This month Christ and Pop Culture is offering members the brand new Soul EP from Andrew Osenga as a CAPC Member Offering.
Andrew Osenga hails from the greatest town on earth, Normal, Illinois, (which is also my hometown so I might be a little biased) and has been making music in Nashville for the last 15+ years.
You might’ve heard of Osenga through his first band The Normals, one of the most creative and dynamic Christian bands of the late 90’s/early 00’s (in this writer’s humble opinion, one of the best bands of the late 90’s/early 00’s period.). After The Normals disbanded in 2003, Osenga went on to play lead guitar and write songs for a little band called Caedmon’s Call––where he took over for Derek Webb. Along with fronting Caedmon’s Call for the past decade, Osenga has released a steady stream of solo EPs.
Since the late 90’s Osenga has been creating music from a distinctly Christian perspective that, like most great “Christian” music, is not first recognized by it’s theological bent but it’s beauty. Osenga’s lyrics are characteristically autobiographical and humble––his songwriting has a relatability to it that is immediately comforting and often moving.
Take, for example, the opening lines from “King” from The Normal’s (absolutely brilliant) 2002 album A Place Where You Belong,
“Have you ever been scared
everybody’s been scared
I’ve been scared
God, I’ve been scared”
These lyrics are characteristic of Osenga: a seemingly obvious, simple, forthright, warm embrace for your soul. Osenga’s songs are like old friends who understand exactly where you’re at and what you’re going through. On the Soul EP, Osenga explores the difficulties of transition, raising a family, and understanding the brokenness in the world while clinging to the gospel.
His songwriting continues to be as warm and relatable as it was in his early work the The Normals.
“this place is broken, and you’re going to find out
and it’s going to hurt so bad
but don’t try to stop it
for where you are human you will be healed at last”
So sings Osenga on “Don’t Lose Heart”, a beautiful track about living and raising kids in a world made absurd by sin. The EP has a flowing feel, with guitars that sound like John Mayer on his best day. You can hear funk influences mixed with early 70’s Gram Parsons, all cleaned up and polished. It’s present day Nashville meets Muscle Shoals, if you will. Soul EP is a pleasant reminder that there really are some great things going on in the “Christian Music Industry”.