Do you remember that kid Charlie, from Dead Poets Society, who, during a school assembly, "receives" a call from God in which God expresses His support for making Welton Academy co-ed? Well that character strikes me as being a kind of kindred spirit to Owen Holmes, no stranger to the Jacksonville music scene as a member of Black Kids. Of late, however, he has been moonlighting as the quirky brain behind the anti-folk/folk-punk outfit Gospel Music. Their album "How To Get To Heaven From Jacksonville, FL" is made up of fun, deconstructed pop songs with sing-a-long lyrics delivered in an easy, deadpan with a "don't give a damn" swagger. This music sounds as if it's meant to have been used for Jon Waters' long lost "accessible" Rom-Com.
Owen Homes, likes red kitchen tools.
To me one of the most endearing things about Gospel Music is the name itself. I love that it evokes a snarky, wink-wink brand of tongue-in-cheek humor. It's borderline edgy but harmless enough to ruffle few feathers. Art at its core demands that you, at the very least, fall to one side of the fence that is presented. At its best, art demands that you take notice and tends to ease the jolt of this necessary confrontation with its inescapable quality. While I don't mean to impose any unnecessary heaviness onto the music (in fact it's really quite light fare), just that when you contemplate the brilliant name with the dry brand of humor innate in the music and lyrics it becomes clear that much thought went into the whole of what Gospel Music preaches. So in the same playful spirit, I present "Three Steps to Unlocking the Heart of Gospel Music"
1. Life is hard, don't forget to laugh
Owen kicks off the set with a fun little ditty, "Bird/Fish" that playfully presents the painful truth that some people just DO NOT belong together by smarting "It's not like you're six-foot-one/not like I'm Napoleon/not like you're my Waterloo/not like I love you...you said a bird and a fish can fall in love/but where would they live"." This Town Doesn't Have Enough Bars for Both of Us" tells the tale of a presumably freshly broken relationship and the hijinks involved in the custody battle for their favorite watering holes. The twisted fun of this post-breakup jam is on display in my favorite lyric from the album "don't call me a boor/don't say I'm a mess/I'm not drinking anymore/but I'm not drinking any less". And who hasn't experienced those cringe-worthy classic moments of over-share?! "I Shared Too Much With Her" is a humorous soliloquy-turned-fable whose rather poignant moral is: "too much for her leaves too little for you/I shared too much with her!".
2. Life is short, don't sweat the small stuff
"I Can't Be a Man If I Don't Have a Woman" and "Let's Run" continues the fun respectively with their clever takes on modern masculinity and why the odd reasons for white people running, act as an effective non-sequitur for the basis of a relationship. And the random silliness rolls right on to "Death of the Newspaper". Sample lyric: "I take out advertisements/I've even made headlines/how's she gonna know I love her/after Woodward's last deadline",
3. Life is sweet, don't forget to dance
Gospel Music will totally make you and yours want to be THAT couple. You know the free-spirited, neo-hippies dancing--twirls and all--down in front at the Bob Dylan show or the Wilco show or the Ryan Adams show or pretty much whatever show they go to. Yeah, it will get in your bones and make you want to shake your tuckus, but don't fight it, because whether you're a bird or a fish and, quite frankly, regardless or where you live, Gospel Music is a blast, so give in to the fun!
Listen and BUY the album here http://gospelmusic.bankcamp.com/album/how-to-get-to-heaven-from-jacksonville-fl
What are your thoughts?
Article by Paul Thomas Chapman