The Tennessean | Journey songwriter knows ‘What God Wants To Hear’

When Jonathan Cain titled his first Christian album “What God Wants To Hear,” he didn’t mean that to be flipped into some meditation-prompting, esoteric question. He’s confident God literally delivered its 12 tracks to him one message at time — the lyrics found embedded in sermons and scripture, the music coming to him quickly after, the recording done in Nashville on a week-long break from Journey’s summer tour.

Cain, of course, is responsible for the most downloaded classic rock hit in history, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” based on his experience as a young musician arriving in Los Angeles. He and former Journey frontman Steve Perry co-wrote all the band’s sing-along hits, enough to keep the group, now minus Perry, touring around the world decades later.

Cain’s Christian roots go back to childhood dreams of becoming a priest, but he began to question his faith as an 8-year-old after a fire killed 92 students and three nuns at his Catholic school. Cain’s father paid for music lessons to help his son deal with the trauma.

Cain popped in and out of religion after that — a Baptist altar call at 18, a flirtation with Scientology in the ‘70s, baptizing his children in the Lutheran church. He opened Addiction Sound Studios in Berry Hill in 2011 after daughter Madison began sharing his musical aspirations. Church-rich Nashville seemed like the ideal place to interest his family in attending Sunday services, but they didn’t go for it.

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