Back in the early 90s I was introduced to an Australian rock ’n’ roll band called Cold Chisel. I’d never heard of them, but immediately became a convert and fan. They were Australia’s working class band; not the panache or hip-ness of INXS. Their music, instead, was driven, sometimes recklessly. Filled with angst, nostalgia, and a yearning for release, Cold Chisel spoke my language.
Describing their song “Bow River,” one fellow Aussie put it this way, “Bow River is located up near the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, where I am from. It is a very hot and humid part of the world, where outdoor work is hard yakka. The area has been mined for diamonds for some time in the last 20 or so years. The song is probably in reference to working on this mine. Some say the song is in reference to the Bow River Station, located nearby, back in the days gone by. The past managers of the station hold this song a tribute to their station. This song has made the river and area famous and is a classic Chisel song which defines what a hard-working man likes – freedom in the hard outback of Australia.”
During my adolescence and young adulthood, I struggled under the uncompromising foreman of religious expectation. I sought (and still seek) “freedom in the hard outback” of Christian discipleship. As Bow River infers, this release was found in the typical options we (I) prefer: licentiousness and unbounded revelry.
Now, of course, I’ve discovered, and continue to mine, the glorious word of Grace in Jesus Christ. He sought me when I ran from the image of who I believed Him to be – an indignant power that hated me because of my weak resolve and a bubbling, broiling desire–like Cold Chisel music–to break free from His icy cold stare. At some point I ran headlong into love Himself, I was embraced, called friend, offered no condemnation, and pleaded with me to turn to him and not “the hard outback.”
My soul still goes with Cold Chisel. I think it is because I feel for those who search for Bow River. I hope you like it. (Cold Chisel was: Jimmy Barnes (lead vocals), Ian Moss (vocals and lead guitar), Steve Prestwich (drums), Phil Small (bass) and Don Walker (keyboards).)