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Christian and Country Music

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Christian and Country Music
Debra Blackwelder
April 1, 2012
Sherri Shadle

Christian and Country Music

Chanting and singing hymnals were the earliest form of Christian music. In about the year 112, (Today, 1/01) Roman Christians would chant verses from the bible in honor of Christ. Back then it was hard for some to distinguished early Christian poetry from hymns. The earliest hymnbook was published in America in 1737. During the eighteenth century, hymnbooks did not include musical notes. It was not until 1831 that musical notes were added to hymnals. (Townsend, 7/01) On the other hand, Country music started evolving rapidly in the 1920s and had originally started in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. Its roots came from traditional folk, Celtic, gospel, and old-time music. The evolution of country and Christian music comes from deep-rooted sounds of Christian worship. Columbia Records began issuing records with “hillbilly” music as early as 1924. (Aces and Eights, n.d.) During the 1930s and 1940s “Western” songs were popularized by films made in Hollywood. In 1939, country musicians began recording boogie. The trickle of what was initially called Hillbilly Boogie was later called Country Boogie became a flood around late 1945 and lasted until 1950s. By the end of World War II “mountaineer” string band music known as bluegrass had emerged. In this period country music was called folk in the trade and hillbilly within the industry. In 1944, the term hillbilly was replaced with fold songs and blues and later switched to country or country and western in 1949. Although 1956 could be called the year of rockabilly with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash and this is when drums started to be used. The late 1960s, the return of the old values of Rock-n-Rock and the lack of enthusiasm in the country sector, a crossbreed genre known as Country Rock resulted. Other offspring of this initial blending were Southern Rock, Heartland Rock, and Alternative Country. In the 1970s, Country Pop or soft pop with roots in both the country sound and soft rock emerged. In 1980, a style called Neo-Country disco music was popularized by the movie “Urban Cowboy”. In mid-1990s, Country music was influenced by the popularity of line dancing. In 2000, several Rock and Pop stars even ventured into Country when Alison Krauss sang backup for Richard Marx. The instruments used in Christian and Country music are very similar in today’s times but were not in the beginning. The first instruments in early biblical times were the timbrel, or tambourine, organ, the harp, and even string instruments. Daniel 3:5 says that at the time you hear sounds of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image the King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. From there, they were replaced with electric instruments when Christian music started to become and industry within itself. Unlike Christian music, Country music consisted of several different instruments. Some of the first ones used were the autoharp, banjo, bass, harmonica, fiddle, and piano. It was not until the genre starts to change that the instruments changed. Although now, both Christian and Country musicians use the same instruments like the acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar, and drums. A lot of them also use a keyboard instead of a piano. Christian music invoked images of church choirs singing hymnal with pipe organs or piano. Christian music has gone further that the church and has spent the last 30+ years evolving and growing. In the 1970s, the “Jesus Movement” was when things really started to change. (Jones, n.d.) Pipe organs were replaced with electric guitars and drums. Hymnals were replaced by lyrics that speak of the times. Artists that wanted to make music of the times had to go against tradition and make sacrifices. They incorporated the words of God into the lyrics into today’s Contemporary Christian music and Christian Rock. By the 1980s, Rock-n-Roll, and Heavy Metal music were finding a home in the world of Christian music. The 1990s was an even broader scope with Rap, Rock, Metal, Urban Gospel, Contemporary Country, and Pop. Even with the entire different genres, they still have one thing in common and that is that they speak of God. Whether you are listening to Christian or Country music they both make people feel from their souls. Whether you are in church, in your car, or at the store, when we hear songs that we know we start to sing along. Sometimes we do not even need to know the song to move with the music and start dancing.

Aces and Eights. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Jones, K. (n.d.). The Changing Face of Christian Music. Retrieved from
Nelson, T. (2001). Holy Bible. San Jose, CA: Author.
Today, C. (1/01/1993). Christianity History. Retrieved from
Townsend, D. (7/01/1991). The Golden Age of Hymns. Retrieved from

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