I recently joined a website for homeschool alumni. I noticed yesterday on one member’s profile page that she liked “Conservative Gospel Music,” naming artists from the Inspirations to Steve Green’s earlier work to (possibly?) Greater Vision.

When I read that, I thought her phrase captured well the answer to the perennial question about how some Southern Gospel fans (me included!) could vote for the Inspirations in one category and Greater Vision in another. Both groups stay within their tradition, neither pushing the envelope, and the members of both live (to my knowledge, and to the public’s knowledge) lives off stage consistent with how they represent themselves on stage.

Conservative Gospel Music is something almost as undefinable as Southern Gospel Music. You just have to know what you’re looking for, and if you do, you intuitively know when you have found it. You come away from a Mark Trammell Trio concert or a Primitive Quartet concert with a whole different feeling than you do after hearing certain progressive groups, or than you would after hearing a singer who you knew was living a life offstage inconsistent with how they represent themselves on stage.

It’s the sort of thing that I can’t capture in words, but have been pondering anyhow ever since that phrase caught my attention.