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It’s a conspiracy against me

Two or three years later, when I was a senior in the spring of 1984, I was vice president in charge of student activities for the ORU Student Association. Our concert chair, Mike Rapp, brought in Randy on a double bill with Mark Heard (another favorite of mine, who died tragically young). I’ve told this story before, but I’m telling it again. I intended to sit next to Randy at the after-concert meal, and meet someone who was already one of my musical heroes.

Well, Randy ended up going through one of those airport-hell trips on his way to Tulsa – delays, missed connections, everything that could possibly go wrong. He arrived exhausted. Then, we had to tell him that, because of an arcane ORU rule, we wouldn’t be able to hand out flyers for Compassion International, a worthy charity with which Randy was closely affiliated and which he promoted at all of his concerts. Randy probably had every right to object or make a scene. He didn’t. He was the perfect gentleman. He gave a great concert – I guarantee, no one in the audience had any idea how tired he was – and stayed down front afterward to talk to anyone who wanted to talk to him. He behaved exactly as you would hope a Christian artist would behave. It’s so nice to meet one of your heroes and have them live up to your high expectations.

Needless to say, and quite understandably, he didn’t stick around for the after-concert dinner, and so I didn’t get the chance to have any sort of conversation with him. I met Mark Heard, and asked him a question which I realized as soon as I heard it coming out of my mouth was ridiculously stupid.

I saw Randy one other time in concert, a few years after college, when he was at the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. I only saw DA in concert that one time.

OK, let’s jump to 2011. After not having toured in years, DA books a few dates, including one in Smyrna. Smyrna! But they failed to check with me on the scheduling, and managed to book the concert during one of the two weeks that summer when I was at Camp Cumberland Pines at Mountain T.O.P.’s Adults In Ministry program. By a strange coincidence, my roommate in camp that week was devoted Mountain T.O.P. volunteer “Smitty” Smith, a member of the very church in Smyrna where DA was performing.

Now, it’s 2013. Randy Stonehill was scheduled to appear May 18 and 19 at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville as part of the “One Way Experience,” a sort of CCM nostalgia event also featuring Chuck Girard, Michael Omartian, Evie and The Archers. For my birthday, my wonderful sister, Elecia, gave me a ticket to the May 18 concert….

… which has now been cancelled, for some unannounced reason.

I can’t win.

Tell me you’re coming back soon

All of this ridiculousness about the scheduled rapture got me thinking about two of my favorite songs about the longing for Christ’s actual return.

The first is “Coming Back Soon,” a beautiful little number in which the singer bids his little daughter farewell in order to go out on tour, but promises her he will return.

This is the only video I could find on YouTube; it has Randy before the song, which starts at about the minute mark.

The other one is the strongly Brian Wilson-influenced “Soon!”, written by Terry Scott Taylor and performed by his band Daniel Amos.  I found this video on YouTube, made by a fan. The images which have been selected to accompany the song are kind of, well, cheesy, which is disappointing to me because one of the reasons I like this song is that it doesn’t play to clichés about heaven or the second coming. But this was the only way I could find of getting the music into this post. Click “play” and then minimize your browser until the song is over.

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Okay, now, this isn’t even funny.

As I blogged last week, my all-time favorite band, Daniel Amos, which hasn’t been on tour in a decade, will be in Smyrna on June 13 – when I can’t go to see them, because I’ll be in Altamont for one of the two Mountain T.O.P. Adults in Ministry weeks I’m doing this summer.

Well, guess what? My favorite public radio program, the Chicago-based “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me,” is going to do a show from Nashville this summer.

On June 30.

During my other Mountain T.O.P. AIM week.

Ed, Jay, Julie, Kim, Sam, Bo and Buddy, I just hope you guys know how much I love you. Because if I didn’t love you ….

No. No. No……….

voxfrontDaniel Amos, my all-time favorite band ever since I was in college in the early 1980s, hasn’t been on tour anywhere that I could see them in a while. But they’re touring this summer, in spite of the band’s frontman, Terry Scott Taylor, having some health and financial problems.

They will be in Smyrna.

On June 13.

Will I go see them? No, because I will be at Camp Cumberland Pines for one of the two Mountain T.O.P. Adults In Ministry weeks I’m doing this summer.

I absolutely cannot believe I will have to miss this.

Larry Norman, R.I.P.

Christianity Today has a really nice, and not sugar-coated, piece on the late Larry Norman.

Of course, I’m a big Daniel Amos fan, and like many fans tended to blame Larry Norman for the dispute which prevented DA’s seminal “Horrendous Disc” from being released in the 70s, when it might have been ground-breaking, until 1980, virtually simultaneous with “Alarma!” on DA’s new record label. After waiting decades for Norman to release “Horrendous Disc” on CD, I and other fans were particularly annoyed that Norman saw fit to add a couple of “bonus tracks” to the CD of himself singing DA songs. It seemed like a deliberate slap in the face, especially since “Horrendous Disc” is considered a concept album, making extra tracks a redundant intrusion.

But you can’t dispute the key role that Norman played in creating Christian rock, both through his own talent and by giving a forum to artists like DA and my other particular favorite, Randy Stonehill.

Just within the last year I was reminded of Norman’s “I Wish They’d We’d All Been Ready,” by Randy Bonifield’s very funny send-up of end-times theology, which incorporates parts of Norman’s song:
Continue reading Larry Norman, R.I.P.