Country Faith: The Heart and Soul of Country Music

Love songs have no season. The newest album release in the Country Faith series, Love Songs, is a testament to that.

With her start in television production and as an on-air radio personality in Shreveport, author Deborah Evans Price moved to Nashville more than 30 years ago. Her resume includes a number of editorial positions: Country News magazine, American Songwriter, Billboard, Country Weekly, AOL’s The Boot, (Gospel Music Channel), People Country, CMA Close Up and more. Price is a noted country and Christian music historian. She is on the Gospel Music Association’s Board of Directors, along with being a graduate of Leadership Music.

A perfect storm of music and faith lead the CMA Award-winning writer to the Country Faith series.

1. What inspired the Country Faith series of books and albums?

Bob DeMoss was working at Zondervan Publishing and had the idea for a book where country artists talked about their favorite scripture and why it had such impact on them. He was looking for a writer and my literary agent suggested me. When we were preparing for the release of the first book, a companion CD seemed natural and Word Records came on board to release our first collection. Since then there has been a second book, Country Faith Christmas, which feature Christmas memories and recipes, and we now have a music series with six compilation albums—Country Faith, Country Faith Christmas, Country Faith Hymns, Country Faith, Vol.2, Country Faith America, a patriotic collection that came out last spring and now Country Faith Love Songs. We also have a line of Country Faith jewelry and are looking into a Country Faith cruise next year. 

2. How are the songs chosen for these compilations?

I’m one of the executive producers and the process starts with me making a list of songs that fit the theme. Then I run the list by my business partners and the guys at the record company. Everyone makes suggestions and we fine tune the list. One of the things we try to do is make sure each collection includes hits that people already know and love but I also try to include some new artists who deserve to be heard and also some undiscovered gems. One of my favorite songs on Country Faith Love Songs is an album cut by Wade Hayes from his Place to Turn Around album called ‘God Made Me to Love You.’ It’s a beautiful love song and I’ve always been such a fan of Wade’s voice. I’m so happy people will get to hear that song on the new project.

3. How do you think spiritual music has impacted the country genre?

I think country and gospel have always been musical cousins. There’s a long history of country singers beginning their careers in church and most major country artists throughout history have recorded gospel collections, including Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Vern Gosdin, Alabama and Alan Jackson to name a few. And many artists have recorded faith-based songs, including such hits as Carrie Underwood’s ‘Jesus Take the Wheel‘ and George Strait’s ‘I Saw God Today.’ The connection between God and country has always been a strong one.

4. Which artists do you think have had the most impact?

Alan Jackson has recorded two collections of hymns that have sold phenomenally well and have helped rekindle appreciation for the classics songs of the church. Of course, The Oak Ridge Boys began their career in gospel music and then crossed over to country. There are a lot of country artists who are believers and their faith informs what they write and record. 

5. What are your favorite lyrics from this album of love songs?

Thanks for asking this! There are so many songs on this collection I love. The chorus of Wade Hayes’ ‘God Made Me to Love You‘ says:

“God made me to love you/ He put me on this earth to always be here for you/A man that you deserve/And if there’s nothing else I’m ever called to do/God made me to love you.”

What woman wouldn’t want to hear the man she loves say those words? Also, this collection includes The Oak Ridge Boys’ ‘Make My Life with You,’ and that’s always been special to me because it’s a song I used in our wedding when we got married 32 years ago. The chorus says,

“Is it life lived separately/Is life all it ought to be/Oh if it were up to me, I’d make my life with you.”

I love that song! This collection includes Eric Paslay’s ‘Deep as it is Wide.’ This is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. The chorus says:

“I believe in a love deep as it is wide.”

And it’s not singing the praises of romantic love but the ultimate love—God’s love. The first verse says:

“There’s a place at the edge of the sky/Where there’s a love as deep as it is wide/The weak are strong, the hungry are all fed/And there’s a breeze from the angels flying overhead.”

Now that’s some powerful poetry!

6. Do you Country Faith may eventually have a children’s series?

That’s a great idea! We don’t have a children’s series in the works, but that could be a possibility. We are looking at doing another hymns collection and also a new Christmas project. Plus we have a few other ideas up our sleeve. I’m excited about the future.

Country Faith: Love Songs track list:

1.  Just Another Day In Paradise — Phil Vassar
2.  God Made Me to Love You — Wade Hayes
3.  Deep As It Is Wide — Eric Paslay
4.  God Made A Woman — Jerrod Niemann
5.  Thank You — Keith Urban
6.  Love Can Build A Bridge (Radio Edit) — The Judds
7.  Don’t Take the Girl — Tim McGraw
8.  Love Like Crazy (Radio Edit) — Lee Brice
9.  Because You Love Me — Jo Dee Messina
10. I’m Your Man — Randy Travis
11. Make My Life With You — The Oak Ridge Boys
12. Love Wins — Love and Theft
13. When I’m Gone — Joey + Rory
14. He Saw Jesus — Kathie Lee Gifford

Cracker Barrell exclusive tracks:
Selah — Bless The Broken Road
Shane Owens — God and The Ground She Walked On

Author: Donna Block

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