Green Wood Coffee House concert series kicks off with Jeremy Horn
Odd as it may seem, this is something of a first for the church's popular coffeehouse-style music series.
“In our 15-year history I think he’s the first Christian content show we’ve ever done,” said Katie Geddes, the local singer-songwriter who books the series, which has in the past included 1960s folkie Melanie and poet/songwriter Rod McKuen.
Horn was born, raised, and lives in Memphis, where he serves as the worship pastor at the multicultural church Christ the Rock. His music — which sounds more like the Beatles than Elvis — serves as accompaniment for songs like “I Will See Angels Around Your Throne” and “First Love,” which have been getting airplay on Christian radio stations.
His most recent CD is titled “Atmosphere.” “I’m not a big Christian lyric fan [but] Jeremy Horn’s music I like a lot,” Geddes said. “He’s a pretty big name on Christian radio stations. I travel a lot for my job and I have the radio on — in certain parts of the state every other station is Christian radio. I listen to it a lot and I procure a lot of songs for the Green Wood church service that way. [Horn] has two songs currently on the radio I really like, one of which I eventually sung at church.”
Geddes said Horn has four others in his band and “they rock out quite a bit. Because of the [design of] the building and the windows [behind the stage] they might have to tone it down a bit and be more acoustic.”
Not only will Horn perform, he will lead the worship service at Green Wood the following day.
“I used to write songs about social injustices in the world,” he said in comments on his Web site. “That progressed into writing songs for Jesus, and that was the process that unexpectedly led me to become a worship leader.”
The Green Wood concert series runs two or three Fridays a month. The music starts at 8 p.m. and the cover usually runs $12 or $15.
Other acts booked this fall include return engagements by Ellen McIlwaine, Don White and Mary McCaslin. Besides Horn, another newcomer on the fall schedule is Looking Glass, which had a No. 1 pop hit in 1972 with “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl).”
“One of their members was looking at [frequent Green Wood performer and ’70s hitmaker] Michael Johnson’s web site to see what he was up to these days and saw he was playing for us,” Geddes explained. “He came to the last Michael Johnson show; I guess he was checking the venue out. He asked if he could bring Looking Glass. I still love all those songs.”
The series has proved so popular, not only with music lovers but with the artists themselves, Geddes said she’s turning performers away.
“I get so many requests from artists now I have to put many of them off to the next season,” she said. “In the very beginning I thought ‘They put me in charge of this — who am I going to get to play?’”
There’s one more thing, Geddes added. “If you can’t afford the admission, please come anyway. I would much rather have 50 people, 30 paid, than just 30 people, for the artists' sake and for the community.”
Here’s the Green Wood line up for fall:
• Sept. 18: Jeremy Horn.Artists performing at Green Wood Coffee House series, Sept. 18-Dec. 11 in Ann Arbor.
• Sept. 25: Ellen McIlwaine. Slide guitarist uses the blues as a springboard, spanning reggae, funk, rock and more.
• Oct. 16: Kinobe and Soul Beat Africa. Kinobe shares the traditional sounds of Uganda and the African continent, performing exclusively on a wide variety of acoustic instruments. Soul Beat Africa is the new voice of Ugandan music, the synthesis of African roots and world music, of traditional and modern instrumentation. This is a kid-friendly show; two kids may attend for the price of one.
• Oct. 23: Roy Book Binder. Roy Book Binder is a blues-singing, guitar-picking, song-writing raconteur.
• Oct. 30: Chuck Brodsky. Brodsky is a great singer/storyteller.
• Nov. 6: Looking Glass. Four-man band, which features Elliot Lurie on lead guitar and vocals.
• Nov. 13: Mary McCaslin. McCaslin is a pioneer of open tunings, using them way before they gained their current popularity.
• Dec. 4: Don White. A Green Wood favorite, its been said that “If you laugh and cry within the same 10 minutes, you either need a vacation or you are sitting in the audience at a Don White show.”
• Dec. 11: Katie Geddes and Friends. The organizer of the Green Wood series steps out on her own for this annual show. She plans to have a new CD ready in December with guest appearances from several artists who have appeared at Green Wood.
Roger LeLievre is a freelance writer who covers music for AnnArbor.com.
Jeremy Horn Who: Up-and-coming Christian artist from Memphis. What: Christian music with an alt-rock influence. He’s known for the songs “I Will See Angels Around Your Throne” and “First Love.” Where: First United Methodist Church Green Wood, 1001 Green Road, Ann Arbor. When: Friday, 8 p.m. How much: $15. Info: 734-662-4536; buy online at iTickets or the Christian Happenings web site.
Photo: Jeremy Horn by David Molnar.