The March 22 issue of Towers has a bit of a twang in its tune. The most recent issue of the Southern Seminary newspaper spotlights country music, including its relationship to the Southern Baptist Convention; its impact on, and reflection of, American culture; and connections to the country music world. Below is an interview on country music I did with Jeff Robinson. How long have you been a country music
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You may never have seen Adam Dorsey, but chances are you’ve heard him. Adam was a country music songwriter with a successful career in the industry. He penned the words to the song, “That’s What I Love about Sundays,” a chart-topping song recorded by Craig Morgan. Adam left his musical career behind him when he followed a call to ministry here in the School of Theology at Southern Seminary.
Or so he thought.
Adam and I had a lot to talk about, given my lifelong love for country music. He once sheepishly approached me after class to say that he had attended a Country Music Association awards show in Nashville, and that his primary goal was to get an personalized autograph for his Dean from one of the artists whose music I love: Charley Pride, maybe, or George Jones, or Loretta Lynn.
Adam was embarrassed to say that the only musician he could get close enough to was a newcomer to the world of Hank and Willie. Adam handed me the autograph, which reads, “To Dr. Moore, Livin’ on a Prayer, Jon Bon Jovi.” I was shot through the heart. And Adam demonstrated that maybe his days of influence on Music Row were coming to an end.
Since then, though, Adam’s found a new kind of influence. Not long ago Adam and his family moved to Newfoundland in Canada to plant a new Baptist congregation there. This economically-distressed part of Canada could not seem more distant from the sequins and lights of the Grand Ole Opry.
Whenthe typical American thinks of Nashville, he is more likely to think of theGrand Ole Opry than the LifeWay Christian Resources headquarters. And yet, sociologically speaking, the multi-billion dollar country music industry shares some common roots with the various streams of southern religion. Thus, the worldview assumptions behind southern folk music and southern folk religion are sometimes bewildering, even to those familiar with both. How can artists like Willie Nelson