This volume traces the development of the music known as "southern gospel" from its antebellum origins to its 20th-century emergence as a vibrant musical industry driven by the world of radio, television, recording and concert promotions. Marked by smooth, tight harmonies and a lyrical focus on the message of Christian salvation, southern gospel - particularly the white gospel quartet tradition - had its roots in 19th-century shape-note singing. The spread of white gospel music is intricately connected to the people who based their livelihoods on it, and "Close Harmony" is filled with the stories of artists and groups such as Frank Stamps, the Chuck Wagon Gang, the Blackwood Brothers, the Rangers, the Swanee River Boys, the Statesmen and the Oak Ridge Boys.;The book also explores changing relations between black and white artists and shows how, following the civil rights movement, white gospel was influenced by black gospel, bluegrass, rock, metal and, later, rap. With Christian music sales topping the $600 million mark in the States at the close of the 20th century, the book explores the history of an important and influential segment of the thriving gospel industry.
Frontispiece has a signed handwritten dedication and by the author.