God and Country Music: Stories and Reformation in Outlaw Country

In God and Country Music, Nick Rynerson examines the world of Americana, folk, alt-country, and popular country music.Ever since Hank Williams got kicked out of The Grand Ole Opry, country music has been outlaw music. Well, country music has been a big stew of church songs, traditional rural folk tunes, western cowboy, and ruff, unruly outlaw music. But the outlaw mentality has been one of country music’s most prominent and continual threads.Outlaw country, as a genre, came into its own i … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: Traditionalism as a Shadow of Reconciliation

Music journalist Greil Marcus believes that you can understand a culture if you understand its music. And while statistics are about as reliable as Firestone Tires on Ford Explorers, research has shown that 42 percent of the American population listens to country music. This means that out of every ten blokes you’ll meet, at least four of them probably love that high and lonesome sound. So according to Greil Marcus’ school of thought (and mine, and you know, a lot of people), what is being said i … [Read more...]

Transfiguration Avenue: Michael Chabon and Relearning to See the World

The first reason and last reason for reading Michael Chabon is his prose style. We can start on page one: A white boy rode flatfoot on a skateboard, towed along, hand to shoulder, by a black boy pedaling a brakeless fixed-gear bike. Dark August morning, deep in the Flatlands. Hiss of tires. Granular unraveling of skateboard wheels against asphalt. Summer-time Berkeley giving off her old-lady smell, nine different styles of jasmine and a squirt of he-cat. This opening paragraph models Chabon’s o … [Read more...]

How Mumford Stays True

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: 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...]

When Games Matter: Arkham City and Seamless Storytelling

When Games Matter is a weekly exploration by Drew Dixon of meaningful moments in games. Operating under the assumption that games do in fact matter, Drew seeks to highlight those moments that have much to say to say about who we are and the world we live in.If you really examine the story of many of the most successful videogames you will find that they ask a great deal of the player. When playing the average triple AAA title, the player must constantly to suspend her disbelief so as to … [Read more...]