Thursday evening, some friends from Chattanooga came up to go see a concert with me that we’d been looking forward to for some time. Sara Groves, Charlie Peacock, Ron Block, and Christopher Williams were putting on a benefit concert for Young Life, playing “in the round”. They played seven or eight songs apiece, in a show that suffered no lack of variety.
I’ve heard Sara and Ron play several times and enjoyed hearing Christopher Williams for the first time. But the highlight of the evening, for me, was Charlie Peacock. I’ve always been more a fan of Charlie’s writing and his solo albums than his productions, so getting to hear him solo, accompanying himself on piano, was a treat. dc Talk’s version of In the Light (which features Charlie on the outro) is close to the style Charlie first recorded it in, while the version on his album Full Circle is completely different, with Phil Keaggy on guitar, Béla Fleck on banjo, Ken Lewis on percussion, and Sara Groves as Charlie’s duet partner. But I think I prefer it the way he sang it Thursday, slowed down a little and treated more as a prayer. Somehow, it brought out the desperation in these lyrics more: The disease of self runs through my blood / It’s a cancer fatal to my soul / Every attempt on my behalf has failed / To bring this sickness under control // Tell me, what’s going on inside of me? / I despise my own behavior / This only serves to confirm my suspicions / That I’m still a man in need of a Savior // And I may have been the only one that noticed, but I really liked his chord change on the second to last line in the chorus, changing the chord on the word “light” to major from minor.
When he sang Big Man’s Hat, everybody else on stage joined in for a rousing rendition, and Sara joined him on background vocals for a couple of his other tunes. About half the songs he sang were new to me, including one he said he co-wrote with Sara that Chris Rice recorded. My favorite song of the evening was one that I hadn’t heard before. While there are probably several ways you could interpret it, it crossed my mind that it could be seen as a poetic interpretation of Pascal’s Wager. The chorus, that I love, says (from memory): If faith is a construct / my own little thumbsuck / then I’m just a kite in a tree / a kite in a tree. // I’m hoping to get my hands on a recording of it, if one exists.
You can hear a couple tunes off his Jazz album, Love Press Ex-Curio, on his website, and hopefully some clips soon from a duet album he recently finished with Jeff Coffin, the saxophonist from Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. He also mentions that “a new batch of singer-songwriter recordings” will be coming out sometime this year. Be sure to keep checking his website for updates.