I don’t make friends easily. When I do make a friend, the relationship tends
to be pretty casual and short-lived, especially if my friend or I moves away.
Currently, I have only two old friends who I really keep in touch with. One
is Jeff, webmaster for the town of Peachwater,
Texas. The other is my oldest friend (in terms of duration), Matt Nightingale.
I met Matt in college in 1990. The first time I saw
him, he was doing an exuberant impression of Tina Turner singing What’s
Love Got to Do With It and I thought, "What a freak." When I
actually met him, though, we became fast friends. We both studied music in
college—he as a vocalist and I as a clarinet player. He finished with a music
degree while I wandered the country and somehow ended up with a journalism
I remember walking down the hall of my college dormitory one
ago. I remember this day specifically, because I heard the song How
Will Be Too Long coming from someone’s stereo. I had heard the song before,
but this particular version featured a high, whiny, weak voice as the soloist.
I immediately became enraged that someone had the gall to so badly butcher
that powerful song of yearning, then I became even angrier that anyone
would validate such a musical travesty by playing it loudly enough for innocent
bystanders to hear. I rushed into the room that housed the stereo and demanded
from its owner the name of the "musician" and his rationalization
for supporting him. I was informed, rather sharply, that the singer was one
W. Smith and that any disparaging remark I might make about him would be better
discussed outside. I left quietly, partly out of fear that such a discussion
would have been depressingly one-sided, but mostly out of shock and amazement.
MWS was probably the first musician I ever considered my "favorite." I used
to consider him one of the finest musicians in the world, and I still have
a great deal of respect for him. The problem was
much better by my friend Matt, backed up by the rest of our college vocal group.
His strong baritone voice (which has since changed to tenor) supported the
message and the music infinitely
better than MWS ever could. Years later, I was a groomsman at my college roommate’s
wedding. Matt was there as well. He sang I Will Be Here,
and his interpretation gave me chills in a way that Steven Curtis Chapman never
has. Matt possesses all the elements of a great singer: incredible voice, commanding
presence, distinctive style, and talent pouring out of every pore. For that
reason, he has been and is currently my favorite. It makes me feel really cool
I’m friends with my favorite singer—Mrs. Happy can’t
even get a "hello" out of Sting.
I bring this up because Matt has, at long last, recorded and released a CD,
produced by Mike Roe of The 77s, if that means anything to you. His song Always
Entertaining Me is currently ranked sixth on Indieheaven
Radio. The CD is called
Still Standing, and it is listed
on Amazon but for some reason
not sold there. Fortunately, there are other ways to purchase it, the most
exciting of which is via iTunes download. Another way is to go to Matt’s
web site, where you can listen
to a few songs and purchase
the CD. Also on the site, you’ll find his relatively new blog, where he
discusses matters of faith and art and the many different ways they come together.
Please give him a
visit. As a bonus, if you browse through his blog archives
you can find out what I named my son. Just don’t tell anyone.