Jesus Music and Hot Dog Evangelism

Recently, I had the task to select special Jesus Music for the new Jesus Music Radio show, which will begin streaming Saturday nights on from 6 p.m. until Midnight all summer long in advance of launching in the of Fall 2016. Seeing classic Jesus Music album covers and hearing songs from groups like Prodigal and Fireworks caused me to remember The Harvest Rockfest which happened in June of 1982. It was held in outdoors on a Saturday in the parking lot of the Odeum in Villa Park, Il. The artists I remember being there wereProdigal, Marty McCall and Fireworks, Rick Cua, Denny Correll and DeGarmo & Key. I know there were one or two others that I forgot because I missed them when I left around Noon for Ohare Airport to pick up Denny Correll whom I had met on several other occasions and his band who flew in from Los Angeles. I was pretty psyched because I was finally going to meet a bass player from Love Song that I really admire1700317_origd, Jay Truax. He was playing with Denny Correll’s band.  Accompanying them was a drummer and lead guitarist who appeared to be LA session musicians.

The ride to the event was pretty uneventful with Denny chatting away as he caught me up on the going’s on in his life and was intrigued why a successful Christian retailer like me had left that for a risky career in Christian radio. I told him that “the Lord works in mysterious ways.” Once we arrived and unpacked, I finally had a chance to talk with Jay. The drummer pretty well kept to himself and attended to his prized drums… a snare and set of cymbals.

Midway through our conversation, the guitarist wandered over and joined in, telling us about the struggles of trying to make a living in the LA music scene. He spoke fondly of his young wife and brand new baby at home. There was a quiet desperation about him so I told Jay that I’d catch him later and concentrated on my attention on him. It was about 2 p.m. and the sun was bearing down on us so I asked if he wanted a bottle of water or something. He said, “No” but his body language told me otherwise. “It’s my treat. Have you eaten anything yet?”,  I asked. He shook his head from side-to-side. I pointed to the portable concession stand. “Come on, I’ll get you whatever you want to eat,” I said as we made our way from the side of the stage to the back of the enclosed audience area. “But you don’t know me,” he said incredulously. “I just want to share the love of Jesus with you. It is my honor to do this.”  So he ate his Chicago -style hot dog between sips of Coca-cola and he thanked me. Then we parted company as I went to visit with another friend backstage as Rick Cua was about to do his set. Together we marveled at the incredible slide guitar work of Dave Perkins.

At the end of Denny’s early evening set, as he gave an altar call, this guitarist laid down his guitar, leaped off the stage, and gave his life to the Lord in front of everyone without hesitation. I found out later that he had no money nor food for the day. The simple act of buying an obviously hungry musician something to eat was the tipping point where he had a personal experience with the Lord in the form of someone putting the gospel into action. I have never forgotten this lesson of hot dog evangelism.

The last time I spoke to Jay Truax a few years ago he reported that this man was a still a solid believer and serving the Lord in studio music industry on the West Coast. Amazing grace, indeed!

Glory to God, James


A “Real” Movie THE INVESTIGATOR starring Wade Williams

Image I first met Wade Williams on September 11, 2009 in Orlando, FL at the One God Movement event at Lake Eola where my wife and I were helping out in the Green Room. Williams was there to sing a few songs in support of a newly released CD. He was one of the first to arrive,  so we had plenty of time to talk. I could tell from our conversation that he had already lived through a lifetime worth of experiences at a relatively young age including life on the street as an actor struggling in Los Angeles.

