Sometime around a few years and about forty-five minutes ago, I underwent what I now regard as some sort of musical epiphany that convinced me that Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the Allman Brothers weren't the only sources of legitimate music with which I should fill my life's soundtrack, and I branched out to songwriters like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Johnny Cash. Despite the ridiculously early -- or late, depending on your perspective -- hour, I fired up Johnny Cash's "American IV: The Man Comes Around" more to help me get back to sleep rather than to keep me from doing so.
I'm not sure if my mood is affected by the fact that today is the first day of the Jewish New Year, together with the significance of this day; but with the quiet, restrained promise of fire and brimstone in the first notes of "The Man Comes Around," I was hooked. In fact, whether it's me maturing in general or somehow seeing things in different ways, I can't say; but I'm finding, more and more, that I actually enjoy listening to the later Johnny Cash stuff than to a lot of the crap that kept my ears ringing long after I parked the car in high school.
So as I contemplated forgiveness, redemption, penitence and absolution -- in the shadow of the holiday and my love and respect for my family and my friends -- I had Johnny Cash's Opus of retribution and reckoning in my auditory and emotional background. And it continued with "Give My Love To Rose," a song that tells the story of a man who finds another newly-released convict from prison trying to get home to see his wife, Rose, and his son, only to find himself dying before he fulfills his mission. The man implores the narrator of the song to take the dying man's money and his love to his soon-to-be widow. Thereafter, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Personal Jesus," the Beatles' "In My Life" and "Desperado" manage to take on some sort of almost other-worldy , ethereal significance through the cracking, strained complexity in Mr. Cash's aging voice.
Maybe it's the hour, or perhaps it's my increased appreciation for each approaching year, or perhaps it's just the obscene cavalcade of medicines I'm taking these days; but I feel, on some level, that the last hour or so was, in part, religious.
Yep, must be the meds.
Either that, or there are way too many lousy informercials broadcast at 5AM on Saturdays.