One of my greatest joys in life is discovering new things about old friends.
I made just such a discovery (and felt the joy) two weeks ago when Peter LaGrand came over for dinner with his new CD in hand.
When I first met Peter, I was a college student and he was a 10-year-old skaterat with long blonde hair covering his eyes. He taught me some inline-skating moves, and I taught him…well, I didn’t teach him anything. Since I was good friends with his older brothers (and still am), I would see him from time to time when his family gathered at their cottage on Lake Michigan. Peter has since become a good friend of our family and always takes the time to visit and catch up and play with our kids when he’s in town.
Now Peter is in his late twenties and residing in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he attends Regent College, works at a coffeehouse, and performs music. He has mentioned that he was playing a few gigs here and there and writing a few songs, but I had no idea what a talented singer/songwriter he had become.
Peter’s new album, Falling Down in Place, is a gorgeous piece of work. The unique blend of instruments— from glockenspiel and melodica to dobro and violin—is a perfect complement to Peter’s rich and raspy baritone vocals. The songs, many of which are about longing and escape, creep up on you with their gentle rhythms that belie the intense emotions and their evocative lyrics that defy cliché. I must have listened to the album at least 12 times in the past two weeks, and I’ve been enjoying it more and more each time.
Also, if you live near Grand Rapids, Michigan, you can hear Peter perform tonight at Calvin College in the “Fish House.” The concert starts at 8pm, and it’s free.