Wednesday, March 06, 2013
In the days before Google when everyone owned ‘vinyl’ we did this by reading the artist notes and the fine print. You would pick up the jacket of your favorite artist’s record. You would flip it over to the backside and locate the musicians that accompanied or contributed to the album. Then because YouTube and ITunes didn’t exist you would buy the album of the accompanying artist. Often this would lead to the discovery of new favorites.
Back in the eighties I was a fan of a singer named Steve Taylor. His lyrics were Christian but sarcastic. So much so that initially he couldn’t get either secular nor religious record labels to back him because “your lyrics will offend our audience.” His music remained controversial throughout his recording career simply because he often bucked the status quo. That being the case he went on to garner significant awards in music. He was edgy which is why I enjoyed him. He fell off my radar since then. I thought of him because I’d quoted his lyrics to a friend.
I am a fan of Donald Miller the author of Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. Donald Miller, like Steve Taylor, is a controversial and popular Christian writer. He doesn’t fit into the safe normative Christian author mold. Blue Like Jazz was recently made into a movie. The reason that it was made into a movie was that Donald Miller was approached to make it into a movie. The guy that called Miller owned a movie company and made movies. Miller says this about him, “I realized that I’d heard of Steve before. He used to be in a rock band and when I was a kid I had one of their records.” It wasn’t until today when I Googled Steve Taylor that I made the connection.
After he ended his career as a rock musician Taylor continued writing and producing music with such groups as The Newsboys and Sixpence None The Richer. In 2010 he began collaborating on the movie Blue Like Jazz. In that intersect two of my favorite artists came together to create a movie that, like all their previous work, was outside the normative Christian box.
As in the days when ‘vinyl’ was king there remains a great happiness in discovering new artists that connect music and ideas to enhance and motivate. There is that joy of discovery and serendipity when the connection comes together. Today I was jazzed to discover the Taylor-Miller connection.