Johnny to the Rescue
But, the creme de la creme was American IV: The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash. This was released in 2002. This touched me deeply, in a way no music has in years.
I have always been a Johnny Cash fan, but this is way more profound that just being a fan. This music is sung by an old man approaching death, acknowledging such, and being real about that fact. His voice is a little shaky, his range, which never was great, has shrunk. But the music touches my soul. The Man Comes Around is about the Apocolypse, one thinks Johnny is thinking of his own "end of the world". Hurt is a song about fallen mankind, makes frequent refrences to the way of the Cross of Christ, and with the video, is positively sacramental. He sings a few country standards with profound meaning to a dying man: "Give My Love to Rose", "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "I Hung My Head", "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", "Personal Jesus" (I had never heard of this song before, but apparently this is a "punk" type song originally.) The rest of the CD is "In My Life", "Sam Hall", "Danny Boy", "Desperado", "I'm So Lonely I Could Cry", "Tear Stained Letter",and "Streets of Loredo".
I appreciated so deeply the honest look back from a man who has had many ups and downs. I appreciated the honest look at state he was currently in when he recorded the CD. His voice wasn't "fixed". In the video, he is quite honest about the effects aging has had on him physically. But more than either of those reasons, I appreciated the honest look forward. He ends the CD with the song, "We'll Meet Again." I love the strong hope Johnny Cash exuded. He was humble in his music, and it seemed to me in his life. He admitted his faults, attempted to correct the path of his life, accepted redemption, and had terrific hope.
I went to a show of his during his last tour. It was like being in the room with a family member, gathering around the guitar, singing old favorites. He had no self-importance in his manner, and acted as if we were all among friends.
Because of this CD's rather stark portrayal of life at it's natural end, many of the daily annoyance that have really gotten me down lately evaporated. I am sure the little bumps in my current road will be the last thing on my mind when I am looking back over the rest of my life.
To quote "ABBA" Thank You for the Music