I was introduced to Andrew Osenga‘s music through the Indelible Grace projects, and his songs on the I.Grace albums were always among my favourites (including “O Help My Unbelief” from V, “Jesus with Thy Church Abide” from III, and “Jesus I My Cross Have Taken” from II). He was the lead singer for The Normals, and played (plays?) lead guitar for Caedmon’s Call. He recently released a solo EP called Letters to the Editor Vol. 2, which is available on his website for a free download (“donations” via PayPal are encouraged). A fantastic 23-page PDF file comes with the download that includes an explanation of the album, lyrics, photos, inspiration for each song, and many more great things.
The unique thing about this EP is that Andrew asked his fans to submit ideas for inspiration for the songs, and he tried to work as many of them in as he could. These included lyrics, single words, photos, stories, Bible verses, etc. He then set some self-imposed rules like only using one guitar and one amp (with multiple tracks), and no pick.
In the PDF file that comes with the download, Andrew writes that “It’s always been the case for me that when I sit down to write about one thing I tend to write about something else…This project was supposed to be stories of other people, different situations. Instead it’s maybe the most spiritual writing and recording I’ve ever made. I can’t stand ‘preachy’ music, it’s my hope that these songs come across genuine. I can assure you they are.”
Christianity Today has a great review of the album, and I’m enjoying immensely already upon first listen. However, if you’re expecting his solo work to sound like his I.Grace work, you’ll be surprised. Perhaps because of the high-profile links to his site, his servers seem to be having a bit of trouble right now, so be patient.
Side note: For what it’s worth, Andrew Osenga’s music at different times has reminded me of Bon Iver, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Shins, Wilco, Elliott Smith, Dyslexic Hearts, and M.Ward. Eclectic, and it’s probably only me, but still. I’m a fan.