I told you to check in with us this week. We have Internet connectivity so you will get all the reporting from Cornerstone 2010. We tried to write this post last night but uploading video proved to be an exercise in patience using mobile broadband (I use the term broadband loosely), but hey, two years ago we could not even get a cell phone signal at Cornerstone Farms. Over the next week you will get a little video but a lot of pictures and reports so that you can share in Cornerstone 2010 as it is happening. When we return to the office we will flood our sites with our accumulated videos, reviews and interviews. We can get Internet access so we will share with you every day of Cornerstone 2010.
Yesterday was spectacular. The first day is usually a challenge because your are trying to check-in, set-up, re-organize around the final schedule and the Cornerstone staff and volunteers are learning as they go. Yesterday was different. We drove right in, secured a golf cart for rapid transportation around Cornerstone Farm, set-up camp and had time for lunch before our shows started. Oh, by the way, the weather is spectacular with a capital S. Only a few clouds, highs in the mid 80′s. It was cool enough last night that I crawled into my sleeping bag at about 4 a.m. Here is Ian, our president and the master of all knowledge about Christian music and our professional photographer Rebecca (note: none of the pictures in today’s post we taken by Rebecca, she is much better than this.) The best part is that we four great shows among the seven or eight we visited. The Unfortunate ( a jazz-blues quartet), Josh Davenport (a Delta blues guitar player), The Listener Project (talk music extravaganza) and Oh Sister Oh Brother (indie, electro pop).
As Debbie joined me to play out the schedule I had so carefully planned out and re-planned out the weeks leading up to Cornerstone 2010, Ian bounded up to our golf cart. “Listener is playing a surprise show at the Sanctuary Stage at 4:15. You guys have to come see him! They are like nothing you have every experienced.” We have been fans of The Listener Project for over a year. Before they had even settled in, found a camp site or found there bearings The Listener Project were up on stage playing a burning set of dense free flowing talk music about building bridges, ship wrecks and a number of other allegories about living in this world.
Through the set, Dan Smith flowed, stomped and ranted solo, with banjo, electric and acoustic guitar, a trumpet and fluglehorn. Immediately, after their set we rushed over to the merch table, with about half of the capacity audience, to pick their new cd “Wooden Heart”. They were intense, complex and deep, you could say that Dan Smith is even manic. I would say The Listener Project is deeply entertaining Dan Smith’s style of ranting poetry is unique in both the Christian and secular music scene. Cornerstone moment number 1, surprise show by a great artist we had planned to see.
Next, Debbie and I wandered off to see a couple of bands and surprise!, the schedule at our next stage changed. Misions was not at the Impact Stage and they were running behind schedule. But, we did stumble upon Oh Sister Oh Brother , an indie, electro pop band form Illinois. Their music was light and airey. It made us happy. The trio seemed surprised and thrilled that we all came to see them. The good sign was that the longer they played the more people streamed into the tent. By the way, their bass player was funky and melodic. Cornerstone moment number two. Stumble upon a band you have never heard and then you fall in love. Here is a sample
After dinner we split from Ian and Rebecca, to spend the evening at the Chelsea Cafe, a stage sponsored Grrr Records and Project 12 (more on than later). First up, Josh Davenport burned the Chelsea Cafe up with a screaming set of sludgy Delta Blues. He started his set with three snarly songs from early blues legends like Leadbelly and Rev. Gary Davis. It was hot, slide guitar wailing about the hard life of early 20th century black men in America. He then launched into his own songs of blues about social injustice and God’s sovreigntry over the Earth. Most of his set he played a homemade guitar (a box, a long neck and duct tape). When Josh Davenport introduced his “made guitar” he told of his philisophy: Christ found us broken and discarded in the alley. He rebuilt us into something pleasing. We should take the broken things (objects, relationships and people) and invest ourselves to re-make those found objects into something pleasing to God. I thought that was pretty cool.
We ended the day with our favorite show of the day. The Unfortunate play a smokey version of jazz and blues. Led by singer Ami Moss, The Unfortunate took us through songs about the sanctity of marriage and the joy of a covenant love affair. Ami Moss sang about our pursuit of worldly acceptance in “Fashion As Idolatry”. They ended their set singing the jazz standard “Summertime” and were joined by Ami Moss’s father, legendary Christian blues artist and preacher Glenn Kaiser.
Overall, this was a great start to what is shaping up to be a great Cornerstone Music Festival.