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date: 25 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The key to understanding the vast majority of sacred expression in country music is understanding the gospel song and the religious developments for which it was the primary musical outlet. By the time the country market was established, gospel song had undergone a century or more of development. Changes in sacred country music, moreover, tracked the changes in gospel song. The earliest songs were northern product of the sort produced by Fanny Crosby. As southern production grew, songs such as those by Albert E. Brumley were added. And country artists themselves wrote new gospel songs. In the 1950s, country artists began incorporating gospel songs written by African Americans such as Thomas A. Dorsey. From the late 1960s, contemporary Christian songs and semisacred ballads were added to the mix. But country music also includes non-Christian sacred expression. John Anderson’s “Seminole Wind” evokes the animism of Native American cultures.

Keywords: sacred, gospel song, Christianity, mysticism, animism, African American, contemporary Christian, semisacred, Bristol, nationalism

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