For at least the last five years or so, whenever I think to check the “most-played” list in my iTunes, I’m never surprised to see that at least half the songs on the list are by Andy Osenga, many of them listed there because of the late nights where I hit repeat over and over again on a song, needing to hear it just one more time.
From his work with his first band, The Normals, through the years he was with Caedmon’s Call – as Derek Webb’s replacement – to his five solo albums (and counting), I find something in Andy’s music that I need, lyrics that provide comfort and encouragement, words that give voice to unspoken yearnings, disappointments, and desires, confessions and promises. Lines that remind me of the kind of person I want to be, and how I might get there.
And then, of course, as anyone who knows Andy’s music will tell you, there are the guitar solos. At the 2008 Festival of Faith and Music at Calvin College, Andy sang one of my favorite songs he wrote (with frequent writing partner Randall Goodgame) while he was with Caedmon’s Call, Hold the Light, and after he sang everything that could be said, begging friends to walk alongside him, a plea for community, he played an extended solo on his electric guitar, a solo that expressed everything he wanted to communicate that couldn’t be put into words. That concert still ranks up there as one of the best concerts I’ve been to in my life.
One example of the kind of lyrics Andy writes: At a recent Square Peg Alliance house show here in Nashville, Andy played a song that will be on his upcoming project (more about that shortly). When he sang the first chorus, I was caught off guard by the first line, as it started off in a way that led me to think I knew what he would say. “God help the man who helps himself,” he sang. “He needs no other demons.” By leaving off one “s,” he changed the meaning of the phrase, asking the listener to rethink what they thought they knew and creating a space for him to tell a story, building off the presuppositions we bring to that grouping of words.
So about Andy’s new project: He’s going to space. And he needs your help.
By “going to space,” I mean he’s building a spaceship, or the interior of one, dressing up like an astronaut, and writing and recording a new album that tells that story of Leonard the Lonely Astronaut. As the biggest science fiction nerd that I know, Andy has been dreaming of this project for a couple of years, bringing it up in conversations with friends and hoping it would happen someday. He’s realized that if he doesn’t go ahead and make it now, “I’ll end up 75 years old muttering, “Dang it. I never built that spaceship.”’ He’s raising the funds for his space ship through Kickstarter, which is where you come in. Here’s a video he put together about the project, and I hope you’ll head over to Kickstarter to help him out after watching the video.