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 Salvation of George Jones

George-Jones-608x416

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 passing of George Jones this past week brought about a storm of nostalgic tribute from NPR and The New York Times and even Russell Moore. And at this point, there isn’t much that can be said that hasn’t been. Jones (or “The Possum”) was one of the most influential musicians in 20th century American Country. His distinct style was … [Read more...]

Pour Me Something Stronger: Nashville’s Addictions

Nashville-Ryman

In the first of many great songs performed on the TV show Nashville, shy ingenue Scarlett (Clare Bowen) sings about her obviously unworthy on-again-off-again boyfriend Avery (Jonathan Jackson): Stop saying those sweet things You know I'd like to hear The horns are blowing louder And they're destroying meWhy do I keep drinking Wasting my time on you If I didn't know better Well, dammit, I do ... You might as well be the devil Oh keeping me out past three Oh you're the one with that … [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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