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Mar 19 2014

Forget Christian Rock, Have Some Christian Country

If there’s anything in the world worse than Christian rock music, it would have to be Christian country music (yes, that’s often redundant. John Hagee’s even dumber son Matthew apparently fancies himself a country music singer. To be fair, it isn’t any worse than Garth Brooks. Video below the fold. You’re welcome.

43 comments

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  1. 1
    David Hart

    I must put in a good word for Sixteen Horsepower and their singer’s later project Wovenhand.
    Definitely Christian; definitely a fusion of rock and old-timey Americana; very compelling.

    Of course, the difference might be that it’s extremely gothic, spooky minor-key stuff, full of fire and brimstone. You don’t get a lot of fire and brimstone in mainstream country music.

  2. 2
    dean

    That is bad, but: several years ago my sister-in-law asked if our son liked christian rock. I told her no, he thought it was awful. She gave him a christian jazz cd for his birthday. Worst gift (and worst music) ever.

  3. 3
    cycleninja

    Ed, remember Bill Hicks’ routine about the kid adopted by a Christian family and begging to be adopted by the family of Satanists down the street because they had better albums?

  4. 4
    Doug Little

    I like rebellion in my music, sucking up to an imaginary patriarch doesn’t cut it no matter what the flavor and I think misses the point entirely.

  5. 5
    sh3baproject

    @2 you must not heard christian rap. i already didnt like rap,but when i heard christain rap i threw out the cd and stomped on it.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    dingojack

    OK, OK more folk than country – but how about this” as a rebuttal? :)
    Dingo

  8. 8
    scienceavenger

    Meh. I lived through 80′s country: Alabama, Kenny Rogers, The Oak Ridge Boys. Making it [more] Christian couldn’t make it that much worse.

    Now Atheist Country – that would be newsworthy.

  9. 9
    Matt G

    I challenge anyone to find a country song that doesn’t mention God, Jesus, America, guns, trucks or mobile homes.

  10. 10
    Sansgawd

    Putting aside the terribadness of the song…what the fuck does he mean by not adjusting to the world? That seems like really bad advice even for a xtian to give. What am I missing?

  11. 11
    theschwa

    The name of the video should have been “Lens Flare”. It was like 2 Star Trek’s worth of lens flares in a 3 minute video! JJ Abrams, eat your heart out!

  12. 12
    dingojack

    Matty G – How much do I win?
    [
    :) Dingo [Urban dingo's call]

  13. 13
    heddle

    I challenge anyone to find a country song that doesn’t mention God, Jesus, America, guns, trucks or mobile homes.

    I walk the Line, by Johnny Cash

  14. 14
    Modusoperandi

    “Don’t jam those pencils in your ears.”, my parents said. Who’s laughing now?!

  15. 15
    theschwa

    “I challenge anyone to find a country song that doesn’t mention God, Jesus, America, guns, trucks or mobile homes.”

    “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers (you did not include booze in that list!)

  16. 16
    Mobius

    Many years ago I had a chow chow that whenever he heard country music he would start howling along with the music. It was hilarious. I never saw him do it with any other type of music.

    Aroo…roo…roo.

  17. 17
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    @5 You beat me to it. I like me a bit of decent hippery-hoppery but the explicit Christian stuff that I’ve heard… wow, hideous.

    I think that there is a fundamental disconnect in mentality. Hip hop*, like various other music forms (punk and heavy metal also spring to mind) have varying amounts of confrontation and aggression** as a vital part of the music’s make-up. Explicitly Christian varieties of these forms tend to pull these teeth leaving something very bland behind. Most of the Christian acts that translate out of their walled garden tend to be a bit more circumspect***.

    Admittedly I’m a music nut who lives in the UK. I know that the US has a massive Christian entertainment industry with a virtually guaranteed audience (as those acts will be considered safe by parents) but I have absolutely no idea about how it works. I do get the feeling that you can make money easier as a mediocre artist in this field than in the mainstream.

    Also C&W is a very “American” genre – it’s not really relevant here at all. On cursory glance a good number of the artists are very, um, patriotic citizens, as it talks to a specific audience. It’s not surprising that “God & country” turns up.

    * Beyonce et al do not count. In the slightest.

    * Yes, I’m aware of the smoother forms of HH, but even on these the lyrical content is usually somewhat subversive.

    ** And we don’t even want to go in to the whole Insane Clown Posse situation. Influencing violent idiots for 20 years then coming out & saying that they were Christian all along. Er. Riiiight.

  18. 18
    Matt G

    OK, OK, which is a contemporary country song and doesn’t mention booze. Or cigarettes.

  19. 19
    teawithbertrand

    It seems to me that just about all country music is Christian country music. And insufferable.

  20. 20
    teawithbertrand

    Sorry – all CONTEMPORARY country music, that is.

  21. 21
    dingojack

    Try Me Ashleigh Dallas*.

    Not a ciggy, beer, mobile home or dead dog in sight.

    :) Dingo
    ——–
    * Golden Guitar winner at Tamworth Country Music Festival (and Tamworth local) – so definitely country

  22. 22
    beezlebubby

    Quoting Hank Hill from “King of the Hill”, speaking about Christian rock:
    “You’re not making Christianity better, you’re just making rock and roll worse”.

  23. 23
    dean

    you must not heard christian rap.

    No, I have not. I’m guessing I should be extremely grateful.

  24. 24
    Curt Cameron

    scienceavenger wrote:

    Now Atheist Country – that would be newsworthy.

    I give you:

    The Hand of the Almighty by John R. Butler. The audio is NSFW.

  25. 25
    Dexeron

    UGH. Aurally, this is indistinguishable from any of the modern country crap out there today, and that is not a compliment.

