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 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: 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 and Country Music: The Ethical Dilemma of Nashville Ghost Writing

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.Today, and really for the last half century, much of popular music has not been written by the performers. And in all genres of popular music, and country in particular, ghostwriting has turned into a legitimate profession. Let’s look at it this way, just about every country song that you have heard on the radio in the last twenty ye … [Read more...]


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