Grady Smith strikes a chord with me in his article, Country’s Jesus-and-partying crew cheapen both the faith and the music. Cheap lyrics that “play to the crowd” are nothing new, but Jason Isbell’s observations about superficially approaching faith is spot on,
I was struck by the conclusion of Jason Isbell’s feature in GQ last week. ‘I don’t believe all music is good,’ he remarked. ‘I believe some music is bad for people to listen to. I think it makes their taste worse, I think it makes their lives worse, I think it makes them worse people.’ I’d argue that this new wave of songs that use Jesus as little more than a cultural bumper sticker are exactly that kind of bad music. They cheapen faith and wildness alike, and they make both seem less attractive. If you’re going to sing, sing boldly.
Those are convicting words. I truly believe most musicians don’t intend to cheapen their art by playing to the crowd, and in a time when the listener is over-indulging in $.99 singles, it is hard to blame them.
If you are interested in hearing some very honest, and hauntingly beautiful, country music by someone who as gone out of his way to keep his integrity intact, check out John T. Pearson. His album “Last Of The Country Gentlemen” was released in 2011.