The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #109: Country Music

General Introduction
– No listener feedback
– Our sister podcasts

Our Stories with Country Music
– West Virginia immigrants
– Neo-Traditionalism
– Country music and the Klan
– The Dixie Chicks’ fall from grace
– Alternative country

The Sources of Country Music
– Transcending race but not class
– The coalescing of Old Time
– Hillbilly music and the recording industry
– (It’s actually Blue Yodel #9)

The Essence of Country Music
– Trap kits, guitars, singing
– Spoken-word country
– Shut your trap set, Gilmour
– Simplicity of structure
– Outsiders and purity

The Purity of Country Music
– With age comes canonicity
– Middle class respectability
– Celebratory or mournful
– Keith Urban has not always been crazy
– Farmer feebly pushes back
– Pardon me, I have someone to kill
– Whence the murder ballad?
– Purity as a marketing strategy
– Reactionary tendencies in country music

The Sociology of Country Music
– Establishing a consumer identity
– Shifts in trends and technology
– Country vs. hip-hop
American Idol as country tastemaker
– The Nashville Sound, Garth Brooks, and alternative country
– Country-rock

The Theology of Country Music
– Is it worth paying attention to?
– How heretical is it?
– Quality vs. purity
– Purposefully marginal positions
– Hip-hop vs. country again
– Country music’s Buddy Christ
– Claiming vegetable divinity with Josh Turner

3 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #109: Country Music

  1. Hey Christian Humanists, glad to have you all podcasting again for the new semester.
    Just wanted to drop a note to say that I have been a pretty big fan for nearly a year now. I started listening after trolling for Reformed theology podcasts (Christ the Center is a favorite) and came across you. I listened because I recognized the name of Nathan’s college (my brother-in-law and sister-in-law David and Austina Jordan teach there as well) and still listen because it is usually interesting. I teach in an independent prep school in Florida and studied environmental history in grad school.
    Any interest in discussing the work of Wendell Berry? As three guys who live in rural areas, I am sure that you would have insights to offer regarding his Christian meditations on community and the interaction of humans and the land.
    Kind regards,
    Osborn

  2. Osborn, thanks for listening!  Austina has indeed told me about you (we’re co-chairs of a committee), and I’m glad you’re writing in!
    I have to admit I’ve not read all that much Berry–I’m aware of him, and he was huge among my seminary friends, but I would have to rely pretty heavily on my co-hosts, if we did that episode.

  3. Fun show guys.  Definitely agree that *marginal* is the key characteristic of “real” country.  Another you didn’t really touch on is an intimate connection to the land/nature.

    Nate, the racism dynamic here in rural CA was different.  The belligerent racists were all metal heads.  Everyone working class (white and hispanic definitely, blacks less so) listened to country.

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