Songwriter Series #3: Dianne Wilkinson

There are a select group of about four or five southern gospel songwriters who are a cut above the rest for me personally.  If you pressed me to give you a single favorite, however, my answer would have to be Dianne Wilkinson.  I have yet to meet this remarkable lady, but from listening to her songs and seeing interviews and other public appearances, I can confidently tell you two things about her.  Most importantly, she has has an obvious love for and devotion to the Word of God.  This is the absolute #1 criterion to me for a great gospel songwriter.  If the songs are grounded in the Word, they can’t help but have an impact somewhere down the line: God’s Word will not return void.  Secondly, Mrs. Wilkinson shares my love for old-fashioned quartet music.  Go ahead and try to name 10 great straight-ahead quartet songs from the last 20 years.  I guarantee you at least one of them, and probably more, were written by Dianne Wilkinson.  She is a true standard-bearer for this kind of music, and boy do we need it.

So lyrically, from a Dianne Wilkinson song you can count on a strong Biblical basis.  She doesn’t do as many Biblical narrative songs as a Rodney Griffin; instead, her songs tend to deal more with Biblical principles.  I challenge you to find a songwriter who better describes God’s salvation work.  She is not ashamed to put the Biblical creation account in song.  These are just two examples, but if you can think of an essential Christian doctrine, she has a hit song about it.

Musically, her strength is clearly in uptempo quartet-style songs.  She also tends to churn out plenty of good jazzy numbers, but she’s at her best with those barnburners.  That just happens to be my favorite kind of song.  This is not to say she can’t write a good ballad.  In fact, perhaps her greatest songwriting achievement is the triumphant “We Shall See Jesus,” and “We Will Stand Our Ground” is my favorite ballad from last year.  But just based on the quantity of songs of each style, she’s clearly an uptempo specialist.  Now for the stats (all from my personal music collection, not absolute totals for her):

Unique songs in my collection: 144

Total songs (including duplicates): 208

Most common artists:

  • Kingdom Heirs – 52
  • Cathedrals – 21
  • Mark Trammell Trio/Quartet – 18
  • Legacy Five – 16
  • Gold City – 15
  • Greater Vision – 13
  • Triumphant Quartet – 11
  • Kingsmen – 9

Songs with 3 or more versions:

  • Boundless Love – 9
  • We Shall See Jesus – 6
  • Homeland – 5
  • Master Builder – 5
  • He Is Mine – 4
  • I Have Passed Over Into Canaanland – 4
  • Turn Your Back – 3

Oldest recording: “I’m Going Home Someday,” Gold City, Live; “Turn Your Back,” Cathedrals, Something Special (1982)

Newest recording: “Singing in the Midnight Hour,” Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Here We Are Again (2012)

Personal favorites:

  1. Boundless Love, Cathedrals, Travelin’ Live
  2. He Is Mine, Greater Vision, It’s Just Like Heaven
  3. What We Needed, Kingdom Heirs, True to the Call
  4. We Shall See Jesus, Cathedrals, A Farewell Celebration
  5. We Will Stand Our Ground, Kingdom Heirs, We Will Stand Our Ground
  6. I Have Passed Over Into Canaanland, Kingdom Heirs, The Journey Home
  7. Called In Called Up Called Out, Mark Trammell Trio, Always Have a Song
  8. Homeland, Greater Vision, 20 Inspirational Favorites
  9. Let Me Bring Your Children Home, Mark Trammell Trio, Once Upon a Cross
  10. High and Lifted Up, Cathedrals, High and Lifted Up
  11. He Rose Again, Greater Vision, Serving a Risen Savior
  12. Since Jesus Touched Me, Gold City, Are You Ready?
  13. God Made It, Kingdom Heirs, City of Light
  14. Even Thomas Couldn’t Doubt It, Mark Trammell Trio, Once Upon a Cross
  15. God Has Provided a Lamb, Greater Vision, Serving a Risen Savior
  16. Master Builder, Cathedrals, Master Builder
  17. Crown Him King, Inspirations, The Son Came Down
  18. Of Thee I Sing, Greater Vision, The King Came Down
  19. It’s Jesus, Mark Trammell Trio, Something Good
  20. He Already Sees, Collingsworth Family, We Still Believe


I could go on and on, but I’ll stop at twenty.  What are some of your favorites by this hero of the faith?  What do you think of when you think “Dianne Wilkinson song”?


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  1. You know well the extent to which I share your regard for her. 🙂 With being right about to head into work, I don’t have the time to do a full breakdown, but some compared statistics:

    Unique songs: 192
    Total songs (including duplicates): 309

    Oldest: “Behold the Lamb,” Songmasters, 1976

    Newest: “The Church Will Overcome,” The Talleys, 2012

    Most of a single song:
    Boundless Love – 10
    Master Builder – 7
    We Shall See Jesus – 7
    That Little Baby – 6
    Homeland – 6
    He is Mine – 5

    1. Very impressive, Daniel. Would love to hear which songs in particular are special to you, if you are so inclined to share. 🙂

      1. I don’t think there is a way I could narrow the list down to 20! That said, of course, “We Shall See Jesus” would certainly be top 3, and I rather suspect “We Will Stand Our Ground” also would.

        At the present instant, if I had to round out a top 3, I might round it out by making it a trio of Ws, with “When Mercy Came Down.”

        1. “When Mercy Came Down” is one of those songs I was thinking about when I talked about her describing the salvation work. “I Am Free” is another one like that. You have anything to add on that aspect of her songwriting, or will you just say I’m right? 🙂

  2. Dianne Wilkinson is not only a great songwriter but a sweet lady! We’ve corresponded some, and she’s just the sweetest, most encouraging person you can imagine.

    I’ll always think of her rousing intro to “We Will Stand Our Ground” at NQC last year when I think of what this generation of evangelicals needs to hold fast and remember.

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