Image via RNS/Reuters/Ki Price

Scholars of Dylan — and they are legion, with many offering entire courses on the singer’s record catalog — have long highlighted the religious imagery of his work. From Old Testament references in “All Along the Watchtower” (1967) and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” (1976) to the New Testament basis of “Gotta Serve Somebody” (1979) and the spiritual yearning of “Thunder on the Mountain” (2006), Dylan’s lyrics and music have long reflected his own restless, seeking soul.

Brandon Hook 04-24-2013
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Marini

Nataly Dawn, a singer-songwriter, wrestles with faith and judgment in some of her work. Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Marini

A while back I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with up-and-coming singer-songwriter Nataly Dawn about faith and songwriting. Dawn grew up in France, went to Stanford for undergrad, and made it big on YouTube with a duo called Pomplamoose before signing with Nonesuch records and starting her solo work.

This interview was edited for length and content.

Nataly: I have to warn you, I’m in a little bit of a food coma; I just made a really big brunch. I had probably five pancakes.

Brandon: Wow. Impressive. That’s awesome.

Christian Piatt 01-07-2013
Perry Ferrel singing with Jane's Addiction in 2012. Mat Hayward / Shutterstock.c

Perry Ferrel singing with Jane's Addiction in 2012. Mat Hayward /

I know this sounds totally bizarre, but I had a moment of clarity about the value of human life in, of all places, a kid-themed pizza joint yesterday. No, they don’t exploit their workers (that I know of, short of submitting them to overstimulated kids all day). It took a few steps for me to get there, so bear with me.

Yesterday, my daughter, Zoe, turned four years old. It’s a crappy time of year to have a birthday party, since lots of people are out of town, and those who are around are more or less partied out from the holidays. On top of that, we just moved here a few months ago and hardly know anyone. So to try and make up for all of that, we let her pick anywhere she wanted to go for dinner.

Not surprisingly, she picked John’s Incredible Pizza Company, which is like Chuck E. Cheese on steroids. Not high on my list of choices, but hey, it wasn’t my birthday. Zoe’s grandparents are in town and they invited a couple other family members who live nearby to join us. One of Amy’s distant cousins brought along her husband or boyfriend (still not sure which), and I remarked after the dinner to amy that he bore a striking resemblance to the alt-rock front man Perry Ferrell, of Jane’s Addiction fame.

“What ever happened to Perry?” Amy asked. Short of founding the Lollapalooza Festival and hitting every Coachella festival ever held, I had nothing. So I Googled him.

Cathleen Falsani 09-21-2011

R.E.M. has ceased to be. The band announced its break up late Wednesday. And fortysomethings worldwide mourn the official end of our collective youth.

Ruth Messinger 04-01-2011
After my teenage granddaughter returned recently from a service experience in Uganda, sponsored by American Jewish World Service, she remarked that she would never again say she's "starving" on her
Taiyo Na 05-10-2010

To commemorate Mother's Day, we have this musical tribute to immigrant mothers: "Lovely To Me (Immigrant Mother)," by Taiyo Na.


Nadia Bolz-Weber 12-29-2009
Church music was my first language. I was raised in a church tradition that did not allow musical instruments in worship.
Jim Wallis 12-23-2009

We first published this reflection by Jim Wallis in 2002. It has since become our Christmas tradition, kind of our own Charlie Brown Christmas special, if you will. With the ongoing conflicts raging during each passing year, it remains tragically relevant, particularly this year as we think about Afghanistan.

Mark Brinkmoeller 06-12-2009
"Listen to it loud!" That was the advice that came with a disc of the new film, I Bring What I Love, about Youssou N'Dour, a Senegalese singer who has worked for social justice in Africa.
Cathleen Falsani 04-24-2009

There's roads and there's roads And they call, can't you hear it? Roads of the earth And roads of the spirit . . .

- Bruce Cockburn's "Child of the Wind"

Mali. Mozambique. Central America. The Himalayas. Kosovo.

Robin Fillmore 04-15-2009
The rhetorical question David Wilcox asks aloud before a crowd outside Baltimore, Maryland, is