So we boot up Spotify and find an album I had never heard of- The Greatest: Duets. Johnny and Bob, June, Willie, Lynn and Ray. Every song gold. How does his train whistle voice blend so well with so many others whose sound is so varied? The World Socialist Web Site called his sound a "flexible blend of country, rock ‘n’ roll and folk". I guess when you are that good at your craft you can hang with anyone.
Within minutes the three of us are dancin' around the kitchen to the funky groove of "I've been everywhere" and "I wish I was crazy again". The sun comes out and the coffee is miraculously multiplied.
There is one song that he sings with Willie Nelson called "You Can't Beat Jesus Christ". It isn't particularly reverent but it is unabashedly Christian and gives God a lyrical high five for bein' awesome. He is "scuse my slanguage, a compound country kinda guy". From two of the princes of country music, that is high praise. "When my soul was held for ransom, He's the one who paid the price" is solid theology that somehow doesn't get lost in the fact that it is a lyric in... really good music.
I'm still hashing out my reformed theology but I'm pretty sure that music falls under the category of earthly treasures that are one day going to be perfected and reflect the pure intentions of God. In other words, in the new Jerusalem, all music is going to sound like Bon Iver (or enter whatever musician to you exemplifies musical perfection).
I'm sure of it. Johnny Cash figured out that being a Christian musician meant that he was supposed to make really good music. Write good songs with solid lyrics that make people feel music in their bones. It means that you can sing things like "I'm going to Jackson to teach the women what you don't know how..." and not have 1950's mothers everywhere rush to turn the radio station. I would rather hear Pursy sing Johnny Cash lyrics then dance around to Will Smith's daughters music video. (sorry, I was trying really hard not to name names as examples of bad music but who let this cute little girl put out something that she will spend the rest of her life regretting? Even kids can recognize good music..)
So this morning we are learning that "you don't go writin' hot checks, down in Mississippi" and turning the day around. Thanks Johnny.