The Gaithers and Southern GospelHomecoming in the Twenty-First Century

The Gaithers and Southern GospelHomecoming in the Twenty-First Century

Ryan P. Harper

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781496810908

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

This ethnography examines songwriters Bill and Gloria Gaithers’ Homecoming video and concert series. The Homecomings re-present the “southern gospel” subgenre of gospel music—a musical style popular among white evangelical Christians in the American South and Midwest. The book explores how the Gaithers negotiate the tension between preservation and modification of community norms as they seek simultaneously to maintain and expand their audience, and to initiate and respond to ideological shifts within their fan base’s culture. Using data he collected from his immersion in the Homecoming catalogue, his attendance of numerous concerts and tapings, and his extensive conversations with Homecoming fans and the Gaithers themselves, Harper reveals the Homecomings to be a crucible of American religious, racial, sexual and regional identity formation.