Very Personal Jesus


The journal First Things has a long and interesting appreciation of Johnny Cash's religiosity. A snippet:

About three years ago, my wife and I took a weekend trip from Durham to Wilmington, North Carolina, where she was to attend a conference related to her work. One of her colleagues also traveled with her husband, a gourmet grocery store manager and guitar player, whose musical tastes tend toward dark, brooding Germanic bands with wicked-sounding names like Einsturzende Neubauten and Godspeed You Black Emperor (both of which I had never heard of). He has little use for religion, except as it pertains to Egyptian archaeology. Over a whiskey in the bar at the Hilton Hotel in Wilmington we chatted about music. Eventually the conversation turned to Johnny. At one point he raised his hand, pointed his finger at me for emphasis, and said, ?If I were going to believe in God, I would believe in the God of Johnny Cash.?

Whole thing here. The writer, Peter M. Candler, Jr., throws a couple of well-deserved hosannas at Cash's last studio album, The Man Comes Around, giving most of his attention to Cash's stunning cover of "Hurt." Oddly, he makes no mention of an equally compelling–and overtly religious tune–on the same disc: Cash's cover of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus."

I suspect that besides Bob Dylan, the only other current recording artist whose death will inspire as wide-ranging a reaction will be Willie Nelson.