Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tunage Tuesday, a day late

I want to share some of my biggest musical influences with you today!

I'd like to say something like "these people shaped me into the musician I am now" or "I became a music teacher because of this person"...but it's not really like that.  These people are simply the ones I listened to growing up and who I have fond memories of!  

The musicians are in chronological order -- I'll include the corresponding age to each one :)

Let's start with early childhood.  The very first music I remember loving was...

1.  Raffi!  (age 4-5)

If you were a kid in the 80s and didn't listen to Raffi.....
then you weren't a real kid in the 80s.

2.  Sharon, Lois and Bram (age 6-8)

I knew the day and time the Sharon, Lois and Bram show would be on Nickelodeon every week and I loved singing along...especially "Skinnamarink" at the end.  I really think that this show is partially responsible for my love of children's folk music and why I am so comfortable being an elementary music teacher.  I LOVE YOU SHARON LOIS AND BRAM!  Tom and I, along with our friends Hollie and Brett, recently spent an entire Saturday evening watching episodes of SL&B on YouTube with our kids, singing along and reminiscing.  It's what you do on Saturday nights when you're in your 30s and have small children.  :)

3.  Sandi Patty (age 5-10)

My parents were fans and they took my sister and me to several Sandi concerts.  I was obsessed with this kids' album, Friendship Company, and her Christmas album.  I was always a singer--it was a talent that emerged early--and Dad would always make me stand on the kitchen counter and "hit the high notes" with Sandi.

4.  New Kids on the Block (age 9-10)

 Again...if you were a kid in the loved the New Kids!!  No exceptions -- you just did!  I remember them looking like this, hanging on my bedroom wall.  Joey was definitely "the cutest one."  My sister thought Jordan was the cutest.  I used to talk to my poster of Joey once in a while and I didn't like changing my clothes in front of it, so I would change in the bathroom or in my closet.  True story!  LOL!

And now they look like this.  HELLO, JOEY.

5.  The Beatles (age 9- )

I love the Beatles because...well, duh.  I have never met, and will never meet a musician that doesn't have a tremendous love and respect for this band.

My mom and dad had a Beatles cassette tape that we listened to on the way to piano lessons and back when I was young.  It was all the #1 hits, the recognizable it was a perfect way to get acquainted with the Beatles.  

The summer before I was in high school I met some cool boys on a youth group trip who were listening to Sgt. Peppers, Abbey Road, Yellow Submarine and the Anthologies on the charter bus.  I listened and listened, and the fascination grew.  It's still growing.  The more I learn about them, the more I love them.

6.  Newsboys (age 12- )

My family started attending Grace Evangelical Free Church when I was 11 years old, and my world was turned upside down.  Suddenly church was exciting.  I had better friends there than I had at school.  I couldn't wait to go each week and I learned SO much about God those first two years.  It was amazing.  

Along with a brand new church life came YOUTH GROUP.  I got to be a part of a youth group with a youth pastor...a pastor for teenagers?!  Awesome!  

My youth pastor, Tony, was the superhero of youth trips.  We got to do SO much when I was in middle and high school -- youth conferences, retreats, lock-ins and CONCERTS.

One of the first Christian rock concerts I ever went to was the was probably in 1993 or so.  I was hooked.  I loved their music but their SHOW was absolutely great and so much fun.  They have a song called "Breakfast" -- you'll have to look it up -- and during this song they would open boxes of Capn Crunch and throw it out all over the audience.  Perfect.

The Newsboys are still together and one of the members of another favorite band, DC Talk, is now their lead singer.  Michael Tait.

Their most recent and recognizable tune is "God's Not Dead."  Fantastic.

7.  DC Talk (age 13-20)

I fell in love with DC Talk in middle school...around the same year as the Newsboys infatuation.  I loved their album Free at Last and had it playing on my little boom box CD player ALLLLLLL the time in my room.  Their album Jesus Freak came out when I was in high school, and I would listen to the lyrics and cling to them.  High school wasn't always fun for me and I was a bit of an outsider at times because of my faith.  I'm so glad I had these songs to remind me of the truth.

8.  Jennifer Knapp (age 14- )

I was turning fourteen years old and my grandma asked me what CD I'd like to have for my birthday.  I didn't really have any ideas...but I remembered this picture hanging on my youth room's wall with the name Jennifer Knapp on it.  I loved the picture so much that I was intrigued who this musician I told Grandma I would like that CD -- Kansas.  A week later I received a CD in the mail, with this photo on the front, and even now, let's see...18 years later, IT IS STILL MY FAVORITE ALBUM.

I listened to this CD over and over.  And over.  And over again.  Jennifer is a singer-songwriter who plays her own guitars.  Her words are straight from scripture and her voice is completely unlike mine...edgy and raw.  I couldn't get enough of it.  I became interested in playing guitar and started bugging my parents for one.  

I got my first guitar for my 18th birthday.  I was still completely obsessed over J Knapp, and was soon playing several songs from this album.  They're still my go-to songs whenever I have my guitar and I'm just messing around.  They're my go-to songs whenever someone asks me to "play and sing something."  I love them.  And I love HER.  In college, I bought a ticket to her show when she was touring with Bebo Norman.  I lost the ticket somewhere and was completely destroyed over it.  I bought another ticket at the door and didn't care a bit that I'd paid was totally worth it.

Thanks, J Knapp.

9.  Ingrid Michaelson (age 25- )

Ingrid is the only other singer-songwriter that I respect as much as Jennifer Knapp.  Her music is soul-penetrating.  She does what all my favorite musicians do -- writes her own songs and plays her own instruments -- and she does it just so, so well.  She is a flawless performer and she has a beautiful, funny personality alongside.  My friend Amy and I went to three Ingrid concerts within a year in '12 and we had the time of our lives.  The first one was in Omaha and we were RIGHT.UP.FRONT.

 Yes.  I took this picture. That's how close we were in Omaha.

Amy, Kara and me at the Des Moines show


I like to say that Jennifer Knapp's music got me playing guitar, like REALLY playing it.  Ingrid's music made me brave enough to accompany myself on piano while singing... I'd done it before but I'd been timid with my voice.  Ingrid has a unique's not a pop diva belt like we hear all over the radio.  Hers is light and lyrical, but she sings with such.....conviction.  She drives her voice forward.  It's a real example for me.  I needed to be okay with the voice I was given and not feel inferior to the gals whose chest voice reaches to a high F.  Ingrid did that for me.  Thanks, girlfriend.

And there you have it!

There are many others that hold a piece of my heart but aren't quite as huge in my life as the ones above.  You'll hear about them on another TT.  :)

Love, Betsy


  1. Hey... what's so wrong with girls who have chest voices that reach a high F ;) hahaha. LOVE YOU!

  2. I showed our girls this and they thought it was cool to learn about the musicians that you listened to. "What did she listen to when she was MY age?"