God and Country Music: What Hootie Taught Me about Contextualization

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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’ve had a rocky relationship with popular country music over the years. I often find the culture surrounding it to be unapologetically ignorant and the landscape to be littered with really bad songs. However, there seem to be more really, really good songs in pop country than most any other popular genre. I try to approach pop co … [Read more...]

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: The Country Music Culture Wars

Country music, since its inception, has been a (if not the) voice of rural, white Americana. With a musical genealogy to be darn proud of, stretching back to Dock Boggs, the great coal mining banjo player, to the legendary Hank Williams, the king of country music, Country has not only been a voice for the working folks but also a voice against the encroaching modern, urban world. And with the mainstream American culture changing at what seems to be a terrifying, rapid pace, Country music is … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: An Introduction to Country Music & Five-Dollar Albums

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 an “outsider,” country Music looks a bit like what the Church does to a non-Christian: weird, patriotic, and artistically stale. And to be fair, most of the time it is the worst and the craziest that catches the eye of the masses (here’s looking at you Toby Keith and Ed Young). But there is a wealth of great country music just beggi … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Why White Kids Are Eating Up Hip-Hop and 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. http://media.trb.com/media/photo/2009-06/47536143.jpgPicture this scenario in your head: a rich, probably out of touch, record executive writes a song about partying, girls and living the good life and then hands it to the biggest name on his label to record. The song is a major radio hit and becomes everyone’s “favorite song” for ab … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: "I Like Johnny Cash, but I don't like 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. “I like Johnny Cash, but I don’t really like country music”.As a country music nerd, this is a “bridge the gap” response in many a conversation about music. Which, to be fair, who doesn’t love Johnny Cash? He walked the line! His sound is accessible, mystical and pure old time country music. His success has been cross-genre because … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: What are we doing here? The ACM Awards and Evangelicalism

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. The most recent ACM awards have a whole slew of popular Country Music fans (and musicians) with their saddles in a bunch. Some articles have begun to do what I have been doing for years: questioning the state of Country Music today. With KISS performing, Carrie Underwood getting raunchy and Ashton Kutcher getting harassed on Twitter f … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Gillian Welch’s Soul Journey

 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 those familiar with Gillian Welch’s music, it is no stretch to call her music some of the best country music to come out of Nashville in the last fifty years. For those who are not quite as familiar with Welch, you might be surprised to see where she has shown up: all over the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, bac … [Read more...]


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