From “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down” to “God Bless the USA” Country music has always been a strange mix of heart-land Christian values and drunken rabble rousing. Over the past several years, however, several artists have started to completely sever the music from its Church roots and have begun to create a completely new genre of agnostic and even atheistic Country music. The dress has become increasingly provocative and the lyrics less and less rooted in traditional values.
I began thinking about these issues several years ago while attending a songwriting workshop in Nashville. A group of successful songwriters and producers were listening to new songs by several of us who were trying to break into the industry. One of the songs that was presented was ostensibly a Christian song, but it contained a large amount of New Age imagery. One of the panelist explained to the writer that while it had many good attributes, it would never work in the Christian market because of the nature of the lyrics. The writer replied something to the effect that he was not surprised as he wasn’t sure if “you Christians” would get it.” I remembered thinking at the time, if you aren’t one of us, then why are you trying to write and sell songs into the Christian market?