Timing couldn’t have been better for veteran Nashville music journalist Deborah Evans Price, who was named the 2013 CMA Media Achievement Award winner last month just as her book Once-A-Day Country Faith: 56 Reflections From Today's Leading Country Music Stars was being issued by HarperCollins Christian Publishing’s leading Bible/Christian publisher Zondervan.
Zondervan’s first country devotional book, it features 56 top country artists, who all share their favorite Bible passages and a brief personal explanation as to why they resonate. Among the artists represented are Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Daniels, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry and Brad Paisley.
“I’ve been covering both Christian and country music for three decades, and this sounded like a project where music and faith would intersect in a powerful way,” says Price, crediting the Country Faith concept to HarperCollins Christian associate publisher/acquisitions editor Bob DeMoss.
“He was brainstorming ways to get folks more engaged in reading the Bible,” she says. “He thought this type of book would be appealing to country music fans, and early indications are that he’s right.”
Indeed, Country Faith has garnered extensive media coverage on mainstream venues including Parade Magazine and People Magazine, as well as traditional country and Christian outlets. Featured artists including Daniels, Darius Rucker, Jason Crabb, Jimmy Wayne, and Danny Gokey have also pitched in to promote the project.
Rucker chose Proverbs 17:22 as his favorite passage (“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
"A book like Country Faith is important because it not only showcases our strong ties to our faith, but it reminds readers of important values that we often times don't get to recognize when we're on the radio or performing shows,” says Rucker. “I hope that by my sharing this story and passage with Deborah, others will be as inspired just as I continue to be by His words."
Several artists, including Paisley, Rodney Atkins, Gene Watson and Trisha Yearwood, chose to write their own testimony.
“Each of them delivered amazing pieces of work, very personal and heartfelt,” says Price. “But most of the entries in the book came from interviews, and it was wonderful to talk to some of my favorite artists about their favorite verse in the Bible and why it meant so much to them.”
She singles out Charlie Daniels, “where he talked about why Psalm 91 is his favorite verse and he shared a story with me about being in Iraq to entertain the troops. The helicopter he was traveling in was being fired on by the enemy and Charlie shared how reciting that verse brought him comfort in that dangerous situation.”
Barbara Mandrell, Price relates, “spoke of how she’s always gotten strength and encouragement from Romans 8:28 which says, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.’ Craig Morgan talked about having Deuteronomy 11: 25 tattooed on his arm and shared why that verse means so much to him. After years of talking to these artists about their music, it was wonderful to have an opportunity to talk to them about their faith and what God’s word means to their lives.”
“I’ve been blessed to do some amazing things during my career as a journalist,” Price concludes, “but Country Faith will always hold a special place in my heart. I feel like it deepened my faith and drew me closer to the Lord and I hope it will do the same for those who read it.”
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