He began as a musician and singer acting in musical theater in Tennessee and then spent 20 years in the Hollywood grind where he had minor roles in TV and Film, mostly playing cops.  Sometimes, in preparation for certain roles he was allowed to “ride along” in police cruisers as they patrolled the streets and learn the professional work habits of successful police officers. To hear more directly about Wade Williams, check out the recent interview we had on the podcast page at Click here:

This real sense of police work is what Williams brings to the starring role of THE INVESTIGATOR. It is a biopic of sorts but like “Dragnet”, the names have been changed.  The script was written by the real person behind the main character that Williams portrays, Sergeant James Bunacore.  THE INVESTIGATOR is based on the true story of a recently retired police officer who in the middle of personal and professional tragedy accepts a job as a criminal justice teacher and baseball coach at a Christian high school after 20 years on the force. His students provide the spark that reignites the fire in his belly and his journey back to a fully productive life is as good as it gets. THE INVESTIGATOR is both inspiring and thrilling.

I do not want to spoil the film for you by revealing too much else but you will see a very good story told exceedingly well.  Williams describes this performance as “his best work to date”. The film debuts in select markets this weekend and holds nothing back in the emotions  and psychology of a well seasoned detective trying to solve one of the most cruelly horrific homicides in the history of man — the murder of Jesus Christ.

Outlaw Gone Good and Rick Cua Playlist for SnT Spotlight – Saturday, October 1, 2011

Outlaw gone good? Ever hear the song “Ghost Riders in the Sky”? It was featured in film Blues Brothers 2000. It’s been around for a long while in the Country genre with roots in what used to be know as Western as in Country & Western.
It was recorded again in 1975 on the debut album by a group of “southern rockers” from Tampa, FL called The Outlaws. The song gained Rock radio airplay and The Outlaws career was launched. Two years after he became a Christian in 1977, Syracuse NY based musician Rick Cua joined the Outlaws. He sang and played bass on two albums before they disbanded in 1982. At some point before the Outlaws break up, Rick was introduced to the Christian Music scene by former Paul McCartney & Wings drummer, Joe English. Rick’s debut Koo-Ah (the pronunciation of his last name) on Refuge Records featured many general market guest musicians from bands like Wet Willie, The Outlaws plus independents like Joe English and Robbie Dupree, who charted a top 10 hit of his own in 1980. In fact, Dupree and Marty McCall (of Fireworks and later First Call) did background vocals on Cua’s single “Fly Me To Heaven” which was released to the general market. All this was very cool stuff for 1981 – 1982. The radio spot that Refuge Records produced to introduce Rick Cua used the theme “Outlaw gone good”, complete with pistol shoots and ricochet sound effects straight out of a good Western TV show or movie.

I first met Rick Cua around a single day outdoor festival event in suburban Chicago that a few hundred people attended called the Harvest Rockfest. In the lineup was Prodigal, Fireworks, Rick Cua (who had guitarist Dave Perkins in the backing band with him that day – and turned many heads with his awesome slide guitar work), Denny Correll and DeGarmo & Key playing from 1pm until about 11pm when the authorities told us to stop. There is a lot more to share about how the Lord used that humble event to His glory but that is for another blog. For someone who hung around the southern rock and stadium scene with the likes of The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynryd, Rick Cua was remarkably well grounded and down-to-earth. I might offer my two cent opinion that his bass playing style and sound is distinctive. Certainly not your garden variety rock bass playing (think KISS). He’s the only bass player I’ve ever seen headline solo without a band in concert and pull it off with just backing tracks. That is really quite a feat of showmanship and performance.

Over the years, Rick turned down offers to play in other touring bands like Spyro Gyra in 1983 and a re-formed Outlaws lineup in 1986 since he became known for his Christian Music. His wife and daughters have helped — I know he credits his wife Diana for some of the beautiful love songs he writes and a song each is dedicated to his two daughters on Within Reach. Listen for “Diamond Girl” and “Fifteen” this Saturday. Included are some unique cuts from Like A Cool Drink, his project with the Ah-Koo-Stiks and a clever word play on his name even if he hasn’t become a household one. But after nearly 30 years of music ministry on the run (so to speak), Rick Cua has lived up to the moniker, “Outlaw gone good.”

