Spotlight

As many great Christian bands and artists are out there, I think we’ve covered quite a few of our more modern bands, and thought this time we need to throw ourselves back a few decades…

When I was younger, I loved ‘hippy music’, that is a lot of the stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. Back then I didn’t know the political stuff behind a lot of it, and was too young to understand the whole hippy movement- I just liked the sound of a lot of the music.  So, when I became a new Christian, I didn’t know much of the music, except for a few hymns that I grew up hearing at church or that my Nana played on the organ.

It was a chore trying to find out who sang what song I liked by listening to Christian radio back then- I didn’t have a computer to look for songs, and had to hope the DJ would say who it was and what it was called.  One day, I heard this cool song and they announced the name of the group- so I went through my latest catalog that I had for Christian books and stuff, and found the group on a CD called The Late Great Jesus Movement, based on the so called Jesus freaks who were around in the hippy times. I thought, Cool!  And ordered it.

The song was by a group called the  2nd Chapter of Acts, and it was,

I really appreciated the message of it even though I was a new Christian and didn’t understand a whole lot yet.

Even though this song is about 40 years old, the message is timeless.

Run a Running
Hide a Hiding
Whenever you hear the truth
And when you ask for the proof, you won’t listen.
Listen

Praise a praising
Build a building
Trying to get peace into your life
And you don’t even know wrong from right
Oh, Where is your wisdom

You don’t know which way the wind blows
So how can you plan tomorrow

The group was comprised of siblings Annie Herringand,  Nelly Greisen and Matthew Ward as they began singing at home together while Annie played the piano.

Following the death of their parents  (Mom in 1968 and Dad in 1970), minors, Nelly and Matthew moved in with their older sister, Annie, and her husband, who was a recording engineer and producer.  Annie was a self-taught singer and songwriter who composed and played her songs around the family piano. Her brother and sister would often join in as she played, and eventually they developed a perfect blend of harmony and a distinct sound.

They got their start at small gatherings and coffee houses, but one day they caught the attention of then star, Pat Boone who arranged for them to release two original singles. Meanwhile Annie’s husband Buck Herring was beginning production of 60’s folk singer turned Christian, Barry McGuire (his hit from the 60’s is still a favorite, Eve of Destruction).   McGuire liked the sound and had the trio record back up vocals for two of his albums.

The group’s first album recording was called With Footnotes, released in 1974. The album featured  Easter Song  which has been recorded by many other artists since.

Annie was the main songwriter of the group and the only one who played the piano. Matthew and Nelly only contribution to the lyrics in a small way in the beginning but Matthew developed as a songwriter for the group as his solo career grew.

Annie and Matthew sang most of the solo parts. Nelly’s voice was hard to distinguish from Annie’s so she usually sang lead only on songs where each member took a verse such as on Which Way The Wind Blows, and  Takin’ The Easy Way, or on solo pieces without the others singing backup.  When they sang together, Nelly’s harmony parts were generally the most difficult to sing.

The band put out 15 albums before disbanding in 1988 and followed their own solo careers. They were inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999.

Their music would be considered soft, almost easy listening contemporary by today’s standards but when they came out, they had a folksy, but sometimes a more progressive rock sound.  While I don’t listen to them too often, I’ll always enjoy hearing some of their songs for something simpler and softer,  for a bit of a happy- hippy memory.

A number of years ago, I heard Annie’s testimony. It was something I could relate to in so many ways and it just made my heart sing when I heard it because it shows how God pursues us and reveals things to us where we’re at, and loves us enough to draw us to Him….

Have a blessed Sunday all.