God and Country Music: The Wise Blood of American Music

Wise-Blood

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.To know the music of a society is to know that society. While much musical analysis is focused on the music itself, music tells a story much bigger than can be contained in the meter of a song. I once had a professor who said, “Music was the language of the soul.” Even the mass produced popular music of the FM stations is telling a st … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: What It Sounds Like and the Weird Categories of Americana/Folk Grammys

grammys2013

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.Americana/Folk has always been a fluid, hard-to-define genre. It's almost best defined as the-genre-for-music-with-guitars-that-can’t-fit-nicely-into-any-other-genre. And maybe that’s the way it should be for a genre significantly less touched by commercialism than other headline-Grammy-nomination-genres.Recent redefinitions of Gr … [Read more...]

How Mumford Stays True

Mumford & Sons

What can often happen -- both inside and outside the Church -- is that the thread of authenticity becomes confused with cultural similarities.Today, the biggest name in Americana music is undoubtedly Mumford & Sons. Despite having released only two albums so far, they've reached a level of success that few Americana bands have, making waves in the Top 40 circuit and selling over two million albums in two years. They've sold out shows throughout the country and have catapulted into the … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: The Gentrification of Country Music?

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. For a time, American folk music was for the poor by the poor, written to escape the hardships and express the pain of rural brokenness. From this pain came the blues in the black community and bluegrass in the white community. Both of these styles reached the deepest and darkest places of the American landscape and made country m … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: The Anatomy of a Country Song

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.  Country music is all about formula. It fits a mold that makes it stand out from any other genre. It’s got a certain sound that represents a certain group of people in a certain place. Ever since mountain people got their hands on a banjo and Roy Acuff had a twang in his voice it’s been like that. Structure makes a country song “good” or … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Drive-By Truckers and Narrative Identification

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. If you want a cup of coffee, you go to Starbucks. If you want to mail an envelope, you go to the post office. If you want to see a good movie, you watch something with Ryan Gosling in it. And if you want to hear a good story, you listen to the Drive-By Truckers; at least that is where my mind goes. The Drive-By Truckers are an a … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: In Memory of Levon Helm

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. This week, rock and roll (and especially the Americana/folk stream) lost one of its greatest voices. The legendary Mark “Levon” Helm finally lost his long battle with throat cancer at the age of 71.Who?Levon Helm was the drummer and key vocalist for the folk-rock powerhouse, The Band, for which he was a constant for three decad … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: 'No Depression' in Heaven

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. Alternative Country music has had a difficult time defining itself over the last few decades. Like most genres it is made up of sub-genres and everybody has their own sound and each band has different influences and vision. Because of this, fans and bands answer cow-punk to Americana to rockabilly to alt-country to ‘sort of blu … [Read more...]


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