Country Music’s Culture War

Gene Edward Veith has an interesting column in last week’s edition of WORLD Magazine titled “Country Music’s Culture War“. In this article, Veith discusses the apparently conflicted soul of country music past and present. In the present this conflict is seen on the record charts as “celebrations of sin stand next to exaltations of grace.” One one hand, there is “Honky Tonk Badonkanonk” by Trace Adkins which Veith describes as “an insufferably vulgar bar song.” On the other hand is last year’s American Idol winner Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” (lyrics, audio clip) and Brad Paisley’s “When I Get Where I’m Going” (lyrics, audio clip).

Veith’s conclusion to his article is a telling description of how “Country Music’s Culture War” mirrors America’s culture war in miniature. He writes:

Country music has always been about both honky tonks and church, cheatin’ and family values. It is a window into the lives and culture of ordinary Americans. Moral license and cultural decay are indeed afflicting America’s heartland, as evident in the unwed pregnancies, divorce, substance abuse, and despair that are chronicled both in government statistics and in country music songs. But at least some of these red-state sinners know where to turn for forgiveness, grace, and a new life.

By the way, if you don’t already know it, WORLD Magazine is a great source for the Christian seeking to think “Christianly” about current events and culture. Check it out!

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