The Life And Times Of A Gospel Songwriter by Dianne Wilkinson and Daniel Mount is an autobiographical work of one of Southern Gospel’s greatest writers – Dianne Wilkinson. Dianne has always been my favorite songwriter, so maybe I’m a little biased, but I think all would agree that without her pen, this music we so enjoy would not be the same. Yet, her songs are only half of the story, the other half is recorded in this book…her life. Through this volume, you’ll come to know Dianne, her life in Gospel Music, and the stories behind so many of the gems she has written.

Dianne-Wilkinson-The-Life-and-Times-of-a-Gospel-SongwriterGetting to know Dianne…
From the first chapter, Dianne not only tells her story, but shares her heritage as well. She begins with her great-grandfather who fought in the Civil War and served as a state representative. Through the first chapter Dianne traces her family tree all the way down to her parents, and then in chapter two, introduces us to how she came into the world. From there, the succeeding chapters walk through her life – you’ll read how she came to meet her husband, Tim, (there’s a good story there!) teach Sunday School, what inspired her to take up songwriting and how she came to know the Lord. I utterly enjoyed all of the stories she shared about the little details of her life too. Not only did she tell us the decisions she made, she was transparent in sharing the reasons why.

Dianne’s life in Gospel Music…
Woven in the midst of Dianne’s story is another tale, and that is Southern Gospel Music. Dianne grew up around her family’s singing group, the Ross Sisters, and later on sang with Tim and her brother, Jim. (They called themselves the Revelations and recorded two albums together.) Yet, what stood out to me the most was the special moments in SGM that she witnessed first hand. Dianne was present at the very first National Quartet Convention in 1957 at the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, Tennessee. She was also at NQC the very first time the Rambo’s sang on main stage – and her description of what it was like makes you feel like you were there too! And though this may not be related to SGM, she also saw Elvis sing in a high school in Leachville before he became famous. Oh, I could go on and on with the stories that Dianne tells!

The gems from Dianne’s pen…
When you reach page 205, you find an “Appendix” that tells the stories behind some of Dianne’s most popular songs…actually, there are over 100 “behind the song” stories within the book! Some of my favorite ones were Triumphant Quartet’s “Hey Jonah” (pg. 243), Greater Vision’s “Of Thee I Sing” (pg. 282) and the Whisnants’ “Burn the Boat” (pg.211). They are all great stories and I know you will just love them! They’re arranged in alphabetical order by the song title.

At the National Quartet Convention (2012) on a Friday afternoon, I stood in line at the Kingdom Heirs booth to get my copy of this book signed. When it was my turn, a warm smile greeted me as I approached one of my heroes, Miss Dianne. Later on, when I began reading the work, I was deeply touched by this lady’s story – from her birth to childhood, young adult life, marriage, church ministry and of course, her many involvements in SGM. Yet, what moved me the most about this woman was that she was no stranger to trials and sorrow. In fact, Dianne has been through the fire and faced many sorrows, but these things have not held her back or kept her from living the life God has planned for her. If you would like to read her experiences for yourself, I highly encourage you to get this book!

Author: lynnschronicles

5 Responses to "Dianne Wilkinson – The Life And Times Of A Gospel Songwriter"

  1. Daniel J. Mount Posted on January 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you so much for this review! As you can probably imagine after reading this book, she is such a born storyteller that the difficult part of the book was not finding interesting stories – it was deciding which interesting stories to leave out!

  2. lynnschronicles Posted on January 15, 2013 at 5:17 am

    You are welcome Daniel! It was a pure pleasure to read and review your book! Yes, Dianne is an amazing storyteller…you never know, maybe there could be a “volume 2” or something? 🙂

  3. Daniel J. Mount Posted on January 19, 2013 at 11:07 am

    You never know! 🙂

    I think if Miss Dianne stays active for another decade or so, there would be plenty more stories for a revised edition!

  4. lynnschronicles Posted on January 20, 2013 at 2:40 am

    That would be great!

  5. Saturday News Roundup #155 | SouthernGospelBlog.com Posted on February 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    […] reviewed Dianne Wilkinson: The Life and Times of a Gospel Songwriter. (Thanks, Lynn!) The review is here; more information on the book is […]

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