If you aren’t familiar with their music, let me start by saying this: if Muse, The Civil Wars, Elliott Smith and Mumford & Sons could conceive a collective Christian-music-lovechild, Gungor would be it. In the two albums of theirs I have, I hear Muse‘s daring rhythmic experiments and grandiose rock instrumentation, The Civil Wars‘ haunting, delicately strong coed duets, Elliott Smith‘s minimalism and raw lyrics, Mumford & Son‘s drive — and banjos, of course. (Hopefully one of these names rings a bell for you. If not, listen and draw your own parallels!) This band crosses so many genres that stylistically, they can’t be tamed.
Gungor is like the local, organic green juice (too passé? try Kombucha) at New Seasons that takes a few years for Fred Meyer to add to their inventory. At first, only the health nuts go for it – everyone else is still buying Capri Suns, the metaphorical Christian music equivalent of poppy overproduced feel-good tunes.
Organic is the first word that comes to mind to describe Gungor: from the feel and sound to the lyrics and emotions embedded therein. Raw. Not too much sugar. You can feel the pulp, the fibers, and break them down with your tongue against your teeth. The way you consume this kind of food is how it feels to process this music.
When I listen to these albums, I feel like I’m listening to Michael Gungor have an argument with God. In song, Michael Gungor confesses doubt, weakness, and disdain – and with just as much heart, gives thanks and praise for every last breath. It’s refreshingly real, and on my worst nights, I can sit and reflect with Gungor as we wonder together where our faith has gone, like we’re old friends.
So, why do I want to be like Gungor?
Well, why would anyone want to be like a rockstar? Everyone has this dream at some point, no matter how unrealistic. The reason why I, as a person, want to be like this group, is that I want people to see what I can do and say, “She can really do anything.” The way Gungor plays across multiple genres, styles, instruments – in that same way, wherever expression leads me, I want to be able to follow.
No more confinement. I want to be daring, vulnerable, to experiment with writing and music in wild, earthy ways.
I’d rather produce grit and pulp, revealing the ugly truth than sell prettied-up frozen juice concentrate.
I want to whisper with meaning – not ramble on in loud, continuous drivel.
Most of all, I want to be in love with life the way Gungor is…
And maybe that’s not so hard to do once we realize we’re surrounded by so many Beautiful Things.
(c) 2012, sunshineband
- How about you?
Who do you want to be like, and why?