I am one excited gal.
My friend Annie from Buddy Greene's office asked me if I wanted a ticket to a taping at Lipscomb University for a new radio show pilot where Buddy was playing in the house band. Did I? Is water wet? If it's a radio show, I am so there.
"Tokens" is described by its host and creator, Lee Camp, an Associate Professor of Bible at Lipscomb University, as a "crazy idea" he had to mix theology, cultural analysis, good conversation, and good music. And yes, it will remind you of "A Prairie Home Companion", which is another reason for me to be excited about this show. (For those of you who are unaware of how "A Prairie Home Companion" impacted my life, you can read here.) The theme of this first program was "The Appalachian Longing For Home." The music and the commentary tied in well with the exploration of the idea of the Appalachian longing for a sense of community and the kingdom of God.
"Tokens" blends part of a tested formula with some unique elements. There was the music: the house band, The Sinai Mountain Boys, led by virtuoso musician Jeff Taylor, along with Buddy Greene, Pete Huttlinger, Aubrey Haynie, Dennis Crouch, and Vince Barranco (plus a guest appearance by bluegrass great Stuart Duncan--Jeff spotted him in the audience and brought him up to sit in on mandolin on a couple of numbers). Also featured was the amazing Odessa Settles, who I first heard with Buddy at the Bluebird Cafe a couple of months back. With this lineup, the band was, as you'd expect, superb and both Buddy and Odessa gave powerful musical expression to the longing for home theme. Other guest artists were Andrew Peterson, a fine singer/songwriter I would definitely like to hear more of, and acapella group Aunt Mag's Four.
There was also humor courtesy of the Tokens Radio Players (Merri Collins, David Fleer and Nate Fleer) with very entertaining bits like "Dear Preacher Man" and "Virtual Home".
Along with the music and humor was this program's twist: short audio excerpts of interviews with three authors. A.J. Jacobs, editor of Esquire magazine and author of the best selling Year of Living Biblically, took one year to live as literally as in the Bible, which included donning Biblical garb and stoning an adulterer. "Red Letter Christians" founding member and author Brian McLaren speaking on his most recent book, Everything Must Change posed some thoughts on how Jesus's message fits into today's global crises; and Professor Marcus Rediker shared tragic and compelling details from his book, Slave Ship, describing the inhuman conditions that slaves experienced on ships. Full versions of the interviews will be available on the Tokens show website(www.TokensShow.com),which I'm told hopes to be up and running in a couple of weeks.
As host, Lee Camp is more Noah Adams than Garrison Keillor overall, with an amiable and intelligent style and presence. He also did very well in the humor skits and as part of Aunt Mag's Four (yes, it does help that the host can sing!).
"Tokens" will be pitched to potential sponsors and outlets. Judging from the wildly enthusiastic audience reaction, I predict this "crazy idea" is gonna fly, folks. I'd even predict further if it finds an outlet, once it gets going it may even need a little more room than the intimate Shamblin Theater to hold all the people who will want to be part of it.
I am so blessed, so thankful to be here and be part of these events. I love radio. I love this town!