Rick Cua

1. Fly Me to Heaven from Koo-Ah

2. You Can Still Rock ‘n’Roll from Koo-Ah

3. He Lives In Me from No Mystery

4. One Way Out from No Mystery

5. Changed from No Mystery

6. Help Me Out from No Mystery

7. Don’t Say Suicide from You’re My Road

8. Wear Your Colors from Wear Your Colors

9. Forever Yours from Can’t Stand Too Tall

10. We Are All The Same from Can’t Stand Too Tall

11. For The Love of God from Can’t Stand Too Tall

12. I’ll Be Satisfied from Midnight Sun

13. Young Boy, Young Girl from Midnight Sun

14. Heaven Won’t Stop The Rain from Within Reach

15. Message of Love from Within Reach

16. Fifteen from Within Reach

17. Diamond Girl from Within Reach

18. Dedicated from Midnight Sun

19, What If from The Way Love Is

20. Itala Americano from Times Ten

21. Bull By The Horns from Times Ten

22. Jesus Changes Everything from Like A Cool Drink

23. Gotta Have Heart from Like A Cool Drink

24. Bad Things Good People from Like A Cool Drink

SnT will play one song approximately every hour from this list beginning at 12:00am EST Saturday, October 1, 2011.

Please visit our SnT LIKE Page on Facebook or tweet us #SnTRadio on Twitter. Tell your friends this blog and refer them here
You are encouraged to join the SnT listener community and make a comment or share your personal Rick Cua memories below. Next time you’re listening to SnT check out the SnT Archive by clicking on the SnT Archive tab. You’ll be very pleased at what you find there.

James Burkhardt

Hello, Goodbye and We’ll Meet Again Robert.

One of the characteristics I like most about music is that it has the wonderful quality to bring people together. Maybe its the melody or the lyrics but human relationships do become possible through musical connections. Plus, there’s the spiritual aspect of music where listening becomes a transforming experience drawing one closer to the Creator and maker of our hearts.

This Saturday, September 3rd at Noon something special will occur… music streamed over the internet will bring a fellow human being confronting his mortality in a hospice care some joy because he’s picked all his favorite songs. And he’s a complete stranger to me as we’ve never physically met but we know each other through the music.

Do I have your attention now?

I have been given a list of Robert Keith’s favorite Contemporary Christian and Gospel songs. And I will play as many as I can just for him beginning at Noon EST this Saturday on SnT

You would too if you could… if for no other reason than to show love, compassion, and mercy to one in need. My reason is this is a prime opportunity for a call to prayer. The most effective prayer is a completely unselfish prayer. It is called” intercession”. Intercession is also fairly easy to do… pray for someone other than yourself. Pray for something outside what you want or need. In essence that is what an intercessor does. Won’t you try it this Saturday and pray?

Pray for Robert Keith and his family at this time. They need your prayers. This kind of transition is inevitable for all of us. We all will be in that place where he finds himself one day. So as you pray for Robert, remember to pray your loved ones, too.

You see, behind the scenes at SnT Radio is a special group of people I affectionately call the SnT Prayer Force. Robert’s wife is one of those very special persons who has agreed to pray for me and SnT Radio. No questions asked. Just devotion to prayer when requested. So here’s my chance to return the favor in kind.

I have long held the belief that “nothing happens until somebody prays“. Prayer does change things. If we all pray for Robert Keith between Noon and 2pm on Saturday, September 3, 2011 I know something special will happen as we listen to his favorite music. We will experience unity. Unity of spirit. Unity of mind. Unity of purpose. The world will know we are Christians by our love. Here’s a practical way to demonstrate that.

That’s right, we will “get together”. Pretty cool, huh? From our lips to God’s ear in Heaven’s throne room.

So let’s not keep this to ourselves… please share this blog with all your friends on Facebook and Twitter. For Robert’s sake, I hope this goes viral.

Please leave a thought for Robert and the family in the comments area below. I’ll make sure they receive them.

So Hello, Goodbye and We’ll Meet Again Robert. God bless you brother. I am fervently praying for you.

James Burkhardt