After school, I was milking the cow and listening to the radio when I heard a menacing baritone intone the words, "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die." It made an impression.
When I first went to church, when I was about 15, I found myself in a hymn-singing tradition. When I began to write hymns in the 1960s it was natural for me to follow that tradition. I think that a congregational song, or a hymn—which is a lyric that develops a theme or tells a story which unfolds over more than two or three stanzas—can be in any kind of musical style.