New music, for the season…
Reading the story that is country music is quite fascinating. The core of the genre derives from hard working folks who conveyed their faith by singing about better days.
The birthplace of country music, the Ryman Auditorium, was once home to the Union Gospel Tabernacle from its opening in 1892 until 1904. Beginning in 1943 until 1974 it played host to the ever popular show, "The Grand Ole Opry." Although the show is hosted at its own venue, it returns to the Ryman several times per year to honor its origin.
Many of the artists in country music, began their careers by singing at their local churches. So it is within reason, that most entertainers consider the Ryman the rightful home of Country Music.
Hard core fans of country, know and understood its pure foundation. Garth Brooks was one entertainer who invited and initiated fans from other genres to seek country music. These cross-over fans may have helped prolong the life of the genre, however, they lacked the understanding of its humble beliefs.
A few years ago, a subscriber sent an e-mail to Strictly Country stating that we cover more Gospel music than country. In his ignorance, he failed himself from enjoying the true nature of the genre.
It is almost like a right of passage as an entertainer is called to record a Gospel album. A true music aficionado understands that when an artist reaches a certain status within their career, they will return to their roots and record the music they desired to record all along.
Throughout country music, many entertainers paid tribute to their religious foundations and beliefs, by recording Gospel albums. Some of these entertainers include Eddy Arnold, Hank Locklin, Barbara Mandrell, Charlie Daniels, Dolly Parton, Alabama, Johnny Cash, LeAnn Rimes and even Alan Jackson. Some entertainers began as Gospel artists and then traversed into the country music scene; like The Oak Ridge Boys and The Statler Brothers.
In our twenty-six plus years in the industry, we have seen entertainers who failed in their musical careers then turned towards Gospel music to revive their lost career. It is one thing to create several Gospel albums that include inspiring non-traditional original tunes. But when an entertainer opens a hymnal and releases record after record of notable traditional religious music, that is nothing more than an act for financial gain. We have seen many entertainers, like Randy Travis, destroy their careers even further with this act of worshiping mammon rather than honoring their deity.
No matter which way you put it, Gospel music plays a bigger roll in country music than one might think. Many artists, like Craig Morgan, will include at least one non-traditional Gospel song within each of their projects. These songs often become fan favorites, even though radio refuses to air them.
One of the best Gospel albums that has graced our offices here at Strictly Country was released in 2013 by Gordon Mote. Mote, a well known session musician, released his All Things New album that featured thirteen incredible songs including "Meanwhile Back At The Cross," "Faith Like That," "The Other Side" and "When I Rise." To this date we still consider it one of the most inspirational non-traditional Gospel albums of all time. (Read more on our website.)
Each year we are honored with an album or two that reminds us to renew our our relationships with our deities. This past year we were graced with the following…
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