Great Northern News by Sue Ready – Sept. 22, 2017

“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you’re mine, I walk the line.
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Living in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner, who had long paid for his crime,
But is there because he’s a victim of the times.
I wear the black for those who never read.”
-The Essential Johnny Cash, Album 2002

By Sue Ready

Church of Cash found their inspiration with the songs of Johnny Cash. They are a
musical tribute band with the express purpose of honoring the indelible legacy of
Johnny Cash and his music. The band was founded by Jay Ernest Kalk in 2010. He
has a remarkable grasp of this Man in Black’s catalog of 1,500 recorded songs.
Kalk has over 200 songs in his showcase repertoire to choose from when
performing. In fact he and his band are so in sync Kalk has only to play a few
chords and they’re able to pick up and sail off into a memorable Cash song. Their
upbeat performances are sure to make you tap your feet, clap your hands and sing
along with this spirited group.
Kalk chose the band’s name because he liked the idea that music can bring people
together to celebrate and hear a message just like a church. Cash’s legacy is
remembered as an individual who always found a way to keep going despite the
many dark moments he faced with poverty and drugs. Cash’s music is his life
stories. He sang about deep human themes from sorrow and redemption to pain
and moral tribulations. Outside of music, he stood for many important issues being
an activist for Native Americans and was notorious for conducting concerts in
several prisons around the world.
Kalk has incorporated many aspects of Cash’s ideology into his own life based on
some of these principles: it’s okay to be different, find someone to love, empathize
with others, use your failures as leaning experiences, be who you are and have

faith in something bigger that yourself, make mistakes in life, that’s the only way
to learn, find humor and positive experiences in everything and do what you love.
Jay Kalk, a.k.a. Jayder, is an American and International touring and recording
artist.who resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended Morehead State
University where he studied music performance with an emphasis on voice. In
1995, along with some friends who were fans of SKA music, assembled the band 3
Minute Hero where he played guitar. The band rapidly grew to local fame and
recorded their first album at Raptor Studios in 1997. Soon after the release of their
first album “Bingo,” Barking Dog Records of Fargo, North Dakota sent the band
out to tour in support of their album. In 1998 they released their second album
called “Everyday Ninjas,” which the band promoted vigorously touring around the
upper Midwest garnering their first Minnesota Music Award. After the band
disbanded in 2000 Kalk moved to Los Angeles where he joined the band Warsaw
Poland Brothers on the bass guitar. It was at the beginning of his career with
Warsaw that he received the nickname “Jayder”.
After touring with Warsaw 275 days a year Kalk made another life change and
moved to Phoenix, Arizona. There Kalk took his expertise and years of experience
in the music business and started a record label called Jayder Records. He saw
having a record company as an opportunity for himself and his musician friends to
have full creative control over their intellectual property. From 2007-2010 Kalk
lived in Hawaii and toured with Go Jimmy Go. He also worked on being a solo
guy, trying to make a little extra money where he would be playing new wave,
Irish, a little country, and some originals and some Johnny Cash. It was here in the
garden of paradise that the Church of Cash was founded as well as finishing his
first solo album on Jayder Records called 09.
That same year Kalk, after a 10 year absence, returned to his home state of
Minnesota, where he currently resides in Minneapolis. What the Church of Cash
tribute band has achieved with their music is unsurpassable loyalty to Johnny Cash
songs and their messages. The band is able to keep this word alive with a youthful
spirit that entertains audiences completely. Kalk and his band spread the gospel of
one of the world’s most important and enduring songwriters. He feels Church of
Cash is able to make the music of Johnny Cash fresh and relevant to their

audiences. You’ll find Jay Ernest on vocals and acoustic guitar, Albert

Perez on Guitar, Jonathon TeBeest on Drums, and Eric Struve on Bass.
Church of Cash is going seven years strong. Kalk has traveled the world as the
Man in Black. He is much to be admired for his strong work ethic as a full-time
musician. Kalk tours with Church of Cash around 200 dates each year. They play
a lot of clubs and legions that are vet based. During the show Kalk makes it a point
to give recognition to those in the crowd who have served their country
The music of Johnny Cash stirs memories across multiple generations. For those in
the audience, the songs perhaps remind them of their youth, maybe returning home
from war, or other memorable life events during a certain time period. Kalk did not
set out to emulate Cash’s voice but has found over time because he has internalized
and studied Cash’s music so earnestly he began to sound like him.
Kalk is a perceptive performer who is able to personalize his performances by
keying into what the crowd wants whether it be a different tempo of music to
dance to, a set of favorite songs or just a bit of conversation. Kalk’s favorite type
of venue to play is what he calls” theater style” where the audience sits back and
enjoy the performance of infused country, rock, blues and gospel influences of
Johnny Cash. Kalk hopes the music of Church of Cash will rekindle those
memories people have of a special place in time or that special moment when they
connected with certain lyrics of Johnny Cash.
When he is not on the road traveling he is pursuing other creative outlets He is co-
owner of Minnesota Makers with his wife Christa, a boutique that features the
handmade work of local Minnesota artisans.

In addition Kalk is also a certified lapidariest who owns a business called
Minnestona where he creates Minnesota shaped pendants from Lake Superior

Kalk hopes that aspiring musicians will recognize that their journey often will be
filled with growing pains until they can find their own voice. It takes a lot of hard

work to do what you love and many sacrifices will be made along the way. He
stresses the importance to be open to change and be willing to try new things until
you hit your stride.
Kalk finds himself at a good place in his life with his commitment to being a full
time musician after years of figuring out what he really wanted to do. He loves
playing music for a living. It brings him joy. He is doing what he loves sharing the
music of Johnny Cash and his wisdom with a crowd of happy people.
Kalk will be expanding his career as a singer and songwriter of country music
under the name of Jay Ernest.
For more information on Church of Cash and Jay Ernest check out their Facebook
page for photos, music videos and schedule of events and their website

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