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C. Thesis Statement: Internal divisions and distinctions, lending to the variety detectable in this genre, has significantly contributed to the survival of Gospel music over the centuries and allowed it to maintain its status as a positive music tradition in this country.

Introduction

The Second Awakening's prayer camp meetings embraced both black and white and Protestants of all sects who came together for the sole purpose of cleansing their souls and giving themselves a temporary respite from the hardships of their everyday life. Accordingly, from the very moment of inception, gospel music tended towards the soulful and sorrowful, expressing a longing for spiritual comfort (Boyer, 36-37). With the passage of time, gospel music gradually evolved, branching out into three distinct categories, these being bluegrass gospel, or mountain music, traditional black gospel and traditional southern gospel. Internal divisions and distinctions, lending to the variety detectable in this genre, has significantly contributed to the survival of Gospel music over the centuries and allowed it to maintain its status as a positive music tradition in this country.
Bluegrass gospel music is probably the oldest of the three categories of gospel and, according to music scholars, maintains the genre's original transcendence of race and persuasion (Phillips, 167-68). Primarily relying on instruments such as the guitar, the fiddle, the banjo and mandolin and reminiscent of country music, bluegrass gospel is expressive of the American spirit itself, not to mention the nation's collective heritage. ...
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