Tuesday, September 06, 2005

John Michael Talbot.

This evening the novices and staff of Loyola House attended a local concert by Catholic musician John Michael Talbot. A Secular Franciscan who produces music on religious themes in a genre he describes as "country rock," Talbot is a figure I knew absolutely nothing about before entering the Jesuits. Some of his liturgical compositions have made their way into parish songbooks and can be heard in Catholic churches across North America, but beyond a setting of the Sanctus that we sometimes use at the novitiate I can't think of any Talbot songs I've heard more than once. In that sense, I have to thank the Society of Jesus in general and the novitiate staff in particular for expanding my musical horizons.

Contemporary Christian music generally isn't my thing, but Talbot's classical guitar solos have a meditative quality I can appreciate. Though Talbot's mellow voice and demeanor made me think of the late Bob Ross, his comments in between songs nonetheless included a few dry quips. There was, for example, his remark on spilling a glass of water near some electric wiring: "Maybe I'll be electrocuted, following in the footsteps of Thomas Merton." Happily Talbot completed his set without duplicating the freak accident that killed Merton. Talbot did, however, take up a collection for hurricane relief, a cause that I'm sure Merton would have been glad to support.

Though Talbot's concert didn't make a Christian rock fan out of me, I'm glad I had the chance to go. Much like seeing Rick Springfield last Saturday, the concert allowed me to experience a cultural phenomenon that would otherwise have remained quite alien to me. If seeing John Michael Talbot in concert enables me to minister better to the people of God, I'd classify the experience as an important part of my novitiate formation. AMDG.


At September 08, 2005 11:52 PM, Blogger Christopher Blosser said...

I'm not a big fan of JMT -- a little to folksy for my taste -- but your friends (those who appreciate his music) might enjoy Brother to Brother, co-written with CCM artist (I forget what denomination) Michael Card. The project was very controversial at the time among some Protestant factions, those who'd look askance at one of their own proclaiming "one faith" with a Papist. ;-)


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