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Great Southern Gospel Music – “Land of Dreams” from The Brainards
One of the privileges of being Australia’s self-proclaimed biggest online fan of Southern Gospel music is that I get fascinating emails from other fans, and even from artists. Recently, I even got a brand new CD in the mail, “Land of Dreams” by The Brainards. That was a thrill. Southern Gospel recordings are virtually unobtainable in Australia, even at Christian outlets. I love it, and I asked Lori Brainard, who sent it to me, if I could do an online Q&A with her.
* Congratulations on your latest CD, “Land of Dreams”. How is it going? What sort of responses have you been receiving?
Lori: Thank you so much! This CD has opened many doors for The Brainards. We have been invited to sing in many new states, churches and venues as a response to the new CD, and the songs are blessing people everywhere we sing them.
* I understand that one of the songs, “Blood Plus Nothing”, has been released as a single. Is it getting much radio play?
Lori: Yes, we have just released this song to radio. I have no numbers to report to you as of yet, due to the song being so new for us, but I pray the Lord's will with this song. It was written by Southern Gospel's Songwriter of The Year, Rodney Griffin. Hopefully, people will respond to the catchy melody of this song, but more importantly to the message in it. Salvation is only through the blood of Jesus Christ!
* Sitting here at my computer in Australia, I know very little about the Southern Gospel scene in the US. How do you get yourself known? How do you get radio stations to play your music?
Lori: Martin, getting yourself known in Southern Gospel music is much the same as in any other genre of music. Lots of hard work and dedication go into having a successful career in Southern Gospel. Anyone who has ever been involved in any aspect of a music career can tell you that success has a lot do with timing, being in the right place at the right time, meeting people, being heard by someone who can boost your career and getting that radio airplay that we mentioned before. The great thing about any form of Gospel music is that we also can believe in “God's Timing” for our lives.
As far as getting that radio airplay that is needed so much to get your music out to Southern Gospel music listeners, that has a lot do with promotion. Usually, we will choose a compilation CD which has various artists on it that are going out to radio at the same time as our single. From there, we must also choose someone to promote the single. This entails calling all of the radio stations that play Southern Gospel music and asking them to play our single, and if they have played it how are the listeners accepting it, and if they anticipate any chart action from the song. Usually this can tell you whether you should continue with the same radio single for a bit longer, or make strides in getting another radio single out.
* It turned out that two of my favourite songs on your new CD were written by you. I'm just so full of awe for people who can write beautiful music. I'd love to know more about how you go about it.
Lori: I should be the one in awe that someone respects, admires and is blessed by my song writing. How I go about it? That's a whole different subject. My mother is a wonderful songwriter and I grew up listening to her music. It was inspiring to many other artists who recorded her material, but also to me. Song writing is a craft that is an ongoing process of perfecting and improving, but I am proud of the songs that God has given to me and to our group. I usually get ideas directly from The Bible, from sermons or from life experiences as many other writers do. From a rough idea to paper, I then try to make a demo tape. The demo is usually used to help the musicians who later put so much artistry to the song that ends up on a CD.
* One of your songs “I'm Almost There”, is an absolutely beautiful ballad, and it even has a bit of a bluesy touch about it. But, on top of that, it has simple but meaningful lyrics, about your struggle - the struggle we all have - to walk with faith in The Lord. How do you get that lovely combination of words and music? Is it luck? Does it come suddenly or do you spend days and weeks writing and rewriting? Do you know when it’s “just right”, or are you forever changing it?
Lori: Such great compliments. I have to check and see if I actually did write that song! In all honesty, again I have to give the credit first to God for the idea and the gift, and also to the producer on our latest CD, John Darin Rowsey, and to the many talented musicians who played on “Land of Dreams”. This particular song came during a hard time, a valley in my life. I write a lot from experience and this was definitely one of those songs. Lots of songs I write do take a lot of time and re-writing. This particular one came pretty quickly. Although I did go back and change a few words here and there, most if it is just as God gave it to me. As far as knowing when a song is “just right”, I think you know when you have reached the goal for a particular song. Usually, writers have a particular mood or idea for what they want the song to sound like when it is completed. I can tell when I have reached that point.
* Lori, thank you so much. “Land of Dreams” is just great. It has the power to bless anyone who hears it. I pray that it does well.
July 1st, 2003