Iowa Tour Recap

Spent a fine three days in Iowa last weekend, rocking the mainline Protestant world along the Western banks of the Mighty Mississippi River.

The concerts, bookers, and audiences were lovely, but the highlight for me was the supergroup of musicians that I assembled! These are folks who've been collaborating with me musically since the late-80s (wow!) but this particular collection of people have never performed together. Man, they rocked, and provided me the instrumental backup with which any singer/songwriter would be thrilled. Here's a photo of the weekend band (l-r): Lowell Michelson (drums); me (guitar, piano); Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (bass); Matt Marohl (pedal steel, mandolin, guitar). Every member of the band had a grad school degree from a seminary, except me...I'm the proud holder of a High School diploma from Westwood HS in Ishpeming, MI. But I have an honorary PhD in rock and roll. (My Grandpa Rundman, a painter and paint store owner, had a joke that went; "I have a stands for Paper Hanging and Decorating.)

FRIDAY: we provided music outdoors on the lawn of Trinity Episcopal Church in Muscatine, IA. You couldn't have asked for a more ideal evening...warm breeze, the audience lounging in the grass, barges floating by on the Mississippi just down the hill, and trains choo chooing on the tracks. We played for two hours, and did a ton of songs, but some highlights included:
+ "Narthex" with the 150-year-old church building next to us, illustrating the song perfectly
+ A very rare performance of "Rivertown," sung for the first time while viewing the exact river in the lyrics.
+ "747s" played live with a band for the first time ever! Nice harmonies, Richard!
+ "Pomp and Circumstance" by request...quite a bizarre version, but actually fairly accurate. Never played that one before, but now, I'm kind of inspired to try it again.

SATURDAY: spent the afternoon shopping with Richard in Davenport, IA...I eyed a '60s-era Farfisa Organ at the local Music-Go-Round store, and we hooked Richard up with the Best of Dave Edmunds album from Borders, a CD that I've been glued to lately. "Warmed over kisses, left over love..." Later that night we played (for the second time in 10 months!) to a great crowd in the giant sanctuary at Zion Lutheran in Davenport. Musical highlights included:
+ "Gospel Verses" with amazing pedal steel by Matt!
+ "Will The Circle be Unbroken"
+ Selections from the new ELW cranberry hymnal, including "O Morning Star" and "Let Us Go Now to the Banquet"
+ "Workin' My Committee" featuring amazing sax playing by guest musician Randy from the Augustana College music faculty!
+ A full band sending-song of "Canticle for Departure" with more amazing Richard harmonies.

SUNDAY: I played solo for the Ascension Day services at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport. Lowell was preaching, and he wove my song "Forgiveness Waltz" into the sermon...I got to use the gorgeous grand piano, and it was a pretty amazing experience to play that song on that instrument for a few hundred people. And I did Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" for the offertory. The Gospel according to Thomas.

All in all, it was an awesome weekend of friends, visiting, driving, rocking, eating, shopping, and more visiting. 'Twas a pretty intense and demanding drive back to the Twin Cities, but totally worth it. Iowa, I thank you for your support and encouragement. I shall return!


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