From The Road: Street Week – Tyler, TX

This is where my parents and sister live and where I grew up.  KVNE, the station there, once played nothing but choirs and Sandi Patty, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but today plays more contemporary fare.  Because they’re not a reporting station (a station whose activity helps determine what songs are on the charts) they have freedom to play songs that labels aren’t asking radio to play.  So KVNE is playing four songs from my new CD. That’ll mess you up.  Way more than the legal limit.  I’m pretty sure there’s a warning label of some kind on the disc about that kind of thing.

I did the morning show at KVNE, an interview with the local TV station I grew up watching, and then headed to lunch with contest winners: more Mexican food for me.  The show that night was at Friendly Baptist Church (every church in Texas is Baptist it seems) and I recognized most of the large crowd from my childhood.  There was a lot of “Do you remember me?” going on afterwards.  Not fair.  You got old since I last saw you.

It poured in Tyler as people were deciding whether or not to come to the show so fewer people came than bought tickets.  And the other downer of the night was a newspaper reporter’s complaints that the sound was bad and too loud.  I know the journalist and like him a lot actually so I was surprised that when he wrote about the show he spent as much time on the poor sound quality he perceived as he did the music and message of the evening, even going as far as interviewing people at the show, not about anything of substance in the evening, but about whether they too thought it was too loud.

Truth is we were in a church, a Baptist church, and Baptist churches made to host distortion fueled concerts are as rare as baptistries filled by water towers.  We do our best to get pictures of venues, square footage, seating maximums etc to determine whether we’ll sound good in each venue but we can’t please everyone.

What’s ironic or just unfortunate is that my home church in Tyler is a little upset with me for not having the concert on their campus as I’ve done in the past.  But the reason we didn’t bring our show there is because we thought it was too small and square to sound good – too much wood and parallel surfaces make for bad sounding shows.  So we moved the show in hopes of better sound, risking hurting old friends, and wound up with a difficult sound night (that still, I think, managed to sound good) and hurt old friends.  Sometimes we can’t win.

Apparently the sound issues we may or may not have had didn’t hinder people’s appreciation of the evening.  Many children were sponsored through Compassion International and a record percentage of CDs left the merchandise table and are hopefully being spun at any volume level their owner desires.

Thanks KVNE, The Tyler Telegraph, Friendly Baptist Church, Mom and Dad and everyone else in Tyler who got the word out about the show.  And yes, of course, I do remember you.  Absolutely.