Monday, February 23, 2009
Here's the place I played tonight, the Fremont Abbey Arts Center in Seattle. One of the coolest venues I've seen lately!
What 24 hours I've had! A quick recap:
Last night (seems like a month ago) I was near Portland, across the river in Camas, WA. Thanks to all my local pals, as well as the new listeners who came out. Lots of kids in the audience. I took some audience questions, and did a lot of catching up with friends. I'm trying to remember what I played....I'm a bit mentally fried. One of the highlights was the last tune: we did a South African folk song and we passed around percussion instruments and everybody rocked out on shakers and bells and stuff. Oh...and a 9 year old in the audience requested "Angels We Have Heard on High," the classic Christmas carol, so we sang it.
After that gig I got some fuel for the car and for my stomach, and I hit the road with intentions of making it to Seattle. I got too sleepy to continue the drive, so I stopped in Chehalis, WA at the RelaxInn. It was RelaxIng.
Got up this morning early, and got back on I-5 Northbound. Drove through downtown Seattle and arrived in Everett, WA in time to play music for my friend Kari's one-year-anniversary celebration of her call as a Pastor there. It was a Sunday morning church service unlike any that I've ever played....special guest musicians from Micronesia, and from Pakistan. Some truly amazing music...tabla drums, harmonium, and very energetic singing. I got to play the Heartland Liturgy, as well as my new fave hymns from the ELW including "How Small Our Span of Life" and "Each Winter As The Year Grows Older."
This afternoon I hit some cool Seattle record stores and found a few gems (Kerry Livgren, and the Nashpop Nashville Power Pop compilation).
And tonight was the Fremont Abbey. Sean Bendickson was the opening act, and his soulful vocals and skilled guitar playing were a welcome addition to the evening. I had an attentive audience of emerging-church folks, all grownups, allowing me the freedom to play some of my more challenging material including the rarely-played "Closed Out," as well as the debut live performance of "Imperfection." I also unearthed some songs that I haven't done in a while including "Minneapolis" and "Bright Funeral."
I'll be at Trinity Lutheran College tomorrow morning and across the Sound in Poulsbo tomorrow night. This has been a wonderful trip so far, but I'm starting to miss my sweetie and those two cute kids at home.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This is exactly the view I saw about 45 minutes ago as I drove along the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. It's 60 degrees and sunny here, and Mt. Hood is looming beautifully. I lived here in this state from 1992-1996, and I always love to come back.
Last night I played in my former town-of-residence, Eugene, Oregon. I was hosted by Emmaus and Central Lutheran Churches, both who are taking their youth to the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans this Summer. I played music during a fundraiser, helping to finance their trip.
There was about 200 folks at the concert, and it was really fun to see so many familiar faces. Highlights from the show included "Carol of the Bells," "Dialysis Carpool," and "Each Winter As The Year Grows Older."
I spent my free time yesterday and today hitting all my favorite used CD stores in Eugene and Portland. I found some treasures in the bargain bins including:
Bob Dylan "Blonde on Blonde"
The Everly Brothers "Best Of"
Butch Walker "the Rise and Fall of"
plus a bunch more that I can't recall...
Tonight I'm playing across the river in Camas, WA, and later on I'll drive three hours to Seattle with new music rocking my rental car stereo.
I love the Pacific Northwest!
Friday, February 6, 2009
I recently bought a converter box allowing me to take old VHS video footage and dump it into the computer. This was my first experiment.
Ten years ago when I was living in Chicago I performed an "Orchestra Show" using strings, oboe, and a full gospel choir. It was a huge undertaking with lots of arranging and rehearsals, but it turned out well, we had a great crowd, and the music was quite fun to perform.
Since this song was played this week on Radio Suomi in Helsinki, Finland, it seemed appropriate to post a live version of it. The studio version of "When Rising..." appeared on my album Recital back in 1997, and with my band at the time (Andy and Benji) we performed the song pretty regularly. In retrospect, it seems like a weird song to put in the set list. This orchestra version was the coolest way it's ever been played. I don't think I've performed the song in concert since then!
It's one of only two songs that I've written using pre-existing lyrics (the other song being "A Farm In Minnesota" from a poem by Lewis Simpson, and music by me and my cousin Bruce). Thomas Tallis is a bigshot writer in the sacred and classical fields from a few hundred years ago, and his lyrics for this song are serious business.
Here are the credits:
"When Rising From The Bed Of Death"
lyrics by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), music by Jonathan Rundman.
Performed by the Jonathan Rundman Orchestra, March 25, 1999, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Oak Park, IL.
Jonathan Rundman: acoustic guitar, vocals;
Andy Deitrich: drums;
Benji Derrick: bass guitar;
Matt Marohl: pedal steel;
Kym Spilker: violin;
Charity Caldwell: viola;
Jane Deitrich: upright bass;
Christopher Warmanen: oboe;
Scott Aaseng: piano;
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Gospel Choir: vocals;
The studio version of this song appeared on the 1997 Jonathan Rundman album "Recital," and a remixed version appears on the 2006 Jonathan Rundman album "Protestant Rock Ethic."
Monday, February 2, 2009
My 5-year-old son is very interested in superheroes. Recently his Grandmother went to the library and checked out some books for him, including a Marvel Superhero Encyclopedia. He enjoyed looking at all the detailed drawings and diagrams for each character, but got a strange look on his face when he stumbled across a superhero he'd never heard of before: the She-Hulk.
Paavo: "Dad, when this lady turns into the Hulk, does she grow really big and tall?"
Me: "Yes, just like the guy who turns into the Hulk."
Paavo: "So why doesn't her shirt rip off?"