Underappreciated Artists: Kansas Bible Company18th August 2014 • 1 comment
“You know it’s blinding, searching for a fine spring, and I’m finding that it aint worth a damn thing”, goes the opening line of “Creature of the Night”. A cliche, but maybe this is what Kansas Bible Company is all about, the journey, as a jam band obviously, but also as a theme. They come from Goshen College, in Indiana, a small Mennonite art school, and they really show the close knit small town social vibe. The influence of rural religion on the band is obvious, the songs really indicate a sense of dissonance, and disillusioned moral frustration. They are a 12 piece band, with 5 horn players, it’s symphonic sounding, the songs involve guitar, but the horns generally take over loudly at some point.
They have two albums so far. The first album, Ad Astra Per Aspara(Through hardship to the stars in Latin), is mainly a songwriters approach with piercing lyrics, and loud choruses. “Gondor Primulon” is great, “Young Professional”, “Creature of the Night”, “Zombiefaced”, and “Moderation” are also good, all covering social issues. In “Moderation” he quips, “Nothing is free-er than the unmade bed.” The lead track, “How to build a planet” is different, with more youthful wonder, and a seize the day attitude. To promote Hotel Chicamauga they made a “Jesus the Horse Thief” 8 bit video game, seen below, it’s really good. The “Desert She Screams”, “Rooster Crow”, “Sunglasses”, and “Witches and Wizards” which is more upbeat than many of their songs, all make interesting songs. In “Sunglasses”, he says “Walk with us, we are a culture”. Then there is the Surf Rock Trilogy ep, which is currently free, three rock type songs. There is an EP coming out soon, titled, Dads Day Dad Daze. They also do a really good cover of Sam and Dave’s “Hold on, I’m coming”, with two singers, like the original. Seen here on youtube,
“Black Books” is mediocre, with lyrics that are clever but over the top. At the end of the song though, you hear a similar wailing to Sam and Dave. They break into this great line, “Our mission is this, we seek the truth, but I’ve squandered my time in the kissing booth and what is the truth if not a perception from anothers eyes that answers a question, and what is the truth if not a confession from a misled boy during cross-examination.” “Jesus, rock my soul!“. ect.”
One of the more interesting things about them is watching them perform, each focusing on their own instrument while all trying to sound in unison. Unlike most modern bands the horns play a big role and the twelve members on one stage are trying to stay out of each others way. The band members are as follows: Jake Miller, Jeff Yoder, Nathan Morrow, Nate Klink, Luke Yoder, Jacob Yagu, Martin Isaac Lederach, Michael Ruth, James Green, Jake Snyder, Charles Frederick, and Rafael Chavez. Jake Carl Miller is the lead singer and a guitarist, he brings energy. Jake’s approach may be somewhat raw and simple, boldly throwing uncommon issues out there because he finds them important, but make no mistake they are societal issues, not just personal. Drugs, moderation, loneliness, and “Young Professional”, no these are all too societal. What makes a good decision? Who decides the morals? The bible? The law? The tv? Peer pressure? But, bottom line, rock out to your joy, and your pain.
Here is the “Jesus the Horse Thief” Video Game.