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© 2018 - 2019 by Will Cunningham

"The Fanciful Truth" feat. Phil Joel, former Newsboys bassist

Updated: Feb 17, 2019

I was in my mid-forties when I collaborated with two friends on a whimsical musical trilogy that told the gospel in a mischievous and understated way.

From the start, I had a bass line in my mind, but I'm not a bass player. So, I hummed the tune to Phil Joel, (former bassist for the band, Newsboys), and he thumped it out without any problem. Along with the creativity of artist Austin Sailsbury, The Nine Lives of Nathan Katz and

Henry and the Horrible Thing were born.


PART 1: The Nine Lives of Nathan Katz

If you listen to this song with ears to hear, you'll recognize themes of the afterlife, heaven, etc.  So listen up. Cats have nine lives, right? Thus, when a cat starts worrying about death and what comes next, a person should probably do the same.


We had a ridiculously good time bringing Nathan and his entourage to life.  I mean, think about it... the thought of an arrogant cat losing one of his lives in a sledding accident is super funny.  But the story becomes hilarious when his well-meaning friends try to revive him, and wind up killing him seven more times––leaving him with only one life, like the rest of us. Listen to the Musical Tale.


PART 2: Henry and the Horrible Thing

This story picks up where The Nine Lives of Nathan Katz leaves off.  If, as Nathan suggests, the after life is a possibility worth pondering, then Henry suggests there is a path one can take to get to that after life. 


It also suggests you and I can be certain we are on that path. Henry's mother is the most obscure character in the story––and yet, she is the God-figure who gives Henry his deliciously wonderful immunity to the local monster, (i.e. the "Horrible Thing,"played brilliantly by Phil Joel)... and, ultimately, his immunity to death itself. Listen closely for the phrase Henry's mother speaks to him every night after his bath time. In it are the seeds of redemption and eternal salvation. 


For fear of spoiling the story, I won't tell you anymore. Suffice it to say that Phil's daughter, Phynn, did the voice of Henry––and rocked! She was only 10 at the time. It's weird to think she's a woman now. Geez, I'm getting old. Not long ago, Cindy and I celebrated our first grandson––and his name is, Henry! So, he already has his own story! How cool is that?! Listen to the Musical Tale.


PART 3: The Bravest Girl in Gatlinburg

So, the first two stories were about heaven and how to get there. The last story is written, but has never been recorded in the studio. It's entitled, The Bravest Girl In Gatlinburg, and it deals mostly with life in the "now." In other words, it speaks to the listener who is already certain where he or she will be––say, two-hundred years from now––but is having a hard time figuring out how to live life TODAY... on this dying, decaying ball of soil called Earth. Of the three stories, it is the one that still coaxes tears from my breast. I can only imagine my response when I finally listen to a recording of it. I'll be a wreck.


Okay.  There you have it.  


Heaven is real.  


There is a way to get there.


And, in the meantime...


There is Someone who can help us do life well on Planet Earth.


Listen to The Fanciful Truth Musical Tales.