random concerts & revelations

Last week, my landlady mentioned an upcoming concert at Hope Church, where Patrick and I attended evening service this past Sunday. It was one of five or six installments in their Summer Concert Series. If I had heard about it earlier, I totally would’ve been there sooner – I missed Matthew West and Sara Groves in June, which I imagine was an awesome show. This time it was going to be Bebo Norman and Ginny Owens, both of whom I was familiar with at least in name, but I couldn’t necessarily match them with their songs.

Well, my landlady and her visiting friend had already purchased tickets, but I decided to tag along, just in case I could get a seat near theirs. It just happened that the next seat in their row was open, so we were all able to sit together. And the concert was fantastic from beginning to end. Probably the best one I’ve ever attended.

I didn’t know Ginny Owens was blind. It was immediately apparent when she walked out on stage, so I guess I haven’t seen her in anything but still shots, if that. She’s a beautiful piano player, though, and her voice is amazing. She sounds and looks quite a bit like Alison Krauss, actually. Her part of the show was just her and the piano. And she did a funny little bit about lyrics that don’t make sense, how she listens to anything and everything on her iPod and has to laugh when she comes across songs with lyrics that are confusing or otherwise seemingly meaningless. One of her examples was that, “Shorty, you’re my angel, you’re my darling angel; Closer than my peeps you are to me…,” song. So funny, especially to hear her sing it.

Bebo Norman and his bandmate, Gabe, were extraordinary as well. They played only one song I recognized, but the others were all just as good. Gabe played a whole host of instruments – acoustic guitar, piano, steel guitar, accordion and the hammered dulcimer, which was really cool – and harmonized well with Bebo. They told a hilarious story about the fact that they have acrylic nails put on their right hands to aid in their playing, rather than using a pick or other fingertip gadgets. They go to the nail salon together while they’re on the road. :)

Overall, I think the best part of this concert was a mini revelation on my part. I’ve always had a little grudge against live music: No matter how cool anyone said it was, I never could understand the draw of paying way more money than to buy a CD (which you get to keep) to go sit in a crowded place, too far from the stage to actually feel like you’re face to face with the artist and hear songs you don’t know or familiar songs sung differently and played at different tempos so you can’t even sing along. :P I have felt that way most of my life.

However, I have realized it’s different with this kind of music. Most of the time, especially with country music and anything particularly “popular,” I base my assessment on how it sounds and how easy it is to sing along. With contemporary Christian music, the lyrics matter more. So I’ve finally found an arena in which I am OK with hearing new music and familiar music with a new beat. I noticed tonight it took me several beats longer to realize I recognized Ginny’s songs. She played about four that I knew, but not realizing right away that I knew them gave me a chance to listen harder to the lyrics. Not having a recognizable beat from the radio gave the song a whole different feel. And not having a backup band with way too much volume meant that I could clearly hear and understand every word she said. Both parts of the show had this effect. It was like I finally stopped hating concerts tonight. :)

Other news… Worked way too much today, but it was good. Went to a new place for lunch. Laughed a lot. Made it a few steps farther with the blog project for work – hoping to have a template at least 95% done by Monday morning. I may be going on a guided kayak tour on Sunday with my landlady and her friend. Not sure if it will happen, or if I will feel like it that day, or if I will opt to go to RP’s church instead, but we’ll see. Have to make it through Saturday first…

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