Thursday, May 05, 2005


Here's a thought I've had recently, since I've gotten back into playing guitar, writing songs, and trying to find shows to play. Probably due to my 3-year long passage through hymns collections of various shapes and sizes (which means that my growing love/appreciation for hymnody predates the fashion trend that it has become in Christian music circles), I've wanted to put my own spin on things, trying not to stray too far from folk/gospel/bluegrass musical roots.

That being said, I wonder if there's anyway that I could contact local bands that I'm friends with and put together a thematic concert (or concert series??) centered around people connecting, gleaning, and learning from the depth of hymns. I'd collect a series of local bands, they'd sing their favorite hymns in whatever style they would prefer, and they'd talk about what they like about those hymns. I do realize that such a concept would be difficult to initiate and wouldn't draw the biggest crowds (initially), but I think that the bands I know would warm to this idea of mine. The kids (scenesters and other kids who think a certain style is cool without actually paying attention to the words or overall passion behind the music) would be compelled to listen and would probably connect MORE with those bands as they played their favorite hymns.

I'm not looking to create something evangelistic out of this. I just want to see if I can people to play, listen to, discuss, and appreciate good music -- music with great words, great music, great themes, and great histories. Am I being naive again? Am I dreaming too much?

Furthermore, I know why hymns are receiving new interest in music circles -- there's some theological depth to them. Have you folks listened to some of the praise & worship songs from the past few years? They're fairly shallow and focused on making sure they are simple enough to be played/sung in the most basic of congregational settings throughout low-Protestant/evangelical Christendom. Not that congregational singing is bad, but it becomes cheapened when everyone is singing the same silly, shallow, and simple songs. What I think needs to happen is for songwriters to rise up again and create a new era of hymnody -- not pop music with easy-cheesy, feel-good lyrics -- music with a purpose, a backbone, and the ability to stir people up a bit. Hardcore hymns -- why not? Punk Music as Sacred Choral Music -- why not? Indie rock with a heart (that's not emo) -- Why not? WHY NOT?

Thus, I want to start booking acts for the following show to happen in June/July -- "Old Time Gospel Hour: starring The Last Starfighter, Dover Drive, Fleece, Alaska Is for Players, and whoever else I can think of booking!" What do you think Draven? What would Mars Hall think?


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