Sunday, January 27, 2008
Posted by gitfiddler at 10:51 AM
So I heard about this guy on the avalonguitar.com forum. It was actually an announcement of his death. Here's what they had to say about him there:
"To say he will be sorely missed is a colossal understatement. He was unique, a talent that towered over his peers in so many aspects of music - song writing, performing, vocals, production, sound engineering and music programming. But even such myriad talents paled into insignificance to the man - a humble, caring, loving, giving person; an encourager, a true friend, a man of deep faith and profound spiritual insight and a comic genius all rolled into one."
For a distinguised guild of guitar makers and pickers to revere this guy so affectionately made me want to look him up in a hurry. So the first song I heard was this one. And when the first thing he does is ask the audience to hum an accompaniment to his badass instrumentals, I knew it was my kind of music.
And as it turns out, he's a devout Christian. I haven't come across a ministering musician whose tunes actually moved me, whose lyrics I don't merely tolerate but really love, and whose artistic integrity sealed the deal in a long time. I must admit that I've been too jaded by the propensity of Christians I know to have selective hearing where God's voice is concerned...and I know that's only frustrating for me cuz I'm doing my damnedest to shed my OWN selective hearing. And here's a man whose whole life is singing and shining like the giant "OM" tattooed on his arm. And I am reminded what I'm listening for.
I'm starting to believe that playing a guitar the way folks like this guy and Jose Gonzalez and Peter Mayer and Ani DiFranco do starts to affect their spiritual lives eventually - maybe it's the whole idea that the vibration of strings makes the wood come alive and singing with that creates overtones to which heart, word and voice strings are all sympathetic. Or maybe it's some ancient instinct that a portable singing tree is the only appropriate musical companion for such living lyrics. And ya know, maybe being as wide open a channel as this kind of musicianship demands just makes it impossible to keep God from spilling into the songs and the life of the singer. Whichever it is, I've been astounded lately to see the pattern between playing and singing well and tapping into Divine things. Suddenly I see that I'm surrounded by the mentors I hunger for....and God's voice is clearer because it's gaining harmonies from all sides....and I do believe I just outlined a theme for my next several posts. :)
Here's my personal fave: