Recently, I had the task to select special Jesus Music for the new Jesus Music Radio show, which will begin streaming Saturday nights on SnTRadio.com from 6 p.m. until Midnight all summer long in advance of launching JesusMusicRadio.com 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 admired, 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