“On a Hill Lone and Gray”: Jesus and the murder ballad, pt. 1

Golgotha Jesus and the Murder Ballad This week we’re going to take a small detour from the traditional murder ballad. Shaleane’s post on Nick Cave’s “The Mercy Seat” prompted me to consider just how frequently and in what guises Jesus figures appear in these songs.  Themes of guilt, atonement, and salvation … → read more

The slayer who ran looked a lot like me

In this interview mentioned in the last post, Nick Cave explained how his musical inclinations were forever changed when – as young boy in a small town in Australia – he started watching the Johnny Cash Show. The first episode of the show aired on June 17, 1969 (Cave would have been about twelve) … → read more

The Folk Singer, The Mercy Seat

This week, I’ll explore the dialogue between Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, two great modern murder balladeers who wrestled with themes of redemption and retribution as they explored crime, death, love, isolation, religion and the myths and musical roots of the American Old West. In today’s post, I’ll cover the … → read more