Many famous country artists started singing in church and have gospel roots. It’s not surprising, then, that those same artists have incorporated messages of faith into mainstream country albums or made complete gospel records.
Country superstars like Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Loretta Lynn, Brad Paisley and Johnny Cash are all stellar examples.
Beyond crossovers, though, is the fact a lot of country artists sing mainstream songs with a strong message, or that tell a story of faith. So, as Christians consider uplifting songs and artists to download into their playlist, there are a plethora of past and present country music options to consider.
Crossovers and collaborations are everywhere in the music industry today. Lots of country stars have crossed over into pop music and vice versa.
Rap stars have collaborated with pop and R&B artists and contemporary Christian artists like Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant and MercyMe have scored massive hits on Pop radio. MercyMe had their song about standing before Jesus in Heaven, “I Can Only Imagine,” peak at No. 5 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Carrie Underwood, who is one of the most successful and highly decorated American Idol winners, is a professed Christian and one of the most successful crossover artists of the past decade. Not only did she record a song that directly speaks to a woman turning to Jesus as her life flashes before her eyes in the smash hit, “Jesus Take the Wheel,” but she also won a Gospel Music Association Dove Award for it in 2006 for Country Recorded Song of the Year.
Multiple Grammy winner Alan Jackson released “Precious Memories” which was filled with traditional gospel songs in 2006 and it topped Billboard’s Country Album chart. His second complete gospel album, Precious Memories Volume II was released in March, 2013 it went to number two on Billboard’s Country Album chart and number one on Billboard’s Christian Album chart.
Likewise, contemporary Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman released a country album Deep Roots in 2013. And there are several artists dubbed in the Christian country genre including Diamond Rio and Point of Grace.
Songs with Displays of Faith
There is an extensive list of country songs featuring obvious displays of faith including Brad Paisley’s “When I Get Where I’m Going,” “Ordinary Angels” by Craig Morgan; “Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road” and “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw. Season four winner of The Voice Danielle Bradbery is a Christian and also performed “Jesus Take the Wheel” during her time on the show. This was a huge show of faith to her young teenage fan base.
Overall, any time God, the Lord, Jesus, faith, prayers or the Bible is mentioned an artist is taking a stand for Christianity. Country artists do this all the time and this is a great way to witness to a broad range of both mainstream and Christian listeners.
The Stories of Our Lives
Overall, country songs are known for telling all kinds of slice of life stories, many of which are about people overcoming heartache and hardship and finding a way to push through it and move on.
While many of these are not specifically faith-based, the lyrics feature positive or uplifting songs with a strong moral center. Lots of the songs feature family and family relationships and how a family’s love or a parental bond weathers all kinds of storms and virtually can’t be broken.
A shining example of one of these songs is Lee Ann Womack’s huge hit “I Hope You Dance,” admonishing a child (or someone close to you) to go for what they really want in life and live life to the fullest. Another song in which a father expresses his love for his children is “I’m Already There,” by Lonestar. Some of the lyrics can be paralleled to how God, the Father, is always there for His children, even though we can’t see him he’s there like “the whisper in the wind” and “an imaginary friend.”
While some country songs still talk about cheatin’ hearts and drinkin’ whiskey, the number of positive, uplifting or faith-based country tracks is very large and only getting bigger as emerging new artists like Danielle Bradbery add their inspirational songs to the mix.
So, Christians have plenty of country titles to peruse in the search for quality music to enjoy and add to their collection. Don’t be shy and check it out if you haven’t already!