Stein Auf

Lost And Found is one of my favorite musical groups.  I don’t offer this designation lightly; nor do I express it without a great deal of discernment.  I think they’re excellent in almost every capacity.  Decreeing them to be such an amazing band might raise some eyebrows among those who have known me to be hyper-critical of musicians.  Allow me to explain.  In exchange for a Music Education degree, my parents gave Wartburg College tens of thousands of dollars and I devoted myself to developing the ability to critique, analyze, and grade music.  For this reason, and many others, people often stare in amazement when I profess my love for the creative genius that Michael Bridges and George Baum.

As you can ascertain from their website, their music is a little odd.  Before offering their rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High”, Michael said, “this is probably going to sound like a Christmas carol sing-along with the Ramones.”  He was correct.

The instrumentation is simple – Michael on electric acoustic guitar and George on digital piano.  Half of their songs are ravenously upbeat and have been given the nomenclature “speedwood“.  The other group of songs are tender and reflective.  Their voices and harmonies are a bit like Simon and Garfunkel with a sinus infection…which is to say beautifully in tune, just a little nasal.

But none of the aforementioned traits is what makes them so great.  The true genius of Lost And Found is their ability to engage the audience in a variety of ways.  

 

  1. These guys are hilarious!  Michael and George are constantly playing off one another’s comments.  They’re quick and witty and don’t hesitate to let a funny moment linger for a while.  
  2. They talk with the audience.  They demand the house lights to be raised in the auditorium so they can see the faces of the people.  They even sing a song at the end of the concert where they make up lyrics based on the conversations they’ve had with audience members throughout the show.
  3. Their weird faces, strange singing, odd gestures, and general uniqueness give non-verbal permission for the people in attendance to be themselves.  There’s no need to worry about having a bad singing voice…or dancing…or looking goofy at a Lost And Found concert.  In fact, it’s encouraged and modeled for everyone who is watching the performers.
  4. Theology, Theology, THEOLOGY!  In an industry rife with cheesy lyrics and decision theology, Michael and George have remained stubbornly and faithfully focused on God’s love personified in Jesus Christ.  Their songs focus on God’s promises and what it means to be simultaneously sinner and saint.  They don’t preach, but they do a beautiful job of describing the kind of God I profess to believe in.

 

I’m fully aware that not everyone shares my appreciation for Lost And Found’s brand of music / comedy / theology.  From where I sit, Bridges and Baum seem to “get it” more than any other music group – Christian or not – and will always remain one of my favorite musical groups of all time.  

Here’s a look at some of their t-shirt designs:

    

 

 

Here are my Top Ten Lost And Found song, in alphabetical order:

  1. Baby
  2. Because He Lives
  3. Can’t Take Away
  4. Dreamed of Love
  5. Goodbye
  6. Have Love
  7. Must Be
  8. The Church’s One Foundation
  9. With You
  10. Your Memory
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6 Responses to Stein Auf

  1. mclanea says:

    First off, I think I may be your sole subscriber via feedburner. Love how you rock that!

    I too dig the fun, witty music of George and Michael. One thing I think you forgot to mention is that initially people almost always HATE their music. They are the type of thing that grows on you and the first listen it pretty rough. I tried to get a bunch of students to go check them out once by playing some of their music from a CD. Needless to say I went alone!

  2. Justin Rimbo says:

    I started to do this from my iPod, but there’s too much typing to be done.

    First of all, amen. I also credit Lost and Found with the soundtrack to my most formative faith-years. And they’re still my favorite band.

    Second of all, my 10 favorites LAF songs (in the order in which I think of them):

    – Easy Love
    – This Time Around
    – Try Again
    – Everybody
    – Goodbye/Dreamed of Love/Cost (HA! One song!)
    – Aw You
    – Saskatchewan (Electric) – For personal reasons.
    – Multiply (Bluegrass) – For the same reasons, and because George tells me to “pick it,” and I lose my shit and lay down the worst mandolin solo ever.
    – The Truly New Song
    – Lost and Found (We All Are)

    Yeah, mostly older songs, and I left out (a) their versions of hymns, which I love, and (b) the obligatory Lions/Baby/Slide Girl/Hearts On Fire. Still kind of wish it was a top 15 list, because there’s so many more!

  3. Man I haven’t seen them in years. They were a regular at Free Church Student Ministries Conferences for the longest time.

    They would swing through Valparaiso, IN when I was youth pastor there and perform at Valparaiso University so we usually saw them once a year.

  4. Erik says:

    Adam – thanks for being my lone feedburner subscriber. Add you to the 8 people who have me in their Google Reader, and I’ve amassed quite a following in the last few months. 🙂 I agree wholeheartedly about nobody liking them at first. On our way back from the youth event this weekend, one of the kids in my van put the “Lost And Found Christmas” CD in the player. We came to the unanimous conclusion that few people would enjoy listening to that album if they hadn’t seen LAF in person. However, as one kid said, “hearing them sing these hymns this way is odd, but it makes me remember how awesome their concert was.”

    Justin – thanks for the list…good songs all. If you’re like me, your 10 faves will be different next week. Am I correct in surmising that you laid down some instrumental tracks on “Something Different”? If so, I’m guessing there has to be an excellent story that accompanies this revelation. Do tell!

  5. Kara says:

    Rock on top of

  6. Justin Rimbo says:

    Oh ho ho ho. Is there EVER a great story:

    When I was on my first Youth Encounter team, we had a “Musical Powerhorn,” a Radio Shack brand bullhorn with keys on it that made corresponding musical notes when you press them. We carried it everyone and used it to the annoying maximum.

    We did a quake in Omaha with Lost and Found as the featured musicians. I was a fan for a long time, and an acquaintance of George and Michael from youth events, etc., so we were hanging out on some downtime, and they were playing “Saskatchewan,” which they had written shortly before that event. So I was fooling around on stage, and started playing along using the keys on the Powerhorn. It was pretty funny. I think they appreciated the stupid irony of it most of all. Anyway, we played it that way over the course of the event, and at the end, Michael joked, “if we ever record that, we’ll fly you out to ‘lay down some tracks.'” Ha, ha.

    Cut to a year later, I’m on team again, JUST back from East Africa, (debriefing in Pennsylvania) and I’m emailing Michael back and forth just to talk. He says they’re going into the studio in Wisconsin, and he’s wondering if I want to come play the Powerhorn solo. I’m like, “Um. I’m in Pennsylvania. And we’re going to Ohio in three days. And I don’t have the Powerhorn.” And he says, “No problem, George has a Powerhorn of his own now. I’ll fly you out here, and then the next day you can fly back to Ohio.” I can’t imagine the cost of these tickets, but he was all about it.

    So my team drops me off at the airport (Philadelphia?), Michael picks me up in WI, and we go back to the house where they’re recording. And I’m freaking out. So I head downstairs, and we go through Saskatchewan a few times, with me playing the solo. (That’s the beeping solo on the recording.) I’m still sure that Jonathan Rundman and John Simshauser thought flying me out to play 4 measures of music on a toy was stupid, but that’s what we did.

    Late that night we were fooling around and quickly recorded the bluegrass version of Multiply, with me on mandolin, which I didn’t play that well. But they wanted a solo, so that’s what I gave them.

    I slept on the couch. The next day, we got up early, and I flew to Canton.

    It was just a crazy, surreal experience, since they were my favorite band, and it seemed so bizarre, even to me, that I was flying out to “lay down some tracks.”

    Sometimes people ask me what the best day of my life is, and I can’t decide between that day, my wedding day, and the day my son was born. Don’t judge me.

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