On-Air Highlights

Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Jan 31, 2019 9:10 AM

For February, WITF presents a documentary series exploring the history of black gospel music and illustrates its significant influence on the formation of rock and soul music.

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The Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul documentary consists of four episodes, and starts with the history and foundation of black gospel from spirituals, and how those songs informed the music of the great gospel quartets. In examining how rock, soul and R&B grew from the roots of gospel, it highlights such highly influential artists as Sam Cooke, who transitioned from gospel to secular music; Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her early rock stylings; and Elvis Presley, who helped expose white audiences to gospel music. Examples of some of the most beloved contemporary pop music of the last 60 years from artists such as Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, and Ray Charles illustrate gospel music's influence.

Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul also features exclusive live performances recorded by WXPN within the last year from gospel groups The Fairfield Four, The McCrary Sisters, and The Dixie Hummingbirds.

Executive producers of Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul are WXPN General Manager Roger LaMay and WXPN Assistant General Manager for Programming Bruce Warren. It is produced by Alex Lewis, an award-winning independent radio producer and musician whose projects include Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio, among others. The project and radio documentary are supported by a grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul broadcasts Sunday night at 7:00pm through the month of February on WITF 89.5 & 93.3.  You can also listen through our webstream or by asking your smart speaker to "Play WITF". 

More information about Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul can be found at the series website.  

Published in Radio

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