25 March 2010

Show #5

So back at the end of February, there was another Kalos coffee house. This one was to celebrate the 2nd issue of the arts journal put out by the seminary community. The theme was "Light." Here is the post about my submission to the journal. I had both of my cathedral window wall-hangings on display:
The night before the coffee house, I still didn't have any way to hang either wall-hanging, so I was working on sewing sleeves on the back to hold a dowel so they could hang. And then the power went out. So there I was, sitting on the living room floor, hand-sewing by candlelight. It felt so lovely and colonial. (But I must tell you...my candle-light stitching was far from impeccable.)

I got some really positive reactions to my cathedral windows. People seemed to like them. But it is a little difficult because I'm the only person who has submitted any sort of textile anything to the 2 editions of Kalos so far. So I don't know if people really get what I'm doing or not, if they see what I do as "art." I guess it doesn't really matter because these cathedral windows are really important to me and grew me in so many ways. Even so, I do hope that a fellow sewer or crafter of some sort steps up for the next issue. There are quite a few talented writers and photographers who contribute to the journal, but I think a little more diversity of media would make it better. Just my opinion.

This time, the coffee house was in a smaller, darker room, with strings of lights hung overhead. The feel was much cozier than the first coffee house, which was held in the great hall, which has terrible acoustics and is not really conducive to listening or focusing attention on the stage. Once again, I played in the open mic section of the evening. (I'm not sure what one has to do to be a part of the "regular program," but I'm not going to get into that right now.)

I asked Jason to play with me, which was a great call. I know that I'm capable of performing by myself, but when I do, all I can think about afterward are the many mistakes I made on the guitar which then made my voice a little shaky for a beat or two. It's fun for me to share my songs, but it's much more fun to have a little back-up. Enter Jason. Jason and I have tried to play my music together before. It's always been a little frustrating and slightly awkward because so many of my best songs were from a period when our relationship was really shaky, and the main content is about not wanting to marry Jason. I write from emotional overflow, so tumultuous times produce stellar songs out of me. But it makes it hard to include Jason in those songs.

I've never wanted to do music by myself. That has never been part of the plan. So I decided to try to incorporate Jason for this coffee house and just see how things went. He is a much better guitar player than I am, and our voices blend quite nicely, so there was no reason we couldn't make it work.

I flipped through my journals and songbooks to try to figure out what songs to play. Light is one of my go-to metaphors so I had quite a few to choose from. I stumbled upon this song I remembered starting a few months ago and was surprised to see it edited and finished. I don't remember doing that. It's called "Run that Darkness Down," and it is currently one of my favorite RGO's (Robin Giberson Originals)...right up there with "Orion" and "Bouncy Ball in a Blender." It saddens me that I can't upload sound clips on blogger. It seems wrong to have the lyrics here without the music. Don't get me wrong--I think they stand alone just fine, but the song is a much better experience when heard. Oh well. So as to try to include you in this lovely bit of songwriting, here are the lyrics:

Somewhere the sun is rising.
I don't know why it's hiding.
I wish it would ride out with banners flying high.
And with his tail between his legs
The dark would quickly run away
Cutting his losses, mumbling curses as he fled.
And I...I would run that darkness down.
Oh and I...I would run that darkness down.

Somewhere a breeze is blowing.
I don't know where it's going.
But if it's warm, I wish it'd pick me up on the way.
And without one backward glance
You know that I would take my chance
That breeze would carry me to a brighter kind of day.
Oh and I...I would ride out on the wind.
Yes and I...I would fly out on the wind.

It's hard to fight against the sleep
That's making all my darkest dreams
Seem like they're really real and coming after me.
So I will just turn on the light
And I will let that light fight
All of my battles 'til the morning rescues me.
And on that day...I will run that darkness down.
On that day...I will run that mean old darkness down.
Yes and I...I will run that darkness down.
Oh and I...I will run that darkness down.

So there you have it. A song that I have written in the recent past that isn't awful. Quite the contrary...I'm really proud of this song. It isn't too deep or profound. It's just a really fun song to sing and to play and it brings a little hope and sunshine to my cloudy days and instantly improves my mood. Songwriting success. Way to go, Robin.

So Jason and I played this song and "Oh Little Forgotten," aka "My Sparrow Song." I wrote that one back in my junior year of college. It's loosely based on the Matthew 6:25-34 and 10:29-31 passages that tell us not to worry because God cares about us more than the sparrows and they do just fine. That's not really the tone of the song, but that's the basic message. The tone is more, "Stop being so scared. Get up out of your ashes. God has not forgotten you. He is here even now." It's a message I need to hear continually, and this song has been really helpful in reminding me of the truth of God's presence and love and provision and challenging me to believe He is here.

So back to the coffee house...Jason and I played these two songs. He played guitar on both and sang harmony for "O Little Forgotten." And it was the most fun I've had playing music since CMC. It all went so smoothly, and I didn't have to worry so much about my guitar playing or my vocal tone because Jason had my back. So I could just focus on the words of the songs and the truths they communicated. I could just sing those truths to my soul and enjoy being filled up with them.

We got quite a good reaction, which is always my least favorite part. (I never get nervous or start to shake until it's over.) But I was pleasantly surprised when several different people asked us if we play out often at other places. We do church stuff together but never stuff like this. So that was encouraging that we seemed like we did it all the time. And one guy even came up to me to tell me that "Don't Mess with Me" was the highlight of the last coffee house. I was completely floored by that...mostly that he remembered "Don't Mess with Me" and that I was the person who did it. That was way back in October!

So this is a very long post to say that I really enjoyed the February Kalos coffee house. I'm excited to see what the next theme is. I've decided I'm going to submit a song in addition to whatever else I do to see if that'll get me into the non-open-mic portion of the night. And I'll definitely be doing more of my music with Jason from now on. And I'm excited about "Run that Darkness Down." I wish you could hear it!!


  1. Robin! You'll have to play that song for me and Jesse on ichat! I can't wait to hear it!

  2. yes...and call me when you do, because I want to be included in the audience too!

  3. great idea! Let's make a date sometime soon.