Kenny Meeks plays 4 songs, and they are all different, but there is something blues-y and wistful and full of longing and soothing at the same time about his work. Real Long Day was about the day his oldest daughter got married. Shining as Stars took its inspiration from Philippians 2. We're Gonna' Rise, "written and recorded in the way of old time street parades," actually got some heads bobbing and some off-beat clapping for a bit, which is really saying a lot from people in this undemonstrative state.
There are refreshments and restroom runs during the intermission, where they advertise gluten-free snacks and jokingly say they will also be serving extra gluten with a side of MSG and wonder if someone will get rich by finding a use for all that excess gluten. I am in a place unfamiliar to me, a place where they ruin perfectly good water by putting cucumbers in it. I do not belong here, or maybe I should say I don't fit in with the hipsters and the cool 30-somethings of the church. That has never really bothered me. I'm not here for them, I'm here for the music and to find out that Derek Webb is thoughtful and hopeful and not cynical. But cucumber-free water shouldn't be too much to ask for, should it?
The second half starts with requested songs. There are several I want to hear (especially "This, Too, Shall Be Made Right"), but I can be quite the coward in group situations these days.
A I want a broken heart
This song is from his second (and apparently worst-selling album).
"faith in the bank and money in my heart"
"the cattle on a thousand hills were not enough to pay my bills"
B I repent
Also from his second album. He agrees to it and then realizes he isn't sure he remembers it. He refers to it as the anti-song to the one he ranted about last year. Not sure what he means because Stockholm Syndrome was more than a year ago, and his most recent album was instrumental.
He calls this the thesis statement on his third record, and it is a powerful and slightly tongue-in-cheek song about cliches in the church.
"I'm like a mockingbird:/ I've got no new song to sing./ I'm like an amplifier:/ I just tell you what I've heard./ "
D Everything Will Change
This is from his new album that has yet to be released (I Was Wrong, I'm Sorry, I Love You). He talks a bit about his process as a lead up. In his life, songs only show up for a reason, and he says that folks who have been following him from the beginning have heard every song he's ever written. For this record, the songs that started showing up were about questions he wanted to ask the church and issues he sees in her now, 10 years after his first album about her.
He considers it a sister album, a later follow-up to the first album (the reason we are all here at this concert tonight). He said earlier that he could still stand behind everything on his first album and that he considered this fact important. He now adds, "If I agree completely with everything I said 10 years ago, there's something wrong with me."
And then he says some important things about cynicism. He says that this song will "put to rest the idea that I'm providing proof texts for cynicism." He defines cynicism as believing there's no way this thing is ever going to change, there is no hope, deal with it. "If I really believe in a day when all sad things will become untrue, then there is nothing that my hope is wasted on."
He says, "Cynicism is the opposite of the telling of the story of the kingdom." And this song tells the story of the Kingdom in a way that makes me think a bit about his Jesus autobiography song ("Lover") from earlier in this album.