News for February 2012

That’s What I Thought.

I was trying to say so much of this with my album “Becoming Liturgy.”  I really appreciated these words from Ian Morgan Cron.

Last Sunday at Humble Walk, Tim Snyder added his voice to the liturgical conversation in curating the Restless Liturgy.  It uses existing and commissioned music of Aaron Strumpel.  It was beautiful.  It’s coming back around this Sunday.  You should check it out.  I’m fortunate to be part of a community that makes space and invitation (and a little bit of cash) for artists such as these.  I’m equally fortunate to be led in new ways by gracious and talented creative types that work for the love of what they do and Jesus.  (And a little bit of cash.  A very little bit.  Very gracious artists.)

These conversations and experiences are pushing me to learn in new ways how I can continue to grow as an artist.  I’ve got a pile of liturgical songs that didn’t fit or were written since the Becoming Liturgy album.  One is a sort of pop punk liturgy.  It’s been percolating in my  mind the last month and during the service on Sunday I felt the pull stronger than ever to get it together. Today I lined up  a church that’s willing to ‘premier’ it in April.  And I lined up a drummer.  We’ll see what happens.

Keep creating.  Teach old dogs new tricks and young pups old songs.  Peace.

Posted: February 27th, 2012
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Ashes – Slow.

ashes slow twang of joy
This is the slow version of Jonathan Rundman’s song “Ashes” as arranged by Martin Marty and performed by Twang of Joy. Crazy what one Bm can do. This and Justin Rimbo’s “When It Seems the Day Will End” remain by top 2 songs of Lent.

Posted: February 22nd, 2012
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Phat Tuesday

Lent is upon us and I’m guessing you need a soundtrack.  Here’s one option:  Saints and Sinners Vol 1

In the meantime I continue to learn things from my Vanagon.  It’s been parked and on a charger for the winter.  And still it finds ways to break down.  On Sunday I noticed a small pool of something on the floor of the garage beneath Our Lady of Disrepair.  It was coolant.  From the rear heater core.  I successfully removed it.  The other option was to fix it.  Both are acceptable within the Vanagon cult… I mean community.  Given how we use our Vanagon and the funds allotted towards it’s health care, removal was the best choice.

There are some things in life we fix.  Others we’re just as well getting rid of.  Hopefully this Lenten season we can discern these things in our own lives.

And if you’re taking up alms giving this season may I suggest giving to Our Lady of Disrepair?

Remember you are dust.  Nate.

Posted: February 21st, 2012
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Songs Into Groceries

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. It looks likes this:

When you’re self employed as I am you still have to do what your boss says. The hard part is knowing how to be a good boss. How do you connect with more folks? What’s the next level? How do you get there? Are you sure you want to go there? How do you constantly self promote without coming off like an arrogant prick?

Luckily I’m not the first songwriter to have these questions. Many greater and a few lesser have gone before me. Some advice I was given early on was to find someone with a similar career path and use them as a model for your own career. I chose David Bazan for awhile. But he got so depressing. Bill Mallonee was in the running for awhile; I’m a huge fan of his. But he got depressing too. Bill and I talked once about depression and I confessed that there are certain months of the year (more of them in MN than in CA) that I can’t listen to him. I have a habit of saying dumb things to people that I idolize. Perhaps you the reader are feeling idolized at this point. Fair enough, let’s continue.

So I’m thinking about all this after last night’s Songwriter Circle that I played with Ben Kyle and Heatherlyn. It was beautiful and I was honored to be up there and I got to share a few songs that haven’t seen much light in public (Resurrection and Mass for those keeping score at home). And I came home reinvigorated to continue writing songs and getting them out there. Now I just need to ask my boss how this is done.

Here’s what he/I has/have come up with so far. (Did you see the 30 Rock where Donaghy out negotiates himself on Liz’s contract? I feel like the whole me/my boss thing is turning into that. I’ll stop. First person from here on out. ‘Cause my boss said to. Snap.)

  1. I have a facebook page now. Earth shattering, I know. But now my ‘friends’ don’t need to hear about my career all the time and people can like my music without liking me. Go ahead try: LIKE NATE NOW. As silly as it seems I believe it to be a bit on the professional side and seeing how this is how I make my living, professional is good.
  2. A big fat e-mail list. I’ve been really lame for the last few years in sending out e-mails because during a computer switch my contact list got all screwy and when it came down to it, it was a royal pain in the butt. But I’ve been doing the grunt work and getting it all back in place and I’m going to restart the monthly newsletter. You may get it. You can opt out. You may not get it. You can opt in, just send me your e-mail and social security number. Fine. Just your e-mail will suffice.
  3. Um.. that’s it. I have a couple other ideas but they’re so big I don’t think they’ll fit here. I’ll tell you about them when I’m on Letterman.

I’m not sure who’s career to follow at this point. Maybe someone like Josh Ritter. Hard working and still hopeful. (I believe Bazan and Mallonee are hard working and hopeful too – and I still love them both and think they’re fantastic. I’ve just dealt with enough mild depression to know that there are certain people I can’t follow to closely.) I’m open to suggestions. I can tell you my goal which may seem small but I like to keep it attainable: I want to show up in a town I’ve never played before and have 100 people turn out for the concert. We’ll pass a hat, I’ll sell CD’s, and I’ll do it all again the next day. That’s my goal for now. It might be easy. It might take a miracle. But heck, if Jesus can turn water into wine how hard can it be to turn songs into groceries?

Thanks for being part of the miracle.

Posted: February 7th, 2012
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