Last night JPUSA’s DM (Discipleship Ministry) sponsored it’s first “Folk Depression” coffeehouse. I referred to this in an earlier post and said I’d tell you how it went. Well, everybody involved thought it was amazing! I did four songs: Cocaine Blues, Wreck of the Old ’97, Streets of Laredo, and Engine 143. Martha joined me on auto harp and background vocals for the last two. This morning I woke up and I just couldn’t stop thinking about how fun it was. The other bands were made up of many singers from other bands here at JPUSA and many talented artists who aren’t in official bands yet. I introduced the night with an explanation which quoted from David Fillingim’s book Redneck Liberation: Country Music as Theology. The gist was that we have a lot to learn from old murder ballads and folk tragedies. As Christians we have to realize that God’s grace touches and redeems us in the horrid tragedies of life. This morning as I was reading the prayer requests in our church’s bulletin, The Rev Rag, I realized that many of our own members are touched by tragedies very similar to the ones we sang about. Someone had been beaten up so severely that they were suffering brain damage and not expected to live. Someone else had cancer, and so on. This is the real stuff of life, and this is where God is present. BTW, David Fillingim has a new post on folk and Woody Guthrie at our theological country blog, Hard Country. Check it out.