    (And hey, I’m speaking as someone with a soft spot for some older country, even stuff up through the 80s. Guilty pleasure, what can I say? But this is right along that same formulaic pop-with-a-twang extruded garbage that plays nowadays on country stations. Just unlistenable.)

    So far as Christian Rap, now you’re giving me bad flashbacks to my born-again days, when I used to unironically listen to DC Talk. :P

  26. 26
    sigurd jorsalfar

    Here’s my idea of good country christian music – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wdF84qS_4o

  27. 27
    dingojack

    this is my idea of the ideal country song.
    ;) Dingo

  28. 28
    theschwa

    (@ #23):
    “No, I have not. I’m guessing I should be extremely grateful.”
    Behold: the worst thing in the world: Christian Side Hug
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa0EtdtPi8w&w=560&h=315

  29. 29
    colnago80

    Re Matt G @ #9

    Good Hearted Woman.

    http://goo.gl/OFoj0D

  30. 30
    David C Brayton

    Would rather listen to that video than those auto play ads on your site.

  31. 31
    Scr... Archivist

    As for atheism in country songs, I was surprised that a big hit recently hinted at it. In the first verse of “Merry-Go-Round”, Kacey Musgraves laments “And it don’t matter if you don’t believe, come Sunday morning / You best be there in the front row like you’re supposed to.”

    ———

    Matt G @9 and @18,

    How about “Emmylou” by First Aid Kit? http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858890937/

    And if we just go by your first set of criteria, Jason Isbell’s “Elephant” is worth a listen.

  32. 32
    bmiller

    David Hart is absolutely right. Wovenhand is AMAZING. I have seen him twice in San Francisco, I find his Calvinist God vile, but one cannot deny the passion in his music.

    There is a whole school of Dark Americana that is pretty awesome, many Christian in ideology. Slim Cessna is pretty amazing. Lilium. Jay Munly. Often more folky and old timey than Wovenhand, which is uniquely dark and awesome. But then, my main genres of music outside Americana are black, doom, and death metal, so….

  33. 33
    sinned34

    I don’t listen to secular country music, so why would I torture myself with Christian country?

    Not all Christian music was completely terrible, and there were a couple of decent metal bands back in the early 1990s. Tourniquet’s “Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance” is about the best example of a Christian metal album that I can think of.

    Musically, most Christian metal was mediocre to bad, but Tourniquet was actually very talented. Ted Kirkpatrick was actually a spectacular drummer.

    Lyrically, Christian metal could actually be alright, so long as the band focused on the dark aspects of Christianity, like blood sacrifice, suffering, Satan’s influence over everything, etc. It’s when they tried the “Jesus loves you” sort of lyrics that it completely lost the right to be considered “metal”.

  34. 34
    Budbear

    I’ve always felt that Christian rock is to rock music as Olive Garden is to Italian cuisine. A pale imitation, bland and forgettable.

  35. 35
    Michael Heath

    heddle writes:

    I walk the Line, by Johnny Cash

    Like a lot of rock fans, I am a huge Johnny Cash fan. A lot of his songs have a religious theme where he’s the only person I expose myself to that preaches at me and where I turn-off my skepticism.

    There’s an honesty with Johnny that makes him a credible, and therefore extremely rare, advocate for Christianity. This dude was sneaky wise and I think, sneaky smart as well.

  36. 36
    Michael Heath

    So I refresh this page and Amazon has a banner ad at the top directing me to its Johnny Cash collection.

  37. 37
    freehand

    Matt G: OK, OK, which is a contemporary country song and doesn’t mention booze. Or cigarettes.
    .
    “The Dogs, They Really Miss You” by the Austin Lounge Lizards. It’s about dogs. (“Molly’s nose is warm and dry, since she sat and watched you pack; She figures that you must be lost, and can’t find your way back.”)
    .
    The Austin Lounge Lizards, BTW, are definitely worth listening to. My favorite of their religious themed- songs is “Can I have All Your Stuff when You’re Dead?”.

  38. 38
    naturalcynic

    There’s always My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Don’t Love Jesus from Jimmy Buffett in 1975 for honky tonk anti-gospel.
    lyrics
    recording

  39. 39
    scienceavenger

    @16 I see your country howling dog and raise you my booming bass purring cat. Never could figure that out, especially since she was afraid of her own shadow otherwise.

    I had a buddy in a college jazz band that did satires on the side, Alphabet Rap, a metal song called “I like Fun”, and a country song called “I’m alone, I’m Drunk and I’m Country”:

    “Every time I hear a country song, it makes me want to die. Seems like every country song’s about some poor drunk guy. I’m gonna crawl inside a bottle, turn on the radio, cuz I’m alone, I’m drunk and I’m countryyyyyyy.”

  40. 40
    sugarfrosted

    Self described “Christian” subgenres tend to be bad, but I always found this odd because there are tons of good songs about Christianity, but the artists don’t describe themselves as “Christian .”

    Like for example “When the Man Comes Around” by Johnnie Cash is good. Is it just the act of attaching “Christian” to the front of it gives them instant credibility so they don’t really have to try that hard? (Also the existence of Christian knock-off bands doesn’t help, such as Petra, the knockoff of STYX.)

  41. 41
    Noadi

    My hands down favorite country song and no God, patriotism, guns, or trucks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOZPBUu7Fro

  42. 42
    danrobinson

    Oh no ya don’t. I’m not putting that shit in my ears.

  43. 43
    dono

    Conversation from years ago:

    Acquaintance: You ever hear so-and-so? He’s probably the best guitarist in Christian rock.
    Dono: That’s like being the prettiest girl in the cellblock.

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