I really love to listen to music. I always have a CD playing in my car. I don’t listen to the radio in my car for two reasons: (1) someone stole my antenna, and (2) I can’t stand listening to commercials and DJs jabbering about nothing in the short drive I have to work.
As a side page of this blog I thought I would share a bit about the music and bands that I like now, those I have liked in the past but maybe don’t listen to much now, and at some point I might talk about music I don’t like and why.
My favorite artist of all time is Johnny Cash. He didn’t have the most technically perfect voice, but he had something more. He had a style all his own and his music had heart and soul. He wrote and sang about all aspects of life. The album trilogy he released with three albums called Love, God, and Murder, pretty much sums up his music. Johnny (actually named J.R. Cash – “Johnny” came when he joined the army) was a Christian, but he knew he was a sinner. He understood the human soul, all the anguish, pain, love, and happiness that encompasses the human condition.
I remember one time I was listening to one of his American Recordings CDs in the car. My son, about 7 at the time, was riding in the back, and he always liked Johnny Cash too (still does – the number of Johnny Cash songs on his iTouch is rivaled only by the number of Green Day songs!) Anyway, my son was used to hearing the Johnny Cash gospel CDs I have. This particular CD does have My Own Personal Jesus on it, but about two songs later is a great song called Sam Hall. This song is about the hanging of a man named Sam Hall, who had apparently murdered someone. A prominent repeating lyric is “Damn your eyes” and at the end Sam says “I’ll see you all in Hell, damn your eyes.” Well, my son didn’t like that one bit and he said, “I thought Johnny Cash sang Jesus songs?” Seven years later he now appreciates the breadth and depth of Johnny’s music, but the concept of one person singing about both love and murder was difficult to explain to a seven-year-old.
My husband and I saw Johnny in concert once at the Benton-Franklin County Fair in Washington. It was an awesome show! I can’t wait to hear him sing in person again someday in heaven.
I listen to a lot of Christian music, mostly because it makes me feel happy and content. But I also love rock and roll as a musical genre. When I first started listening to Christian music it was difficult to find any really good Christian rock bands. But that has changed over the past 5 – 10 years.
My favorite Christian rock band is Third Day. They are from Atlanta, Georgia, and they definitely have a southern rock style. One of their musical influences is Lynyrd Skynyrd, one of the greatest southern rock bands of all time. They have also been influenced by U2, REM, and the Black Crowes.
What I like about Third Day is that the lyrics to their songs are honest, uplifting, heartbreaking, faith-based, and true to life. The struggles the band members have gone through in their Christian walk permeate the lyrics and music. They aren’t “candy Christians” who only sing about everything being great if only you believe. They have been through difficult times just like the rest of us, and they sing about how God is in those times even if we don’t feel Him there.
But I also love the music. These guys are super talented! Mac Powell’s vocals are awesome and original. Mark Lee lays down terrific guitar licks, Tai Anderson is superb on bass, and David Carr provides a drum beat that keeps my head bobbing in the car. I’ve seen Third Day in concert at least five times, and they never disappoint!
If you are interested in the band, you can check out their web site at www.thirdday.com or their page on Facebook.
Stevie Ray Vaughn
I love the blues, and my favorite blues artist is the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughn. That man could make a guitar talk like no one else. Generally I don’t like instrumental music. If it doesn’t have lyrics I just get bored (especially with classical or jazz that has no drum beat). But some of Stevie’s instrumental pieces are an exception to this general rule, because the awesome guitar licks are as meaningful as lyrics to me. I’ve seen him play on TV, and it is amazing to watch his fingers fly over the strings.
I do love Stevie’s lyrics, too, though. The Sky Is Crying is such a great song, you can just feel the pain and imagine the depth of his tears and sorrow. Texas Flood is also great. But not all of his songs are sad. For instance, Close to You and Pride & Joy celebrate the love of a couple and are two of my favorites.
One song by Stevie really cracks me up. It’s called Mary Had a Little Lamb, and is literally the words of the old nursery rhyme. It has great rhythm and a fun beat. Only Stevie could get away with singing a nursery rhyme!
I really do love the blues. I think the reason I do is because this genre of music reminds me that I am not alone when I am down. Tragically, Stevie will no longer bless us with his own brand of the blues because he left this earth too soon. But we do have a great catalog of hits, as well as some more obscure offerings, from this incredibly talented artist.
Another talented Christian artist that I love is Jeremy Camp. His music runs the gamut from rock-n-roll to mellow praise music, and he succeeds at both ends of the spectrum to help me feel the presence of God. Some of his songs seem to be straight from the Psalms, and others are fast and furious.
This week I’ve been listening to his Restored CD in my car. One rock song really makes me think. It’s called “Lay Down My Pride.” The song begins with the words:
Every single word I say
You know it before I speak
You know every thought
The deepest part of me
You draw me closer then I see
Your presence is everything I need
To be the child that you’ve created me to be
I’m ready now to see it your way
This song is a great reminder to me that God knows everything about me, every thought I’ve ever had and every action I’ve ever taken or contemplated, and He loves me anyway. There are days when I need that reminder. I need to be reminded of how big God is and how much I need Him in my life.
I’ve seen Jeremy Camp in concert three times, and he was awesome every time. He includes video and graphics in his shows, he adds a little bit of his personal story to help you understand where he is coming from, and he always gives the glory to God for what he has accomplished. The last time I saw him, his wife Adie was touring with him. Her voice was so cool, I had to buy her CD, too.