The Texas Monthly ran a feature entitled “13 Famous Texans’ Favorite Places.” When it was Lyle Lovett’s turn, he said that his favorite place was St. Paul Lutheran Church in Serbin, Texas. [Read more…]
A while back ago we blogged about that YouTube video of Lyle Lovett and other members of his LCMS congregation reciting the Nicene Creed. Someone observed that on his latest album, Release Me, he does a straight-up recording of Luther’s hymn “Keep Us Steadfast“:
Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word;
Curb those who fain by craft and sword
Would wrest the kingdom from Thy Son
And set at naught all He hath done.
Lord Jesus Christ, Thy pow’r make known,
For Thou art Lord of lords alone;
Defend Thy Christendom that we
May evermore sing praise to Thee.
O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.
All of this gave Aaron Lewis a bright idea:
I was reading your post recently about Lyle Lovett’s rendition of Lord Keep Us Steadfast on his new album.Why don’t you launch a campaign to help a song by Luther reach the top of the pop charts? We could start by having you encourage your readers to call radio stations and request that they play the song (it is on a major label so most stations should have the album). People can suggest others do the same on their facebook page/twitter &etc.What do you think???
I think it’s not very likely that the readership of this blog, however massive and well-connected, could pull that off, but, hey, I’m willing to try. And we can all at the very least buy the track for 99 cents at Amazon or for $1.29 at iTunes, thus bidding up its prominence. (Go to one of those sites to sample the recording.) Though I myself, a big fan of Lovett and his alt country repristination of Western Swing, want the whole album.
Three generations–all members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Klein, Texas–confess their faith in the words of the Nicene Creed, which itself goes back through generation after generation in the church of Jesus Christ. First we hear from Erich Klenk, 97 years old. Then we hear from singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett (of whom I am a big fan). Then we hear from fourth-grader Erin Pali. The effect of hearing the creed from these very different and yet very united Christians is deeply moving, as I think you will agree.
That would be the Jayhawks! I had no idea that Mark Olson was a Lutheran. I heard them in concert years ago. Thanks to Larry Wilson for alerting me to this fact. From the Mockingbird Blog:
I once heard The Jayhawks described as the “greatest Lutheran bar band ever,” and though I’m still not exactly sure what that means, I know I like it. It’s certainly better than the “alt-country pioneers” label they normally get saddled with. Or worse, heirs of Gram Parsons’ “cosmic American music” legacy. (Which is not a knock on Gram in any way, just on the flaky non-genre he coined). My own description would be: jangly God-haunted Midwestern country-folk with fuzz guitars and harmonies that redefine the words “sandpaper-and-honey.” But even that doesn’t cover the oddly circular progression they’ve undergone, from breezy singer-songwriters to arty and somewhat angsty recordmakers, and back again. Regardless of how they’re categorized, The Jayhawks are an American treasure, responsible for at least four brilliant albums, two of which feature co-founder/-lead singer Mark Olson (Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow The Green Grass), two of which don’t (Sound of Lies and Rainy Day Music are exclusively Gary Louris-led affairs). The fact that they’ve got a connection to Lutheranism is just a bonus. . . .
Anyway, back to the “Lutheran” part. Mark Olson’s faith has always informed the fractured poetry of his songs – an image here, a phrase there – never obscured by fear or paraded with insecurity. I’m thinking of the uncontrived religious undertones of “Waiting for the Sun” or “Real Light,” how they cleverly changed the title of “Martin Luther” to “Martin’s Song,” or how they covered Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Up Above My Head” on an early b-side. So when Olson wrote and recorded a straight-ahead gospel tune on his solo record December’s Child (!), “Still We Have A Friend In You,” it may not have been a big shock, but it was certainly a pleasant surprise (he had almost gone there with the excellent “Someone There To Talk With” on his previous album). It helps that it’s such a great song, too – totally authentic, uplifting and singable, with not even a whiff of cheapness. In other words, it’s top-tier white gospel (which is not meant as a backhanded compliment) and a bit of a modern classic. Olson explained himself in the press release for the record with characteristic humility and understatement: “That’s a gospel song in the sense of when you’re younger, you go away from God. It talks about what it takes to get you back into the walk with God. A lot of times you don’t go back until you’re just down.” Turns out it was a dry run for his next record, arguably his best, the divorce-themed The Salvation Blues. Garrison Keillor, eat your heart out.
via Mockingbird (Go to the link for lyrics and a sample.)
Does any one know any more about this?
Of course, my favorite Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod bar band has to be anyone playing with Lyle Lovett. (Does anyone have any more Lyle Lovett sightings at local churches? I’ve heard a few, including one where he explained to his band members why they couldn’t take Communion.)
Does anyone know any other Lutheran bar bands, or any other interesting and seemingly unlikely Christian affiliations?