Because life is a series of edits

Rockin’ the Casbah

In Church, Musicians on July 23, 2007 at 7:54 am

I played piano and sang during the offertory in church yesterday – the first time in our two years at Memorial, and the first in a very long time of singing my own song anywhere. The grand piano felt and sounded great, and my performance was as good as I could have hoped for considering the time that had passed since last playing (not to mention the little practicing I’d done – I hate rehearsing).

Most importantly, people seemed to love the idea of Scripture stories set to rock piano, so that was cool, especially when encouraging comments came afterward from folks of all ages (the song is kind of an Elton John meets Keith Green tune about Caleb and Joshua and their different response from the ten spies after scouting out Canaan in the Old Testament). My five-year-old’s evaluation was perhaps the most flattering (if biased): “Daddy, you rocked it!” This means a lot coming from the one member of our family most given to hip-hop.

It’s been so long since I’ve experienced a sense of connection with people through music; I had almost forgotten what it felt like. What was even more interesting was playing a song only on piano that was one of the most “produced” tunes I’d recorded, complete with a Phil Collins-esque drum track and horn arrangement, background vocals, and a killer piano track I could never play (Mike, my studio engineer and resident musical genius, played it on the album). If you’d like to hear the original, click here (keep in mind, this was 12 years ago).

When we were in the studio back in the day (mid-90’s), Lori, my producer, used to say that the great songs are the ones that translate regardless of arrangement, and it was affirming yesterday that that’s what seemed to happen with “Into the Promised Land”. I don’t know if it’s a “great” song in the “great song” sense, but I wouldn’t say it blows chunks, either.

While it doesn’t need to be soon, I hope to do something like that again. It was nice to play for people who knew me as part of their community (and weren’t just with me for a short weekend conference); it was also nice to play an original song for a receptive congregation rather than have to play someone else’s song in hopes that it would at least be “familiar” to an audience. That always felt like selling out, and I’m grateful not to have struggled under that expectation yesterday. For those who were there, thanks for that. It was a very meaningful thing.

  1. Is that you singing on your myspace? I would have loved to have seen you rockin out on that piano. Very cool. Almost as cool as those new glasses!

  2. DUDE! I completely forgot about that side of you. Now that I think of it, didn’t you sing and accompany yourself at the Scribbling conference? This is good stuff. Keep it up.

  3. Your comment, Darryl, makes my point – I had almost forgotten about that side of me as well. And yes, I did play at the Scribbling conference (though I can’t remember what song), but that was only after Mike (Card) had left already, which is why you might have forgotten. He’s a little hard to follow…

  4. So, is audio of this offering available on myspace? I’ll have to track it down.

  5. Steve, if you click the link in the post (see end of third paragraph), it should take you to MySpace, where you can hear the full song.

  6. Wow, that’s crazy! I’m sure Katey’s assessment was spot on. That song rocks!

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