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Anne Wilson: Following Christ 'Makes You a Rebel because Jesus Was a Rebel'

Michael Foust | Crosswalk Headlines Contributor | Updated: Apr 15, 2024
Anne Wilson: Following Christ 'Makes You a Rebel because Jesus Was a Rebel'

Anne Wilson: Following Christ 'Makes You a Rebel because Jesus Was a Rebel'

Anne Wilson has a message for fans of her Christian music: She’s not abandoning the faith-centric genre.

She is, though, leaning into country music more than ever. Her sophomore album, Rebel (April 19), leads with a fast-paced country tune and includes a country flare throughout most of the 16 tracks, including several -- God and Country, for example -- that sound like they were written with pickup trucks in mind. The album cover features Wilson in a cowboy hat.

Wilson, though, is rejecting labels.

“A lot of people are labeling it as country and I would label it as just Anne Wilson,” she told CrosswalkHeadlines. “Some songs will be on Christian playlists, and some will be on country. And then some will maybe just be in the middle. ...This album was very interesting, because it really does blend the two together in one.”

Wilson became a mainstay on the Christian charts with her breakout song My Jesus and has appeared on Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart more than a dozen times.

Rebel, though, has gained mainstream country attention. She received a CMT Music Award nomination in the Breakthrough Female Video of the Year category for her song Rain In The Rearview. Earlier this year, CMT named her to its 2024 class of the CMT Next Women of Country. Fourteen female artists made the cut.

Wilson -- who grew up listening to both country and Christian music -- says she wants the album to reach country fans who don’t attend church.

“With this record, I felt really called to just preach the gospel point blank, share the truth, it is what it is,” Wilson told CrosswalkHeadlines. “There are a couple of songs on the record that will be on country radio that maybe don't specifically talk about God … but it's like a nod at it. My goal is to get people to hear the song and them want to know more.”

The new album includes collaborations with Chris Tomlin, Jordan Davis and Lainey Wilson.

Wilson hopes the album’s faith-fused title track, Rebel, inspires Christians to live out their faith.

“That was a really fun song for me to write,” she said. “I had had this moment of my career just feeling I was too country for Christian -- like, my songs were just not being played on Christian radio, because they were too country. But yet the message was Christian and it honestly fired me up to go, ‘You know what? I'm not going to please Christian music. And I'm not going to try to change who I am to please country music, I'm going to just be authentically who I am.’ And so it fired me up to go write a song about what it means to be a rebel.”

Christians in today’s world, she said, are, in a sense, rebels.

“Having faith in the world that we live in today makes me feel a little bit like a rebel,” she told CrosswalkHeadlines. “It's like when we have faith, we're the odd ones out. But yet the world can go talk about all these horrible subjects and it's welcomed and invited. But when we talk about our faith, it's like, somehow we're like the ones in the wrong. And it just felt like an inspiration to go, ‘You know, I'm going to write a record that is so steeped in faith.’ …Being a follower of Jesus in the world that we live in today makes you a rebel because Jesus was a rebel. And so if you're trying to be like Him, you're going to end up being a rebel. And so all those different things came into one big idea and and we wrote the song.”

In Praying Woman, Wilson and Lainey Wilson sing about their prayer warrior moms. In God and Country, Wilson reminisces about her church-going childhood in Kentucky. In the whimsical tune Songs about Whiskey, Wilson notes that much of country music is about alcohol, but that her songs are about Jesus.

“I grew up on both genres -- Christian and country. My brother would always have country music on in the car, and my mom and dad would always have Christian,” Wilson said. “So I just grew up with both. ...I think it also came from growing up in Kentucky and bluegrass music being like a really big thing. Growing up in Kentucky, there's always bluegrass music. You'd go to the local county fair, and there'd be the phenomenal bluegrass band playing. So we were steeped in country music growing up there in Kentucky.”


Image credit: Capitol Christian Music Group

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Anne Wilson: Following Christ 'Makes You a Rebel because Jesus Was a Rebel'