God and Country Music: The Really Attractive False Heaven of Small Town Living

Nick Rynerson

I have written more than one God and Country Music column on the relationship between Nashville and Christianity. And really, you wouldn’t have present-day Nashville without American Christianity. From George Hay's “strictly clean and decent” policy at the Grand Ole Opry to the chorus of Eric Church’s hit ”Like Jesus Does,” religious life has been an important aspect of country music. From an anthropological position, it’s fascinating how this type of popular culture has been a safe haven for rel … [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: Purity & Party in Nashville

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 ain't no angel/I still got a still few more dances with the devil/I’m cleanin up my act, little by little/I’m getting there/I can finally stand the man in the mirror/ I see I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get/But I’m better than I used to be That is how Tim McGraw’s new hit FM Country song “Better Than I Used To Be” starts out. And it is … [Read more...]


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