This week’s SWOT analysis feature take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Isaacs. This feature takes a tool used in business to look at different factors that can affect that business. I thought why not use that model in looking at strengths and weaknesses of Southern Gospel’s biggest artists of today.
The Isaacs came to the fore front of Southern Gospel music in the early 1990’s. The unique part about that is they did it as a bluegrass artist. While their current style can be label ‘new grass’, the Isaacs are still one of Southern Gospel’s top mixed groups.
- Instrumentation: One selling point the Isaacs have to separate themselves from other artists in Southern Gospel music is live music. Acoustical instrumentation back up each and every Isaacs performance.
- Unique Harmony Arrangements: The Isaacs have unique harmony arrangements, especially when Ben, Becky And Sonya are doing a cappella songs.
- Group Member’s Songwriting: The Isaacs is a group full of some of the best songwriters in the industry. Becky Bowman, Sonya Isaacs and now Sonya’s husband Jimmy Yeary is adding his talents to the group’s song catalog. The group’s recent recording, Why Can’t We, is evidence of this fact.
- Homecoming Artists: It is no secret the group found broader success after becoming regulars on Gaither’s Homecoming tour schedule. The group still remains a regular on the tour.
- Bluegrass (‘new grass’) Style: Not every Southern Gospel listener is going to be drawn to the Isaacs style. Even so, I consider the Isaacs to be the best ever in Southern Gospel music when it comes to offering bluegrass music to a Southern Gospel crowd.
- Success: Some are probably questioning why I put this as a weakness. Isn’t success a good thing? My answer to that question is YES, but there does seem to be a subset of Southern Gospel fans who consider success a dirty word. Those fans find fault with those groups which they deem to have too much success (see attitudes toward Gaither Vocal Band, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Hoppers, etc).
- Recording A Southern Gospel Album: Wouldn’t it be great to hear the Isaacs lay down the bluegrass instruments for one album and do a ‘straight ahead’ four part harmony Southern Gospel album (they would actually use piano).
- The Early Years: I would like to hear some modern versions of some of their earlier hits: “Carry Me”, “From The Depths Of My Heart”, “I Have A Father Who Can” and “Unlike Me, Just Like Him”.
- Leaving The Southern Gospel Market Behind: The Isaacs could easily market themselves to only the Bluegrass music market. I hope that day never comes. I enjoy their style and hope they continue to offer their music to the Southern Gospel market.
***NEXT SWOT ANALYSIS: KINGSMEN***