Recently a friend of mine went over to his record player and pulled out a brand new LP with vaguely turn-of-the-century cover art. He was excited that he could now start collecting these vinyl recordings while also receiving immediate mp3 downloads of the songs contained on the physical record.
Little did I know that I was being introduced to a band that has really caught my attention lately, The Welcome Wagon.
Part of what I've started calling community-driven music (featuring lots of group vocals and with a ton of instruments packed into each track) the Welcome Wagon offer music with just the right mix of complexity and accessibility. You might recognize their sound from their Asthmatic Kitty bretheren.
But once I visited their web site, I was introduced to another side of Reverend Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique's work - their unapologetic efforts at creating new sacred music. PDF's are available of songs for singing in gatherings of groups of people claiming to follow Jesus. Reflections on the process of creating authentic gospel tunage give helpful insight into the Welcome Wagon's relationship between sacred and secular.
Inevitably artists doing work in this arena will be asked "Are you a Christian artists or not?" I think this actually does a disservice to both the artist and to Christian communities. The Welcome Wagon seem to hold together an identity as artists exploring the depths of both their music and their faith and I thank them for avoiding some of those limiting questions.
For that I'd just like to say, welcome to my music library Welcome Wagon.