Most Successful Country Duo Goes Gospel

The most successful duo in country music history, the Bellamy Brothers, is singing a new tune with the recent release of their first gospel CD.

The duo, comprised of David and Howard Bellamy, has been a mainstay since their arrival in the 70s, and newly released Jesus is Coming hopes to transition their older fan base into the Christian realm.

Their emergence on the Christian scene is part of a larger trend in country music with crossovers from famous artists such as Alabama, Brenda Lee, and Alan Jackson – who coincidently was the top selling Christian artist in 2006, selling more than twice as many units as the next closest group.

"Gospel was really the first thing we sang," explained Howard, recalling early performances at a nearby church growing up in Florida, according to Reuters. "So, this album was a natural and something we've always wanted to do."

The album is not a traditional Christian album and is unique to the outlook of the two brothers. It mixes the gospel message with elements of humor while at the same time taking a look at American culture.

The album's title song, "Jesus is Coming," even catches the listener off guard by explaining, "Jesus is coming and boy is he pissed."

"I wanted the line to have an impact, but at the same time I wanted it to be a real gospel song," said David, according to Reuters. "Beyond having the novel hook line, it's really country, like an old hymn."

The duo plans on reaching an audience that is made up of "honky-tonks," and for people who are both religious but still very much part of this world. They have explained that people may think of them as "outlaw Christians" as a result.

"A lot of early Christians were real renegades," argued David in Billboard. "Jesus was the biggest renegade. He was the original nonconformist."

The Bellamy Brothers have been a part of the mainstream country scene since 1976, and had their biggest rise to success during the 80s. They have released about 35 records over their long career, and have been nominated for the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Awards more than any other duo.

They are credited for opening the way for most of today's popular country duo groups, some including Brooks & Dunn, Big & Rich, and The Judds.