The American Spiritual’s New-Century Revival

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That Old-Time Religion music has experienced a revival over the last decade or so, and I’d just like to take this blessed Monday to clap some hands and take a little listen to the Old-Time revival into today’s new music.

Now, let’s say it right here: This is all about the music and this particular genre. I am not fixin’ to rid you of yer’ demons, cuz ain’t nobody got time for that. What I’m talking about is the musical culture of salvation that is unique to America. Brought forth during times of stuggle ( by the by, gospel usually increases popularity during times of American strife like as the Civil War and the Great Depression) this music is an integral page in the American narrative and should be appreciated as such.

Whether or not it’ll work for you is really none of my business.

The old-time religious music of yesteryear began with the notable Charles Davis Tillman, a tent revivalist and seller of fine “wizard oil” throughout the Carolinas. He first heard spirituals in an all-black tent revival, and plagiarized and profitted off of the music. As awful as this charlatan appears to be, in his publishing of the Black spirituals, he proliferated the music beyond the tent and the color lines.

It took the movie “Oh Brother! Where Art Thou?” to draw the spiritual song revival into the 21st century’s mainstream, and has brought forth many tributaries within punk, folk, country and Americana. Of these revived revival songs, one of the first and most noted is Alison Krauss’ “Down to the River to Pray.”

Iowa native William Elliott Whitmore has been touched by the revival spirit in his song, “Old Devils.” I’ve listened to WEW for about a year without actually watching him perform. Dude, he’s white. This fact blew me away. What a set of amazing pipes. He’s previously toured the punk circuit opening for bands like the Pogues, Lucero, and The Low Anthem.

Corb Lund, another more country/Americana gent brings the old-timey tent revival back with a twist on contemporary times in his song “Apocalyptic Modified Blues.” This fella is quite the humorous songwriter and his ouvre features songs like “Hard on Equipment” which is hilarious and brings to mind many a fella I’ve met, but I digress. This is about salvation–more importantly, your salvation.

Say what you want about religion, but the art that is often drawn from religion and the inspiration recieved is truly a connecting power. And, as you can see, this style of music emerges, reemerges, and continues to revive itself through American history. If you’re one of those “old-time religion” folks or the sinners they seek, you can’t deny that this stuff is kinda catchy.


So, I’m trying to add a local or semi-local band to each of these genre bloggy things, and I TOTALLY FORGOT TO ADD THE REASON I WROTE THE BNLOG IN THE FIRST PLACE! ::shakes head:: This is why we can’t have nice things.

Check out Terrible Buttons! They are a band out of Spokane, Whitworth College to be precise. They have a gospelly, thing going on here, but they can really rock out. I suggest you check them out on Fb for tour dates.