I am not a fan of religious music. Neither am I a fan of country music. I attribute this distaste to the bland insipid quality of Mormon hymns and the tendency of modern country music to sound whiny and nasal. I want my music to challenge me, to force me to accept some truth about myself.
One glaring exception to my aversion to country/religious music is my fondness Don Edwards, who is an old troubadour-style musician who sings about the lives of cowboys. One of his most famous songs – and one that I listen to quite regularly – is called “The Masters Call” and is a narrative about a religious conversion. “The Master’s Call” is an ballad-style song about a teenager who runs away from home and gets caught up in a cattle-rustling band. Then, one night, a thunder-storm comes up and a cattle stampede starts. The crux of the song is about the narrator’s near-death experience, which causes a religious conversion.
I don’t listen to this kind of music very often and yet I can’t seem to stop listening. I am not sure why I like this song so much. I suppose part of it is simply that Don Edwards is a consummate musician. His music is a blend of story-telling and instrumentals; his music is an understated exercise in showing rather than telling. Listen to his music enough and you will understand that as a musician, he is willing to confront the parts about us that most people don't want to think about.
I don't understand the lives of cowboys - but I do understand the deeper troubles that we all face and that Don Edwards confronts in his music. And for that reason, I have a huge love for the stories that Don Edwards has to tell.
Check Don Edwards out. You’ll be happy you did. J