Archives for posts with tag: singer-songwriter

Dan Fogelberg was a successful singer/songwriter with a string of platinum-selling albums and singles in the 1970s, the early ’80s, and a long career afterward. His debut album, “Home Free,” was recorded in Nashville, in 1972.

This gifted man was born into a musical family in Peoria, IL, where his father was an established musician, teacher, and bandleader. Unlike many boys his age, he was more interested in music than sports. His first instrument was the piano. His personal musical turning point came in the early ’60s, before he’d reached his teens. A gift of an old Hawaiian guitar from his grandfather introduced him to the instrument that would soon replace the piano.

One song for which Fogelberg is best remembered is The Leader of the Band from his album The Innocent Age, released in 1981. It was written as a tribute to his father who was still alive at the time of its release. His father died one year later but not before this hit song made him a celebrity with numerous media interviews interested in him as its inspiration.

The Leader of the Band is one of Fogelberg’s most personal songs. One biographer said “it expressed something that many children have trouble articulating: a love for their father. The intimacy of the song actually broadened its appeal and it became one of his most enduring songs.”

One line in the song, “Thank you for the freedom when it came my time go,” refers to the time Dan decided to drop out of college in the middle of a semester to pursue music. Although his father was disappointed, he supported his son’s decision and told him to try it for a year.

The song’s lyrics described Fogelberg’s father in the following manner:

A quiet man of music denied a simpler fate
He tried to be a soldier once, but his music wouldn’t wait
He earned his love through discipline, a thundering velvet hand
His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand

The songwriter then goes on to say:
The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band

The Leader of the Band is a memorable song that stands on its own merits. It is not a “Christian song” but it contains a reminder for Christians of our role in the world and who we are supposed to be. Jesus said that He came to show us what our Heavenly Father was like. He said, “If you have seen me, you have seen my Father” (John 14:7-10). And he added, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). Our calling is to be the “living legacy of the Leader of the Band.”

God help us to fulfill our calling.

Jamie Jenkins

Kenny Rogers - 337 x 450

Kenny Rogers is best known as a singer-songwriter who had more than 120 hit singles and was top of the country and pop charts for more than 200 weeks in the United States alone. Two of the 79 year-old retiree’s albums have been voted as one of “The 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever”. He was voted the “Favorite Singer of All-Time” in a 1986 joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People.

In 1983 Rogers purchased the Smithsonia Farm near Athens, Georgia and developed the 1,000 acres into a lavish estate he named Beaver Dam Farms. The property includes a 12,000-square-foot mansion, five guesthouses, two clubhouses, an equestrian arena with 44 stalls, two swimming pools, and an 18-hole golf course where Rogers and pals used to play charity tournaments.

The singer sold it in 2003 to a Las Vegas real estate investor who died in 2011. The property was for sale by the investor’s for five years. It listed in 2011 for $20 million and decreased in price several times over the years. It was purchased in July 2016 for $3.5 million just prior to public auction and six months later was put up for auction with a starting bid of $3.9 million.

The Gambler

In 1979 Roger’s best-selling album was released including the title song, The Gambler (You gotta know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em).” The second single from that album “She Believes in Me” was a song written and first recorded by someone else.

“She Believes in Me” is the tale of a songwriter who has a beloved who supports him, although he sometimes wonders why. In one line of the song he expresses his belief that “I could change the world with my little songs.” Then he acknowledges “I was wrong.” Nevertheless, “… she has faith in me, and so I go on trying faithfully. And who knows maybe on some special night, if my song is right I will find a way.”

The singer-songwriter expresses clearly the naivete of an individual thinking that he/she could change the world and then the self-doubt that shows up. However, it is not left there. The realization that someone believes in you can provide the spark needed to continue trying to make a difference. Knowing that someone has confidence in you can be the inspiration to counter any thought of giving up.

Three days after Jesus was crucified and buried his followers were scared for their lives and had gathered behind locked doors. Later that day the resurrected Jesus came to them and assured them that he still had confidence in them. They had deserted Him at His most critical hour and one of them had even denied knowing Him. Nevertheless, Jesus had so much faith in them that He said, “In the same way my Father sent me, I am sending you to be my representatives in the world” (John 20:21).

At their point of greatest failure, Jesus left the future of His cause of world redemption in the hands of those who had let him down. He believed in them. And He empowered them by the Holy Spirit for the task (John 20:22).

There is much said about the need to believe in God but I think it is also important to know that God believes in us. The task to live as God intended is not easy. When we face the cruel realities and temptations of the world it is easy to think that it is impossible. That we are so flawed as evidenced by our many mistakes and failures to be of value to the Cause of Christ.

But He believes in you (and me) and so we go on faithfully doing what we can with what we have in the Name of Jesus.

Jamie Jenkins