Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tokens Episode #2- Lipscomb University 5/27/08

You may recall my rave review here a couple of months ago about the first Tokens show taping. I was thrilled to hear there was another episode to be done. I don't think it took me a minute to get on the phone and reserve a ticket after getting the e-mail.

This second episode's theme was "Jubilee: Land, Greed and Grace". As with the last episode, the music, the readings, the brief interviews and the sketches all tied in with the theme, this one being of land ownership, wanting more and experiencing reconciliation.

As also last time, the music was spectacular. House band the Sinai Mountain Boys, led by Jeff Taylor with Buddy Greene, Aubrey Haynie, Byron House, Pete Huttlinger and Chris Brown, provided several of the show's high points. There were many outstanding musical moments, like:
- Well, anything Buddy Greene does. Pair him up with the amazing Jeff Taylor, who managed to get in spoons, accordion and tin whistle all on one song he did with Buddy ("Little Beggar Man") and you've got a blockbuster combination, no matter what musical genre they're diving into.
- The "Class and Grass" segment, featuring the string portion of the Annie Moses Band along with the Sinai Boys on an Appalachian medley consisting of Aaron Copeland's "Hoedown", "Simple Gifts" and a few other influences. It brought the house down.
- Aubrey Haynie's "broke bow" style fiddle solo
- A beautiful acapella song which was a prayer for children, sung by Uncle Dave's 4 (Paul McClung, Daniel Rushing, Paul Smith and host Lee Camp). It was a perfect reflection on an interview before this with author Melissa Fay Greene on her book "There Is No Me Without You", about an Ethopian woman's efforts to rescue her country's children. The group later backed Hope Miller on a Jean Ritchie song.
- Solos by singer/songwriter Julie Lee and Native American performer Bill Miller, who was particularly compelling using his music as a tool for healing and reconciliation.

The Tokens Radio Players (Merri Collins, Barry McAllister, David Fleer and Lee Camp) were back again with a reprise of last show's popular "Dear Preacher Man", and skits supporting the show's theme, "Gimme More" and "How Much Land Does A Man Need?" by Leo Tolstoy (complete with dialects).

Also tying in to the show's themes were short interviews with folk musicologist Mike Seeger (also brother of Pete) and Rod Dreher, author of "Crunchy Cons", a crtique of consumerism.

Everyone got in on the closing number, "Mary Don't You Weep". One of those magical moments where the audience and performers became as one.

Lee Camp was even more comfortable in his hosting role this time out. I've heard he is a challenging and excellent professor of theology at Lipscomb, but I'd say he's a multi-talented guy. He handled several roles well--he can sing and he was quite good in the humor skits...certainly as good as another radio host that comes to mind.

For only a second show, "Tokens" has got it going on like a program that has been around for a while. Its website is now up and running and will have segments from the shows posted. Right now there is no long term plan nailed down yet, but take note that there are two more shows planned this year:
9/30/08 - The Politics of Jesus
12/9/08 - The Christmas Revolution
You can sign up for the show's mailing list on the website to get ticket information.

Lee was grateful to have us all at the show...but I am the one who is most grateful to experience this wonderful happening. I am also grateful to be in this town.

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