God and Country Music: Shovels & Rope’s Punk-Rock, Incidental Spirituality

SHOVELS-_-ROPE_CURTIS-WAYNE-MILLARD

As a writer who covers predominately alt-country, Americana, and folk music, I say to my shame that I didn't know who Shovels & Rope were until they won Best Song and Best Upcoming Artist last month at the 2013 Americana Awards. Maybe you don’t either, so let me introduce you.Shovels & Rope is the alt-country project of Charleston, SC based husband and wife duo, Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. They've made the rounds—touring with the likes of Hayes Carll, Justin Townes Earle, and t … [Read more...]

God and Country: Echoes of the Church in American Music

O Brother Where In the World Are Youuu

Church history is a vital subject for any serious student of theology. Without church history, we don’t have a historical framework for the development of liturgical styles, church music, culture, and doctrine. Church history is not confined to pews and hymnals, though; because of the seeping nature of Christianity, Church history interacts with and affects everything around it. When the dots are connected, sacred and secular prove to be moot terms in the scope of history. Culture and s … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: “Sin City,” 40 Years after Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons

In God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music.The world of Alternative Country has certain sacred anchors. These “anchors” are songs, people, and places that act as staples of identity for the fluid genre. Places like Bristol (the site of the famous 1927 Bristol Sessions) and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. People like Gram Parsons. And songs like "Sin City."Gram Parsons is particularly important to Alternative Country music. … [Read more...]

God And Country Music: New Avett Brothers Album Means Only Good Things

14313-0133_r1

Yesterday, the Avett Brothers announced a new single and an upcoming album, Magpie and the Dandelions. After only about a year since their last release, The Avett Brothers are cranking out another album and that is good news for fans because, really, a bad Avett Brothers album is still a good album. Their last album The Carpenter was a bad Avett Brothers album compared to 2009’s I And Love And You or 2004’s Mignonette, but it still has some of the most beautiful songs of 2012 on it. Really, it's … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: The Musical Stylings of the Film Mud

NICK

Earlier this month, my wife and I got the chance to see Mud, a film by one of my favorite directors, Jeff Nichols. Mud is a Huckleberry Finn-like narrative set on the banks of the Mississippi in small town Arkansas. Told through the lens of fourteen-year-old Ellis (Tye Sheridan), who, along with his buddy ‘Neckbone’, finds a boat in a tree on an island in the middle of the Mississippi. Living in that boat is a man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) with crosses in his boots to ward off evil spirits … [Read more...]

God & Country Music: The New Jason Isbell

isbell

I was fourteen when I first heard Jason Isbell. When he was still with the Drive-By Truckers in 2004, “Goddamn Lonely Love” was on one of those CDs that used to come good music magazines. I knew I had found something special. For a teenager looking for a world to relate to, Jason Isbell’s songs were just what I didn’t know I was looking for.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4LDjo8ltl4Isbell is an unusual kind of songwriter. Starting out with the Drive-By Truckers a little over a decade ago, … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Jay Nash’s Letters From The Lost

Jay Nash’s new album Letters From The Lost came out Tuesday. Recorded in a home studio in Vermont, the album has a cozy “antique mall” rustic charm about it. Letters From The Lost is accessible New England folk/Americana. You should check it out, you know, if you're into accessible New England folk/Americana.... … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: What Makes a Record Great. ‘Rattlin’ Bones’ after Five Years

abs4kz

Each week in God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson gives country music a chance and examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music.I listen to a lot of music, especially Americana music. And I am usually not too terribly particular when it comes to tossing something into the CD rotation in my truck. Most records come and go within a few weeks, but some stick around for weeks on end. I can’t always say what makes a record different for me. Sometimes it’s just outr … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Ronnie Fauss and the Narrative Heart of No Depression

Each week in God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson gives country music a chance and examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music.Great Americana music isn’t too difficult to find, at least if you are searching for it. Not because there is an abundance of it but because you can tell who gets Americana music (or No Depression) by looking at their influences and the bands they cover. And slowly, one great artist will lead you to another great artist and so on. If … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Ivan & Alyosha

ivan_alyosha

Each week in God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson gives country music a chance and examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music.Yesterday, Seattle folk-pop band Ivan & Alyosha released their debut album, All the Times We’ve Had. Now, I’ve got to confess, I am hooked on this band right now so everything I say is in the context of “gushing fan.” However, Ivan & Alyosha have something special to offer the American music scene. And with the rising populari … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X