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What’s special about Christmas and Country Music?

Posted by Chance on July 4, 2011

Some of this stuff I’ve touched on before, in this post, but I wanted to explore it a little bit more.

In mainstream music, there seems to be a strong divide between secular and Christian music.  There’s the Christian category in music, then there’s everything else.  There’s a few artists, like Switchfoot and P.O.D. that started out in the Christian genre but now have their feet in both sectors of the music industry, or other groups that play secular music but have Christian members, such as U2 and Lifehouse, but they seem to differ from the norm.  For the artists that do exist in both spheres, they are constantly analyzed to determine whether or not they are truly “Christian”.

Such a distinction does not seem to exist in country and Christmas music realms.  Artists like Carrie Underwood sing unabashedly about their faith, but there seems to be much less debate about whether Underwood is a Christian or secular artist.  It’s quite normal for any country artist to sing about their faith or put God in a song, and it’s not a huge deal.  Why does such a huge divide not exist.

A similar thing exists with Christmas music.  It is not unusual for a Christian station to play secular Christmas songs, or a secular Christmas song to sing  an overwhelmingly spiritual Christmas song.

I’m not sure why such a heavy distinction exists in mainstream pop/rock, but not in country.  The only theory I have is that perhaps country music is composed primarily of middle America culturally conservative type people where faith is a big part of their lives, and there’s no separation between their faith and the rest of their life.  But I know the same has to be true for some rock groups as well.  Is there something different about Nashville, and that where a person records (i.e. Nashville vs. L.A.) that makes such a huge difference?  Is it that most rock groups come from big cities, which tend to be more culturally liberal and less involved in faith/religion?

Even then, these theories discuss why the secular stays away from the religious in rock, but why does the religious stay away from the secular?  Do groups that are composed of Christians feel pressure to focus on “Christian” music?  Is this an effect of the “Christian Bubble” in which sometimes Christians want to stay?

Anyway, just thinking out loud.  Brant Hansen, formerly of the Way-FM radio station – I don’t know what he’s doing these days – has some interesting thoughts on the distinction of sacred vs. secular in music, and how these lines are “blurry”.

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One Response to “What’s special about Christmas and Country Music?”

  1. […] Link: What's special about Christmas and Country Music? « Zoo Station […]

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