The vast majority of the world is religious. Over two billion people are Christians and this is something very often reflected in good, old-fashioned American country music, whether the classic stuff from legends like Hank Williams, or even with today’s modern country radio hits, such as Blake Shelton with “God’s Country.” There are a multitude of hit country songs that are written about God, Jesus, and religious themes in general. But why is that?
There are likely a multitude of reasons for why people who worship God decide to put voice to those beliefs in the form of music, especially hit country music. There are a lot of fantastic songwriters out there who write religious-themed music, and it’s not necessarily in a “Christian” category. This is the sort of music that can appeal to everyone. For instance, one of Alan Jackson’s all-time greatest hits, “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Tuning),” was deeply religious in context yet appealing enough to a mass audience wrapping their heads around a tragedy. So there isn’t any one reason per se; it really depends on one’s mood, and the success of the song usually depends on the talent of the songwriter.
Here are a few reasons why people decide to pen religious lyrics.
Why So Many People Write Religious Songs
1. Faith and Belief
Not everyone with deeply held religious convictions decides to tell the world all about it. Some people are very private and personal in their worship and devotion. Others, however, especially hit country music songwriters, take the opportunity to express their beliefs. Not necessarily to spread the word always, though you have to understand that songwriters need topics. You can take all the songwriting classes and courses in the world, but unless you have compelling topics about which to write, well, the writing won’t likely be good enough for radio to pick it up.
2. Homage to Their God
In the same vein as the previous reason, many of these country music songwriters wish to pay homage to their God. They want the world to know that they love and respect God and have a personal relationship that’s deep and meaningful to them. Just like a songwriter penning a hit country song about his or her lover, or some heartbreak they experienced, because they want the world to hear it too, a lot of religious songwriters feel the same way and want to pay homage.
3. It’s a Popular Expression
\As we stated up top, Christianity is very popular around the globe, and especially in the United States, which is the hub of country music – its birthplace. So imagine you’re a hit country songwriter, or you’re taking some songwriting classes in hopes you may one day be. What are you going to write about that’s popular and that will get people’s attention? One surefire, tried and true topic is to touch on religious themes. For instance, imagine a song about receiving email from God.. How cool is that as a premise? It’s very intriguing and makes you want to hear what it’s all about, and many songwriters are aware of this and want to write about these popular, intriguing topics.
4. Religious Music Sells
Part of the reason it’s such a popular expression goes beyond the fact that so many people worship and has to do a lot with the market around country music. Whether it’s pop country, modern radio hit country, or any sort of off-shoot of the genre, religious themes are always selling big with true fans of country music. Past, present, and likely in the future, these trends are pretty much steady across the board. County music fans really appreciate religious-themed music.
5. It’s Cathartic
“Cathartic” is an adjective that denotes psychiatric relief. It’s like easing the burden, or taking the weight off one’s shoulders. For many Christians out there who are also songwriters in the country music genre, writing about religious themes is the ideal way for them to release some of their tension that’s building up and to ease their burdens by venting out their poetry onto a page. For many Christians, their angst and other emotions are directly tied up with their religion, so they write about God as a way to express other emotions.
No matter what your individual reasons, if you’re a great country music songwriter, then you’ll always find a reason to write about things you love. It just so happens that religious-themed music still does very well on modern country radio, and it might be a topic worth exploring.