He worked in Grabow’s studio in Denver during the summers between semesters, and one day a woman in her 20s walked in and wanted to learn to play the blues. She was a single Mormon returned missionary named Annie.
“I like to think that was the day God used his outside voice” instead of a quieter voice, Cash said.
Their first date was after her third weekly lesson. They ended up talking through the movie they went to see.
“It definitely worked from the very beginning,” Cash said of their relationship. They’ve been married for 10 years now and have three boys.
Annie, who majored in humanities and is naturally musically talented, sings with him on “God Only Made One of You.”
“If it wasn’t for her, I would have given up a long time ago,” Justin Cash said of the times he wanted to quit trying and find a consistent 9-to-5 job.
The songs on “Beautiful World” span Cash’s “dues-paying period” when money was tight, he was playing everywhere he and his band could find a gig and he was looking for other avenues to make money while being a musician.
And the CD he sent out took about four years to put together.
“The best ideas seem to come right away,” Cash said of ideas for the songs on “Beautiful World.” “You get an initial germ or an idea.”
Then filling in the blanks is where the grunt work comes in.
“The hardest part is actually rewriting and polishing it to make it the best it can be.”
And some songs are rewritten seven, eight, nine, 10 times or more, Cash said.
Cash looks to the 13th Article of Faith and says he just tries to be himself when he’s writing music. And his CD reflects that.
“It’s not really gospel or Christian, but just upbeat and positive,” Cash said of the album. One song, “No Sorrow in Jesus,” does have gospel roots.
Ahlander said that Cash’s contemporary sound is new for Shadow Mountain Music.
“His lyrics are positive and very inspirational in a general sense, but stylistically very contemporary,” Ahlander said. While Cash's lyrics aren’t necessarily about Mormon themes, they are clean and fit into the company’s brand.
“It was something we wanted to take a chance on,” Ahlander said. And now, they are working to introduce him to the Deseret Book audience and those who would like his music who might not be in that audience yet.
“It’s hard to not like him,” Ahlander said.
As for Cash, who was recently released as an early-morning seminary teacher, he said that working, learning and being yourself are three important traits for an aspiring musician.
“Every good thing that’s happened has come from the fact we have a CD now,” Cash said.
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