Neon Steeples

IMG_1026I can’t sing. Or more accurately, I can’t sing well. However, it doesn’t stop me from trying. I belt out the worship songs at church or with the radio when I’m alone in my car (it’s all joyful to God, right?) And when I can’t help myself, I’ll even sing at times when my husband’s with me. I think it’s actually strengthened our marriage—I’ve learned not to be overly sensitive when he turns up the radio volume to drown me out, and he’s learned to gauge my mood before doing so.

Because I have this deep desire to be able to sing well, and it won’t be fulfilled on this side of heaven, I am in awe when I hear those who are gifted with beautiful voices. There are even some who can bring me to tears, such as Alison Krauss, whose haunting quality resonates with some hidden part of my soul.

As a writer, words draw me. Put powerful words to a compelling tune and I’m there. Add unique instrumentals, and I’m hooked. Such was the experience Thursday night when my husband and I, along with some friends, attended David Crowder’s Neon Steeple Tour at Bayside Church in Granite Bay. I’ve enjoyed some of David Crowder’s music, so was looking forward to seeing him in concert.

I had no idea what I was in for!

If you don’t know what David Crowder looks like (and really, who doesn’t?) think Duck Dynasty. But it doesn’t take long to discover that underneath all that hair lies an amazing musical genius. And when he speaks, you might be fooled into thinking that David Crowder is a little…er…slow. I guarantee, it’s just part of his charm. He combines provocative words, heart-stopping tunes and a showcase of instrumentals to bring the Word of God to life. Truly inspiring!

The stage was set to draw us in. It looked like a hoe-down on a hillbilly front porch from the rustic framing (an actual porch) to the beard-sporting-flannel shirt-suspendered-jeans-clad band members. The instrumentals were varied, so much so, some of them were invented by band members. There were, of course, the basic guitars, banjos and drums. Throw in an amazing violin player, cellist, keyboard and accordion and you have an unusual sound. Add instruments that David Crowder referred to as the band member’s garage sale, and the result is too unique to duplicate.

I enjoyed every piece they played, but there was one that will stay with me for weeks—actually, forever, as I bought the Neon Steeple CD before we left Bayside—it’s called Lift Your Heart Weary Sinner (Chains). It’s foot-stomping, heart-stopping beat brings revival of the early 20th century to the present. It was as if I were in a different time and place, face-to-face with the brokenness and neediness that engulfs us, if only we have the eyes to see. It doesn’t matter what we have materially, emotionally, physically—it all comes down to where we’ll be in the end. And if you don’t have Jesus, you don’t have nothin’, and David Crowder’s music is a brilliant reminder.

An added bonus was being introduced to the musical group All Sons & Daughters out of Franklin, Tennessee. The lead female vocal, Leslie Jordan, has a voice not unlike Alison Krauss’s. The bands’ music was a fitting preview of Crowder, as it had a lot of the same folksy-bluegrass quality. But it was the heart for Christ shining through every note that stayed with me and left me with a desire to hear more.

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