During my recent trip to visit my mom I decided to listen exclusively to country music on the radio. I have always been a fan of this music genre- especially the older stuff- but had not listened to it very much recently. I must say that I was impressed at the core values that most of the songs I heard expressed. As I took in these proclamations of faith and family- I must admit- the cynic in me was saying that it was all just a Nashville ploy to get folks like me to buy the CDs. But that cynicism gave way and I soon found myself getting lost in the touching lyrics and the sweet sounds of the steel guitar.
A good number of the songs focused on family and seemed to target the dad/daughter relationship. The current king of country music, George Strait, has a wonderful song out entitled I Saw God Today which celebrates the birth of a baby girl. Rodney Atkins in Come On In Boy sings about cleaning his gun as he talks to his daughter’s date. Ole Achy Breaky Billy Ray Cyrus and his mega-teen-star daughter, Miley, sing a very tender duet entitled Ready, Set, Don’t Go about the bittersweet leaving-the-nest period. And Chuck Wicks song, Stealing Cinderella, made me go all mushy as I heard it for the first time. I could not help but think about my two precious little girls- Taylor and Jordan.
In that same vein, Trace Adkins sings about how You’re Gonna Miss This when special moments with family- even the challenging ones- are a part of your past and not your present. Like Charlene Darling, that one made me cry too.
I particularly enjoyed Alan Jackson’s latest- Small Town Southern Man. Being a small-town southern man it connected. I have known and respected quite a few men who “bowed their head to Jesus and stood for Uncle Sam.”
Two songs in particular are still lingering in certain parts of my heart.
Brooks and Dunn’s haunting God Must Be Busy visits the often problematic question of God’s presence in an destructive, violent world. It is definitely worth a listen.
And then there is the amazing vocal sound of Jennifer Nettles in Sugarland’s Stay. You can literally feel the pain and the empowerment of the woman on the wrong end of a love-affair with a married man as she comes to realize the hopelessness of her adulterous situation.
I did hear a few oldies and a couple of newer songs with the more traditional drinking, loving and leaving themes of country music but they were in the minority.
On this trip I discovered the theology of country music- and it was pretty solid.