Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Randall Goodgame Concert Review

On Saturday night, we drove up to Duluth to see our old friend Randall Goodgame play and talk about his songwriting as part of Old Peachtree Presbyterian Church's Alethia Forum. We hadn't seen him play a solo show in many, many years so we were looking forward to this opporunity! Besides, they offered free nursery care and who are we to pass up a chance like that?

Jacob even got to meet Randall briefly before the show. That makes the second Square Peg he's met in his short life so far (Eric Peters being the first!). We've got to indoctrinate him into a love of quality indie music early, ya know?

Randall always puts on a good show and we were not disappointed. He opened with "Bluebird," a song we first heard in 2006 at Andrew Peterson's Christmas show at the Ryman. He told us afterward that it will (finally) be on the new record, and it's the only guitar-driven song on the album. The rest are all piano tunes! Yahoo! We couldn't be more delighted. I love all of Randall's songwriting, but someohow I just feel he's in his element on the ivories.

He began with a few familiar favorites and talked about the stories behind the songs, including "Susan Coates' Pants" and the ENTIRE Peanuts trilogy, which he wrote after hearing about the death of Charles Schultz. I think we might've heard all three songs live only once before, so this was a treat.

Randall then gladdened our hearts by playing some new tunes on the piano, including "Reverie," a song for his wife Amy, and "Heaven Waits," a response to hearing all the stories from survivors of Hurrican Katrina. That particular song reminded me of a blend of New Orleans jazz and an old-time gospel hymn, which seemed fitting.

Somewhere in the set he played "Bears," a song he wrote for his son Jonah. It's from Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies, an album he co-wrote with Andrew Peterson and a Team Redd favorite. Apparently, that album is the favorite of many, because Randall said they have sold more copies of Slugs and Bugs than all of their other albums. He acknowledged, "I guess we've found our niche. We always needed a niche!" By the way, if you didn't already know, Randall and Andy have written the Silly Songs for the last three Veggietales videos. A niche, indeed! They're hilarious!

I'm sure he played some more songs, but I can't remember them all. I think one of the piano tunes was called "42 Dollars," and it was fun! At one point, he stopped to take requests, and so of course I shouted out "Laundromat!" (Any BSC grad just can't help but like a song that begins "There's a laundromat on Arkadelphia Road...") He responded "But I thought you guys wanted to hear NEW songs?!" Heheheh. He hadn't played it in a long while and at one point he got so into the music that we had to help him out a bit with the lyrics. I didn't mind. :-)

Randall stayed at the piano (joy!) and played another new song, "California," which recounts the tragedy of a young unwed mother who, in 1968, was sent across the country to a girls' home and forced to give her baby up for adoption. My friend Sarah and I were bawling. I swore I'd never be one of those people who cried in public because of a song, but this one was just too powerful. (It probably also had something to do with being a mom and also swirling with pregnancy hormones.) Still, even if you're not a mom and not pregnant, when you hear this song, I dare you not to cry!

From that tear-jerker he moved on to "Jerusalem," which helped to remind me of the One who holds our hearts. I can't remember what he ended on, but the organizer (Thanks, Dan!) had included some time for Q&A at the end. I missed part of that, but I did return with Jacob in tow to hear him play a hymn off of his church's new worship album called "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say." Apparently, it was originaly a children's song, and he fell in love with the simple gospel announcement, but the lyrics are so much richer than any children's song written today.

So, if you read my rambling review and are wondering what all these songs sound like, you can buy most of Randall's albums at his website. His new six-song EP is set to be released in October (I think they are mixing it this week)! His church's new worship project, The Midtown Project Vol. 1, can be found here. And you should definitely pick up a copy of Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies, even if you're not a parent.

(By the way, that church has some great discussion forums coming up so be sure to check out their calendar. Who knew that local newscaster Tony Thomas was a Christian? He's going to be speaking about Christianity and Journalism next March along with Joel Belz, founder of World Magazine.)

Next up, a review of our Sunday afternoon trip to see MPJ. It was an action-packed weekend of free live music!


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