Johnny Cash and Faith

Welcome to this week’s Monday Music post. Today I’d like to share a lesser-known song by a very well-known musician. Most people have heard the music of Johnny Cash, but you may not know much about the religious beliefs and spiritual life behind this famous artist. The beautiful song I’m sharing captures something of Cash’s struggle with faith.

Cash was raised as a Southern Baptist and was baptised in 1944 as a teenager. He was a devout Christian, but no doubt fame and money impacted his faith and threw up challenges along his spiritual journey. While researching this article, I was surprised to learn that Cash wrote a Christian novel, entitled Man in White in 1984.

I have always found Cash’s music to be enthralling, since I went into a music shop and bought my first ever record, which was Ring of Fire by Cash. I bought the song on cassette after attending a circus event where the music was being played – for whatever reason that song moved me and stuck in my mind. It was a kind of musical awakening for me, at a very young age.

I hope you enjoy the song I’m sharing today, which is quite a rare recording from Cash. It’s actually a cover version, originally written by country musician Billy Joel Shaver, but we can imagine how this song might have chimed with Cash’s personal beliefs and faith journey. Here’s the song, which is entitled If I Give My Soul.

15 comments

  1. I’ve probably only consciously heard 2-3 Johnny Cash songs in my life (it’s a genre off my beaten pathways), but his voice is certainly distinctive enough to be recognizable. This song provided a good peek into his soul. He seems to have lived a tortured life … but then so do other musicians (I don’t know that I’d call them all “artists”). Many could be named. Among my favorites would be Kerry Livgren (of the rock band Kansas), Robert Schumann (the 19th-century piano composer), Percy Grainger (early 20th-century pianist/composer for winds), and countless others. Some of them seem to come out whole, like Livgren. I’m not sure the other two did. Thanks for this.

    1. Hi Brain! I was reading one of posts and saw that you’re into a really eclectic mix of music (I think you wrote the post after going vinyl shopping, if I remember correctly :-)).

      Thanks for reading / listening! Have a blessed week 🙂

    1. I’m glad I stumbled upon it, and I wonder why it was never a ‘hit’. Perhaps his record company thought it was too religious to promote widely? I can only speculate! Thanks for giving it a listen 🙂

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