Who is Nate Houge?
Nationally touring singer songwriter Nate Houge makes a living writing songs for people to listen to and for people to sing together – often in churchy settings with a healthy dose of hope, joy and humor. And a guitar.
NATE HOUGE is a questionable character. The first time John Ylvisaker heard Nate play his question was, “Have you ever been stabbed with a penny whistle?” As expected, Nate let out a borning cry. John was there to hear it. But this isn’t the only sort of question Nate’s songs raise.
Eking out a living since 1998 as a performing song writer Nate has continually called into question the status quo of you, me and the church. But Nate does not stop at questioning the way things are. He points to the hope of how things can be and invites us along in God’s reforming process. In church as in life, death is inevitable. But death does not have the last word. Nate sings with the reality of the cross and the assurance of the resurrection.
Nate Houge uses song to gather people, build hope, and grow community. He does this by writing songs for performance and for singing together.
Delivered with honed songwriting, honesty, and joy, “Reform Follows Function” is Nate’s most recent singer songwriter release. With a full band backing him up Nate delivers a collection of 11 songs with themes of vocation, stewardship, forgiveness, compassion, redemption, and being continually reformed in response to the embrace of God’s love.
“If it’s holding you back it’s not tradition. It’s nostalgia.” This quote of Nate’s offers insight into his love for liturgy as celebrated in his 2009 release “Becoming Liturgy” and 2012′s “Stumbling Service.” The understanding of tradition as something that propels us forward comes through in the 28 original acoustic pieces of “Becoming Liturgy” and in the Folk-Punk Eucharist setting of “Stumbling Service.” Whether fueled by piano and fiddle or drums and amps Nate joins the work of the people with honesty, vigor, and integrity, breathing new life into ageless worship patterns.
With albums like this up his sleeve it’s little wonder that Nate continues touring throughout North America playing across denominational and generational lines at churches, colleges, and regional and national faith gatherings.
In addition to his nearly one dozen releases Nate is a frequent collaborator with Rachel Kurtz (Holy Rollers, His and Hers, You Fooled Me, Love Come My Way, Days So Cold, and touring side musician) as well as Jonathan Rundman (By Grace and touring side musician). His free lance writing has also paid the bills with his Augsburg Fortress and Sparkhouse work. (Spark Bible, Renew VBS, Spark Sunday School Curriculum, Reform Ancestors Anti-Workbook and more).
When not on the road Nate can be found at home with his wife and daughters in St. Paul MN where he loves to bake bread, ride/repair/give away bikes, worship at Humble Walk, and invest way too much time, talent, and treasure into their ’86 Volkswagen Weekender. The theme of hope continues…
Reform Follows Function – Singer/Songwriter
Becoming Liturgy – Acoustic Liturgy
More albums here.
Reform Follows Function is soulful, heartfelt and beautifully written and recorded. Nate weaves words and images rooted in the love of God incarnated in our lives for the sake of the world. This album helps make meaning of our days and lives in, with and under creation, our neighbors and our own vocation.
Rev. Jeni Grangaard
Glyndon Lutheran, Glyndon MN
Becoming Liturgy Review
Part of the Minneapolis posse of Lutheran musicians that includes Jonathan Rundman and Echelon, Nate Houge offers up a heartfelt CD that creates a gentle mood for worship and the time leading to it. The 28 songs run the gamut from “Faith Renew” (anchored by the simple, sweet playing of violinist Mari Carlson) to the bongo-driven “God Over Everything,” which begins with the familiar “holy, holy, holy” refrain. Highly recommended for use with kids and youth groups, though there’s nothing childish about this fine disc (natehouge.com).
The Christian Century
Photos by Micah Taylor and Katie VanBeek.