How to Hillbilly Up a Worship Song.

A few weeks ago, I made fun of my friend Sojourner because he wore a tiger shirt on stage. I teased him because I was jealous that he could pull off a shirt with a full tiger face with no degree of irony. He is simply that cool. He didn’t even reference the shirt during the announcements he was reading from stage.


I am not nearly that cool. Even saying the phrase “Snapback” in reference to a hat seems like something I am not cool enough to do.

In retaliation, he bought me a shirt, the majesty of which is probably going to explode your computer. I have named it “Freedom,” here it is:


There are three things I find curious about this shirt:
1. How closely they cropped in on the face.
I wish I could have been in that design meeting when the client kept yelling at the artist, “Closer, closer, closer! Crop it tighter on the eagle’s face!”

2. The colors do run.

3. It says, “Do not iron.”
I would love to meet the person who thinks, “If I have a night out on the town with Freedom, I want it to look crisp! Better get out the iron!”

I’ve been wearing it all summer at BigStuf camps and taking some epic photos with people. Like this one:


How ‘Merica is that?

Bacon and Freedom!

Upon seeing the shirt, my friend Ben Snider confessed one of his favorite games to play as a worship leader. He didn’t have an official name for it, so I’ll just call it “How to Hillbilly Up a Worship song.”

The game is easy to play.

Step one: Take your favorite worship song.
Step two: Change the words, “Our” and “Your” in the lyrics to the word “Y’all’s.”
Step three: Sing the song.

It might not seem like fun, but I promise, it’s delightful. Watch:

“Our God Reigns” becomes “Y’all’s God Reigns.”

“How Great is Our God” becomes “How Great is Y’all’s God.”

“Blessed Be Your Name” becomes “Blessed Be Y’all’s Name.”

I could do this all day, but you get the point. It’s delightful! It helps if you sing it with a little twang, (As if you are gargling with sweet tea) and don’t turn it into a theological discussion about the trinity. (Is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, technically a “y’all?”)

What’s one worship song or lyric you’d like to hillbilly up? Share it in the comments!

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  1. says

    How He Loves by John Mark McMillan
    Oh, how He loves y’all so.
    Oh, how He loves y’all.
    How He loves y’all so.

    I don’t like that version as much. I want His love too. The atheists can sing this version.

    • Kelsey Wakefield says

      Being from Texas, I would add “all y’all”. Y’all can be plural or singular depending on its context, but “all y’all” is always plural.

      Oh how he loves all y’all so.

    • Grace says

      I live in a old camp meeting town…the way they sing it, How Great Thou Art is DEFINITELY a worship song around here!

    • Kim says

      In Southern Illinois, you could go with either ya’ll or yu’ns, but with the latter, it would be hard for someone who is not native to the area to acheive the lisp from missing every other tooth.

  2. says

    Just one correction for those of us who are both Southern Grammar snobs and theologians:
    Y’all is one or more persons, while All Y’all is inclusive of an entire group of people.
    (If the Jesus were Southern, he’d say, “Peter, y’all stay here; Disciples, the rest of y’all go over there; and all y’all in the crowd, have a seat.”)
    Therefore, if one believes that All are called (not just the elect), then the lyrics would be All Y’all’s when referring to people, since Jesus’ death on the cross atoned for All.
    In other words, “Y’all so loved the world that Y’all gave Y’all’s one and only Son, that All Y’all who believe in Y’all shall not perish but have eternal life.”


  3. says

    I would like to “hillbilly” every man’s favorite song, “Draw Me Close”:

    Draw me close to y’alls;
    Never let me go.

    Y’alls all I want.
    Y’alls all I ever needed.
    Y’alls all I want;
    Help me know y’alls is near.

  4. Karisa says

    The only thing is that in Blessed be YOUR name, the YOUR is referring to God, not a group of people, so it doesnt work. And “y’all” wouldn’t include self. Not sure what the hillbilly for our or us would be. Yep, I am a grammar snob, sorry :) I am sure it is funny if you are not trying to keep the meaning and context of the song.

    How Great Y’all art doesn’t work either…Thou is referring to God, not a group of people.

    Priscilla explains how Y’all is used very well :)

      • says

        Karisa, in the south, y’all can be one or more people. Walk into any BBQ restaurant alone, and you could be asked, “Is there just one of y’all, or are y’all expecting more?” Even though it is a contraction of you and all, it has become a common term for you.

        • Karisa says

          I have never heard it like that. Maybe Texan southern is different than other southern. But yep, I looked it up in Wikipedia, and there is a small minority of southerners that use it as a singular. Doesn’t make any sense hahaha

  5. Jeff says

    I think it needs to be noted that the word is “ya’ll” not “y’all” in defience of normal apostrophe (apostrophic?) rules and common sense.

  6. says

    jon, i enjoy your blog. i laugh a lot when i read it. i really do. i grew up in church in the 50’s so i go way back. i’ve lived in the south and in the north. i had a parent from each place. yeah, i know. talk about a mixed marriage:) my dad from new york city and mom from virginia, proud of being distantly related to robert e. lee!

    they were missionaries some of the time…which helped. then we grew up in south FL…so not southern.

    but hill billying our songs? this christian doesn’t go for that. please! i know it’s all tongue-in-cheek but tell me you don’t even dream of it. please! it just sounds like something that nightmares are made of. ugh!

    and yes, the church i attend DOES have a worship leader and singers in the front…for the record. they wear Tshirts but not tiger faces. we’re not that “cool” at least not during the worship service.

  7. Philip L. says

    Here’s the real question: where can I get one of those shirts? I’m worried my citizenship may be revoked if I don’t get one.

  8. says

    And if Y’all’s God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
    And if Y’all’s God is with us, then what could stand against.
    And if Y’all’s God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
    And if Y’all’s God is with us, then what could stand against.

  9. Howie says

    Y’all call me out upon the waters
    The great unknown where feet may fail
    And there I find Y’all in the mystery
    In oceans deep
    My faith will stand

    And I will call upon Y’all’s name
    And keep my eyes above the waves
    When oceans rise
    My soul will rest in Y’all’s embrace
    For I am Y’all’s and Y’all are mine

  10. First Dennis says

    There are many “bless you” lyrics that would need to be Southernized to “bless your heart.”

  11. Rachel Johnson says

    We used to add the phrase “in the bathtub” to the end of song titles. For example “Here I Raise Mine Ebenezer” in the Bathtub. It is really funny and can get you in to trouble when you start laughing too loudly during the service.

  12. Sony says

    Not really “Hillbilly” but true Southern lingo. I re acclimate myself when I return from the Carolinas after visiting relatives. They use y’all and they would not classify themselves as “Hillbillies”.

  13. Brian Pelepchan says

    Technically the Father, Son and Holy Gost would be All Y’all. This phrase indicates a group of southeners as per the Texas dictionary.

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  15. Dustin says

    Some praise songs are hillbillied up the way it is. “God is Good, All the Time” has “yee-haw” written all over it.

  16. says

    Showing my age…

    As the deer pants for the water
    So my soul longs after y’all
    All y’all alone are my hearts desire
    And I long to worship y’all.

  17. Ryan Stroud says

    Our small country church also gives the hillbilly up treatment to “Are You Washed in the Blood?” We sing it as Are you Worshed in the Blood. I’m always tickled by the southern twang our worship leader uses

  18. Jennifer Bayard says

    Not really on topic, but my cousins live in rural Mississippi. It’s very funny when they talk to their iPhones. The voice search consistently misunderstands them. As question like: “How to clean a catfish” will translate to something like: “How to train your mastiff.” Try as they might, they always have to type it in. They need to make an app, I suppose.

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