If you have never heard of Andy Gullahorn, now is the time to change that.
My husband and I met Andy rather serendipitously at a Baylor Institute for Faith and Learning retreat at Laity Lodge in May 2010. He is a regular there (on his trips to Texas; he is based out of Nashville) and did a show for us one night. But before the show, we had the chance to have dinner with him and talk about a lot of things--life, kids, Derek Webb--you know, normal stuff. Then he left to get ready to perform, and we sat at the table with another professor in attendance and talked about communion and if the bread is really Jesus's body or not. Then it was time for the show.
He walked in, sat on the stool, fiddled around with his guitar, and started singing "If I Were the Devil."
If I were the devil, I wouldn't wear red
I wouldn't have horns or a pitchfork
I wouldn't breathe fire 'cause it might give me away...
We laughed at a lot of the song, until we got to this part:
No, I'm not the devil, but if I was
I'd take God's people and split them up
To keep their minds off who they're called to be
So they're no longer fighting over living or dead
Just is it the body or just bread
While all the unfed die hungry on the street...
Zachary and I were both so taken aback by the incisiveness of his words, and those lyrics have haunted me (in a good way) ever since, especially when I'm havinga conversation about the bread and the wine in communion (a REALLY important conversation, but it has to be paired with love and care of the poor and hurting).
But as he went on, he won us over. He just says really funny things, and then somehow when your defenses are down, he sticks you with deep truth. It's a breath of fresh air,--not like a dagger in the stomach, contrary to what the last sentence might cause you to believe.
From "I Haven't Either"
Have you ever felt so selfish that you let your baby cry...
While you finished up a video game?
I haven't either...
That's pretty bad.
From "More of a Man"
I used to watch Jean Claude Van Damme
Killing guys on the silver screen
Now every night, with the kids in bed
We watch Gilmore Girls on DVD
Surely I was more of man back then
I bought three of his albums that night and have not regretted a single purchase then or since.
I have all of Gullahorn's records--except for Old Hat (1999)--and he is one of my favorites. Rarely do I encounter a musician and singer/songwriter with such talent to make me laugh and cry--within the space of the same song. I mean, who can incorporate the Eucharist, walls, AND Donald Trump's hair into one delightfully funny yet heart-prodding song ("Is It Real?").
He's a real guy who writes about faith and marriage and how hard it all is, but how funny it can be. His new album Fault Lines debuted recently on iTunes and TheRabbitRoom is more great music. It's too hard to choose a favorite. "I Want to Be Well" is about the persistent longing for healing. "Over and Over" is a love song that evokes fond memories of one of my all-time favorites, his wife Jill Phillips' "Everyday." (Phillips also sings back up for a lot of his music and her voice is angelic.) He goes into deep theology on the descent of Jesus into hell in the powerful "God-Forsaken Place."
Two songs are absolutely amazing. "Freedom 2.0" is about the balance of life on the road as a traveling musician and as a husband and father of three young kids. Gullahorn is a talented story-teller, weaving a tale with few words packed with meaning. "Dad Like Mine" consistently leaves me in tears as Gullahorn sings about his own dad.
If you're looking for beautifully executed music with powerful and hilarious lyrics, Fault Lines is worth the $9.99.