Musicians from both the East and West Coasts wearing cowboy boots and crosses are descending upon the Ozarks for a three day convention. KSMU’s Jennifer Davidson has details.
West Plains is the hometown of country music stars Porter Wagoner and Jan Howard, each of whom dabbled in their fair share of country gospel. Now, that hometown is gearing up for a convention to honor country gospel.
Dan Duncan is president of the ICGMA—that’s the International Country Gospel Music Association. He reminds me that his organization has been around for two years longer than the Grammy’s.
Willie Nelson, Barbara Fairchild, and Dolly Parton have graced the ICGMA’s awards list, and this year, Duncan says Johnny Cash’s sister will be at the convention in West Plains.
“This association is all about the promotion and the sharing of country gospel music—artists who come from all across America and some foreign countries. They come here to meet in West Plains and share their music. We will probably have somewhere near 100 different recording artists who will appear in a series of three days,” Duncan said.
Musicians come from New York, Washington state, Arizona, and other parts of the country, Duncan said.
Country Gospel is just gospel music with a twang, he said.
“I smile and say, ‘Jesus took over the Grand Ole Opry.’ That’s kind of what it’s like,” he said.
Duncan spent several years as a southern gospel musician, and he says the lyrics are different in country gospel.
“It’s lyrics that I call street lyrics. It’s about life. Down where we meet life with, sometimes, life’s problems. Then we give them an opportunity to have an answer to life’s problems,” Duncan said.
The ICGMA Convention will run through Saturday night at the West Plains Civic Center. It concludes with the Gold Cross Awards Show Saturday night.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Davidson.