The 10 Best Southern Gospel Music Songs

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Looking for the best southern gospel music songs? Look no further! Here are the 10 best tunes to get your toes tapping and your heart singing.

What is Southern Gospel Music?

Southern gospel music is a genre of Christian music. Its name comes from its origins in the Southeastern United States whose lyrics are written to express personal or public conviction.

Southern gospel music has been around since the early 19th century when shape note hymns were first being sung in four-part harmony. In the early 20th century, gospel music started to take off when evangelists such as R.A. Torrey and A.C. Dixon popularized the genre with their open-air meetings and tent revivals. The Fisk Jubilee Singers, a choir composed of former slaves, also helped to popularize gospel music with their performances of Negro spirituals around the world.

Today, southern gospel music is still quite popular, especially in the United States. Here are ten of the best southern gospel songs of all time:

1) I’ll Fly Away – Albert E. Brumley
2) Amazing Grace – John Newton
3) Will the Circle Be Unbroken – Ada Raphael Blenkhorn & Charles Gabriel
4) He Lives – Alfred H. Ackley
5) The Old Rugged Cross – George Beverly Shea & Rick Nelson Shea
6) I Saw the Light – Hank Williams
7) How Great Thou Art – Carl Boberg & Stuart K. Hine
8) I’ll Have a New Life – James Edward Tolbert & James Pleasants Tracy
9) Jesus Is Calling – Cleavant Derricks & Marshall Hall
10) Just As I Am – Charlotte Elliott

The 10 Best Southern Gospel Music Songs

Gospel music has been around for centuries, and it’s no surprise that some of the best songs come from the southern region of the United States. There are so many great gospel songs to choose from, but we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 best.

“I’ll Fly Away” by Albert E. Brumley

“I’ll Fly Away” is a Gospel song written in 1929 by Albert E. Brumley and published in 1932 by his father, Rev. James Brumley. The song was first recorded by the Shepherd’s Rod Quartet in 1929 and has been recorded by many other artists. The song is often used as a hymn and is a staple of Bluegrass music.

The song is set in minor key and has a simple, folksy melody. The lyrics tell of the speaker’s longing for Heaven, and how they will “fly away” when they die. The lyrics also make reference to the Biblical concept of “the Rapture,” when Jesus will return to Earth and take his followers with him to Heaven.

The song has been covered by many different artists, including Country music legend Hank Williams Sr., who recorded it in 1949. More recent covers have been done by Gospel singers like Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. The song has also been featured in movies like “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Cold Mountain.”

“Amazing Grace” by John Newton

“Amazing Grace” is a hymn composed by Englishman John Newton in the late 18th century. A lifelong sailor, Newton was inspired to write the song after experiencing a powerful conversion to Christianity while on a slave ship bound for Africa. The hymn eventually became one of the most popular and beloved gospel songs of all time, with hundreds of recordings by artists from all genres.

The lyrics of “Amazing Grace” are simple and direct, celebrating God’s grace and mercy in the face of human sinfulness. The song has been recorded by hundreds of artists over the years, including Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson. It remains one of the most popular gospel songs of all time, and its message of hope and redemption is timeless.

“How Great Thou Art” by Carl Boberg

This is a classic Southern Gospel song that has been performed by many artists over the years. It was written by Swedish poet Carl Boberg in 1885. The lyrics are based on Psalm 8, which is a psalm of praise to God for His majesty and power. “How Great Thou Art” has been voted the number one Southern Gospel song of all time by readers of Christian music magazines.

“In the Garden” by C. Austin Miles

C. Austin Miles wrote the lyrics to “In the Garden” in 1912, and it quickly became a popular hymn. The lyrics are based on John 20:11-18, when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty. “In the Garden” is a beautiful song about faith and hope, and it has been recorded by many artists over the years.

“He Touched Me” by Bill Gaither

This song was written by Bill Gaither in 1963 and has been recorded by many different artists over the years. The lyrics tell the story of a man who was transformed by the power of Jesus Christ. This song is a great reminder that no matter what our past may be, we can always be forgiven and start fresh with God.

“The Old Rugged Cross” by George Bennard

This classic hymn was written in 1912 by George Bennard, a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The song was inspired by a sermon Bennard heard while on a preaching tour in Alaska. “The Old Rugged Cross” quickly became a favorite among gospel fans and has been recorded by many artists over the years.

“Peace in the Valley” by Thomas A. Dorsey

“Peace in the Valley” is a beautiful southern gospel music song that was written by Thomas A. Dorsey and first published in 1937. The song has been recorded by many artists over the years, but one of the most famous versions was recorded by Mahalia Jackson in 1957. “Peace in the Valley” is a song about finding peace and comfort in God’s love, even during difficult times. The lyrics are simple but powerful, and the melody is both haunting and hopeful. This is a classic southern gospel song that should be on any list of the best southern gospel songs.

“Precious Lord, Take My Hand” by Thomas A. Dorsey

Thomas A. Dorsey wrote “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” in 1932 after his wife Nettie died giving birth to their son Dorsey. The hymn first appeared in the collection _The Radio Gospel Songs_, and has been a mainstay of gospel music ever since. Dorsey’s own singing group, the Chicago Sacred Harp Singers, popularized the song and it has been recorded by everyone from Mahalia Jackson to Elvis Presley.

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” by Wallis Willis

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is a well-known Negro spiritual. Though it is not known who wrote it, it is thought to have been composed by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw Freedman in the late 1850s. The song was first recorded in 1909 and has been performed by many artists over the years, including Mahalia Jackson, Paul Robeson, and The Blind Boys of Alabama. It has also been adapted into folk, blues, and jazz versions.

“Unclouded Day” by Josiah Kelley Alwood

“Unclouded Day” is a Southern gospel music song written by Josiah Kelley Alwood. It was first published in 1882 and has been recorded by various artists over the years. The song is about the joys of heaven and the hope of being reunited with loved ones who have passed away.

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