Southern Gospel Songs: Top 10 List

by Pamela Rose on December 6, 2012

No doubt Southern Gospel is one of my favorite genres of music. Southern Gospel got its start in what we know as the “Bible belt” in the southeastern United States. It is Christian music with a southern (country) style. This could be music sung by solo artists, family bands and trios and quartets. In this genre, unlike some other Christian music, you will hear styles of jazz, ragtime, pop, country, boogie-woogie and even some contemporary Christian. No matter who is singing or what this style of music you can always be assured that the lyrics glorify Jesus and are sung from the deepest part of the heart. Here are 10 of my favorite Southern Gospel songs.

10) Greater Vision “My Name is Lazarus”

One of my favorite trios and one which I have had the pleasure to enjoy live on several occasions is Greater Vision. Many of their songs are written by their own baritone Rodney Griffin. Like all of his songs, this one makes the pages of Scripture come alive.

John 11:43-44 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

I love the lyrics of the last verse:

He said, “My name is Lazarus, could I testify?
My name is Lazarus, it feels good to be alive
When I in chains of death was bound
This man named Jesus called me out
If you think your little problem is too big for Him to solve
Take it from the one who’s heard the mighty voice of God
A living testimony of His death-defying touch, my name is Lazarus”

9) Andre Crouch “My Tribute” (To God Be the Glory)

This is a lovely and powerful ballad praising God for all he has done.

Jude 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

8) The Martins “Grace”

There is something about a family that sings together … the harmonies are perfect because many times the voices are identical or so close, that perfect harmony is all you can get. Siblings Judy Martin Hess, Jonathan Martin & Joyce Martin Sanders were discovered by Michael English, Mark Lowry and Gloria Gaither in 1992. They went on to participate in more than two dozen Gaither Homecoming videos. They have recorded dozens of albums as well.

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Top Southern Gospel Songs

The Gaither Vocal Band song “The King Is Coming” is one of my favorites.

7) The Gaither Vocal Band “The King is Coming”

Bill and Gloria Gaither, in my opinion, have been the greatest influence on Southern Gospel music, not only because they have written over 700 songs but because they have selflessly promoted other singers to glorify the name of Jesus as well. The King is Coming was originally recorded by the Gaither Trio (Bill, Gloria & Danny Gaither), but I especially like it as sung by the Gaither Vocal Band — Bill Gaither, Guy Penrod, Mark Lowry and David Phelps.

1 Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

6) The Isaacs “Waiting in the Water”

This song is based upon Isaacs’s member Becky Isaacs Bowman’s own healing. She tells of the account of the blind man that Jesus healed.

John 9:7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

Favorite lyrics: “Every step I take is a step of faith. When I can’t see what’s in front of me, I’ll walk on and just believe.

5) The Hoppers “God Raised the Ransom”

A wonderful Easter song sung by powerhouse Kim Hopper is one that allows us to reflect upon the unspeakable gift that so many of us take for granted – the amazing gift of grace that is offered for all.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

4) The Crabb Family “I Go to the Rock”

Written by Southern Gospel legend Dottie Rambo, this one has a jazzy feeling to it. I especially like it because it takes a detour from lead singer Jason to allow Terah Crabb Penhollow to offer her lovely alto lead. Again, we can find many of the lyrics in the Bible:

Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

3) George Younce & The Cathedrals “Thanks to Calvary” (I Don’t Live Here Anymore)

Made popular by the late, great bass George Younce, this song is one that has a very special place in my heart. You see, I had been married to my husband for more than 10 years before I ever heard him sing. Sure, I had plenty of opportunity to hear his deep and clear speaking voice, but singing was an altogether different thing. This song is one that we had heard several times before and I was astounded when my husband not only chose to sing it … but he did a solo for special music in church. I was not the only one that was surprised and soon he was recruited for the choir! The song is one that talks about our new life in Christ.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

2) Gold City Quartet “Good Ol’ Gospel Song”

I love to hear a song that showcases the bass voice. Aaron McCune shows that some bass singers can carry the melody as well as the bull frog background. The lyrics themselves are the essence of Southern Gospel:

There’s something about a good ol’ gospel song
That brings joy to your heart when things are going wrong.
It brings a smile to your face, the tears can erase as through life you travel along.
There’s something about a good ol’ gospel song.

1) The Whisnants “A Greater Yes”

The Whisnants are not the best known Southern Gospel group, but I just had to share my favorite Southern Gospel song with you. It reminds me of a lovely man who has gone on to be with the Lord. I sang this as special music when he was fighting the return of a cancer to his body. He and his wife were part of our praise team and they carried the practice CD with them to and from doctor visits. They learned the backup vocal parts in the car! I had to sing this many, many times before I could do it without shedding a tear. God always answers prayer in His time, with what is best. I hope you are encouraged by this video.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The Whisnants “A Greater Yes”

There are literally thousands of Southern Gospel songs available. Do you have a favorite that I have not listed here? Feel free to share it in the comments below.


The Holy Bible, King James Version


Photo on Flickr by: ruthdaniel3444

You might also like:

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Derek Hill December 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Although this is not my style of music, the lyrics are very powerful. I enjoyed reading the lyrics you wrote down from “Waiting in the Water.” It reminded me of how God’s Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. This is why I love music so much. The styles may change, but the Christian message stays the same! Your story about your husband made me laugh. 10 whole years he was waiting to do a solo. God bless!


Pamela Rose Williams December 7, 2012 at 9:37 am

Thanks for the sweet comment Derek. I am glad you enjoyed the article and my true story.


Jack Wellman December 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Beautifully done Pam. I would love to see these on one CD and then I could just hit “Repeat” on my CD player.


Pam Bowen July 11, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Hi, Pamela Rose,
I am a songwriter researching Southern Gospel lyrics with a special emphasis on songs that showcase the bass singer in a male quartet. A Christian publisher told me that I would get interest from artists if I could pitch them such a song, so I am challenging myself to do so. Can you point me to any articles or sources on this topic? I enjoyed reading your Top Ten article above, and I signed up for your newsletter.
Pam Bowen


Pamela Rose July 16, 2013 at 8:37 am

Hello Pam,

I am not aware of any articles that share the information that you request, however, I would try to contact the Gaither organization ( to see if they can help you with your quest. I know that Bill Gaither is known for helping out artists and song writers all to continue the cause of Christ.

Thanks for dropping in at F&E!


Leave a Comment

Powered by sweet Captcha

Previous post:

Next post: