Episode 5: How Gospel Influenced Modern Music

I’m far from religious. But there is a lot of soul in gospel music, and that has been the case since the early days. The three pillars of modern American music are blues, jazz and gospel. All three helped influence the early R&B and rock artists.

As I learned in this episode the rhythms and composition of gospel music in the early part of the 20th century was a major influence on early rock musicians. Gospel music and popular music have always intersected with each other, and that’s a trend that continues today. Sister Rosetta Tharpe started in churches in the 30s, and so did Whitney Houston in the 80s. Even Katy Perry has roots in gospel, although I’m sure she’d tell you she want to get as far away from that as possible.

Joining me in this episode is Auburn University’s Tim Dodge. Tim is a History and Political Science Subject Specialist at Auburn’s library and has written on gospel music. Tim really took control of this interview. I knew the subject was important, however, as noted above, I was relatively ignorant on it.

Still Tim offers great insights into why gospel was so influential and we talk about some of the technical aspects of gospel and how it intersects with popular music.

You can learn more about Tim on his website: http://www.auburn.edu/~dodgeti/.

Listen to Episode 5 Here: