This sketch of Johnny Cash is by Brian Falk
Music Appreciation 101
How do you feel about the music of Johnny Cash? I never got it. It always puzzled me that he became so popular and successful without always singing on-key. He even talked on records some. Growing up we never listened to country music, southern gospel music, or bluegrass music in our home. My parents encouraged me to spend a lot of time and money to learn to sing with vibrato and get every hint of nasal tones out of my singing voice. In Bluegrass singing nasal tones are preferred and vibrato is verboten. So there was no Bluegrass on my playlist.
Then I met Lois. She was born in Kentucky. Soon I followed her way back into the mountains and met her people. In that hilly land I was exposed to Bill Monroe and a world of wonderful music that has it’s roots in the Bluegrass State. Bluegrass has a way of growing on you. If you haven’t discovered Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder you are in for a world of enlightenment and enjoyment. Still I didn’t get Johnny Cash. I had no appreciation for him until the Knox County Fair.
Johnny and his wife, June Carter Cash came to the Knox County Fair. For the simple price of admission we could now enjoy a cultural enlightenment. Lois insisted that we go hear them. The moment they took the stage I understood the appeal of Johnny Cash and his lively wife. They were bursting with life and wired to entertain. Their personal charisma was obvious. I think there was something more, too. Though they had both made painful mistakes in their past, God had done and deep and merciful work in their lives and they were devoted to making him known. The memory of Johnny’s music and June’s antics on the stage that night linger.
A New Friend
Last week I spoke in Nashville for a couple days. I met a delightful elderly lady there. She was a petite woman about five feet tall with long, strait gray hair down to her waist. She reminded me of June Carter Cash. She was just full of life and energy and funny. Every time I saw her said the same thing: “Remember Jesus was the happiest man on earth.”
Every time she said that I said; “You are right. The Bible says Jesus was; “…anointed with the oil of gladness above all of his companions.”
When you are filled with him you are filled with joy, not matter how much sadness and hurt and guilt and shame filled your life before. To be filled with Christ is to be filled with gladness.