan Carty‘s album Journey To Purpose is still serious.
When I’m listening to music outside UK gospel, and hearing how the UK mainstream independent scene is going on, I’m not sure there are that many of ‘our’ tunes I can be recommending to my non-Christian friends at the moment.
Give it to Them Straight
So, if you have a friend that is an artist in any shape or form: tell them the truth. If their craft and/or skill needs to be much better and much tighter, give it to them straight.
They may not like to hear it, but hopefully they’ll thank you one day when they raise their game as a result of your honesty. If you like their sub-standard stuff as it is, cool.
I know it’s March, so there’s still a long way to go. And I certainly haven’t heard everything that’s out at the moment. So there’s still hope.
Like Mystman once said on the Swift Phase beat: ‘We need to rise the level up… Because the world is rising the level up every day…’