When I think about Dana Key, I remember many things. I remember being a
teenager with a mullet rocking out in my room to the songs of Degarmo & Key.
I connected with the music, but even more, I connected with a longing to not
be a Casual Christian, to be Rock Solid, and probably even more I wanted to
connect with my Blessed Messiah.
I remember being told that Dana had heard me play and wanted to go to lunch.
I couldn’t believe that someone I had looked up to so much had seen
something of value in me. And I remember at that lunch that he wasn’t
impressed by any of the sheen of Christian music, but he deeply loved the
Christ that the music was about.
I remember him coming in and listening to the first record. He heard the
songs on Grace Like Rain and told me that more people needed to be touched
by these songs than the few people I would run into at church and youth
camp. I will never be able to express how much it meant that he believed in
I remember him as a pastor. I was so impressed that a musician had that
kind of concern for theology and for the people of his city. He loved Jesus
and wanted Memphis to find healing in Him.
But my most vivid memory is of a really difficult day in my life a few years
ago. I had just been torn up by a promoter. It was the first time in my
life that my integrity was questioned. I was devastated and angry, and I
had no idea what to do. I sent Dana an email, expecting an email in return,
or maybe even a phone call. But just a little while later, I got a call
from Dana, telling me to come over to his house. I can still see the
backyard, as we sat by the big tree behind his old farmhouse. And he sat
What I remember the most is not a piece of advice he gave, is not a song he
wrote, or a guitar part he played. I remember that when I was hurting, he
stopped what he was doing and brought me to his home, to a safe place. And
he listened. And he prayed.
Dana Key loved Jesus. And he loved people. I was fortunate enough to be
one of those people.
God, I will always be grateful that you chose for my life to be impacted by
this man. Pour out your love and your comfort on his family, on his church,
and on his friends. May Christ be exalted in our lives as He was in Dana’s.