News for September 2010

Before There Was Manilow

“I write the psalms that make the whole world sing”


The funny thing about “I Write the Songs (that make the whole world sing)” is that Barry Manilow didn’t even write it.  Bruce Johnston did.  Why do I know that?  Because at one point in my life I owned two copies of this beauty:

Both copies were in church library free boxes.  I think they were purchased for the title and once they say the author they had second thoughts.  Their loss, my gain.

Posted: September 30th, 2010
Categories: Uncategorized
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Unfriending Facebook

“Friends are friends forever, unless the lord unfriends them”

I think that’s how Michael W. Smith would write Friends if he were writing it today.  Because now we have those kind of options.

Last week I signed up on the Facebook.    My friends (real, not virtual) were all surprised given how often I’ve ripped on it in the last few years.  But I thought hey, this is just the way it is, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.  So I joined.

I only lasted 48 hours.

Nobody’s perfect.  Not even Smitty.

Posted: September 28th, 2010
Categories: Uncategorized
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How To Fold A Little Liturgy

Posted: September 23rd, 2010
Categories: music, song
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Nate Houge, Doctor of Banjos, Amps, and Ipods.

Three years ago my friend Micah gave me his I-pod.  Yes, I know how cool that is.  We have similar taste in music so I was stoked to have all kinds of great stuff already on there.  Then I started having ethical issues with having his CD collection in my possession without having payed a dime so I thought it best to sync it up to my own itunes.  For most itune users this seems like a good idea.  That’s because most itune users have a ton of music on their itunes.  I didn’t.  In fact, I had downloaded itunes to my computer to purchase one song.  Hard Luck Woman by Kiss.  I know.  Surprise!

So I synced up the ipod.  And now I had an ipod with one song on it.  And I don’t even like Kiss.

A little over a year ago we got a new car that had an 1/4″ jack to plug your ipod into the stereo.  And we had a 14 hour drive.  I spent the week prior to departure loading up CD’s into my computer and then synced up 4 days worth of music to the ipod and we were off.

We stopped for gas about an hour out of town.  One of our kids who will remain nameless, but is the youngest, dropped the i-pod and we got this:

13 hours to go.  And only rough mixes of Becoming Liturgy to listen too.

Yesterday I decided it was time to do something about this Ipod.  I got on the internet and reviewed my options and everyone concurred that the best thing to do was to drop it.  It seemed a little Soviet Union to me, but what’s there to lose?  It’s not like I didn’t have Hard Luck Woman on the laptop if this failed.

So with Elsa’s help, who I won’t mention is the youngest, we dropped the Ipod.  Four times.  And as the saying goes, the fourth time’s a charm.  It whirs and spins and plays music.  Fixed it.

But it comes as no surprise to me that it was fixed because I seem to have a healing touch this week.

My banjo, which isn’t really mine but has been in my possession for 8 years so I think I’ve got common law on my side, has a junky cardboard case.  One time this junky card board case flew open in a San Antonio crosswalk and the banjo went skidding across the pavement with nary a scratch.  But still, I’ve been wanting to upgrade for awhile.  So when my Dad scored a Gibson hardshell case for $20 at a garage sale this summer I was stoked.  But the banjo was too long.  So I fixed it.

With my jigsaw.

But wait!  There’s more!

My favorite amp is this Kalamazoo Model 1 (shown here with my danelectro with a bridge upgrade)

It has two knobs, and the Tone knob doubles as the on switch.  Can’t beat the simplicity.  I think it’s a late 60’s model.  Anyhoo, I replaced the speaker and output transformer.  I had ordered the parts about a year ago and then we moved across the alley and I read stuff on the web about how touching wires in tube amps can kill you and I thought there was enough going on that I’d put this off till I could get together with my much wiser and electronically savvy friend Steve and we’d knock this out sometime.  But then I got impatient.  So Elsa and I took it apart on Wednesday.  (Lydia’s in school. Elsa and I have a lot of time together these days…)  Things went great with the help of the Google.  The only problem was that the new output transformer was much bigger – which was the point – but also wouldn’t allow the back of the amp to go back on.  So I fixed it.  With a jigsaw.

To give you an idea of the difference in size, the old OT is on the left and the newly installed OT is on the right.

And I can’t believe how awesome this amp sounds now.  In fact I’ll be playing some quiet songs on it tonight at Faith in Waconia.  So if you want to hear it first hand get your butt in the pews!

And if you need anything fixed come by sometime – Although I feel my power going from me – So it’s at your own risk.  And the mercy of my jigsaw.

Posted: September 18th, 2010
Categories: Uncategorized
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The Bikeless Bike Tour

The plan was to put clothes, tent, sleeping bag and instruments on my bike and do a 5 day tour culminating in a CD release concert for Becoming Liturgy.  But that plan didn’t work out.
The catch with touring on a bike is that you greatly limit the distance between tour stops.  If I was in a car and couldn’t get a show in Madison I could drive on to Chicago.  If you’re on a bike and your show in North Branch falls through you call every other church within 10 miles of North Branch and try to make it happen.  Trust me, I did.  Then you have an opening on Friday night that you can’t fill.  Again, you call everyone between Mora and Waconia and hope for the best.  But truth be told I simply ran out of time to fill in the date.  There wouldn’t have been enough time to promote the shows.  That’s just the way it goes.
So do you bike anyways?  Spend Wednesday a.m through Sunday p.m. pedaling your little heart out for two out of town shows and one back at home?
That’s when you hold your career up to the light and see that biking isn’t really part of the calling – it would add a little vacation to the vocation and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But when it comes down to it I can’t justify being gone five days without those two other shows.  I’m also called to be a Dad and support my wife’s calling by being home with the kids on her work days.
I’m thankful that though this tour didn’t work out the way I planned, it’s still working out.  And even though I don’t get to ride my bike I still had the opportunity to bike to almost 100 percent of my gigs this summer in the Twin Cities area hitting churches in St. Paul (where I live) Edina, Minneapolis, and White Bear Lake.  And last week I biked to Humble walk with Elsa, Focaccia, a lap steel and a lap dulcimer all on the back of my xtracycle.  I’m stinkin’ proud of that!
So folks, if you’re in the vicinity of Mora, Waconia, or St. Paul next week come check out  my revolutionary new tour: The Bikeless Bike Tour.  Now with less bike!
Nate Houge – Concert at Calvary Lutheran Mora MN
Thursday September 16 2010 7pm
Nate Houge – Concert at Faith Lutheran Waconia MN
Saturday September 18 2010 7pm
Sunday September 19 2010 11am Worship
Nate Houge – Worship at Humble Walk St. Paul MN
Sunday September 19 2010 4:30pm – potluck to follow
Nate Houge – CD Release Concert at Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill St. Paul MN
Sunday September 19 2010 7pm
Full band concert with Jason & Erin DeBoer-Moran, Micah Taylor, and Jonathan Rundman. This will be Becoming Liturgy’s official release concert.
And if you’re wondering what the bike tour would’ve looked like here’s a picture of my bike fully loaded for church camp.  I rode this 55 miles north to Wild River Sate Park as part of a training ride.  It worked!  Clothes, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Guitar and Mandolin.  The only thing missing from the picture is how great I smelled by the end.  Really great.
Posted: September 10th, 2010
Categories: bike, music
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